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Swirl Marks. Where They Come From and Why.

Discussion in 'Exterior' started by JoeJack88, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. JoeJack88

    JoeJack88 Well-Known Member Super Moderator Donated!

    The reason I am posting this is because so many people are un-informed.

    Paint is made up of 2 to 3 coats. The first level is primer, this seals the bare metal and redies the surface to receive paint, The color can be anywhere from black to red, but the color is irrelevant. Next is the color... the color of your car, This could be red, blue, silver, etc. When it is applied from the factory it is either electrostatic adhesion, dipped, or regular sprayed on. This 2nd step is a very flat color.. it has no shine and no protection; this is why we need a clear layer over the paint itself. The next step is clear coat.. the name speaks for itself. It is a clear coat of protectant that seals the 2nd step of colored paint and makes it glossy. Although it is the last step in the painting process - it is not very durable. It can dry out over a period of time from being neglected, stained, or *scratched* very easily.

    This is where we start to learn about "swirl marks." Don't you hate it when you look at your freshly waxed car and in the reflection of the sun or intense lighting you see small spiderweb thickness scratches covering your paint ? They seem to be only in a circular direction, but it is not - they are actually in every direction. Longitudinal, vertically, diagonally and even yes circular. Swirl marks are simply very light scratches in your car's clear coat surface. They do not reach the paint or the bare metal. However, swirl marks do not come from waxing your car in a circular motion, this is a false statement. The main culprits of swirl marks come from improper washing, waxing and drying. First lets start out with washing. When you wash your car, you are attempting to remove ALL of the road grime, dirt (etc...) from your cars surface. When you do this, if you do not remove all of the debris from your paint BEFORE you physically touch your car and you grab your used washing rag and start scrubbing, you are actually sanding your cars surface. You see, when you rub your towel over the surface of the paint and it picks up sand for example, and you continue to wash, you are making micro abrasions in your clear coat.. and voula ! Swirl marks. The proper way to avoid this is to arduously hose off your car with a high-powerd nozzle or pressure washer and remove all of the dirt and grime you can see, and then start to lightly wash your car, panel by panel. After you wash your front fender, swish your rag around in your bucket vigorously to release most of the dirt out of your rag and continue washing. Be sure not to drop your rag on the ground because there is dirt there also ! Wash it off very good if you drop it, or just get another rag. One more note, coin-op car washes are detrimental to your paint due to the dirt and sand attached to the cloths that come in contact with your paint. Avoid these carwashes by all costs !

    Drying is the same concept. If you do not remove all of the dirt from your cars surface and you drag another towel over it, the towel will pick up small particles and scratch your paint... more swirl marks.. Be sure not to drop it either, and use a washed or NEW drying towel. Used towels may still have dirt trapped in the fibers.

    Yep, waxing is the same idea as above.. you don't want to rub dirt into your paint when you are waxing.. so be sure to use a washed or NEW applicator and removal towel. It is very simple to understand - and because there are so may un-informed people out there, word of mouth spreads and then people start to believe what is not true. Once you use the above steps to wash, dry and wax you will have little to no more swirl marks. this is very important to darker colored cars because of the nature for darker colors to show more imperfections. However, in the real world we cannot rule out swirl marks - but we sure can reduce them ! I have used the above steps on my '01 Silver GT-S and I have all most zero swirl marks.

    Posted on Celica.net by hyoctane
  2. rice_eater15

    rice_eater15 Member

    also for drying i would suggest a shammy, its like deer skin. they last very long and are easy to clean. they dont exactly dry the car they just suck up the left over water and dirt in the water then you wring it out and start on another part of the car. the only prob is they hold dirt very well but you can see the dirt easily also. a shammy also has a break in period it will not work very well for the first couple times you use it but after that will work very well and then when they start to go bad they will stop working as well as they should.

    I work at a body shop detailing the finished cars, with freshly painted cars, swirl marks can happen evan with a brand new wash rag and shammy but usually only show up on darker paint. so if you have a darker car with swirl marks that wont come out try 3M http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/e ... termarket/
    a light to medium duty rubbing compound would work, i would suggest a light rubbing compound because the medium is more used after the painter razor blades and wet sands the clear coat to get out runs.

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