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Thread: The Definitive How-To Article for Removing Swirls, Scratches and Water Spots Using a Porter Cable 7424XP, G110v2 or Griot's Garage Polisher

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    The Definitive How-To Article for Removing Swirls, Scratches and Water Spots Using a Porter Cable 7424XP, G110v2 or Griot's Garage Polisher

    The Definitive How-To Article for Removing Swirls, Scratches and Water Spots Using a Porter Cable 7424XP, G110v2 or Griot's Garage Polisher

    First the videos...

    How To Remove Swirls, Scratches and Water Spots using a PC 7424XP, Meguiar's G110v2 or Griot's Garage 6" Random Orbital Polisher

    Using a DA Polisher - Part 1



    Using a DA Polisher - Part 2



    Using a DA Polisher - Part 3





    Most Important...

    Here's how to do a "Section Pass" when trying to remove swirls, scratches and other below surface paint defects.

    How to do a Section Pass







    Now here's a few time saving tips that everyone learns when they're new to machine polishing.

    1. Never turn the polisher on until the face of the buffing pad is in contact with the surface of the paint.

    2. Never lift the buffing pad off the surface until you have turned the polisher off.

    Like this,


    If you do either of the above, especially if you lift the buffing pad off the surface before the pad slows down after you’ve been buffing for a while and your pad is now wet with product, you’ll throw product splatter all over the car as well as yourself and anyone and anything nearby.

    Next you'll put the polisher down and spend the next hour or so doing your best to wipe off a zillion little dots of product splatter off adjacent panels and everything else surrounding the buffer.

    Most people make this mistake once, then after experiencing what a pain it is to remove all the small dots of splatter not to mention all the time it requires, then most people will never make this mistake again. So try to make it a habit to turn the polisher off and allow the buffing pad to slow down before lifting the polisher off the surface.

    Now that we've covered this common mistake that everyone makes at some time or another when learning to use a DA Polisher, let's take a look at how to actually use the polisher to remove below surface paint defects first. After that we'll take a look at using the polisher to apply a wax or paint sealant and then to remove the dried wax or paint sealant.

    Note; these techniques apply to your doing your Test Spot as well as all the sections you're going to break the panels of your car up into as you work around it.

    Correction work – Using the PC7424XP to remove below surface defects
    • Work small sections at a time
    • Make overlapping passes as you work the panel
    • Use a slow arm speed
    • Use the 5.0 to 6.0 Speed setting when removing below surface defects
    • Apply firm downward pressure
    • Don't over use or under use your choice of compound or polish
    • Hold the pad flat to the surface
    • Clean your pad often
    • Remove spent residue before adding fresh product
    Work small sections at a time
    Dual action polishers that use a clutch, like this PC 7424XP are popular because they're safe. The reason they’re safe is because if you push down too hard on the head of the polisher the clutch will engage and the buffing pad will stop rotating. This will prevent you from burning through the paint and/or instilling swirls into the paint. Compared to a direct drive tool like a Rotary Buffer, this tool is dramatically safer in its manner of operation.

    For this same reason that people love this style of polisher, (It’s safe and easy to use), you'll find out right away that it also limits you to only working small sections at a time in order to remove enough paint to level out the surface and remove the defects. In most cases you're only going to tackle a section about 16" to 18" inches square or so; usually a 2' section is too large and a 1' foot section is too small, so you'll want to find a balance between working too small an area and working too large of an area at one time.

    Since you can only work small sections at a time, this means you’ll need to break each panel up into small sections kind of like Checkerboard or Patchwork Quilt.


    That is you’ll take each panel of the car, (a panel would be a door or fender or the hood), and in your mind’s eye slice it up into dedicated sections approximately 16" to 18” squarish or so. Because not all panels are perfect squares you’ll need to let the panel be your guide and break-up each panel into these smaller sections no matter what the shape may be. What’s important is to only work a small section at a time while using overlapping passes to work your product.



