Tips for Restoring Old Damaged Paint with Cutting and Buffing

Tags: Paint Buffing Polishing · Paint Defects

Be Sociable, Share! cars will eventually need some love but before you grab your sandpaper and buffer there are some considerations you must take into account when working on older vehicles.

The problem with restoring older paint is that structurally it has begun to break down. Although it may be in general overall good condition and a buffing could restore its shine for a few more years you can also do some serious damage if you are too aggressive.

Paint will wear unequally on different parts of your vehicle. One bad condition is UV damage along with wind damage that can take the paint off of the top of a car like it went through a sand storm. You also have problems behind wheels due to road salt and on hoods due to the heat of the engine.

Unfortunately you really can not drastically improve heavy damage with buffing but you can buff out oxidation and light scratches pretty easily.

The first thing you should do before starting is look at the overall condition of the vehicle’s paint. Walk the whole car and decide how much of the paint can be saved and if areas that can’t will detract from your work. You don’t want to spend a weekend buffing out scratches on the doors if the hood is pealing beyond repair.

While you are inspecting the car you want to look for any spot job repairs. These areas can give you problems when you are buffing because clear coats in the fringes of the repair will be much thinner then the rest of the car and you could end up ruining a blend if you get into the color coat.

Finally you want to pick an area to test on. Pick the worst area that you think you can save and begin with buffing with a very light compound or even some straight carnauba wax.

You will be pretty amazed that buffing with just wax can do a lot for restoring the paint because you will have cutting going on due to the abrasiveness of the pad that you are using.

If you find that you need more to remove scratches work your way back from a mild #10 cutting polish to a more aggressive one. Don’t just pick something harsh that you think is right because you may end up with a buffing pad full of color or clear so thin it will peal the first summer.

That is another thing you really need to watch how aggressive you are because your factory clear will be much thinner after years of waxing either by you or the car’s previous owner.

If you are polishing an older vehicle I would strongly suggest that you stay away from synthetic buffing pads. In general this is always a good idea but especially on older paint because it is just too easy to burn old paint if you are not good with a buffer yet.

In the end this job will give you some experience with a buffer and sometimes you can really improve the look of an older car to the point that repainting can be delayed for a few more years.

Remember that if the vehicle is one you are keeping you want to keep in mind the work you have done and the amount of compounding vs waxing you have performed on the vehicle. Once you are through the clear it means that you will probably end up needing to do a spot job.

Also you want to restore the look while not reducing the life of the clear or paint if single stage so start with wax and see how far that gets you before you leap in and think today is the day to learn color sanding on my 10 year old car.






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