This question was recently submitted on the DI Blog:
… I read your Honda/Acura article about soft paint but I can’t seem to find any info on the VW paint. I was thinking of getting the PC 7424xp and the Meguiar’s M105/205 and the Blackfire Wet Diamond sealant. I have clayed both cars in the past but I was looking for advice on polishing these cars and a good high heat sealant. I don’t wan’t to mess up either car, especially the GTI…
Thanks for a wonderful site.
Given we have done quite a few VW/Audi and work closely with a specialized VW/Audi shop who outsources his detailing services to us, we figured we could post some good examples of how VW/Audi paint reacts to polishing, and give Ken plenty of ideas and inspiration.
Ken, every car brand has their own specifications and requirements for the paints and processes they use to apply them to their vehicles. Moreover, each specific paint combination will result in different hardnesses. Further, environmental wear takes place at different rates, which will affect the hardness and condition of the paint prior to polishing. So no two vehicles are exactly the same.
With this said, we can certainly group manufacturers into general categories based on typical results found among their vehicles. Honda can be categorized as softer than average. In general, Audi/VW can be categorized as average to harder than average. There are always fliers in the data, and specifically Honda has probably the softest paint we have dealt with (Berlina Black). VW has one if the hardest paints we have dealt with (B5 Passat in Burgundy), and one of the softest (2010 VW GTi in non-metallic black). In general, lighter colors seem to be harder than darker colors. Again, there are always fliers in the data.
Now, with your VW/Audi ready for polishing, how do you decide on polish and pad combination? Easy, use one of the most versatile combinations out there, with a Dual Action polisher like the PC7424: Meguiar’s M105 on an Orange Lake County pad + Meguiar’s M205 on a Black Lake County pad. This combination will work on almost any paint and provide plenty of correction and great refining capabilities. If you have a soft color, you will have to refine further by adding a step with something like Menzerna PO85RD on a Blue Lake County pad at very slow orbit speed. If you have a hard color, you can always increase the cutting action of the M105 by using an advanced technique like the Kevin Brown Method. Just make sure the M205 on black is indeed removing any marring caused by the aggressive M105 KBB Method. 2 to 3 passes with M205 on black usually takes care of anything left behind by an orange pad. White pads with M205 typically require further refining on anything but the hardest of paints. White pads are a great option for M105 for softer paints.
As far as sealants that resist higher temperatures, any of the sealants will work. Sealants resist heat cycles much better than waxes, and will last longer on your vehicle in your latitude. I like Klasse, although it is sightly more difficult to apply and remove. Blackfire has a deeper look, and goes on and off much easier. But any sealant will suffice. More important than what sealant to choose now, is the need to routinely wash and re-apply sealant to your vehicle. I would use a high-shine Quick Detailer like Dodo Juice Red Mist after each wash, and a new coat of sealant every month or two or after any harsh cleaning. Once you get the paint smooth and polished, sealing and subsequent applications will be very quick and easy.
Here is a picture of the Burgundy Passat Wagon we were unable to correct further. Not only was this vehicle in severe condition, the owner was not interested in further correction and had a budget to stick to. The vehicle still looks great and glossy, but further correction will require sanding and more time. Tools used were M105 on a Yellow pad using the Makita Rotary + a product equivalent to M205 (D151) on an Orange pad.
Looks great done:
But you can tell the deepest RIDS remain given the right light angle:
After first few passes with M105:
This black Golf TDi had super soft paint. These defects required just a very quick pass of M105, and the rest of the paint just needed a light jeweling with Menzerna PO85RD and a blue pad on the PC 7424
After a few more passes:
This Passat CC in Metallic Black had just 2000 miles. Its paint was quite soft. Here we are using the slight increase in power from the Makita Rotary Polisher to up the cutting power of M205 and a Black pad. We used this finishing polish to correct the RIDS and swirls!
Looks good! Needs further refining but the M205 corrected sufficiently:
Also on this vehicle, the Paint Protection Film installed over the front end lacked clarity and needed some help. We used the PC 7424 with a Black pad on speed 5 with M205 to restore the transparency of this film, and reduce the appearance of the film per se. Notice the tape lines in the paint protection film where we have yet to apply polish showing the color and opacity the film had when we started. This made a huge difference in how the car looked overall, and make the film virtually invisible.
Hopefully this helps shed some light on how to tackle your VW/Audi’s paint!