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  1. #1
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    Silly question LC polishing pads

    No doubt, been asked before....anyhoo....just how long do these pads last? In other words, when do they just become a piece of foam lacking the ability to polish? Like, when do they lose their abrasiveness? Nothing lasts forever, I know.

  2. #2
    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Silly question LC polishing pads

    Hard to answer accurately. Sort of like the old commercial where it asks "how many licks does it take to eat a Tootsie Pop"?

    I would say after a number of uses, and the Pad is still intact, not moth eaten, or has other possible issues, then it would be usable in some capacity, even if one thought it lost its "bite".

    I'm no expert on Pads, but have used them enough to make some judgement calls.

    When I first started with DA Polishing, I was much harder on Pads, due to inexperience and ignorance. That some suffered a premature demise. Heat, and overworking any one Pad was the cause. Or running a Pad into "uncharted waters" so to speak, into some trim area, near a step bumper, etc., and tearing it up.

    Many factors come into play, Pad Speed, Down Pressure while Polishing, over or under saturation, and length of time. All of these can cause a variability of heat generated, one of Pad's biggest enemies.

    How and what they are cleaned with can be a factor. When I first started, I simply resorted to off the shelf all purpose cleaners to clean pads after use, and in truth, they did not work all that well. Thus repeat cleanings in vain.

    But then after buying good dedicated Pad Cleaners I did find they worked much better, faster, and seemed to help the pads as far as life went.

    Maybe for a weekend hack like myself, such qualities inherit of a brand new pad being diminished and/or lost after a period of time might not seem too critical, but I'd imagine with a seasoned professional detailer, and doing customer's vehicles for money, one then has to rely upon consistent results from start to finish with any product and pad combo.

    I reckon it becomes a personal choice and an experienced choice of when to decide when a Pad is not doing its intended job, and to toss. Yeah, it sometimes hurts tossing cause Pads are often costly.

    As Mike Phillips has often remarked, "In a perfect world, one panel one pad". There's many ways of looking at this remark. That not only better and more consistent results are provided, it also helps with Pad life.

    Many members will have their own opinions, of how many pads needed per vehicle. Some may say 4, some will say 6, some might say have 8 or 9.

    The more on hand helps in regards to pad life.

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  4. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Silly question LC polishing pads

    Good question!

    As any foam pad becomes wet with product it naturally softens and loses cut or abrading ability. This is true primarily for foam cutting and foam polishing pads. Foam finishing and foam waxing pads don’t have much cut or aggressiveness to lose.

    The pads themselves can actually last a long time as long as you don’t punish them and over heat them.

    Use more pads per car instead of one or two pads per car and your pads will last longer overall.

    Typing with my finger at my airport gate so can’t get any deeper than that.

    Mike Phillips
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  6. #4
    Senior Member TTQ B4U's Avatar
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    Re: Silly question LC polishing pads

    What Mike said for sure. Depending on how bad the vehicle is I swap pads every 1-2 panels.....obviously hoods, roofs, etc. may require multiple pads but you get the point. I take extremely good care of them and L.C. pads.....I have some that are several years old and still going strong.

    As my pads get rotated out of paint work correction, I may move them to other things such as glass, black pillars or undersides of hoods, etc. then toss them if they are bad from there such as after doing under a hood. I've also cut some up to use them as applicators for trim dressings, etc. I don't waste much but rather find alternative uses for them.

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  8. #5
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Silly question LC polishing pads

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD51


    As Mike Phillips has often remarked, "In a perfect world, one panel one pad".

    There's many ways of looking at this remark. That not only better and more consistent results are provided, it also helps with Pad life.

    When it comes to “foam” pads, a clean dry foam pad is sharper than a wet soggy pad. Thus the pad will cut better. By switching to a clean dry pad often you’ll get better results faster and you’ll also get more consistent results overall.

    For most of my write-ups I include a picture of how many pads I use for the job. That’s a visual message to tell people you need more than one or two pads to do the job right.

    Mike Phillips
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  9. #6
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Silly question LC polishing pads

    Here’s an example, count the pads I used with an AIO on an old but full size 2-door Chevy.




    Ahh... just boarded my flight.




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    Mike Phillips
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  10. #7
    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Silly question LC polishing pads

    I know personally, that when I started out, and deciding what was needed to be bought to accompany a new Porter Cable 7424XP Machine, yes, there's some sticker shock when buying pads. They cost some good money!

    Especially when you also additionally opt to have a variety of different Pad sizes on hand to use with different size Backing Plates.

    In the long run though, you'll actually save money. Each Pad will then receive less wear and tear.

    I've found that by waiting for the time when good sales occur here, and often with free shipping, that's the time to stock up on the various detailing supplies.

    Not only saving money versus buying at say a local Auto Paint Supply, but also acquiring exactly what you want and need. Too many times I've walked into such Shops, and their selection of Polishing Pads was not only poor, but also much more money.

  11. #8
    Senior Member Paul A.'s Avatar
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    Re: Silly question LC polishing pads

    No such thing as a silly question here, twouvakind, and that is still a good one. When you think of shelling out $7-$10 a piece then use maybe as much as a dozen (or more) different pads on a job you'd like them to last. If well cared for my short answer to your question is "years". At least in my case.

    Paulie, Mike and Mark nailed it.

    Welcome to the discussion side of the house.

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  13. #9
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    Re: Silly question LC polishing pads

    Thank you one and all! Stockpiling at sale time and a pad cleaner seems to be the move. And minding the pad saturation is great advice, I never made the correlation on wet vs. drier pad and the cutting ability. I have been leaving some of my BF's AIO capabilities on the table! What a great forum and fourumee's(is the such a thing? )

  14. #10
    Senior Member Paul A.'s Avatar
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    Re: Silly question LC polishing pads

    I had an AIO job this morning and I use more pads than normal cus I work AIO's "wet", i.e. use use more product than compounds or polishes. I get saturation quicker on AIO's. Get plenty of pads.

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