    The average size hood will be broken up into either 4 sections for a small hood, (Mini Cooper), or 6 sections, (Honda Pilot), or 9 sections, (Ford F150).


    This isn't a hard and fast rule as softer or more workable a paint means you can tackle a larger section at a time and conversely, with harder paints, or less workable paints you'll want to shrink the size of your work area down.

    The idea being to match the size of the section you're working to the workability of the paint, which you should discover when you do your Test Spot, which is addressed in this article. Experience helps a lot with judging work size area but the only way to get experience is to put some hours behind the polisher on multiple cars.


    Spread your product out first
    To start, place the face of the buffing pad with the product on it, flat against the paint. Then turn the polisher on and quickly spread the product out over the entire section you're going to work. You can do this rather quickly because at this point you're not trying to remove defects; you’re just trying to spread the product out over the paint so that you have a uniform film of product spread out over the section.


    Overlap your passes by 50%
    After you spread the product out, now it's time to slow your Arm Speed down and begin making overlapping passes usually in a crosshatch or back and forth, side-to-side pattern.

    The goal is UMR, that is Uniform Material Removal.

    The reason for this is so that you remove an equal amount of paint over each section and in turn over the entire car. In order to do this you need a method that you can control and duplicate and for most people following a back and forth, side-to-side pattern works because it’s easy to remember, easy to do and easy to duplicate.


    The definition of a pass
    There are two definitions of the word pass as it relates to machine polishing with any type of machine.


    Single Pass
    A single pass is just that. It's when you move the polisher from one side of the section you're buffing to the other side of the section you're buffing. That's a single pass.


    Section Pass
    A section pass is when you move the polisher back and forth, or front to back with enough single overlapping passes to cover the entire section one time. That's a section pass.

    Like this,


    In most cases if you're removing any substantial below surface defects you're going to make 6-8 section passes to the section you’re working before you either feel comfortable you've removed the defects or you're at the end of the buffing cycle for the product you're using.


    Buffing Cycle
    The buffing cycle is the amount of time you are able to work the product before the abrasives have broken down, (if you’re using a product that uses diminishing abrasives), and/or the product begins to dry and you lose the lubricating features of the product. Different products have different buffing cycles depending upon the type of abrasives used in the formula and the different ingredients used to suspend the abrasives and provide lubrication.

    Factors that affect the buffing cycle include,
    • Ambient temperature
    • Surface temperature
    • Size of work area
    • Type of machine
    • Type of pad material
    • Humidity
    • Wind or air flow surrounding the car
    • Amount of product used
    • Technique
    Wet buffing technique
    Most compounds and polishes should be used so that there is enough product on the surface to maintain a wet film while the product is being worked. The wetness of the product is lubricating the paint as the abrasives abrade the paint and cushion or buffer the abrading action so the abrasives don’t simply scour the finish leaving behind swirls and scratches.


    Dry Buffing Technique - Buffing to a dry buff
    There are some products on the market where the manufacture recommends buffing the product until it dries. As the product dries you’ll tend to see some dusting as the product residue becomes a powder and the paint will have a hard, dry shine to it.

    Although some manufactures recommend this, it’s important to understand what’s taking place at the surface level as you buff to a dry buff. As the product dries, in essence you are losing the lubricating features of the product and as this happens friction and heat will increase. As friction and heat increases, so does the risk of micro-marring the paint or instilling swirls either by the product residue or the pad material and/or a combination of both.

    While we trust that the manufacture knows their products best, when we take a close look at what it means to buff on a delicate surface like an automotive clear coat, it doesn’t make sense to run a buffing pad on top of the paint without some kind of wet film to lubricate the paint at the same time. We always recommend that you follow the manufacture's recommendations and use your own judgment.

