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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been hand waxing my cars with carnauba wax for years, but now I find that I'm inclined to use a buffer to remove the wax. I have a fear of using the wrong type of buffer and burning through the paint if I'm not careful. What type of buffer do you recommend? I generally put the carnauba wax on a couple of times a year, before summer and before winter rains, so I'm pretty much a "low volume" user.

Thanks for any advice.
 

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I have the porter cable random obital buffer. I use wax from poor boys. I can't remember where I buy my pads from. Check out Griots for an entire package, they were on sale yesterday and still may be so today.
 

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Yep, the Griot's (Porter-Cable) random orbital buffers are "idiot proof" and do a fantastic job. They sell all the application pads, wax removal pads/bonnets, wax, polish, etc.

Personally, I'd recommend that you use a random orbital buffer only for applying your wax not for removing it. Read Griot's "disclaimer" in the description of their "Wax Removal Bonnets". IMO, somethings are best done "the old fashioned way".

I own their 6" and 3" buffers. The 3" is great for getting into places the 6" can't. It's also AWESOME for polishing SS bumpers although I'd recommend English Custom Polish 110% over Griot's Metal Polish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, fangio8c. I'll look into it.
 

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FWIW, I'm old skool and do it by hand but know my way around a buffer and paint. Latch onto an old hood or painted panel that has a couple of panel lines/breaks in it and develop a feel on this panel before you go anywhere near your "baby". The reason I mention breaks is these areas are from experience, you are most likely to burn thru paint a jack things up. Products recommended above you cant go wrong with. Good luck. ciao e buon pasqua
 

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Yep, the Griot's (Porter-Cable) random orbital buffers are "idiot proof" and do a fantastic job.
Another vote for the the Porter Cable random orbital. It is great for polishing and putting on wax, but I remove it by hand. Just feels better than way. Unlike regular sander/polisher, it is almost impossible to burn through the paint with one of these, and the polish job is much better than by hand. Just make sure to clay bar before polishing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, guys! Great recommendations. I'll look around for a deal on the Porter.
 

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Porter Cables are junk. Buy the FLEX buffer found here: FLEX XC 3401 VRG Orbital Polisher : Car Polishers

I have used everything from a Makita Rotary, to a Meguiars (worse than the PC), to the Flex orbital and rotary, to the Porter Cable. The PC is just useless IMO. The FLEX is on a entirely different level. There is no risk of burning through the paint with the FLEX (as long as you are mildly handy with it), and it has almost the power of a rotary. I have done several Ferraris (including my own) with the FLEX. The only Fcar I did with the Makita, was a 355gts (the PPG red paint used back then reacts far better with the rotary than any other buffer).
 

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Also, you will want to apply the wax by hand. The best waxes are: Zymol Concours, Zymol Atlantique, and Zymol Vintage Glaze. If money is tight or you don't care about treating your paint 100% perfectly, then P21s is fairly sufficient, as well as Swissvax Onyx.
 

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Actually, the whole point of using a random orbital buffer is to apply the wax.
 

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If you saw back to back results like I have, you would agree. When I start on the Bentley, I will take pictures comparing the two. Not to nitpick, but you really should perform a full detail about every 4-5 months depending on usage, paint condition/age, and driving conditions.
 

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BTW... There is also zero chance of burning through the paint with a PC/Griots random orbital buffer either. Does a fantastic job for the $.
 

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Not to nitpick, but you really should perform a full detail about every 4-5 months depending on usage, paint condition/age, and driving conditions.
I totally disagree. That is a very "generic" recommendation. Over-detailing can lead to degradation of paint and fabrics, etc... not preserve it.
 

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Add micro fiber cloth to the mix. COSTCO has a bag full of yellow material about 18 inches square. Superb at removing and polishing any of the materials you use on your car, from polishes to glazes to wax. Cheap enough at COSTCO to have a pile on hand so you use a clean one all the time. They wash easily and last a long time.

I don't think anybody short of a professional should use a rotary polisher. the random-orbit ones with the right hardness of foam pads do a superb job and eliminate the risks of burned edges.

Porter cable is not junk. They are a line of professional tools made for near constant use. The PC buffer will outlast you and your car with the level of use we put in them.

BTW - the PC buffer is variable speed. Use it on as low-speed as reasonable to minimize swirl marks.

Robert
 

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I totally disagree. That is a very "generic" recommendation. Over-detailing can lead to degradation of paint and fabrics, etc... not preserve it.
If you use shoddy products, then yes you will be sorry. You're idea of detailing and mine are two very different things from the sound of it.
 

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Agreed that some products are superior to others, however, the more you polish/wax, the more you are degrading your paint. There is a fine line between just enough and too much.
 

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... the more you are degrading your paint...
Another generic statement that is more untrue than true. First, consider the paint. Many modern paints are thin color coats with a substantial clear coat over it. That intrinsically makes the paint look good, as long as you do not degrade the clear coating. Other paints are solid colors. These are generally more repairable, and have fairly thick coats with lots of solids.

