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Long-term Paint Care


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#1 TOGWT

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 06:52 AM


• Wash regularly (weekly) using a quality car wash concentrate, wash mitt and drying towels.
• Clean surface contaminants from paint twice a year with detailing clay.
• Clean sub-surface with a decontamination product twice annually
• Polish paint 3-4 times a year with a pre-wax, non-abrasive polish
• Only use an abrasive polish to remove scratches that cannot be removed by other means (there is always a ‘do nothing’ option).
• Protect paint 3-4 times a year with a quality sealant and a sacrificial wax.

These six simple steps will keep your paint looking great without the constant need to use abrasive polishes for corrective action.

Polishing

[: Polishing is the process of creating a smooth, level and shiny surface by rubbing it or using a chemical action, leaving a surface with significant specular reflection and minimal diffuse reflection. When the surface is magnified thousands of times, it usually looks like mountains and valleys. By repeated abrasion, those "mountains" are worn down until they are flat or just small "hills." The process of polishing with abrasives starts with coarse ones and graduates to finer ones.]

It should go without saying that you need proper lighting available when you’re polishing. Always work in good lighting conditions, and frequently check your work. Without it you may polish through (breakthrough) paint surface or friction ‘burn’ the paint by polishing in one area for too long.
The key to the polishing process is to know how the paint will react with each pad / polish combination you consider using. You must know your product and what its capabilities are before using it. This is why a ‘test’ spot is so important. The factors that affect the outcome -speed, friction (kinetic energy) applied pressure, foam pad actual surface contact area, pad grit number (abrasive ability) amount of surface lubrication available, the surface area and heat conductivity of material

Abrasives are made from chromium oxide, aluminium silicate, zirconium silicate and carbides; their abrasive ability depends on the shape of its particles, not necessarily its size. A medium size, spiked abrasive will tumble and dig. However, a large round crystal won't leave a deep scratch.
A large hard abrasive may also be brittle. It will cut once and lose its edge, while a softer small abrasive will hold its edge and keep on cutting. Many smaller abrasives have wedge shaped edges protruding from triangular crystals. These can easily slice through an oxidized layer of paint.

Polishes are a very essential product for the overall appearance and condition of the paint finish. There are abrasive polishes formulated to remove paint finish issues such as oxidation or other paint surface imperfections such as surface scratches. Light polishes contain either mild abrasives and / or a chemical cleaner (solvent) most mild abrasive polishes will remove medium scratches or surface imperfections, whereas a strong abrasive compound polish rely both on a chemical cleaner (solvent) l and mechanical abrasives to rectify more serious paintwork issues.

Proper washing and drying techniques are the best way to avoid the need for polishing. Using a chemical paint cleanser versus polishing on a clean finish to simply remove old wax/sealant is another. And always follow the rule of using the least abrasive polish and pad combination (working smarter not harder)
Polish and Wax are very different and should not be confused, although the retail industry has blurred them together in marketing. This is not generally possible because the substances perform separate functions; in general terms a wax is used for protection and a polish is abrasive and used for surface correction. The word ‘polish’ is used because when you apply wax to a vehicle you are ‘polishing the car’

Environmentally safe polishes use mild acids that occur naturally as active anti-oxidants.
However, large quantities of fine metal particulates are not environmentally or physically good, especially soft and heavy metals. Large quantities in the body system through skin absorption and inhalation can have some very serious and long term effects - Alzheimer's, brittle bones, loss of teeth, skin disorders being the beginning of a very long list of disorders associated with metals.


[Detailers] A polish is an abrasive product that removes imperfections and levels a surface to enable the light to reflect evenly.

[General public] The word shine is also used in the context "I polished with a wax to make it shine" hence the confusion between the two.

Types (Grades) of Polishes

Most to least abrasive –

1. Compounds - are the most aggressive, most abrasive type of polish and will remove the largest amount of clear coat in the shortest period of time. Compounds are commonly used on severely neglected vehicles and to clean up wet sanding marks. Compounds will almost always leave behind some marring, hazing, or holograms and should always be followed up with a finer polish or multiple polishes.

2. Abrasive Polishes - most polishes that correct moderate paint imperfections fall into the category of an abrasive polish. They are a step below compounds in terms of aggressiveness and usually do not finish down as well as a finishing polish.

On most paints, it is recommended to follow up an abrasive polish with a finishing polish to remove any micro-marring, hazing or holograms as well as increase the depth and gloss. Some abrasive polishes are capable of finishing on certain paint.


