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So I've got my 6 year old Jet Black 5 Series and I bought it used. Ever since I've owned it, there have been swirl marks that are easy to see when it's freshly cleaned. Nothing terrible, but noticeable when you catch the right angle where the sun hits the car and highlights them. I've hand-waxed the car in the past and it has helped, but waxing alone isn't enough. I've tried to use a polisher/buffer in the past on other cars and found that it wasn't my forte.

I've talked to two different places over the phone that refuse to even give a ballpark estimate of what it cost (even to the nearest $100) without inspecting the car. Even when I ask if there's a normal range, they refuse to answer.

I like my car but my give a damn on having someone buff it out is probably around $200-250. When I say that, they don't tell me to go to hell, they tell me that they need to see the car to judge. Has anyone gotten their car buffed out professionally, how much did it cost and did you think it was worth it in retrospect?
 

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An expensive polish by somebody who knows what they're doing is far cheaper than a cheap polish by somebody who doesn't know what they're doing.

A good shop will use an ultrasonic device to measure the thickness of the clear coat before touching your car. From that, they can make a pretty reliable determination if the swirls can even be polished out and still have sufficient clear coat remaining.

The good news is that BMW's have an unusually thick clear coat on the horizontal surfaces. My theory about this is that most BMW's are leased and BMW knows they will get a polish while BMW FS still owns the car (as part of prep for resale). The bad news is that modern clear coats have UV blockers in them, but that they migrate toward the surface as the clear coat dries. So, taking away a small part of the clear coat ends up taking away a large part of the UV blockers. That affects the long-term durability of the clear coat.

One way to find a good detailer is ask around at Porsche and Ferrari club meetings. They'll know how the heroes are, and who the ****s are.

A friend of mine who has done well in life has his Ferrari polished every few years, and it costs him around $1500.
 

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What do you mean "not your forte"? I was very leery of trying this myself on my last car. It was severely scratched from the previous owner's use of car washes. I figured I couldn't make it worse so bought a Porter Cable "X" something or other, some pads and polishes. I couldn't believe how easy it was. With the PC it's virtually impossible to burn the paint. You would have to try, then I'm not sure it's possible. IIRC, my entire investment in all the products was less than $200. There are many YouTubes by a guy that goes by Junkman where he instructs on the proper way to remove swirls and fine scratches. He's not only a good teacher but can be quite funny!

Watch a couple of his videos and see how easy a job it is!
 

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The Porter-Cable 7424 I bought years ago is probably the best automotive tool I ever purchased. As ezair indicated above, buffing the car yourself is not a difficult task. There are lots and lots of "how to" videos on YouTube. The buffer will last for decades; it is sound investment/purchase.

I had purchased a 2014 535ix with just 11K miles on it, but the Carbon Black was very scratched up; in the sun the Spider Web Swirl marks were just terrible. I used a non-abrasive pad and a very "mild" polishing compound, and in about 2 hours the car displayed NO more swirl. Of course, after buffing, you need to wax or apply your favorite sealant/polish. I use LiquidGlass on my black cars-- black cars get HOT in the sun. Most wax products don't do well in the heat, but the hotter the better for LiquidGlass. (I'd sure like a bit of that heat today!!)

Flatland, watch a few videos, then buy a Porter-Cable. You will not regret it. After the "clearcoat correction", you can use the P-C a couple times a year to lightly buff/polish your fresh wax. It will help CLEAN your windshield glass, keep your headlight plastic lenses crystal clear.
 

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Any good detailer will need to see the car to know how much work it's going to be. That's why you can't easily get estimates over the phone... they don't know if it's a 2,4 or 8 hour job to get it looking good. So you'll just have to pick a few places and go see them - if that's not an option for you - well, not sure what the answer is really. Any detailer that would give a price over the phone is probably not going to be a good choice...

When I got my 550i used it was 3 years old - coming off lease. It looked like the typical lease car, it had ben washed and spray waxed - the paint was decent but not great. I found a great detailer, with a good shop, and negotiated an acceptable price on paint correction and a ceramic coating. Total cost was $450 + tip. They had it 8 hours - in a dedicated indoor detailing bay with full correction lighting. It looked like NEW when I got it back, maybe better than new. I was so pleased. I got a single application of ceramic coating, which he said might last 2 years, but would look great for 1 year... and it does. Almost everyday I am thankful I did it. Hardly anything sticks to the paint so it always looks clean and shiny. I put a reminded in my calendar to get it done annually.
 

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Hey, a thread I can contribute to. I own a detail shop and from the sounds of it the folks you spoke to know their stuff. Not giving an exact estimate is very common. For all they know, your paint could be totally trashed and if they under quote neither parties will have the winning combination of cost and work.

We start at $400 for a very light polish and 1 year ceramic coat for SMALL cars like a Honda Fit or so. A 550i with hammered paint would easily be $600+ or more depending on options, steps, etc.
 

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Hey, a thread I can contribute to. I own a detail shop
Hi Danny ---- if I was you, and I told people on BMW site that I owned a detail shop, I would want my location to be there. :)
 

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Hi Danny ---- if I was you, and I told people on BMW site that I owned a detail shop, I would want my location to be there. :)
Agreed, but also, he might not have wanted to post it since he just joined. Don't want it to look like he created an account to pump his business.
 

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Ha! Thanks for the tips guys. I just wanted to register to reply to the map update thread. My business is a side gig seasonal thing so I didn***8217;t want to drop a shameless plug.
 
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