Continued... Tips and Techniques for using the PC 7424XP Dual Action Polisher to apply a wax or paint sealant.
Applying a wax or paint sealant is much different than removing below surface defects because when you're applying a wax or paint sealant you're not trying to remove paint but instead just trying to spread a layer of wax or sealant over the paint and to whatever degree possible, work the product into the paint.
At this point of the project all the residues from the previously applied products should be removed and the surface should be dust free.
For applying a finishing wax or paint sealant you'll want to use a soft foam finishing pad and set the speed setting on the polisher to the 3.0 to 4.0 speed setting. Liquids work best for machine application but paste waxes can also be used by simply applying the paste wax onto the face of the pad then spreading it around just like you would a liquid. Set the speed setting to 3.0 to 4.0 for applying waxes and paint sealants Use a soft foam finishing pad like the Lake Country Charcoal Gray Finishing Pads
to apply waxes and paint sealants. No limit to how big a size to work
When you apply a wax or paint sealant by machine you are not limited to only applying to a small section and in fact you can apply the product to as large of a section you like; the important thing is to make 2-3 passes over each square inch.
The reason you work small section at a time when removing swirls goes back to the hardness of the piant.
When you're applying a wax or sealant you're not trying to remove or abrade small particles of paint, you're simply trying to spread out an uniform layer of product.
Make sense? Methods of applying a wax or paint sealant by machine
There are a couple of ways to actually apply the wax to the paint. One method is to place the product directly onto the face of the pad, then place the face of the pad onto the surface of the paint and then turn the polisher on and start spreading the wax. Most people that do this place an ample amount of wax on the face of the pad to cover a large section since you are not limited to how large of an area you can work at one time. While this works, it also tend to load your pad up with product. Question:
Think about it. When you place the face of the foam pad onto the surface of the paint and for a brief moment the polisher is still turned off... at this point, where is the liquid going? Answer:
Because the foam is soft and absorbent the wax goes into the pad and after some time the pad can become wet with product that may end up just being wasted.
A variation of this is to only place small pea-sized drops of wax onto the pad and then spreading these pea-sized drop of wax over the paint. Most people aren't disciplined enough to use this method and it means adding product often to the pad.
A variation of applying a pea-sized drop of product to the face of the pad is to place pea-sized drops of product onto the paint and then as you're running out of wax under your pad come up to the pea-sized drop and tilt the polisher just for a brief moment in order to capture the drop of wax or paint sealant under the pad and then quickly lay the pad flat and continue spreading the wax around. Kissing the Finish
Kissing the finish is kind of the lazy man's method of applying wax to a car by machine, (it's the method I like to use and the term I came up with to try to explain what to do). To do this you place a strip or bead of product onto the face of your foam finishing pad and then instead of laying the pad against the paint where pressure will force most of the wax into the inside of the pad, you just dab the pad down onto the surface at an angle and deposit a little bit of the wax onto that section of the paint. In other words you use the pad to lightly kiss the finish
. Continue this until you've deposited most/all of the wax that was on the face of the pad to the car panels.
Now with the pad flat against the paint, turn the polisher on and begin spreading the wax still on the pad over the car's panels. When you come up to a small dab of wax on the paint, simply tilt the polisher a little and snag the wax and pull it under the pad. Then lay the pad flat and continue spreading the wax over the paint and working your way around the car. Not a perfect system but the fast, lazy man's method. Kissing the Finish by Mike Phillips
Kissing the Finish is a technique you can use to apply a liquid wax and help keep the wax spreading out over the paint instead of loading up inside your pad
I use the "Kissing the Finish"
technique when machine applying a liquid wax or paint sealant, that is instead of taking the wax you see on the face of the pad and simply squishing it up into the foam by placing the foam pad flat against the paint, I'll first "kiss the finish" or in other words, touch the face of the foam pad with wax on it down onto your panel at an angle thus depositing only a portion of the wax on the pad to one area on the paint.
The effect is to have a bunch of dabs of wax on the paint deposited off the face of the pad. You're car's panel will look like it has spots, or arcs of product on it...
