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26 comments on Polishing Supplies for Experts and Beginners

  1. Kevin says:

    Just used M105 with my PC for the first time on a buddy’s 13 yr old Miata that had never been polished- WOW! As I was new to M105, I did two applications at lighter pressure with a white polishing pad rather than heavy pressure with a cutting pad, but it worked really well. Tried to follow it up with Meg’s #82 but wasn’t satisfied so I went out and bought M205 to use instead and was again blown away. My buddy is loving it as well and is a total noob to paint correction but was able to finish the job himself with great results. Great to have just two products to handle most any paint correction need. M105 worked great on the headlights, too!

    Ivan, are you going to have another detailers meet? I’m in Arlington Heights and would love to stop by. I’m an enthusiast, not a pro.

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      Glad you had good results with the M105/205 combo Kevin!

      As for another meet, I’ll probably host another event come next February/March, just before my busy season starts at work. Not sure yet how I’ll organize it or through which outlet online, but if you’re interested feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll put you on the email list for when the time comes.

  2. Albert says:

    Outstanding article, immensely useful.

  3. Billy Bob says:

    Hi Ivan,
    Would it be a wise idea to try M205 on a orange lake country pad? I like the ease of removing M205 vs. M105 and only have medium swirls to get out.
    Thank you!

  4. Bob B says:

    Excellent article, full of educational material and very easy to understand and apply to practice.
    It will be very nice and helpful if you can write a similar article for waxes, sealants and finishers.
    I thank you in advance.
    Best regards.

  5. Ivan Rajic says:

    Thanks guys!

    Billy Bob, M205 and Orange Lake Country pad is a great combination and usually does amazing work on all paints, but obviously wouldn’t finish down well on softer black paints. You could also try mixing M105 and M205 with different ratios (25% M105, 50/50, 25% M205, etc.) to see what works best for you, but any mixing will cut down well on the M105 dusting and ease of removal.

    Bob B, I will surely keep that in mind for my next few articles and try to compile a list.

    Thanks again!

  6. Moheb Hanna says:

    Hi Ivan,
    Could you pleas provide and explain how can I use M205 to finish down jet blacks BMW 2008 without marring and what pad do you suggest for that kind of color&car.

    Moheb Hanna
    Lancaster, CA

    • Ivan Rajic says:


      Unfortunately I can’t give you a straight answer or advice for that issue. The only thing I can say for certain is that sometimes, you simply can’t finish down on very soft jet black paint with M205, regardless of pad and technique.

      Here are a couple things that may help you though… You’ll definitely need to use a fine finishing pad, like black or crimson (what I typically use for finish polishing). If you’re using a random orbital (like Porter Cable or Griots Garage) or D/A (like the Flex 3401), you’ll want to try very light pressure and keep the speeds higher. I typically find that when I lower the speed, the orbit/throw of the machine makes more marring than if the pad simply spins faster. Other than that, you’ll simply have to experiment and try your best, otherwise go with something a bit finer and that breaks down to a finer abrasive.

      Hope that helps.

      • Edgar Poe says:

        Ivan: Thank you for your valuable info on polishing procedures. I was concerned which speed to use on my PC orbital polisher which left circular sanding marks on my stainless steel mirror housings. I was not aware of the different cutting properties and colors of pads to use for types of polish jobs but your article gave me a better idea of the right one to use. I will use a higher speed on my polisher in the future. I have a 1994 black Ford which I usually test products on. I am anxious to try the Merzerna Intensive polish and Merzerna Final polish on it and see the results. I also may try MG 205/105 before my final seal. I also like the results of Collinite 845 Insulator as it is a great sealer. Again, thanks for the info.

  7. Badabingjr says:

    I have a Phantom Black 2010 Audi S5 and a 1996 Porsche 993 Turbo in Midnight Blue. Are either of these “nightmare paints” as you described above, other otherwise special?

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      I haven’t worked with either of those paint specifically, so I don’t know for sure how they will react to paint correction, but I can almost guarantee the 96 Porsche will be a bit on the softer side. Doubt it’s a “nightmare” paint but is probably on the softer side.

  8. hcg says:

    I enjoy your site. Thanks for posting that. I will definitely come again to find out more and recommend my coworkers about this, hcg.

  9. Mr.Rivera says:

    Love this web site!!!!! So much info. A quick question, I have a black 2009 acura tl, i never buffed before(ROOKIE) so Im planning on buy the Griots 6inch polisher and using the Meguiar’s DA correction system(2 step) with their pads as well….whats ur input on this?? also what can I use to finish/seal the hard work that goes into other words i wanna make the shine last as long as it can….Thanks in advance!!!

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      I am assuming you’re talking about purchasing the D300 and D301 Meguiar’s combo. If so, there are a few issues you could run into, especially if you’re using the microfiber pads. If you plan on only using the 2 microfiber pads, I can almost guarantee that you will run into issues when trying to do finish polishing as the microfiber pad will most likely be too aggressive to finish well on the soft black Acura paint. You also might find that it is hard to correct any marring left by the D300 compound and microfiber, using only the D301 finishing wax, so you might need a 3rd combo.

      If you only want to get 2 pad/polish combinations, then I would suggest, as the 1st/correcting combo, D300 compound with an orange Lake Country pad (it’s a bit less aggressive than the microfiber pad and can be controlled enough to finish a lot better compared to the microfiber) or D300 with the Meguiar’s microfiber pad. If you go with Microfiber, just make sure you play around with it and try to finish down as well as possible before going to the finishing step. For the 2nd step, the D301 might be enough to correct any marring left by the 1st step, so if you’re going with the D301, I would say buy not only the microfiber finishing pad but also a black or crimson Lake Country pad in case the microfiber pad is too aggressive for the paint. As I said above, I can almost make a 100% guarantee that it will, but paint is tricky and you never know until you try.