    Everyone new to buffing wants to be told some easily identifiable sign that they can use to tell when it's time to stop buffing and it's not that simple, so here's an indicator I've always used and taught to others,

    Wet film behind your path-of-travel
    As you're making a single pass with the polisher, the paint behind the path of travel of the buffer should have a visible wet film on it. If the paint behind the pad is dry and shiny, you've run out of lubrication and you're dry buffing. Turn the polisher off. Wipe the residue off and inspect using a Swirl Finder Light to make sure you didn't dull or mar the paint, you usually won't cause any harm, but pay attention when your running the polisher and don't buff to a dry buff. If you do, you can quickly re-polish that section by cleaning your pad and adding a little fresh product and making a few new section passes.


    Use a slow arm speed
    The speed at which you move the polisher over the paint is called your arm speed, that is how fast or slow you move your arm which is controlling the polisher. When removing below surface defects like swirls and scratches you need to move the polisher slowly over the surface, not quickly. This has to do with the hardness or workability of the paint and when it comes to modern clear coats, generally speaking,

    Modern clear coats will tend to be harder than traditional single stage paints.

    This isn’t 100% true all the time as I’ve worked on some very soft clear coat paints, but more often than not this is the norm. Another way of saying this would be,

    The paint on a brand new Mustang will be harder than the original paint that came on a 1965 Mustang.



    This has to do with how modern paints are chemically made, sprayed, baked, and cured onto the car’s panels. Modern paints tend to last a long time as compared to paints from the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970's and part of the reason they are more durable is because they are physically harder than old style solvent-evaporation paints, thus they resist deterioration better than old style paints. And while everyone wants a paint job that will last a long time, it is this hardness factor that makes it more difficult for you and me to remove defects like swirls and scratches out of the paint because it’s physically harder to remove small particles of paint off the surface both by hand or machine. This is one of the main reasons so many people get so frustrated trying to remove swirls out of the clearcoat paint on their new cars, trucks and s.u.v.s.

    It’s for this reason you need to move the polisher slowly over the surface, you need to give the buffing pad, the oscillating/rotating action of the polisher and the abrasives in the product under downward pressure time to affect the paint in one area before moving it forward to new territory. If you move the buffer too quickly over the paint you won’t remove any defects because you won’t remove any paint.

    A personal note, maybe you can relate...
    Even though I've been machine buffing cars since the early 1980's, and teaching people how to use machines since 1988, and a part of this is teaching people to move the polisher slowly when removing defects, each time I start a new project I'll find myself instinctively starting out by moving the polisher too fast.

    My theory on why I do this and why so many other people do this is for two reasons.

    1. When you turn the polisher on at the 5.0 and 6.0 speed setting, it sounds like the motor is spinning really fast, (it is), and this sound has a psychological effect that makes us want to move the polisher fast. I find I have to purposefully slow down how fast I'm moving the polisher over the surface.

    2. Buffing out a car from start to finish takes a long time and the biggest chunk of time is the cleaning and polishing step where the defects are being removed. It's easy to think that if you move the polisher faster then you can do the job faster, but this just isn't true. Fact is if you move the polisher fast over the surface you're really not doing anything but wasting time. It's another case of moving slower in order to go faster. (That's what you want to do)


    Speed settings for removing below surface defects
    The variable speed dial on the PC 7424XP offers 6 speed settings from 1 to 6. For most car detailing projects you’ll use these speeds.
    • 5.0 to 6.0 to remove defects
    • 3.0 to 4.0 to apply and spread a layer of wax or a paint sealant
    • 5.0 to 6.0 to remove dried wax or paint sealant using a microfiber bonnet
    5.0 to 6.0 to remove defects
    Removing below surface defects means removing a little paint. In order to remove a little paint you need the pad rotating against the paint under pressure with an abrasive product. In order to do this you need to use the 5.0 to 6.0 speed setting. This applies to any steps where you’re removing paint. This would include a heavy compounding step, a final polishing step, or working a cleaner/wax over a neglected finish.


    For removing below surface defects use the 5.0 to 6.0 Speed Setting





    3.0 to 4.0 to apply and spread a layer of wax or a paint sealant
    After the defects have been removed and you’ve worked the paint up to a clear, high gloss you no longer need or want a fast rotating speed as you’re no longer trying to remove paint, so the 5.0 and 6.0 speed settings are too fast.

