Buffing Becoming a Problem

More and more cars being butchered by high-speed buffers

Besides manufacturing the worlds finest car care products, our team also spends a good amount of time detailing, examining, and working with cars on a daily basis. Whether we’re keeping track of trends or figuring out a better way to keep road salt off the cars, it’s safe to say we are car nuts. One of our more recent discoveries, however, is a little frightening; more and more cars are being butchered by inexperienced detailers and professional dealerships that are incorrectly using high-speed buffers. We’ve always known there is a problem in quality, but lately things have been getting out of hand. Need evidence? Just go to your local dealership and check out the cars.

You may be wondering how we can tell… well, it’s not hard if you’ve got an eye for quality paintwork. You see, waxes and sealants aren’t just meant to shine – they’re specifically formulated to cover up imperfections to make the paint look smoother and more clear. Once you strip these layers off the car, which happens naturally just a few short weeks after purchasing your new ride, you’ll start to see what I’m talking about. In one case we’ve even witnessed plastic trim that was basically eaten alive by a high-speed buffer (never, never, never use a buffer on plastic or rubber trim. EVER.); what this means is that an untrained mechanic or shop worker at the dealership is quickly buffing these cars with no caution or care. The owner had just bought the (german) vehicle and was coming in for his very first detail when he noticed the problem. Needless to say, he took the SUV back less than 48 hours from purchasing and the dealership replaced the trim.

If you think that’s scary, what about scratches? I don’t care if your car was manufactured in America, Korea or Münich, this stuff happens. Machines paint your car (unless you’re lucky enough to be cruising around in a Ferrari), industrially “polish” the pigment layer to clean it up, and then finally seal it with clear coat. This industrial polishing that takes place in the plant is horrific and typically visible if you don’t wax your car. Hazy holograms are evidence of an uneven or imperfect clear coat layer, which is often caused by an imperfect pigment layer. Don’t fret, in most cases it’s not your fault and it can be fixed.

What most people don’t know is that high-speed buffing is absolutely unnecessary if you protect your car correctly (after you’ve got any dealership errors fixed of course). While yes, buffing is needed if you’ve got a particular case of the swirls or to handle that nice hairline scratch beneath your door handle, you really can be preventative rather than reactive by protecting your paint. Protecting your paint is simple and can save thousands in the long run if we get into repainting or a handful of paintwork correction details, and yet the majority of drivers turn the other cheek on caring for their car’s paint. You know the headache you get when you see those swirls in your black paint, so why place the blame on the automatic car wash (though possibly at fault for making things worse) when you should’ve been protecting your paint? Exactly. After the initial purchase, and after fixing any dealership errors, car care is on the car’s owner – period, end of story.

3 Quick Protection Tips

  • At least once a year use a paint sealant for it’s longer lasting and more durable protection.
  • Wax with carnauba at least once each season to keep a fresh layer of protection on your car.
  • LOOK AT YOUR PAINT! Don’t turn a blind eye just because you’re too busy. Take 5 minutes, consult one of us for free advice or drop a line in the comments, and we’ll help you through any issue you’re having!