Swirls on black paint
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This is a discussion on Swirls on black paint within the Detailing Forum forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Okay so it's been a month and a half since I got my car and I've Zaino-ed it at least ...

  1. #1
    Registered User ihavefat's Avatar
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    Swirls on black paint

    Okay so it's been a month and a half since I got my car and I've Zaino-ed it at least 6 times. I know that's an overkill, but I couldn't help it.

    I do have a black car and I know it'll naturally show imperfections easily. But I'm pretty OCD when it comes to my car and I was pretty disappointed I spotted visible swirls and a few scratches. Here's what I use:

    For the engine bay- Uber Boar's Hair Wheel Brush
    For the wheels/tires- Uber Spoke Brush, Swissvax wheel brush, Uber Wheel Well and Fender brush
    For the body- Uber geuine Wool Wash Mitt(V2)

    I do use the two bucket method, but I do not use any grit guards. I just make sure I hose the wash mitt off thoroughly before re-using it.

    I use microfiber towels only (from Autozone). As for the applicator pads, I use the 100% cotton pads that came with the Zaino kit. All of them got dirty, so I just bought microfiber cotton pads today.

    When I wash, I wash from top the bottom so I don't collect dirt from the bottom of the car and scratch the paint. I have claybarred the car once when I first got the car. I wash it AT LEAST once per week.

    I know some of the information above is irrelevant, but I just wanted to prove I did my research before I used any product on my car. I know there are ways to remove swirls and scratches, but that's not why I'm posting thread.

    My question is what do you think I am doing wrong that caused those swirls/scratches? If I were to get the swirls/scratches off, I would have to use some abrasive polish masterials but using them frequently won't be good for the paint. So I just want to know if there are ways to keep the paint swirl-free.

    I have no complaints with the Zaino products. I absolutely love how the car looks after a detail. I use Z-2 and Z-5 with ZFX and Z-6 as the quick detailer. Even when my car is dirty, from far away it looks clean and shiny that it reflects the surrounding. Even though Z-2 and Z-5 are polishing products, they are non-abrasive and technically don't "remove" swirls/scratches, just hides them. Under the sun, you can see the swirl marks if you look really close. My only guess is when I apply products on the paint, I sometimes use circular motion, which some people don't recommend.

    BTW, I recently got my windows tinted and that could be the causes for the scratches I spotted on the trunk and each side of the car. But still, I want to know if there is anything I am doing wrong or is it inevitible to prevent swirls?

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  3. #2
    Registered User SamXp's Avatar
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    You are taking the necessary precautions, but even if you use top shelf microfiber and ensure that the product you're using has good lubricity, some swirling is inevitable. Especially with frequent washing and polishing. It is also likely and possible that any shop that provides a "free car wash" could have introduced the swirls.
    An abrasive polish is the only way to actually remove them. As you said, a protectant "polish" can help hide them to minimize the number of times you will need to use an abrasive polish.

    I will recommend, if you want multiple coats of a protective sealant like Zaino, apply them in sequence, layered on top of one another, rather than spacing the applications out over weeks. Each time contaminants make their way onto the paint, you need to remove them to prevent you working them into the paint and causing swirls.

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    Registered User ihavefat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamXp View Post
    You are taking the necessary precautions, but even if you use top shelf microfiber and ensure that the product you're using has good lubricity, some swirling is inevitable. Especially with frequent washing and polishing. It is also likely and possible that any shop that provides a "free car wash" could have introduced the swirls.
    An abrasive polish is the only way to actually remove them. As you said, a protectant "polish" can help hide them to minimize the number of times you will need to use an abrasive polish.

    I will recommend, if you want multiple coats of a protective sealant like Zaino, apply them in sequence, layered on top of one another, rather than spacing the applications out over weeks. Each time contaminants make their way onto the paint, you need to remove them to prevent you working them into the paint and causing swirls.
    I see. Thanks for your input! I heard getting one of those foam sprayer helps lubricate the car and it can help prevent swirls...idk if it's true but I'll see if it works :/

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    I have written up some stuff on my detailing thread that might help you. First off, the one thing I will tell you is that cotten for some reason is not always paint friendly... secondly, neither is wool, many many detailers I have talked with get a plain ordinary proline grout sponge from Lowes for less than 2.00 a piece. I noticed when I washed my car with those that tar and bugs and such were more difficult to get off of the car.. this is a good thing however because that means it's NOT abrasive.

    I just bought a foam gun actually and used it on a detail I did for my friends Evo. It worked very nicely and I will definitely use it faithfully from now on.

