Can You Use a Random Orbital Sander for Car Polishing?

Random orbital (dual action) sanders are great for doing tasks like woodworking, but can you use them on cars? This is a question that many people ask themselves when they are trying to figure out what type of power tool to buy.

You can use a random orbital sander for car polishing. This type of dual action sander is designed to make circular and random motions, which are less aggressive, making it ideal for giving your car a smooth finish. However, always do a test spot first to determine if you get your desired results.

Random orbital power tools are ideal for any job and offer a great deal of versatility to your tool collection, whether you’re an avid DIYer or part of the trade. But how can you use them to give your car a smooth and lustrous finish? Read on for the answer to this question.

Using random orbital sander for car polishing.

Can You Use a Dual Action Sander for Polishing Your Car?

A dual action random orbital sander makes circular and random motions, making it effective for polishing your car. The random oscillations pass over the surface, unlike sanding off a layer of excess paint, while circular rotation is less aggressive, providing an excellent finish in a short time. 

Therefore, these dual action sanders are the best option if you’re looking for excellent results – their spinning motion polishes and buffs paint into a smooth, lustrous finish.

The only thing to worry about is that the pressure exerted on your car will remove any scratches or blemishes you might have made with a sandpaper disc in previous steps of the polishing process. The random oscillations from an orbital sander are capable of buffing out these imperfections and leave behind a smooth, shiny surface.

If you’re looking for a sander, the Maxshine M8 Pro Dual Action Polisher from Amazon may come in handy. It features variable speed settings for sanding and polishing, an ergonomic handle, and offers scratch-and-swirl-free finishes, thanks to its powerful motor.

How Does a Random Orbital Sander Work?

A random orbital sander works by using an oscillating head to make circular and random motions, which is effective on both flat and rounded surfaces. The sandpaper can attach to either the front or side of a circular plate that revolves around a center post.

The sander features different levels of aggressiveness achieved by shifting the pattern from high-speed contact with the surface down to intermittent contact with it using quick starts and stops. This way it is basically bringing the machine into a pause mode, then quickly striking back in.

This ultimately creates a much gentler finish than the ordinary orbital polisher typically found in car and detail work, meaning fewer scratches and swirls – more like what’s possible from just hand sanding but at much higher levels of precision.

What Pads Do I Need To Use an Orbital Action Sander?

The most common pads you need to use an orbital action sander are the soft pads, which come in various grits and materials like aluminum oxide sandpaper or Velcro-backed abrasive discs.  Hard metal disc pads are used for aggressive sanding jobs and polishing compounds after using a coarse foam pad.

If you’re looking for something softer than metal discs, then consider trying an open-backed sponge or felt pad by contacting the manufacturer before purchasing one (most manufacturers would be able to provide advice). These two options will allow you to cut down on any dust while providing less wear and tear on your machine.

Tip: Whichever pad you choose, ensure it’s the same size or slightly larger than your sander’s backing plate. Otherwise, the two won’t fit, and you may end up returning the pad to the retailer.

How To Polish a Car Using an Orbital Sander

Now that we’ve established you can polish your car using a random orbital sander, let’s get to know how to do that.

In that regard, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Wash your car with a wash mitt, making sure not to miss any spots. Rinse well and do not dry the car.
  2. Clean the dust off with compressed air. You should use compressed air to blow away all of the dust sticking to your car’s paint. If you can’t get hold of this stuff, you can use a handheld vacuum to do the same job.
  3. Sand down paint defects. Using the orbital sander, work in circular motions. For the best results, work from left to right and top to bottom.
  4. Clean up after you’ve sanded all the dents out. Wipe off any remaining dust with clean microfiber cloths or other soft materials. Then wash again!
  5. Buff the car using polishing paste wax(do not use household products). Rub this into each panel (top, sides, and the hood) in small circles until they shine.
  6. If you don’t get the results you expect, repeat steps 2-4 before buffing the car.

Tip: Remember to clean the area you are working on continually. Also, ensure you clean your orbital sander with water each time you finish using it. This helps keep it working effectively and also ensures that no dust or grease gets onto your car.

This 10-minute video explains how to polish a car in greater detail:

Why Use a Random Orbital Sander for Car Polishing?

It’s best to use random orbital sanders for car polishing since they’re specially designed to reduce paint build-up. This is an essential feature for someone who likes maintaining the beauty of their vehicle.

It’s also perfect for removing scratches because it both sands and polishes car finishes in one step.

Another benefit of this type of sander is that it smoothens the surface without making visible scratches. In some cases, it can remove old waxes.

A directional dial-type sander can put wrinkles or side-to-side scratches into the surface. In contrast, a random orbital sander prevents this from happening.

Additionally, suppose there is stubborn dirt on the car that will not come off using soap and water. In that case, it may be necessary to use an abrasive buffing wheel or take your vehicle to detailers for more thorough work.

Tips To Polish Your Car Safely and Properly

Although the steps I’ve highlighted above may sound easy, using a random orbital sander requires some practice to get the hang of it.

That said, here are some guidelines to follow for the best results:

  • Do a test spot before polishing the entire car. This enables you also to determine if the polish you’ve chosen would produce the desired results.
  • Start with the least aggressive pad, gel, and sander setting. Speed up the machine or switch to a more aggressive pad and gel if necessary.
  • Don’t rush. Rushing may damage your car. Instead, be slow but thorough.
  • Don’t apply pressure to the sander. Instead, keep it light and gentle to avoid damaging it.
  • Application of the polish or wax should be light and even. Don’t get carried away with polishing as this may lead to streaks in your car’s paintwork.

Final Remarks

If you’re a car lover, likely, your pride and joy are not just in the garage or driveway. It may be on display at auto shows across the country. But what do you use to keep those beautiful glossy paint jobs looking their best?

When it comes to using a random orbital sander, there are three key things you need to remember:

  • Always check that the machine is in proper working condition before powering it.
  • Ensure the pads are firmly in place.
  • Use it gently but thoroughly.
  • Increase its speed if necessary.




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