Advice for first-time DIY Paint Correction?

garsh

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#1
I think I've decided to try to add PPF to my car myself. But it sounds like I should take care of any scratches in my clearcoat before doing so. I've never tried polishing a car before. Does anybody have advice for a beginner?

What's the least expensive polisher I can use? This will (hopefully) be the only time I polish a car, so I'd prefer not to spend a lot of money on the tool.

Are there any instructional videos that you found to be helpful? I found a couple on my own, but they seemed pretty basic.
 

MelindaV

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#3
I think I've decided to try to add PPF to my car myself. But it sounds like I should take care of any scratches in my clearcoat before doing so. I've never tried polishing a car before. Does anybody have advice for a beginner?

What's the least expensive polisher I can use? This will (hopefully) be the only time I polish a car, so I'd prefer not to spend a lot of money on the tool.

Are there any instructional videos that you found to be helpful? I found a couple on my own, but they seemed pretty basic.
you can also remove swirls/micro scratches by hand polishing, if you are up for it, it'd save you buying equipment.
 

garsh

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#4
you can also remove swirls/micro scratches by hand polishing, if you are up for it, it'd save you buying equipment.
If the car is *mostly* in good shape, this would probably be preferable.

Do you know of any good set of instructions or instructional videos for hand-polishing a car? What kind of tools are required for hand-polishing?
 

MelindaV

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#5
If the car is *mostly* in good shape, this would probably be preferable.

Do you know of any good set of instructions or instructional videos for hand-polishing a car? What kind of tools are required for hand-polishing?
with it being a new car, with likely very little to correct, a polish intended as a finisher or glaze applied with a foam applicator (like the polish, there are different pad coarseness, intended for different compound/polish/glaze grit levels, so you will want a soft one intended for finishing or waxing)
Most lines (like Maguirs) have multiple products from course to fine, and you will want one intended as the last step (finisher or glaze) or that says it is one-step polish.
 

JWardell

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#6
The idea behind polishing is to use a light abrasive with lubricant to wear a tiny bit of the surface down to below the level of scratches.
You can do this by hand, usually with a foam polishing sponge, which is quite a work out (and this is the one time you actually can do a Mr. Miyagi wax on/wax off circular motion!). I usually use a hand sponge for individual scratches or spots.
You can also invest in a polishing machine. Worth it back in the days when I would polish the car every spring. Just be sure it is a random orbit polisher, and a circular polisher can very quickly harm the paint if you don't know what you're doing.
You can also get different levels of abrasive, good for multiple steps or for tougher on scratched areas.

All that said if you are not crazy about your paint it is probably not worth the effort. I would instead recommend a good once-over with a clay bar (and now they have clay towels) will provide more benefit.

There are certainly higher end/better products, and certainly cheaper options, but Griots is really a great one-stop-shop for decent products where you can't go wrong, and they usually have tons of good info and guides to go with each product. Of course the techniques apply no matter what brand you buy.

https://www.griotsgarage.com/category/how+to/how+to+polish.do
 

garsh

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#7
All that said if you are not crazy about your paint it is probably not worth the effort.
I'm definitely planning to clay-bar first. I'm only planning to polish if I notice light scratches in my finish when I first get my car. I'd like to make *some* effort to minimize them before applying PPF or ceramic.

Do you have any recommendations for hand-polishing products?
 

JWardell

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#8
I'm definitely planning to clay-bar first. I'm only planning to polish if I notice light scratches in my finish when I first get my car. I'd like to make *some* effort to minimize them before applying PPF or ceramic.

Do you have any recommendations for hand-polishing products?
For spot hand-polish scratches, I use this sponge which has a dense side ideal for applying polish:
https://www.autogeek.net/german-applicator-pad.html

There's a lot of polishes to choose from and they're probably not very different, just go with something that says "fast" correcting or cutting to remove a scratch. Up to you if you want to bother repeating the process with an ultra fine finishing polish.

Just add a dab to the sponge, spread it around the area you want, and be sure to rub forcefully in two directions, until the polish changes from white to clear.
Probably best to do after clay bar.
You will want to wash away the polish before adding any wax or sealant.

PS. Dish soap without hand cleaner (Dawn?) or SimpleGreen is great for this stage as it remove oils and soaps and waxes. Once you are all done and add your film and your wax/sealant/polymer/ceramic, then you don't want to use this type of soap again until the day you are ready to apply it again next year.
 

Twiglett

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#10
Just use some hand polish like I mentioned above. It is abrasive and will take it right off.
Thanks @JWardell - I'll give it a try.
I was so annoyed with myself, I gave it a good wash first but didn't do the close inspection first and trapped the water spots.
Seriously considering trying the DIY PPF as well now after getting a paint chip on the hood and rock ding on the nose.
After 10 weeks of ownership as well,
 

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#11
I'm no professional and can really only outline what I did, or had intended on doing.

