What causes the swirls? - Dodge Challenger Forum: Challenger & SRT8 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 03:28 AM
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What causes the swirls?

I hate swirls in my paint! I have owned two previous cars and they have both had swirls in their paint within 3 months of owning them. Is it something I am doing wrong when waxing? Is it caused by waxing? Is it the car wash? Should I only go to hand car washes? Washing in my driveway is not an option.
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#2 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 04:07 AM
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When you wash your car do touch-less only, no soft brushes and nothing machine operated like most gas station car washes. As far as waxing, swirls are usually caused by what you are using to apply and removed the wax. Be sure to thoroughly rinse your vehicle form any debris that may have kicked up onto your car before waxing. Apply wax with micro fiber towels instead of terry.
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#3 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 06:51 AM
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dirt

i use a 2 bucket system and micro fiber towels

when you wax a car you have to put force into getting the wax off...even with the Ziano i use

i have started to wash it less and let the dust build up more to avoid more swirls

they all either come with them or will get them quickly...

i thought this was a Dodge issue until i saw the Camaro's...everyone was much worse

my wifes Chevy Traverse still has no swirls after a year and many car washes....so i do believe it is a paint issue along with washing methods...her paint holds up better

my challenger was delivered with swirls on the stripes w/7 miles on the OD


IM GOING TO DRIVE OVER YOUR CAR
AND DO A BURNOUT ON YOUR HOOD!
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#4 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 09:51 AM
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Test any towel you'll use on your paint with the CD test. Take a blank CD-R and rub your microfiber towel three times against the blank side of the CD-R. If there are any scratches, you'll be leaving swirls in your paint.

I've tested my wash mitts and all my towel and disposed of most of them, as the generic microfiber from AutoZone left bad scratches in the CD. Most regular shop rags performed better on the CD test than most microfiber towels.

The only towels I've found that pass this test are Adam's Polishes towels. I'm sure there are others, but you need to make sure you're using the highest quality microfiber towels and wash mitts.

I also agree that the two-bucket wash (with a foam gun to apply a thick layer of suds to the vehicle before washing it) is essential to not add extra swirls. I spent a full day paint correcting (aka removing all the swirls) from my Challenger, and it's been several months and nearly a dozen two-bucket washes and no swirls have been added.




Matt Willis
Piper of The Killdares
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#5 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRL9987 View Post
I hate swirls in my paint! I have owned two previous cars and they have both had swirls in their paint within 3 months of owning them. Is it something I am doing wrong when waxing? Is it caused by waxing? Is it the car wash? Should I only go to hand car washes? Washing in my driveway is not an option.
If you cannot wash your car and rely on car washes you'll always get the swirls...
Here's a good write up to avoid them...
How To Properly Wash and Dry a Car – Detailed Image
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#6 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRL9987 View Post
I hate swirls in my paint! I have owned two previous cars and they have both had swirls in their paint within 3 months of owning them. Is it something I am doing wrong when waxing? Is it caused by waxing? Is it the car wash? Should I only go to hand car washes? Washing in my driveway is not an option.
In a nutshell, “swirls” generally refers to scratches in your paint. As for their cause, it can be anything that has the potential to inflict damage. Think of it this way…. Any time you touch your paint (or anything contacts it), there is a potential for marring.


IMO/IME, scratches will have the most chances of occurring during washing. Think about it…. With all of the dust, road grime, bug remnants and misc. contamination commonly found on a dirty vehicle, it’s easy to see how an individual’s choice of tools, products and technique can have a huge impact in this respect.

The following is an old but good tutorial discussing some of these points when it comes to washing your car. Even if you don’t use all of the methods discussed, pay attention to the thought process Mike goes through:



Putting some thought behind how techniques, tools and products in general have an impact on such things can put you in a better position to assess your own situation and make your own educated decisions as to what routine will work well for your scenario. You’ll likely realize that some level of compromise is inevitable. Even with the example in the video I provided there is going to be some risk involved that will eventually lead to blemishes. Other things that can impact your choices and/or the effectiveness of your regimen are the characteristics of the paint itself, your environment, how frequently you wash, how dirty your vehicle typically gets, etc.

