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View Full Version : Can you Clean/Polish too Many Times a Year?



BJClarke001
Aug 30th, 2005, 05:36 AM
About a week ago, I happened across a thread that was talking about cleaning/polishing their car so much, it went through to the Clear Coat to the first stage layer of paint. I think the individual was saying this was after 6 years of maintenance. I am not even sure if he was using a Rotary or a DA. For the life of me, I can’t find it now. :wall:

Anyways, I don’t think that thread was this exact topic and for the life of me, I can’t find anything on the Topic I am going to ask.

So………. How often can we use the DA on our vehicles (to remove scratches/swirls)? I know the first reaction is “When it needs it”. But there must be a span where we live with just minor scratches from washings where we draw the line and go for the DA, #83 or #80 (depending on what we are trying to accomplish).

Further, what do others do on here? Typically Once a year (like after the winter months), twice, three times a year and so on?

Mike Phillips
Aug 30th, 2005, 06:09 AM
Hi Brad,

We get this question a lot at Meguiar's, I get it at almost every Saturday Detailing class.

There is no set answer because it depends on what you start with, (film-build or paint thickness), and what you use and how often.

What you start with
There's a difference between purchasing a car, (new or used), that has all of it's clear coat intact, that is to say, since it was manufactured, and a car, (new or used), that "Bubba the Archaic Detailer", hasn't ground off half of the clear coat using archaic products because he doesn't know any better.

You could two identical cars, with different paint thicknesses. So to say,

"As long as you use clear coat safe products you'll never go through the clear coat", would be a mistake because we don't know the history of the car and what has been done to it.

Does that make sense?

It's possible to have a car that looks okay, but you start rubbing on it with a paint cleaner by hand and the clear coat dissapears... is it because the product was aggressive? Doubtful, more than likely there was only a whisper thin amount of clear coat to start with.

The above is a worse case scenario and chances are good that a majority of your car's paint is still intact. This is one of the reasons at our detailing classes we not only educate people on how to choose the right product following our philosophy of,

"Always use the least aggressive product to get the job done"

but to also be aware of the products being used by anyone that you hire to work on your car. Look at the below example as lesson in what not to use...

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2MB2GrossSwirls1f.jpg

Here's a thread on how much paint you're removing when machine polishing, it makes the case that if you're using safe products and good technique, as well as paying attention to what you're doing, the amount of paint you're removing is very little...

How much paint are you removing (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4013)

In the big picture, the idea is to learn how to,

* Evaluate the finish
* Choose the right products
* Use good technique

Then, once you have restored the finish, put into practice a maintenance program that includes not instilling swirls and scratches back into the finish. This includes much of the things we're always talking about here such as using a quality car wash, quality car wash mitts and brushes, quality drying towels, etc.


As for anyone using overly aggressive products such as aggressive compounds or any kind of product that uses abrasives that don't break down and remove a lot of paint, the results from routine use of these product will undoubtedly lead to the need for a new paint job.

Alex7938
Aug 30th, 2005, 01:48 PM
Originally posted by BJClarke001
For the life of me, I can’t find it now. :wall:

Anyways, I don’t think that thread was this exact topic and for the life of me, I can’t find anything on the Topic I am going to ask.


i think i remember someone on the MOL UK linking to it, it was by David Bynon on the Autopia or BCC forums

rusty bumper
Aug 30th, 2005, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by Alex7938
i think i remember someone on the MOL UK linking to it, it was by David Bynon on the Autopia or BCC forums
I remember that posting by David.

I did go through the clear coat on my 1985 Toyota Corolla (Roof area) a few years ago. So yes, it is possible for it to happen.

But maybe that's not so bad considering how old the car is (it was parked outside too), and I believe that the forces of nature can have an effect on the life of clear coat paint too.

