What Is a Variable-Speed Polisher and How to Use It?

If you’ve ever wondered how your car comes out squeaky clean and shiny out of an auto shop, then the workers there probably use a polisher. You can get similar, shiny results by waxing and polishing your car by hand, but it’s tedious, time-consuming work that requires a lot of patience.

Variable Speed Polisher

If you love your car and want to keep it as clean as it was on the day you bought it, but you’re also not willing to spend hundreds of dollars a year to keep it that way, then consider investing in a polisher.

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What is a Variable-Speed Polisher?

A variable-speed polisher is simply a polisher that comes with a variable-speed dial/knob/switch. Polishers work by rotating a soft, microfiber pad hundreds or even thousands of times per minute. However, polishing your car at high speed could risk ruining your car’s paint. This is where the variable speed system does its magic: turn the dial down and watch as the pad rotates much slower. This gives you full control over how shiny your car is at the end.

How to Use a Polisher

Using a polisher is pretty straightforward. It involves using the appropriate attachment and polishing the product. We’re going to break down the process for you.

DEWALT Variable-Speed Polishers

Step 1. Attach the Polish Pad

Assuming your polisher comes with its polishing pad detached, the first thing you need to do is attach it to the unit. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to attach and detach pads. In general, it involves playing around with the spindle lock, inserting the spindle of the attachment, and locking it back in place. Your experience may vary depending on the model.

Step 2. Apply Polish to the Pad

Of course, before using your polisher on your car, make sure that it is properly cleaned. One way you can ruin your car’s paint is by applying polish to it while bits of sand and grit are still stuck on your car. The polisher will pick up whatever materials are left on the surface of your car and scrape it against the paint.

After you’ve made certain that your car has been cleaned and dried, put five dots of your polish of choice on the pad. After that, spray the pad with a polisher-pad conditioner to lubricate the pad.


Step 3. Dab the Polish on the Area You Want to Polish

To prevent the polishing cream from flinging all over the place, take your polisher (it should be off) and press the pad against the surface of the car you want to polish. There should be small dabs of polish on your car, which is what we want. Spread the polish out evenly across the surface and make sure that there are no high spots.

Step 4. Spread the Polish

When the polishing cream is spread as evenly as possible while the device is off, it’s time to work the polish into the paint. You want to do this gradually to prevent uneven results. First, while the polisher is still off, set it to its slowest speed/torque setting. Next, flip the switch on and go over the surface of your car while applying as little pressure as possible.

DEWALT Variable-Speed Polishers

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Step 5. Work the Polish into the Paint

After the surface is thoroughly coated with a very thin layer of polish, now it’s time to apply a bit of pressure. Technically, you want to apply between 5 and 7 pounds of pressure, though you can freehand it by simply pressing down with just a bit of force. While the polisher is off, turn the speed setting up to its middle setting then flip the switch.

The way you want to polish the surface of your car is by using an S-motion. By the time you reach the tail of the S, bring it back up and swing it right, then repeat the motion. This should be done while moving the polisher to the left with every pass over a certain spot of your car’s surface.

Variable Speed Polisher

Step 6. Turn off the Polisher, Buff, and Repeat

After polishing the surface for about five to six minutes, turn the machine off and wait for it to stop completely. While waiting, the pad should still be on the surface of the polished area. After it’s come to a complete stop, pick up a microfiber rag and go over the polished area lightly.

This will remove any residual polishing cream while giving your car its sexy sheen. You should be able to see your reflection on the polished surface. After the spot has been properly buffed, repeat the process on a different surface of your car.

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