I did go all in on the tools, it was only an investment of a couple hundred bucks excluding the coating itself. I'm not saying you can't do it by hand, or you'll even need to touch the car at all. I didn't do any polishing on the car at all when all was said and done, only the clay bar and then the Gyeon Mohs coating. Once I went over the car with the clay bar and inspected it closely I couldn't find anything that I felt needed polishing or "Paint correction". I know that the professionals seem to think every new car needs the full paint correction, but I would like to have them point out all of the issues on a new car I see pull in to their shop the very first time.

I bought all of the tools and products 6 weeks before the car even arrived based on what I had read. I didn't expect that I might truly not need them. Turns out I did indeed need and use them on a pickup that desperately needed it though, so it was well worth the investment and didn't go unused.

Just so I'd have the products documented in my own thread and I'd be able to find them again some day in the future, I just created this post Niko's excursions!.
 

JWardell

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#12
Thanks @JWardell - I'll give it a try.
I was so annoyed with myself, I gave it a good wash first but didn't do the close inspection first and trapped the water spots.
Seriously considering trying the DIY PPF as well now after getting a paint chip on the hood and rock ding on the nose.
After 10 weeks of ownership as well,
Good luck. I have a little worry it's a real paint issue, as I also have a small spot with light paint. It's the only paint issue I've found though so I consider it a birthmark. Of course, the more you detail and go over every inch of any car, the more things you find wrong.
 

garsh

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#13
I'm going to pull in GDN's recommendations:

Quick post about the tools/products I used for polishing the pickup and had planned on using on the Model 3. However, I couldn't find any issues with the paint on the 3. I had asked the Delivery Center not to do any buffing or waxing before delivery and truly it looked they had not. MSM is a forgiving color, not like black at all, but I looked many ways and couldn't find anything I though needed a polisher put to it on the Model 3. Adding here after the fact for documentations sake and sharing the tools/products I used for polishing the pickup and clay bar and coating the pickup and the 3.

The pickup needed all of the tools and was worth every penny I spent on them. I don't regret spending the money and having them to use in the future. I made the truck look better than when I bought it as it had been sitting on a dealer lot for 14 months. On the truck I used the clay bar, the polisher and swirl remover, then applied the Gyeon coating. On the car, I only used the clay bar and then put the coating on.

If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn't change any of this. It all worked very well and as described/advertised.

Most of what I did and the tools I bought were all used and recommended on www.autogeek.com. They have some good videos and information. I bought a polisher, their recommended backer pad, polishing pads, light swirl remover and also the Gyeon Mohs coating (initially found and recommended on TMC by other Tesla owners). Supplying Amazon links because they are easy to get, I bought some of the products from Autogeek.

This is my list:
Polisher , Porter Cable DA variable speed- $119
Backer Pad, Lake Country - $18
Polishing Pads - $36 for 6 - Lake Country
Wolfgang Swirl Remover - $27
Mother's Clay Bar System - $14

It doesn't do me a lot of good to describe or try and teach how to use the polisher as I'm an amateur at best, and the video's and articles I learned from are readily available, again, on www.autogeek.com. You're better off getting direction right from the professionals.

I bought a ton of Microfiber cloths and glass cleaning and tire cleaning products from Autogeek and Costco. Still deciding which of those products I like best.

The rest was all elbow grease and sweat, and there was plenty of that in June in Texas.

For end results here are links back to the pickup Niko's excursions! and Niko, MSM Model 3 Niko's excursions! The pickup truly shows the fruits of the labor and how good the products are better than the car does.
 

Mello

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#14
So i did this process this past weekend, and it almost finished me!

Steps:
  1. Foam wash, and mothers speed clay 2.0 (rubber version of clay bar, i reccommend it), iron-x decontamination, rinse meticulous dry (air between doors and trunk and side mirrors, as they collect lots of water, learned this the hard way) -- Pretty quick about 1 hour
  2. 1 step paint correction using a swirl remover/polish in one product (i used chemical guys all in one polish/sealant) with a porter cable orbital polisher kit i got for >$200 on amazon (included backing pads and polishing finishing pads plus microfiber towels and pad cleaner etc) -- Took time, but fairly fast with the orbital power polisher (did the cross hatch 5 pass technique on 4'x4' sections) 2.5 hours
  3. did quick light check to see if any missed areas, water spots, swirls etc... 30 mins
  4. removed all sealants/oils/waxes with a Iso Alcohol solution --- 1 hour
  5. applied ceramic coat in cross hatch on 3'x3' areas removed with microfiber cloth after flashing (1min in my 80 degree garage) - 2 hours
Total time invested: +-7 hours
equipment: orbital polisher kit with all pads and backing pad etc. ($199)
all in one polisher: $17
Car wash gel (1 gallon): $10
Iron-X: $19
Speed Clay 2.0: $19
pack of 36 Microfiber towels from Costco: $14
ISO alcohol: $4
Ceramic coating: $79
Cost: approx $282 for prep detail, $79 for ceramic: total cost: $361