    The exception to this rule is if you’re using a cleaner/wax on a neglected finish as a one-step approach. In these situations you need the high speed to keep the pad rotating to work the cleaners in the cleaner/wax to clean the paint and remove light defects.

    When it comes to applying a finishing wax or paint sealant the goal is to spread the product out and work the product over and into the paint to whatever level is possible. For this the 3.0 to 4.0 speed setting works best. Anything slower than 3.0 is just too slow and your buffing pad will tend to feel like it’s dragging across the paint as you move the polisher forward. When applying a finishing wax or paint sealant, a good rule of thumb is to make 2-3 single passes over each square inch.




    5.0 to 6.0 to remove dried wax or paint sealant using a microfiber bonnet
    Some people like to remove dried wax or paint sealant using a microfiber bonnet over a buffing pad. When using the dual action polisher like this you need the pad to rotate and thus you need the higher 5.0 to 6.0 speeds. Just be careful to never lift your polisher off the surface with the motor turned on as the buffing pad will spin up to maximum speed and your buffing pad and bonnet will fly across the room and land on the floor. (Usually the dirtiest part of the floor and with the bonnet face down)



    Apply firm downward pressure
    For removing below surface defects you need to apply firm downward pressure to the head of the polisher. As we discussed earlier, removing below surface defects means removing some paint off the surface and this requires applying some pressure to the head of the polisher to engage the abrasive particles with the paint so they can take little bites out of it.

    This is where hand-on training comes in real handy by someone with years of experience but I'll try to explain it with this keyboard.

    15 to 20 pounds of pressure
    If you place the face of the polisher on a normal household bathroom scale, it will read around 4-5 pounds, so just the weight of the polisher itself is supplying some downward pressure.

    Now follow me, if you apply just LIGHT pressure to the head of the polisher to keep the pad flat and stable while it’s operating, you’ll be around 7-8 pounds of downward pressure right from the get-go. If you apply even more pressure to really engage the pad and the abrasives against the paint you can easily reach 15 to 20 pounds of downward pressure.

    I know when some people read this it sounds excessive but it’s really not when you consider the pressure by just the weight of the machine already is around 7 pounds of pressure, and with just light pressure you’re already at 10 pounds of pressure.

    Take my word for it, when trying to remove a little paint from some cars it’s going to take some downward pressure to engage the abrasives into the paint and do any serious correction work. The key is to remember that polishing paint is an art form and anytime you have to use an aggressive approach to remove a little paint chances are good you’re going to have to do a follow-up step to refine the finish even further using a less aggressive pad and product. So the results from an aggressive product with downward pressures of 15 to 20 pounds won’t always leave a pristine finish but that’s okay, you’re not finished yet. (No pun intended)

    As a general rule of thumb, when working on seriously neglected paint, you'll want to apply firm pressure but never so much that the pad stops rotating. This is the purpose of the black lines on the back of your backing plate and/or foam buffing pads, it’s so you can easily see if your pad is rotating or simply vibrating against the paint. Paint is removed best when the pad is rotating, not simply vibrating.

    Keep in mind you need to balance how much pressure you apply to the condition of the paint and what you’re trying to accomplish. If the paint is in good condition and only in need of light correction, (shallow defects), then you won’t need to apply as much pressure. If the paint you're working on looks like it's seen a Destruction Derby, then increase your pressure to anywhere from 15 to 20 pounds of pressure.


    Hold the pad flat to the surface
    It's vital that you hold the buffer in such a way as to keep the pad flat against the surface while you're buffing. With a completely flat panel like the hood of most large cars and trucks, for example a 80's era Suburban, it's pretty easy to keep the pad rotating by holding the buffer evenly as you buff.

    With panels that slope or curve, you need to rotate or adjust how you hold the body of the polisher to match the curve of the panel as you move it over the paint.