It's really the lazy man's way to machine wax a car because there are similar methods that will do the same thing. This technique works well for two reasons,
1) If you're already use a DA Polisher then you're already use to applying product to the face of the pad.
2) If you're working on vertical panels it can be a challenge to sling a small amount of product onto the vertical panel directly out of the bottle so applying to the face of the pad is faster, easier and uses less product. For horizontal panels you could simply squirt a little wax randomly over the surface and then pick up the product under the face of your buffing pad on the fly, but if you're a creature of habit you might find yourself just applying to the face of the pad via reason 1 above.
First, shake shake shake... always shake liquid car care products up thoroughly before applying.
Next, apply a small circle of product onto the face of the pad... you can also use an x-pattern or even make a smiley face... whatever makes you happy...
Next, touch down just an edge of the face of the foam pad and deposit a little of the wax to a portion of the panel you're working on.
Then after you've Kissed the Finish
in a few places, take what's left and place the face of the foam pad against the paint and THEN turn the polisher on and begin making overlapping passes over the paint.
UNLIKE removing swirls with a DA Polisher where you only want to work a small section at a time, (about 20" squarish or so), if you've removed all the below surface defects and now you're just applying a wax or paint sealant, you can work a section as far as you can reach as long as you have ample product to spread out.
For the hood of this El Camino I can easily reach and work on half of the hood at one time, so I use enough wax to coat over half of the hood and move the pad over each square inch at least 2-3 passes to sufficiently work the sealant over and into, (to whatever level possible), the paint.
As I come up to a dab of wax from where I "Kissed the Finish"
with my pad, I tilt the polisher, lifting the leading edge of the pad but maintaining constant contact with the trailing edge of the pad and then run the pad over the dab of wax and then immediately lay the pad flat again and then work new territory with this new dab of wax. Tilt the polisher a little to lift the leading edge of the pad... Then move the tilted leading edge over the wax to draw and trap the wax between the paint and the pad... Then lay the pad flat and begin working the wax or in this case a synthetic paint sealant over the paint.
Continue doing this as you work around the car and all panels are coated with an application of wax or paint sealant.
This is called, Kissing the Finish... Note:
This technique works well with basecoat/clearcoat finishes because clear coat paints don't absorb liquids very well. Be careful if you use this technique on a single stage paint, especially a metallic single stage finish as portions of ANY liquid paint care product if left to stand for too long of a time on single stage paint can act to stain the paint. This is usually not a problem and simply picking up the excess with your pad and working it into the paint will even out the appearance by equally coating the entire surface.
I just want to point out that older single stage paints can and do absorb some types of liquids, so pay attention and either avoid this technique on single stage paints, or work quickly to spread the dabs of product out before any concentrated dabs of product soak into the paint.
Again, it's not really a problem, just want to make you aware because single stage paints are not very common and a lot of people have never worked on these types of paints. From bottle directly to the car
Another method is to dab a small amount of wax or paint sealant onto the car's paint right out of the can or bottle. Again, just like the kissing the finish technique, as you move around the car spreading the wax, when you come up to one of these a little dabs of wax, tilt the polisher to lift one edge of the pad off the surface and then after snagging the product under the pad lay the pad flat and continue working the wax over the panels. Apply wax or paint sealant to entire car at one time
Unlike working with compounds, swirl removers and polishes, which you only work a small section at a time and then immediately wipe off the leftover residue,you generally apply a wax or paint sealant to the entire car and then after it fully dries you remove it. Oftentimes there's a space of time to enjoy a cold beverage or do some other detailing function like dress the tires or clean the glass. Allow the wax or paint sealant to dry
Unlike compounds, swirl mark removers and polishes, with most waxes and paint sealants you want to apply a thin coating and then allow enough time to pass to let the coating fully dry before removing it. The idea behind applying a wax or paint sealant to your car's paint is to create and leave behind a barrier-coating of protection.
