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View Full Version : Help! Bad clear coat problem



Mudwalker
Nov 2nd, 2009, 05:36 PM
I have a 2006 Chevy Silverado that I purchased new. I noticed about a week after I bought it that it had some light swirls in the clear coat. The dealer buffed it, but the swirls came back about two weeks later. Then I started noticing after washing it that hard water was staining rather easily and I started wondering if there was something wrong with the clear coat.

About two years ago I went through an automated car wash:confused: and that left the worst hologram in the clear that I've ever seen. It's on the driver's side door, about 10"x8" and in somewhat of a rectangular shape. When the sun hits this spot it looks like there is literally a hologram in the clear coat. The whole truck got swirled up really bad just from that one trip through the car wash. I should mention that it is a dark blue truck, and I'm wondering of this really bad spot on the door can even be buffed out. Do I need SwirlX along with an orbital buffer? How could this one pass through the car wash do this much damage? Is it possible that the clear coat was not properly made?

This is making me sick, even after all this time. I want to fix it, but I'm afraid I will make it worse. And if something is wrong with the clear coat, wont I always have swirl issues?

Michael Stoops
Nov 2nd, 2009, 08:55 PM
First off, welcome to MOL!!

Now, as crazy as this might sound, the holograms you're seeing may have been there all along. If you've been waxing regularly it could very well be that you've been doing a good job of concealing them and the car wash you went through used a strong enough detergent wash that it stripped everything off the paint.

You mentioned the dealership buffing the truck to remove swirls but they all came back in a couple of weeks. Again, it's quite possible that part of their "buffing" process included heavy use of a glaze to fill and conceal these minor defects. A glaze like that will wash away after a few washes and reveal the swirls and holograms that were there all along.

Add to this the fact that in the three years you've owned this truck you've slowly been adding more swirls - it's just a fact of life unless you are extremely particular about how you wash and dry your vehicle. Even then, with soft or delicate paint, it's almost impossible to avoid them entirely. It also sounds like they've never really been given a fair shot at removal, which is where something like a good D/A buffer and some Ultimate Compound comes into play. A simple orbital buffer like those $30 things you can pick up at the auto parts store just don't have the power to correct these defects.

Read through our 5 Step Paint Care Cycle (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37320) for some specific information on how to properly address these issues and bring your finish back to where you want it.

Mudwalker
Nov 2nd, 2009, 09:31 PM
I really appreciate the reply. I've just been nervous about attempting to fix this myself. I just don't want to make things worse. I tried a while back to polish out the paint, but I didn't know about clay barring first, and I did scratch the clear coat a bit. I'd be willing to bet some of that would have to be wet sanded, but if I can make it like 50% better I would be happy.

J. A. Michaels
Nov 3rd, 2009, 04:26 AM
I would not jump to wet sanding right off the bat. You could get some swirl-x and do a test spot. I have had great success using this product. If that is not improving your paint you can step up to the Ultimate compound. Getting a G110 would also help. But you can achieve great results by hand.

Some pics would be helpful in guiding you the right way.

greg0303
Nov 3rd, 2009, 08:03 AM
Almost every car has swirls problems. Especially dark colored vehicles show them off in sunlight. I would try to remove your imperfection with SwirlX first. Orbital buffer may not be aggressive enough in your case so you may need to step up to DA polisher. If unsuccessful the next step would be Ultimate Compound. After paint surface is restored apply a coat of NXT Tech Wax 2.0 for protection.

EssieK
Nov 3rd, 2009, 09:11 AM
Unless your Silverado has very very soft paint you'll be able to remove those holograms in no-time - maybe a wee bit longer if you go by hand. Holograms are rather easy to remove as they are in fact very shallow swirls in the paint - probably left from the dealer giving it a "shine" before you picked it up. I've done a fair few cars where dealers have left tell-tale signs of complete and utter incompetence (both new and 2nd hand cars).

As previously mentioned that automated car wash is definately not the culprit here - it just stripped the car of wax/sealer/fillers and showed you the true state of the paint.

Upon fixing the problem yourself (don't bother handing in the car to the dealer again) make sure you check the paint for additional holograms - preferably in full sun from different angles, or by using a SunGun (or any very powerfull flashlight with at least 250 lumens).