Tim Lingor
Aug 30th, 2005, 02:31 PM
Hey,

Are you sure that it is not the link that Mike provided where Joe (Superior Shine) uses an ETG to measure the BC/CC thickness after various polishing methods? Here is that link again originally posted on MOL:

How much paint are you removing (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4013)

Tim

BJClarke001
Aug 30th, 2005, 11:38 PM
All,

Thank you for the information you pointed me to. Actually, I missed those threads and it was good to have additional information. Those threads were not the one I was thinking of and I think it was a Thread that went off topic, so it is a little harder to find it. But, as I said, what you guys have pointed me to does address my one question on what is the removal rate.

I still would love to hear from others though, on how many time a year they use their DA on their own daily drivers. If I read everything correctly (I could be wrong, it's 5:00 AM and the caffine is not kicked in yet), though what I read did not really say it directly, perhaps using the DA once or twice a year would be ok. Unless of course we owned the car for 20 years and I know that isn't going to happen for me.

Edit: I understand that the DA can be used to apply wax. I am more interested in the DA cleaner/polish frequency on your vehicle/s.

rusty bumper
Aug 31st, 2005, 04:09 AM
Clear coat paint is harder now than it used to be for most cars, so I wouldn't be afraid to use the DA more often now.

I do tend to buff the horizontal areas more often than the rest of the car, since these areas take the most abuse.

Mike Phillips
Aug 31st, 2005, 05:10 AM
Originally posted by Rusty Bumper
Clear coat paint is harder now than it used to be for most cars, so I wouldn't be afraid to use the DA more often now.

Just a word of caution on a statement like that, if you notice I've never myself made a blanket statement that all clear coats are hard because they're not. Paint formulas are always changing and this affects how hard or how soft they are.

Generally speaking, clear coat finishes are harder than traditional non-clear coat finishes, (Except for white single stage paint), but that's not a hard rule. Truth is you never know how hard or soft a paint finish is until you work on it. It's only when you try to remove defects from the surface and start testing different products and how well they're working do you get a feel for how hard or soft the paint is.

We've had some clear coat finishes brought to Meguiar's by different auto manufactures for testing and have found some very soft clear coat paints being sprayed on assembly lines.

rusty bumper
Aug 31st, 2005, 06:01 AM
I agree.

Maybe I should have worded myself a little more carefully, but I believe that clear coated paint is a little harder in gereral now-a-days than it used to be.

rusty bumper
Aug 31st, 2005, 06:04 AM
Originally posted by 2hotford
Hey,

Are you sure that it is not the link that Mike provided where Joe (Superior Shine) uses an ETG to measure the BC/CC thickness after various polishing methods? Here is that link again originally posted on MOL:

How much paint are you removing (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4013)

Tim
The link that I saw was at BCC, if I remember correctly.

rusty bumper
Aug 31st, 2005, 06:19 AM
Originally posted by Rusty Bumper
I did go through the clear coat on my 1985 Toyota Corolla (Roof area) a few years ago. So yes, it is possible for it to happen.

But maybe that's not so bad considering how old the car is (it was parked outside too), and I believe that the forces of nature can have an effect on the life of clear coat paint too.
Just to add to my post here, the clear coat paint on the roof of my wife's 1992 Caravan began to fail 2 years ago too.....(The top was repainted last year)

I think part of this was due to thin paint to begin with though, as I'm not one to break out the buffer every other week or so.

BJClarke001
Sep 1st, 2005, 08:32 AM
Originally posted by BJClarke001

I still would love to hear from others though, on how many times a year they use their DA on their own daily drivers.

I didn't want this thread getting lost and thought I would Bump it current. Surprised no DA owners chimed in yet.

rusty bumper
Sep 1st, 2005, 08:43 AM
Originally posted by BJClarke001
I didn't want this thread getting lost and thought I would Bump it current. Surprised no DA owners chimed in yet.
I'm a DA user.....(Since 1999)

I use generally use my DA about 2 to 3 times a year for a full detail on my cars, but I like to hit the horozontal surfaces about ever 6 to 8 weeks in warmer weather.

