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Detailing

Buffing for the final finish

October 16, 2013
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Buffing for the final finish requires much more thought and care than preparing the surface. Using the wrong buffer, the wrong product, and/or the wrong buffing pad can quickly add swirls to any finish.

Buffing pads: As with the right chemical choice, the right buffing pad is just as important. Using the wrong (or worn-out) pad can put even more scratches or swirls on the finish.

Whether you chose a wool or foam pad, check again with the supplier as to the recommended product to use with a particular pad. A top-quality scratch and swirl remover can certainly produce unsatisfactory results if used with the wrong type of pad.

As with the pre-cleaner/compound do not use a more abrasive pad than necessary. Start with a light to medium cut or polish pad.

Increase the aggressiveness of pad choice as necessary. Look also for manufacturers of pre-cleaners/compounds/polishes and buffing pads which use a color matched system of matching the best product to the best pad.

The pads should be in excellent condition, even if it means using a new pad for each vehicle.

Trying to save a few bucks by over-extending the useful life of the pad also increases the chance of leaving swirls behind by using old, worn-out and damaged pads.

For example, a foam finishing pad can become as aggressive as a foam cutting pad over time as the finishing foam wears down and the pad surface becomes worn.


Don Cornelius is president and co-founder of Distinctive Details, Inc., a manufacturer of products for detailers and carwashes worldwide. Cornelius, a 35 year veteran of the automotive aftermarket, has been associated with the detail industry for almost 20 years. Don can be contacted at don.cornelius@go2DD.com.