Mudwalker
Nov 3rd, 2009, 02:33 PM
I appreciate all the advice. I'll try to get some pics up tomorrow.

alcmnch
Nov 7th, 2009, 04:50 PM
Never put a new car through an automated car wash, they do not use a hard water conditioner, and it makes those swirls which are scratches on your clear coat. I know it looks and feels frustrating, but, not to worry. I just purchased a new vehicle and I know by experience to NEVER USE A MACHINE CAR WASH! ALWAYS GO TO A HAND WASH, AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE A HARD WATER CONDITIONER; OR BETTER YET CLEAN IT AT HOME. My car's clear coat was scratched by a "porduct" that the dealer applied and charged me $500.00 for. When it rained or got wet for any reason the water which was supposed to "Glide Off" but it stuck on, beaded, and dried as white water spots. I took it back to the dealer and they couldn't believe what they saw. My car which is charcoal grey looked like a spotted lion. I demanded my money back, which I got, and went out and found that Meguiar also had a dealer edition. I purchased Meguiar's Gold Class Liquid wax.

I couldn't believe the transformation. No whirls, spots; and my care looks like it just came out of a showroom.

I really believe that this product can help your car look new again. I also purchased their Gold Class car wash, and it conditions as it cleans, leaving an awesome luster.

I never thought that my car would look 3 months old again, but it "gleams." I know that this product will work for you. Try it and write me with the results. Don't wait!

tlsole
Nov 15th, 2009, 08:32 PM
Hey guys, i got the same problems with the holograms. I applied SiwrlX by hand but didnt do the job. Im just waiting for my DA that i just ordered to come in. I clay bared my car a week ago, should i re clay it before i apply the SwirlX again? Also, does the swirls really come back in two weeks or so? Or does it last quite awhile? I got the swirls most likely from my washing habits (bad). I just recently started doing the two bucket/top to bottom wash. I also noticed after i clayed my car ALOTTTT of swirls/holograms were shown (more then before), is this normal?

Thanks guys!

Michael Stoops
Nov 16th, 2009, 02:45 PM
tlsole, if you clayed and suddenly more holograms appeared, that sure sounds like the clay has stripped whatever was hiding them in the first place. You most certainly are NOT going to get true holograms from claying your car, they only come from improper or rushed use of a rotary buffer. Unfortunately it is all too common for someone to rotary buff a car and then fill the holgrams with glazes or other fillers to conceal the problem. By the time these products have worn off the owner isn't even thinking about the guy who detailed the car.

If you just clayed and then a week later you want to use a paint cleaner or just want to way, you shouldn't have to clay again unless the car has been exposed to something fairly nasty - overspray comes to mind. Just wash and dry the car normally (ie carefully :xyxthumbs) and then run your clean, dry hand over the paint. If it's still nice and smooth claying won't do anything for you.

Lastly, will swirls come back in a couple of weeks? Well, if you're only concealing them then they just might. If you've truly gotten rid of them then they shouldn't if your washing/drying process is what it should be. Have a read through How to maintain your car's finish in-between polishing sessions (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23388) for some tips on proper maintenance.

Mudwalker
Nov 17th, 2009, 07:59 AM
What do you mean when you say that using a buffer too fast will cause more swirls? I'm sure I will have to use a buffer to get these swirls out, but when I hear things like that it makes nervous about trying it.

Another question; I used Meguiars paint cleaner to remove some water stains under my side mirror and some really nasty swirls were left behind. Do you think that was just from dirt particles in the applicator or on the paint?

Michael Stoops
Nov 17th, 2009, 08:24 AM
What do you mean when you say that using a buffer too fast will cause more swirls? I'm sure I will have to use a buffer to get these swirls out, but when I hear things like that it makes nervous about trying it.
Improper use of a rotary buffer will cause swirls and holograms in the paint. Improper use of a D/A buffer like Meguiar's G110v2 will just result in you pushing product around and not getting results. The nature of the D/A tool won't put swirls in the paint, but it can easily remove them. The learning curve on the D/A is very shallow and most people get great results on their first attempt. The learning curve on the rotary is quite steep and many people never truly figure it out. You definitely want to stick with a D/A tool.