    Yes black is just a color that when it looks good it looks REALLY good and when it's bad it's the exact opposite. On the Evo detail I did, I used Opti-coat 2.0 for the first time. It wasn't hard to do at all, and it's good for 2 years... now it is scratch resistant, but NOT proof. I will likely use it on my '12 WRX when it comes in next month. I told the dealer DO NOT TOUCH the paint.

    One last thing... when you clay a car it is almost a guarantee that the paint will get marred. It's not because you are doing it wrong or anything of the sort... but any time you touch the paint with anything it WILL slightly marr the paint.... that's just the way it works. I would buy some Griots garage car wash (it's the slickest that I know of) a foam gun and an electric blower... wash the car but try to not touch the paint much after the washing process... blow it dry, it will take a while because water will come out of all of the crevices. Open all of the doors, dry all of the jams and then blow it dry. any other water spots just lightly dry with a good quality drying towel. That's about all you can do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Methodical4u View Post
    I have written up some stuff on my detailing thread that might help you. First off, the one thing I will tell you is that cotten for some reason is not always paint friendly... secondly, neither is wool, many many detailers I have talked with get a plain ordinary proline grout sponge from Lowes for less than 2.00 a piece. I noticed when I washed my car with those that tar and bugs and such were more difficult to get off of the car.. this is a good thing however because that means it's NOT abrasive.

    I just bought a foam gun actually and used it on a detail I did for my friends Evo. It worked very nicely and I will definitely use it faithfully from now on.

    Yes black is just a color that when it looks good it looks REALLY good and when it's bad it's the exact opposite. On the Evo detail I did, I used Opti-coat 2.0 for the first time. It wasn't hard to do at all, and it's good for 2 years... now it is scratch resistant, but NOT proof. I will likely use it on my '12 WRX when it comes in next month. I told the dealer DO NOT TOUCH the paint.

    One last thing... when you clay a car it is almost a guarantee that the paint will get marred. It's not because you are doing it wrong or anything of the sort... but any time you touch the paint with anything it WILL slightly marr the paint.... that's just the way it works. I would buy some Griots garage car wash (it's the slickest that I know of) a foam gun and an electric blower... wash the car but try to not touch the paint much after the washing process... blow it dry, it will take a while because water will come out of all of the crevices. Open all of the doors, dry all of the jams and then blow it dry. any other water spots just lightly dry with a good quality drying towel. That's about all you can do.
    Some good info here ^^^.

    IMO, the key is getting as much dirt off the paint before you eve touch it. Implementing a foam cannon and a pressure washer into the wash routine means that most of the dirt and grime which cause marring will be removed before any actual touching takes place. On top of that, having good washing and drying media is key! I've always preferred natural lambs wool for washing, but all the wash media found on the big detailing stores (Autogeek, Detailers Domain, Detailed Image) should be safe for paint.

    As for the drying, I would definitely stop using the MF towels from autozone, at least on the exterior paint. They should be fine for wheels and door jambs, but I'd suggest picking up several large waffle weave drying towels from either of above retailers and use them only on the exterior paint and glass. If you have a leaf blower that you can use to dry the paint, that means less touching and less risk of marring. If not, you can use a detail spray as a drying aid to increase lubricity while drying, which should reduce the chances of marring. Optimum Instant Detailer is a good one...

    I'm not going to bash Zaino, but there are a lot of new products that have come to the market over the last few years which offer far better release properties and durability. Opti-Coat 2.0 (Opti-Guard for the pros) is some pretty amazing stuff! You can see some of the hydrophobic properties of OC in my YouTube video below.

    Opti-Guard Hydrophobic properties.wmv - YouTube
    Last edited by RaskyR1; 02-28-2012 at 01:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Methodical4u View Post
    One last thing... when you clay a car it is almost a guarantee that the paint will get marred. It's not because you are doing it wrong or anything of the sort... but any time you touch the paint with anything it WILL slightly marr the paint.... that's just the way it works.
    I agree with that observation.
    and there's the answer, too much touching. There is only so much rubbing acylic paint can take before it begins to show wear.
    If you rub on iron long enough you can wear it out too.
    Washing the car from the top down is smart. I would not have did the zaino thing so meny times.

    The thinking today is that the less you touch your paint the longer it will look good, non abrasive products that require no buffing that don't contain abrasives are safest to use.
    Anything you put on acrylic paint that is abrasive, has to be buffed or stripped is counter productive to preserving the paints original shine.
    What worked on yesterdays enamel paint jobs will skuff up acrylic paint fast.

    Avoid unnecessary friction whenever possible and your shine will last longer.