Part of how the protection ingredients bond or stick to the paint is through the drying process. If you remove the wax or paint sealant before it fully dries you will in essence be wiping some of the protection ingredients off the surface. Read the directions for specific instructions by the manufacture as to how long to leave the product on and use that as your guide. The Swipe Test
The directions on most labels for the various waxes and paint sealants on the market will state to allow the product to dry for 15 to 20 minutes or allow the product to dry to a haze. These are general indicators. A more specific indicator is called the Swipe Test
The Swipe Test is where you take your clean finger and give a waxed panel a brisk swipe
with your clean fingertip. Then you inspect the swiped area to see if it's clear and glossy or if it looks smeary. If it's clear and glossy then this indicates the wax or paint sealant is ready to remove. If the swiped area looks smeary then this indicates wax or paint sealant is still wet and it needs more time to dry. Simple and accurate. Removing the dried wax or paint sealant
When the Swipe Test indicates the wax or paint sealant is ready to remove, you can remove it the traditional way by hand or you can use a microfiber bonnet on a foam cutting pad on your DA Polisher. Removing Wax by Hand
Removing wax by hand is pretty basic but here's a few tips to help ensure you remove the wax in a gentle manner so as not to instill any swirls or scratches in the process.
First, fold a plush microfiber polishing cloth 4-ways to provide you with a thick, plush wiping cloth with 8 dedicated sides you can use to remove and hold wax. This will also create plenty of cushion to help spread out the pressure from your hand.
Next, and this is key, place the microfiber onto a panel and then place your hand on top of the microfiber polishing cloth and then gently twist the microfiber a few times like this,
This is called breaking the wax
or breaking the wax open
Once you have a shiny spot, turn the microfiber over to a clean side and place it back onto the shiny spot. Now from here, take your hand and do the Pac Man
, which means start taking little bites out of the wax coating using overlapping circular motions.
Re-fold your microfiber to a new, clean side often and also shake your microfiber polishing cloth before re-folding to allow dried wax to fall off of it.
The idea is to break open the continuous layer of wax and then once you've broke open a spot, start to creep-out
. No, I don't mean get weird on us, I mean move-out
from the shiny spot by taking little bites out of the dried wax. This is a very gentle way to remove wax and there are two key things to keep in mind,
- Always use your best, softest microfiber polishing cloths.
- Taking little bites, not big bites.
A 16" microfiber folded 4-ways gives you a surface area for your hand that is 8" square with plenty of cushion to spread out the pressure from your hand.
As long as you're only taking off little bites or swipes, the microfiber cloth will have more leverage over the bond the wax has on the paint and thus the wax will wipe off easy. This assumes you have a stronger arm than my elderly Grandma bless her soul.
Continue this method and work your way around the car. Have plenty of premium quality microfiber polishing cloths on hand and switch to a new, clean microfiber as the current one loads up with dried residue. I like to have a cloth in each hand as often times I'll use one hand to support myself while I'm removing wax from off lower panels. This way I don't get dirt or finger oils on the freshly wiped-off paint
After you've worked your way around the car and removed the majority of all the dried residue then give the paint a final wipe using the technique outlined here, The Final Wipe
The only time this technique doesn't work is if you've applied too thick of a coating of a wax like the Meguiarís M16 Professional Paste Wax which should never be applied thick but all to often is by Newbies thinking more is better.
Here in the U.S. and probably the rest of the world people think like this, "If a little is good, more is better"
When it comes to car care products that's rarely true and usually the opposite is more accurate and that is, less is best
The only time a little is good but more is better
is when it comes to my gas tank
or my bank account
. Removing wax using the PC 7424XP
Some people like to remove dried wax by hand and some people like to use the dual action polisher to do this job. It really comes down to personal preference. I can also make a case for using the machine but not in this article. So for now, here's a few tips and techniques for using the PC 7424XP to remove dried wax or paint sealant.
First and foremost, the layer of wax MUST be a thin coat that is completely dried. If the layer is thick and still wet, (and if it's thick then that means it will take longer to dry so it's possible it's still wet), then you won't get very far trying to remove the wax or paint sealant by machine as your microfiber will load up with wax very quickly and reach a saturation point that it will stop removing the product, or at least stop removing it completely.
