Waxing a Car with a Buffer

Waxing a Car with a Buffer (for Beginners)

Learning how to wax a car with a buffer can drastically speed up how long it takes for you to wax your car.

Additionally, it will give your paint an added shine to make your car look amazing!

Although the process can be intimidating, especially for beginners, it is easy to learn how to wax a car with a buffer.

Waxing your car using a machine buffer is not a difficult process. It will actually save time compared to waxing by hand.

Before starting the process, you’ll need to make sure you have the required materials and prepare the surface.

1. Get the Materials You Need

  • Machine Buffer/Polisher. If you don’t have one yet, read the section below.

  • Finishing Pad. You’ll attach this to the machine polisher to apply the wax; be sure to buy a size that fits. 

  • Liquid Wax. Read my recommendation below.

  • Microfiber towels

2. Prepare the Surface

clean car fender

To ensure the surface is ready to be waxed, you should wash the car thoroughly. You should also consider removing embedded dirt using a clay bar.

You should wax your car in the shade or in a garage. This will help you avoid direct sunlight, which can dry your wax too quickly.

Be sure to double check that the surface is clean, as remaining dirt could cause scratches.

clean car fender

3. Apply the Wax

Begin by attaching the applicator pad to the machine buffer. Squeeze several dots of liquid wax onto the pad in a circle, then putting a large dot in the middle. 

Next, apply the wax lightly onto several spots on the section you are working on while the machine buffer is turned off. This will spread it around the surface, preparing it to be buffed.

4. Buff the Surface

machine polisher on car

Turn on the machine buffer and wax the section using light pressure in long, straight, sweeping strokes.

Quickly pass over the section two or three times but make sure there is enough wax on the surface to avoid damage.

Additionally, avoid using too much pressure because you don’t want to damage the paint. The goal is to apply an even, thin coat of wax.

machine polisher on car

5. Remove the Wax

When the wax has dried (check your wax product for more information), use a clean microfiber towel to remove it from the surface.

Helpful Tips:
  • Use straight lines when wiping away wax to avoid scratching.

  • Use one towel for removing most of the wax, then another for cleaning off any remaining wax.

Different Types of Machine Buffers

There are two main types of machine buffers/polishers: Dual-Action Orbital Polishers and Variable-Speed Rotary Polishers.

Both of these tools have advantages and disadvantages, along with different skill levels needed to operate them.

The sections below explain the different types of machine polishers, their uses, and my recommendations.

1. Dual-Action Orbital Polisher

A dual-action orbital polisher works by spinning and oscillating quickly in two different ways, making it a great, easy-to-use option for beginners.

It is ideal for waxing, as it is easy to control and difficult to damage the paint.

For a dual-action orbital polisher, I recommend the Detail King Porter Cable 7424XP Polisher. It is a trusted machine polisher by many auto detailing enthusiasts. Note that it does not include a backing plate for the pad, so you must purchase one separately.

2. Variable-Speed Rotary Polisher

A variable-speed rotary polisher is similar to an orbital polisher, but it spins normally in one direction. It is not recommended for beginners, as it is much easier to cause damage to the paint.

It is ideal for removing heavy scratches, swirl marks, and other heavy damage. Although it can be used to fix light damage, it is easy to apply too much pressure and damage the paint.

Again, this is not recommended for beginners and is not ideal for waxing.

If you still want a rotary polisher, I recommend the DeWalt DWP849X Polisher. DeWalt is a trusted brand and this polisher offers many options. It is for people serious about auto detailing and paint correction. 

Best Wax to Use with a Machine Buffer

The easiest way to apply wax using a machine buffer or polisher is by using a liquid wax. Liquid wax is easy to apply to the applicator pad and will make it easy to spread a thin, even coat across the surface of your car.

Although you may use whatever liquid wax you prefer, Meguiar’s makes a great liquid wax which is commonly used with machine polishers.

What are the Benefits of Waxing a Car?

There are many benefits to waxing your car frequently. Waxing not only effects the appearance of your car, but can also prevent your car’s paint from becoming damaged, which could cost you money in the future.

I’ve listed a few of the main benefits of waxing your car, but you can view the full list in the article: 11 Benefits of Waxing Your Car

1. Protects Against Sun Damage

car with faded paint

One of the biggest benefits of waxing your car is the protection against sun damage.

You often see older cars with flaking and faded paint. This is usually due to the clear coat layer becoming damaged by ultraviolet rays from the sun.

This can be prevented by keeping your car’s surface wax, as it will prevent against UV rays. 

This will keep your paint in great condition for years, which will have a positive impact on the value of your car and help you avoid costly repairs in the future.

car with faded paint

2. Makes Your Car Look Shiny

It is commonly understood by most people that waxing your car will give an increase shine and make your paint look amazing.

Natural oils in the wax help add shine to the paint, giving it a fantastic, new appearance.

It also fills in imperfections in your paint, leaving a more uniform and glass-like look to your car.

3. Shields Dirt from Your Paint

Waxing your car helps prevent dirt from sticking to your car’s paint by creating a smooth, uniform surface.

It fills in imperfections and rough surfaces on your paint, making it more difficult for dirt to grab onto the surface.

It also helps prevent dirt from becoming embedded in your paint, which will need to be removed using a clay bar system.

Recommended Article:  11 Benefits of Waxing Your Car

Things to Remember

  • Buy proper, quality materials

  • Fully clean your car before waxing

  • Work in the shade or inside a garage

  • Use multiple microfiber towels to avoid leaving wax residue behind

  • A dual-action orbital polisher is best for beginners and is ideal for waxing

  • It’s important to wax your car frequently to keep it in great shape

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