Before you go straight into machine polishing your car, there are some things you need to do to get the best possible results!
1. Wash your car and strip as much protection as you can. - The last thing you want to do is polish your car before washing. This will create scratches/swirls and overall a huge mess.
I suggest washing your vehicle with a specific wax stripping car wash soap. You don't need to though. The process of polishing will remove wax/coatings/sealant/etc.
This is because when you polish your paint, you are removing paint (base/clear coat). When you remove paint, you will naturally be removing the protection (wax, etc).
2. Clay your car - This process removes unseen contaminates that can stick to your paint after washing your car. This can be overspray, dirt, iron deposits, etc.
Fun Fact: If you wait too long to wash your car, the dirt will eventually stain/attach itself onto/into your paint. Paint has tiny little holes and is extremely porous. This can be why your paint feels like sandpaper or not smooth after you wash it.
You perform "claying" by using clay (clay bar, clay mitt, etc.) with a clay lube or detail spray. The clay is sticky, causing it to grab the contamination and remove it from the paint.
By trying to polish your car with contamination remaining onto the vehicle's paint surface, these will end up in your polisher's pads. This can create swirls and marring if not washed out of the pads because that contamination will be going right back onto the paint.
3. Tape off trim pieces and emblems - Sometimes certain polishes and compounds can leave residue on trim that can potentially stain. For the best results, use painter's tape and cover trim surfaces.
4. Test spot an area on your paint - This process will allow you to figure out what tools you will need to polish the car, instead of guessing the whole way through.
For example, you can do a 50/50. Figure out how aggressive you will need to go with your pad/product selection to cut out the heavy defects and swirls. Maybe, you only need to use a softer pad vs. a harder/more abrasive pad. Knowing exactly what to use will save you time and paint.
You want to test an area because some paint can be harder or softer than others. Essentially, if paint is "softer" it cuts faster than "harder" paint. But softer paint also mars, scratches, & swirls easier 99% of the time.
Pro Tip: Sometimes paint can be softer/harder on different areas of the car if it's a different finish. For example, piano black trim (next to door glass) usually is extremely soft compared to the regular paint on the vehicle.
These pointers should give you a better turnout! If you have any specific questions, leave them below. Thanks for reading,
- Jesse Aquino (Founder of SudzBox)