How To Machine Polish & Rectify Paintwork

Learn how to use a rotary machine polisher to restore faded paint, remove scratches and enhance vehicle paintwork.                   

Nissan paintwork

Polished bliss!

Is red or dead?

So this is the extreme! But this is what can be achieve by some T.L.C with some patient detailing polishing. This is how you restore faded paint.

This is what was used on this job –

  • Farecla G3
  • Orange 160mm 30mm DG Mop Head
  • Masking Tape
  • Mini Jet Sprayer (with water) 
  • Malco Paste Wax
  • Micro Fibre Cloth 
  • Mask Roll for cabriolet protection or any other similar areas.

This is what I used to use although I would now use the Presta range due to the fact it’s so much easier and cleaner. And that is the secret. Being neat and tidy will save no end of time when using Farecla, 3m’s, Autosmart and similar compounds.

  1. Make sure all paintwork is clean and free of debris (clay bar paintwork will also help)
  2. Mask up around headlight, lights, trim, scuttle’s and similar areas.
  3. Centre your polish head on your orbital polish and spray with a very light dusting of water on the head for lubrication. (if the head is new need until a little more subtle).
  4. Squeeze a small amount on to a panel, place the head on the paint and gently spread around the designated area.
  5. Start the machine on lowest rpm setting and work up to rpm which is required for the designated job (the harder the job the faster the rpm required).
  6. Repeat this process to until desired finished is obtained.
  7. Once the aggressive compound is used you can work through finer grades to increase finishes. (an option is to wash down the vehicle to remove excess compound throw off before further application)
  8. Hand polish to increase your finish. The compound restores, the polish enhances. Wipe all over with micro fibre cloth to pick up any dust or throw off.
This is a technique which will develop with use and experience, but there are some don’ts to be considered.
  1. Don’t leave the polisher in one place for to long as this could burn, graze or cut through the paint.
  2. Make sure you lubricate paintwork or your polishing head to help minimise overloading compound on the mop head. 
  3. Don’t over lubricate as this could result in compound throw off all over the vehicle. And this kind of cutting compound can be a nightmare to get off.
  4. If you over load compound on the paintwork just spray with dusting of water and keep polishing until worked.
  5. Use a hard pad on faded paintwork and never use the same head with compound contamination to apply finer compounds, sealers or polishes.
Using a paint gauge is useful as it will tell you how far you can polish up to before cutting  through the paint. But it is an expensive luxury!
Make sure the polishers cables is well out the way when polishing bonnets and roofs as it can scratch panels. Hook the cable over your shoulder out of the way.
Always use finer grades of compounds first to reduce the chance of swirls/holograms on paintwork. On reds, silvers or light colours swirls aren’t really a massive problem. However on blacks, dark blues and other dark colours they are. They darker the colour the more prone to swirls it will be too aggressive compounds. If this is the case use swirl remover or a finer compound to buff out.

removing decor marks

Livery lost!


Oooh Red



Paintwork flattened with 1500 grit wet and dry to remove scratches

polished up with Presta Supercut, Presta Ultra cutting creme & Prest Light

When removing scratches always start with cutting creme as wet flatting as above will take more polishing and may not be neccessary. The less aggressive the better, as if the lighter creme does the trick it will save you polishing time, if it doesn’t work then you haven’t wasted much time.

So this particular vehicle had to be rectified as an idiot tried to remove cement off paintwork with a razor. So with plenty of water and some 1500 grit wet and dry the paintwork was flatted horizontal, vertically and circular motion working the worst areas more. Then I used Presta Super cut which Presta claim will remove up to 600 grit with orange waffle head. Personally I wouldn’t want to try removing 600 grit marks, but it did certainly remove the 1500 grit very very quickly. Then I switched to Presta Ultra cutting creme with white waffle head to increase the shine and finish, followed by black waffle super soft head with Presta Ultra Cutting Creme Light for a fantastic finish.

If you are looking to rejuvenate reasonable paintwork of any type or age, then Presta Ultra Cutting Creme Light is awesome. Not only is it exceptionally economical, easy to use, but also any throw off (which is minimal) wipes of without any effort at all. This being as it’s water based. The presta range is entirely user friendly for both the professional user or enthusiast. Presta requires very little lubrication and leaves and extremely smooth, deep shine finishes. Until I find something better, Presta cutting cremes are exactly what I will always use.




Scratches All the scratches removed with presta ultra cutting creme without wet flatting


All the scratches removed with presta ultra cutting creme without wet flatting

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