Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Skip to main content

POLISHING

FRA-BER GUIDES

OVERVIEW.

Polishing is a process that has the greatest impact on final results, in terms of both the appearance and shine of paint. Polishing removes imperfections present on the transparent surface that make it look matt, like swirls, scratches, streaks, incisions, painting defects such as an orange peel effect and dripping, oxidation, etc., not deep damage. These imperfections cause light fragmentation, decrease light reflection, create reflected haze effects and reduce image distinction. The aim of polishing is to carefully remove all those small residual imperfections caused by the use of fillers, sealants, glazes and external agents that conceal the true effect of the underlying paint.

WHEN AND HOW OFTEN.

Our advice is to polish whenever obvious defects are visible or whenever you simply wish to improve your car’s appearance.
Generally, we would then recommend polishing your car 1 or 2 times a year, following a complete cleaning process.
To best protect results, we recommend the “Washing and Drying” guide.
To keep paint in good conditions, we recommend using SC0 Hydro Sealant or SC1 Sealant, maintained with H20 Coat and W1 Quick Detailer to minimise the need for polishing.
There are various options for polishing, of which we at Fra-Ber recommend:

  1. Manual polishing.
  2. Polishing using a roto-orbital polisher.
  3. Polishing using a rotary polisher.

SOMETIMES MACHINES ARE MORE THOROUGH THAN MEN.

It is possible to polish by hand, but we recommend the use of a polisher to obtain uniform and certain results.
Use of a polisher also lets you change products and buffers as needed, as they use the same Velcro attachment. The black Innovacar By Fra-Ber buffer, for example, allows fine processing, while the white one is used for “strong polishing”. Its operating simplicity, buffer exchange speed and swiftness with respect to a manual action make polisher use the absolutely superior method of application.

OK POLISH, BUT WHICH ONE?

The wide range of polishes offers many options, making it difficult to choose the best one for our specific situation.
For enthusiasts, we recommend keeping all different types of polish, to get the best results in any circumstance. With so many polish options available, it can be difficult to choose the most effective product for whatever your current needs are. Each paint is different and with time you will become able to recognise them and act accordingly.
Below is a list of the most popular polishes and their relative uses. Please also see our guide on “Bodywork imperfections” to find out more about some of our already-tested combinations of polish:

Compounds.
Innovacar by Fra-Ber F1 Force One should only be used for heavily damaged vehicles or to remove signs of sanding (from a grain of P1500 upwards). This compound is used with the white buffer, which has a very hard surface suitable for the type of processing, whose action is best combined with a P1 Polish Up finish with the medium – soft blue buffer.

Medium polish.
Innovacar by Fra-Ber A1 All In One is a medium polish which corrects moderate imperfections, including grooving. Helps obtain an extremely high degree of gloss, starting from a grain of P2000. Less aggressive than a compound. For those looking for maximum shine, it is however advisable to use P1 Polish Up afterwards. All in One is a very popular polish on the market, as it is an “all-in-one-step” product, meaning that it lets you to complete an entire job without having to change the product but only the buffer: first the medium-hard orange buffer and then the medium-soft blue buffer.

Finishing polish.
Innovacar by Fra-Ber P1 Polish Up has the task of removing all imperfections from the paint, such as micro defects and holograms. Polish Up does not remove deep imperfections but is used because it manages to treat the paint obtaining maximum levels of gloss and intensity with extreme delicacy. This polish makes it possible to obtain a mirror effect and prepare the way for subsequent application of a wax or sealer. The medium-soft blue buffer is suitable for this type of condition.

DIFFERENT BUFFERS FOR DIFFERENT USES.

The choice of buffer is a very important decision, as the use of unsuitable buffers (or combinations of them) can lead to wastes of time and excessive work. The abrasiveness of the chosen buffer must correspond to that of the product to be used.
Types of buffers.
Innovacar by Fra-Ber buffers are designed to provide the best performance:

  • Trapezoid-shaped buffers, for work on surfaces that are not perfectly smooth, to prevent possible damage caused by the backing pad and to make the treatment more durable.
  • Open-cell technology buffers for effective heat dispersion.
  • A central hole, to avoid the accumulation of dirt and residues.