Obviously, whatever you’re doing now isn’t working for you. Can you describe exactly what your routine is for washing the car? If you go to an automated car wash, what type is it and what do you do after? When you wax, what product(s) do you use and what is your process (including the applicator you use, etc.)?

As for using “hand washing” services, I have never been comfortable with them due to the simple fact that I have no idea what products they are using, how clean the media is that they are wiping the paint with, etc. What I do commonly see is horrible technique especially when they are drying off cars. ….and many of those cars are not completely clean before they start their wipe-down.

If washing in your driveway is not an option and you want to try a routine that you can still perform your self, you might want to look into a rinseless solution. Products like ONR – Optimum No Rinse are formulated to (arguably) “safely” clean your vehicle without the need of rinsing the car. You simply mix ½ ounce per gallon of water in a bucket and then wash sections at a time. ….drying with good quality, plush MF towels. Even if you can't wash in your own driveway, apartment complex, etc., you can do this in a open lot or just about anywhere. A standard 5 gallon bucket with a lid can work great for transporting a few gallons of premixed solution to your location of choice.


Just some other random thoughts in regard to some things that have been mentioned…..

I would advise that you thoroughly clean your car prior to waxing (not just rinse). Also, microfiber towels and applicators can mar paint just as easily as any cotton product. As with either of these fabrics, quality is important as mattpiper mentioned. Foam is also a widely used medium for product application but can also scratch depending on the situation. If you are driving anywhere after washing your car and plan to use an LSP (last step product; wax/sealant/coating), I would advise using a quick detailer or (perhaps even better) a waterless wash product to wipe down the panels prior to “waxing”.

As far as exerting more effort into removing your LSP, this is typically indicative of situation where too much product has been applied. Less is usually more in these cases and sometimes “whisper thin” coats can really make the difference. Sometimes a spritz of a quick detailer can help some stubborn or over-applied products during removal as well.

The current GM clearcoats are generally regarded as quite hard (although this can vary by model/year). I would say the paint on my 2010 Challenger by comparison is on the harder side of medium. There are much “softer” paints out there that can be very susceptible to marring even with towels that I have found generally safe on other vehicles. My 2003 Subaru was a good example of this.

2010 BB R/T auto w/STP

Last edited by Kean; 03-26-2012 at 12:41 PM.
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#7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 03:57 PM
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As far as what I used to do. Now after reading this seems to explain what went wrong. I used to go to a cloth only machine wash, where I KNOW the guys never change the drying towels and drop them constantly. Then I would drive it home and think its still clean and wax it with a damp paper towel and then wipe it off with another paper towel. That is how I was taught to do it by my dad. He seems to have been wrong.
I found a inexpensive hand car wash, where no machines touch the car close to my house. I plan to go wed and talk to the owner or manager to ensure quality of his minimum wage earning workers.I also plan to tip the guy before drying to use only clean drying cloths.
If I plan to show the car to someone or enter it in a show, I would probably then use the rinse less applicator at home, dry with that special cloth, and wax lightly using those special cloths mentioned.

That is the new plan. I used to get car washes ever 2-3 weeks. I plan to get one every 5-7 days now to make sure there is no debris accumulation. I might even give it a quick coat of the rinse less before going there just to be safe.

Sound good?

P.S. will the fact that I have well water at home damage the car in anyway when I use the rinse less?

Last edited by MRL9987; 03-26-2012 at 04:02 PM. Reason: p.s.
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#8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRL9987 View Post
As far as what I used to do. Now after reading this seems to explain what went wrong. I used to go to a cloth only machine wash, where I KNOW the guys never change the drying towels and drop them constantly. Then I would drive it home and think its still clean and wax it with a damp paper towel and then wipe it off with another paper towel. That is how I was taught to do it by my dad. He seems to have been wrong.
I found a inexpensive hand car wash, where no machines touch the car close to my house. I plan to go wed and talk to the owner or manager to ensure quality of his minimum wage earning workers.I also plan to tip the guy before drying to use only clean drying cloths.
If I plan to show the car to someone or enter it in a show, I would probably then use the rinse less applicator at home, dry with that special cloth, and wax lightly using those special cloths mentioned.

