9. Know when to move on: It's easy to get caught up in trying to remove a scratch or other paint problem, but if you've done 3 passes with your most aggressive pad and polish combo, it likely isn't going to come out, or worse, you may be close to cutting through your paint. It's much better to move on not have to worry about how much your paint shop bill will come out to.
10. Be mindful of your surroundings: When using your buffer around mirrors, spoilers, door handles, etc. make sure you are aware of where your buffer is... the back plate of it can sometimes hit protruding areas such as the above and can either scratch of even take a chunk out of your paint. Just be cautious.
Section 1: waxes, sealants, and other coatings (LSP's):
Just as we have discussed about the products being hard to resist and looking pretty on the store shelves, there is also the issue of which wax, sealant, or coating to use. Let's look at some of the pro's and cons of each.
Waxes: A wax is a wax... it's been around for hundreds of years and as I talked about in my other thread the word caranuba is almost ALWAYS mis-used when it comes to waxes. Wax comes from leaves of trees that they produce to protect them from heat, rain, and perhaps some bugs maybe? Not sure there. The wax "takes on for the team" if you will and when it gets hot... it drips off and more is produced. "Pure 100% caranuba" is a LIE! In it's pure state it is literally as hard as a brick in it's pure form. It is broken down either by weathering, or in our case... by people who get the wax, take a little tiny bit of that pure 100% wax and add all kinds of chemicals to it to melt it into a nice little squirt bottle. Does it work? Sure, but not for the amount of time that they claim. Usually a harder wax is a more pure wax. All of it has to have some sort of additive, otherwise you would never be able to use it on your car. Wax gives off a nice warm glow, while a sealant most of the time gives off a candy coated look, especially when layered, but we'll get to that later. I've used a few waxes over the years and my favorite is Collinite 915, Collinite makes a lot of very nice products, but their claims are over rated like anyone elses. Claiming a wax will last 8-10 months is more delusional than actual truth. Perhaps in the most ideal circumstances and conditions. Even the best waxes out there will give you a max life of maybe 3 months in most cases. A garage queen? Well maybe a bit longer I suppose.
Sealants: As I said... I think I wrote about these too, but we'll just put it all together. A sealant is a man made "wax" but not really. There isn't any wax in them. They are the new nano, or polymer, etc etc. For me personally, I prefer a wax over a sealant. Usually a good sealant, you will get more life out of than a good wax. Sealants offer protection for up to 6 months is what most of the claims are... IMO even that is stretching it with most... however, there are always those cases where they last longer. Menzerna used to make (and maybe still does) a product called Full Metal Jacket, I read mixed reviews on it, so never bothered spending the money on it. Now they have Powerlock, and with some of the feedback on here and actually seeing a test for a permanent coating when the car was being stripped down to prepare for an opti-coat test, it did not break down very easily next to another sealant Glanzwax which I have used and still have... though I don't use it often. My favorite sealants are:
Finish Kare 1000P: It actually is called a wax on the can, but it's not really a wax... open the can up and mosquitos seem to instantly disappear though lol. It's heat resistant from 215-250 degrees making it a good choice for the very hot days we get where a black paint will reach extreme temperatures.
Werkstatt's Acrylic Jett Trigger: Jeff Werkstatt has a line of products, but i've only tried the trigger. It's a WOWO (wipe on wipe off) product that basically just soaks into the paint. It can be layered within 15 minutes of application and won't stain trim like some of the older stuff would do. It's very glossy and adds a lot to cars that have metallic flake. I tend to think it looks better on while, silver, or grey colors, but I haven't tried it on all colors, so maybe it does well! It's pretty cheap at about 15.00 or so a bottle and his shipping is resonable and pretty quick.
Blackfire Wet Diamond: A VERY popular sealant over the last few years. It's HIGHLY slick, seems to look good on any color, and has a pretty reasonable life. Easy on, I let it sit for about 30 minutes and then very easy off. Apply wih your DA with a black pad on a slow speed and sort of like today's health trends "thin is in".. keep it thin or you are simply wasting product and money. It's cost is about 30.00 per bottle.