Our range of buffers, from the most to the least aggressive:

  1. Wool buffer (not recommended for roto-orbital polishing).
  2. White buffer in hard open-cell foam.
  3. Orange buffer in medium-hard open-cell foam.
  4. Blue buffer in medium-soft open-cell foam.
  5. Black buffer in soft open-cell foam.

In addition to the above are microfibre pads with a large abrasive capacity, to be used with roto-orbital polishers. Please note that microfibre buffer action must be accompanied by a finishing polish (P1 Polish Up) and a medium-soft buffer like our blue buffer. An alternative to this type of buffer is our medium-hard orange buffer: high cutting power but also suitable for finishing.

The hard white buffer is made of very dense foam, which makes it moderately aggressive in terms of abrasiveness. These buffers are generally used in combination with a compound (F1 Force One) on vehicles with medium to severe defects. We always recommend following use of the abrasive white buffer with a medium polish (A1 All in One) or finish (P1 Polish Up) and a softer buffer.

The orange buffer is perfect for use with medium polish (A1 All in One) for action carried out in a single step to eliminate swirls, scratches and other paint imperfections with very high gloss levels. If you wish to only use A1 All in One, we always recommend starting with an orange buffer and then switching to the blue buffer for finishing.

The soft black buffer is perfect for final finishing with P1 Polish Up or when using glazes (G1 Glossy), waxes or sealants.

Buffer size.
The size of the buffer affects the treatment method, the process speed and polisher control.
The smaller the buffer, the higher the manoeuvrability (for example for areas like seals and corners), but at the same time it will be more quickly soaked with product and will have to be replaced more frequently. We recommend replacing the buffer after having worked 2 sections of the bodywork, therefore using from 3 to 5 buffers during a treatment. In general, the cleaner and free of abrasives a buffer is, the better the result.
The larger the buffer, the greater the working area covered and the time spent. These are used particularly in the application of waxes and sealants, which must be spread uniformly. We recommend using 1 or 2 buffers total so as to maximise polishing. We must however point out the negative aspect of using large buffers, which is that they are less accurate in small areas.
With roto-orbital polishers, the smaller the buffer is, the more effective polishing is, given that the energy of the action is applied to a small area.
Therefore, one size is not necessarily better than another, but everything depends on the polisher used, on the needs and effectiveness of a particular combination. If we were to recommend an intermediate solution, we would recommend a size from 125 to 150mm.

Buffer upkeep.
During use, buffers become soaked with product and need to be replaced.
To extend their life cycle, we recommending having a bucket (like our practical Det Bowl) containing water and detergent on hand in which to immerse the pads immediately after use.
After soaking them, rinse them with pressure lance or water hose.
It is best to use only one type of polish per buffer.

POLISH AND BUFFER COMBINATIONS.

Time and experience are the best weapons for improving polishing, but to optimise your time, we recommend reading the paragraph: “Bodywork imperfections”.
Generally, the combination to follow, from the most aggressive to the least aggressive, is as below:

CHOOSING A BACKING PAD FOR THE BUFFER.

A polisher cannot work without a backing pad. The choice of backing pad is directly linked to the buffer that we intend to use and to our preference in terms of application.
It is useful to own various size backing pads so you can always choose the best solution for application.
The surface of the backing pad is composed of small hooks (Velcro) that easily attach to the corresponding surface behind the buffer. Simply centre the cloth on the plate and press until they are attached.

It is very important to always use backing pads that are a smaller size than the buffer. For example, our backing pad for flex polish with diameter 125 mm is suitable for our open-cell buffers with diameter 150 mm.

Finally, our backing pad is defined as “flex” because it is extremely flexible and elastic for following the profiles of the surface to be treated, in order to avoid damage to surfaces.

BODYWORK IMPERFECTIONS.

Stains
Bodywork stains are generally caused by limescale residues on the bodywork, which damage the surface due to sunlight.
To eliminate them, we recommending going step by step, so performing a first test with DS Scale and, if that does not resolve the problem, proceeding with usually “aggressive” polishing.
Manual: not recommended.
Roto-orbital:

  1. Use F1 Force One + white buffer.
  2. Then A1 All in One + blue buffer.

Rotary:

  1. Use A1 All in One + orange buffer or, in the presence of deep stains, use a wool buffer followed by the orange buffer.
  2. We then recommending finishing with P1 Polish up + black buffer.

