Buffing a Car | Car Buffing Tips and Tricks

How to buff a car – DRC1000 buffing car paint tips and tricks

The following are basic guidelines for successful buff and polish. While technical experience is a key ingredient in buffing success, these guidelines will help inexperienced or novice buffers achieve pleasing results. Take your time, have fun and watch great results appear right before your eyes.

  1. After determining the type of finish being worked on, be sure the area to be buffed is clean and dry. Use masking tape to tape all moldings, door handles, mud guards, wipers, etc. to help protect them from damage. Avoid getting buffing compounds or car wax on textured areas.
  2. If you are color sanding, use the least aggressive approach. This will ensure that you achieve the desired results in the shortest amount of time. For example, if you use 1200-grit sandpaper to remove imperfections in the paint, follow up with a finer grade of paper like 2000- or 2500-grit to remove the deeper scratch pattern. To determine the proper buffing pad, refer to the buffing pad guidelines here[1] .
  3. Buffing vs polishing is a visual process. Choosing the proper pad and polishing compound is very important, and it may take some practice. When you are buffing a car, be sure to choose the least aggressive pad and compound to achieve the best results in the least amount of time. All pads may be used with just about all types of compounds, polishes or waxes.
  4. Remember, burning through the surface color or clear coats happens more quickly when the buffing wheel speed is at higher RPMs. What’s more, the manufacturers put fewer mils of clear coat on the new vehicles so burn-through on these can happen much faster. A burn-through will most likely happen on an edge, a sharp contour or a style line.
  5. When you are buffing car paint, a certain amount of heat is needed to achieve the desired results. This is why the correct pad and buffing compound combination is important. Periodically check the surface temperature by touching it. Make sure that you are not generating too much heat. A surface that is warm to the touch is okay, but a surface hot to the touch can cause trouble. Be aware of the surface you are buffing. A number of vehicles today have aluminum panels, and the flutter kits bonding the outer skin to the inner framework will start to show up if too much heat is generated during buffing. Watch your buffing wheel RPM and keep the buffer moving at a controlled pace. Remember, there is no need to bear down while buffing car paint to get faster results. Let the weight of the buffer and buffing wheel speed do the work. Hold the buffing pad flat on the surface with a little angle down on the right side of the rotation mostly for control. You don’t want the machine to bounce or push you back and forth.
  6. For best results, keep the pad as flat as possible. The buffing pad rotation should almost always be rotating from the middle of the panel out and across the edges not into them. This may cause a burn-through on the edge of the paint.
  7. How to apply buffing compound. When applying a buffing compound or polish compound from a squirt-type (ketchup) bottle, use only what compound is needed. Don’t spread the compound all over. Apply it as you go and as it is needed. Certain compounds sitting on fresh paint can actually stain or etch the surface. A good rule of thumb when applying compounds from a squirt bottle is to use a strip approximately six inches long which will cover a 12″ x 24″ area. Compounds may vary in viscosity (whether they are thick or runny). When you start spreading buffing compounds, use a lower polishing speed RPM with the buffer at a slight angle and move it slowly onto the strip of compound until it is spread evenly over the 12″ x 24″ area.
  8. Next lay the pad flat with a controlled position and work the compound until you achieve the desired results. When you have run over the compounds and it is spread out, lay the pad flat, and the DRC1000’s recessed center will keep compounds out on the working surface where they belong. Use an overlapping back-and-forth movement, applying successive six-inch strips of compound as you need them. Keep the surface properly compounded – not dry but not saturated either. This will help regulate heat and give you the best results possible.
  9. The buffing compound will leave a light haze on the panel, but you should be able to clearly see the condition of the surface. This will tell you one of two things: 1) You have buffed long enough and need to move on or 2) You need to compound more because you have not yet achieved the results you want. You will see this light haze until you apply wax or polish. The DRC1000’s recessed center design allows you to see a correct finish faster than a flat-surfaced pad with no recessed center. That’s why the DRC1000 is an exclusive patented improvement.
  10. For a brilliant show car shine, use a random orbital buffer with a DRC Green or Black pad and your favorite car wax or polish compound. It’s the crowning touch in car detailing and paint correction.

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