    If you hold the polisher in a way that there is more pressure on only an edge of the buffing pad, this increased pressure to one section of the face of the buffing pad is enough to stop the pad from rotating. This will be easy to see from the marks on your backing plate and paying attention to how you’re holding the polisher in relationship to the shape of the panel. Watching your pad will help you to perfect your technique.

    It's not as difficult as it sounds and most people new to using a DA Polisher will learn how to hold the polisher while adjusting for the curves and slopes of the car after buffing out just the front clip of their car, (hood and front fenders). The learning curve for a DA Polisher is pretty flat, that means it's pretty easy to learn how to use.

    Use an ample amount of product
    When we say use an ample amount of product this means don’t use too much product and don’t use to little product.


    Too much product

    If you use too much you can hyper-lubricate the surface and this will make it more difficult for the abrasives to abrade the surface as they’ll tend to want to glide or slip over the surface instead of bite into the surface.


    To little product
    If you use too little product there won’t be enough lubrication to enable the buffing pad to rotate and thus engage the abrasives against the surface so they can bite into and remove small particles of paint.

    Learning how much product to use varies with manufactures products as there’s a lot of variables involved. The best teacher is experience coupled with any hands-on training you can find. Watching a video or asking questions on a detailing discussion forum like the Autogeek Online Detailing Forum is a great resource for this kind of information.

    Also, when you’re first starting out with a dry pad, (doesn’t matter so much if it’s new or used as long as it’s clean), the pad will tend to absorb some of the initial product applied to it or picked up off the surface. As you continue to buff and the pad becomes more wet or saturated with product a couple of things will take place:

    You’ll find you’ll need less product to work a section. As the pad becomes wet with product, the combination of liquid and foam will tend to absorb and dissipate the power provided by the motor. This will show up as a reduction in the ability of the tool to keep the pad rotating under pressure. Then if you apply more pressure the free floating spindle assembly will do it's job and the pad will stop rotating. The fix for this is to clean your pad often, which we will address below and/or switch to a fresh, clean, dry pad and continue switching to clean dry pads as you work around the car and your products become wet with product.

    Of course the ability to swap out pads means having a collection of pads in your arsenal to start with depending upon your budget and how much you value your time. Simply put, dry pads rotate against the paint better than wet pads, so it’s faster to buff out an entire car by swapping out wet pads for dry pads versus trying to buff the entire car out with only a few pads.

    New generation DA Polishers like the PC 7424XP and the Meguiar’s G110 offer more power than their predecessors and this is their strong point because it’s this extra power that will keep your pads rotating better even after they become wet with product. This one feature alone makes them worth choosing over earlier dual action polishers and/or upgrading.



    Clean your pad often
    Anytime you’re buffing with an abrasive product, whether an aggressive compound or a light polish, you have two things building up on the face of your buffing pad,
    • Spent or used-up product
    • Removed paint
    You need to remove these residues often by cleaning your pad either with a,
    • Pad washer
    • Pad cleaning brush
    • Terry cloth towel using a technique called cleaning your pad on the fly.

    Again, we cannot stress enough the importance of working clean and in this case it means wiping any spent product off the paint after each section pass and removing any spent product and paint residue off the face of your buffing pad with one of the three methods listed above.

    If you don’t clean your pad often then usually you’ll find that your product will become gummy on the surface of the paint and wipe-off will become more difficult. Not only that, but as product residue builds-up on your paint you increase the risk of instilling swirls back into the paint.

    Adding fresh product to used-up product dilutes and pollutes the fresh product, making it less effective. So make it a best practice to clean your pad often and always wipe off spent product before adding fresh product.


    How often to clean your pads?

    Car body panels
    At a minimum, wipe all spent product and paint residue off the car after you finish each section and always wipe the paint clean before re-polishing that section a second or third time with fresh product.

