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I'm going to spend my next day off detailing the exterior of my 2012 SEL. The previous owner seems to have done a crap job of taking care of the paint, as there's (mostly) small, light scratches covering the ENTIRE exterior. There's also a TON of very small chips on the front of the hood, as well as the front bumper. I do believe fixing those is for another topic, though.

My plan is to use rubbing compound, followed by polishing compound, then wax . This will all be with my cheapo Black & Decker buffer, and will hopefully remove all of the light scratches. Any further suggestions? Is this the wrong way to go about this?

Not entirely sure what to do about all of the small chips. Hoping I won't have to wet sand quite yet. I get the hood, front bumper, and fenders free of the small chips/nicks (presumably from all of the highway driving that the previous owner and myself do), I'm going to have my girlfriend's work put on a transparent vinyl wrap to protect the paint.
 

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I would not use rubbing compound with a buffer, way too easy to burn through the clearcoat. I would suggest spending the money to get some products specifically for swirl and scratch removal. Something like Adam's Paint Correcting Polish and Paint Finishing Polish...using a B&D buffer, it will be almost impossible to damage the finish and using these products will really make the finish look great. Follow that up with some Adam's Brilliant Glaze and a coat of wax, and you will have a great finish. Yes it is a lot of steps and work, but if you want to throw in an extra step, after doing the Paint Correction, go over the car with Revive Polish before moving on to the Glaze and wax, you will have an great finish and protection that will last.
 

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NO rubbing compound. Also, get a dual action (DA) polisher. Much less chance of getting swirl marks. I got the "nicer" one from Harbor Freight and it was reasonably priced.

I usually start with a thorough wash followed by a clay bar. Then, I hit it with Meguiar's M105 Ultra Cut compound on a Hex Logic medium/heavy cutting pad. Heavier scratches may require a little more work. But, this stuff isn't so aggressive that you have to worry about cutting through the clear coat. Then, a pass with Meguiar's M206 Ultra Finishing polish on a Hex Logic light/medium polishing pad. Then, follow with a good carnuba-based wax. This typically takes me 6-8 hours per car, depending on the size and condition.

For about a $100-150 investment, you could probably do about 6 vehicles. And you'll do a better job than a typical exterior detail that costs about the same.
 

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Check out AMMONYC on youtube. Very informative car detailing videos with several showing how to fix light scratches.
 

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Google Chemical Guys on Y/T Several videos some a bit in depth but some basic understanding will get you through, There are videos on scratch/swirl removal . polishing, waxing etc.... Check out Claybar videos first. Good wash, claybar and scratch/swirl removal. Definitely make sure you have some time. Expect a full day for initial wash, claybar, scratch removal, polish and wax. My recommendation is especially for claybar. do in sections.

When I did mine I worked in zones....roof, trunk, hood, fenders, doors or nose, center/tail. When you use the claybar it will remove the wax. The reason I say work in sections is to avoid having the wax totally removed. depending on your schedule I would work in sections, and not leave the clear coat unprotected.

Two basic theories are 1. All the vehicle halfway done per day.
2. Half the vehicle ALL the way done.
 

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Thank you a lot for such a great thread here! I had some horrible scratches some guy made to my car on a parking lot. Now I fixed them and covered with a protection coating. I've also got a magnetic protection for it from http://dentgoalie.com. It is used for doors protection in parking lots. I guess, it will work nicely for me
 
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kevingg
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