How to Prevent and Eliminate "Swirls"
Tags: AUTO, CAR, CHATTANOOGA, CLAYBAR, COMPOUND, DETAILING, EXOTIC, PAINT, POLISH, SWIRLS, TENNESSEE, WAX
If you ever collected baseball cards and found a rare hologram of your favorite player, you were probably pretty excited about it. I know that I always was. However, I do not feel that same excitement when the paint on my favorite car looks like a hologram. These holograms or swirls can appear as a result from improper washing techniques as well as improper use of a rotary or high speed buffer. Improper washing will slowly form swirls because contaminants on the paint will be moved around during the washing process and will make small scratches that become more apparent over time. Improper use of a rotary tool could include using an over aggressive compound and/or buffing pad and not taking the necessary steps afterwards to eliminate the swirls caused during the process.
Using claybar is the best way to prevent contanimants from building up on your vehicles' paint. Claying and waxing your paint in a few times a year will greatly reduce the negative side affects from automated washes or even washing your car in your driveway. During the washing process, these contaminants will be moved around and form scratches the paint. Over time these scratches will become more apparent and form swirls. Some automated car washes use nylon brushes that are very harsh on your paint system. Neoprene and cloth brushes are much softer on your paint but can still cause swirls. If you wash your own car, try using a soft microfiber or soft foam wash mitt as opposed to wool or a shammy towel. Using an aggressive compound with a wool or heavy cutting pad with a rotary buffer is the best way to remove deep scratches, but the paint will look like a hologram unless it is followed up with a lighter compound and softer polishing or finishing buffing pad. It is very important to polish the paint afterwards as well to ensure a clean, smooth, swirl free finish.
Buffing and polishing is the most effective way to completely eliminate swirls. "Swirl removers" will hide swirls for a couple of weeks, but they will eventually wear off. Depending on the severity of the swirls, heavy polishing can usually be the answer. If the swirls are deep, a light compound will be needed followed by polishing. Swirls are a series of uniformed scratches that often follow the same pattern. Light will reflect off of the edges of these scratches which is what make them so visible. A fine compound or polish will round the edges of those scratches, smoothing them out resulting in a smooth finish. Polishing can be done by hand, but will deliver much better results using the right machine and product/ pad combination. This process can be very expensive and time consuming and should be left to an experienced and reputable professional.