The 10 Best Car Buffers
This wiki has been updated 12 times since it was first published in March of 2018. When it comes to working polish into extremely thick and delicate clear coats, doing so effectively by hand over a large area can become very labor-intensive and time-consuming. As a solution to this problem, you can save both time and energy while ensuring defect-free finishes to the surfaces of almost any automobile using one of these corded or battery-operated car buffers. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best car buffer on Amazon.
May 16, 2019:
Considering that a majority of cars have relatively large surface areas with a lot of nooks and crannies to work on, polishing vehicles by hand is not the most effective way to ensure a defect-free finish. Unlike many of the older single-stage lacquer and urethane paints, modern automobile paints often have very hard and delicate clear coat finishes that require greater efficiency and more "automated care". That said, I tried to focus on including buffers capable of handling heavy loads, while mimicking natural hand movements in an effort to remove scratches, swirls, holograms, and other imperfections without the risk of user fatigue or wasted polishing products.
I added the Griot's Random Orbital Polisher for its long 25-foot power cord, 6 speed settings, and hook-and-loop backing plate. The pad and plate on the Adam's Swirl Killer Mini is capable of oscillating in multiple directions, allowing the device to mimic the irregular rotational patterns common with conventional hand polishing. The soft start feature on both the Rupes Big Foot and Makita 9237C allow for controlled power increases, making them both ideal for precision buffing jobs. I also maintained the Milwaukee M18 as one of the available cordless options. Its removable dust cover also protects its components from being clogged by the wool fibers of its pad. Also kept the DeWalt DWP849X for its durable ball bearing construction and 12-amp motor. Maintained the Torq 10FX for its integrated vibration reduction technology. I also thought that the Flex XC3401VRG was still a viable option, thanks to its direct orbital drive for preventing the transfer of excess heat, making it particularly useful when polishing fancy cars with temperature-sensitive finishes. Finally, I maintained the Porter-Cable 7424XP due to its random-orbit operation for use as both a polisher and sander.
A Brief History Of Auto Detailing
A German carriage maker developed a wax made from animal fats that was capable of protecting the black paint that was slathered on horse-drawn carriages.
If there's one thing that's remained constant throughout all of human history, it's that other people will judge you based on your ride — that's why you never see any paintings of ancient royalty mounted on ugly horses.
The first step towards auto detailing, however, happened way back in the first part of the 19th century CE. A German carriage maker developed a wax made from animal fats that was capable of protecting the black paint that was slathered on horse-drawn carriages. This would be the precursor to the auto wax we still use today.
The first Ford Model Ts were all painted with the same kind of lacquer paint that carriages used to be covered with, although by this time, the original wax had fallen out of popular consciousness.
In the 1930s, a wax was designed in Zurich by a man named Hans Anwander for protecting and restoring antiques. Anwander soon discovered it had an unexpected benefit: it was fantastic on the paint used on cars at the time. His wax, with a little tinkering, still comes standard issue in the trunks of Rolls-Royce cars today.
A version of this wax was brought to America shortly thereafter, where it was distributed by the Turtle Wax Company (no actual turtles were harmed in the making of the wax).
The 1950s brought what would eventually be a new innovation to the auto detailing game: the cyclo machine. This was a twin-head orbital polisher that was originally designed for the aerospace industry (because you can't let aliens see you roll up in a dusty old space shuttle).
Towards the end of the 1960s, several new breakthroughs were achieved. DuPont released a polymer sealant, and Japanese and European manufacturers introduced clear-coat paint. These allowed car buffs to create an incredible gloss and long-lasting color.
Detailing clay, two-stage paints, and non-degrading clear coats all hit the scene in the years to come, and today's products use advanced nanotechnology polymers, which definitely sound impressive. The focus today is on eco-friendly products, and green auto care looks to be here to stay.
How To Give Your Car The Best Bath Ever
While getting your car professionally washed can certainly save you some time, there are compelling reasons why you should do it yourself — such as the fact that workers are often mistreated, they use practices that are harmful to the environment, and oh yeah, it's incredibly expensive.
But how do you give your jalopy the same shine it would get at the place on the corner? Fear not — we're going to tell you.
You need two buckets, one with shampoo and one with rinse water, and you can either use a sponge or mitts.
The first thing you need to do is get all your gear ready. Don't use soaps or cleaners you have around the house, as anything other than a dedicated car wash product can strip off your car's protective wax. Read the labels on everything before you use them, too, as some products that work well on one surface may damage another.
Also, don't wash it immediately after driving it, as the heat will speed up the drying process and increase the likelihood that deposits will form on the paint.
Start off by quickly rinsing the vehicle, taking care to knock off any caked-on mud or other visible dirt and debris. A pressure washer is ideal for this, but a regular garden hose can work in a pinch.
There's a variety of pre-wash products available now that promise to remove grime, traffic film, and other undesirable substances. You just spray these on, let them sit, and rinse them off. They're effective, but not essential, so it's up to you whether to splurge on them.
Now it's time to start scrubbing. You need two buckets, one with shampoo and one with rinse water, and you can either use a sponge or mitts. Start at the top of the vehicle and work your way down, scrubbing in small, tight circles. Take time to rinse off your sponge frequently.
Once you're done, you can give it another quick rinse with the hose, then dry it off with a microfiber cloth or a chamois. Then, put whatever polish or other compound you're using directly on the car, and use your buffer to spread it around evenly, again making small circles. Chances are you'll only need to do this about once a year, though.
How To Keep Your Car Looking Brand New
Washing your car is hard work, so the last thing you want to have happen is for all that effort to be immediately undone the first time you drive anywhere. Below are some easy ways to keep it looking fabulous — without having to leave it in a garage year-round.
Below are some easy ways to keep it looking fabulous — without having to leave it in a garage year-round.
The most effective way, of course, is to leave it covered when you're not behind the wheel. Whether this means using only covered parking or buying a dedicated cover is up to you, but birds can't poop through solid surfaces — yet.
Be careful of when and where you're driving it, as well. If it's rained recently, you're better off taking another vehicle or calling an Uber than driving your precious wheels through a mud puddle. Likewise, try to leave it at home (or covered) on windy, dusty days.
Don't forget the inside, either. Wipe off your shoes before you get in, and keep some sort of receptacle inside for trash. Get a plastic box or something to store all your essentials, like tissues, grocery bags, and the like so that they're not all over the place.
Oh, and here's a tip for keeping your car spotless if you have babies or dogs: just forget about it, man.
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