Friday, February 17, 2012

How To Use A Buffer - Video Tutorial

The most efficient way for a beginner to learn how to detail a car is by watching videos. The following video will show you the basic steps and will give you a better understanding of motions. 

Polishing Machines

Also referred to as buffer, come it many different shapes, sizes, and operating methods. As mentioned in an earlier post, buffers are differentiated between orbitals and rotaries, the later of which a beginner should stay clear of.

Orbital: The oscillating movement of an orbital buffer produces much less heat on the paint's surface and therefore is much more forgiving. The two most popular are the Porter Cable (PC) and the Orbital Flex.

Porter Cable

The Porter Cable can be purchased for around $130 and is very much capable of achieving 85% correction with the proper use of pads, polishes/ compounds/ and pressure. Because it is very safe to use and in a low price point, beginners often make this their first buffer.

The Flex is available as a orbital as well as a rotary. The orbital produces quite a bit more power than the Porter Cable, but also comes with a higher price point of about $300. Paint correction is possible up to 90-95%. Still very safe to use, if you have the money, opt for the orbital Flex rather than the PC, as you will upgrade rather sooner than later. The one disadvantage of this Flex though is that it can not use pads smaller than 5.5", therefore making it difficult to get to harder to reach areas.


Finally, the rotary buffer quickly builds up enormous heat because of its 360 degrees turning table and is the most efficient in end result and time for paint correction. Makita is one of many makes of rotaries, but certainly one of the most used within the industry. A good rotary is cheaper than a n orbital Flex, by about $100, but can do damage tenfold of the savings if not used properly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Where To Buy

Of course, you could go to the closest Autozone store and pick up some car care products, and most exterior care care products provide the results they promise, but what are the long-term effects?

For example, wheel cleaners sold at Autozone are very effective in cleaning your wheels, but chemically not well balanced. Use their wheel cleaner every few weeks for 2-3 years and you will notice considerable clearcoat damage to the wheel.

Waxes are often difficult to apply or remove and do not last very long; mircofiber towels are of cheap materials and can be tossed out after a couple of washes, and tools such as brushes with iron wire is not thought through well enough. The only product line I would ever recommend myself to by at stores such as Autozone, Walmart, etc, is Meguiar's.

Two outstanding online retailers that offer products that are effective AND safe:
(click on banners to be forwarded to website)


They offer incredible product insight and are always available to answer all your questions. Shipping is fast and reasonable and websites include tutorials for many different detailing products.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Polishes & Compounds

The proper use of polishes & compounds lets you restore your paint to as-new condition and it is important for you to know the differences between the these two products. The most important rule when working with either polishes & compounds is to always start with the least abrasive polish and work your way up to more abrasive compounds until you see results.

A polish and compound are differentiated in the abrasiveness. Polishes range from finishing to medium abrasiveness, whereas most compounds are very abrasive and should be used with the utmost care.

Once you have determined which polish or compound gets rid of most paint imperfections, slowly work your way down  to a medium polish and lastly a finishing polish to achieve the highest percentage of correction.

The 'cut' refers to the strength of the abrasive, whereas the 'finish' indicates how clean the product will leave the paint. It is not uncommon for compounds to leave holograms in the paint:

But these are not harmful to your car's paint and simply require polishing with a less abrasive product.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Restoring Headlights

Over time, your headlight covers will begin to yellow and fade due to oxidation. Not only does it not look nice, but it will also decrease your visibility at night when driving. There are several 'Headlight Restoration Kits' available in stores and online, but I have yet to see one that achieves what it promises. This car's owner explained that he followed the provided instructions and worked on the headlights for almost two hours, finally giving up because there were no visible results.

He stopped by to have it professionally corrected and was on his way back home with a big smile only thirty minutes later. In the picture below, the left side shows his results, whereas the right side shows a proper correction.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Flex Vs. Porter Cable (PC)

Both machines utilize orbital motion patterns and do a great job, but a greater correction is possible with the flex due to more power. In the profession, you differentiate between orbital buffers and rotaries. The later should be avoided by beginners, as it can quickly burn your paint if not used properly. But orbital buffers, such as these two, are very easy and safe to use, and a Flex can achieve up to 95% correction most of the time.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek of what you could be capable of!
Explanations of what products can be used and how to use them will follow in future posts.

By using proper car washing techniques and quality products, this could have been avoided easily. The following are examples or neglected paint & interior. Results are achievable for anyone with some time and interest.

50/50 shot of exterior paint

50/50 shot of exterior paint

Leather seat cleaning

Leather seat restoration (before)
Leather seat restoration (after)