Cleaners and polishes with some degree of abrasive will remove a small layer of the coating. These should be used sparingly. The advent of clay-bar use really helps minimize the use of these materials. The paint can be made smooth by actually removing the rough debris with a clay bar without abrading the rest of the coating. Your great paint job will last a lot longer this way.

The remaining material used on paint jobs are much less damaging to the surface; most tend to add stuff to the surface rather than remove from it. Non-abrasive polishes ("clear coat safe") are really polymerizing oils that fill in the micro scratches of most surfaces mixed with very soft abrasives that only peal away the contaminants that get in the paint. Glazes are even more significant air-polymerizing materials that make really smooth surfaces; they actually fill in the micro scratches and harden with exposure to air.

Old-time wax is barely used anymore. Pure carnuba is the most common for a final coating; either yellow (soft) or pure white (very hard) or a blend, they mostly protect the polymer glazes from UV degradation. I use pure white carnuba here is So Cal because of the high temperatures in full summer sun. The yellow waxes are somewhat softer - but much easier to use! removing the wax residue of white carnuba is not easy; leaving steaks is common.

One of the important things to do is avoid any "surface restorer" like rubbing compounds on any of the clear coats. These do have a use on solid color paints, where they strip off the damaged and oxidized layers of the paint, but they are the things that can damage a paint surface. If you are shining your paint, they should be used only ONCE - when you first get the car. After that, stay with the polymerizing material and your paint job will last nearly indefinitely.

Robert
 

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Another generic statement that is more untrue than true. First, consider the paint. Many modern paints are thin color coats with a substantial clear coat over it. That intrinsically makes the paint look good, as long as you do not degrade the clear coating. Other paints are solid colors. These are generally more repairable, and have fairly thick coats with lots of solids.
Exactly my point... don't damage the clear coat by over buffing (over detailing)!!! For "race-paint" (aka "single stage")... whatever... buff away all you want (and enjoy that inherent "orange peel look" from 5 feet and in).
 

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Exactly my point... don't damage the clear coat by over buffing (over detailing)!!! For "race-paint" (aka "single stage")... whatever..
What?? "Race-paint" does not equate with single stage. My Mercedes is solid black with no clear coat, as are all the MBZ solid colors - only the metallic and pearls are clear coated. It is kept well polished. It looks superb. It's 15 years old and has been PROPERLY polished, glazed, and waxed many times to keep it looking that way. It's not degraded in any way.

buff away all you want (and enjoy that inherent "orange peel look" from 5 feet and in).
Geez. Do you read what you type, or do you just not know what you are talking about? Buffing does not create orange peel. That comes from dry gun work when it was painted. This flaw can sometimes be improved with "color sanding" with 2000 to 6000 grit paper to take out the lumpy surface, as is often done on top-end paint jobs; to do so, these have enough paint applied to allow for a good surface and appropriate paint thickness.

I'm sorry you seem to have taken this personally. Most BB discussions stay on the minute of technical issues. I agree that the PC RO buffer is superb. I agree that you can damage your paint if you don't know what you are doing. But you can do great things if you do it right. How often you polish has nothing to do with it. How you polish and what you use does. There are lots of web sites that provide excellent guidance.

Are you equating the term "polish" with the use of gritty compounds? Using these will certainly do bad things to paint - but again they have their uses in moderation, mostly at the paint shop to create a great initial surface. The best modern polishes, swirl removers, and glazes are all polymers, with no grit compounds. The polymers fill in the micro scratches the cause dullness and harden with a little heat (from the buffer) and are catalyzed by exposure to air. They make mirror-like surfaces by ADDING to the paint! None of them are as hard as the paint itself, so they do need redoing periodically, and doing so HELPS the paint! A thin wax coat usually goes over the last glaze to provide that hard surface, and to add some UV protection which would otherwise break down the polymers. Yellow carnuba is less hard and is fine in moderate climates - it softens in the heat of So Cal summers, so I use white carnuba. It's harder and higher in temperature, but more difficult to buff out. In my experience, any of the waxes actually reduce the shine of a good polymer glaze.

BTW - I'd never apply or buff a true wax with a machine. Your dad may have back when he was using the old "Turtle Wax" or similar mixes of fine grit based polishing compounds mixed with waxes, applied on old school enamel paint jobs. Modern pure waxes should be applied as a thin film over an already well polished and glazed surface. WIth such a smooth and well prepped surface, the wax will go on easily by hand with a nice soft foam pad, and buff off by hand with a clean microfiber cloth (they are even smoother than used cotton undershirts we all used for years).

The latest glaze polymers are being made UV resistant, and are hard enough that true wax such as Carnuba is no longer even needed. Those two parameters were the only thing left for even the finest of true wax products.

Robert
 
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