Removing swirl marks

Man of Honour
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17 Oct 2002
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Hi all,

With my Mondeo I was quite lucky in that the paintwork was in exceptional condition when I bought it - there were no swirl marks at all, simply the odd scratch here and there but nothing serious.

I'd like something similar with my next car - there is nothing like washing and polishing the car and being able to stand back and look at a perfectly shiney car. Unfortunately, nasty swirl marks tend to ruin this - our FTO, for example, really doesnt look its best when the sun is out which is a real shame.

I've noticed a few of the cars I've looked at so far have lots of swirl marks and I've been put off by this - I want something with mint condition bodywork.

Are swirl marks something which can ever be properly removed with the right equipment and products? It'd be a shame to reject otherwise suitable cars simply becuase of this sort of paintwork damage if it can be easily fixed with some elbow grease and some decent products.

Any ideas?
 
Associate
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I've had reasonable results with scratch X from meguiars, it certainly gets rid of the lighter swirl marks. For the heavier ones you'll be looking at a heavier cutting compund and/or a machine polish, which is about where my knowledge runs out i'm afraid.
 
Man of Honour
OP
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Is it something professionals can do properly? I don't mind spending up to £250 or so if it means the paintwork will be immaculate afterwards.
 

Zip

Zip

Soldato
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Morba said:
was it eidolon who bought the power buffer or whatever it is from america?

wonder how good a job that would do with the right products for waxing etc

Yep it is was him.
Those cars were :eek:
I wonder what his turned out like
 
Associate
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I think for 250 quid you could find a professional who could make even the dullest of paint look presentable.

It's not too hard to get rid of swirls with the right equipment. i.e. a nice electronic buffer and some decent wax :)
 
Associate
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[TW]Fox said:
Are swirl marks something which can ever be properly removed with the right equipment and products? It'd be a shame to reject otherwise suitable cars simply becuase of this sort of paintwork damage if it can be easily fixed with some elbow grease and some decent products.

Any ideas?

A pretty basic rule is that if you can't feel the defect in the paint with your fingernail, it's "fixable".

There are so many products (polishes, compounds, machine glazes etc) and techniques that can do this, it's pretty much impossible to list them all, and all weekend or pro detailers have their own very specific ideas on what is best.

Without going into too much detail, if you really want some spectacular results, theres two ways of going about it. You can pay a pro to remove the swirls (and properly remove them, not use something with filling properties that masks the swirls) and then adopt a really good washing technique to minimise the swirls in the future, although minor spiderwebbing is going to be almost unavoidable over time or invest in some gear of your own.

First up would be a PC (Porter Cable) 7424 with a variety of pads. Sonus and Lake Country pads are pretty good, and both come in various foam densities for cutting, polishing and finishing.

Then choose your products. I know Megs and Autoglym stuff is readily available but to make the most of the PC (unless using some of the Pro range from Meguiars) you should spend some time researching the forums at autopia.org for a start. Product lines that can hit really heavy to the lightest swirls include Menzerna, Poorboys SSR's, Optimum and Clearkote to name a few.

Many of these have varying degrees of agressiveness and the choice of pad you choose with the product will make a difference. The nice thing about a PC compared to a rotory/mop is that even a noob would have difficulty burning or damaging the paint if common sense prevails and you can get absolutely stunning results. It's a once or twice a year thing though as you will never want to remove more than 50% of the clearcoat.

The PC still can be used though for applying glazes, spot repairs and buffing if you want, so it's a decent investment.

The marque of the vehicle makes a difference as well. Removing swirls from a scoob is a doddle compared to an Audi.

Swirl marks are a sign of a really poor washing technique usually, so once you have removed them (again, without using a product that does not use fillers as the swirls will return once the product degrades), you should look at the autopia guide on how to wash your car.

After all that, then you get to choose how you want your car too look...wet and glossy or deeper and more reflective? So now its time to choose a suitable wax or sealant...etc.

edit: must type faster.
 
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Associate
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I bought a porter cable 2 months ago, only used it a handful of times due to crappy weather. It does a great job too.

Swirl removal with the correct pads and polishes is very easy. £250 should also get you a professional detailer who will remove those nasty swirls for you. Most pro detailers will use a buffer called a Rotary, which is basically a turbo charged Porter Cable, runs faster and is quicker for swirl removal.

Ive seen some horrendous swirl marks transformed into a deep luster, swirl free paint. Get yourself onto the detailing world forums, maybe one of the guys over there is close to you.
 
Soldato
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Morba said:
was it eidolon who bought the power buffer or whatever it is from america?

wonder how good a job that would do with the right products for waxing etc

Yep, twas me.

My mate has a Pulsar with pretty bad paintwork so he's been using my PC7424 for the last few days. The difference is amazing, all swirls are almost all gone, his paintwork will be better than my MR2s soon!

If the weather is ok this weekend I think I'll do the CTR
 
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Soldato
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Just a quick pic of what the PC7424 is capable of

Wing-InsideMasked4.jpg
 
Soldato
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My scoobs were nasty for swirl marks, couldn't shift em at all. I've not a bleeding clue how they got there either because I must buy at least a dozen new sponges a year. In the end I gave up.

I really wanted a black Teg at first, but after seeing nasty swirl marks on one that was just 12 months old - I ran a mile & went for the magnolia instead. :p
 
Associate
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Majority of my car looks like this due to the previous owners!

I removed my rear spoiler and spent several hours polishing my boot, removed all the swirls and it looked fab afterwards ... here and here

As soon as the nice weather turns up the rest of the car will get treated to a polish.
 
Associate
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merlin said:
My scoobs were nasty for swirl marks, couldn't shift em at all. I've not a bleeding clue how they got there either because I must buy at least a dozen new sponges a year. In the end I gave up.

I really wanted a black Teg at first, but after seeing nasty swirl marks on one that was just 12 months old - I ran a mile & went for the magnolia instead. :p


Dont use sponges, use a lambs wool mit. When you're washing your car, if you happen to run over a tiny piece of grit with your sponge it stays on the surface of the sponge, so whilst your moving the sponge about the car its putting in scratches the whole time. They wont be noticeable until birhgt light shines on them. Use a lambs wool wash mit, which will sort of "absorb" the grit into its deep pile.

http://www.detailingworld.co.uk/showthread.php?t=4637
 
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