Best Polish for Removing Swirl Marks - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 19 Old 05-06-14 Thread Starter
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Best Polish for Removing Swirl Marks

Hi All,

My Alfa Red MiTo is now 4 years old, and is starting to show signs of her age in the form of swirl marks! I give her a good polish with Autoglym stuff every so often (SRP and EGP), but I think it's time I gave her some decent treatment, so I've invested in a dual action polisher (a Meguiars G220).

The problem is - I have absolutely no idea what the best polish around is, especially on the non-metallic alfa red paint (I guess I don't want anything too harsh).

Does anyone have any suggestions as to the best polish/pads to use to get rid of, or at least improve, the swirl marks?

Thanks!
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First things first, if you've never used a dual action polisher before you should test it on something that isn't your pride and joy! Might be good getting a scrap door or something to play around on. Other than that if you see my thread on my car, the menzerna stuff I used it's quite gentle and will remove most swirl marks.
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There are some good videos out there, for example Part 1 - How to remove swirls, scratches and water spots using a Porter Cable 7424XP Polisher - YouTube Ignore the fact this talks about a Porter Cable, your polisher will behave in the same way. There is a great guide from Detailing World http://www.detailingworld.co.uk/foru...apolishing.pdf this was written quite a few years ago and so a lot of the products which are mentioned have been changed quite a lot but it is great at talking about the process and technique

If I was starting out and looking for some polishes I would get a bottle of Meguiars Ultimate Compound (Halfords etc) and a bottle of Megs 205 Meguiars #205 - Ultra Finishing Polish 8oz - Clean Your Car (sold by nearly every online retailer). Both products will cost about £10, no need for large bottles unless you own quite a few cars and intend doing a lot of polishing. The big advantage of polishes like the Meguiars is they are very flexible i.e. you can alter the amount of cut by using different pads. Nothing wrong with the Menzerna polishes suggested above but they do work in a different way. Plenty of alternatives out there eg Scholl, Optimum, Sonus etc. All of these will do a good job.

As for pads, there is a high degree of personal preference when it comes to brands although the only one I would say not to buy is the 3M pads; my view is these are too soft for a DA although they are near perfect for a rotary. I would get at least one compound, polishing and finishing pad. My guess is the Chemical Guys Hexlogic pads are probably the most popular pads on Detailing World although there are plenty of alternatives.

If your budget allows, get some spot pads and backing plates eg Products - Serious Performance Products - Serious Performance again lots of alternatives so don't worry who makes them. The big reason for buying spot pads is they allow you to work on intricate areas such as bumpers and door frames

Other stuff you should buy if you have not already done so. Masking tape, 3M is most popular. It is important to mask up panel edges and trim, this protects the thinner paint at the edge of a panel and any delicate trim. Get some brushes, there are dedicated pad cleaning brushes but I just use some soft toothbrushes, it is important to keep the pad clean. You will also need something to clean up after polishing, polishing oils are useful when polishing but can interfere with waxes or sealants and so need to be removed. Lots of people use IPA (5:1 dilution) and this is a cheap option which works fine but IPA does not contain any lubricants so care is required when wiping the IPA away to reduce any paint marring. There are lots of commercial products such as CarPro Eraser but many firms do alternative products eg Bilt Hamber. For a finishing polish I use Optimum polishes which have the advantage of they can be simply cleaned away with a damp cloth although the Megs 205 I suggested at the start is probably the benchmark product

It is common for people who are new to polishing to complain about lack of progress, be warned, polishing is not a quick process, it can easily take a day (or longer), the other common mistake is to move from working in a small area eg 18" square to a much larger area, all this does is reduce the effectiveness of the process and increase frustration with the result it all takes much longer.

Hope this helps
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(Post Link) post #4 of 19 Old 09-06-14 Thread Starter
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Thanks very much for the advice guys! OK, here's what I've invested in.

Product:

- Meguiars Ultimate Compound (this should be abrasive enough, I don't think I need/want to risk 105).
- Meguiars 205
- CarPro Eraser

Pads:
- Chemical Guys Hex - Orange (Compound)
- Chemical Guys Hex - White (Polishing)
- Chemical Guys Hex - Red (Finishing)

I'll use the orange pad with the UC, the white with the 205, then the red to apply my usual SRP. I'll then use a hand microfibre applicator as normal to apply the EGP.

