A random orbital power waxer oscillates instead of simply spinning, which is dual action. This prevents the formation of swirl marks or burns that would be caused if the waxer head predictably repeated its action.
The idea is to move it over painted surfaces in a figure-eight pattern while the orbital head randomly oscillates at 4,000 orbits a minute.
First, though, you need to wash and dry the car — to remove dust and grit from the surface.
I used Meguiar’s polish, but you can use your favorite. Be sure to place the loaded polisher on the painted surface before turning it on.
If you don’t, it will fling polish all over you and anything else in its path. I have been there, done that.
The power waxer is quiet in operation and hums obediently across the surface. Unlike bigger units, a six-inch polisher doesn’t pull and wander. It’s straightforward to handle.
I added polish as needed, but you only need a small amount. After a few minutes, this sets up the familiar hazy layer.
A bigger power waxer used by professional detail shops will heat painted surfaces if they stay in one place very long. Experienced detailers can move paint this way and fill scratches.
The six-inch Wen power waxer unit will also generate heat, but not as much. You can expect this polisher to remove swirl marks and very delicate scratches with a good quality polish.
If you’ve got deep scratches and you’re not experienced with polishers, I’d recommend taking your vehicle to a detailing shop.
I wouldn’t recommend letting any power polisher operate in one spot for an extended period unless you’re sure what you’re doing.
Back To The Subject
After a short while, I had a very hazy Chrysler. But we all know that applying polish is not the issue. Removing it is.
Unlike the applicator, the polishing bonnet is not rubber-backed. It’s a reversible, soft, terry-cloth bonnet.
You remove the applicator bonnet (washable and reusable, by the way) and replace it with the terry-cloth bonnet.
Following the same figure-eight pattern, you allow the power waxer to glide over the hazy surface. You don’t need to press.
The polish came off quickly, leaving a good shine. There was no real work involved. Removed polish will build up on the bonnet after a while, so take it off the polisher and reverse it when this happens.
Because I couldn’t leave well enough, I used the polisher to apply a coat of wax on top of the polish. Unlike most polishes, wax contains no abrasives. It’s used to protect your shiny, polished finish.
As well as the terry-cloth buffing bonnet, there’s a simulated lamb’s wool bonnet for a final buff.
Although a six-inch power waxer is small by professional standards, it has several things to recommend for the home user. It’s light, fits pretty much in the palm of your hand, has variable speed, and is easy to manage.
It’s also quiet and effective and will do the job more quickly and efficiently than if you do it by hand.
Just remember not to press, and avoid polishing and waxing when it’s humid. Polishes and waxes don’t set up correctly and are difficult to remove in high humidity.
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Tips On Car Maintenance And Repairs
The collision repair industry is always in the market for technological advancements that improve the ability to service today’s complex body structures of today’s vehicles.
The game’s name is productivity improvement, from specific handheld tools to capital equipment. Shops, consumers, and insurance companies demand high quality and safety in every phase of collision repair.
The consumer expects to have their vehicle repaired to pre-accident condition for function, performance, lowest prices, and safety. Insurance companies expect maximum efficiency. And the shop expects any equipment investment to improve profitability.
Repairers need to know what equipment and tools are available today to keep up with tomorrow’s vehicles’ ever-changing designs. But keeping up with the changes often requires a travel budget, mainly when it involves power tools.
One relatively easy way to get first-hand experience with the new tools and equipment introduced by manufacturers is to visit industry exhibitions and trade shows and get into the buy/sell cycle of the tool and equipment evolution.
It will get noticed if designed and manufactured to help a repairer improve productivity.
The International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) is the biggest collision trade show.
Still, regional trade shows are held during the year at various times and locations that can offer an opportunity to see what’s new without the plane ride.
What follows is a look at some categories of tools and equipment that provide the opportunity to enhance your shop production systems while improving productivity at the technician level.
Some are new; some are improvements to existing systems. You might find one to be the answer to a question you have.
The automotive repair business has become increasingly high-tech and computerized, along with the advanced vehicle systems finding their way into the mainstream fleet.
Since introducing onboard computers, with their attendant circuits and relays placed throughout the vehicle’s body, the collision repair process has substantially changed.
The knowledge and equipment necessary to diagnose, repair, and service these vehicles place capital equipment demand upon the collision shop owner that didn’t exist ten years ago.
Collision repair shops realize that this sophistication has implications for the collision process, including structural repairs. Examples include pinched wires, cracked relay boxes, and open in-line fuse links.
Today’s collision shops must be ready, willing, and able to perform electrical repairs to these advanced systems.
They must maintain the latest technology in repair equipment and have technicians who are adequately trained and confident in executing all areas of these repairs, if for no other reason than complete customer service.
Diagnostic scan tools or onboard diagnostic testers, auto care, and equipment offer powerful troubleshooting capabilities in handheld portable units.
This capability is essential if a vehicle’s driveability and performance are affected by impact or collision damage.
Diagnostic testers make it easier for the body technician to cross over the diagnostic line to correctly complete the repairs and deliver the vehicle in pre-accident condition.
According to at least one automotive test tool manufacturer, automotive technicians worldwide rely on an electronic testing tool to provide fast, top-quality diagnostic information.
These testing devices (e.g., oscilloscopes, electronic meters, and scan tools) are rugged enough for a collision shop. They can accurately pinpoint trouble spots, such as a short circuit from a pinched or poorly grounded wire.