    Buffing pads
    This is personal preference and here’s what I do, for the average condition paint I will tend to clean my pad on the fly every other application of product. This means if I were buffing out the hood of a car I would apply my product to the face of the pad and buff out a section of paint about 20” square or so. If I’m done with that section I would wipe the residue off and then buff out the next section and be sure to overlap a little into the previous section. Now, after I’ve buffed these two sections I would clean my pad on the fly and then start on a new section and repeat this method as I work around the car.

    If the paint is severely neglected and I have to really get aggressive with the paint then I would clean my pad after each application. Also, if the temperatures are hot then I would clean my pad after each application as this will make buffing easier and more effective with less problems associated to the product trying to dry and/or become gummy on the surface.

    If you have a pad washer then you can follow this same routine. The most effective way to clean a pad while working on a car is by placing the pad on a rotary buffer, (even if you’re not using a rotary buffer to do the buffing work), and use the direct drive rotating action the rotary buffer offers to spin the pad in the pad washer at high speed and under pulsating pressure to really get the pad clean. Then lift the pad up a few inches and bring the rpm’s up to the buffer’s highest speed and spin out all the water via inertia. Now your pad will be clean and ready to get back to work.




    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.

    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.


    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,
    1. Always use your best, softest microfiber polishing cloths.
    2. 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 Meguiar’s 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.

    Products needed
    PC 7424XP
    Foam cutting pad - you want a firm or stiff foam pad under the microfiber bonnet.
    Microfiber Bonnet



    Directions
    Place the microfiber bonnet over the foam cutting pad and ensure it's secure and somewhat centered.

    Set the speed setting to 5.0

    Place the face of the bonnet onto the waxed panel and, with firm pressure, turn the polisher on and begin removing the dried product using a brisk movement in any pattern that you like or fits the design of the panel. Continue removing product and moving around the car.


    Reversible bonnets
    As you work around the car, the nap of the bonnet will start to load up with dried product. Periodically turn off the polisher and inspect the bonnet for wax build-up and/or any dirt or abrasive particles. If the bonnet is starting to cake up with dried wax, remove the bonnet, turn it inside out and then replace it onto your foam pad. Once both sides are full of wax switch to a new bonnet.


    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.



    Safety and Ergonomics

    Safety
    It’s important you don’t hurt yourself when machine polishing. Your eyes are so valuable to you that you should always wear safety glasses when operating any kind of buffing machine. Hearing protection is also important, especially if you’re going to be buffing for hours and hours. In the past, some products contained ingredients that were not safe to breathe into your lungs so an approved dust mask or air filter mask was required. Most companies have reformulated their products and removed ingredients that are dangerous but always check with the manufacture before purchasing and using any car care product.

    Keep your work area clean and well lit. Coil up and remove un-used extension cords or air lines so you don’t trip. Clean any spills off the floor to reduce slip hazards. Be aware of anyone applying an aerosol tire dressing as it’s very easy to get overspray on the floor surrounding a treated tired. If it’s hot out, keep plenty of liquids on hand to keep yourself hydrated. Try not to work in direct sun if possible. If you do have to work in the sun be sure to wear a hat and use sun block on any exposed skin.

    Where shoes that provide good ankle and foot support. Don’t buff out cars wearing flip-flops. When handling cleaning chemicals, wear the appropriate gloves to protect your skin and if applicable, wear a smock or face shield. Make others aware of any chemicals you’re using so they can take the appropriate safety precautions. Some chemicals can be very dangerous if breathed into the lungs or sprayed into or around the eyes.

    Other's Safety
    Besides personal safety, take responsibility for others in your work area by making them aware of what you’re doing. Anyone working with you or around you should also have safety glasses and hearing protection as well as be aware that you’re likely using extension cords which present trip hazards.

    Customer's Car Safety
    There may be times where you will be leaning on or resting against a portion of the car. Take precautions that you don't cause any harm in the process. For example, wear a smock to act as a protective barrier between you and the car body. This one offered by The Edge Company is made out of soft microfiber so it won't scratch the paint and even includes ties on the shoulder and hips to connect your electrical cord to so that the cord doesn't come into contact with your customer's car's paint where it could potentially scratch it.




