Kyle’s Corner (FYI) Professional Polish: Tips for a Great Looking Vehicle!

There are good looking women and good looking cars. And which is actually better looking depends on the eyes of the beholder – car enthusiast!

Here are some tips for polishing your vehicle like a pro.

First, wash your vehicle by hand in a shaded area. Use a liquid car wash that is safe for clear coat finishes. In addition, it is best to use 3-4 buckets of clean warm water. Simply move to a new bucket before dirty water impacts the paint surface. Begin at the top of the vehicle and work downward. Wash small 3′ x 3′ areas and rinse frequently.

Next, put a clean slightly damp pad on the polishing wheel and place a moderate amount of ‘light’ polishing compound on a 3′ x 3′ section of body panel. Spread the polish with the wheel using a medium speed. An important key is to keep the spinning pad parallel to the vehicle’s surface thus avoiding swirl marks. Apply consistent pressure and work the wheel back-and-forth over the entire 3′ x 3′ surface. As the clear coat heats up and the paint becomes slightly warm to the touch, the scratches will begin to disappear. When the compound and the remaining water from washing are moved aside and absorbed by the foam pad, a brightened finish with result. Move on to the next 3′ x 3′ section and repeat. Tip: Keep the section slightly damp and go light on the polish.

As necessary, stop and rinse off the foam pad with a hose to prevent the foam from becoming filled or gummed up with compound. Of note is that the outer edge of the foam pad moves faster than the inner part thus generating more friction than the center and it usually carries less polish. This is a recipe for a burned finish. Therefore, be careful going around intricate trim such as washer nozzles, mirrors, emblems, and bumper contours that are subject to the outer edge of the polishing pad. Tip: Do the fine areas by hand and avoid unsightly polishing burns.

Next, wash and rinse the vehicle again including the door, trunk and hood jams (two buckets should do the job this time). Dry the vehicle thoroughly using a high quality shami.

Apply a coat of wax to the paint by hand. This will help to mask swirl marks and cover up any remaining surface imperfections. Tip: Use a high-quality carnauba wax.

Mount a soft foam pad on an orbital sander and apply a 60:40 mix of paste wax and fine polish onto the pad. Use the sander at medium speed to spread the wax into the paint using a back-and -forth motion and applying light but steady pressure. Leave just enough wax haze to be visible when dry.

While the wax is drying, clean the other areas of the vehicle (windows, interior, etc.). Then, remove the wax with a high-quality microfiber towel (regular towels or rags might mar the vehicle’s surface).

Apply touch-up paint to stone chips and any lingering scratches as required.

And last, but not least, it’s into the garage to never be driven again. Forget this last piece of craziness!

A number of years ago, an auto parts store owner asked me if I wanted a monthly calendar that featured women or cars. And which one did I choose? Let’s just say it’s a good thing the world has both great looking women and great looking cars!

Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price – ” He welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site: Follow Kyle on Facebookand Twitter.

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