21 Jan, 19

How To: Avoid Swirl Marks When Washing Your Car

How to Avoid Making Swirl Marks on Your CarCleaning your vehicle is not only a chore, but it can be a risky business. Have you ever thought what are those strange smudges on your vehicle, even though you just went through the drive-through car wash hours before?

Oh, the cruel irony… you go with the intention of cleaning your car and end up leaving with blemishes, like swirl marks, littering your paintwork. It’s not the most ideal scenario. However, there are ways to avoid this happening, by better understanding what causes these marks, how you can be more careful when cleaning your car and how to remove them!

What Causes Swirl Marks On Your Car?

Swirl marks can be caused by using an unsuitable type of buffer pad for polishing paintwork and the swirls, therefore, are tiny scratches or abrasions on your vehicle’s paint finish. They are caused by grit and dirt from your sponge or rag, being rubbed over the paint and in turn, leave a cluster of fine scratches behind. This is the most common cause, however, some others include:

  • Applying harsh substances, such as very abrasive cutting compounds.
  • Making the mistake of using a dry hand towel to wipe off any dust from the surface of your vehicle.
  • Not rinsing your vehicle before you wash it, in order to remove any fine particles of dirt loosely sitting on the surface.
  • Not thoroughly washing and cleaning your vehicle before drying it.
  • Driving through an automatic car wash, as they may use unsuitable brushes.
  • Using a dirty car cover.

What Car Paint Colours Show ‘Swirl Marks’ The Most?

The victim of swirl marks is actually the protective clear coat, rather than the paint layer below. Any marks on this clear coat will show as white, however, they will be more prominent on dark-coloured cars, for example, black cars. Whereas on light coloured vehicles, the blemishes are not as noticeable.

How Do I Avoid This Kind Of Paint Damage?

Whilst it is quite difficult to completely avoid collecting swirl marks on your paintwork, there are many things you can do to avoid doing so:

  • Avoid using a drive-through car wash, as they often use abrasive polishing pads that can damage your vehicle’s coating.
  • Avoid using pads that have not been stored properly or have fallen on the ground, as these are not washed, and it can cause swirl marks on your vehicle.
  • Completely wash any dirt particles on the surface of the vehicle before applying your polish or a coat of wax.
  • Only use a microfibre towel or wash mitt, as they are better quality than regular ones. They will lift and absorb the dirt and grit from the surface of your vehicle. Whereas normal cloths are not as effective in cleaning, as they just smear the grime all over the surface instead of removing it, thus creating scratches and swirls in the clear coat.

What Is The Best Way To Keep My Vehicle’s Paintwork Scratch Free?

The best way to stop dirt and grit from sticking to your vehicle is by using a wax or sealant to protect your paints finish. This extra layer will act as a protective coating over your paintwork and it will also ensure that your paintwork remains shiny and smooth, thus reducing the chances of dirt sticking.

What Is The Best Way To Wash My Vehicle?

How to Wash Your Car and Avoid Swirl MarksConsidering the four suggestions mentioned above, it is also recommended that you use the two-bucket method when washing your vehicle.

The two-bucket method requires you to do what the name says, which is to use two buckets instead of just one. To elaborate, here’s the quick step by step guide on how to wash your vehicle:

  • Step 1: Fill the first bucket with your preferred car shampoo.
  • Step 2: Fill the second bucket with plain, clean water.
  • Step 3: Soak your microfibre mitt in the car shampoo and start to clean your car.
  • Step 4: Do not put your microfibre mitt back into your first bucket without submerging it into bucket number two for a good rinse. This way, all the grit that has been absorbed doesn’t contaminate the car shampoo. Essentially, the dirtier your vehicle, the more you should ensure that your microfibre mitt is clean.
  • Step 5: When you have completed this, rinse the vehicle thoroughly with clean water (do not throw the dirty water from the second bucket over the vehicle).
  • Step 6: With a chamois or another clean microfibre towel, you can begin drying your vehicle. Squeeze out the water in between wipes.

With this washing procedure and use of non-abrasive cleaning materials, you will definitely avoid damaging the surface of your vehicle. If ever you notice those dreaded swirl marks on your paintwork and you want them removed, consider taking your vehicle to professional car detailers.

How To Remove Swirl Marks

Swirl marks are removed by polishing the paintwork with a buffer. You may have heard of swirl mark removers; these are essentially the same as polishing liquids. To elaborate, both products contain fine abrasives that work by smoothing out the jagged edges of the light scratches, in order to stop them catching the light. Whilst the abrasives may be harsh enough to wear down the edges of the scratches, they are very small and if applied correctly, won’t scratch your paint protection layer, i.e. clear coat.

Furthermore, you need to remember that polishers will remove the wax layer on your paintwork, so it’s important to apply a coat after the swirl marks have been buffed out.

While there may be many DIY’s out there that you could follow, if you’re not very confident in the corrective process, you could end up adding more blemishes to your paintwork. This is why it’s sometimes better to leave this job to professional detailers.

At Bodyteq, we use machine polishing and buffing compounds to remove these marks. We have got a variety of compounds, such as fine polishes, that we can use at different stages during the car paint correction process, depending on the type of finish required.

Do You Offer Car Paint Correction Near Me?

Bodyteq is based in Greenwich, London and we have found that customers travel from all over the UK for our services. Therefore, if you are looking for paintwork correction services, specifically removing swirl marks, either fill in our online form for a free estimate or book in with us by giving us a call on 0207 998 4712.

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