Simply put, a “Test Spot” is a sectioned-off area on a car panel (usually about 20″ x 20″ on the hood or trunk) that is used to dial in ones polishing process. The idea being that you want to make sure you can polish one small section and achieve your desired results before going over the whole car. The risk of not utilizing a test spot is that you could end up spending the whole afternoon polishing, only to be let down later when you pull the car out in the sun! Believe it or not, this comes up fairly often on detailing forums. The owner starts a thread complaining about the results he got from product “X,” and that he spent the whole day polishing his car. Guess what, he never did a test spot! Had he used this tip, he would have noticed right away that his process was not achieving the desired results.
Here is an example of a few of my test panels. I actually like to do them on side panels as it’s easier to inspect with my lights.
Now, if you really wanted to be thorough, you can go a step further like professionals, Marc and Jacob of Auto Lavish. These crazy cats will actually do several test panels with different pads, polishes, and tools. After testing they inspect each section carefully and determine which combination yields the best results! Heck, they even label each section so that they don’t forgot what was used on each one…very creative and a great idea!
So save yourself from wasting the afternoon and do your test spot!