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Which is better....waxing car by hand or random orbital polisher?


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#1 of 21 Danny Tse

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Posted June 22 2003 - 07:22 PM

Hand waxing takes up soooo much time, so I am thinking about getting one of those random orbital puffer/polishers. I saw one at Walmart for $20.00. Any recommendations for the random orbital buffer/polisher?
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#2 of 21 Brian Perry

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Posted June 22 2003 - 11:47 PM

I would stay away from any $20 polisher. The only orbital polisher I would recommend is the Porter Cable, but it's over $100. I know it can be a pain, but doing it by hand is the best. Some products are easier to apply than others--try Zaino.

#3 of 21 Eric_L

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Posted June 23 2003 - 12:21 AM

A good orbital will save you lots of elbow greas and give you an un-matchable shine. HOWEVER.... If you are a noob and don't know how to operate it reconsider. It can chew right through your paint if you aren't careful.

The best ones are driven off of comressors.

#4 of 21 Brett_H

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Posted June 23 2003 - 01:26 AM

OK, so say someone bought a random orbital buffer last year and has yet to get around to using it. Any advice on how best to learn? My car hasn't been waxed yet this year and we finally own a house so I can finally plug the buffer in (like a moron, I bought it last year while living in an apartment, forgetting that there was nowhere for me to plug it in). I'd like to think I could learn to use it without eating through my clear coat.
For reference, it was a Sears Craftsman 10 in random orbital. Can I use Zymol liquid wax with it, or do I need to get different wax now?

Thanks,
-Brett.

#5 of 21 LewB

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Posted June 23 2003 - 03:31 AM

I've had a craftsman orbital buffer ever since I bought my car in '94. I like it a lot. I use a terrycloth bonnet to apply the wax and change to a clean one to remove the wax. You can also get special bonnets to buff up the shine. It's quicker than doing it by hand and the car looks good. Now for the stuff to look out for:
Keep that sucker moving, you could damage the clearcoat/paint by lingering in one place.
Make sure the bonnet doesn't have any debris like a rock on it.
I have heard that you need special waxes to use with a mechanical buffer, something to do with more moisture content. Not sure if it's a crock or not but I always use the stuff that Sears sells for use with the polisher.

#6 of 21 ChadLB

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Posted June 23 2003 - 04:04 AM

A couple other things to note:
A car/truck should be hand/orbital waxed every six months. Easiest way is to do it fall and then spring again. Also you shouldn't wax it in the sun because the paint is hot and can scratch easier...
Another thing for some people is this is just a protectant wax this doesn't take out light surface scratches. For that you need a buffer/wool pad/foam pad/special waxes which help take out swirl marks, light scratches, paint fade.
I use stuff from the following page: http://www.prowax.com/
They have some great products....

Oh and I use a small orbital.....there is no reason to hand wax a car...like others have said just make sure the cloth is clean and doesn't have anything stuck in it that might scratch the paint...we wouldn't want that to happen.

Good tip page: http://properautocar...ailingtips.html

#7 of 21 Leroy

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Posted June 23 2003 - 04:07 AM

You just have to ask yourself:

WWMMD

Posted Image

What would Mr. Miyagi do?

BTW, I prefer to wax my vehicle by hand.
I rule all that I survey...and that ain't much.

#8 of 21 AjayM

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Posted June 23 2003 - 05:24 AM

Keep in mind as well there is a difference between an orbital and a random orbital buffers. Almost anything you find in a consumer store will be a random orbital, with these you'll be relatively safe with your paint (ie you'd have to try REALLY hard to screw something up).

For me, I always use one with great results, I apply the wax by hand (easier for me to get an even coat, plus get all the hard to reach spots), use terry cloth to remove the wax then go back over the car by hand to get all of the spots I missed with the machine.

Andrew

#9 of 21 Danny Tse

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Posted June 23 2003 - 06:08 AM

Thanks to everyone for their insights and comments.

Frankly, I am somewhat surprised by how many of you still waxing your cars by hand. I prefer to do it by hand, but it just take soooo long. I went to the Sears/Craftsman website and check out their buffer/polishers....not as expensive as I imagined. Thanks for the idea, Lew!

Is there really specialized wax for using with a buffer/polisher? I don't think I ever noticed that....

Thanks again for the info.
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#10 of 21 LewB

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Posted June 23 2003 - 06:24 AM

Is there really specialized wax for using with a buffer/polisher? I don't think I ever noticed that....
Check out Sears they sell it. I think it also comes along when you buy the 'kit' with the buffer/bonnets/wax.

