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Car Wax - by hand or with buffer?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
What do you prefer and why? I had bought an orbital buffer last year but it justs sits in my garage because after reading all the warning labels im afraid i will take the paint right of my car with the damn thing. I always wax my car by hand but it gets to be a pain in the A** and takes a long time. Any suggestions or opinions?
post #2 of 11
By hand if you are concerned about swirls and you love your car
The problem with those machines is that you need to have a light touch and be VERY careful. I have not the former and am too impatient for the latter.
post #3 of 11
Apply with hand, unless you know what you're doing. The power buffers can create too much heat which can not only ruin the application of the wax, but can mess up your paint. Griot's Garage claims to have a power buffer which is very gentle, but I have no experience with that.

--Andre
post #4 of 11
I've done it by hand in the past but I am very serious about my car wax. I typically use 3-5 coats of precleaner-glaze-wax so it takes me hours to do by hand. Also by hand you never really generate the speed to really get it on there perfect. Instead of using an orbital polisher which just rotates in a circle and can generate a lot of heat in a specific spot I recommend using a dual action polisher. The standard is probably the Porter-Cable 7424 which retails around $100-120. Of course you also need to make sure you are using the correct pads for the job, if you use soemthing too harsh it won't be good for the wax. Typically they range in color from yellow-orange-white-blue-black in order of harshness to softness. What you usually do is get a non stiff velcro backing for the pads and make sure the pads are larger than the vectro backing so even if you do somehow tilt it too much you won't do any damage. The key is to let the device do the work, the weight of it alone should be enough, you don't need any pressure. If you really want to step your car up to the next level wash it, clay bar it, then wash it again before waxing.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
[quote=visionology]I've done it by hand in the past but I am very serious about my car wax. I typically use 3-5 coats of precleaner-glaze-wax so it takes me hours to do by hand. Also by hand you never really generate the speed to really get it on there perfect.QUOTE]

Yeah, thats the other problem i have. It seems like after i have spent 2 hours waxing my car by hand that it not on there very good and looks swirly and like crap. It seems it only starts to look good after a few washings.
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew
Apply with hand, unless you know what you're doing. The power buffers can create too much heat which can not only ruin the application of the wax, but can mess up your paint. Griot's Garage claims to have a power buffer which is very gentle, but I have no experience with that.

--Andre

That's really only true of rotary buffers. Random orbitals don't generate enough heat to damage the paint unless you crank up the speed and leave it on one spot for a long time. If you run a Porter Cable at the lowest speed settings using proper pads, it isn't any harder on the finish than doing it by hand.

IIRC, Griot's just rebadges a Porter Cable RO, but marks it up significantly.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesbond
Yeah, thats the other problem i have. It seems like after i have spent 2 hours waxing my car by hand that it not on there very good and looks swirly and like crap. It seems it only starts to look good after a few washings.

What polish and what wax are you using?
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Yeah, thats the other problem i have. It seems like after i have spent 2 hours waxing my car by hand that it not on there very good and looks swirly and like crap. It seems it only starts to look good after a few washings.

It sounds like you might be waxing too large of a surface area at a time. Try concentrating on smaller areas, that may solve your problem.

And really, two hours is not that long for a wax. I usually spend 3 hours on my car.
post #9 of 11
Would take even longer if you use something like Zaino. Amazing results but REALLY time consuming.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by retronotmetro
What polish and what wax are you using?

I just use a zymol wax/polish it comes in squeezable bottle so its not a hard wax or i use the rebranded MB wax/polish which i believe is zymol just rebranded. I tend to do quarter panel by quarter panel at a time by applying the wax with a soft sponge type thing then let it sit for maybe 1 minute (if i let it sit any longer it becomes a hard white powder) and rub it off with a old cotton shirt or new towel.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesbond
I just use a zymol wax/polish it comes in squeezable bottle so its not a hard wax or i use the rebranded MB wax/polish which i believe is zymol just rebranded. I tend to do quarter panel by quarter panel at a time by applying the wax with a soft sponge type thing then let it sit for maybe 1 minute (if i let it sit any longer it becomes a hard white powder) and rub it off with a old cotton shirt or new towel.

I know that Zymol stuff. I've tried it myself. STOP! It has just enough abrasives to cause problems, not enough fillers to mask swirls effectively, and not enough longevity to be worthwhile.

If you want to actually remove swirls (assuming you have any, and if you have been using the Zymol one-step you probably do), you're probably going to have to use a random orbital and work downward from slightly more abrasive products. Otherwise, you can use products that will use fillers to mask the swirls temporarily, but those don't last very long.

If you want a product that will fill and mask swirls and fine spiderweb scratches, you could try Meguiar's Gold Class or NXT waxes. Neither of those will last more than 90 days in terms of optimal appearance and protection, but they are very easy to use and hide swirls very well. You can do a whole car in less than an hour with those. Unless you want to descend into complete OCD hobbyist detailer hell, this may be your best bet.

OTOH, if you want to do it right, you probably want to get a Porter Cable random orbital, an assortment of foam pads, a couple of different abrasive grades of polish (I use Menzerna, personally) and your choice of paint protection--either a wax or a sealant (I use two products from Klasse, the All-in-One and the Sealant Glaze). If you go this route, beware . . . it can lead to costly experimentation in search of the "perfect" product.

Go over to www.autopia.org if you want to check out some discussions on detailing. It's even more esoteric and obsessive-compulsive than this place, but there is good info there.
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