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R2600 ROS usable for buffing out car scratches?

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  • R2600 ROS usable for buffing out car scratches?

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    Lat summer I took a road trip with a rolling duffel bag used as a car top carrier. The top of the car got lots of scratches in it as a result. My wife is really bothered by the scratches, so I've got to get them out as best I can.

    I am sure a dedicated buffer would be best, but don't really want to spend the money (I am unemployed), and would probably never use it again as keeping car paint shiny is not a high priority for me.

    I have an R2600 Random Orbital Sander that used 5" hook and loop discs and has variable speed control. Somewhere I even have some foam pads and some soft furry looking pads that fit the sander. They came in a set with some really lousy sanding discs I got on clearance at Harbor Freight.

    Would getting some rubbing compound and using this set up be a bad idea? The whole roof of the car is scratched, so working it out by hand would probably take more elbow grease than my poor arms have to offer.

  • #2
    Re: R2600 ROS usable for buffing out car scratches?

    I wouldn't try it. The slowest your sander will go is 7000rpm with a very small orbit. Car polishers go from around 1800-6800 rpm with a much larger orbit. It might burn the polish and do more harm than good. I would borrow a car polisher or go the elbow grease route.

    Many years ago I used a sander to buff my car. It was a pain as the pads got dry and clogged alot because the speeds were to high. I got nowhere and did the whole thing by hand.

    You could check your local high schools/community colleges and see if their auto/body shop class would do it for training (i.e. free).

    Good luck,


    • #3
      Re: R2600 ROS usable for buffing out car scratches?

      Welcome to the Ridgid forum!

      I agree with Erngum, even at it's slowest speed, an ROS would be too agressive to use on an auto paint job.

      Ryobi offers two buffers, that are decently priced. A 6" for $25 and a 10" for $30 (both w/2-year warranty, 30-day Satisfaction Guarantee)

      But, I still think I would go the "elbow grease" method... or at least give it a try that way. Auto paint finishes can be a real challenge when it comes to scratches... it's really not all that thick and to take out scratches you're going to be removing enough of that surface to basically get to the bottom of those scratches! It's like taking off the mountain tops until your get to the level of the valleys' that the scratches have made. If the scratchs have penetrated to the primer, you'll never get rid of them by rubbing or polishing.

      Off course if those scratches are rather shallow, then you shouldn't have a problem, but doing this by hand will definitely be more revealing then using a machine. Meguier's has a product that goes by the name of "Scratch-X" which does a good job of hiding some scratches without the need to remove paint layers. There's probably a few other brands out there too, but I'm partial to Maguier's products. Check your local autosupply store.

      But if you're sure you need to "rub", then I would NOT use "rubbing" compound, it is just too abrasive, unless you've done this before. "Polishing" compound is far less abrasive, but even then, it is designed to remove a bit of the paint surface. ("Polishing Compound" is not "polish" but actually a much finer "compound" of abrasive pumice than the "rubbing" type.)

      I've used both and much prefer "polishing" compound as it is much more forgiving and unless the scratches are significantly deep, "polishing" compound might well do the trick without reducing too much of the paint thickness or risking further damage to it.

      (Once had a VW, that got misted when the adjacent parking lot had all their light poles spray painted. My "Sea Blue" VW was covered with these little tiny "dots" of silver. I spent an entire weekend with Dupont's "polishing compound" to remove them.)

      Another solution, often used by finishing detailers is "clay". I have never used it and have no experience with it yet, but it might well be worth your investigation. My understanding is that it's used for the removal of "deep soiling" and "oxidation" of an autofinish. I'm not sure if "scratches" would be within the realm of clay, but it might be worth looking into.

      Edit Addition: I got to thinking a bit more about your scratch removal problem and "polishing compound" is probably still the best way to go; but, I did some quick research on "claying" and here are a couple of links that might be helpful:

      Doing a "Google" search for "auto refinishing clay" got those and quite a few other hits. Also, a similar search for "removing scratches from car" provides addition hits.

      I hope this helps,

      Last edited by CWSmith; 09-17-2010, 03:45 PM. Reason: Modified and additional information