After reading this article you should be practicing the art of applying a thin coating and allowing the coating to fully dry as proven by your Swipe Test. If you have all your ducks in a row then the dried wax or paint sealant will remove off the paint as easy as a summer breeze. How to use a microfiber bonnet to remove dried wax by machine Indigo on Hydro
If you own a DA Polisher, like a Porter Cable, Meguiarís or Griotís Garage DA Polisher
, then hereís how you can use your polisher to remove dried wax.
Removing dried wax by machine works best when you apply a thin coat to start with and the best way to apply a thin coat of wax is by machine. Of course if you already own a DA Polisher than you probably already know this and already apply your waxes by machine. So letís take a look at removing dried wax by machine. Waxes that dry to a haze
The first thing I want to point out is removing wax works best if youíre using a wax that is supposed to dry to a haze, this is because once itís grip is loosened from the paint because itís dry it doesnít try to stick to the paint. Waxes that dry to a haze also wonít dampen the microfiber bonnet and the nap wonít load up as easily or quickly as will happen when removing a wipe on, wipe off wax. Wipe On, Wipe Off Waxes
First, if youíre removing a wax that is still wet it wonít take very long for the wetness of the product to dampen the nap of the microfiber bonnet and tend to load up until the nap is coated with wet wax. At this point it will more or less stop removing the wax efficiently until you change to a dry microfiber. So while it can be done, removing wax by machine works best when used to remove waxes that have dried to a haze. Firm, Dense Pads
The key to removing dried wax using a DA Polisher is a firm pad like a foam cutting pad or a Lambswool pad. My personal preference has always been to use a foam pad because it provides a level of cushion due to the nature of the foam cell wall structure, the Lambswool has no foam cushion, it is simply a soft lambswools skin with a Hook-n-Loop backing glued to the skin side of the Lambswool. The foam cushioning feature also enables the pad to conform to a curves and body lines better than the hard, flat feature provided by the lambswool pad with a microfiber bonnet over it.
Any of these foam pads work well for removing dried wax, 5.5Ē Lake Country Flat Yellow Cutting Pad 5.5Ē Lake country Flat Orange Light Cutting Pad 5.5Ē Lake Country CCS Yellow Cutting Pad 5.5Ē Lake country CCS Orange Light Cutting Pad 6Ē Lake Country Purple Kompressor Pad 6Ē Lake Country Orange Kompressor Pad Dedicated Pad
Now this is important, when using microfiber bonnets to remove dried wax you only want to use,
If the pad is wet, it will transfer its liquid to the microfiber and get it wet; this will dramatically reduce its ability to remove wax. So donít try to use a pad thatís either wet with product or wet after being washed clean. Clean pads
If your pad has been previously used to apply some kind of paint care product and itís dry, the dried residue in the pores of the foam pad will shake loose and accumulate inside the bonnet. This will contaminate that side of the bonnet making it unusable.
The best thing to do is to dedicate a pad to go with your bonnets and donít ever use that pad for any machine cleaning or polishing work. If possible, you can mark the back with Sharpie permanent marker. Reversible Bonnets
Microfiber bonnets are pretty much all reversible so you can use one side till it loads up with dried wax and then remove it, turn it inside out, give it a shake and put back onto your buffing pad and get back to work with the other side. Iíll show you my technique for cleaning your bonnet on the fly and often times you can remove all the wax off an average size car with just one side of bonnet. Swipe Test
The first thing you want to do is to test the wax to make sure itís dry and ready to remove and you do this with whatís called the Swipe Test. Once the swipe test shows the wax is ready to remove, you can begin removing the wax by machine. Removing the Wax
It doesnít matter much where you start but the normal protocol would be to start where you started when you applied the wax and then follow your path of travel. Another way is to just start at the top and work your way down. Work Area Size
Basically as far as you can reach and manage comfortably. When removing defects you only want to work a small section at at time. When applying a liquid wax by machine and when removing dried wax by machine you can basically tackle as large an area as you like. Speed Setting
You need a fast speed setting to remove the wax, I tend to use the 5.0 Speed Setting as itís not as violent as the 6.0 speed setting but you need to at least be on the 5.0 speed setting. Downward Pressure
You want to use firm downward pressure when removing the wax. The reason for this is you want the nap of the microfiber slicing into the coating of wax and then breaking it up and this cannot be accomplished with light pressure. VERY IMPORTANT
Donít lift the face of the buffing pad off the car at any time when operating the polisher at high speeds, if you do the pad rotation will quickly speed up and chances are very good your buffing pad will fly off the backing plate and land on the ground somewhere where it will become contaminated with dirt and unusable.
