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How do you do a testspot

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A testspot is a small area where you try out different combinations of polish, polishing pads and even machines or techniques, to see what works best with the given situation.

Why do a testspot

Not every vehicle, surface or material is the same. And they also don’t all react the same to a certain product. Some cars have soft paint, others have very hard paint. This might require a different polish, different polishing pads, different machines and even different techniques. A testspot can show you which combination of the above will give you the best result. This will help you to save time on the long run by having a much more effective and efficient combination. More on this can be found in “What is a testspot”.

Where to do a testspot

A testspot is usually done in a inconspicuous area, this because you are testing combinations. To do this, try to find an area on the vehicle that matches most of the surface you are going to work on but is also slightly out of sight. A few good area’s to consider could be: the back of the tailgate or the underside of a door. A bumper can also be chosen, but because the bumper is often made from plastic, the material itself can result in the paint reacting slightly different then the rest of the vehicle. On a motorbike, a good area to consider could be the front fender.

What to keep in mind when doing a testspot

There are a few things you can consider keeping in mind when doing a testspot, not all of these are always needed, but we try to make the list as complete as possible. Experience and knowledge will help you to better understand which ones are relevant for your situation and which aren’t.

  • What polishes are you going to use. Always start with the least aggressive and carefully work your way up to find the one that gives the best result. Also consider SMAT and DAT
  • What polishpad are you going to use. Always start with the least aggressive
  • Are you going to use a rotary or a DA
  • How much pressure are you going to apply. Keep in mind you will need to apply this pressure while doing the entire vehicle
  • Are you going for the fastest solution, or the best solution. The fastest solution will save you time, but a less flawless finish. The best solution will give you a flawless finish, but cost more time (and perhaps more product)
  • What speed are you going to use. A higher speed will make the polish work faster, but also dry up quicker. It might even cause more dust. Working slower will give less dust and makes the product dry less quick, and might also give the polish particles a better chance of breaking down. (read: SMAT or DAT)
  • What protective product will be applied. A wax will fill in very small imperfections, so you might need less work. The wax will perform a bit like a glaze. A sealant or coating will not fill in anything, which means that the finish has to be flawless.
  • Check wether the area you are working on has been resprayed. This might be difficult to find, but a paint depth gauge might help

General things to keep in mind

There are several tips that should always be kept in mind:

  • Don’t tape off the area. 50/50 shots might be nice to show the difference, but it will also cause an uneven finish
  • Always start with the least aggressive combination
  • It might be necessary to chance your combination
  • Never do a testspot on a panel that has been resprayed, this might be difficult to see but a paint depth gauge might help
  • When using extra pressure on your testspot, keep in mind you will need to maintain this pressure during the entire vehicle. This might not be very goo for your back and/or muscles

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Links to this article

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  • […] When you are going to polish an entire vehicle, you might have a lot of work ahead of you. Using a combination of pads and polishes that give the best result in the shortest time will save you quite a bit of time and effort. Possible even the amount of product you need to use, which means you save on cost. This combination should be aimed at only saving time, because you can simply skip steps to save time, but mostly at finding the most efficient and effective combination of products and techniques. More can be read in “How do you do a testspot”. […]

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