Polishing your car can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the world of car detailing or you’ve simply never polished a large surface area before. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve a professional-looking finish at home that not only enhances your car’s appearance, but also protects its paintwork, saving you time and money maintaining your car over the long term. This article will give you a quick rundown on how to get started with polishing your car using polishing pads.
Understand the Purpose of Polishing
Before you start, it’s important to understand why polishing is necessary. Polishing your car helps to remove minor surface imperfections such as superficial scratching, swirl marks and oxidation. It also prepares the surface for the application of wax or sealant, enhancing the effectiveness and longevity of these products. Polishing pads play a crucial role in this process, providing the necessary abrasion to remove these imperfections.
Choose the Right Polishing Pads & Polish
Polishing pads come in various types and levels of aggressiveness. Foam pads are commonly used for polishing and are available in different colours, each representing a different level of cut. Wool pads are more aggressive and are typically used for heavy compounding. The type of pad you choose will depend on the condition of your car’s paint and the results you want to achieve. Pair your chosen pad with a suitable polish. Remember, more aggressive pads should be used with heavier compounds, while less aggressive pads work well with finer polishes.
Prepare Your Car & Workspace
Before you start polishing, ensure your car is clean and dry. Any dirt or debris on the surface can get caught in the pad and potentially cause scratches. You should also make sure you’re working in a suitable environment. Ideally, this should be a cool, shaded area, as direct sunlight can cause the polish to dry too quickly. When polish dries too quickly, it doesn’t have enough time to work into the surface and do its job properly. This can lead to a less effective polish and an end result that’s not as smooth or shiny as it should be.
The Polishing Process
Start by applying a small amount of polish to your pad. Place the pad flat against the surface and spread the polish around at a low speed. Once the polish is spread evenly in the spot you’re working on, you can increase the speed and start working the polish into the paint. Keep the pad flat against the surface and work in a cross-hatch pattern for even coverage. Avoid applying too much pressure and let the pad and polish do the work.
Clean Your Pads Regularly
During the polishing process, your pad will pick up paint residue and spent polish. This can reduce the effectiveness of the pad and potentially cause marring on the surface. To avoid this, clean your pads after use as well as during the polishing process itself. You can do this by using a pad brush or compressed air to remove spent product and paint residue.