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Old 05-24-2012, 07:46 PM
 
29 posts, read 123,329 times
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I know what swirl marks look like obviously but what are they?

What causes them?

How do I fix them?

How do I prevent them?
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
17,963 posts, read 18,148,295 times
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Small amounts of paint coming off the vehicle and other dirt/debris. I assume that you noticed it after washing/waxing the vehicle??? To avoid/eliminate this condition you need to use a good rubbing compound to get as much of that stuff off the paint as possible.
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:26 AM
 
484 posts, read 1,421,361 times
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It's caused by very fine scratches on the clearcoat.

You can prevent it by not going to car washes where the guy uses a mitt to wash some dirty SUV and its wheels, then uses the same mitt to wash your car! Always wash the car yourself using multiple buckets and towels/mitts. The other reason to not go to a car wash is that your paint and brakes will be hot and then they spray cold water on it!!! BAD

To remove swirls you need a fine polish and ideally a random orbit polisher. You could do it by hand but it's very tiring. Do not use rubbing compound like the guy above said!!! That is for deep scratches not swirls

Honestly this is a detailed subject. Your best bet is to go to an automotive detailing forum. I don't feel like typing a 3000 word essay
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:37 AM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
3,382 posts, read 7,416,435 times
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Its light swirls in the paint. Caused by dirty sponge, harsh towels or brushes while washing.
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:14 AM
 
Location: Central Jersey - Florida
3,359 posts, read 13,040,293 times
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I use Swirl X and it works pretty good.
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:16 AM
 
Location: Central Jersey - Florida
3,359 posts, read 13,040,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tickyul View Post
Small amounts of paint coming off the vehicle and other dirt/debris. I assume that you noticed it after washing/waxing the vehicle??? To avoid/eliminate this condition you need to use a good rubbing compound to get as much of that stuff off the paint as possible.
I would advise against using rubbing compound
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,719 posts, read 26,513,816 times
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Swirls are very shallow scratches in the clear coat. I think it is impossible to avoid them entirely in a car driven often simply because you are out in the real world. The real world of driving subjects your car to all kinds of dirt flying around. Some of it will cause swirl-like scratches.

Lots of these fine scratches are self-induced though:

- running your vehicle through a car wash that touches your car with any kind of brush (including those flat strips of fabric).
- not using two buckets when hand washing. With one bucket, each time you put that dirty sponge back in the bucket you are putting dirt in the wash soap. And when you rub the sponge washing your car, you scratch it.
- dry-washing a car with a gimmick product

Waxing a car hides some of these scratches because the wax fills in the scratch and makes it less visible.

To remove swirls you will need to polish or gently abrade the clear coat. Rubbing compound is far too abrasive. So you want to use a mild abrasive, designed for swirls, and probably use a random orbital tool with a foam pad.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Earth
4,235 posts, read 21,867,085 times
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It's also caused by those who wax in a circular motion. Waxing back and forth gives you better results.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
13,727 posts, read 52,521,570 times
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In auto body/paint circles, "swirl marks" are caused by buffers- hence the "swirl". Swirl marks are sometimes called holograms because of the way they look and "move" depending on where your standing/moving and the direction of light.
Eliminating them is an art form. It's a combination of sanding, buffing, and polishing- getting progressively finer in grit.

Other arbitrary "swirl" type marks- those mentioned previously like washing etc., can be minimized by using a clay bar. Clay bars lift the contaminates, that cause the swirls, out of the paint.

Preventing swirl marks is a combination of the above and keeping a good wax coat on the vehicle. And not just any kind of wax- find a car wax with the highest percentage of Carnauba in it.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:36 AM
 
33,315 posts, read 28,509,995 times
Reputation: 19808
swirl marls can also be caused by poor paint prep work as well, IE sanding in arcs and circles rather than in straight lines with a sanding board, and not using a fine enough paper on the final sanding before applying paint. they can also be caused by final color sanding, again using the wrong technique or too coarse of paper.

to get rid of swirl marks, you want to use a fine polishing compound, and then a glazing compound before you apply a final coat of wax.
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