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Buffing Paint: How To Buff Paint To A New Car Shine

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This is not a commercial, infomercial, or free advertising for Meguiar’s, let’s clear that up right away. Yes, Meguiar’s Orange County headquarters are close to our editorial office, and yes, we like the company’s products. We also have a good relationship with media/PR reps Michael Pennington and Mike Stoops, guys who love their jobs and love detailing cars. We respect them for not only their enthusiasm for car care products but also for their honest, plain-spoken message. It is true that they’d like us and all our readers to buy Meguiar’s products because they believe in what their company sells, but they will also readily admit that other wax companies make excellent products. If you prefer Mothers, Aero, Jax Wax, or Turtle Wax, that’s OK. Mike and Mike both recognize your car’s finish is a significant investment, whether you’ve got a new car, a newly painted car, or an older paintjob you want to keep looking as good as possible. On a basic level, they strive to educate people on how to properly use a particular product, no matter what brand it is. If some of those people end up becoming Meguiar’s customers, all the better, but their willingness to help is not predicated by whether a person will buy up all the Meguiar’s products on display at his local parts store. In that spirit, we drove Editor Glad’s ’06 Mustang to Irvine for a debrief on the right way to rehabilitate a car, both inside and out. It represents an average daily driver with a five-year-old paintjob. These paint buffing techniques will work for virtually any car that is still shiny, not chalky.

Paint Buffing

Towel Cheat Sheet

Terry Cloth

Used for:
Drying after washing
Cleaning glass
Cleaning convertible tops
Applying interior cleaner and protectant
Applying tire dressing


Used for:
Removing compound, polish, and wax (use separate towels for each step)
Applying quick detailer
Applicator care:
Buffer pads and terry cloth and microfiber towels can be machine washed with regular detergent. Wash them separately from your clothes (the waxes and cleaning products can stain your clothes, not that we would know or anything), do not use bleach, fabric softener, or dryer sheets—these contaminate the towels and they will not work as efficiently.

The Paint Buffer’s Cheat Sheet


What it is: A mild abrasive designed to remove a small amount of paint from the surface of the car
What it does: Removes swirl marks, oxidation, and light scratches
Use it with: A random orbital polisher with a compounding foam pad (usually yellow)
High speed setting, slow travel time
Fifty percent overlap on each pass
Work in small sections
Remove with a microfiber towel


What it is: A gloss enhancer*
What it does: Adds depth, brightness, and clarity to the finish
Use it with: With a random orbital polisher and a polishing pad (usually gray or black)
Medium speed setting, fast travel time
Work in larger sections
Fifty percent overlap on each pass
Remove with a microfiber towel
*Polish is a vague term. Some polishes contain small amounts of abrasives that “clean” the paint, but pure polishes contain no abrasives, they are a chemical formulation that adds depth to the finish.


What it is: Sunscreen for your paint
What it does: Offers UV protection, prevents oxidation, and seals paint from the environment
Use it with: Applied in a thin layer by hand with a foam pad*
If machine application is OK, use a low speed, fast travel time
Apply over the entire car
Let dry to a light haze and remove with a microfiber towel
*Some waxes aren’t meant to be applied by machine—the high speeds (relative to hand application) cause the wax to gum up.

“The Ultimate products are derived from our pro line but are sold in the consumer line. They are easy to use and take a lot of the variables out.”

Meguiar’s Michael Pennington

Parts List

Description PN Source Price
Gold Class car wash shampoo, 16-oz. MEG GOLD 16 Meguiar’s $7.49
Professional Grit Guard MEG X3003 Meguiar’s 9.99
Microfiber wash mitt MEG X3002 Meguiar’s 4.99
Water Magnet microfiber drying towel MEG X2000 Meguiar’s 8.99
Gold Class all wheel cleaner MEG G11332 Meguiar’s 7.99
Smooth Surface clay kit MEG G1016 Meguiar’s 19.99
Quik Detailer, 16-oz. bottle MEG QUIK16 Meguiar’s 6.99
Professional dual action polisher MEG G110V2 Meguiar’s 176.99
SoftBuff 2.0 polishing pad MEG W8207 Meguiar’s 13.99
SoftBuff 2.0 finishing pad MEG W9207 Meguiar’s 13.99
Ultimate Compound MEG G17216 Meguiar’s 9.99
Ultimate Polish MEG G19216 Meguiar’s 9.99
Ultimate Liquid Wax MEG G18216 Meguiar’s 22.99
Foam applicator pad MEG X3070 Meguiar’s 1.99
Supreme Shine microfiber towel, three-pack MEG X2020 Meguiar’s 6.99
Convertible top cleaner MEG G2016 Meguiar’s 7.99
Soft Buff terry towels MEG X2050 Meguiar’s 8.99
Gold Class leather and vinyl cleaner MEG G18516 Meguiar’s 7.99
Gold Class leather conditioner MEG G18616 Meguiar’s 7.99
Quik Interior Detailer MEG G13616 Meguiar’s 6.99
Odor eliminator MEG G2316 Meguiar’s 5.99
Ultimate Black plastic restorer MEG G15812 Meguiar’s 9.99
NXT Generation glass cleaner MEG G13324 Meguiar’s 5.99
Hot Shine tire gel kit MEG G12412 Meguiar’s 9.99
Ultimate Quik Wax MEG G17516 Meguiar’s 9.99
Total $405.25

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Robert Stafford
Robert Stafford

I had a pontiac with 750 thousand on it was the best car i ever had and it was a t1000

Andrew Hershfeld
Andrew Hershfeld

Really I have two Ford trucks one with 100k and the other with 200k miles. Both run as good as new and never broke down

Eric Haley
Eric Haley

Love that legend lime green.i had an 05 Mustang GT with legend lime paint. And loved it

Donnies Mustang
Donnies Mustang

Next weekend well be combining two 69 mustangs to make one. The coupe was crashed in the rear and the sport roof was crashed in the front. It's the shell I'm using for the 598 boss car.

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