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PREP TIME!!! A couple of steps before polishing


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.

Items I use for paint correction prep are the following:
Dawn Dish Soap
Chemical Guys Citrus Wash
Meguiar’s Super Degreaser
Meguiar’s Masking Tape
Blue Painters Tape
IPA alcohol
Prep Sol

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Eric Schuster Envious Detailing
Eric Schuster
Envious Detailing
Orange County, CA

2 comments on PREP TIME!!! A couple of steps before polishing

  1. Moheb says:

    Hello Eric,
    I like what you said but I would like to introduce myself first. I live in Lancaster, CA
    and I’m not professional detailer. However, I do detailing for my family cars and friends only and my knowledge has been increased in this area based on getting the information from different forums. The question I would like to ask is that. What you do first clay bar or IPA alcohol (50/50) prior to polishing? Also I heared about you can use ice to settale the wax on the car as the last step-is that approach sounds good? Please advice.

    Thanks and Merry Xmas

  2. Hey moheb,

    Its not actually ice you are using on the car, but rather ice cold water. It you used ice, you would really scratch the car up!! I believe what you referring to is something called spit shinning. Take a bottle of really cold water and use that as a “quick detailer” right after you have removed the wax from the car. Whether or not there is a huge benefit, I dont know, but some people swear by it.

    As for the clay or ipa first question, you want to clay first. There will be some clay lubricant residue on the paint which needs to be removed prior to polishing so that you are working with bare surfaces. Otherwise, you can get a hydroplaning effect if you try polishing over it, which reduce the effectiveness of the polishing abrasives. You can still polish and get results if you skip the ipa step, but it only takes 5 min to wipe down the whole car and yield better results in my opinion. You can also ipa wipedown the car after washing it if you want to ensure the wax is removed, but a thorough dawn was or a CG citrus wash should do the trick. Its just important to make sure the surfaces are bare prior to polishing.

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