Another question; I used Meguiars paint cleaner to remove some water stains under my side mirror and some really nasty swirls were left behind. Do you think that was just from dirt particles in the applicator or on the paint?
If you used a terry cloth applicator that alone could have inflicted the swirls and/or hazing of the paint. Of course, even the right applicator can do this if it's dirty or if the paint isn't clean before you start working on it. Wipe the area clean with some quick detailer spray and a microfiber towel, then go back over the swirls with Ultimate Compound and a foam applicator pad and you should remove the defects.

dope92cc
Nov 17th, 2009, 11:34 PM
Like Michael Stoops said, DA polishers are very easy use and end up with great results.
Invest in one. You could probably wax your entire truck in about an hour

EssieK
Nov 18th, 2009, 12:25 AM
Improper use of a rotary buffer will cause swirls and holograms in the paint. Improper use of a D/A buffer like Meguiar's G110v2 will just result in you pushing product around and not getting results. The nature of the D/A tool won't put swirls in the paint, but it can easily remove them. The learning curve on the D/A is very shallow and most people get great results on their first attempt. The learning curve on the rotary is quite steep and many people never truly figure it out. You definitely want to stick with a D/A tool.



If you used a terry cloth applicator that alone could have inflicted the swirls and/or hazing of the paint. Of course, even the right applicator can do this if it's dirty or if the paint isn't clean before you start working on it. Wipe the area clean with some quick detailer spray and a microfiber towel, then go back over the swirls with Ultimate Compound and a foam applicator pad and you should remove the defects.

Sorry Michael, but I have to disagree with you on a very particular point here - you can and will instill swirls and/or pigtails in the paint if the pad is contaminated even with a DA (heck, even the wrong use of microfiber cloth / terry towels can marr / swirl the paint). And yes - hologramming is _easier_ to get with a rotary, but not that difficult to get with a DA either. I've gotten hologramming using DA on very soft paint - and that particular paint needed very carefull buffing in order to become flawless (wiping off wax would cause RIDS with the wrong cloth etc)

So this "use a DA, then you can't go wrong"-approach most people preach is a bit misguiding in my opinion. You _can_ burn the paint using a rotary, and you can more easily ruin plasctics - but burning the paint requires a very very wrong use of the rotary. I tested on the bonnet of a 1998 Volkswagen Golf, and I had to be stationary for over 15 seconds on about 2200 rpm before the paint got burned (mileage may vary from paint to paint)

Chipping / flaking the paint is of course something that easily go wrong when using the rotary near sharp edges on the paint, but so will scraping your belt buckle on paint as you use the DA too.

So unless the v2-version has some magical abilities not known to man yet I really doubt that it cannot cause swirls and hologramming. In my experience it's learning and respecting the tool at hand that gives the best result with as few faults as possible (preferably none) caused by the use of the tool.

Michael Stoops
Nov 18th, 2009, 10:09 AM
Sorry Michael, but I have to disagree with you on a very particular point here - you can and will instill swirls and/or pigtails in the paint if the pad is contaminated even with a DA (heck, even the wrong use of microfiber cloth / terry towels can marr / swirl the paint). And yes - hologramming is _easier_ to get with a rotary, but not that difficult to get with a DA either. I've gotten hologramming using DA on very soft paint - and that particular paint needed very carefull buffing in order to become flawless (wiping off wax would cause RIDS with the wrong cloth etc)

So this "use a DA, then you can't go wrong"-approach most people preach is a bit misguiding in my opinion. You _can_ burn the paint using a rotary, and you can more easily ruin plasctics - but burning the paint requires a very very wrong use of the rotary. I tested on the bonnet of a 1998 Volkswagen Golf, and I had to be stationary for over 15 seconds on about 2200 rpm before the paint got burned (mileage may vary from paint to paint)

Chipping / flaking the paint is of course something that easily go wrong when using the rotary near sharp edges on the paint, but so will scraping your belt buckle on paint as you use the DA too.

So unless the v2-version has some magical abilities not known to man yet I really doubt that it cannot cause swirls and hologramming. In my experience it's learning and respecting the tool at hand that gives the best result with as few faults as possible (preferably none) caused by the use of the tool.
Nobody will argue that the learning curve and safety aspects of a D/A make it by far the better tool for a novice, compared to a rotary buffer. But as with anything, it assumes proper use of the tool. Anyone who isn't even using proper housekeeping practices - ie using clean pads and towels - is going to have problems no matter what. But you certainly can not blame the tool for that!!!