      My recommendation for that paint would be to get 3 combos. D300 compound with the cutting microfiber pad, M205 with a white or crimson pad, and D301 or Menzerna PO85rd/SF4500 with a crimson or black pad. This would ensure you have something to correct the paint pretty well but also finish down really well. If you only want to get 2 combos, my recommendation would be D300 with microfiber for correction and Menzerna SF4500 with crimson or black for finishing.

      Hope that helps!

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      As for the sealant, you really can’t use anything but good washing and waxing techniques to make the shine the resulted from polishing last. Any sealant/wax you use will last a certain amount of time and give the paint good protection from the elements, but keeping swirl marks away is only done by proper washing methods and regular intervals for cleaning up the car.

  10. Larry B. says:

    Just discovered this site and really like it. I use the Flex 3401 and want to try the 5.5″ Megs MF cutting disk. Will they work ok on the smaller Flex backing plate. I’ve read we’re you should use the Megs backing plate but I don’t think it fits the Flex???

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      Hi Larry,

      That is one issue I’ve run into time over time. The regular Flex 3401 backing plate is too large for 5.5″ pads, which is what I use 99.9% of the time. Using the thicker foam pads is somewhat OK but still dangerous as the backing plate is slightly larger and can potentially hit the paint and damage it. On the other hand, the smaller 3401 plate works fine with the 5.5″ pads, but it lacks the size to apply pressure throughout the pad surface. Thus, the smaller plate works fine with the finishing process because you don’t need all the pressure, but when doing aggressive polishing, especially with the Meg’s MF cutting pads, you lose out on much better/faster results due to the lack of pressure. My solution has been cutting down the larger backing plate so it’s roughly 5-5.25″ in diameter. This way I’m not risking damaging the paint while getting all the necessary pressure when cutting. I don’t know what warranty issues may come up, but this has been the only solution I was able to come up with.

      Hope that helps!

  11. Tom says:

    Enjoyed your article about polishes. Are Menz polishes water based? I have successfully and happily used 106 and prepped the pad using a spritz of water. When I use Meg’s products I prep with 34. Is this the correct thing to do?

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      Hi Tom,

      I really couldn’t tell you the chemical makeup of the Menz polishes so hopefully someone else will chime in. I tend to not prep the pads at all aside from adding some water when doing compounding work with something like M105, but if the prep you’re doing is working well for you then I wouldn’t “fix it if it isn’t broken” as they say. I would just stay clear of prepping pads with anything that has wax or oil in it as it may interfere with how the polish works and also mask some defects, which will lead you to believe the finish is in better shape than it really is.

  12. charlie says:

    hi IVAN : just read your blog of 11/15/12 polishing supplies for experts & beginners (I’m a newbie) m105 d300 m205 po85rd , is this list still your go to products ? Because of new technology, products, and pads has your go to list changed?
    Thanks for any information that you can provide me.

    Charlie Weaver

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      Great question Charlie. Generally speaking, the answer is yes. I have started using M101 more (mixed with M105 as well as alone) but still use M105 and D300 alone. D300 is getting used quite less since M101 made it’s way into the shop. M205 is still a big regular and I don’t see dropping it until something much better comes along. PO85RD is also something we use quite a bit when in need of a good fine finishing polish.

      As for the pads, we still mainly use orange and crimson Lake Country pads. We also use Meguiar’s and Rupes microfiber pads, along with some other foam pads, but these two I believe are still 2 main pads that can help with cutting harder paints as well as finishing finicky paints.

  13. larry says:

    I have a 1975 Pinto with 3677 miles. I bought it with 610 miles in 2011. I think the prior owner did not take car of it at all through out those year, and the paint is seriously oxidized. When I try to apply a wax it bonds with the paint so bad it will not buff out and the applicator pad turns the color of the car. Is the clear coat gone? How do I bring back the shine without losing paint?

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      Larry are you sure there was ever clear coat on the car? If it’s original I’d guess that it was single stage paint, which would explain the really bad oxidation over the years, even with the low mileage. A good way to tell is if it’s consistently oxidized then it’s probably just single stage (whether original or repaint). You’re probably looking at doing 2-3 polishing stages with a machine in order to remove the oxidation and bring back the paint. As for losing the paint, I really can’t say without knowing the situation and how much is there, so I’d recommend possibly seeking a professional to try and help out at least get the restoration started. Wish I could be of more help.

  14. Troy says:

    Ivan, I have a beautifully restored black E-30 that was re-painted. It was shipped by train across country and was filthy. Has some moderate scratching, and on hood and truck almost a coat of god knows what. It needs work, but I am nervous about going at it with a compound that is too hard because so many posts I read are related to original factory paint. This car has several coats of clear coat. I was going to buy Mequiar’s correction starter kit with Porter Cable but wonder after reading your posts, if I should go at it with something more moderate — at least in terms of pads?

    • Ivan Rajic says:

      Hi Troy,

      You should be fine (or at least in better shape) on a repaint with thicker clearcoat than on OEM paint as it should be much thicker now. You will be fine with a Meguiar’s kit with M105 and M205 to start thing on it, but you may find that there are some sanding marks, etc. that need more aggressive pads/compounds or maybe even wetsanding due to the paint job. On the other hand you may find the paint is very sensitive and you may need something like the SF4500 from Menzerna if M205 is not fine enough of a polish.

      In short, you have to get started somewhere and the M105/205 kit with 2-4 different pads is always a great start.

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