Originally Posted by Okami
I've recently been looking at detailing my car. It has the swirl marks and scratches in the clear coat (like cobwebs) that show when the sun hits it just right.
The amount of products available is mind blowing
I've got an old Makita rotary polisher about here, but have no experience using it and have read rotary polishers can be tricky.
I wonder if one of my orbital sanders could do the job, put a foam pad on it and its a DA polisher
Does anyone do there own car detailing?
Your Makita should work fine. Is it variable speed? If it is run it really low at like 1000 to 2000 RPMs. I'm sure one of your ROS will work fine especially if you follow the advice in some of the links that Peter gave you. Honestly the buffer has little effect on the outcome of the detail job its all about the products and the process. If your are going to detail your car and do it correctly there are steps you need to follow.
1) Wash the car with soap but as you are washing the car use a clay bar at the same time. A clay bar will remove a lot of the impurities that are on your the pain of your car. Once done the surface should feel smooth and is somewhat stripped down to just the clear coat.
2) You need to get a mildly abrasive buffing compound suited for clear coats. Buff one section of the car at a time making sure you don't stay in one spot for too long.
3) Then switch to a polish that is suited for clear coats but make sure you put on a new buffing pad. Again, make sure that you don't stay in one spot for too long and do one section at a time. I also will take a microfiber towel and hand buff any polish that may the buffer didn't get out.
4) Wax the the car. I like a combination of carnauba wax and teflon wax equal parts of each but teflon wax can get expensive so carnauba would be fine. I put it on with a buffing pad by hand and then buff it out with a microfiber buffing pad.
Think of it along the same lines as refinishing a piece of furniture. You have to strip the paint of all the impurities, then buff out the scratches, then polish it and finally protect it.
This is a long process but worth doing right. In the interest of full disclosure I have not done this to one of my cars in over 5 years. The only reason I know how to do this is because I used to own a small mobile detailing business. I had a friend who wanted to buy a boat but his wife wouldn't let him unless he could come up with a way to make the payments without taking money out of his regular paycheck. He asked me if I had any ideas and I told him that "I enjoyed detailing my truck the other day, maybe we could start a mobile detail business." So we did. We learned everything you could about detailing a car and even "interned" at professional detail shop for a couple weekends before we launched out business. It only lasted about 8 months, trying to work and full time job and then detailing cars on your off time was just way more work then we ever anticipated. His wife finally complained that he was spending way to much time detailing and not enough at home, so we sold the business and that was that.
Anyway the most important part of this whole process is the products you use. I don't recommend getting your stuff from you local auto parts store. Check out Amazon, or just do a google search for professional car care or professional detail products.