Hopefully the weather holds up at the weekend so I can get out there - I think this is going to be a 2 day job, but it'll be worth it in the end.
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Sounds spot on! And those hex pads are really easy to work with :-)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bri_Y View Post
.....I'll use the orange pad with the UC, the white with the 205, then the red to apply my usual SRP. I'll then use a hand microfibre applicator as normal to apply the EGP.

Hopefully the weather holds up at the weekend so I can get out there - I think this is going to be a 2 day job, but it'll be worth it in the end.
Best practice says always do a test section starting with the least aggressive products first eg 205 on a finishing pad and then review. You could then step up to 205 with a polishing pad and then try UC with a polishing pad and finally UC with the orange compounding pad. Once you have worked out what combination is required to remove any swirls eg UC on orange pad you may find you can finish with 205 on a finishing pad.
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(Post Link) post #7 of 19 Old 10-06-14 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lowejackson View Post
Best practice says always do a test section starting with the least aggressive products first eg 205 on a finishing pad and then review. You could then step up to 205 with a polishing pad and then try UC with a polishing pad and finally UC with the orange compounding pad. Once you have worked out what combination is required to remove any swirls eg UC on orange pad you may find you can finish with 205 on a finishing pad.
Thanks, I will most likely test with a small section of the boot. I will try the less abrasive compound first, however I would not be surprised if it does need UC on a cutting pad. It's got 4 years worth of swirls, and being an ex-lease car, the previous owner didn't take good care of it (looked like he was an avid fan of car washes ).
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You may well end up by using the UC on a compounding pad but if the paint is ultra soft then a harsh combination will bring anyone to their knees in frustration. The advantage of the test spot is once you know what works it is as simple as repeating that combination for the rest of the car (assuming no repair or repainting) also it makes a lot of sense to keep as much paint on the car as possible.

Don't forget to take lots of pictures
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Thanks!

I did a test spot this evening (I was bored and couldn't wait any longer!).

I managed to get an OK looking result, with the medium pad with UC, followed by the finishing pad with 205. I guess I can save the most abrasive pad for the nice car park scratches!
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One of the nice things about 205 is it can be worked for a very long time, once the bulk of the final polishing is done, reduce the pressure a little and the same for the speed and very slowly the gloss will get better.

You say the results were ok, what is missing?
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There were some very minor swirls left - it removed all but the deepest - however I'd say 99% of them were gone.

I have no doubt that the cutting pad will remove the final ones - however I'm not sure whether it's a good idea, on my first attempt, on the soft alfa red paint!
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Sometimes the wisest thing to do is leave some of the deeper marks and keep as much paint on the car, especially with a normal road car; with a show car you would remove all defects. I agree with you, perhaps on the first few polishing sessions take it easy.

Many people focus on the swirl removal side of polishing which is entirely understandable and do not spend enough time with the final polishing. Spend more time with 205 on a finishing pad and the gloss will improve
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Originally Posted by lowejackson View Post
Sometimes the wisest thing to do is leave some of the deeper marks and keep as much paint on the car, especially with a normal road car; with a show car you would remove all defects. I agree with you, perhaps on the first few polishing sessions take it easy.

Many people focus on the swirl removal side of polishing which is entirely understandable and do not spend enough time with the final polishing. Spend more time with 205 on a finishing pad and the gloss will improve
Yep, I agree wholeheartedly. I may try a second test in a less conspicuous area with the firmer pad but maybe using less pressure, however I'm happy with how it's looking so far!

With some time off work - hopefully I'll be able to get out there tomorrow
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Here's a quick before and after pic of the bonnet swirl marks (Apologies for the crappy iPhone photos!):





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Nice work
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I'd be Chuffed with that result
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That looks good well done. I'm a Chemical Guys nut, I only use there stuff now and find it amazing. You mentioned using a Red pad for SRP , Red pads are very soft and used for applying sealants etc, for SRP you'd be better sticking to your White pad as its also a light finishing pad and SRP is basically a filler. Then finish off with some nice Wax and use a black or Blue pad.

Other than that the only thing I can advise as a novice as well is always lube your pad ( a spray bottle with some water and a drop of car shampoo is just as good as buying something ) very small blobs of your products on the pad and I work on doing 60cm square at a time allowing 8/10 mins for this size area. As mentioned above this is not a quick process but very rewarding when done well, to finish just remember next to hold your DA still you should always be moving.
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Quote:
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Here's a quick before and after pic of the bonnet swirl marks (Apologies for the crappy iPhone photos!):





Wow! Great results,any pics of the finished article?
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