View Full Version : Whats the Fastest and Easiest way to remove Swirl marks?

08-31-10, 03:04 PM
Hi guys, Whats the easiet and fastest way (besides hiring someone) for me to remove the swirl marks on my black paint? I want that deep black clean look again. Need something easy that you just buff on and off by hand. i dont have a machine.
Let me know what you use? Rememebr easy and fast! :)

08-31-10, 03:09 PM
Hi guys, Whats the easiet and fastest way (besides hiring someone) for me to remove the swirl marks on my black paint? I want that deep black clean look again. Need something easy that you just buff on and off by hand. i dont have a machine.
Let me know what you use? Rememebr easy and fast! :)

There are several off the shelf products that say "swirl remover". I've used them in the past with OK results, but after having a pro do it once, I was humbled to say the least. Black is tough to get perfect!

08-31-10, 03:13 PM
Would waxing the car help?

08-31-10, 04:08 PM
Would waxing the car help?

A lot of those products are combination polish and wax. Those mild wax products have various degrees of abrasives in them which tend to level off the surface a bit and can remove the swirls. However, you can create swirls too so you need to be carefull!

08-31-10, 04:09 PM
Waxing won't help much. The surface has to polished first. I have been there and I feel your pain. I was out yesterday in the hot garage using Mequiars #7 Show Car Glaze and then Meguiars Cleaner Wax. It does a pretty good job but it's getting harder on this 62 year codger. The car does have that nice dark black look though. Make sure you wash the car first. Polishing and waxing has do be done right after washing. Waiting even a couple of hours after washing a black car can be disasterous.

08-31-10, 09:34 PM
3M rubbing compound, then 3M or Meguiars cleaner wax - works great on my black 09 CTS. The cleaner wax is AMAZING.

09-01-10, 12:16 AM
To remove swirls you really need to bring it to a detailer or purchase a buffer... I am an avid detailer, did it in high school and now just on my own car, I use a Porter Cable 7424xp which was relatively cheap and definitely reliable and is 100% user friendly, someone who's never laid hands on a buffer/polisher can work this machine, its random orbital as opposed to rotary... rotary will do irreparable damage if you dont know what youre doing, with an orbital you can hold it in the same spot for extended amounts of time with no damage. For a cost effective solution you can hide swirls by using a quality high content carnauba car wax such as Pinnacle Souveran, however wax (even the best of kinds) will only last roughly 4-6 weeks, if you want longer lasting protection try going synthetic with a sealant such as Klasse High Gloss (however the swirl hiding abilities arent quite there). Actually repairing swirled and/or oxidized paint, not just covering or hiding, is really a 5 step process, it requires buffing with an abrasive compound, which, will smooth edges of the swirl/scratch to the extent where the light no longer catches it and makes the swirl disappear, you are basically removing a minute layer of clear coat or "exfoliating" your paint...

1. Wash (try using just regular dish washing soap, as it will strip the paint, which is your goal before polishing)
2. Clay bar (any automotive clay bar kit will do, im not too particular on brands here)
3. Polish using a compound or (true) swirl remover (such as Wolfgang Total Swirl Remover, not some off the shelf garbage swirl repair)
4. Polish using a finishing polish or glaze (such as Wolfgang Finishing Polish)
5. Protect using a wax or sealant (such as Pinnacle Souveran or Klasse High Gloss)

The above mentioned products must be purchased online, to my knowledge I dont believe any stores carry these brands.

If you take a product like turtle wax rubbing compound or polishing compound to your paint by hand you will undoubtedly do damage, if you follow my instructions above your car WILL have a factory-like finish, blacks come out with that deep buttery-wet gloss in a finish you can shave in, and metallics will be smooth and pop as they did when you picked your car up at the dealer.

09-01-10, 12:27 AM
The below pic is where your paint will be when completed using the above as a guide...


Before and after on black paint.... severely swirled


09-01-10, 11:33 AM
JMac, thank for the detail. Thats awesome advice.. Not as simple as I would like but the outcome look amazing. For me to get that may be worth paying someon a hundred bucks to do it. Because for me to buy all the materials and do this not so ofter wouldent make sense in my case. I have seen yuor posts before and they are awesome. Thanks!

09-01-10, 12:00 PM
Yea, it will definitely cost you about $200 to get started, but the good thing is youll have this stuff for a long time... If you bring your car to get detailed make sure they compound the car and dont just wax it and put gel on the tires, good luck! If you were around here id do your car up for free!

09-02-10, 12:13 PM

I've been using Griot's stuff for years and always happy.
Regarding taking your car to someone for the cost... You should probably be doing this at least once a year if not more often. Griot's used to sell the Porter Cable that Jmac uses, and in my mind that is a superior product to the new one offered by Griots (my dad had the PC version, and I recently bought the "new" version).