#11 of 21 Philip_G

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Posted June 23 2003 - 08:16 AM

I saw that buffer at walmart too, is it an orbital? or just a rotary kinda thing? I was VERY wary of it Posted Image

#12 of 21 Danny Tse

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Posted June 23 2003 - 08:50 AM

Thanks again, Lew. I will definitely look into the Craftsman line.

Philip, the Walmart buffer/polisher is random orbital. At least that's what it says on the box. I am somewhat wary because of the low price. The Craftsman 6" buffer/polisher is only $10.00 more and the 10" is $20.00 more.
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#13 of 21 Jon_Welker

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Posted June 23 2003 - 08:55 AM

I'm with Leroy here. I'm very proud to be a hand waxing individual as it was passed on to me from my father. I've been waxing cars by hand for about 20 years (currently 27 years old). Ever since I can remember, my dad had me start with taking wax off, then graduated up to applying, and then to special cases. These buffers are all nice and all, and you may get a more "even" shine, but you sure the hell aren't going to get in the nooks and crannies using that thing. Some cases in point are mirrors, manufacturer hood emblems, around the license plate, door handles, wings, etc. Yeah, try that with your buffer. Also, for me, there is a certain sense of pride that comes with waxing a car by hand, spending all day Saturday giving your car a full detail job, sweating your cajones off, but then taking your wife out that night with the shiniest car on the road.

Now, for some general guidelines I follow:

- As someone mentioned previously, NEVER wax your car in direct sunlight (hand or buffer).
- Make sure the car has been parked int he shade for a while to let the surface cool a little.
- When waxing by hand and using a little terrycloth round applicator, dampen (with water) it a little when first starting to apply wax. This helps when initially breaking in the applicator.
- When taking wax off, wait until the wax is about 75%-80% dry, and then take off. Wax is a lot harder and doesn't shine as nice if you wait until it's completely dry. You can tell by gently rubbing your fingers over the wax, and if it is just starting to ball then take it off. If the wax is turning a bright white color, then you've waited too long.
- Always wax in sections - quarter panel, door, top of trunk, bumper, half of hood, etc. Why - see above bullet point.
- Spend the money and get a good wax. Liquid waxes are easier on and off than paste. Personally, I'm a big fan of Meguiar's wax products, namely their Medallion line. Can be ordered off their website. Zymol is good also, but it's a bear with streaking - you may have to do a final wipe in the sun.
- Always, always, always, wash your car first. Use a car shampoo, don't use anything else, like Dawn. The chemicals in Dawn and other non-car wash strip the wax off. Unless, your car has a lot of tar, tree sap, or other nasty stuff, then wash using Dawn (or similar) as it is more abrasive and will take this stuff off. Then wax it.
- Usually about twice a year, I'lll do a 3 step process of cleaner wax, polish, then protectant wax. It's a pain in the ass, but well worth it. Otherwise, I try to wax my cars every 2-3 months at a minimum. A lot of this depends on where you live, driving conditions,etc.

I could go on all day about this subject. If anyone needs any help or pointers for HAND waxing, drop me a line and I'll be more than happy to help you out.
DJ_JonnyV

#14 of 21 Russell B

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Posted June 23 2003 - 10:37 AM

I use Meguiars wax and follow that by using the turtle wax
color polish to make it shine. Don't use the scratch stick it omes with. I can wax and polish my reg cab black tacoma in about 45 minutes doing it by hand.

#15 of 21 Philip_G

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Posted June 23 2003 - 11:02 AM

I used Meguires gold class liquid and wasn't pleased with the results (one coat of polish, two coats of wax) I'm ordering zaino bros wax next time.

#16 of 21 Tim Markley

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Posted June 24 2003 - 08:27 AM

I polish my cars by hand also and would never think about using an orbital polisher. I only use Zaino and it goes on and comes off very easily.

#17 of 21 Clinton McClure

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Posted June 24 2003 - 05:52 PM

I use Meguires and am very pleased with the results. My only problem is finding time between my two jobs when it isn't raining!

#18 of 21 Mike__D

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Posted June 25 2003 - 12:27 AM

I apply wax on my car with my bare hand... You waste much, much less wax, and your skin usually doesn't hide specs of dirt like wax applicators can. You can also feel if dirt gets on your hand. I then use 100% cotton terry cloth (I go through many of them) to remove it. Works like a charm and helps keeps my paint swirl free (having a silver car also helps Posted Image ).

It does take a long time though...

Mike D.

#19 of 21 Jon_Welker

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Posted June 25 2003 - 02:18 AM

Mike,

I hear ya with the silver car. My wife an I have a silver Pathfinder, and it's pretty hard to screw the wax job up on it.
DJ_JonnyV

#20 of 21 ChadLB

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Posted June 25 2003 - 02:41 AM

Silver and Beige are the best to own.....black is the worst(shows swirls all day long)...