Oxidation: a constant danger.
We never really think about it, but the factors that can seriously cause damage to our bodywork are infinite and practically always just around the corner.
Our vehicle’s bodywork is subject to the action of the totality of environmental factors: weather, rain, UV rays, but also for example washing with aggressive products.
Bodywork oxidation is a subtle, silent enemy which acts constantly and leads irreparably to the loss of shine and reflection. For this reason, it is very important to consistently use Innovacar by Fra-Ber detergents and sealants.
If you were not aware of this information and have not adequately protected your bodywork in the past, we will explain what to do if you notice an advanced state of oxidation on your bodywork.
To eliminate oxidation, we recommend:
Manual treatment:

  1. F1 Force One + manual pad (Foam app)

Treatment with roto-orbital polisher:

  1. Use A1 All in One + orange buffer.

Treatment with rotary polisher:

  1. Use A1 All in One + orange buffer.
  2. We then recommending finishing with P1 Polish up + blue buffer.

Orange peel effect.
This very bothersome bodywork defect is, unfortunately, even present sometimes on vehicles that have just left the dealership.
How do I identify it? Simply observe the colour against the light: if the shape of the paint appears lumpy, giving it an effect like a peel as mentioned above, your bodywork has an “orange peel” problem.
As we mentioned, this is a fairly common problem caused by a defect in the paint guns and an incorrect dilution of colours.
Unfortunately, most remedies are also intrusive. The most common solution involves levelling the transparent surface using sandpaper with different grains (P1500 -P2000 – P3000), after having used a micrometer to verify the feasibility of the operation.
After having levelled the surface, you can proceed with polishing, with the aid of the correct accessories.
Specifically with relation to polishing, we strongly advise against manual treatment.

Swirl marks: what are they and how do I eliminate them?
Swirl marks are nothing more than light scratches that greatly affect the shine of bodywork. They are normally a result of unsuitable washing or polishing carried out following inattentive decontamination.
Here is what you can do to counteract them:

Rids (Random Isolated Deeper Scratches)
Rids are basically scratches that are a bit deeper than the previously described ones, which impact bodywork in a much more significant way.
There are many different possible causes and solutions, depending on the extent of the damage.
For essentially surface rids, a decisive. excellent performance treatment is definitely polishing:

Damage due to incorrect sanding:
Sanding is an extremely delicate treatment, which must be carried out only if absolutely necessary and for which it is advisable to proceed with extreme caution and only by those that possess the appropriate skills. It is clear that the risk of residual marks is quite high when abrasive products and materials are used.
Again in this case, we do not recommend trying to resolve the damage manually.

Holograms.
This type of defect, which presents itself as fine groups of scratches, is without a doubt one of the work nightmares for polishing. There are different causes related to their creation: incorrect roughing or the direct effect of a buffer with impurities are just two of the main triggers of this defect.
However, being as these extremely superficial types of damage, eliminating them is very easy!
Here’s how:

“Pig-tails”.
These types of scratches are the direct effect of a roto-orbital polisher, polisher or sanding machine whose buffers were not thoroughly clean.
They originate due to debris particles that stick to the buffers, giving rise to this type of damage, with a typical and easily recognisable shape.
Should this type of damage occur, the simplest and most immediate solution is to proceed with a second coat of polishing.

Insect residues.
Not everyone is aware of this but, unfortunately, insect residues have an acidic nature and, oftentimes they unfortunately manage to dent the bodywork, penetrating into the transparent surface. This is actually a quite serious problem.
In the case of recent contamination, thorough washing followed by claying could be sufficient and decisive; in the most serious cases, sanding may be necessary to eliminate all the damaged transparency.
In any case, deep polishing can be a way to solve and effectively eliminate this type of effect. Here’s how:

INTRODUCTION TO POLISHING.

As already largely illustrated in this guide, most bodywork paint damage can be corrected and give excellent results. For the very best results, however, it is advisable to follow the steps that will be explained below.
We must point out that, before polishing a vehicle, the paint must have been thoroughly and accurately washed with products such as SP1 Prewash and S2 Foamy and mechanically decontaminated with clay bar.
You can find out more about this point in our guide:
Decontamination.

