How To Detail Your Vehicle: Exterior Conditioning

Stage 2 of Vehicle Detailing

Many people vear away from reconditioning the paint on their vehicle; it is a somewhat difficult job to do for the inexperienced individual. However, I've decided to post this "how to" for those of you who are "do-it-yourselfer's" and would like to take the risk. Buffing your car correctly will make your paint shine like it has just come off of the showroom floor. It's much more than a wax job. Before beginning this process, I would suggest reading this ENTIRE page. Please also read the caution's below and view the useful links I've provided below. After you have done that, follow these steps:

  1. Place towels over the bottom portion of your windshield that will cover your vehicles wipers. This will protect staining from the compound.
  2. If you wish, use masking tape to cover all areas you do not want buffed, but may be in the way (i.e. rubber moldings around windows).
  3. Apply the liquid compound to a panel. Put enough of the liquid compound on a panel of the car that will allow you to cover a 2x2 area (I prefer to begin with the hood).
  4. Begin buffing slowly using the cutting pad on the buffer and gradually increase your speed to 1600-1800 rpm's.


  5. Once the compounding is completed, take a soft cloth/towel and remove all residual compound from the vehicle.
  6. Change the pad on your buffer to the polishing pad.
  7. Follow steps 3 and 4 once again, only this time using liquid polish.
  8. Once the polishing is completed, take a soft cloth/towel and remove all residual polish from the vehicle.
  9. Remove the towels covering the wipers and remove any masking tape you may have used. Do this only once steps 1-8 are fully completed.
  10. Wash the vehicle with a very mild soap (preferably one which contains car wax) and a very soft mit (NOT the one you used to prep the vehicle!).
  11. Dry with a clean, damp chamois.

You did it! You may now proceed to the next step in detailing your vehicle.

Because this can be a risky process for the inexperienced, you may want to also do a web search for video instruction on buffing a car. I've provided one for you here.

I hope this information was helpful for you to get started. Please do additional research if you are a first time user with a buffer. You can damage your vehicle if you do not know what you are doing!


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