Can You Use a Random Orbital Sander for Car Polishing?

If you are like me, you’ve probably seen the TV commercials for orbital sanders and wondered if they could be used for something other than wood. I was curious to see how well it performs on my car so I tried it out. The results were pretty good! This post will show you how to use a random orbital sander for polishing your car.

Table of Contents

  • Which Sander to Choose for Car Polishing?
  • What is the Best Speed for Car Polishing?
  • What Pads to Choose for Polishing a Car?
  • Sander vs Polisher
  • How to Polish a Car with Random Orbital Sander? 8 Steps
  • Is the Random Orbital Sander same as a Dual action?
  • Final Words

Which Sander to Choose for Car Polishing?

The woodworker or hobbyist must know that there are various types of sanders to work with. However, not all of them are suitable for car polishing. There are belt sanders, orbital sanders, palm sanders, but none of them is a good pick for the polishing job. Random orbital sander’s main job is to sand and polish. Nonetheless, other than different sanders available, a random orbital sander is the ideal one for car polishing.

Now, there still the question remains that which random orbital sander to buy? As there are types of orbital sander available, such as- electric or air sander, it can be a bit perplexing to choose.

As for cordless sanders, it can work better for small usage and not so suitable for heavy usage.

Professional woodworkers often use air random sander for smoother finishes. However, you will need a decent air compressor with it. If you don’t own an air compressor, then it is better not to choose an air random orbital sander.

Electric random orbital sanders, on the other hand, are versatile and professionals often recommend it. But you must check if it has a variable speed setting. Otherwise, it will be too harsh for a car polishing job.

To put it shortly, for car polishing you may go for an electric random orbital sander with variable speed setting.

What is the Best Speed for Car Polishing?

As I have mentioned before, you need a random orbital sander with variable speed setting to polish a car. You must attach a polishing pad having free speed (up to 12,000 OPM).

Now you might want to know that why variable speed is important? It’s because the variable speed control allows you to finish the polishing and buffing actions in a better possible way. As a result, you are getting finer finishing.  Around 1,500 to 4,000 is the best speed to polish a car.

Moreover, if you gain control over a sander, speed wouldn’t be a problem. The good news is that random orbital sander makes sure the fewer chances of burning the skin. You might speed up higher OPM/RPM to wipe off stubborn swirl marks.

What Pads to Choose for Polishing a Car?

If you have chosen to use a random orbital sander to polish the car, then make sure to choose the right sanding pad. Now, there are three types of sanding pads you can easily use for car polishing:

  • Wool
  • Microfiber buffing pads
  • Foam

If the pads are of the same sizes or a bit larger from the backing plate of the machine, then you can undoubtedly use it. All of the above-mentioned pads can be used with a rotary polisher or random orbital sander.

The car retailers keep all these three types of pads at hand so that they can any of them whenever it is convenient.

Related: Best Car Wash Foam Gun for Garden Hose: Top 10 Reviews, Comparisons and Buying Guide

Sander vs Polisher

The difference between a sander and polisher lies in the spin rate of the machines. As a polisher spine a bit slower comparing to the random orbital sander, it reduces the chances of burning the paint.

That doesn’t mean you cannot use random orbital sander as a polisher. It would help if you had proper attachments like variable speed settings. Also, the variable speed setting helps in the prevention of swirl marks.

How to Polish a Car with Random Orbital Sander? 8 Steps

Let’s get to know how you can polish a car with the random orbital sander.

  1. 1

    First of all, taste the random orbital sander on something to see it works or not. Also, use goggles and mask for safety.

  2. 2

    Now, join the pad to the sander. Apply polish in dotted shape across the pad.

  3. 3

    Don’t turn on the sander yet. Press the pad around the working area. The polish gel inside will spread on its own.

  4. 4

    Set the sander speed on a medium level and turn on the sander.

  5. 5

    Start with a small area, with gentle push so that you can hear the changing pitch sound.

  6. 6

    As I previously said, maintain a gentle pressure, move the sander in a back and forth motion. Thus, it will polish evenly without even missing any unpolished gap.

  7. 7

    Once you think you have reached the limit, quickly switch to another pad. The pad you will use next is the finishing pad.

  8. 8

    Check the result, if you still think you are not getting the desired result, and then change to a more aggressive pad or polishing compound.

I will recommend you to use a car polishing kit as it contains pads, sanders, and polishing compounds: basically, everything you need to make your car shiny again. You can check on Amazon for the price and other details of it.

Related: How to Wash Car with Foam Gun [A Beginner’s Guide]

Is the Random Orbital Sander same as a Dual action?

As I have said before that random orbital sander is capable of both moving in a random and circular pattern. To put it shortly, it is a dual action sander. As bud ‘dual action’ we mean the double movement, random orbital sander falls into this category.

Whether you call it dual action or random orbital sander, it’s your choice.

Final Words

If you are looking at your old car and thinking of giving it a luminous effect like before, nothing is better than a random orbital sander. Any beginner polisher can try random orbital sander as it is easy to work with.

Also, for professionals, it’s a great tool that works as a finisher. To reach a level of perfect smoothing effect, nothing is more convenient than a random orbital sander. All you need is to give this article a read and get used to working with it.

Ride a shiner car again!

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