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Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction System

August 5th, 2011

Meguiar's DA Microfibre Correction System

Meguiar’s have done it again. They’ve thought long and hard about a challenging issue facing the detailing community, and then broken the mould with a cutting edge solution. In this case, they’ve developed a brand new dual action polishing system that addresses the issue of serious machine polishing enthusiasts desiring the performance benefits afforded by rotary polishers (greater cutting power, sharper finishing, etc) but without the accompanying risks (excessive paint removal, burning through, hologramming, etc). This new line of products, called the Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction System, was released in the USA at the start of the year, but has only just made it to the UK. However, thanks to Meguiar’s UK, we’ve had samples on test since May and this trial period has provided us with a lot of valuable insight into the new products and how to get the best possible results when using them.

How it works

The key feature of the Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction System is the brand new microfibre discs that replace the role of traditional foam pads. Much like wool pads in the context of rotary use, these new microfibre discs cut much harder than traditional foam pads, and yet still finish down equally well. Two types of disc are available, each having been designed to work with a specific polishing product in the new system. The cutting version is designed to work with Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction Compound, and features a short, dense pile. The finishing version is designed to work with Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Finishing Wax, and features a long, soft pile. In both cases, the microfibre pile sits atop a colour-coded foam layer (thin burgundy for the cutting disc, thick black for the finishing disc) with a short hook and loop backing.

Meguiar's DA Microfibre Discs

The feel of the discs takes a bit of getting used to, mainly because they transmit machine vibrations more readily than foam pads, and are less forgiving of being tilted away from the horizontal. In addition, they also demand that slower machine speeds are used (between 4000-5000 orbits per minute for compounding, and 3000-4000 orbits per minute for finishing) along with slower arm movements and greater downward pressure. In a nutshell, working more slowly than normal actually yields better results more quickly. Once you’ve adapted your style accordingly, you’ll really appreciate the performance benefits on offer, particularly for enhancement style details and on cars with sticky paint. In the latter case, almost all grabbing and skipping is eliminated due to the low friction nature of the discs compared to traditional foam pads.

Given these performance differences, it’s not surprising that Meguiar’s also had to formulate brand new polishing products to work with these new discs (we can testify that existing compounds and polishes such as Meguiar’s Ultra Cut Compound (#105) and Meguiar’s Ultra Finishing Polish (#205) do not work very well with these discs – excessive dust and heat are generated). Starting with the compounding step, Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction Compound uses the same super micro-abrasive technology found in other recent additions to the Meguiar’s line up of compounds, albeit in a formula optimised for use with the cutting disc. In addition to correcting light to moderate paint defects such as swirl marks, light scratches and acid etching from original and refinished paintwork quickly and easy, Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction Compound produces little dust, finishes down well and remains easy to buff off, even if left to dry out. It’s also worth mentioning that it smells simply amazing!

Meguiar's DA Microfibre Correction Compound

In all cases, the compounding process should be completed and the finish then refined using Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Finishing Wax. This combined finishing polish and protectant uses mild cleaners, synthetic polymers and natural carnauba wax to refine the finish produced by Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction Compound and add durable high gloss protection. In addition to being incredibly quick and easy to use, Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Finishing Wax produces negligible dust, finishes down well and remains easy to buff off, even if left to dry out. However, it does have some limitations. In our opinion, it could do with having a little more cut, in order to nip out heavier marring in certain paint finishes. Also, the inclusion of carnauba in the protective mixture means that it can’t be topped with anything other than further natural wax layers.

Meguiar's DA Microfibre Finishing Wax

How to use it

As we mentioned above, the Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction System takes a bit of getting used to, mainly because of how differently the new microfibre discs behave compared to traditional foam pads. As a result, there is a certain knack to getting the best out of the system, particularly in terms of how you prepare the discs for use and how you work the polishes. To help you with this, we’ve prepared a picture tutorial demonstrating all of the key points you need to be aware of. The car shown in the tutorial has intermediate paint and minor swirl marks in need of correction; here’s an example shot showing the general condition of the paint:

Test panel before machine polishing, showing minor swirl marks

Starting with the compounding step, we’re going to use Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction Compound and a Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Cutting Disc to correct the defects:

Meguiar's DA Microfibre Correction Compound and Cutting Disc

Unlike traditional foam pads, Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Discs require thorough priming before use. Failure to do this will result in poor correction and a greater risk of causing micromarring, particularly on soft paint finishes. This is how much product you should apply to a dry disc in order to prime it:

Apply sufficient product to prime the entire surface of the disc

Once you’ve applied the product to the disc you must work it in to the fibres thoroughly with your fingers, ensuring even product coverage with no dry areas or obvious gaps. If necessary, add more product and continue to work it in:

Prime the disc properly by working in fresh product with your fingers

Just before you start polishing, rub the disc over the work area (which should be no larger than 18″ x 18″) with the machine off; this primes the work area with a thin layer of product, and again will help to ensure you get optimal results:

Spread the compound evenly over the work area with the machine off

When polishing, work at a speed between 4000-5000 orbits per minute (speed 4-5 on most dual action machine polishers). In terms of technique, which is critical to the correction process, make repeated slow overlapping passes using firm downward pressure until only a thin film of residue remains:

Make slow, overlapping passes at speed 4-5 using firm pressure

Carefully buff off the remaining residue off using a good quality microfibre buffing towel:

Buff off the compounding residue with a good quality microfibre towel

Subsequent work areas will only require the addition 3-4 pea-sized drops of fresh product to the disc; once primed, less is definitely more. You should also spur each disc regularly using either a Meguiar’s Triple Duty Detailing Brush or blown air to remove as much spent polish residue as possible. Here is a follow up example shot showing the level of correction we achieved during the initial compounding step:

Test panel after the compounding step, showing full correction

Moving on to the refining step, we’re going to use Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Finishing Wax and a Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Finishing Disc to sharpen the finish and add durable high gloss protection:

Meguiar's DA Microfibre Finishing Wax and Finishing Disc

Once again, you need to prime your finishing disc thoroughly before use. This is how much product you should apply to a dry disc in order to prime it:

Apply sufficient product to prime the entire surface of the disc

Once you’ve applied the product to the disc you must work it in to the fibres thoroughly with your fingers, ensuring even product coverage with no dry areas or obvious gaps. If necessary, add more product and continue to work it in:

Prime the disc properly by working in fresh product with your fingers

Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Finishing Wax is designed to be quick and easy to use; aim to make no more than half a dozen passes with it working at a speed between 3000-4000 orbits per minute (speed 3-4 on most dual action machine polishers). In terms of technique, make quick overlapping passes using light downward pressure until only a thin film of residue remains:

Make half a dozen passes with the wax at low speed using light pressure

Carefully buff off the remaining residue off using a good quality microfibre buffing towel:

Buff off the remaining wax residue with a good quality microfibre towel

Subsequent work areas will only require the addition 1-2 pea-sized drops of fresh product to the disc; once primed, less is definitely more:

How much product you should use once your disc is primed

You should also spur each disc regularly using either a Meguiar’s Triple Duty Detailing Brush or blown air to remove as much spent product residue as possible and reduce the risk of causing micromarring:

You can spur Meguiar's DA Microfibre Discs with blown air

In this tutorial, we’ve referred to micromarring on several occasions, particularly in relation to soft paint types. Micromarring is the technical term for fresh sub-surface defects inflicted during the polishing process, and manifests itself as a faint pattern of tightly packed swirl marks. When using the Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction System, it can be caused in one of two ways. Firstly, it can result from the surface resistance of soft paint finishes being insufficient to enable the super-micro-abrasives to wear down properly. In such cases, fresh abrasive particles continually move around at the interface between the disc and the panel, causing fresh defects. Secondly, it can result from a build-up of spent polish residue on the surface of the disc. If spent polish residue is allowed to accumulate, it gradually forms a gummy layer that mimics soft paint, with the same negative consequences described above.

In order to reduce the risk of causing micromarring, you should spur Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Discs regularly using either a Meguiar’s Triple Duty Detailing Brush or blown air (from a powerful vehicle dryer or compressed air line) to remove as much spent product residue as possible. We favour switching to a fresh disc after every 2-3 panels are completed (during both the compounding and refining steps); it’s better to switch earlier than necessary rather than increasing the risk of causing fresh defects and extra correction work. If you are ever unlucky enough to inflict micromarring into a paint finish, don’t panic; it’s easy enough to remove by switching back to using a finishing polish, containing fragile diminishing abrasives, and a traditional foam polishing pad. Remember though; keep everything as clean as possible for best results.

