Should I polish with orbital car polisher?

Discussion in 'Detailing & Showroom' started by Purch23, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. Purch23

    Purch23 Karting

    Jul 2, 2019
    Full Name:
    The paint on my 2008 F430 rosso corsa is in great condition but I wouldn't mind it gleaming a bit more. I've never used an orbital polisher and I'm wondering if it will provide next level results. But on the other hand I wouldn't want to damage the paint.

    Anyone have experience with that?

    Any recommended polishing product?

    This video seems viable.
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  3. EastMemphis

    EastMemphis Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 25, 2019
    Memphis, TN
    Full Name:
    My best suggestion: Try it on your wife's Honda or Lexus first.

    Power polishing is an art and skill. Personally, I've found that hand polishing is better for me since it won't possibly burn the surface or edges and it can be done quietly. I've always managed to have a pretty decent outcome without a machine.
  4. C50

    C50 Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 19, 2016
    I went through a similar process of wanting to improve my car’s paint and remove the swirls that had accumulated, followed by the Internet research to try and understand how to do it and then do the online shopping of parts.
    Ultimately I decided to pay an expert who drives one of these machines routinely to do an outstanding job.
    It cost a little bit more than the By-in for the parts, but they have the skills that I would not be developing as a very infrequent hobbyist.
    My 0.02
  5. cpep

    cpep Formula Junior
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    Nov 11, 2017
    new york
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    You cant really hurt the paint with an orbital. Its not like a standard polisher that spins at high speed and can burn the paint. If you don't have any swirls (need to look close with a flashlight or bright sun) then just get a micro finishing polish. If you do have swirls then the maguires two step works very well.
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  6. KC360 FL

    KC360 FL Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Jun 20, 2017
    Melbourne Florida
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    FYI... Grinders are not buffers. Different machines. A common mistake is to try and buff a car with a grinder that reaches speeds of 3500RPM and much more.
    A true professional buffer with a 9" foam pad only reaches about 1300RPM max. My machine has a variable speed switch that allows for complete control. I don't recommend using one of these machines if you are not used to handling one. They are heavy and the fatigue factor can cause "mistakes".

    A dual action buffer is pretty safe with a foam pad and satisfying results can be achieved without the high stress factor. The one in the video above seems to be a very low RPM machine. It's pretty safe but it will take quite some time to do a whole car.
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  8. E60 M5

    E60 M5 Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Jan 2, 2006
    Wash DC area
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    You will get some good answers here in this section
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  9. Ghostdiver

    Ghostdiver Formula Junior

    Mar 18, 2005
    Southeast Texas
    Full Name:
    Wally Hollar
    I've owned my 360 since 2014 and I've done several DIY jobs that my inner voice said, "sure you can do this." Most have turned out okay, some haven't. I have a polisher and pads but when my inner voice says "go ahead, what can happen," I think about those times when things didn't go as planned and I just want to throat punch that little voice.....

    Let the pros do it. There's more to it than meets the eye and it takes years to master the technique to do it right.
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  10. Silentnoiz

    Silentnoiz Karting

    Nov 18, 2017
    Full Name:
    Silent Noiz
    I bought an orbital (it doesn't spin, it gyrates, so not likely to damage paint). There are many different products on the market, I chose to use Wolfgang's (I have no affiliation to this brand). I washed and dried, used a compound with a cutting pad (to get rid of swirls), then a polisher, then a paint sealer, then a spray on wax. I applied with the orbital section by section followed by a hand wipe/buff. I was very pleased with the results, the color really deepened and popped and I got rid of most of the swirls/streaks. I spent an entire day doing this, but I enjoyed it, and the outcome was satisfying. :)
  11. George Vosburgh

    George Vosburgh F1 Rookie

    May 26, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'm 62 years old and I've been detailing cars since I was 16. Ferrari paint is very soft and very thin. If you want to try on your Fcar, I would suggest very soft pad, slow speeds, very little pressure. Sonax is a great product ( no affiliation ), it's a one step that wipes off very easily after using the machine. Wash and clay the car first, use one pad for two or three sections and then change the pad. Remember the slow way IS the fast way!
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  13. Silentnoiz

    Silentnoiz Karting

    Nov 18, 2017
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    Silent Noiz
    Oh, forgot that I clayed between wash/dry and compound. That made it silky smooth and was a MUST for the subsequent steps.
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  14. V4NG0

    V4NG0 Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 14, 2018
    Looking for parts NLA
    ^—-what he said. Random orbital only. Soft foam pads only. Slow or slow-medium speed coupled with moderate pressure. No terry towels or old t-shirts; use microfiber towels when removing. The product used matters less than the technique. If you do these things, your car’s paint will be fine.
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  15. steved033

    steved033 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Apr 12, 2017
    Atlanta, GA
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    Steve D.
    #12 steved033, Jan 31, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
    F430 paint should be fine. I'm 90% sure they moved beyond single stage at that point. Practice on a honda is great advice. You'll get a feel for the power of the machine, and how to keep the area moving and how to overlap and how to change direction. THe first time you turn the machine up to high speed, it's REALLY REALLY intimidating.

    Rotary polishers are where you can get into trouble, especially with wool pads. No one really needs to be that aggressive, but for the pros who do several cars a day, it massively speeds up the process.

