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OK. I've been a washer and waxer for many years but I have never needed to remove swirl marks in the paint. My gently used 2016 SXT has such marks though you really have to look for them.

Will a buffer remove these? Do I need to use a polish?
 

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The Bacon Hauler (‘12 Cop Charger)
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OK. I've been a washer and waxer for many years but I have never needed to remove swirl marks in the paint. My gently used 2016 SXT has such marks though you really have to look for them.

Will a buffer remove these? Do I need to use a polish?
You can hide the swirls as @praiseV8 stated by using any number of waxes that contain fillers to do just such a job. I have never liked that approach though, as they always come back eventually, and then I'm just depressed all over again. So I recommend doing some machine polishing to get rid of them once and for all.

But you can't use just any machine...you might be tempted to grab one of those random orbital buffers you see for sale for $20 or so at Walmart.

Don't.

Those types of machines do NOT have sufficient torque for swirl removal. You will need a honest to goodness polisher to get the job done. DA polishers are the best type for just starting out since their design makes it nearly impossible to burn holes in your paint like the old-school rotary polishers.

See the last post in this thread for some more info on what product(s) you can use with the polisher to do the swirl removal (hint: light compounds, polishes, and swirl removers).

Also, check out the various information and instructional sections over on AutoGeek.net for tips and tricks on automotive paint maintenance and defect removal. There is also a user forum attached to that site which people can discuss this stuff. And I'll tell ya, if that website or its forum doesn't have the answer to your automotive detailing question somewhere on it, you're not asking an automotive detailing question most likely. :wink3:
 

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buffers are good for applying wax and sealant, nothing else.

If you have a good drill, you can buy Meguiar's DA tool for $30-40 dollars.
 

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The Bacon Hauler (‘12 Cop Charger)
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buffers are good for applying wax and sealant, nothing else.

If you have a good drill, you can buy Meguiar's DA tool for $30-40 dollars.
I have one of those Meg's DA attachments for a handheld drill, and I love the little sucker! It does require a good drill for it to be truly effective, but I've got a Porter Cable that handles it right nicely, so I'm good there.

I actually had an extra one that I just sold for $15 to someone off CraigsList because it had been collecting dust in my garage for a year or so. I should have held out for more, but I wasn't in the mood to haggle for what would amount to $5 or $10 probably, so I just took the cash and ran.

The only downside to those things are their small pad size. At 4", you really only want to use them for spot corrections or slim panels that larger pads can't handle well. I've done both the Challengers I've had with them once (each), and man it takes a LONG time to do the job right, covering the whole car, and using nothing but 4" pads!
 

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Go to youtube and look up junkman2000.
 

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I have one of those Meg's DA attachments for a handheld drill, and I love the little sucker! It does require a good drill for it to be truly effective, but I've got a Porter Cable that handles it right nicely, so I'm good there.

I actually had an extra one that I just sold for $15 to someone off CraigsList because it had been collecting dust in my garage for a year or so. I should have held out for more, but I wasn't in the mood to haggle for what would amount to $5 or $10 probably, so I just took the cash and ran.

The only downside to those things are their small pad size. At 4", you really only want to use them for spot corrections or slim panels that larger pads can't handle well. I've done both the Challengers I've had with them once (each), and man it takes a LONG time to do the job right, covering the whole car, and using nothing but 4" pads!
Amen, I love my car, but sweet caranuba there's a lot of surface area to detail.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Don't.

Those types of machines do NOT have sufficient torque for swirl removal. You will need a honest to goodness polisher to get the job done. DA polishers are the best type for just starting out since their design makes it nearly impossible to burn holes in your paint like the old-school rotary polishers.
That is what scares the crap out of me. That I'm going to really screw the paint up.:surprise:
 

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That is what scares the crap out of me. That I'm going to really screw the paint up.:surprise:
That's a healthy fear to have IMHO. But luckily, there's not much to fear with it if you're using a DA polisher.


I grabbed that video from this page over at AutoGeek.net, and I highly recommend hitting that page and reading through it, as it has some really good info on the mechanics of the DA polisher and how to properly use one to de-swirl a car's paint.

The gentlemen in that video above, and in the other videos in that series (which are also linked from that same page above) is Mike Phillips, and he used to be a big-wig at Meguiars IIRC. Anyway, he knows his stuff when it comes this sort of subject, so giving his videos linked off the page above a watch or two will definitely help out anyone starting from scratch with using a machine polisher (DA in this instance).