Duragloss 105: This is honestly I think my favorite sealant out there. It can be found at a lot of local auto parts stores and though cheaper online, with the costs of fuel going up, the shipping costs have also gone up, so unless you're going to spend a good amount of money on a lot of products, it's much easier and cheaper to get it locally. It's a very watery almost thin product. Again, apply with the black pad on a DA polisher. It's claims are up to a year of protection... nope, BUT it does protect well. It's not super slick, but it does look very nice and has mild cleaners in it that will remove any oils, mild tar spots or stains on paints as it goes on. Layering this isn't going to do as much because of the cleaners and the way they will strip the previous layer. I have layered it anyway because I just love to put stuff on my car and even with the cleaners, the paint did look better with each layer up until about 5 or so.
These are just some of my personal favorites, but you may hate them lol... it's all personal preference.
Other sealants that have become very popular:
Optimum opti-seal: goes on a lot like opticoat, many seem to like it... I have never tried it.
Nitroseal: I've seen some really nice pictures and read pretty good feedback from people who have used it and that it lasts a pretty long time.
Polyseal: This is an AIO (all in one) it will remove mild defects, clean the paint and seal all at the same time. I don't have any info on durability, but if you want to keep that just polished look, this may be the product to use.
There are others, but I can't think of them right now...
This has VERY quickly become kind of the mountain as the traditionalist may stick with his polisher and wax and/or sealant, you will be out enjoying your driving machine if that's your thing. There is absolutely NO WAX OR SEALANT that can stand up against a coat of Opti-coat, Cquartz, etc. It just won't happen. They are scratch resistant, they clean easier, they are easier or just as easy to apply as anything else, the list just goes on. Do they look better? They can look as good, but the prepwork underneath must be done with precision or you will be very unhappy with the final result.
Opti-coat: This is the only one I can speak from experience, as well as several users of it here. It's had numerous tests done on it, and comparisons and it always seems to come out ahead, so it's what I stick with. It's 1-2 micros thick and is claimed to be as hard as pencil lead (9h hardness) I can believe it. I applied it to a friends car and his doberman recently got excited and jumped on the side of the car... it left scratches... that wiped off. I myself found road paint on my car about a week ago, pissed might be the word for it.. but about 5 times more... and then I remembered I had the OC on the car and as I washed the car and got to that section... the road paint wiped right off like it was just part of the dirt. It's a top notch product, and the first of it's kind as far as I know. Durability is going to be 2 years or more if the product has been applied correctly. There are plenty of videos that have it applied and they keep up with it over time. Scottwax is one on youtube who does this. He is also an excellent detailer.
Cquartz: Made by carpro, this is an excellent product as well, not quite as thick and from what I have read, not quite as durable as OC, but it can be layered multiple times, and it's actually recommended to do so after I believe 3 hours of curing time. It uses nano tech.. yes I know, that nano **** is EVERYWHERE! lol. What does it do though? Nano particles are SUPER small particles that fill in all of the super small spots on your paint that even polishing cannot remove. This creates a slick finish that water and elements cannot stick to because there is no where for it to stick to when the finish has been coated. Easy to apply from videos i've seen.
Aquartz: Again, this I cannot speak from experience, however from what I have read, there was a split up of a company, one created Cquartz, one Aquartz. From what i've read, this product has had some issues to remove, but as i've said, I have not tried it, so I won't knock it. I just look at a lot of ratings.
Hard Body: This one has JUST come out and is made by Wolf's Chemicals, so obviously I haven't tried this either, but I can tell you that Wolf's products have been making a good name for themselves and all their products seem to get very good reviews.
There are a few others, but IMO the best to go with would be either the OC or the Cquartz. OC is still king when it comes to the durability from everything i've seen and tests i've read.