English English Nederlands Nederlands Deutsch Deutsch Italiano Italiano Español Español Français Français 简体中文 简体中文 Português Português Русский Русский
    DetailingWiki Newsletter
    Get free and automatic updates on new articles
    We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!

    Advertisement

How to prepare paintwork before polishing

Written by:

When you are going to polish any surface, you are going to rub a product over the surface. While doing this you need a very controlled matter of particles to move over the surface to have any control over the result you’ll achieve. Preparing the paintwork will help you to get as much control as possible.

Why all that preparation of the paintwork?

When you are moving particles over any surface, you want to have full control over what they will do. Having unwanted particles can result in unwanted results. If you have unwanted particles moving over your surface, you can’t control how they interact with the surface and what type of effect they give. For example, iron particles can be present and have very sharp uneven shapes and edges. This means that they can “scratch” the surface much more then a polishing particle would. The result can be that you create deeper marks with the moving iron particle, then the polish you are using. You also have no control over how long it takes for the iron particle to loose it’s effect, which could mean that it keeps on scratching when the polish particles have been broken down.
Moving around unwanted particles can result in more deep scratches and swirls then the ones you are trying to remove.

What are you aiming for

In an ideal world, you would be aiming for a surface without any unwanted particles. Perfectly clean or anything except for the surface itself. In the case of automotive paintwork, you are looking at just paintwork. No dirt, sand, dust, iron particles, water, mineral deposits etc.etc. Just and only paintwork.
When you apply a polish, and start working it in, you want to be in full control over the end result, and only a perfectly clean surface can bring you this control.
In the real world, it’s almost impossible to get a perfectly clean surface, however, you can try to get as close to perfection as possible.

Things that are not enough

Many people will believe that they just need to wash their car to get a perfectly clean surface. The truth is that this is not true. After washing a surface, there will still be trace amounts of certain particles left. Iron particles are difficult to wash off, as are grime and tar. Here is a little list of preparation that is not enough to achieve full decontamination:

The steps

A perfectly clean surface is very difficult to do. Even the small amount of dust in the air will prevent you from achieving this. However, you can strive to achieve the best cleaned surface that is possible given the situation. Full decontamination is the aim.

  • Consider using snowfoam to loosen up the dirt, and wash off a big part of the dust
  • Consider using a TFR to loosen up any grime
  • Wash the surface to remove any dust and dirt
  • Use a fallout remover to chemically remove any iron-oxide particles
  • Consider using a tar remover if there is tar and/or glue on the surface
  • Clay the area with a claybar and claylube
  • Wash the surface again to remove any traces of the claylube
  • Consider using a silicon remover if you think any such product was used in the past
  • Use a panel wipe, such as IPA (or similar) to remove any oils left behind

After the paintwork has been cleaned as much as is possible, it will feel smooth to the touch. Any water behavior should’ve changed as well. However, perfect beading or sheeting won’t occur.

Some pointers to take into account

  • Try to work on a cool surface, a hot or cold surface might have an effect on how well certain cleaning products perform
  • Remember that claying can cause marring. Even the best technique of claying can cause marring
  • Don’t let product dry up. Once fully dried up, they can leave trace amounts behind even though they are not visible to the human eye
  • It is impossible to tell how clean a surface really is by looking or touching it. The only perfect way to know for sure, would be a microscope. So don’t judge by feeling or looking, but use an effective procedure

Different related articles

  • How to detail an electric engine bay
    Maintenance
    Detailing an electric engine bay is slightly different to a normal engine bay because the lack of a combustible engine. Electric engine require attention to different aspects then combustion engines. Seeing as electric cars are getting more popular, these will become a common sight in the future....
  • What is paint repair
    Correction
    Paint can be repaired in several different ways. Polishing is very popular one amongst detailers, but not the only one. Some forms of paint repair are: respray, spot-repair and filling in chips. The need for what form of repair often depends on the size of the damage and/or the location....
  • How to remove mold from the interior
    Decontaminating
    Mold can be common in vehicles that have stood still for a long time, are often exposed to moisture or vehicles that are not cleaned often. Mold is not only unsightly but also dangerous for your health....
  • The best wax
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: "what is the best wax". 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....
  • What is orange peel
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    Orange peel is the term for the unevenness of a layer of paint on top of a surface. When you look closely, the surface resembles the skin of an orange. Many detailers consider orange peel unwanted, ugly and a fault of the painter. Orange peel can be found in the clear coat and also in the colored layer of paint....
  • How do you do a testspot
    Correction
    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....

Links to this article

There are no external links to this article. Yet.
Sidebar



Stay up to date with our free newsletter
Always be the first to know about new updates, articles and other informative content.
Don't miss out, opt in!
We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!