Quote for pro Ceramic job: $1200 for basic coating...$2000 for premium.
3-back-jpeg.13119


Note that this week, my body is sore from the work, and i had a bout of nausea after doing the first half of the paint correction in a closed garaged with no ventilation...had to go inside and detox by laying on an air-conditioned floor for 1 hour before continuing. I almost quit at many points, but i knew if i wanted to get the coating on, i would have to repeat all the steps again, so i powered through. started at approx 9am, and finished (after taking many breaks) a little past midnight on saturday. I did save myself, +-800, so I would say i am happy with the result, but man it is not easy, and i get why they charge what they do... I just couldn't get myself to pay over 1k for a temp coating, and i knew if i bought the gear i could reapply at the 1 year mark...now after doing it, i need one year to forget the effort it took, in order to go again (no way i would do it again next month even for $800 cash).
 

GDN

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#15
After clay barring the car you will probably notice that it mars the paint. You will want to polish that away. Be very careful with your microfiber towels. I did find evidence after I ceramic coated my car of some very fine lint that made it's way into the coating.
I didn’t have this problem using the mothers kit. You do have to keep the area lubes well and you do that with the included detailed. After finishing with the clay I would just give my towel a turn to a clean section and one final light spray and wipe. Didn’t have any issues with residue or marks left behind.

I will also say I noticed almost no difference on the new car, but it was a big difference and amount by of contaminates it removed from a 3 year old truck that has never spent a night in the garage. I’m a believer and would still do a new car just to make sure it is nice and pristine.
 

garsh

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#16
There's a lot of polishes to choose from and they're probably not very different, just go with something that says "fast" correcting or cutting to remove a scratch. Up to you if you want to bother repeating the process with an ultra fine finishing polish.
If I'm only correcting light scratches, do I still want to use a "fast cutting" polish? What do you think of this:

I also found this product, which also has good Amazon ratings. But it sounds like it contains a wax too. I don't want to be putting any wax on the car before putting PPF or Ceramic coating on. So am I correct in thinking I should avoid this?

I found the following "ultra fine" polishing compound. Again, any thoughts on the product?
 

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#17
If I'm only correcting light scratches, do I still want to use a "fast cutting" polish? What do you think of this:

I also found this product, which also has good Amazon ratings. But it sounds like it contains a wax too. I don't want to be putting any wax on the car before putting PPF or Ceramic coating on. So am I correct in thinking I should avoid this?

I found the following "ultra fine" polishing compound. Again, any thoughts on the product?

I think they all look blank...TOO still breaks displaying amazon links! I always have to quote and search item numbers.

Compound was the word more commonly used for single layer flat (non-clearcoat) paint, for classic cars. It says clear coat safe, but I certainly get the feeling it is 1940s tech.
Looking at Meguiar's products, they have a "microfiber correction compound" to "quickly remove moderate defects" which sounds like their product for hand polishing. Then they have their "Mirror Glaze Professional Machine Glaze" available in Heavy-cut, medium-cut, swirl remover, and mirror levels of abrasiveness with a bar graph on the label. No wait, there is also diamond cut, speed compound, foam cut, and ultra-cut all showing top abrassiveness on the label graph!
Thanks for keeping it simple, Meguiars! :rolleyes:

You don't want something that contains a wax. That is more for the folks who want to regularly polish their paint and have a not-great wax in one step.

The Nanoskin sounds OK, but not familiar with them.

Griots is much clearer in the presentation of their products:
https://www.griotsgarage.com/category/polish+wax/polishes+compounds.do

I think Chemical Guys is a new popular brand, they have their 32-38 polishes in a nice little kit:
https://www.chemicalguys.com/Paint_Correction_Polishes_Compounds_s/8.htm

When I last was heavily into detailing products, the last brand I really loved (it helped that they were very active in the forums) was Prima. It looks like they're still around, and hey they simply have just one mild polish. Their stuff is always amazing, even if it's just for their great smells:
https://www.primacarcare.com/shop
 

garsh

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#19
I have the car in my possession and cleaned it yesterday. I let it dry overnight and took a close look this morning. The paint is in rough shape. So, I went ahead and ordered a Porter Cable polisher, backing plate, and a pad. This is going to be a bit of work.

For today, I'll clay bar the whole thing. It's going to be forever before I get a chance to actually drive this car. :p
 

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#20
I have the car in my possession and cleaned it yesterday. I let it dry overnight and took a close look this morning. The paint is in rough shape. So, I went ahead and ordered a Porter Cable polisher, backing plate, and a pad. This is going to be a bit of work.

For today, I'll clay bar the whole thing. It's going to be forever before I get a chance to actually drive this car. :p
But you are going to get to know your car inch by inch. And when you are done you'll the most proud papa ever. What a bonding experience.