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19 comments on What Causes Swirl Marks?

  1. John says:

    Great article..!..I especially applaud the section regarding QD wipe downs. I’ve learned the hard way that I don’t touch a dusty car with anything…until its been washed used the correct washing technique. The use of QDs, at car shows (after the car has been driven miles to the show), and also at home for folks who just want to get a light coating of dust off…forget about it (no, I’m not from Brooklyn). QDs seem to give folks a false sense of security, and should only be used immediately after a wash, be it with either ONR or a conventional wash shampoo.

    I know that you put the QD section last, but in my own learning experience, that is the part that was causes my problems. Now I let the car get dirty before I touch it again. I don’t do spot cleaning, nor “dusting” with waterless washes, QDs, etc…I just let it get dirty and wash it properly once per week. Then immediately apply either a QD or something else like a spray sealant.

  2. Patrick says:

    Excellent article Ivan and 100% agree with John’s statement about QD’s. Biggest mistake many can make (especially on dark colored cars) is to QD their dusty car the next day after washing. Let it get dirty!

  3. Shane says:

    Hey Todd,
    Great article! Lots of good info. I can understand why you don’t like using quick detailers, but what about waterless washes? How do you feel about those?

  4. Shane says:

    Sorry, that comment is for Ivan. Wasn’t paying attention to who the author was! Oops.

  5. David says:

    If I recall correctly from one of Todd C’s previous articles:

    “Never touch your paint surface with something that you wouldn’t touch your eye with”

  6. Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

    Thanks for all the comments guys! The QD is definitely a big no-no and I’m happy that many others are aware.

  7. Andy Erickson says:

    Ivan, I second all the kudos here. Your posts recently have been very helpful and also keep me engaged in the conversation. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  8. Scott says:

    Lot’s of good information here Ivan! Thanks! What are your thoughts on forced air in regard to drying? To me, anything that facilitates water removal from the paint without physically touching it can only be a good thing. Also, a filter to remove mineral sediments in the rinse water seems to be a good idea as well. Again, thanks for a great overview on minimizing swirls!!

    2009 Viper

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Hi Scott,

      I am a fan of forced air but I like filtered forced air. Using non-filtered blowers CAN cause bombardment of the paint with some particles flying around, so even if nothing happens it can. In any case, yes a filtration system for the water is also a great idea as it helps quite a bit.

      Thanks for reading!

  9. tom says:

    did a google search seen u article very inforative had a bad exiperience going through a automatic car wash that pull u car through it stop had to drive through with it dry then the plastic door flaps closed on the car as driving out thank for u articale it explain the marks on the new car second wash first wash a touchless no problems any advice would help

  10. Jack says:

    Hi Ivan got my car detailed.I won’t detail again till the fall.I have a flat black jeep.I use the two bucket method soft sheepskin all that stuff.my question is what wax would be the best to use for in between waxing one that would be smooth,residue free,also one that would eliminate swirls or cover them up for the longest period.In between detailing some unfortunetly will occur .

  11. Vince says:

    Ivan ,what about steam? I have bought a steam machine for my car wash . Can that be considered QD?

  12. Tony Italia says:

    I will be storing car for months, but have to use a cover. No chance to rewash car when get to storage. I sit okay to have simple cover on? It is indoors and no wind. Temp min, 40 degrees. Simple flannel/fleece cover necessary in storage.

    Also, should I put a fourth coat of SG on or first coat of s100 wax, then restart in spring with a complete cycle.


    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Tony, for the cover I would say if you HAVE to use it, then you simply have to use it. In this case the possibility of swirl marks is far less important than protecting the car with the cover, so you need to simply make sure both the car and cover are as clean as possible when you put it on. Also, make sure you remove it as little as possible or not at all before it’s ready to leave storage.

      As for the protection, you can go either way, completely up to you. I personally prefer to put a couple of coats of sealant with a coat of wax before winter, then use wax throughout the warmer months and repeat the cycle in late fall. With the paint coatings such as 22ple, GlossCoat, etc., I have for the past few years completely eliminated the sealant/wax process and would simply polish and coat every 1-2 years, then use a spray wax/sealant every 2-4 months to keep it looking good and protected.

  13. DENNIS BLMLIME says:

    When car dusty, not dirty, just hose it off. I never hand dry my c7 Corvette. I use a blower.
    I also will use my soap gun, lather up the car, then hose off & dry with blower. I never touch the car using this method

  14. Phillip says:

    Great article!

  15. William says:

    I believe what Ivan meant is that the application and removal of wax may cause swirls and scratches, not the wax itself.

    For instance, some dust stuck in your wax applicator and the wax youre using requires pressure to be applied. This can lead to pressure applied to dust into your paint, resulting in swirls. Same concept with removal, dust caught in between towel and wax and pressure applied to remove the wax.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong

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