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Car polishing with your own hands – how to polish the paintwork and with what

In the course of using a car, the surface lacquer inevitably loses its attractiveness. Temperature fluctuations, precipitation, corrosive substances, chips from stones and small gravel flying out from under the wheels, destroy the coating and, of course, affect the estimated value of the car.

Polishing will help return the car to its bright appearance and reliably protect the body from the aggressive effects of the environment. Currently, there are two types of treatment for metal and non-metal surfaces: machine and manual polishing.

If you do not want to entrust your vehicle to strangers, you can update the surface of the body yourself. Depending on the level of complexity of polishing, the work will require:

  • Polish (liquid, paste or in the form of an aerosol);

Protective polishes do not contain abrasive particles at all. Such polishes are produced in 3 types: in the form of a paste, an aerosol or a liquid. When choosing a protective polish, take into account the nature and extent of abrasion on the paint coating. The disadvantage of the spray polish is the small content in one bottle, so you need to buy a couple at a time and quickly replace them while working. Protective polishes serve to give a shine to the car and temporarily protect the car body coating from minor damages.

  • A polishing machine with various wheels;

When choosing a polisher, prefer models that are able to spin the disc at 1000 – 3000 rpm and have the ability to plugged-in, as the battery usually lasts for 15 minutes of continuous operation. Also pay attention to the presence of a power compensator. This allows the machine to work at the set speeds under pressure, when pressing the polishing wheel to the car body, without losing power.

There are different types of polishing wheels (felt, foam). For each stage of processing, use the appropriate wheel hardness. For the coarse-abrasive polishing, the white foam wheel is used, as it is the hardest. Black colored circles are used in the final stage of processing.

  • Paste for surface polishing;

Polishing pastes are of several types: macro-abrasive, medium-abrasive, fine-abrasive and non-abrasive. What paste to apply depends on the nature of the damage to the car paintwork. For large scratches, use coarse abrasive paste. And if you want to give a gloss or eliminate barely perceptible scratches, use fine-abrasive or non-abrasive pastes.

  • Sandpaper of different grit sizes (indexed 1500 and 2500);
  • Rubber scraper;
  • Foam sponges;
  • Flannel cloth;
  • Water.

In today’s market, there is a whole range of car body polishes that differ in composition and functionality. To make the right choice, assess the condition of the body of your vehicle before buying a polish. If there are no serious scratches or chips and you are polishing to obtain a perfect appearance and a shining finish, buy an inexpensive polish with protective properties for the prevention of damage.

If the car body has serious scratches, as well as visible damage from stones, you cannot do without polishing with special abrasives. A highly abrasive compound helps remove old varnish, and a polish with a low content of abrasive particles and wax gently buffs the surface, creating a water-repellent protective layer. Experts advise using 3M abrasive polishes for cars. Beware: the size of the particles in such composition should be no less than 0.5 mm and no more than 1 mm in diameter. Depending on the production features, all polishes are divided into two categories: classic and synthetic. Synthetic polishes are resistant to sudden changes in temperature and UV radiation, and to exposure to harmful chemicals.

Preparation for polishing

Polishing cars on your own requires several stages, the first of which is preparatory. First of all, it is necessary to thoroughly wash the car and let the body dry. For the best results, it is recommended to carry out the work in a clean, dust-free room with good lighting and ventilation. Remember that treating the bodywork in the sun causes the applied chemicals to dry quickly, resulting in streaks and stains. In addition, do not polish the bodywork in frosty conditions, as the consistency of the special agents may change.

Plastic bodywork elements should be wrapped with a protective film, otherwise the harsh chemicals may leave visible traces on the plastic. If you have dents on the surface of the car, make sure to eliminate them in advance. Deep scratches and large chips should be sealed with a special scotch tape, so you can treat them separately later. If necessary, seek the assistance of body repair specialists, including for professional painting of sanded areas.

Regular bodywork polishing

To maintain the shine and protect the bodywork from minor damage, it is sufficient to polish the surface at least once every 3-4 months.

After washing and complete drying, degrease the surface and shake the container with polish thoroughly. It is better to apply the product little by little, to have time to spread the composition before it completely dries. According to the instructions, the spray should be sprayed directly on the surface to be treated, while the emulsion and paste are first applied to a rag. The body should be polished in a smooth circular motion, and it is better to use a special cloth, flannel or lint-free rag. It is worth noting that manual polishing does not require much physical or time expense.

To achieve the desired result, follow precisely the instructions on the package. The amount of product used, its composition and consumption depend on the manufacturer.

To eliminate noticeable damage to the body, it is recommended to do a deep polishing. Although this principle requires sufficient experience and special skills from a master, the result will not keep you waiting. Still, before carrying out the work, “beginners” should study the relevant information material or consult with professionals. In addition, the car owner planning an autonomous polishing should have a sufficient amount of free time.

Stages of the job:

  1. Soak the pieces of sandpaper in water to soften.
  2. Scrub the chipped and scratched areas with low-grid sandpaper, cleaning the dust from the surface with a rubber scraper, a soft brush and water.
  3. Lubricate the prepared area with a coat of highly abrasive paste and work in circular motions or diagonally with a polisher equipped with a hard (white) wheel.
  4. Wash the ground area with a solution of water and special shampoo.
  5. To restore the shine of the bodywork, apply non-abrasive paste to the clean surface and polish the area with a machine equipped with a soft wheel. Be careful and take your time, as excessive pressure may damage the finish. Give special care to the ribs and corners of the hood and trunk.
  6. Wipe the polished surface with a damp cloth and evaluate the result. If the shine is not sufficient, you can continue polishing with a soft wheel.
  7. After treating all the problem areas, wash and dry the car and then wax the surface with a protective compound or wax. The excess product should be removed with a cloth or rag, but without using a solvent.

Polishing a scratch using a polishing machine requires adherence to technology. It is important to use a machine that has the ability to regulate its speed. At the first stage of processing, it is recommended to choose the 900 rpm mode, gradually increasing the speed to 2000 rpm. Working with the polisher should be effortless, smoothly moving the wheel over the machined area, lubricated with paste. If the machine overheats, turn it off and allow it to cool down before continuing.

Proper polishing of deep chips and scratches will give your car body a bright new life.

Good luck on the road, drivers.

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