Rubbing Compound: What Is It & How To Use
This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, we may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see our full disclosure policy for details.
Rubbing compound is the finishing substance that is used after a vehicle painting is concluded. It is essential when you know how to use a rubbing compound because your expertise will determine the result you will get.
The product is a thick paste texture that consists of a suspended abrasive compound that is utilized for surface polishing to take care of mild dents and scratches and also to keep the vehicle’s body qualities from getting dull.
Rubbing compound takes away a microscopic flat layer from the top of the paint to unveil an entirely new layer that is gleaming. Rubbing compounds are also utilized in other aspects of painting activities, like mixing with the new into and the old one and overspray.
How to Choose The Ideal Rubbing Compound
When choosing a rubbing compound– also known as cutting compound- for your vehicle, you might want to consider some conditions, like how far the paint surface quality of your vehicle has deteriorated from scratches and mild dents.
If you have a vehicle that has no scratches and dents but however the vehicle surface paint has a dull painting finish, then I’ll suggest you go for a very light rubbing compound that revives your vehicle painting back to top condition.
If you have a case of a vehicle that has scratches and mild dents all over, then it’ll be best to go for an abrasive rubbing compound. When you get to the final finishing stages, you can make use of a much lighter rubbing compound.
When it comes to other deep dents and scratches, using a machine will be needed to apply the chemicals. However, if the job is not too severe and you’ve got no access to a machine, you can make use of hand applications.
In essence, one should be well vested in the use of rubbing compounds; you can’t use them as an alternative for other superior retouching and painting options for your damaged vehicles. The reason we emphasize rubbing compound as the ideal solution for mild surface dents and scratches is because of the normal wear and tear characteristic. If it gets worse than that, then you should retouch. However, if the damage is more extensive, it might require respraying, but you should know that the respraying option is quite expensive and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
We shall now explain in specific terms the two methods of applying rubbing compound: an application using the orbital buffer and an application by hand.
Applying Rubbing Compound Using Orbital Buffer
Unlike the hand method, which allows the user to move in a clockwise direction, the orbital buffer methods will enable the person applying the rubbing compound to move in one direction. However, it produces better and more efficient results than the manual method.
In using this system, you need a wool pad, and the buffer carries out the entire movement while you only control its operations.
For an effective and perfect result, all you have to do is ensure you set your orbital buffer at a low-medium setup. Make sure you moisten the wool pad or towel. After this, add a portion of the rubbing compound to the mixture.
Applying Cutting Compound by Hand
Although applying rubbing compound by hand is by far the hardest way to use the tool, it is by no means one of the safest and most effective methods. Naturally, rubbing compound is known as high grit sandpaper.
Using your hand, you will heat the surface of your car while applying the rubbing compound to completely sand out the imperfections that come with the paintwork. The result is an even, flat, and shiny surface.
Find out the non-deep blemishes that give you sleepless nights. With the help of the rubbing compound, you will be able to eliminate the light scratches to take back the shine and beauty of your car.
Meanwhile, you will need a synthetic (microfiber) cloth with a large amount of elbow grease. By waxing on and off in a clockwise manner, you can apply pressure to ensure the blemishes can go completely. You can dry out as the surface smoothens out by removing the excess scum.
Other Applications of Rubbing Compound
After getting your rubbing compound and a prescription from the supplier to confirm if it’s applicable for your vehicle painting work, here are some other things you’ll require:
- You’ll need something for the application of the rubbing compound; it could be a cloth. You’ll just have to make sure it is soft, clean, and dirt free.
- Get a car shampoo with top quality to clean your vehicle paint before starting the work.
- Wear a respiratory mask to protect you from unhealthy fumes and particles that will be released in the process.
- Get eye goggles to protect your eyes, mostly if you Intend to use a machine applicator.
Cutting Compound vs. Polishing Compound
There is a lot of confusion about whether a cutting compound also means a polishing compound. Confusion makes some people indecisive when it comes to choosing the one that’s suitable for use at a particular time.
Although the two compounds have some similarities, the rubbing compound has features that differentiate it from the polishing compound.
Typically, a polishing compound rubbing compound has less abrasion, which is why it is often used if you need to enhance the paint finish of your car while improving the shine. Although it is strong enough to erase all imperfect painting in lighter work, the polishing compound cannot eliminate imperfections in heavier paintwork.
On the other hand, a rubbing compound comes with harder abrasion, and that is why is powerful enough to take care of both lighter and heavier perfections in the paintwork. It contains larger particle sizes and can easily fit the aggressive formula.
The cutting compound is made to smoothen out all manner of scratches and will restore the shine and beauty of your car surface regardless of the extent of the damage.
The basics and understanding of rubbing compounds are essential if you intend to use them to solve severe or minor damages on your vehicle surface. The essence of a rubbing compound is vital in transforming your vehicle’s appearance from better to worse. However, it would help if you were sure of the type you want to buy depending on the state of your vehicle surface.
- Plastic Fuel Tank Repair: How To Repair
- What Causes Backfire Through Intake?
- Transfer Case Fluid: How Often & What Is It?
- Gear Shift Stuck: A Complete Guide
- Symptoms of a Failing or Bad Fuel Filter
- Engine Misfire Symptoms: What Is It & How To Fix
- Driving With Tire Bulge: Causes & Is It Safe?