Aggressiveness as it relates to car polishing [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Aggressiveness as it relates to car polishing
03-30-2011, 12:01 PM
I assume that aggressive refers to the pad and the compound more than the time spent in a particular section.

Aggressiveness is a combination of both the chemical and the pad, as well as the technique being used. It is a general term for the amount of material (paint) being removed. Aggressive is also a relative term. Somebody who has a made his life wet sanding and buffing cars in body shop, the term aggressive is going to mean something completely different next to somebody is extremely nervous about messing up their baby as they hold the buffer for the first time.

Chemical- The chemical refers to the actual polishing or buffing liquid. Buffing liquids that use large abrasives (or a lot of them) are usually called 'compounds'. Compounds tend to remove more paint, in a quicker fashion, and are considered for 'more aggressive'. Very fine 'finishing polishes' tend to have very little cutting action, and are relatively non-aggressive.

Pad- Different foam and fingered polishing pads are going to have different abilities to remove material. Since a pad is a fixed variable (augmented by the chemical chosen), its aggressiveness is measured by how quickly it removes material (paint). On a PC/DA style machine, a smaller pad is going to be more aggressive than a larger pad due to efficiencies.

Technique- Technique plays a huge role in how aggressive a combination is. For example, if we take an aggressive combination (a Lake Country Yellow Cutting pad) combined with an aggressive liquid compound like Menzerna Power Gloss, but we apply it in a very non-aggressive method: Speed 2, no pressure, and 10 seconds of working time we will likely remove less material than if we used a very fine polish( Menzerna PO85rd) on a polishing pad (White Lake Country) but used a lot of pressure, slow arm movement, and speed 6.

In general, adding pressure increases the aggressiveness. Using slower arm speed in conjunction with a smaller working area (focusing more of the working time in a smaller area) will increase aggressiveness. And using a higher orbit speed will increase aggressiveness.

Most polishes feature diminishing abrasives, that is they only remain 'active' for a certain amount of time. While continuing to polish after the polish is non longer active (exhausted) will still remove some material (because of the pad/remaining abrasives) it isn't really enough to qualify. However some polishes (such as Meguiar's M105/M205) feature non-diminishing abrasives that will continue to cut over time. They don't break down or lose effectiveness as quickly. In the case of these polishes working time makes a big difference in the total amount of material removed.

Paint Type-The type of paint/clear coat you are working on also plays a big role on how aggressive the action you get its. Rubbing your finger on a diamond (hard paint) isn't going to do much, even after years and years of rubbing. You might work your finger to the bone, but the diamond is fine. However if you swipe your finger across butter (soft paint) you can cut right into it one first pass. Corvette's (C5/C6's) tend to have very hard paint.

Here are some general guidlines.

Aggressive Polishing Liquids.
Meguiar's M105 (
Menzerna Power Gloss (
Optimum Hyper Compound (

Moderate Polishing Liquids.
Meguiar's M86 (
Menzerna Super Intensive Polish (
Menzerna Intensive Polish (
Menzerna Power Finish (
Optimum Hyper Polish (

Fine Polishing Liquids
Meguiar's M205 (
Menzerna Super Finish (PO106fa) (
Menzerna PO85rd (

Aggressive Polishing Pads (for a DA)
Surfbuff DA Pads (
Lake Country Yellow Cutting Pad (
Lake Country H20 Cyan Cutting Pad (
Meguiar's MFCD (Microfiber Cutting Disk) (
Meguiar's Softbuff2.0 Cutting Pad (

Moderate Polishing Pads
Lake Country Orange Power Foam Cutting Pads
( Country H20 Tangerine Polishing Pads (
Lake Country White Polishing Pads (
Meguiar's MFFD (Microfiber Finishing Disk) (
Meguiar's Softbuff 2.0 Polishing Pad (

Final Polishing/Finishing/Glazing Plads
Lake Country Green Euro Polishing Pad (
Lake Country H20 Crimson Finishing Pad (
Lake Country Black Finishing Pad (
Lake Country Red Finishing Pad (
Lake Country Gold Concours Pad (
Meguiar's Softbuff 2.0 Finishing Pad (

In terms of techniques:

More aggressive

Higher speed
Increased Down Pressure
Smaller Pads
Slower Arm Speed
Smaller Working Section

Less Aggressive

Lower Orbit Speed
Low Pressure
Larger Pads
Shorter Work Times
Faster Arm Speed
Larger Work Section

04-01-2011, 12:00 AM
Very good post Todd.
The whole Menzerna line is so darn confusing because of their naming conventions.
You've done an admirable job grouping the various polishes and pads into categories.
Certainly worthy of a bookmark.
Kudos for a job well done,
-John C.