View Full Version : Cobweb Swirls vs Rotary Buffer Swirls

Mike Phillips
Jan 2nd, 2008, 08:05 AM
Cobweb Swirls vs Rotary Buffer Swirls (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21066)
Below is an explanation between the difference between random swirls and scratches that show up in what is commonly referred to as Cobweb Swirls as compared to Rotary Buffer Swirls.

Cobweb Scratches or Cobweb Swirls
Actually, the term cobweb swirls or spiderweb swirls comes from the fact that when you look at the paint in such a way as to place the reflection of the sun or another source of bright light so that it's on a painted panel, you'll see what looks like swirls and scratches forming in a circular pattern around the point of light.

Cobweb Scratches or Cobweb Swirls

Cobweb Scratches or Cobweb Swirls

Now if you move around a little bit so as to move the point of light around on the panel you'll see what looks as though the cobweb swirls are following the point of light. The cobweb swirls are not actually following the point of light what's really happening is that the entire finish is so filled with random scratches that wherever you place the point of light you'll see the circular or cobweb pattern show up because the random scratches will reflect the light back towards the center of this point of light. So as you move the point of light around on a painted panel it looks as though the cobweb swirls are following the point of light.

Does that make sense?

The scratches are not specifically circle scratches, they could be a all straight-line scratches but the effect is they look circular because the point of light is circular and the light hitting the hundreds of thousands of scratches are all reflecting back to the center of the point of light making it look as though the scratches are all circular when that's not the case.

Buffer swirls or Buffer Trails or Holograms
Swirls instilled through the use and mis-use of a rotary buffer will tend to show up in a pattern that reflect the direction the rotary buffer was moved over the surface.

Rotary Buffer Instilled Swirls

Rotary Buffer Instilled Swirls

Hope this helps to explain the difference.


Feb 1st, 2008, 12:12 AM
Wow! Look at that Lexus ... got me scared! Pictures are worth a thousand words. I'm guessing that an orbital machine would have been less hazardous ... oh me :(

Mar 7th, 2008, 01:42 PM
what do you recommend using to fix these?

Mike Phillips
Mar 7th, 2008, 01:58 PM
The way you remove swirls of any type is to remove the paint surrounding them, to do this we use compound, paint cleaners, cleaner/polishes and cleaner/waxes.

Click the "how-to" forum link below and there are some threads in their on removing swirls and scratches, (below surface defects), by hand and by using a dual action polisher, give them a read through.

Have Questions? Looking for Answers?
So much good, practical and helpful information in these two forums
Hot Topics (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=80)
How To Articles (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=33)


Mar 7th, 2008, 02:14 PM
I'd like to add (hopefully this is okay) that it is possible to run across swirls that have the nature of both. This mustang I did awhile back had what appeared to be horrible swirling under halogens, but in direct sun you could clearly see that they were induced by a rotary buffer...possibly a dry buff from the look.



Mar 9th, 2008, 12:19 AM
very nice piece of information. Thanks guys !!

Mar 12th, 2008, 12:48 PM
Wow that is bad. I would love to get my hands on those cars.

Sep 7th, 2009, 04:37 PM

Sep 7th, 2009, 08:49 PM
please dont bump :(... my eyes are hurting from the defects... it makes my hands want to detail those swirls...

Jun 6th, 2010, 10:40 AM
Hi guys from what i understand if you take your newly black car in for ****** then the problems start either with swirls or any other defect on the paind