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
- Different jobs require a different speed setting on your polish machine. Although they can differ slightly per machine, the settings are fairly general per action. Knowing the right speed setting can make the difference between half results, and proper results....
- Washing your microfiber towels with a fabric softener is a very bad idea. It will clog up the microfibers, and make the microfiber loose its special properties. This guide might help you to restore them as much as possible. Even though this guide has helped several people, keep in mind that it is very likely that you'll need to replace the towels....
- It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: "what is the best polish". Off course there is a difference between certain products and brands, but it is important to know what you are asking. In this guide I will try to explain what the problem is with this question unless it is asked more in-depth....
- Overall pad performance is dependent on the type and amount of fabric, stiffness and length of the fibers and how they are attached to the pad. The difference between a foam pad, different kind of wool pads and a microfiber pad are discussed in relation to the Kevin Brown Method....
- Smartwax is an American brand of detailing products located in California. The brand was established around 2003 and has a fairly wide range of products that is being offered via several different resellers....
- When you have a matte wrap on your car, or just matte paintwork, you need to take care what protective product you are using. Protecting a matte finish is just as important as on a normal surface, but you need to be careful what you use....