As for burning paint with a rotary - yes, in the middle of a panel you have to do something well outside normal use of the tool, generally speaking, to burn through a relatively new factory paint job. But to burn an edge with a rotary can happen with just a moments lack of attention, whereas with a D/A you can repeatedly go over that edge without concern. Again, assuming we're talking about a relatively new factory paint job.

Once you start dealing with an older car where you can not verify any prior machine buffing history and/or are unable to take paint thickness readings, all bets are off. If you've got a 40 year old car with original paint and there isn't much of that paint left, then you can take that paint off down to the primer fairly easily on an edge, even using a D/A. On that same car, however, you could probably go down to primer in the middle of a panel using a rotary, and do so in fairly short order.

There are more variables when polishing paint than you can imagine, but instances of damage caused by use of a D/A are quite rare when compared to instances of damage caused by a rotary. It comes down to the power differences between the two tools, and they way they deliver that power. We see horrific holograms inflicted by improper use of a rotary almost on a daily basis, but can likely count on one hand the times we've seen it happen with a D/A. If you use the power of the D/A as it should be used, chances of doing damage are very, very small indeed. But we see more and more people stepping outside the confines of "conventional use" of this tool, really pushing the limits of what it can do. That's fine in the hands of someone who understands the dynamics of what's going on when you do things like work with 4" pads, strong compounds, high pressure, etc. It's those who don't consider these variations that tend to get into trouble.

As for the properties of the G110v2, provided you aren't using dirty pads with it and you use it intelligently (ie, you understand that differences in paint do exist, etc) then the chances of damage to any degree are far, far less than when using a rotary - especially in the hands of a novice. As an example, this past summer we had someone attend a Thursday Night Open Garage who was struggling to remove defects from fairly soft paint using a D/A polisher. No matter what he did, the paint was always hazed. He even got the point of using M105 on a yellow polishing pad and wasn't getting the results he wanted, or expected. So he stepped up to a burgundy cutting pad on the D/A with the same M105. Still no results. In fact, the paint looked fairly horrible. When we had him step way down to M205, even with a finishing pad, he produced gorgeous results almost immediately. Is that the fault of the D/A polisher? No, it was a lack of understanding of the dynamics of what was happening. One can only imagine what might have happened had this same individual repeatedly gone over his paint with a rotary buffer, continually increasing the level of aggressiveness in an attempt to correct his paint defects. Certainly that same approach would have resulted in irreparable damage to the paint. But even the "damage" he caused with a D/A was easily corrected - and by none other than the person who caused the "damage" and even using the same tool!!! And therein lies the big difference between the D/A and rotary.

Mudwalker
Nov 20th, 2009, 03:36 PM
I'm convinced that I need to use a d/a buffer to get these swirls and holograms out. What is the best method when going over body contours and areas where the surface is narrower than the width of the pad(such as the back of the cab behind the side windows)?

Michael Stoops
Nov 23rd, 2009, 10:17 AM
Generally speaking you can just tape off vinyl and rubber trim that runs along those areas (this is very common when working on A-pillars on virtually all vehicles) and angle up on the pad a bit to work it. Or you can pick up our new 4" pads with the proper backing plate and use them on a D/A. It sometimes does get a bit tricky and you need to get a bit creative sometimes, but these smaller areas can usually be worked very effectively.

Mudwalker
Dec 9th, 2009, 02:50 PM
I have a few products on my Christmas list. SwirlX and Ultimate Compound. And I've decided to do this by hand even though it may take forever. I'm just wondering which one I'm supposed to use out of the two mentioned. Michael, I know you said to use Ultimate Compound, but I want to make sure this isn't too aggressive. Plus, I keep reading about UC leaving behind a white haze. Then I read a comment about SwirlX scratching the paint even as it was being whiped off. So, which one, and how do I avoid the residual effects?

Another question came to mind. I have orange peel but it feels smooth. Will this effect the way a swirl remover works?

BTW, I am not cocerned with getting rid of the orange peel. That doesn't bother me at all. Infact, I kind of like it for some reason.