They also have a "paint prep" product that will strip wax etc off your car before polishing, as Jmac suggested dish soap which is probably fine too.

Clay bar is an abosolute must. You will be amazed by the difference this makes. If you "feel" the paint before and after, and look at how much stuff the clay picks up. I use Griot's simply because I order everything else from them, so I just add it to my order. I don't know that there's any difference between brands.

I'm sure it's possible to get rid of the swirls by hand, but you'll spend a LOT longer doing it. And when I fully detail a car I spend about 8hrs, and that's using a machine. (including interior)

10-05-10, 05:24 PM
Will any of this help get paint transfer off.. I was washing my 2006 SRX and found someone hit me . No dents or scratches just paint transfer. Small line maybe 2 inches- looks like a blue care - The SRX is pearlized white.

10-06-10, 07:49 AM
A light polishing compound should get some off. Never tried it though.

10-06-10, 06:47 PM
A light polishing compound should get some off. Never tried it though.

I used Mequiars cleaner wax - gently rubbed it out - looks great now

10-10-10, 01:18 PM
You want professional results? Always and every time? Then do as the pro's do

THIS at a minimum ------> PORTER CABLE and FOAM PADs (http://www.autopia-carcare.com/son-sfxpol-kit.html)

Then pick and choose your compouds, polish and wax..... You will be the talk of the town!

10-10-10, 02:44 PM
Yea if you want to do anything to a black or dark paint job you NEED a good DUAL action buffer. Like the Portacable. I have the PC and its good.

You cant get them out with some cheapo one or a regular circular polisher.

I guess if you really wanna try to do it cheap you could see if harbour frieght has a DUAL ACTION buffer.

And you need pads on top of that. Alot of the compounds you will find at parts stores either doesnt work or you can do damage with easily. The BEST stuff IMO if 3M perfect it and then 3M sealer. The perfect it is about $45 if i remember correctly. you might can find it cheaper online.

I have a black STS that had bad swirl marks. Either I kept wax on it every week or it would look like crap. I got the PC dual action buffer and some pads and work one area at a time SLOWLY on SLOW speed and you will get it looking great.

mike sts
10-16-10, 08:34 PM
My previous sts was black and i purchased it for a great price because it had severe swirl marks. Car was detailed twice and the detailers either did not know how to get the swirl marks out or did not want to take the time. Removing the swirl marks is not easy, to permantly remove the swirls which were probably caused by someone who used a wool pad or cotton pad on your car you must do a 3 stage polishing process. Everything you need including how to videos can be found on mequairs website. I taught myself how to do this its not that hard it just takes patience. I purchased a rotary buffer on amazon with a speed control wheel on it so i could set the RPM makita or dewalt among others have this abilty you must set RPM CORRECTLY. Purchased meguirs professional body shop machine polish's from their website, these contain no sand but use silica as a abrasive and are deigned for use with buffer. purchase foam pads you need 3 types foam cutting, yellow polishing, beige finishing pad. stay away from wool i only find wool useful for repairing damage such as a deep scratch or such but it takes all these steps following its use to remove deep swirls it causes. Step1 wash the car be sure to rinse well. step 2 buff car with compound power cleaner and foam cutting pad . be sure to keep pad wet better to use too much than not enough polish KEEP PAD MOVING SET RPM ACORDING TO DIRECTIONS ON POLISH. this first step will leave car hazed still will be some swirl. step 2 use dual action cleaner polish with yellow polising pad again make sure pad is wet all times keep pad moving long strokes, following this step car will loo pretty good but not wet yet. step 3 use beige finishing foam pad with swirl free polish following this step car will look awesome like a mirror totaly smooth not a swirl on it. last step apply a good high concentatration carnuba wax by hand section by section. What you will have done is worked from aggressive, to medium agressive to least agressive polish and pads. This process takes hours most detailers wont do it cause it takes too long but it will remove the swirls forever, as long as you do not let someone buff the car with agressive products or pads (wool and cotton), or go through car wash with brushes.

10-16-10, 09:17 PM
Ther's a great post by an expert detailer last Spring. Concensus formed that Porter Cable makes the best dual-action buffer. I'm a C- detailer. This guy was off the scale.

01-11-11, 11:53 AM
Would the advice be the same for bird poo that eats into the paint just enough to annoy me? I have a dark purple STS w' swirls and poo spots that I need to fix. ...or have fixed.

01-11-11, 11:13 PM
$ and an expert or patience & elbow grease.

01-12-11, 02:45 AM
Here is a thread by a true expert, and probably more than anyone wanted to know about paint and bird poop. LOOK! UP IN THE SKY! IT's A BIRD!! Oh noooo!!


Lots of great info there! Just bought a Porter Cable DA polisher, but it takes time to decide on products to buy and use. I'm not turning myself loose on the STS until I'm sure I know what I'm doing.