3. Finishing Paper - an ultra-fine grade of grit (sand) paper (1500 to 3000 grit) can be used effectively to level a paint finish and remove imperfections. When talking about "grit" is a reference to the number of abrasive particles per inch of finishing paper

4. Finishing Polishes - will remove very minor imperfections in the paint, such as micro-marring, hazing and holograms. Finishing polishes typically will not remove imperfections deeper than a very light swirl. They are also used to enhance or burnish (jewelling) the paint to achieve an exceptional level of shine (gloss).

5. Chemical Paint Cleaners – primary function is to remove oxidation, polishing debris and leftover wax, glaze or sealants in order to provide a completely clean surface for optimal bonding. Sometimes paint cleaners can have micro abrasives or they can be non-abrasive. Most of their cleaning ability is provided by the cleaning solvents, not the polish.

They can remove micro-marring of the surface (i.e. light towel marks) but typically will not remove imperfections that require levelling the clear coat, but can remove some oxidation and mineral deposits.


Pad Dependency

All abrasive polishes are ‘foam pad and applied pressure dependant’ as far as their paint correction abilities are concerned. Any abrasive / pad combination is reliant upon its most abrasive component.

If we consider the Lake County (LC) White foam (50 PPI) polishing pad as the baseline; any polish used will derive help from the abrasive abilities of the foam. Then consider the LC Blue (70 PPI) finishing pad has no abrasive ability and will contribute nothing to the cutting capability of a polish.

What is derived from this is that a polishes abrasive ability can be ‘fine tuned’ by using different combinations (abrasiveness) of polish and foam (the same thing is true of wool pads) and of course differing the amount of downward pressure (10-15 Lbs is the usual range) applied will also have an effect on the abrasives capability


Different pad / product combinations
(least abrasive pad / polish first)

a) Base pad / product (least abrasive pad / product) if this combination does not provide the desired results, increase the aggressiveness of the technique or product selection.

B) Step-up 1 - using the same pad with a more abrasive product

c) Step-up II – use a less abrasive pad and the same product as used in step-up I

d) Step-up III- using the same pad with a more abrasive product

As can been ascertained from the above the total abrasive ability of a polish / foam pad combination is subject to many variables, the polishes abrasive ability is just the starting point


Factors that increase abrasion ability

• Increased speed (Velocity)

• Increased pressure (Compression)

• Use smaller pad(Reduced surface Area)

• Using a slower panel transition speed (Increased surface contact time)

• Reduce the working area

The key to the polishing process is to know how the paint will react with each pad / polish combination you consider using. You must know your product and what its capabilities are before using it. This is why a ‘test’ spot is so important.

The factors that affect the outcome -speed, friction (kinetic energy) applied pressure, foam pad actual surface contact area, pad grit number (abrasive ability) amount of surface lubrication available, the surface area and heat conductivity of material

All pads have a performance cycle, meaning you will get the desired results only to a certain point on that curve. The point of declining performance is typically reached by polish / compound pad being overloaded with product; you should always be able to see the individual cells or texture of the pad, with proper, regular cleaning pad overload can be avoided.

Clean (or replace) you pads frequently: pads are easy to clean; the slotted pad face actually makes it easy to clean. Do not use the same pad to apply differing products as cross contamination will reduce the effectiveness or completely negate their purpose altogether. A new or freshly cleaned pad must be used with each type of car care product.

Detailing Art; where applicable Chemistry meets Aesthetics See Autopia Detailing Wiki

#2 lawrencea

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 07:12 AM

What compounds, abrasive polish , finishing polish, chemicals paint cleaners, and sealants/waxes do you like? Your opinion is very important.

#3 TOGWT

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:13 AM

Compounds, abrasive polish, finishing polish – the Menzerna range, I 've found that PO S100 Power Gloss or Power Finish PO203S along with a suitable Menzerna pad and PO 85 RD Final Finish will take care of 80% of most paint renovation projects

Chemicals paint cleaners – Klasse all in one (AIO), P21S® Paintwork Cleanse, Swissvax Cleaner Fluid Regular and Werkstat Prime Strong in no particular order

Sealants – Zaino or Duragloss

Waxes - favourite organic waxes (in no particular order) - Swissvax Concorso / Best of Show, Zymöl Vintage Estate Glaze, Pinnacle Souverän™ Paste Carnauba Wax, P21S® (R222®) Carnauba Wax and Victoria Concours Red Wax

Inorganic Wax - Collinite
Detailing Art; where applicable Chemistry meets Aesthetics See Autopia Detailing Wiki




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