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What is an orbital buffer?

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Quick Answer

An orbital buffer is an electric machine that buffs the wax applied to a car while polishing it. Also known as a random orbital or dual-action buffer, it has rotating axis points that cause the head to spin in a circle while a cam rotates it in a different pattern. An orbital buffer is safer for a beginner to use than a professional high-speed polisher.

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Full Answer

When first using an orbital buffer, unfurl the power cord properly to remove all kinks. Test the vibration level of the buffer by turning it on while holding it in the air. Use an inconspicuous spot on the car as a test area to determine the amount of pressure needed. If the buffer has different speeds, try them out to find the one best suited for the job. Apply masking tape over body seams and rubber trim. Spread wax over the car with a cloth in a gentle circular motion.

Start at one end of the vehicle and work toward the other, following the vehicle's lines. To avoid swirl marks, move the buffer in a straight and steady line rather than in a circular motion. Grip the buffer with both hands at all times to maintain control. Do not press hard on the car's surface; doing so may burn the paint. Instead, guide the buffer as it glides along on its own.

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