A photography set light.
The first step to be taken to optimise the polishing process is to invest in a suitable light. A high-quality light will help you to analyse the bodywork by revealing even the smallest defects and, above all, will help you quickly interpret what the best way to intervene is to achieve the desired results.

Prevention is better than cure.
You consistently reduce the risks of damaging other parts of the vehicle to be treated by always remembering to mask the parts you want to protect with adhesive tape.
The impact of this precaution will also be positive for other reasons. For example? Masking with adhesive tape will not damage or dent seals.
Which parts should be masked before polishing?
Seals, emblems, front and rear lights, bumpers and more are normally masked.
Are you not sure whether or not to mask a part of your vehicle?
Mask it! As they say: “Prevention is better than cure.”

THE TYPES OF POLISHING.

Polishing by hand.
Let us assume that proceeding mechanically with polishing is normally advisable, precisely because of the technical characteristics of polish that require constant pressure and very measured movements to get the best results.
If you are not able to use a polisher or do not own one, follow these steps and our guide to achieve excellent results from manual polishing.
We recommend applying a polish using a microfibre or foam cloth (like our Foam app). The choice between the two will depend on the work you have to do and obviously the type of product applied (polish, compound, sealant or wax to be combined).
Considering that manual polishing is naturally less effective than polishing with a machine, we recommend using a compound like F1 Force One, or a medium all-in-one polish such as A1 All in One.
We advise you use a Finishing polish (P1 Polish up) only if you want to clean the surface before applying a wax or sealant.
Hand guided polishing:

  1. Select a manual applicator, such as: Foam app.
  2. Evaluate which is the best product to be applied following the instructions of the previous guide.
  3. Distribute a few drops of Polish on the applicator.
  4. Work on a maximum area of 20x20cm, applying the least pressure possible.
  5. Distribute the product with controlled circular movements.
  6. Work from left to right and then from top to bottom.
  7. As soon as you are finished, use a Micron Up to eliminate excess product.
  8. Check the conditions of the bodywork with a light source.
  9. Repeat all the previous points until you achieve the desired result.

Once polishing has been completed, the most superficial defects of the bodywork should appear much less evident or even have disappeared.
Thanks to a clearer and less damaged surface, the bodywork will attain significant shine and luminosity.
Complete polishing with a sealant (such as Sc0 Hydro Sealant or SC1 Sealant), which will help keep the surface smooth and shiny and protect it or applying a glaze (like G1 Glossy) to achieve a pleasant “silky” effect.

You can find out more about this point in our guide:
What are glazes?

Roto-orbital polishing.
Roto-orbital polishers are surely the best aids when carrying out polishing treatment: their axis of rotation is decentralised with respect to the axis of revolution and this contributes to less invasive work (because they are more delicate and even).
Roto-orbital polishers are also easy to use, even for less expert operators.
Bigfoot, Flex and Festool manufacture roto-orbital polishers which, thanks to their small size, can get closer to the cutting and correction performance of a rotary polisher, but without incurring the risk of creating holograms, also reducing processing times by 40%.

Guided roto-orbital polishing:

  1. Choose the most suitable buffer for the type of intervention (thoroughly evaluate the defect to be corrected).
  2. Centre the buffer on the backing pad.
  3. Apply a few drops of polish on the outside of the buffer.
  4. Delineate the work area, starting with a small portion of 60 cm x 40 cm.
  5. Trace the work area by distributing polish evenly over the entire area with the polisher switched off.
  6. Switch on the polisher at minimum speed 1-3 and spread the polish over the work surface.
  7. Increase polisher speed gradually up to speed 4.5 – 6, starting from a corner of the identified area.
  8. Apply a pressure of 7/10Kg on the polisher head.
  9. Always work from one corner to another, moving about 2 cm per second.
  10. Once you have reached the opposite corner, polish along the same path in reverse.
  11. Continue in this way until the entire area has been polished.
  12. Polish the whole area again, repeating the previous operations in the reverse order.
  13. Polish again as with the first coat but applying less pressure.
  14. If the polish is deteriorated (it becomes a white mat film), switch off the polisher.
  15. Remove the excess product with Micron Up.
  16. Check work with a light source.
  17. Repeat from point 3 to 16 until the entire vehicle has been polished.