That is the new plan. I used to get car washes ever 2-3 weeks. I plan to get one every 5-7 days now to make sure there is no debris accumulation. I might even give it a quick coat of the rinse less before going there just to be safe.

Sound good?

P.S. will the fact that I have well water at home damage the car in anyway when I use the rinse less?
No offense to your Dad, but I would definitely ditch the idea of using paper towels. Microfibers are available everywhere and I’ll wager that even those with questionable quality will be a better choice than what you’re using now. Buy a couple, test them out and if they appear that they will work out, then buy another two dozen or so. You also don’t want to use “one towel” to do an entire vehicle when quick detailing, using a rinseless product, removing wax, etc. MF’s can be washed and reused. Just make sure to sort them by task so your paint towels won’t get mixed in with ones you use for jambs, wheels, interior, etc. The CD test that was mentioned earlier can help determine the marring potential that some towels may have. The idea is that if a towel doesn’t mar the relatively soft surface of a CD, it won’t mar your paint under the same conditions. Just keep in mind that pressure can play a big part and you should be realistic about the test in general. Try to replicate the same circumstances on the face of the CD as you would your paint. Simply vigorously dry buffing the surface trying to mar it will likely always result in producing blemishes.

Just be aware that while cleanliness is certainly important, the quality/type of media they use is paramount. In many cases I have seen these guys using what resemble shop rags or huck towels to dry vehicles. However, as I mentioned earlier, technique also plays a big role. Again, from observation I typically see these guys (with a couple of towels in both hands) energetically rubbing down cars as they emerge from the wash. …..rubbing over each of the panels high and low just trying to get the majority of the water off of the car. In many cases, I have even seen them using the same towels to wipe down jambs and wheels that are not properly cleaned first.

As far as using a rinseless product prior to going to the car wash, there is no need. The rinseless solution is a product (when used properly) intended to clean your car. …..you’ll likely do a better job than the car wash so to use it beforehand would be a moot point. Just be aware that while you may even increase you frequency of washes, it could also have the reverse affect depending on those factors I have mentioned. In other words, they could be doing more damage faster by cleaning the car with bad technique and sub-par tools/products more frequently than if they washed it every 3 weeks or so.

Regardless, you need to decide what is more important to you. Not everyone’s tolerance or sensitivity to such things is equal and neither are their goals. The following is a collection of articles, forum discussions and videos I put together to help folks like you who may be interested in obtaining more information on the various subjects of detailing. It’s broken down into categories so you can simply browse through the topics you’re interested in. Hope this helps:

Detailing Library

In regard to the well water, there should not be an issue although mineral content can make water spotting a problem in some cases. A product like ONR will help soften the water to an extent and if you have unusually hard water, you can add more solution to the mix.
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#9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mattpiper View Post
Test any towel you'll use on your paint with the CD test. Take a blank CD-R and rub your microfiber towel three times against the blank side of the CD-R. If there are any scratches, you'll be leaving swirls in your paint.

I've tested my wash mitts and all my towel and disposed of most of them, as the generic microfiber from AutoZone left bad scratches in the CD. Most regular shop rags performed better on the CD test than most microfiber towels.

The only towels I've found that pass this test are Adam's Polishes towels. I'm sure there are others, but you need to make sure you're using the highest quality microfiber towels and wash mitts.

I also agree that the two-bucket wash (with a foam gun to apply a thick layer of suds to the vehicle before washing it) is essential to not add extra swirls. I spent a full day paint correcting (aka removing all the swirls) from my Challenger, and it's been several months and nearly a dozen two-bucket washes and no swirls have been added.



Adam's Polishes Double Soft Microfiber Towel...once you own one, you'll never go back. At $15 per towel, it's expensive but I wouldn't trust anything else on my SRT8!



2012 Dodge Challenger Yellow Jacket SRT8; Stinger Yellow Clear Coat, 5-speed Automatic with autoshift, Yellow Jacket Appearance Group, Harmon Kardon 18 Speaker Premium Sound with 900w Amplifier, Power Sunroof, Media Center 730N, 245/45ZR20 All Season Tires, Speedlogix BT Yellow Jacket Catch Can, MOPAR T-Bar Shifter.
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