Michael Stoops
Dec 9th, 2009, 03:17 PM
If you're going to be working by hand, definitely go with the UC. Where are you reading about it leaving a white haze? Sounds as though someone maybe isn't using it quite right. And SwirlX scratching the paint? Someone is definitely doing something wrong there - there's just no way SwirlX can scratch your paint. Leave it on until it's dry and find yourself having to work hard to take it off and then, yes, you might mar the paint. But that sure isn't the fault of the product - that is flat out user error.

Here's what you want to do in order to get the most out of Ultimate Compound when working by hand, basically following along with the 5 Step Paint Care Cycle (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37320):



Wash and dry the car fully. In good light inspect the paint for both bonded surface contaminants and below surface flaws/defects.
If the paint feels rough to the touch, clay it. If not then you won't gain anything by this process. For below surface defects like swirls, etching, etc you'll use the Ultimate Compound.

Work on a cool surface, and apply a small amount of UC to a foam applicator pad, and work it against the paint in an area no larger than 2' x 2'. Honestly, you'll probably find better results working even a smaller area than that. But work it until it becomes just a thin film on the surface, then wipe it off immediately. It should wipe off quite easily and leave very little, if any, residue behind.
At this point double check your effort by pulling the car back into the sun and evaluating your progress. You may find you need a second application to remove defects to your satisfaction - it all depends on how aggressively you work it, and how hard your paint is or isn't.
Once you've determined whether you need a second pass or not, pull the car back into the shade and continue to work around the vehicle, confining each work are to this small size.

At this point you can follow up with a pure polish such as M07 Show Car Glaze or Deep Crystal Polish. Here you can work a bit larger area as all you're doing is lightly working the product against the paint and then wiping it off. Keep in mind, this is an optional step. You don't have to do it.
Now it's time to wax - use your favorite, whether it be liquid or paste, carnauba or synthetic. But no matter which you choose, apply it very thin and uniformly. A thick coat just takes longer to dry, wastes product, and is harder to remove. It doesn't give you any more protection as only so much will bond to the paint. Go ahead and cover all the paint surfaces of the car with a thin coat, and then give it another 20 minutes or so to fully dry. If ambient temperature is below 60F or so it may take a bit longer for the wax to dry. Once it is dry just wipe off the residue with a clean, dry microfiber towel. It should just about fall off if you do it right.

Now, all that is pretty basic stuff. It can sometimes be hard to convey what's meant by "a small amount of product" or what "a thin film" means. Have a look at this video on surface prep and it should clear up some things for you:

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Don't be concerned about Ultimate Compound being too aggressive. You're working by hand, so that drops the potential total cut of any product by a good margin. If a critical evaluation following a single application of UC (or anything else, for that matter) tells you that you have not removed all the swirls, then that also tells you that your process is not overly aggressive. When all you're looking to remove are typical swirls, you are not going deep into the paint at all. Not even close. And if you can't get rid of them completely, then you're really not being overly aggressive. Remember, how aggressive a process is depends not only on the product being used, but the applicator material, the method of application, pressure, speed, etc. But UC by hand? Not a problem.

The orange peel won't be an issue for you either. You're application process will follow the contours of the orange peel texture, which is why you can remove the swirls without leveling the texture.

Lastly, you are probably the only person here who actually likes orange peel. Or you're the only who will admit it! Either way, we aren't sure how to help someone who presents such a crazy idea.

Mudwalker
Dec 10th, 2009, 02:01 PM
Lastly, you are probably the only person here who actually likes orange peel. Or you're the only who will admit it! Either way, we aren't sure how to help someone who presents such a crazy idea.


Haha! Just one of many crazy ideas!

Thanks for all the advice. I'm getting some cutting pads to apply the UC and polish and wax for to complete the process. I'll let you know how it comes out. Hopefully I can get through the process without further assistance.

Michael Stoops
Dec 10th, 2009, 03:05 PM
Haha! Just one of many crazy ideas!

Thanks for all the advice. I'm getting some cutting pads to apply the UC and polish and wax for to complete the process. I'll let you know how it comes out. Hopefully I can get through the process without further assistance.

Stick with polishing pads for the UC, we don't recommend using the cutting pads on the G110v2 or other D/A as they tend to haze the paint.