Note: we highly recommend replacing the buffer with a new one after having polished two areas of the bodywork. If you do not have many buffers, remember to wash them with the aid of a brush, keeping them at low speed after a couple of work sessions.
This operation must be performed away from bodywork.

Polishing with roto-eccentrics.

Roto-eccentric polishers are the most powerful and allow you to safely polish with a minimal margin of error.
Thanks to their power, these machines are able to quickly and definitively remove imperfections.
Roto-eccentric polishers rotate and have a simultaneous orbit (orbit approximately 8 mm), guaranteeing excellent results in terms of both levelling and finishing.
All of the above is true if and only if buffers and pastes are regularly replaced, but above all remembering to adjust the orbit:

  • With the orbit at maximum speed, movement is practically rotary and with a high cutting degree.
  • With the orbit at low speed, it is possible to effectively eliminate all streaks and holograms.

You can find out more about this point in our guide in paragraph: “roto-orbital polishing.”

Rotary polishing.
This type of polisher can only be used by polishing experts or professionals: in fact, rotary polishers can correct imperfections faster than roto-orbital or roto-eccentric polishers, but their use requires experience and skill as they can cause damage to paint more frequently.
Because of the frequent damage created by buffers that run at different speeds (more slowly inside and with greater vigour on the outside), it is always advisable to refine the work carried out with this rotor with a roto-orbital polisher.

Let’s take a closer look at how to use it:

  1. Evaluate the bodywork defect to be corrected, choose the appropriate buffer and, finally, centre the buffer on the backing pad.
  2. Apply a few drops of polish on the outside of the buffer.
  3. Delineate the work area; a 60cmx40cm portion is ideal.
  4. With the polisher switched off, evenly distribute the polish over the whole surface to be treated.
  5. Switch on the polisher at minimum speed (600-800 rpm) and spread the polish on the surface.
  6. Adjust polisher power as it is most comfortable for you, always taking into account the extent of the defects to be corrected (approximately 2,000 rpm recommended).
  7. Rotary polishers do not require particular pressure, since his movement uses speed.
  8. Move the polisher approximately 2-5 cm per second, trying to always keep it moving and working from corner to corner.
  9. Once you have reached the opposite corner, polish along the same path in reverse.
  10. Proceed until polishing has been completed.
  11. Polish the area again, but in the opposite direction of the previous work.
  12. Polish the area again as during the first coat, applying less pressure and lowering the rpms (down to 1000-800 rpm).
  13. If the polish is deteriorated (it becomes a white mat film), switch off the polisher.
  14. Use Micron Up to remove the deteriorated polish.
  15. Check polishing with a light source.
  16. Repeat this procedure until you have achieved optimal results.

Note: we highly recommend replacing the buffer with a new one after having polished two areas of the bodywork. If you do not have many buffers, remember to wash them with the aid of a brush, keeping them at low speed after a couple of work sessions.

CHECKING POLISHING.

Being familiar with the breakthrough times of the abrasives contained in polishes is essential for making sure that polishing operations have been carried out correctly: as these are in fact products with a complex structure, they will not perform their correction cycle properly if they are not left to act for the necessary time, leaving only their oily part to act.
This means that defects will not be perfectly corrected but only masked and corrected by the oils.
Thanks to D2 Check, those responsible for cleaning the surface of excess oils, highlighting the actual work achieved, can evaluate the extent of the defects not removed.
Obviously, the latter is an optional, non-mandatory step after polishing, whereas it is necessary before the preparation of a nano-technological treatment that requires a completely clean surface.

AFTER POLISHING.

After polishing, we will have a decidedly clearer transparency with more intense reflections.
Your bodywork will be smoother to the touch and silkier.
To complete polishing, you can apply a glaze such as G1 Glossy or a sealant like SC0 Hydro Sealant or SC1 Sealant.
Glazes will help improve surface appearance, while sealants will help protect it.

You can find out more about this point in our guide in paragraph:
What are glazes?

TOO BAD YOU ARE LEAVING ☹️


Sign up to our Newsletter to stay up-to-date and get a discount code to use on your first purchase.

* By signing up you agree with the information regarding the processing of data.

THANK YOU!


Shortly you'll receive an email with the discount code. Check your mailbox!


Thank you, the Fra-Ber team