A random orbital is the safest for the paint. You almost can't burn or swirl it even if you tried. If you're not doing major paint restoration it should be more than plenty. Something from Porter Cable with a velcro backing is the usual standby. You can then buy all kinds of polishing and wax application sponge pads online.
Note that synthetic waxes like Meguiar's NXT don't benefit at all from the swirling / polishing action. They work on a chemical level like superglue. Wipe on, wipe off, will give the same results as lovingly buffing it.
corrected "same results and lovingly buffing" to "same results as"
If its black the only way to do it is wax in straight lines. Anything else will look like crap overtime. -- I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.
I have a professional porter cable I think like a 7424 or something. All I use are meguiars professional products. This includes the shampoo, M62.
I use meguiars yellow pads for cleaning and polishing. Depending on the level of oxidation or damage start with #83 DACP from Meguiars and if I need more abrasivity then use #84. Also most of the time I finish with speed glaze or #80. When using their product line if I recall you should not use the stuff more abrasive than 85 and higher without using it with a rotary tool. The compound cannot break down without the heat generated during the proper use of the rotary tool and a foam pad or wool bonnet.
Once you are done polishing I would top it with a good sealant wax compound by hand, removing the product with a nice soft plush microfiber.
My personal technique is to polish, wax with #16 carnauba then if I want a bit of extra protection I will top with a sealant. I like their NXT line. You can order pure sealants like a high tech sealant but NXT is readily available. -- "Above all, I would teach him to tell the truth. Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar." J.E.H.
Oh also plush microfiber cloths help to quickly remove the wax and polish compounds much faster than other cloths. They also won't scratch as long as you make darn sure you don't drop it in or on dirty floors.
And I agree also on the suggestion of using blue painters tape on all trim and plastics. You do not want to get the compounds I mentioned above on these materials as they will never come off.
If you have a problem with stuck chemicals on the paint try a spritz of final inspection #34. After a complete detail I go over the paint with that and a cloth to remove residue and it really makes the paint pop. Helps increase the depth of the shine. You can also use it for clay lubrication if you are doing some spot touch ups. -- "Above all, I would teach him to tell the truth. Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar." J.E.H.
"The reason you are seeing swirl marks in circles is because of the light source"
I don't buy that excuse for one second. Cars with swirls will have them no matter what the light source is. It's caused by someone who does not know what they are doing with a black car. -- I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.
Agreed... that is not my point thought. What was mentioned was that using circular motions caused swirls, so use straight motions. I'm guessing this thought was made as when you see swirl marks, they appear as circles. As I mentioned, this is due to the light source, not the actual pattern of the marks. Moving across the paint in circles or straight, swirl marks are going to be the same.
Perhaps swirl marks were not what was meant by the paint looking like crap but I don't know any other reason why straight movements might be thought to make a difference.
If you are spending days (or even a day) waxing a vehicle then I'd venture two things... the paint was not prep'ed correctly and/or you are applying too much wax.
If you feel any roughness to the paint I'd highly recommend claying it. This will make it smooth and the wax will go and come off very easily.
When applying wax you should apply it so thin it's difficult to tell that you put anything on the paint. Any more is just wasting product. This will also make it very easy to remove.
I recently tried Meg's Ultimate Wax. Very nice synth wax. It goes on very thin and will wipe off plastic and rubber. It can (but I don't recommend) be applied in direct sunlight.
I don't personally like to use mechanical means to apply and remove wax. For me, it's just as easy to do this by hand and I feel I get better coverage. I will tape if I'm doing correction work but to tape to only apply wax means even more time is involved. The issue with orbital applicators is that its tough for most people to keep the applicators clean so they create swirls in the paint.
Washing my car takes about 20 minutes. Washing my truck takes about 30. It's not difficult as I keep the paint in pretty good condition. I like using my leaf blower to remove the water. It does not remove 100% of the water but I then either work on the paint or I use a detailer and a microfiber towel on the paint. It takes just a matter of a couple of minutes with the detailer and towel. The leaf blower also does a _much_ better job of removing water from those small places and crevices. This prevents drips which leads to water spots.
I got the advice from guys who paint rods and muscle cars that are almost impossible to find flaws in. -- I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.
To avoid swirls? Changing the direction you rub the paint won't avoid swirls... it's not a direction that causes swirls. Swirls are simply a fact of life... if you touch the paint... you will get swirls.