Accumulator
Sep 1st, 2005, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by BJClarke001
I didn't want this thread getting lost and thought I would Bump it current. Surprised no DA owners chimed in yet.

OK, I'll chime in as I've been using the PC since (IIRC) 1990 or so and the Cyclo since '85. But I don't think I can really answer your question...I've polished some vehicles *a lot* but I never took off much paint during each session. Just enough to "make it better" but not enough to completely remove all the marring. Doing it this way I could polish three-four times a year for many years. Still have original paint on the '85 Jag that I've polished many, many times since new. Now that I have my wash routine scienced out, I seldom polish more than once a year, if that, but when I do it, I basically remove *all* the imperfections (that are shallow enough for safe removal). The big thing is that these days I don't mar my paint enough to require serious correction so I don't remove much clear when I do polish. If I were still marring the paint on a regular basis I wouldn't bother removing all the flaws since there would just be new ones anyhow.

I dunno if it really matters how hard/soft the paint is. Any paint will mar if you're not careful and if you have soft paint, just use milder products for correction since it'll cut easier. Harder paint just takes different tools/techniques, but you're still removing paint until the marring looks acceptable. My Jag has *very soft* paint and my Audis have *very hard* paint. I don't really worry more/less about the hardness when polishing them. If anything I have to be more careful correcting the Audis because they require more aggressive treatment. I'm equally careful when I wash, the hard paint isn't "hard enough that you won't mar it". This comes up a lot with late model 'vettes- hard clear, but people still mar it and ask "how can it scratch so easily if it's so hard?"

Mike Phillips
Sep 1st, 2005, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by Accumulator
OK, I'll chime in as I've been using the PC since (IIRC) 1990 or so and the Cyclo since '85. But I don't think I can really answer your question...I've polished some vehicles *a lot* but I never took off much paint during each session. Just enough to "make it better" but not enough to completely remove all the marring. Doing it this way I could polish three-four times a year for many years. Still have original paint on the '85 Jag that I've polished many, many times since new. Now that I have my wash routine scienced out, I seldom polish more than once a year, if that, but when I do it, I basically remove *all* the imperfections (that are shallow enough for safe removal). The big thing is that these days I don't mar my paint enough to require serious correction so I don't remove much clear when I do polish. If I were still marring the paint on a regular basis I wouldn't bother removing all the flaws since there would just be new ones anyhow.

I agree with everything Accumulator wrote above, the thing about detailing your own cars is that when you educate yourself on what I call the 3 P's, Paint, Products & Procedures, and then you put into practice the things you learn and create the best looking finish you are able, then next thing that you learn is how to maintain your results so you don't have to restore the finish again. It's easier to do a good job of washing and drying a car than it is to break out buffer and do complete makeover. Simple things like a grit guard, a quality wash mitt, a quality car wash and some quality drying tools together with the human elements of care and passion will go a long ways to maintaining a show car finish.


I dunno if it really matters how hard/soft the paint is. Any paint will mar if you're not careful and if you have soft paint, just use milder products for correction since it'll cut easier. Harder paint just takes different tools/techniques, but you're still removing paint until the marring looks acceptable.

All very true.


My Jag has *very soft* paint and my Audi's have *very hard* paint. I don't really worry more/less about the hardness when polishing them. If anything I have to be more careful correcting the Audi's because they require more aggressive treatment. I'm equally careful when I wash, the hard paint isn't "hard enough that you won't mar it". This comes up a lot with late model 'Vettes- hard clear, but people still mar it and ask "how can it scratch so easily if it's so hard?"

All paints mar and scratch easy, it's called scratch-sensitive, or abrasion-sensitive and you're right, a lot of people don't understand it.

Most people wish their car's paint would completely resist scratching, this would allow them to be careless and lazy. (Sound like anyone you know?)

The primary practical difference between hard paints and soft paints is the degree of extra work it is to remove defects out of harder paints.