In my experience, the worst damage you can (accidentally) inflict on your paint while trying to polish it with a DA polisher is introducing more swirls on top of or in place of the original ones you were trying to remove in the first place. This isn't easy to do, but if you are careless and sloppy, you can end up with dirty pads or otherwise fouled working materials which will introduce marring into the clear coat while you're trying to remove the original ones. :shock:

Luckily, if you do mess up and leave a body panel with more CC scratches than you started with, you can at least go back and do it again to get rid of them (assuming your 2nd polishing attempt is done correctly)...as opposed to using a rotary polisher and accidentally burning through a body panel edge, for which there is no recourse except repainting the whole body panel. :bang:
 

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*buffers are good for applying wax and sealant, nothing else.*

If you have a good drill, you can buy Meguiar's DA tool for $30-40 dollars.
Back when I still had a couple of those things, I found them to be most useful to me when pressed into service as final-step-wax/sealant-removers.

Granted, I already had a boatload of matching MF bonnets for them, so it didn't cost me anything to try the idea of using them in that capacity, but they really shined (pun intended) when they were used to buff off the dried product that had been applied as a last step 30 minutes earlier.

Not to mention they saved my shoulders from the aching pains and soreness that would always come with the method of wax removal I used before that - regular old elbow grease!

I will stop short of advising anyone to actually buy one of those random orbital buffers and a bunch of MF bonnets for the sole purpose of wax removal as the final step, but if someone already had one of those buffers, I would definitely tell them to grab a MF bonnet to match it and try it out as a wax remover to see if they dig what it has to offer.
 

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That is what scares the crap out of me. That I'm going to really screw the paint up.:surprise:
I was worried about that same thing last year when I polished mine for the first time ever, but if you watch the junkman videos as said and buy a good DA polisher, I got a Griots Garage, it really isn't that hard to come out with excellent results. I have some deeper scratches that I'll need to use some compound on in places to remove this year so I'm a little nervous about that. I followed my polish up with 2 coats of Wolfgang Deep Gloss sealant. Then a coat of Meq's Carnuba and she has that deep wet mirror look I love.

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Very Helpful, Thank you

That's a healthy fear to have IMHO. But luckily, there's not much to fear with it if you're using a DA polisher.

Mike Phillips demonstrates the proper techniques on using the Porter Cable 7424XP - YouTube

I grabbed that video from this page over at AutoGeek.net, and I highly recommend hitting that page and reading through it, as it has some really good info on the mechanics of the DA polisher and how to properly use one to de-swirl a car's paint.

The gentlemen in that video above, and in the other videos in that series (which are also linked from that same page above) is Mike Phillips, and he used to be a big-wig at Meguiars IIRC. Anyway, he knows his stuff when it comes this sort of subject, so giving his videos linked off the page above a watch or two will definitely help out anyone starting from scratch with using a machine polisher (DA in this instance).

In my experience, the worst damage you can (accidentally) inflict on your paint while trying to polish it with a DA polisher is introducing more swirls on top of or in place of the original ones you were trying to remove in the first place. This isn't easy to do, but if you are careless and sloppy, you can end up with dirty pads or otherwise fouled working materials which will introduce marring into the clear coat while you're trying to remove the original ones. :shock:

Luckily, if you do mess up and leave a body panel with more CC scratches than you started with, you can at least go back and do it again to get rid of them (assuming your 2nd polishing attempt is done correctly)...as opposed to using a rotary polisher and accidentally burning through a body panel edge, for which there is no recourse except repainting the whole body panel. :bang:

Worked great
 

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OK. I've been a washer and waxer for many years but I have never needed to remove swirl marks in the paint. My gently used 2016 SXT has such marks though you really have to look for them.

Will a buffer remove these? Do I need to use a polish?
You will kill your hands, arms and shoulders trying to get rid of swirls by hand, with little success. Yes you need a machine, and you'll need some products, but you don't have to spend a lot of money on either to get the job done.

If you want to just "dip your toe" into the paint correction waters, you can buy a Harbor Freight 6 in Dual Action polisher for about $50 (look for sales, the price jumps around a lot) and a couple of the Mequiars 105 and 205 compounds (can even get them at Harbor Freight). Follow the product directions, and the procedures taught in the JunkMan2000 videos (see comments below) and you won't go wrong.

If you find you like doing this, and want to step up your game, or if you want to jump fully in to paint correction, start with the Porter Cable 7424 XP Dual Action Polisher. It is the "Delmonico Steak" to Harbor Freight's "Sirloin" DA. As to products, Detailed Image is a good source for information and buying products, as is AutoGeek.

Go to youtube and look up junkman2000.
This is an excellent suggestion. Not just for swirl remover, but for the whole "start to finish" aspect of car detailing. PLEASE NOTE: Focus on the "how to" aspect of these videos, don't concern yourself so much with product suggestions. They'r not bad suggestions, but there is a whole world of products out there, and in JM2000's more recent videos, he's more about pushing certain products than necessarily the "best" products. IMHO, there are no "best" products; there are objective tiers of varying quality, but within each tier the differences are subjective.

