How to Wax a Car with a Buffer

how to wax a car with a buffer

Even the most car-obsessed, clean nut will agree that washing, detailing, and waxing your ride can be a time-consuming pain in the behind. Pain in the butt or not, protecting your investment is definitely worth the time and effort. Using a buffer to wax a car can help make this process faster and improve results. 

To protect the clear coat and the paint underneath, you need to polish the exterior to remove any contaminants, then wax the car to protect it from the UV rays of the sun, salt, water, and environmental factors, such as bird droppings, oil, and more. 

Polishing and waxing are huge chores and are not just tedious but exhausting when done by hand. 

Using an orbital power buffer, often referred to simply as a buffer, can dramatically cut the time and effort needed to maintain your beautiful ride. 

You might have heard that buffers are meant only for professional use and that the average DIYer can easily damage the clear coat. This is particularly true, but if you take care and use the following tips, you can wax your car like a pro. 

Want to know more? Keep reading and discover the best way to polish and wax your car with a buffer. 

Two Types of Buffers

If you don’t already own a buffer there are two types for DIYers that work perfectly for the average person, DA polishers and rotary buffers.

DA Polisher

A dual-action, or DA polisher, sometimes called random orbital polishers, spin in 2 different, random directions, which make them safe to use, even if you’ve never used one before. 

These cost a bit more than the larger sized rotary buffers, but they are a worthwhile investment. 

Look for a model that has adjustable speed control, has a “smart” motor, and a transmission that keeps a consistent pad speed, regardless of how hard you push on the buffer. 

Rupes makes an excellent random orbital polisher with all the features above. It also contains an anti-spinning feature, so you avoid scratches. 

If the price puts you off, keep in mind that the average detailer costs no less than $100 and you should have your car done twice a year.

Rotary Buffer

While these are less expensive than a DA polisher, they are far more difficult to use. It seems as if most models are high-powered for professionals or they are so underpowered that users press on them too hard and go right through the clear coat. 

If you have experience with polishers, you might opt for a rotary buffer. If you’ve never used a buffer, we recommend a DA polisher. 

How to Wax a Car with a Buffer Like A Pro

Of course, you will want to start by washing your car thoroughly and drying it. 

Take your buffer and the product you have chosen (check out our recommendations here) to use and pick an inconspicuous area, such as the bottom of a rocker panel, and test a small area. 

If the buffer feels good in your hands and the product you have chosen is doing what you want, you can pick a larger panel. Do one panel at a time, rather than one side at a time. 

Add a small amount of polish to the pad and touch the pad to the panel, pulsing the polisher so you distribute the polishing product evenly on the pad itself. 

Using light to moderate pressure, make wide sweeping motions back and forth across the panel. 

The trick is to be consistent in both speed and pressure. Take your time as you work. 

After you have completed two panels, switch the pad to a clean microfiber pad and buff away any remaining polish. You should see a beautiful shine left behind. If there is polish in the crevices, you can use a plain microfiber towel and your fingers to remove it. 

Continue in this manner until you have completed the entire vehicle. 

Time for Wax! 

Waxing is remarkably similar to buffing your car. You still want to remain consistent when it comes to pressure and speed, but when it comes to waxing, you can use very light pressure. Since you aren’t trying to remove anything (contamination) you only want to apply the wax evenly to the surface. 

In your mind, split the car up into several sections. You can pick the right side as 1 section, the left, then the roof, trunk, and hood, or however you wish to do so. 

Do 1 section at a time. You can either wait 10 or 15 minutes for the wax to dry and then remove it before moving on to another section, or do 2 sections, one right after the other. This way, by the time you finish with the second section, the first section has dried. The choice is yours. 

Be certain that the wax is completely dry before trying to remove it. 

If you like, you can apply several coats of wax so that it not only offers more protection, but it will last longer, and you will not need to wax your car for some time. 

Final Pro Tips – Wax a Car With a Buffer

  • Always use a clean polishing pad every time you use your buffer 
  • Store pads in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag to prevent contamination
  • After use, wash the pads well in hot water 
  • Or, if you prefer, you can buy new pads whenever you plan to polish and wax your car 
  • The average car owner only needs to polish/wax their car twice a year, however, you can do it more frequently if you like 

Your vehicle is a big investment, so it’s worth the time and effort to take care of it. You will love the looks you get as you drive your polished and shiny baby down the road. 


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