Tips on Sanding, Compounding, and Polishing Automotive Paint: Autobody Q&A

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QUESTION: Getting ready to re-clear my hood, what grit sandpaper should I use?      

When you’re saying re-clear, Are you just going to be clearing over a sanded clear coat or are you painting over a base coat? If you’re clearing on top of a freshly painted base coat, you do not need to sand, you just clear right on top of it.

if you’re going to just clear over the existing clear coat, I’m not sure if it’s faded or if you did some bodywork on it. But normally If you’re just going to re-clear make sure that you’re re-clearing over perfect paint. Don’t want to re-clear over an old clear coat that’s faded and tinge or you feathered in some flaking because if you do that it’s not going to come out right. It will come out it’ll look okay, but you’re still probably going to see some of that oldness from the old clear.

So if you’re going to be re-clearing just to re-clear Make sure your clear coat is sanded. I would say 800 grit is a good grit to flow coat over, to re-clear over. But if you’re clearing over a faded color, I would recommend spraying some new base code on it and then clearing it.

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QUESTION: I used 1000 up to 2000 grit sandpaper and then compound and wax just look dull.

You should not wax or put any type of sealer on top of your compounded finish unless you have a gloss finish. So after your compound phase, it should be pretty glossy. And then you put the swirl Mark remover, your finishing.

I use Arnold’s been using another brand of a compound. He says it’s good. I haven’t had time to actually use it yet. But I use it to stage the 3m perfected two-stage system so you got the compound and then you got the swirl Mark remover. And you only put the swirl Mark remover on after you get a pretty good gloss. 

So if you put wax on it already, you’re gonna have to basically just wash the wax off with like a degreaser, take the wax off. You might have to sand it again with 2000 just to wash that off. And then you’re going to have to compound it until you get a better gloss.

The compound phase what you’re basically doing on 2000 grit or 2500 grit or 3000 grit is your melting. You’re heating up the clear coat and you’re melting with the compound, the clear coat together, you’re melting the sand scratches, the 2000 sand scratches. You’re melting them together so they fuse and turn into a beautiful shine. That’s all you’re doing when you’re buffing and then once you get to that glossy state, you could use your foam pad and use your finishing glaze which is the swirl Mark remover, and that comes to a super gloss. 

You can do your spray wax on top of that and I don’t like using old-school waxes.

I stopped using them two years ago, the Turtle Wax, any type of carnauba wax that’s in those cans that you basically wipe on with a rag or microfiber cloth.

I like the clear spray waxes. There’s a lot of brands out there. I use ZenWax they sell it on Zoolaa.com and it’s a very very good compound.

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There’s something in it called a poly charger and literally like I use this stuff in all my cars, but it literally seals. I wouldn’t call it ceramic coating but it’s kind of like it protects your car for up to 10 to 20 car washes like they literally tested this stuff. It will protect your car after you wash it, you put it on and it won’t wash off over time, it just it literally holds up for a very very long time.

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-Tony

For more helpful links:

The Three (3) Ways to SAND: Wet Sanding VS Dry Sanding Plastic Parts – The Pros and Cons!

Prepping Car for Repainting – Sanding and Priming: AutoBody Q&A and A Quick Tour at Paradice Garage

Buffing Out Dry Clearcoat Using 800 – 1200 – 2000 Grit Sand Paper 

I Sanded With 800 Grit and Now Have a Dull Spot! 

Beginner’s Guide To Spray Painting A Car: Autobody And Paint Q&A

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