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  1. #1
    Senior Member Todd@RUPES's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    The following charts are for reference only. Each can be fit onto a 8x11 sheet of paper with a landscape format in high resolution.

    These are the official combinations recommended by RUPES on various paint types. They are designed to be "relative" to each other, given the wide variety in paint types, technique, and various dynamic factors.



    Fresh Paint - RUPES defines fresh paint as (non-baked) coatings that are less than 24 hours old (or in that general time frame). During this time frame the paint is undergoing rapid compositional changes and tends to be very easy to polish. Differences in carrier type (solvent vs. waterborne), brands, types, film builds (thickness), environmental factors, and more will effect the way that the surface reacts to polishing.

RUPES works with numerous refinish paint manufacturers, professional refinish shops, collision centers, and high-level restoration shops around the world. The above recommendations are built on this experience. 

    Usually the combination of Zephir Coarse (blue) compound with a blue foam pad can remove P1500 sanding marks (sometimes as coarse as P1200) quickly while leaving a finish void of swirl marks and acceptable for delivery. For P2000 marks, the combination of Zephir (blue) compound and the UHS Foam Pad can leave a high-gloss finish. This is an excellent 1-step combination in A-level shops on all but the darkest colors. 

    The use of UHS compound and UHS gray foam pad is an excellent 1-step combination to remove P2500 and finer sand marks, whilst delivering a very high gloss finish on all paint colors. Finally Keramik Fine (yellow) compound and a yellow foam polishing pad can be used to increase the gloss of any previous step for show car refinishing.


Be careful of paint or clear coat that has been applied too thick. Clear coat needs to be able to outgas in order to fully harden. If the layer is applied too thickly, the topmost crust can harden, trapping a softer layer underneath. If this is the case you will often notice a solvent odor during polishing and the paint my feel tacky to the back of your finger nails after polishing. If this is the case, allow the paint to harden before follow-up polishing and avoid using too aggressive of a system. Doing so could imprint the softer “soupy” layer of clear underneath and make defect removal extremely difficult.

    OEM Standard - RUPES defines OEM Standard as the most common type of factory applied coating. While there is a wide variety of finishes on the market and each will exhibit specific nuances, OEM Standard finishes are often the most forgiving to polish and respond well to a variety of polishing systems. 

    The chart is a good reference for selecting and pairing any of the RUPES compounds with the appropriate RUPES polishing pads to achieve a desired level of cut or finish.

    OEM High Solid (Scratch Resistant) Clear Coats - Many paint manufacturers are developing high-solid clear coats in order to resist micro scratches and provide increased durability. While the harder surface still scratches, they are increasing difficult to polish out. The increased friction can exhaust the polishing compound before it has a chance to work.


The RUPES UHS -Ultra High Solid- BigFoot Polishing System (pad and polishing compound) is designed to provide a long buffing cycle with minimal abrasive degradation. This allows this combination to remove moderate to severe defects from OEM High Solid finishes while providing a high level of gloss and clarity - in just one step.

If additional cutting power is needed, RUPES Zephir Coarse (blue) compound can be used with either the blue microfiber cutting pad or the UHS Foam Pad. The RUPES coarse blue foam pad will work on some of the finishes, although it may not cut as much on particularly high solid finishes. If Zephir Coarse (blue) compound is used as an initial step a secondary finishing step may be required. 

    OEM Soft - RUPES defines OEM Soft as factory applied coatings that tend to scratch easily and are often difficult to final polish. Many Japanese paints can exhibit these characteristics, although some European and domestic paint systems can too. Many older single stage lacquer and enamel finishes respond similarly to soft finishes with the exception of white (which tend to respond closer to OEM Standard or High Solid finishes).


As a general rule, RUPES does not recommend the use of microfiber polishing pads on OEM Soft finishes because of the tendency to haze scratch sensitive finishes. While originally designed for hard coatings, the RUPES UHS system works well on soft finishes. If a higher gloss level is desired, Keramik Fine (yellow) compound on a yellow foam pad is an excellent follow-up step.