That's a healthy fear to have IMHO. But luckily, there's not much to fear with it if you're using a DA polisher.

Mike Phillips demonstrates the proper techniques on using the Porter Cable 7424XP - YouTube

I grabbed that video from this page over at AutoGeek.net, and I highly recommend hitting that page and reading through it, as it has some really good info on the mechanics of the DA polisher and how to properly use one to de-swirl a car's paint.

The gentlemen in that video above, and in the other videos in that series (which are also linked from that same page above) is Mike Phillips, and he used to be a big-wig at Meguiars IIRC. Anyway, he knows his stuff when it comes this sort of subject, so giving his videos linked off the page above a watch or two will definitely help out anyone starting from scratch with using a machine polisher (DA in this instance).

In my experience, the worst damage you can (accidentally) inflict on your paint while trying to polish it with a DA polisher is introducing more swirls on top of or in place of the original ones you were trying to remove in the first place. This isn't easy to do, but if you are careless and sloppy, you can end up with dirty pads or otherwise fouled working materials which will introduce marring into the clear coat while you're trying to remove the original ones. :shock:

Luckily, if you do mess up and leave a body panel with more CC scratches than you started with, you can at least go back and do it again to get rid of them (assuming your 2nd polishing attempt is done correctly)...as opposed to using a rotary polisher and accidentally burning through a body panel edge, for which there is no recourse except repainting the whole body panel. :bang:
Good advice from Nuke. With the right equipment (not necessarily the most expensive), it's difficult to mess up your paint. You might find that as you tackle a problem area, you might have removed the problem but introduced a few more swirls...DO NOT PANIC; that's not uncommon. Think things through and always follow the mantra "Start with the Least Aggressive..."

If you really want to see how swirled your paint is, use LED lighting, both overhead, and on stands, and even hand-held. You might be surprised (shocked) at the extent of your swirling.
 

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Just to throw it out there in case OP ends up like me, did a full 6-8 hour exhausting day in the FL sun on my car trying to get rid of the swirls without much luck. I watched all the junkman clips, did as much research as possible, and went with the porter cable DA. It's been so long since this happened i don't remember the exact pads or compounds but it was what everyone recommended. i didn't ruin anything or add more scratches, but the remaining ones didn't change. no matter the RPM or pressure applied (it'll stop if you push too hard) the swirls remained. car looked good afterward, as it did get washed, clayed, and polished, but i didn't get any paint correcting.

Maybe it's one of those things you just have to see done in person first?
 

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I agree with looking up how to. I purchased the Porter Cable dual action polisher Mother's kit from Autogeek as well as watched some of their instructional videos a few years back when I had the Granite Black top. The car sat outdoors and was a daily driver with over 45k miles in under 2.5 years so it was exposed to the elements. Below are some pics after I purchased the kit from Autogeeks and went thru the process. I've never used an electrical polisher in my life and the results were amazing. Again, read up and watch some of those videos and most importantly take your time because it's going to take some work and patience but the rewards will be great. I'm not going to say I'm a pro now but I've gotten very good at it...
 

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Just to throw it out there in case OP ends up like me, did a full 6-8 hour exhausting day in the FL sun on my car trying to get rid of the swirls without much luck. I watched all the junkman clips, did as much research as possible, and went with the porter cable DA. It's been so long since this happened i don't remember the exact pads or compounds but it was what everyone recommended. i didn't ruin anything or add more scratches, but the remaining ones didn't change. no matter the RPM or pressure applied (it'll stop if you push too hard) the swirls remained. car looked good afterward, as it did get washed, clayed, and polished, but i didn't get any paint correcting.

*Maybe it's one of those things you just have to see done in person first?*
That would certainly be ideal for most people starting out, but it's rarely an option I would imagine. I know I had to just dive in and start doing it, with nothing more than the knowledge I gained by reading up on the How-Tos and Tips & Tricks sections of various online detailing forums. And like you, my first couple tries were less than stellar. But I eventually figured out the approach that worked best for me, and it was gravy from then on out!

Between learning your own technique for the particular polisher you're using and getting to know the paint of the specific vehicle you're working on (hard vs soft vs somewhere in between), it can be difficult to have success in the early stages of this sort of thing. Throw in the various combinations of products and pads available for your machine, and it's a wonder we didn't all just give up after the first few failures, right?

To anyone that is just starting out with this stuff, I would say you had better have 2 character traits if you hope to be successful:
- extreme persistence (borderline hardheadedness?)
- a willingness to learn by trial and error.

You won't be good the first few times, and everyone will have a little different approach that only works for them. You just have to keep trying until you find yours and then work on perfecting it. You will get there eventually, but it will take some time and a lot of work.

