Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

Power Buffers vs. Manual Polishing

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by 463956, Nov 22, 2013.

    • Member


    Post Count: 5
    Likes Received:0
    I am considering the purchase of a power buffer to polish and wax my 2007 Sapphire Black Metallic E60 550i. I have, historically used P21S shampoo, conditioner and carnauba wax, applied by hand. AutoGeek is running a sale on power buffers. I have given some consideration to the purchase of a Flex XC 3401 or a Rupes LHR 15ES or LHR 21ES. The initial question is whether or not to use a power buffer on my Bimmer. I don't want to, unnecessarily, wear down the clear coat. I also garage my car. As such, it is well protected . If I decide to purchase a power buffer, I want to select one that is best suited to polishing and waxing my 550i. I welcome your experience, recommendations and input.

    Thanks, Ed
    • Member
    • Staff

    steven s

    Post Count: 2,278
    Likes Received:76
    The few times I actually detailed my car I've used Griot's buffer.
    If you don't know how to use a buffer you can do some serious damage.
    Griot's has a built in clutch like mechanism to prevent damage.
    • Member


    Post Count: 134
    Likes Received:12
    I received a Griot's Dual Action buffer this past father's day and only have limited experience but I am satisfied with the results that I got on my black (non-metallic) 2006 E90. I bought the car used and the paint was in poor shape, scratches, swirls and holograms. I was more concerned with correcting the paint then in preservation. My understanding is the DA buffers are much safer to use then the professional (non-DA) buffers that require more skill. I have learned that the pad you use and the wax/sealant/polish make a difference. Griot's has orange, red and black pads that are more to less aggressive. They also have a range of polishes that can be mild to aggressive. Then there are meters that tell you how thick/thin the paint is and you can use that to determine if it is safe to remove another layer with an aggressive polish. I have also learned that the clear coat that BMW uses is softer than what others use so you need to be more conservative with polish choices. It will save some wear and tear on your arm and shoulder but if you are happy with the way it looks now why change? Me, I have the BMW an Odyssey and a Saab so it was get a DA polisher or start a long term relationship with a detailer.
    • Member


    Post Count: 5
    Likes Received:0
    Steven and Ken,

    Thanks for the input. I am happy with the results of my manual car care. Just thought that I could improve the appearance and make it easier in the process. However, I do not want to do this at the expense of learning curve errors or wearing down the clear coat.

    Thanks for putting this issue into perspective.


    herbstz4m guest

    Post Count: 46
    Likes Received:2

    Wearing down the clear coat with a Dual Action buffer should not be as worrisome as you think it is..

    Typically, a full detail should only be done every couple of years. I'm coming on 3 years since I did a detail on my Z4M and I'll need to tackle it again.

    The Rupes and Flex is the top of the line DA polishers on the market. No doubt about that. However have you ever considered a Porter Cable dual action?

    They typically go for around $100-110

    For Example,

    http://www.amazon.com/PORTER-CABLE-...id=1385252754&sr=8-1&keywords=porter cable xp

    Causing damage with such a machine is virtually impossible, you'll need to be not paying attention and talking with someone else for 5 minutes while leaving the PC in one spot to cause damage.

    Food for thought as well, most damage caused to clear coats are done during the drying phase. Even if you have thought you're properly caring for your car, sooner or later it will catch up and swirls/marring will appear.

    PS - I still wax by hand, you can do it with a machine but I like applying with wax better.

    Let me know if you need anymore detailed answers on polishes, pads...etc
    • Member

    Satch SoSoCalifortified

    Post Count: 2,187
    Likes Received:65
    I have used orbitals and straight polishers back before I established a reputation for cleaning my cars with a shop broom and WD-40. Now I have BOTH Griot's buffers, the six-inch and the three-inch, along with an abundance of pads and four different grades of polishing compound.

    Any day now, I'm going to use them!

Share This Page