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Beginner Polishing Packages for DIY Detailing Enthusiasts

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I’ve written a few articles on polishing tools and products, such as My Favorite One Stage Polishing Routines, My Favorite Two Stage Polishing Routines and Polishing Supplies for Experts and Beginners.  Those are great informational tools, but all of those articles assume the reader has a good amount of knowledge on the available supplies and possibly even owns a polisher of some sort.  With this article, I wish to provide a more beginner-like approach to shopping first time for some polishing supplies.  Well, let’s get to it…

I have come to find out there are three types of “beginners” shopping for polishing supplies, machines, etc and I’ve listed them below along with a polishing kit that I believe best resembles what they’re looking to purchase.

Apply Wax/Sealant by Machine

aap-packages-1

First off are the readers who have probably done a lot of washing, waxing, vacuuming and wheel cleaning, but have never needed or bothered to look into buying a machine, until now of course!  Usually these guys are looking to only start by applying sealants and/or waxes by machine to make it a bit quicker and possibly get some better results.  This is a great way to get used to machine polishing and where many enthusiasts started.  It’s extremely safe, so while making the job of protecting the paint more efficient, it also helps in teaching how to control the polisher and keep the pads flat.

Recommended Kit:

Minor Polishing with an Actual Paint Correcting Polish

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Second in line are those that have experience with a polisher and possibly want to start correcting swirl marks on their own or maybe just getting better results.  The products below are capable of making a major improvement in basically all paint types, but are also safe enough for inexperienced detailers or for working on sensitive paint.  Rupes is a much better machine than the Porter Cable, so if it’s within the budget I’d probably recommend the Rupes.  Both will greatly improve any paint finish so if Rupes is not within the budget, there’s really no need to wait a while for one.  The PC 7424XP also holds its value, so when the time comes, you can always sell the PC and get most of your money back before purchasing the Rupes.

Recommended Kit:

Advanced DIY Readers Looking for Quicker and/or More Consistent Results

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Lastly, we have those detailers who have owned some sort of machine polisher and did minor polishing with good results.  As car guys though, we all know good is never good enough, so the kit below contains polishes and pads that will allow an enthusiast to really make the paint pop.

Recommended Kit:

I believe the kits above will help everyone greatly reduce shopping around endlessly for products, but I am in no way saying they are the “carved in stone” type products and nothing else works.  I always encourage experimenting and finding what works best for you, but the kits listed here will be a great starting point.

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Ivan Rajic Lustr Deatil
Ivan Rajic
LUSTR Auto Detail
481 W Wise Road
Schaumburg, IL 60193
LustrDetail.com
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10 comments on Beginner Polishing Packages for DIY Detailing Enthusiasts

  1. Wes says:

    Great read Ivan! Can the Lake Country orange pad always take the place of the Meguiar’s microfiber cutting pad? I noticed on the directions, Meguiar’s often calls for their own brand of pads.

    • The Orange Light Cutting Pads are not as aggressive as the Microfiber Cutting pads. In most cases, however, the orange pad paired with a cutting compound like M105/D300 (as Ivan suggested) will produce fantastic results. MF cutting pads are useful when very heavy cutting is required or when working on particularly hard paint.

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Wes, as Zach said, the orange pads don’t “take the place” of the microfiber pads, rather are an alternative tool for polishing somewhat aggressively. In some cases, I find that the orange pads work better (cut as much or at least enough for me and finish better) whereas other times the microfiber pads will get the best results. I simply recommend orange pads if you’re only looking at one pad type for compounding as they’ll normally cut and correct well, but almost always finish better than microfiber pads, requiring less work after.

      As for the Meg’s pads with Meg’s polishes “necessity”, it’s really not true. Any polish can normally be used with any pad. That said, Meguiar’s is one of the few companies out there that manufactures products and tools together, so using their products together you can expect the best results. Hope that makes sense!

  2. Wes says:

    Thanks for the info guys. That cleared it up for me!

  3. Paul says:

    Curious why you don’t suggest the Griots Garage Polisher in the beginner packages? I started machine polishing with a Griots (with a 5″ BP and 5.5″ pads) as a beginner and never ran into any of the problems many beginners have with the PC bogging down under pressure because the Griots is so much more powerful. On top of that the LifeTime Warranty on the Griots is very comforting especially for those of us who only take care of our own cars—we might use a polisher 5-10 times per year and if it failed after 3 or 4 years it is nice to know it will be replaced by Griots at no charge.

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Paul, there’s really no big reason for the recommendation of the Porter Cable instead of the Griots Garage machine. I simply have more experience with the Porter Cable and it’s a more durable machine. You are correct in that the Griots is more powerful and probably better for some correction where you really have to lean into it, but it is also slightly more expensive so that could be a deciding factor. If going for the Griots, I do recommend the 25′ cord version as it has a thicker cord and it seems noticeably more powerful with it vs the 10′ version.

      At the end of the day, they’re both really good polishers and will get you the same results, with the Griots taking the edge in power and maybe some correcting ability.

  4. Bruce says:

    Does the Rupes duetto correct more then a p/c, GG6 & is it worth the difference for 3-4 times a yr? & how does the FG400/4000 compo, compare to the Blackfire compound/polish , on 5-8yr old fords & Dodge pu? Or just use the Rupes pads/compounds/polishes w/ the duetto?

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Hi Bruce,

      I don’t have much experience with the Duetto so really can’t say how much more or less it corrects than the other 2. I tried it at Sema last year and I liked working with it, but I do also like both the PC and GG6.

      As for the polishes, I have no experience with the Blackfire compound, but I do like their polish as well as both the Menzerna products. I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of the mentioned polishes as many professionals use them on a daily basis.

  5. Bruce says:

    Say Ivan, The reason, I mentioned the Duetto, is I hear its so much smoother to run that a PC or GG6. So for pads, I was thinking of LC’s ccs orange, white & grey. How does LC’s Hydro-tech pads compare? Have you tried GG super fast mf pads? So for compound/polishes? FG400/4000 combo? Or what would I start w/ SI 1500 or IP 2000? Menzerna sure has a lot of products. The reason I like Blackfire, is simple compound, finishing polish. Thanx for your input Ivan. Bruce

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Hi Brian, as I said, I don’t have enough experience with the Duetto to compare to PC or GG6. I know from what I hear it’s a great machine and it is smoother, for what it’s worth. I mainly use LC hydro tech crimson and regular orange pads, along with white, purple foamed wool and some Rupes and Meg’s pads as well. You can never have too many. I haven’t tried the GG pads.

      For polishes, Menzerna definitely has great polishes and depending on your paint type, you can either go with FG400 and SF4000 or for softer paints maybe SI1500 and SF4500. Your best bet is getting 3 polishes to make sure you can cover almost anything, so that would be FG400 (or Meg’s 105 if you prefer), PF2500 (or Meg’s 205) and SF4500.

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