The last time I detailed my car I used a pretty basic “starter kit” for pads and polishes that came with Meguiar’s Ultra-Cut Compound (M105) followed by Megiuiar’s Ultra Finishing Polish (M205) used on orange light cutting pads and black finishing pads respectively. The results were pretty good, but I still had some marring and swirls that didn’t come out despite spending nearly a full day polishing. I was kind of disappointed, to be honest…but I wanted to give it another shot. After doing some research and watching a ton of YouTube videos, I noticed most detailers were using a microfiber pad, not a foam pad, when they are paint correcting – and using a stronger compound too. I was also making some rookie mistakes that caused the process to take longer and be less effectively (most notably I had way too much polish on the pad!). I decided to “take the training wheels off” and try some Meguiar’s DA Microfiber Correction Compound and a matching set of Meguiars DA Microfiber Cutting Pads for some deeper paint correction. Wow, what a difference!
Using the microfiber pads & compound is just like a normal product, but I also applied a few changes from last time after educating myself more. Here are roughly the steps I took, along with a few pointers:
- Of course, always wash & clay first. Check out the Nanoscrub Mitt if you want to save time doing that, it’s amazing.
- Start by spreading the product on the car (or pad) using as little product as you can while still covering the surface. The pad should feel dry to the touch after you’re doing doing your six passes per panel. They recommend you do a 2×2′ section at a time, but I generally just do a panel of the car a time with the exception of the hood, trunk, and bumpers that I do in two sections.
- The product recommends you do the first 3 passes at about 4800 rpm with a firmer pressure, then the last three passes at full speed (6,000) at a lighter pressure, alternating directions between each pass. Use your favorite orbital for this, check out Car Buffer World for some recommendations if you don’t have one already.
- Use a clean microfiber to remove any remaining product on the car, although if you’re doing it right (using as little compound as necessary) there shouldn’t be a ton of haze left as you’re basically buffing it off with the pad
- Use compressed air to clean the microfiber pad between passes, or alternatively buy a few pads and just swap them out
- Redo any panels as needed for a deeper correction or to address any problem areas, using more pressure as needed. Adding too much compound will not help though, as the compound will essentially become a lubricant preventing the pad for doing the work it is supposed to.
- Once you’ve done the whole car in the DA Microfiber compound, you’ll want to do a pre-wax cleaner before going on to the finishing products
To finish, I did the whole car using Menzerna 3-in-1 cut, gloss & wax since I only paint corrected the hood, bumpers, trunk and roof since those were the areas I was disappointed in from my last detail with all foam pads. The Menzerna had enough cutting for the areas I skipped with the microfiber, yet was also good enough at gloss & finishing to make the paint corrected areas really shine. The pictures above are just after the paint correction but before the finishing, but you can see how mirror-like it looks. The swirls beforehand weren’t bad, but they were definitely there (and gone now). It’s really exciting to see such a huge impact one section at a time, and makes the detailing process a lot more fun compared to last time where I felt like I spent hours grinding away for minimal results. This post isn’t meant to completely bash foam pads and a less abrasive ultra-cut compound like the Megiuars 105; if you only have light swirls & marring then that product can be great. The trick of detailing is finding the right products & techniques for the specific car & paint you’re trying to restore, and sometimes the situation calls for something more heavy duty and other times an “all in one” product can work just fine – it all depends.
Enjoy and tune back in later for a review of the finishing steps I used to achieve the final outcome pictured above.
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