If more cutting action is desired, either RUPES Zephir Coarse (blue) or RUPES Quarz Medium (green) compounds can be paired with the recommended pads. It is recommended, particularly with Zephir Coarse (blue) compound extend the polishing cycle to maximize the finishing ability. Keeping polishing pads clean is important when polishing on any finish, but more so when polishing on softer finishes. 

    OEM Sticky - RUPES defines OEM Sticky paints and factory applied coatings that are absorbent. These paint finishes tend to “suck in” the lubricants and emulsions in the polishing compounds, making polishing difficult by changing the chemical composition of the produce as well as increasing polishing temperatures. These finishes can also exhibit “drop back”. Defects tend to return after polishing as the lubricants absorbed into the finish leach out over time. 

    Fortunately, these finishes are the rarest and often limited to a few Japanese models. Unfortunately some improperly refinished (non-OEM) paints can behave in a similar way, particularly if too much clear coat was applied. RUPES does not recommend using microfiber pads to avoid hazing the finish of these scratch sensitive finishes.


Be careful of using RUPES Zephir Coarse (blue) compound on absorbent finishes as it has the highest abrasive load and can dry out the fastest leading to excessive dust and poor performance. For maximum cutting power, team Quarz Medium (green) compound with the blue cutting foam pad and finish with either Keramik Fine (yellow) compound and a yellow foam pad or Diamond Ultrafine (white) compound a white polishing foam pad. 

    The RUPES UHS System will work well on OEM Sticky finishes as well. In any case, you may find benefit by reducing polishing speed to avoid heating the surface. 

RUPES designed the BigFoot System to work in a color-coordinated fashion (blue with blue, green with green, etc). This easy-to-use system ensure repeatable and consistent results in an easy-to-teach manner. However, RUPES is actively engaged in numerous industries around the world and works closely with both manufacturers and technicians globally. We understand the need to change the system based on various conditions.


  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    Beautiful reference Todd! This needs to be stickied.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2011
    The "OC"
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    Re: RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    Great stuff Todd!
    There is vast amounts of knowledge at your fingertips, use Google, Youtube, and the search button.

  4. #4
    Senior Member fly07sti's Avatar
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    Re: RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    Very nice. Thank you for posting this.

  5. #5
    In time out
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    Re: RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    Thanks Todd, makes lots of sense.

    My personal favourite combos are:

    Compounding: Zephir Blue on the Grey UHS pad.

    Medium or 1 Step Polishing: Quarz Green on the Green pad as intended (Preffered one step over the UHS system)but also works exceptionally well on the Yellow pad as a one step.

    Finishing: Keramik Yellow on the Yellow pad as intended is my go to "jeweling" combo on hard German paints that actually prefer the extra cut over the Diamond White pad/polish combo as the harder paints seem to prefer a slightly more abrasive finishing polish.

    Again, the above is what works for ME on VW/Audi/Mercedes/BMW/Porsche and some Lexus and Range Rovers.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Eric@CherryOnTop's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Fishkill, NY
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    Re: RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    That's such awesome information, thank you for posting it!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Cherry on Top Auto Detailing, Fishkill NY

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bunky's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Hillsborough, NC
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    Re: RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    If I read the chart correctly, Rupes does not recommend the ultra fine polish or the white pad on soft paint. They recommend the yellow pad and fine polish with a less than perfect finish.
    The Need to Bead

  8. #8
    Senior Member swanicyouth's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Limerick, PA
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    Re: RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    Just a quick question. I'm surprised you guys are recommending the yellow combo for ultra soft paint, instead of white.

    I'm wondering when the white combo is recommended???

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Re: RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    Excellent !!! Thank you for sharing

    Mercedes painting not CeramiClear, is a hard paint?

    Thank you

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dylan@RUPES's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
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    Re: RUPES Pad and Compound Recommendation Charts

    Outstanding work Todd!

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