This is one of the most satisfying parts of detailing.
It's also the main reason we detail our cars!
You can decontaminate, shampoo, "polish", seal and wax your car - but, if the paintwork isn't up to scratch (no pun) is the effort well spent?
There is valid argument, paint correction and machine polishing is not for everybody. It takes time, experience, knowledge, and most of all patience.
I'm the first to admit I'm not the best out there at this, but I do have patience and a rough understanding. I wouldn't attempt this on a customers car for money. I'm not a Pro. I enjoy it!
First of all, the car needs a clean - standard procedure, blast, shampoo, dry.
Then onto de-contamination - fallout removal, tar removal, clay barring, ready for the final cutting and polishing to happen.
First of all, tape off any edges from adjoining body panels. This will stop any unwanted and potentially detrimental removal of thin paint along the edge of the panel. You'll want a low tack tape which isn't susceptible to heating and leaving a gluey adhesive behind. Ive been caught short here so have used a brown vinyl tape which I'm comfortable with - although not ideal.
Starting off with an IPA panel wipe solution to remove any remaining oils, I then prime the pad I'm using (hexlogic to minimise heat build up).
I start off with our MADCOW Heavy Cut Polishing Compound, three pea sized blobs in a triangle pattern on the pad. I Dab this over the panel I'm working on to give a decently even coverage to work with. I work quite small areas at a time, maybe 1x1ft (or 30x30cm approx)
I'll start off on the lowest setting of my DA machine (which is a vertool, well priced unit for an entry level, light and well balanced) Low speeds help me to more or less get my brain switched on to the pattern of work, once i'm comfortable and zoned in I'll speed it up a bit. You won't want speed outright, you'll be slinging compound everywhere, tearing up the pad edges, chasing it - and ultimately, adding more damage than you started off with. You'll create what are known as 'Holograms'. Your paintwork will look okay side on, then the sun comes out, BANG, your car looks like a spinning CD!!!
This is after one Pass, still marred and scratched to death.
Always wipe down with IPA between passes, this will remove any remaining oils so I don't have a flattering effect to fool my eyes. You'll see exactly the truth this way.
After Two Passes, again wiping down with IPA, showing signs that there could be some life left in the coating
I now move onto MADCOW Fine Cut Polishing Compound, the same basic theory applies. I choose a softer pad to work with, the finer compound is a little thinner, this allows me to use a little extra speed through the machine. It feels much smoother with a lot less pull on the machine as it doesn't dry out as fast.
You'll Pass once, and immediately see a vast improvement, being thinner, the product clears down much faster too, remove with a plush buffing cloth, wipe the panel down with IPA to see what you're really working with. This is coming into what is known as the 'refinement stage'. You're now looking for the minor blemishes and trouble areas. After two passes you likely catch most defects, but keep a keen eye and light source to hand so you can chase any problems out.
I'd just about ran out of time on this, I wanted to crack on with our MADCOW Crown Cut Polishing Compound to really give the ultimate depth and refinement this panel so desperately needed - which I will complete next week. But as you can see there is a monumental difference already.
This was 2 hours of work. I'm not a Pro, so I'm not up to speed, but I like to think this is quite a real world test where not everyone has a detailing bay with a controlled environment. Using the sun as a light source isn't ideal (UK doesn't see it often enough) although it's been enough today!
There is a clearly visible difference here, this is at a hobbyist level - but it's so rewarding it becomes, dare I say it, FUN!
The biggest crying shame is, i'm limited with weather, I still have the rest of the car to complete, but I have no deadline, so I'll enjoy it.