    1. Random orbital is great. Porter Cable or Griots machines are a great start. As you research you'll see more on short throw and long throw machines. The Pros use long throw machines. Watch the tutorials on how to use the machine you buy. Watch the tips and tricks ones too. TAPE! TAPE matte finishes, and edges you don't want to polish.
    2. Go with a good quality polish. I personally use Menzerna Products. Their 3 in 1 is all you need for a regularly driven car. I use an orange hexlogic pad with this product. Two and Three step polishings are overkill for the average consumer. Concours day, you may consider this amount of work. (I did the blue 348 in a lower thread with 3 in 1, and the car did a track day at Daytona International, and still looks great!)
    3. use a good wax after the 3 in 1, or a polymer topcoat. I use the Jescar Powerlock as a top coat. I use a black pad and a medium speed to apply.
    4. DO NOT RUSH. The blue 348 in the thread below took almost 9 hours start to finish. I have almost 12 in my Rosso 348.
    5. DO NOT cram a big pad into a small area. Work tight and small areas by hand, or with a 3" (or smaller) machine.
    6. CLEAR BRA. TAPE the edge of a clear bra so the machine doesn't chew up the edge of the tape. Hand work any coating on top of the clear film. If the film has been done correctly, the paint should have been already corrected. I got some great advice from a pro on this.
    7. LED light really shows the imperfections. You'll pick up on all the swirls and spiderwebs in the paint.

    Your DIY steps should be Wash, Clay, wash again, dry, tape edges, do machine work, top coat, beer.


    blue 348 detail:

    my car: Image Unavailable, Please Login

    during correction:
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  16. msark

    msark Karting
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 18, 2017
    Southern California
    The best money you will spend on improving the finish is to someone who has professional experience with the orbital. Video's make everything look easy.
    AND ... Stay away from clay bars .... Unless you really have the experience you might as well use steel wool ....
  17. PTG1

    PTG1 Formula Junior

    Oct 7, 2017
    Full Name:
    Buy a good dual action polisher with high torque and you can get almost all the correction of an orbital polisher without the risk of burning the paint

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using mobile app
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  18. slm

    slm F1 Rookie
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    Dec 5, 2004
    Ozark Americana
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    Steve M
    FIFY o_O
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  19. steved033

    steved033 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Apr 12, 2017
    Atlanta, GA
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    Steve D.
    an orbital (random orbital) IS a dual action.

    The rotarys are the danger zone. I have one of those too, I did one car with it, it did okay.

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  20. Purch23

    Purch23 Karting

    Jul 2, 2019
    Full Name:
    Thanks everyone, great advice!!
  21. flat-12

    flat-12 Formula Junior

    Mar 18, 2011
    I'm using a rotary Fein WPO 12 for some years and really like this tool - but i would really not recommend a rotary polisher for the first attempts. Orbital is the right way to go.

    Start with a "soft" polishing compound and take a look at your result, you can still use a more aggressiv compound.
    Menzerna (no affiliation) is my favourit, they have a huge range of polish compounds - the product overview is good for general comprehension of compound and I highly recommend buying small packaging size - 250 ml lasts for years.

    Have fun and show us some pictures of your results!
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  22. JLF

    JLF Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 8, 2009
    I have a lot of polishing experience but I’m no professional. You really can’t go wrong with a Griots 6 inch polisher and a 3 inch for smaller areas for us amateurs. I use McGuire’s polishes because they have a number scale on the front that shows how ‘aggressive” it will be. I just finished my car a week ago. Second time I’ve polished it but this time I took my time and tried for perfection. I also experimented with different pads and compounds. I was surprised at how different the results were with different pads using the same compound. For instance I tried a lake country blue pad with the lightest grit McGuires glaze and it left the area looking milky and hazy. Which was easily corrected by going back to a black pad and swirl remover. I still have some spots that have scratches that I’m too scared to try and correct but 98 percent of the car came out amazing.
    Bottom line is get some Griots black finishing pads and some Orange pads, there are other fine brands of course but now I know what works for me. I used McGuires swirl remover on most areas with a black pad and it will get rid of most everything and still pretty safe on paint removal. A couple of spots I went orange pad and one step up on the polish for more scratched areas. My car has single stage paint though.
    I find it relaxing listening to music and having a couple cold ones locked away in my garage while polishing.

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  23. Solid State

    Solid State F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Feb 4, 2014
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    Nosmo King
    Years ago I used to hand polish my DD cars and swore on McGuires products. Then a friend who was not a car guy said that he heard McGuires contains petrochemicals and turns paint white over time. Sure enough a black car I had started to turn white in places. Since then I always read the label for petrochemicals although I gave up doing the work myself besides washing a while back. I think most waxes do indeed contain such ingredients though.
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  24. moysiuan

    moysiuan Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 1, 2005
    Regardless of the polisher or compounds, make sure you use masking tape the edges and crease lines of the body panels, this is where you can go right through the paint. If you do this, and use light compinds and pads, you will not damage the paint. The Griots orbitals and related compounds and pads have done a beautiful job for me.
  25. Mighty Joe

    Mighty Joe Formula 3

    Sep 3, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
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    Awesome info....

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