Oh yeah, here's a good write-up I found which details the whole process of using the DA polisher: D/A Buffing 101 - An Introduction to the G110v2 (and similar)

But I would specifically point out this section for any new-comers which find their initial attempts are unsuccessful:

"
...
Once you’ve finished this initial pass of your test spot, take a few minutes to evaluate your progress. Pull the vehicle back into direct sunlight if you need to in order to properly view any remaining defects.

Now it’s decision time. Compare the area you just worked on (your test spot) to the adjacent, untreated area. Are all of the defects completely gone? Probably not, and that’s fine. There are a lot of different possibilities that could be at play here:

If a single session with a given liquid and pad was able to noticeably reduce the level of defects, then you’re on the right track.
If it removed the majority of the defects then a second pass should finish off the remnants.
If it removed almost everything, then maybe a single pass of longer duration and/or with a bit more pressure would do the trick.

If a single session with a given liquid and pad only removed a small amount of the defects, then you may need to rethink some things.
Go back over the area and try using more pressure, or work the area longer (assuming the product is still wet after a longer buffing cycle), or a combination of the two
If two or three passes are still leaving most of the defects behind, and your technique is correct, then you probably need a more aggressive liquid

If a single session with a given liquid and pad looks like it didn’t do a darn thing, and you used proper technique (pressure, speed, time) then you can safely assume you need a more aggressive liquid. It does NOT, however, mean that you need to now grab the most aggressive thing you can find!
There is another possibility, and this one can be a bit tricky. If the original defects are mostly, or completely, gone but the paint looks very hazy – or – if suddenly the paint looks much worse than before you started, you’ve probably got very delicate paint that needs a much less aggressive process than what you started with. For new users this can be a tricky thing to diagnose. Have a look at The Challenge of Delicate Paint for more info.

..."


Some folks end up punting and just paying a professional to do their polishing and detailing, and there's nothing wrong with that. But I will say that there's nothing that feels better than hanging in there and learning how to do it yourself so that when you finally de-swirl your whole car, it looks so good that you can't stop for gas or groceries without some stranger walking up and complimenting you on how good your car's paint looks. :grin2:
 

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Doing a 2 step polish of the paint with a Porter Cable won't take hours, it will take days even weeks. I spent about 2 weeks doing my car. That Porter Cable works really slow. If u think you're going to get great results in a few hours on a Sunday then it just might not be your thing and that's ok. Not everyone wants to invest the time @nd effort it takes to have a swirl fee finish.

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Nuke: you make some great points sir.
I was an auto body man for awhile, so I think I ought to weigh in here.
On a forum like this, you're going to get a lot of great information. There is indeed a great satisfaction in learning how to do this, and doing it well. But only the skill of YOUR hands can make this happen. Some guys learn quickly, some don't. I've taught many young fellers how to polish a paint job: it's not as easy as a video makes it look. Granted, the right tools and the right products make life easier, but at the end of the day, the perfect tool and the perfect product are worthless in the hands of someone who just can't pick up the skill. Sorta like playing baseball. A pro makes it look so easy. But polishing out swirl marks, especially on a black car for example, is a job for a pro. Can you do it? Probably. But the question is, can you do it ALL without messing it up? Swirl marks: If you've got them on one panel, you're likely got them everywhere. The Challenger is a large vehicle with a lot of sharp edges. Nothing worse than burning through an edge because you don't know what you're doing. It happens quick.

There are so many variables. Things like dust in the air, contaminants blowing out of joints between panels and getting into your wheel, crummy light where you can't see what you're doing, getting in a hurry and not paying attention, using too much pressure or failing to note the direction of rotation in relation to the edge of a given panel.

A pro makes this whole process look like a piece of cake. But it's very much like any other part of doing body work: there's a great deal of skill involved. Every pro was once a rookie, and has destroyed his share of paint jobs while learning his craft. Again, it happens quick. It's not that expensive to have a good man do this for you. However, just one mistake on your project can cost as much to fix (or more) as it would have cost to have a pro polish the car for you. And then you've got one panel on your car with two coats of paint because it had to be repaired.

Ya might want to rethink this.

And when it's all said and done, I'd be asking myself where did the swirls come from? Something I did wrong when washing my car?
 

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When I bought my slightly used 2014 Challenger who ever "detailed" it swirled the crap out of it. I didn't really notice until after the sale when the sunlight hit it just right and my pitch black car looked almost white when seen at a side angle. I have never owned a black car before and this just couldn't stay like this.

I ordered the Chemical Guys Torq FX 10FX kit and slowly began to polish the car after watching some of their YouTube videos. It took some practice but my car looks like brand new finish wise. The polisher was easy to use and their multiple compounds and polish really brought the paint back to looking amazing again. Below is a picture I took just this weekend of my car. I say the results speaks for itself.

Here is the link to the kit I am currently using.

Chemical Guys - TORQ 10FX Random Orbital Polisher Kit (10 items)

 
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