I have a 2004 redline 350 Z that I keep in pretty good shape however its my daily driver and has some chips, scratches and swirls. I typically clay bar the car every 2 months (or so) during the summer (i live in Texas and the heat is pretty hard on it). I always love the look after a good wash, clay bar and wax but i have been considering getting a orbital buffer so i can get into polishing the paint. i guess my 1st ?? would be if you recommend the flex over the porter cable. I see the flex is more powerful and more accurate but its more money too and I would like to ask if the performance would justify the extra cost? also I have read a lot of positive feedback about the menzerna products and would like to ask what menzerna products you would recommend for a medium/light cutting and all the steps to bring it to the point when i wax it. i think most articles i have read, that’s about 4 steps (5 including the wax or sealant). oh one more?? please if i may.. do you recommend using a carnauba wax and sealant over that?? or just 1 or the other.
Hi Ralph, and thanks for the questions.
Yes, you have the choice of stepping up to either a Porter Cable 7424XP or a Flex XC 3401 VRG, but it isn’t as simple as “choose one over the other”. You need to evaluate a few different factors in each machine, and make the decision based on what’s important to you. With the increased power and action of the Flex, you will save time because it will break down diminishing abrasive polishes like Menzerna more quickly. It’s also a smoother machine which means less hand and arm fatigue over time. The Porter Cable costs less than half of the Flex, so that is a major factor to consider. It is a highly capable random orbital buffer, and has been the standard for many years now. With the PC, you also get the ability to use different sized backing plates which is a big plus when you need to use 4″ spot pads in tight areas.
So if you prefer to have the highly refined, more powerful, but more costly machine, then go with the Flex. If you’d like to save some money, have the ability to use different sized backing plates, while giving up a little bit of refinement and power, then go with the PC. Either way you will be able to take your red Z to a whole new level that your friends will be envious of!
As for polishes, Menzerna would be a tremendous choice. They too have been the standard for professional detailers for many years now. If you have light to medium defects, then I would probably recommend Menzerna PO203S Power Finish with a white Lake Country pad (you may need an orange pad on heavier defects). This is capable of correcting medium-level defects, while finishing down like a final polish. It would make a great one-step polish, or you can follow it up with Menzerna PO85RD with a black or blue pad to really intensify the gloss.
After polishing you’ll want to apply a durable sealant, especially in your harsh Texas weather. You have a lot of good choices here…Blackfire Wet Diamond, Optimum Opti-Seal, or Menzerna Power Lock (among others). I would recommend applying it 3 times per year down there since the sun and heat is so brutal (I used to live in Texas, and know all about it!).
You don’t have to apply a wax over top of the sealant, but you can if you like. I find that it’s very easy to apply a fresh coat of wax during the washing and drying process when you use a spray wax. You can’t go wrong by adding a product like Optimum Car Wax to your arsenal.
So to summarize, you’l have these steps to follow when polishing:
- Thoroughly wash and dry
- Clay if necessary (usually a couple of times a year in most areas is all you need)
- Medium cut polish if defects are severe enough (always try your least aggressive method first though). Try Menzerna PO203S and a white pad.
- Finishing polish with Menzerna PO85RD and a black or blue pad.
- Apply sealant.
- Drive and enjoy!
I hope this helps you and others that wish to step up to the next level of detailing and paint polishing. Should you have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reply in the comment box below.