Lots of people paint vehicles... they don't detail vehicles for a living. I'm not saying I do... but I've spent _way_ to much of my time researching the subject.
Think about it... why would rubbing the paint in straight lines be any different then rubbing it in circles? It's debris being rubbed on the paint that causes swirls.
I've seen some people think since the see swirl marks in circles that applying product this way causes swirl marks. It's simply incorrect. It's the reflection of the light source that makes it looks this way. If you were to hold a long florescent tube light close enough to the paint you'd see this. Or try this... hold a large light source near the paint and you will see large swirls. Hold a small light source near and you will see small swirls.
I have something like this. Cannot remember the brand. But it was cheap and bought at Advance Auto Parts. It's worked for years and years now, and does a great job.
However, I have found the best way to make short work of this, is to own older vehicles that you don't care so much about anymore, and just not do it. The only thing I polish anymore is my newest motorcycle, once per year in the beginning of the riding season.
Wiping the painted surface in straight lines only, helps to reduce the appearance of them. You simply get swirls that are front to back or left to right.
When I was really into detailing I worked on several dark colors cars for friends. Front to back was the only way I would wipe.
When I applied waxes I would use a hand application pad and plush microfiber.
If I was applying sealants it would be a meguiars white pad on the DA and removal with a plush microfiber.
Starting with a perfect or near perfect finish is key.
Highly abused paint would need a complete wash job, clay job, wash again then polishing with what ever compounds pads and tools required, finished with wax and sealant.
The best by far all purpose tool for the DIY person is the porter cable 7424 or similar. -- "Above all, I would teach him to tell the truth. Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar." J.E.H.
In my experience White was generally the easiest to keep clean while black is the hardest but when black is cleaned up it looks better than anything else when it's blacked out and debadged. -- I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.
I suppose, but I would think that a lighter colored car would be easier than a white car. I've pretty much given up trying to keep it clean since it's not garage kept. Any suggestions on how to remove bug/bird residue in the paint? I don't own a buffer, or wax for that matter.
Agreed, at least something other than black (white is just as bad imo).
Yeah, black is just not worth it. White paint is too plain. You can't really get it to pop. If I were to pick a color or would be something like a bright blue or yellow. Depends on the style vehicle though. I have an F150 that has a darker metal grey. I do like that color. When the paint is worked well it looks darker.
"Any suggestions on how to remove bug/bird residue in the paint?"
Don't let it bake in the the sun for weeks on end. If you don't wash it on a regular basis and wax it every few months it will be difficult to remove. -- I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.
guys I got it all done. I picked up a 6" junkpile random orbital. Black & Decker WP900 6-Inch Random Orbit Waxer/Polisher ok it was $30 I was not sure if any would work so I started out cheap. I did my van with it and it worked like a dream. I got confused on what to use to start out with. I used Meguiar's Ultra Finishing Polish. then followed up with Meguiar's wax and it looks and feels like new. my old car I used to use cleaner wax every year and it looked pretty good but I did not do it last year and this is why I had to give this a go. The horizonal sections felt like rough plastic but the vertical sides felt fine. I used the polish then the wax and the car looks great but the horizonal sections still feel sticky or tacky or something I am not sure what. the sides feel like glass and look great, but like I said the hood, top, and trunk areas look good and shiny but still feel rough and your hand drags on it.
One friend said use Meguiar's Ultimate Compound and another said that won't work it needs a clay.
1) is Meguiar's Ultimate Compound a better cleaner than Meguiar's Ultra Finishing Polish ?
2) I have never clayed a car is that a big deal? Can one be clayed that has wax on it?
You'd be hard pressed to do damage usnig Ultimate Compound but it's the most aggressive product Megs sells that you will find in most auto parts stores. I'd consider it more of a corrective product then a "cleaner/polish".
Given your description, you don't want to use Ultimate Compond... you want to use clay. It sound to be like it's debris that is embedding in the paint. UC won't remove this and/or you'd need to work it for a very long time.
Clay is _very_ easy to use. Just make sure you keep the surface wet. Buy an extra bottle of detailing solution to make sure you don't run out. Split the clay bar in 1/2 and only use 1/2 of it at a time. If you drop it, throw it away. After you do a section it will feel like smooth glass. Don't forget to wax again.