Expertpickhub Tools Polishers What RPM Should You Buff a Car?

When we think about car polishing, the first thing that comes to mind is: How fast should I polish my car? This topic has been debated for many years and will likely continue to be discussed for several more. Some believe that using higher speeds (between 1000-1500 RPM) results in safer polishing than slower speeds (below 1000 RPM), while others hold precisely the opposite opinion.

The truth is, there are a lot of different variables involved when it comes to polishing speed. Time, skill level, and the actual abrasiveness of a compound, polish, or wax are just a few of the factors that can affect your speed.

While many factors go into this decision, the most important factor is what you hope to achieve by polishing your car. For example, if you seek perfection, it would be wise to invest in an automatic dual action buffer with variable speeds. It will allow you to put the machine at the proper speed, depending on the condition of your car.

Related article – the best dual action polisher reviews.

Factors to determine the highest RPM you to polish a car

Skill Level

The individual’s skill level is probably one of the most influential factors when it comes to determining optimal polishing speeds. A beginner should not speed up their polishing by simply doing more passes. A beginner is not skilled enough to determine if they are putting too much pressure on the machine, too much polish, or working in a too-small area. A beginner is also not skillful enough to apply compounds and polishes correctly, so that the results will suffer. Beginners should strive to slow down and learn the craft properly to have high-quality results.

Car model

The speed setting when machine polishing is different for different car models due to the different thickness of paint coats and hardness of car paints.

Polishing Pad and Polish Choice

Pay attention to the choice of your pad and polish for the paint being polished as well. If you start off using an aggressive pad or polish, then you can quickly burn through a car or even cause micro-marring even at a low speed.

Polishing Time and Removal Rate

The relationship between polishing time and removal rate can determine how fast or slow a person should go when it comes to polishing their paint. Generally speaking, a longer polishing time will yield better results than a faster one.

Good RPM For Buffing

What speed (RPM) do people usually use when polishing a car?

Typically, people use speeds around 1800 rpm. This way, the polisher applies enough pressure to the paint to keep it in contact with the pad and eliminate “circles” that would appear if you did not use enough downforce.

If the car is new or just out of a body shop, setting the polisher on medium speed may be safe. However, if there’s still some light swirl or oxidation present, switch it to a higher speed for finishing.

How to choose the speed of car polishing correctly?

When polishing, the choice of the workpiece is significant for achieving good results. For example, a soft material such as fiberglass or gel coat requires low speeds (about 1500 rpm) and relatively coarse compounds for their removal, while painted surfaces need high speeds (3500+ rpm) and fine compounds for best results. It would help to consider whether you want to achieve a mirror shine or remove surface defects. The average speed range is 1500-2000 RPM depending on what you are trying to achieve: a mirror shine, a light polish, or a medium compound.