Q:How long does it take to become proficient at correcting paint imperfections on a car?
Hard to say since it depends on the individual, but after some practice with a machine polisher on a few test cars, a novice detailer should be able to safely and effectively correct paint to a relatively perfect finish.
50/50 test spot using Menzerna PF2500 and a Lake Country cyan foam pad. This car had been polished numerous times before by body shops and other detailers so paint preservation was a high priority.
Paint correction fun on this G35 that just had some body work done.
Another set of lights perfected and protected. Lenses were damp sanded with 1000, 1500, and 3000 Meguiar’s Unigrit sanding discs on a DA polisher. After sanding, they were machine polished back to clear with a 3 inch Meguiar’s microfiber cutting disc and Menzerna FG400. After clarity was restored, the lenses were wiped clean with diluted isopropyl alcohol and protected with CQuartz semi-permanent ceramic coating.
"Just ran across you site this evening, my wife and I also have a
93 with a C package, tan top and tan leather, we bought it in
94 with 18000 miles, currently have around 42000, also garage
kept. Did not realize that they did not have a clear coat, our have
a few minor dings. Wanted to ask you about the wheels on your
car, ours has the seven spoke, and they are very difficult to
clean. Are yours aftermarket?
-submitted by Rod Martin
Hi rod. All of the Miatas I’ve owned had 15x7 aftermarket wheels. The problem with the original “Daisy” 7 spoke wheels is that they are not painted from the factory. This makes them a bit difficult to clean, especially if you don’t maintain a protective coating on them like a wheel sealant or coating. I had luck cleaning a set of the original alloys using a 1:1 concentration of Meguiar’s Wheel Brightener and a wheel cleaning brush. For the difficult corners I used a small microfiber towel with my cleaner. Wheel cleaning clays and iron removers are also available for removing stubborn embedded surface contamination. It’s a good idea to rinse the wheels down and dry them after using heavy cleaners like Meguiar’s Wheel Brightener and iron removers. You can use a wheel polishing ball or cone with a mag/aluminum polish after cleaning, but I decided not to do so since the textured flat finish of the factory wheels wouldn’t benefit much from it.
After cleaning the wheels, I applied Pinnacle Black Diamond Surface Coating. This protects the wheels from staining and makes future brake dust clean up a lot easier. You can also use various other wheel sealants or metal protectants. Shop around on Autogeek.net or any other reputable detailing supply company for product alternatives.
Q:FInishkare products are polymer based and synthetic, their durability/protection is woow.
I have their iron remover for paint decontamination. Great stuff. I’ve never used their protectants but the reviews on their 2180 sealant seem to be very positive. The formula is very similar to the Detailer’s Pro Poli Coat that I use on many of my customer’s cars.
Q:Hey man, my car tends to get dusty between washes and I was wondering what do I do? Lol do I "dust" it? If so with what? I do actually dust it with a plush spa microfiber towel but I think i might be scratching it. Thanks man, you do great work btw!
I recommend staying away from tools like the “California Duster”. Dusters tend to drag harmful dirt particles around on your paint instead of lifting them safely. There is a higher possibility of instilling scratches on the top coat of your paint with a duster due to the lack of lubrication. The best thing to do is to use a soft plush microfiber towel and a spray detailer or spray wax. Fold your towel and use one side for gently cleaning and the other side for eliminating leftover streaks and product residue. Use gentle pressure and a “snake pattern” when wiping down a panel. Do not use circular or scrubbing motions. Flip to a clean side between panels or when your towel gets too dirty. You can also look into “rinseless washing” for an even safer approach to cleaning a dusty/dirty vehicle. Check out my guide here.
50/50 of some leather restoration on a 2005 BMW 5 series. I steamed the material, agitated the dirt with my leather cleaner and a scrub pad on a DA polisher, wiped down, steamed again, wiped down again, and applied my conditioner.
Products used were:
- Vapor Clean Pro6 steam cleaner (with a towel on the brush nozzle)
- Pinnacle leather/vinyl cleaner (during scrubbing and wipe downs)
- Griot’s Garage 3 inch scrub pad (on a Porter Cable 7424 polisher)
- short loop microfiber towels
- Pinnacle leather conditioner
Getting rid of bird poo etchings embedded in the paint. Damp sanding performed with Meguiar’s Unigrit discs and clean water. Sanding marks were polished back to gloss with Menzerna FG400 and a Meguiar’s microfiber cutting disc.
Customer’s 2004 Camry that received a budget friendly all in one polishing sealant application. I used Detailer’s Pro Poli-Coat to help clean up the paint and leave behind a long lasting layer of protection.
Although this product can be applied by hand, I chose to apply it with a Rupes 21ES dual action polisher and a 5 inch Lake Country orange foam pad. I worked the polisher in overlapping passes with moderate pressure at speed 5 to correct small imperfections like water spots and light scratches.
Q:I did work for a friend and was paid with a Black and Decker Industry and Construction grade buffer that's a bit old but runs fine, I was wondering if the type of slander or buffer mattered when repairing car's finishes.
If it’s a random orbital style polisher it should be relatively safe to use. My polishing guide covers using “dual action” rotation polishers if you’d like to check it out. They work great for applying waxes as well. Just be sure you’re using the right pad for the job at hand.
If it’s a rotary “forced rotation” style polisher it may be a bit too advanced for a novice detailer. Rotary polishers are great in the hands of experienced detailers performing intensive paint correction, but they can be disastrous to the paint finish in the hands of someone who isn’t as experienced.
For more info check out my machine polisher guide.
Q:After washing a car is it best to try to wipe the car down to prevent watermarks?
Yes you should a use a designated drying towel to dry your vehicle after washing. I use a Cobra Guzzler waffle weave microfiber towel. Gently glide your towel on wet panels or fold and dab wet spots to avoid instilling scratches. Work your way down from the top of the vehicle. You can use a separate dry microfiber towel on the side to eliminate any leftover streaking after the initial drying. A spray detailer can be used as a drying aid.
CQuartz ceramic paint coating helping this 31 year old Porsche shine like glass.
Working with thin factory single stage paint.
Left side uncorrected.
Right side corrected with Menzerna PF2500 and Lake Country orange foam pads. A few isolated trouble areas like etchings from bird droppings were wet/damp sanded before polishing.