There is but one flaw in my A6 -- the previous owner babied it and kept it constantly clean and immaculate, BUT -- it was apparently washed in a car wash with those darn brushes, because the paint is full of swirl marks! A fresh coat of wax helps to hide the swirl marks somewhat, but not completely.
Does anyone know of anything that can permanently eliminate them or drastically reduce them? I'd like to get my paint looking richer and glossier, and keep it that way for another 5+ years. I think that the swirl marks have the effect of dulling the finish when viewed from certain angles in certain lighting.
WAX: I did recently purchase a bottle of Zymol wax, which I've heard excellent things about... Haven't used it yet... Any other recommendations? I've heard rave reviews about Zaino, but it sounds like way more time than I have to put into waxing.
POLISHER: Also considering purchasing a decent random orbital polisher... Need to find a good one for well under $50 (if that's possible). Any recommendations?
Also, my thinking is that I don't wax nearly often enough (can't do it in winter, since I live in MN)... Generally once in spring and once in fall and that's it.
With the right tools (orbital polisher) I could do the job quicker and better, which would make it easier to wax more often and with multiple coats. (Takes way too long to do by hand, unless I'm just putting too much elbow grease into it).
I'd appreciate hearing some opinions and recommendations for wax and polishers and any other products or techiques to reduce swirl marks and keep paint glossy and protected!
1996 A6 Q
07-05-2001, 09:42 PM
I'm just starting on mine, I think I have the "previous owner went to the car wash" problem.
1. Stripped car with Dawn dish soap.
2. 3M Imperial hand glaze tomorrow.
3. Blitz Grand 1 tomorrow, day after.
Best thing you got in your favor is good old white paint, my personal favorite. I got fricking dark metal flake blue. Well, I guess the second hand guys can't be picky. ;-)
There are lots of tips at <a href="http://www.carcareonline.com" target="_top">Car Care Online</a> and <a href="http://www.autoint.com/" target="_top">Automotive International.</a>
I ended up buying at <a href="http://www.autosupermart.com" target="_top">Automotive Supermart</a> because I can buy online with a credit card. I get busy at work and either forget or don't want to get put on hold etc., the online ordering is what I really like.
07-05-2001, 11:21 PM
07-06-2001, 06:38 AM
First, I agree with the suggestion to try glaze...like 3M Imperial Hand Glaze or One Grand Omega Glaze. Of course, there are swirl marks and then there are <i>swirl</i> marks. A hand glaze may or may not give satisfactory results, depending on what you're dealing with. Read some of the other threads on this forum on dealing with swirl marks and using random orbital polishers.
I've been using One Grand's Blitz Wax for the past couple years with excellent results. I live in the Northeast, and the wax that I apply in October is still beading in April despite everything that winter throws at it. I think that's very good durability. I usually glaze and then wax in the Fall and in the Spring, and although I probably don't need to do so, I wax again in midsummer. That's it. I will sometimes use a detailer spray after regular washings just to freshen it up. I used a clay bar on my wife's car recently, but I'd never done that before and the car is 4 years old. It did improve things (followed by glaze and wax). Personally I don't see that using a random orbital buffer will save much time applying wax. If you're just applying a wax, there's no need for "elbow grease". That's useful when using a glaze or a polish, when you need to work the material into the paint, but not wax, which by definition simply sits on top of the finish to seal and protect it. Having said that, I'm sure there are others who use a ROB to apply wax, on the theory that it helps to apply it thinly and evenly.
07-06-2001, 11:54 AM
The buffer should be used with the glaze. I recently ordered a Porter Cable 7424. I don't think I would purchase a less expensive one. Using the wrong machine/pads, can lead to more swirls in your paint. Anyway, with zaino, I find that if you start with clean paint, it's a cake walk. Thats what the buffer and hand glaze is more (3M makes a machine glaze specifically for buffers). Once the paint is clean, take one of the zaino applicators, dampen it with water, and apply Z2 to the finish. The water will help you get a very thin and even coat on the car. You'll be surprised at how little you will need. One bottle of Z2 can cover 8-10 cars if applied in this fashion. Application requires NO elbow grease, just wipe it on! After it has dried, it comes off very easily. Especially since you have applied only a thin layer. After your next car wash, re-apply a second layer of Z2. That should last you a good 6 months.
If you're working with paint that's already clean, you can zaino and buff your entire car in less than 1 hour! It's the cleaning stage that takes some work. The same applies for any other wax...once you're done cleaning the paint, it's easy! A thorough cleaning only needs to be done twice a year. In between you can just throw on another coat of Z2 or wax (whatever you choose to use). Since it only takes an hour, it shouldn't be an issue.
Credit goes to Al Pollack for teaching me how to work with the Zaino...without his tips, I would be bitching about how long and complex the "Zaino process" takes.
More on swirls and polishers. The 7424 runs for around $110-$130 via the internet. I tried it recently on a test car (dark green), and in combination with the machine glaze, I was impressed! I did get a small applicator to do the tight areas by hand (don't want to damage anything by shoving a buffer into a small space). Meguiar's also make more aggressive pads if you need a little cutting action to get rid of deeper swirls and scratches. I found the basic polishing pad was good for very light cleaning, but it wouldn't do much for light scratches in the paint. It's nice that I can just switch pads to do more aggresive work. The machine glaze isn't terribly aggressive either, but Meguiar's makes a full line of scratch removers, so if you need to step up to a more aggressive compound, you can. Just beware, the more aggressive the materials you use, the greater the chance you will harm your paint if you're not careful. I would suggest starting with the milder materials first, get a feel for using the polisher, and then step up if the paint requires it. $130 may seem like a lot for a polisher, but I'm quite happy with the initial results (I've looked at reflections of the sun off the paint - specifically looking for machine marks, and there are NONE!).
07-07-2001, 10:43 AM
With a powered buffer, you run the risk of creating more swirl marks, or even going thru the paint.
Play it safe and do it by hand.
Jeff Vader - boscoj
07-07-2001, 02:25 PM
then finish with #7 hand glaze and your wax of choice.
07-07-2001, 11:35 PM
I was amazed at how good it turned out. I looked for the worst set of marks I knew about on the driver front fender all day today. Can't find them. I'm trying to get some decent pictures but it may take awhile...I wish I had a big white box to take pictures in. There are some pictures <a href="http://forums.audiworld.com/a6100/msgs/671.phtml" target="_top">here.</a>
From what I've read I'd be scared sh*tless to learn how to use polishes, glazes and a power tool on MY car. I may do my trunk lid once or twice more, the rest of the car looks great.
07-08-2001, 10:42 AM
07-09-2001, 06:05 AM
07-10-2001, 05:58 AM
if you've got that type of swirlmarks (or spiderwebbing) you will probably fare better by going to a professional detailer.
They will be able to remove most of the swirl, and will get you on a stable platform.
If you use IHG, just remember that it's not permanent. Even if you wax over it, after several washings, the wax and IHG coating will wear off, and the swirls will return.