A technique for how to move the polisher from panel to panel without having the pad fly off even though you donít turn the polisher off is to at the same time you lift the pad off the surface, quickly place your clean hand against the pad, this won't hurt you and will keep the pad from flying off the polisher till you touch it down again on a new panel, for example going from the roof to the hood, or from the hood to a side mirror, etc. Benefits to machine removal of wax
First of all, removing wax by machine is personal preference
; some people like this technique while others prefer to simply wipe-off waxes by hand.
Using a microfiber bonnet over a foam cutting pad provides equal pressure over the entire face of the pad and removes any pressure points created typically by your fingertips when wiping off by hand.
For some people, letting the machine do the work might be a physical advantage than using their arms and shoulders to wipe the wax off, just depends upon the physical limitations of the person. Variation on the bonnet
Some people will simply place a microfiber flat onto the paint and then place a clean, dry buffing pad against the microfiber and remove wax using the microfiber trapped between the pad and the paint. Iím not a big fan of this method because the microfiber towel can easily work its way out from under the pad, especially if you try this on a vertical panel. Cleaning the bonnet on the fly
Another option is to clean the bonnet on the fly. With the polisher still running, tilt the polisher so there's always an edge of the bonnet-covered pad touching the paint so the pad doesn't go flying off.
Now take your fingertips and place them against the face of the pad that's raised off the surface in the air and transfer the pressure from the car panel to your fingertips, more precisely, to your fingernails. With pressure against the face of the pad with your fingertips/fingernails carefully move the pad into the air to the side of the car, the pressure from your fingers will keep the pad from flying off.
Now carefully lessen the pressure of your fingernails against the face of the pad and let the pad rotate freely in the air but controlled all the while by you and your pressure against the bonnet.
Now move your fingernails from the inside to the outer edge of the bonnet somewhat like a wood chisel against a piece of wood on a lathe. What you're doing is letting your fingernails lift the fibers of the nap and loosen the stuck-on wax allowing it to fall off the bonnet and onto the floor. After you've made a few passes like this move the polisher back over to the area you left off at and touch an edge of the pad/bonnet back onto the paint. Quickly remove your fingers while at the same time laying the pad back against the panel so that it's flat against the paint. Continue moving the buffer over the paint allowing the bonnet to remove the wax.
Repeat often as you work around the car. Basically you're using your fingernails to lift and separate the microfiber nap so the dried residue will fly off leaving your a mostly clean and ready to use bonnet to continue removing wax with.
Using this technique you can usually remove all the wax with just one side of the bonnet but feel free to reverse the bonnet of switch to a new/clean bonnet as you feel necessary.
After you go around the car and remove the majority of the wax then use the The Final Wipe
to make the final wipe. Warning:
Don't lift the bonnet/pad off the surface as it will spin up to maximum speed and in most cases the pad will tear loose from the backing plate and go flying across the room usually landing someplace really dirty like the corner of the floor. Note:
Only use a clean, never-before-used foam cutting pad for the backing underneath of your microfiber polishing bonnet. Using a used bonnet with dried residue can introduce contaminants to the inner side of the bonnet and then you risk inflicting swirls or marring.
Only use a dry pad under your bonnet. If you use a pad that is wet with product the bonnet will absorb the liquid and become wet. A wet bonnet won't work to remove wax and may cause a smeary mess.
If you want to use this technique then dedicate a pad solely for use under your microfiber bonnet by marking it with a permanent marker and then store it in a clean, dry place.