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removing swirls/spiderwebs

22 October 2004
Seattle, WA
Had my car professionally detailed (compounded) last November when I bought the car. The paint was in pretty good condition, but had lots of swirl marks/spiderwebs really only seen in direct sunlight.

The detailer was not able to get the swirls/spiderwebs out.

I detailed the car by hand a few weeks ago using the following steps

1. Wash with P21 Total Auto Wash
2. Clay bar
5. 3m Imperial Hand Glaze.
6. P21S Gloss Enhancing Paintwork Cleanser
7. Two coats of Blitz wax

The car looks really good...but still, in direct sunlight...I can still see light swirl marks/spider webs all over the car. I can't see these marks in any other lighting (flourescent lighting included). The swirls are perfectly circular...(I doubt that I added these because I polish/wax in a linear motion).

Any advice on products/processes to remove these swirls/spiderwebs?

I am considering purchasing a random orbital buffer as well...
The glaze and the wax you used are good fillers for disguising the swirls. The problem is that after a few washes the appearance returns.
My guess is your detailer was either incapable, unwilling or afraid to remove every swirl. The afraid part refers to breaking through the clear.

IMO your options are:
-buy some polishes, equipment and do it yourself :biggrin:
-get a second opinion from a qualified professional :smile:
-Live with it, maybe reduce via fillers :confused:

When you say the swirls are perfectly circular, I wonder if these were not induced by the detailer via a rotary device. Can you take a picture?

A DA polisher used correctly can do a lot, but it can take time and patience.

Here are a few sites for more info:
Do the look like this?


If so these are "halo-scratches". Called such because of the circle appearance they take on. These though are not cuased by a rotary buffer but rather caused by normal washing, drying and driving.

These can be handled with an orbital polisher, like the PC or better yet the Cyclo polisher. A rotary is faster and more thorough but with a little more time and effort an orbital can do well also. For products I would recommend either Menzerna or Optimum.

I will post up some "how to's" as soon as our rain gives us a break down here in Texas.

RSF944 said:
I'm planning on trying to remove the swirls/spiderwebs myself. I figure I will need an orbital polisher.(http://www.nsxprime.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51321)

There seems to be so many products out there. I wanted to know what products/processes have worked for people...

The products that I have used the most and recommend are Menzerna IP/FP2 and Poorboys SSR 2.5/1. I have some samples of the new optimum polish that I want to try as soon as I get a donor vehicle.
Optimum polish that Anthony recommended comes in one grade/power. The level of abrasion is dictated by the type of pad you use. I would like to hear more about this polish from Anthony. I believe he has used it extensively.

My Process with PC 7336:
-wash and dry car
-clay car if needed
-tape off trim (you don't want polish stuck in your side reflector/lights, cracks. I tape any area where the polish could get stuck in the molding (edge of hood, etc.)
-test level of polish/pad combo. Too coarse and you could be wasting clear coat, too fine you are wasting time and product.
-I apply the product to the pad then spread on the panel area with the PC turned off (slinging product around sucks!). I usually work a 2x2 section at a time. Drape the cord over your shoulder to avoid contact with your car.
-speed and pressure are two things you will hear a lot of different opinions on. I generally use speed 4-5 for polishes, light pressure and move the PC in a deliberate pattern (up/down, then left/right). I move the PC fairly slowly.
-I turn off the power as the product begins to flash or dust.
-examine the 2x2 area and move on when you are content with your work.
-Wipe off with MF. I use a 50/50 mix of ISO/water if the polsih is tough to remove (IP sometimes).
-repeat polish with a finer grade polish (FP2 or SSR1).
-I use a ton of light when I polish. I have overhead flourescent and lots of halogen lights.
-I tend to use a chemical polish on areas that would be very difficult to access by machine. If you open the engine cover and look around, these are the areas I am talking about.

-Once polishing is complete apply sealant and/or wax by hand or PC.

The polishing step(s) may take you 2-4 hours or more depending on the condition of your finish with a PC. Since I am not a full-timer, it usually takes me a little longer than some. The first time took a whole weekend.

*Once car is swirl free, make sure you are not recreating the swirls with your wash/dry process/products!
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Anthony...yes looks very similar. They looked almost perfectly circular all over the car...so I didn't think it was caused by normal washing and drying (at least not by me since the motion that I use for washing/drying is a bit more random than this).

pt91...thanks for your post. I'll be deciding on an orbital polisher very soon. I'll check out the polishes you mentioned as well...

I'm very impressed with 3M Imperial Hand Glaze...and I know they make a 3M Imp[erial machine glaze as well...anyone use this?

Well in truth they only APPEAR to be circles. They are actually random surface scratches whos edges are catching the light and reflecting it back to you and they then take on the shape of circles.

Here is a picture of a Jaguar XK8 hood that has both halo scratches and buffer swirls or halograms. The swirls can be seen as wavy lines of micro scratches.


Now remember that black Porsche deck lid? Well here it is after being polished with only one product and two pads. The white specks are rock chips as this Porsche was pretty hammered.

The product I used was Optimum polish, a polishing pad and a finishing pad. All work was done with a rotary and I also took the after picture in the full sun to show that all marring was removed and no swirls left behind. There is no wax on the car at the taking of this picture, just a polished surface.


The swirls, like those in the Jag, will need perhaps an extra 3rd step as a wool pad will most likely be used first then follow up with some polishing and finishing pads.


PS - the 3M IHG is a product designed to hide rather than remove imperfections.
Thanks Anthony...

Do you have before/after pics of a car done only with an orbital? How much 'extra' work is needed to get the same results with an orbital (such as a cylco) compared to a rotary?