    The Edge Company's Microfiber Smock comes with Velcro straps to help keep your cord from dragging against the paint.








    Ergonomics
    Good technique includes incorporating good ergonomic practices. When buffing out horizontal panels, don’t stand with your feet together because if you bend forward that will place a lot of weight and stress on you lower back. Instead, try to place one foot in front of the other about a foot in distance and keep your feet spread apart about the distance of your shoulders for good stability.



    When working on the vertical panels of a car, don’t bend over and try to hold a buffer against the paint as this can also cause back problems. A good rule of thumb is to always be able to look straight across from the panel you’re working on, so instead of bending over to buff out a vertical panel like a door, sit on the ground or on a stool across from the paint you’re working on.



    Products Mentioned
    Porter Cable 7424XP
    Meguiar's G110
    Lake Country Foam Pads
    Microfiber Polishing Bonnets
    Microfiber Smock
    Premium Quality Microfibers
    Mist & Wipe Quick Detailers
    Carnauba Waxes
    Paint Sealants


    Further Reading
    The Final Wipe
    2008 Lexus IS 250 - Pinnacle Detail
    What it means to remove swirls, scratches and water spots out of automotive clear coats


    Resources
    Autogeek Online Detailing Forum
    Autogeek Online Store
    Last edited by Mike Phillips; 08-21-2009 at 12:11 PM.
    Zastava and steelwindmachine like this.
    Mike Phillips
    Host - Competition Ready on Velocity Channel
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: Tips & Techniques for using the Porter Cable 7424XP

    Another fine training thread by the master.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nappers's Avatar
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    Re: Tips & Techniques for using the Porter Cable 7424XP

    Awesome, good to see you writing new articles......

    I bet you wear out a keyboard or two in the next month or so..


    We call this a modfied "L" or interview stance in Law Enforcement, or keep your strong side (gun, keys, Tazer) away from perp :D


    I got a little Dunlop disease though.....

    Belly Dunlop over my belt! Buff and wipe all in one! LOL.

    Good show Mike!

    Aaron
    Aaron's the name!
    Live long and prosper Leonard Nimoy

  4. #4

    Re: Tips & Techniques for using the Porter Cable 7424XP

    Thanks Mike that was a great posting.

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    Senior Member sydster's Avatar
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    Re: Tips & Techniques for using the Porter Cable 7424XP



  6. #6
    Senior Member mark mcguire's Avatar
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    Re: Tips & Techniques for using the Porter Cable 7424XP

    Hey Mike, very informative and educational, just the kind of stuff I've been waiting for from the "Director of Training". Good show, and I hope to be able to finally attend a clinic and meet you personally.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bunky's Avatar
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    Re: Tips & Techniques for using the Porter Cable 7424XP

    I have used a 16x16 microfiber towel as a rough guide to figure out the approximate 18x18 sections and then use blue painters tape to help me mark the corners as I do them.
    Al
    The Need to Bead

  8. #8
    Senior Member Buckskincolt's Avatar
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    Re: Tips & Techniques for using the Porter Cable 7424XP

    WOW,

    Awesome article. Now if I can just remember most of it.

    One simple question...is there a tutorial on the cleaning your pad on the fly technique?

    Thanks! This place just get better and better.
    "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." Lincoln's First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861.

    Newport, Oregon USA!

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    Senior Member Finemess's Avatar
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    Re: Tips & Techniques for using the Porter Cable 7424XP

    "Breaking the wax" Cool, good to know. Nice write up.
    'Cause there's just something women like about a pickup man.
    Rich

  10. #10
    Senior Member mixmaster209's Avatar
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    Re: Tips & Techniques for using the Porter Cable 7424XP

    Simply amazing thread...learned alot..
    Thanks Mike!
    fastsvo likes this.
    Michael

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