Prep needed prior to polishing:
You see the pictures online from your favorite detailers and you wonder how those results are continually achieved car after car. Obviously, there are many factors such as products, technique, and knowledge that allow the detailer to bring a car back from a less than desirable condition, but there are very important steps that need to be done prior to starting the polishing portion of paint correction work…ITS ALL IN THE PREP! You want to properly cleanse and strip all parts of the car of any foreign substances so that you are working with bare surfaces.
What I mean by prep are the steps needed to be taken to properly clean and ensure the surface is ready to be polished up. Precautions need to be taken to ensure edges are not burned, trim is not stained and melted, and everything you dont want polish splatter on is protected. Have you ever tried to remove polish from side mirror trim that has been sitting and baking on there day after day in the hot sun? Its not fun and can be extremely bothersome for the type of individual who likes a perfectly detailed car. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to even deal with that in the first place? I think so!!!
Specific areas to take caution with are uneven adjacent panels, metal panels with plastic panels next to them, and edges of panels where the paint is more thin and more susceptible to burning through aggressive polishing. While you are polishing an area with uneven panels, the pad will “grip and grab” on the higher edge and will in turn, become more aggressive at that instance and will lead to a greater chance of burning an edge. With panels that are of a different material such as metal doors and plastic side skirts, caution needs to be taken as each material will heat up at different rates, requiring different polishing speeds, and polish/pad selection in some cases, as well as working time. While one will require, and withstand, a 2 minute working time, the adjacent might only allow 30 seconds before it gets too hot and raise the chances for burning the paint. In regards to edges, those are the first areas to go when polishing. As mentioned before, as the pad goes off the edge and then returns to the panel, the pad becomes more aggressive at that instance. Instead of looking at a burned edge from then on, protect the edge with some masking tape.