The latest handheld testers are easy to operate and offer simple, menu-driven operations to get the technician to the heart of the problem in the shortest possible time.
What is one of the first pieces of equipment you see when you walk into the production area of a collision repair facility? Nine times out of 10, it’s a lift.
If the facility has an area designated for estimating, a lift is necessary for performing a complete vehicle damage inspection.
A perfect situation would be to have at least one type of lift on the shop floor dedicated to vehicle disassembly (for access to the repairs) and assembly (after the repair and refinishing).
The right lift can increase the technician’s productivity by raising the vehicle to a height that allows easy access to the work area.
A vehicle raised to the proper height assures a convenient and comfortable working position while speeding up job completion time.
One manufacturer conducted a study that revealed that 80 percent of collision repairs are performed below the technician’s waistline.
80 percent of the technician’s time is spent bending, stooping, or kneeling to complete the repair.
If a lift can do for a collision technician just one-half of what it does for a service technician, then you have made that person 10 to 20 percent more productive for your shop.
Nobody needs to tell shop managers and owners that time is money. Time is the essential commodity the shop sells.
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Extraction and Filtration Systems
Occasionally, improving productivity is more about improving existing working conditions. Power tools can help you achieve that goal.
And if you’re willing to think outside the proverbial box on your definition of power tools, several possibilities come to mind. One good example is a dust extraction system for your shop.
Some manufacturers offer elaborate built-in central dust extraction and filtration systems for almost every size and shape of facility.
But what about the repairer who can’t afford the luxury of a state-of-the-art system? At least one company has introduced a portable dust extraction system to decimate standing clean-up costs and allow for better paint repairs.
These mighty mites can be wheeled to the job area, either the repair or refinish department, to collect dust and particles from sanding and painting to assure a clean and healthful shop environment.
Another plus: most extraction and filtration devices can be maneuvered in close quarters and open spaces.
When you think of the time and money saved by getting a better handle on dust contamination in the shop-not to mention the health and safety benefits-it’s an investment well worth considering.
Sanders and Power Waxers
Sanding and polishing is one area that’s chock-full of new and improved tools designed to cut labor times.
This category has seen the introduction of ergonomically designed discs, straight-line, and random abrasive power orbital sanders, to name a few.
Most lightweight pneumatic sanders include durable composite housings for long life and performance.
Durability is essential in any power tool purchase since tools used in a collision facility are often dropped on the floor or shoved around in a toolbox drawer.
Besides durable exteriors, the best sanders and polishers offer vacuum assist and dust-free options to improve healthful, cost-effective surface preparation.
Even weight is a factor in productivity for power tools since lighter tools reduce operator fatigue and provide a more excellent power-to-weight ratio. This means better control, versatility, and performance in a surface sander or polisher and increased operator efficiency.
Many nonaggressive sanding types of equipment have been developed to address surface preparation needs while enhancing the user’s skills. Some are produced specifically for use with qualified facility vacuum systems or qualified portable vacuums.
Remember that size can matter when providing productivity enhancements with your sanding and polishing tool purchase.
A palm-sized, easy-to-use all-purpose buffer is excellent for removing dust nibs and scratches on the base and clear coats in tight areas.
While it’s not designed for use over an entire vehicle (sure, you can do it, although it’s not very efficient!), it offers some advantages for those quick jobs.
A palm polisher is also ideal for buffing and polishing panels (e.g., around door handles, lock cylinders, mirrors, trim, and panel edges), fiberglass (e.g., SMC and TPO substrates,
such as deck spoilers or ground effect panels), and other materials. Having the right equipment for the job is at the top of the list when looking for opportunities to improve productivity.
Weld Cutters and Dent Pullers
How a collision repairer views body damage has changed and continues to change. So, too, have the tool requirements for the typical repair.
For example, how about a tool that drills out spot welds? Given modern vehicle construction, this type of equipment is a simple decision and makes life easier for the technician and the shop owner.
One manufacturer has introduced a precision spot-weld cutting tool that can be a real-time-saver during repairs.
It’s no secret that cutting spot-welds is a tedious and time-consuming task, but those types of tasks lend themselves most to improvement by introducing the power tool solution.
For example, one handy little tool provides a two-step grip handle that makes operating it a snap. Just squeeze the spring-loaded handle, and the tool automatically adjusts to the correct pressure of the object onto which it is clamped, drilling through the spot weld exactly to the adjusted depth.
Because of its spring-loaded design, the tool and its attached drill bit cannot “walk” or move away from the object onto which it is clamped.
This tool has a self-contained measuring thumbscrew that adjusts to the exact depth needed and a high-torque, slow-speed motor designed for ease of use.
Looking for a quick dent repair? A portable stud welder easily fastens pins and/or wave wire to a panel to speed up the pulling process and reduce the time and expense of repairing minor sheet metal damage.
Simply apply the pins or wave wire to the dent using the stud welder, grip with the “fingers” of a handheld claw device, and pull the dent out. The force is distributed equally across the wave wire until the dent is removed.
Overall repair time is reduced by eliminating over-pulled panels and secondary damage sometimes caused by hammering on pins.
Invest For Profitability
In deciding what equipment to use or purchase, think in terms of investment. It’s not just about the price: you have to get a return on that investment. The right equipment will work productively for the technician and the shop.
We’ve only mentioned a few examples of how power tools can make a difference in your operations and your bottom line. Do a little homework, and you will discover that there are many others.
Last update on 2022-08-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API