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    Registered User BPanda's Avatar
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    I was extremely meticulous with my first black car and still got swirls. I did everything and anything to make sure I took all of the necessary precautions to not have them, but they showed up anyways... Lol, I vowed to never buy another black car, so my next one was white... and then I two toned it with black. Guess I didn't learn my lesson Going WRB with my WRX

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    what car do you have is it the black 10+ GT?
    I had a black 10 GT and the paint is beyond soft. I use to only be able to finish it down with a Crimson Hydrotech pad and 85RD..seemed any other finishing pad or finish polish would leave marring behind. When washing or drying I could only use specific towels. the Cobra waffle weave towel even though is a good towel marred my paint. I had to stick to the Cobra rolled edge towels for drying. I will say the autozone towels are what is probably putting the swirls in the paint..the paint is super soft and you have to use quality towels or its gonna scratch. The towels i used that would not induce any problems where the Cobra rolled edge towels, Chemical guys monsters, Cobra jr gold deluxe, Chemical guys elite towels. those were the only towels that would touch my paint. the grout sponge will cause marring on the black mustang paint as well. I had the Lake country version and threw it out after 2 uses as it put marring in my paint. I only used the Race glaze wool mitt and it never once caused any swirls in my paint from washing.

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    Registered User Eric05mx's Avatar
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    I've have 3 black vehicles the last one being a wrx and it was the worst paint for sure. I did everything I could to keep it looking good but it's an uphill battle if you daily drive the car. And then you always have people getting in/out of the car touching the doors, trunk area, etc..

    I went with ice silver this time around and applied Opti-Coat to the car and very happy I did. I still give the car a suds bath with my pressure washer and a quick spray down before washing it to remove as much dirt as possible.

    Silver does hide dirt and imperfections pretty well but under the lights at night it still seems to bring them out if you have any. A silver Mustang parked next to me the other night at the track and it looked like someone washed the car with a rake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doobis View Post
    what car do you have is it the black 10+ GT?
    I had a black 10 GT and the paint is beyond soft. I use to only be able to finish it down with a Crimson Hydrotech pad and 85RD..seemed any other finishing pad or finish polish would leave marring behind. When washing or drying I could only use specific towels. the Cobra waffle weave towel even though is a good towel marred my paint. I had to stick to the Cobra rolled edge towels for drying. I will say the autozone towels are what is probably putting the swirls in the paint..the paint is super soft and you have to use quality towels or its gonna scratch. The towels i used that would not induce any problems where the Cobra rolled edge towels, Chemical guys monsters, Cobra jr gold deluxe, Chemical guys elite towels. those were the only towels that would touch my paint. the grout sponge will cause marring on the black mustang paint as well. I had the Lake country version and threw it out after 2 uses as it put marring in my paint. I only used the Race glaze wool mitt and it never once caused any swirls in my paint from washing.
    Sitting on my stupid old stationary bike doing my cardio I was actually researching drying towels. Under normal conditions I would not worry a whole lot about a drying towel as I just use my electric leaf blower, however, I can no longer tolerate the extremely hard water here. It's just insane. The more plush a towel is, the more areas that any dirt or grit is left can at least get trapped in the towel, so a lot more people are going with the plush for that reason. The waffle weave and chamios aren't preferred as much now because they tend to push any dirt around.

    I am going with Optimum's no rinse, some sort of plush MF towel but still using a seperate bottle to mix the ONR as a quick detailer to help with less chance of marring.

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    Registered User twister8008's Avatar
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    I have a clear bra on my 2012 OPB car. Can I use opti coat over the bra, or have I missed my opportunity to use opti coat now? Also, can you claybar a clear bra? I would assume no, but then I fear the finish will be different between the metal and bra.
    Last edited by twister8008; 05-27-2013 at 06:19 PM.
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    You can use it over the clear bra if you are so inclined.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twister8008 View Post
    I have a clear bra on my 2012 OPB car. Can I use opti coat over the bra, or have I missed my opportunity to use opti coat now? Also, can you claybar a clear bra? I would assume no, but then I fear the finish will be different between the metal and bra.
    I personally wouldn't put OC over the clear bra, but everybody has their opinions. You can clay it as far as I know, but you might be better off using like iron-x or something like that as long it's ok for the clear bra which I have no idea, but it does get contaminants out. Using the clay bar you risk really marring your clear bra.I would just wash it with the best soap, 2 bucket method and just keep it washed frequently.
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    Registered User twister8008's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice! I actually have only ever waxed my cars. I have not even attempted claybar on any oft vehicles.
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    If you have scratches, one thing you can do, is use a good paste wax such as collinite 915, maybe dodo juice, any kind of quality paste wax because they do have filling properties that sealants don't and while OC is thick and has a hard finish, it will not do any filling.... with a black car it might be a necessary. Be warned that 915 is a pretty solid wax and doesn't have as much chemicals to water it down like the liquid waxes so let it sit 8-10 minutes and wipe it off quick!
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