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Choosing the Right Polishing Pad

When it comes to polishing different cars, you will realize that the same polishing pad might not work for every vehicle because some paints are hard while others are soft. For example, you may use an orange foam pad on a Ford, but if you try that same pad on a BMW, you might not get the results that you are looking for. Picking the right pad for the job is step one to waxing, polishing, or paint correcting a vehicle. Step two is selecting a good wax, sealant, polish or compound to go with the pad that you have chosen.

There are lots of great pads on the market available from a wide variety of manufacturers including Rupes, Griots Garage, Adam’s Polishes, Chemical Guys, Americana Global, Meguiars, just to name a few. We are personally a huge fan of Griots Garage pads as well as Americana Global pads. Both pads have their advantages, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Griots Garage has a huge selection including microfiber cutting pads, orange, red, black, and yellow foam pads.

With the Griots pads, the back of the pad lines up with your backing plate on your orbital. We will focus on the Boss G21 orbital as well as the Griot’s 6” orbital in this article. Both of these orbitals have a 6” backing plate, but Griot’s has created a 6.5” pad with a 6” backing plate, this allows you to work in a bigger area, improving efficiency. These pads are a great option when it comes to working on vehicles that have long, flat surfaces.

Griot’s has also developed pads specifically made for the Boss orbital – they are thinner than the regular pads but still feature the 6.5” surface area. The thinner pads do seem to correct quicker, but the only disadvantage with having a super thin pad is that they tend to break apart a lot quicker as well.

We also love using Americana Global pads, and they share a similar lineup to Griot’s. The main difference with their pads is that they feature the same diameter on the face of the pad as well as the backing plate, so a 6” backing plate is going to have a 6” pad on the front. Some great features about their pads is that they are thinner, (not as thin as the Griot’s Boss pads), but they have enough foam that they wont blow into pieces if you hit an edge. Another great feature about the Americana pads is that they have little breather holes that line up with the Rupes backing plate. This allows the pad to breath better, and not get as hot, meaning a longer lasting product.

Since the backing plate is the same size as the pad,when it comes to working on vehicles that have tight curves and edges, the pad will adjust to those accordingly, and the backing plate will not cut into the edges of the pad as with some of the others on the market. Working on the black Ferrari 458 paint correction was an awesome opportunity to use strictly Americana Global pads on our Griot’s Garage Boss G21. These pads allowed us to work on the curvy body panels, as well as make sure the defects were getting removed quickly and effectively. When it came to reaching those tighter areas that the Boss couldn’t reach, their 3 inch orbital came to the rescue.

We used Griot’s 3” pads with this machine, which is a great tool for those harder to reach areas. For the super tight areas, especially around the Ferrari letters on the rear hatch, it took a little bit of thinking. Using compound or polish on a Q-tip to reach those areas isn’t a bad idea, but we haven noticed it can actually scratch the area a bit. We ended up cutting up some new Griots pads into very tiny pads to fit within our 1” packing plate on our Rupes iBrid. This allowed us to reach and and correct those areas without problem. It ended up working very well, and we plan on keeping these pads for future use. Sometimes you need to get resourceful to get the job done right!