Summary

In terms of overall performance, we applaud Meguiar’s for their efforts in developing this new system. They set out with the intention of making it possible to achieve rotary-like levels of cut and gloss using a dual action polisher, and they have certainly achieved this. However, whilst the new cutting disc and correction compound are capable of removing fairly heavy defects, there may still be occasions where wool pads and a rotary polisher are still required. Notwithstanding this point, it should be noted that the new microfibre discs do produce a distinctly flatter looking finish than traditional foam pads, with much greater clarity. This is highly akin to the finish that rotary polishers typically produce when finishing polishes are carefully refined, and this aspect alone will be a welcome benefit for many users of dual action machines.

We’ve now had the chance to use the Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction System on most different paint types, ranging from ultra-soft Japanese finishes through to rock hard German clearcoats. In our opinion, the new system is best suited to correction work on intermediate to hard paint finishes. This is because micromarring can be a significant problem on really soft finishes, and you may still need to break out the rotary on ultra hard finishes; as is the case with any polishing system, there are always limitations. However, the good news is this system is definitely a game-changer. The myth of needing to use a rotary polisher to achieve world class levels of correction and gloss is destroyed by this system, due to the latest advances in pad and polish technology. Couple this with a polishing system that finally copes with sticky paint properly, and we have a sure fire winner on our hands.

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9 Responses to “Meguiar’s DA Microfibre Correction System”

  1. Andrew Miller says:

    Very informative read- thank you.

    Any indication of micron removal rates for the products in comparison to wool compounding? A ‘flatter’ looking surface suggests that either more clear coat is being removed, or a more even removal of the top surface is being removed when using the new system.

  2. Hi Andrew, typical removal rates are 3-4 microns per set on intermediate paints, and 2-3 microns per set on hard paints. Removal rates thus seem to be a little bit lower than those you tend to see with wool pads. With regard to the flattening effect, our feeling is that the discs do a better job of leveling the paint because of their thinness combined with the extra downward force you need to exert to make them work properly. The difference between a thick wool pad mounted on an inch thick flexible backing plate versus one of these thin discs mounted on a thinner more rigid backing plate is tremendous in terms of feel, and probably ensures that a far greater proportion of the total surface area of the disc is working efficiently compared to a wool pad. Thus, in a nutshell, because you are forced to work more evenly, the paint is flattened out more, producing a better looking finish. Best regards, Rich.

  3. Andrew Miller says:

    Thanks for the quick response Rich. Certainly adds a new, previously unexplored, dimension to polishing and ‘levelling’ of the clear coat. I look forward to investing in the new products and giving them a go.

  4. Michael B. says:

    Sweet..finally here available for people like me here in denmark :) been waiting for this.
    I was wondering, is it REALLY necessary to use the backplates also? i have some different backplates already

  5. Hi Michael, it’s not absolutely necessary, only recommended. If you use non-Meguiar’s backing plates the discs will run hotter (the combination of fewer overall loops and their extra height will allow more movement and thus friction between the disc and the plate), so you will need to keep a careful eye on temperatures; hook and loop backings can melt if they are overheated. Other than the heat issue, you should encounter no other problems using non-Meguiar’s plates. Best regards, Rich.

  6. Ethan Crawford says:

    Thanks for the great write up guys. really informative as always.

    This kit looks good and am eager to try, any plans to offer everything as a kit??

    Regards

    Ethan

  7. Hi Ethan, we hadn’t planned on offering it all as a full kit, but it’s been mentioned a few times now, so we’ll have a think and see what we can do. Regards, Rich.

  8. gareth says:

    hi just been looking at the system and its seems to be just what ive been waiting for. my only issue is they say the system is only to be used on factory baked paint not fresh paint from your local bodyshop. i understand the issues with using it on fresh paint but would this system be ok to use after fresh paint has had the right time to cure say after a couple of months??. there are not many cars out there today that have’nt had paint at sometime. many thanks gaz.

  9. Hi Gareth, in a nutshell as long as whatever paint is on the car is fully cured, then the system will be safe to use. Thus, if a car receives fresh paint that is not baked and/or chemically cured immediately, then to be on the safe side you should allow sufficient time for it to cure naturally before polishing. In warm conditions this may be as little as 30 days, but in the dead of winter you may need to allow 90 days or more – it’s obviously tricky to tell when sufficient curing has taken place. However, it’s rare these days for fresh paint not to be immediately cured – we’ve certainly worked on day old freshly cured paint (chemically forced and then baked with infra-red) from our local bodyshop with no issues at all. Best regards, Rich.

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