How To Buff A Car

Although buffing will be discussed across both ends of the spectrum, as being amazing for the car and the paint or how it can lead to the end of your beautiful paint job as you know it. As long as it's done right, buffing your car is a great thing to do to it for several reasons. In this article, you'll learn about the benefits of buffing your car, a few different ways of handling the process, and also how often you should do it to best protect one of your most prized possessions: your car.

What Are The Benefits Of Buffing Your Car?

The first and foremost benefit of buffing your car is that it brings a fresh new layer of paint to the forefront, with the potential to make your car look brand new again. This is because, over time as the car experiences the elements, several foreign debris can have adverse effects on the outermost layer of the paint. The buffing process will go a long way towards reversing the negative effects of these various forms of pollution and get that paint job looking like it just rolled off the assembly line.

Another benefit of buffing a car is that it can help to remove blemishes that may stem from a myriad of sources. One of the common things that are often heard when a car gets a small ding or a scratch is that it will "buff out". This is, of course, referring to the process of buffing the car. This is because as the buffing process is being performed on the vehicle, it is basically as if the dings and scratches are being filled in with the surrounding paint as the paint is moved around carefully to fill in the flaws.

Lastly, similar to polishing a car, buffing is arguably the best way to protect the exterior of the vehicle and keep it looking newer for as long as possible. The buffing process brings a fresh “new” layer of paint to the outermost surface of your car, which is void of all the flaws and blemishes caused by exposure to the elements over the years. Paint issues typically stem from blemishes on the paint that are left untreated, which then proceed to make the paint worse and worse over time. Buffing helps to alleviate that issue.

3 Ways To Buff Your Car

It is commonly accepted in the industry that there are three main ways to buff a car. While all three methods presented here are all viable for giving you that pristine look that you’re aiming for, each scenario is different and you should decide for yourself which method is best for your situation.

Do It By Hand

The first method of buffing is doing it by hand. Sometimes referred to as manual buffing, this is often the most labor-intensive method of buffing a car. This is because, as the name suggests, the process is carried out with only the proper materials and some elbow grease. This often takes the most amount of time as well, but it is also typically cheaper than using the other methods and is certainly much cheaper than taking the vehicle somewhere to have it professionally done! The only real downside to manual buffing is that sometimes the process doesn’t take as deeply as it would through other methods, so the results may not last as long.

Use A Buffer

A second method for buffing a car that can also be done by the DIY'er hoping to knock the project out themselves is to use an orbital buffing tool. These are handheld tools, powered either using batteries or electricity, that rotate and move a buffing pad in a "random" motion (not just spinning around its axis). The buffing compounds are moved around using this tool and it enables the compound to be moved effortlessly and evenly across the surface of the vehicle to provide an even finish in much less time than doing it by hand. The bonus to this method overdoing it by hand is that the process can go a bit deeper thanks to the motion of the buffer, but keep in mind that if it is left stationary on the paint for extended periods of time, damage can occur — so be careful!

Take It To The Professional

Lastly, and without a doubt the easiest way to buff a car, is to take it to the professionals and let them handle it for you. While this is certainly the easiest way to do it, it is also by far the most expensive method as well as you may expect! Professionals can use high-speed buffing tools that can get into the paint and remove more scratches and blemishes than either of the other two methods can provide. So if the car in question has quite a few scratches than you're hoping to get buffed out, taking it to the professionals is certainly not a bad idea, and the resulting finish will leave the car looking as good as it ever has before.

How Often To Buff Your Vehicle

There is no specific number of times you should buff your car in any given period because it depends on many factors. How old the paint is, what condition the paint is in, what the environmental conditions are in the area, and more. Areas that experience hot, dry air would require different recommendations than places that experience extreme swings in temperature and humidity.

Over the years, a general rule that some people swear by is to buff and polish your car annually. This will keep the paint looking great, but do keep in mind that the buffing process moves the paint and clear coat around, and doing it too often will eventually take the surface past a point of no return where the paint will start getting damaged. With that in mind, it's becoming more and more common to buff a car only when needed (when the car has blemishes), or to do so every other year.