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      04-11-2012, 10:03 PM   #1
Second Lieutenant

Drives: 2010 AW/FR E93 M3
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Bay Area

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Paint Depth

Hello everyone. I've recently started detailing my 2010 M3 and I'm still learning slowly from the forums as well as reliable guides I have found online. I've polished my car twice now (within a span of about 6 months) and I've had it detailed professionally once. I have a pretty complete set of detailing tools except a paint depth meter. Since the cheapest one I have found so far is about 600 bucks, I think I'll have to skip it.

However, I find myself worrying about the depth of the clear coat when I am polishing, should I be worried? There is nothing indicating that it is thinning out but I'm just being paranoid. How long and how many details does it usually take to remove most of the clear coat to the point where it could burn through the paint?

I'm currently using a Portercable buffer and the Menzerna Power Finish together with the Swissvax light polish and topping it off with Swissvax wax. I've followed the instructions online on how it should be done.
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      04-11-2012, 10:49 PM   #2

Drives: 2011 Audi A4
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checkout, they are pretty good and works just as good as your $600 meter IMO. I have the highline meter II, works fine for me. about polishing, you can't really tell how much you remove w/o measuring the paint... I say 2-3 microns with powerfinish, but it also depends on how hard or soft the paint is.
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      04-12-2012, 09:48 AM   #3
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Depending on the compound/pad/machine you are using it can be a concern over the long term, as a correction detailer this is something I pay VERY close attention to. Getting a PDG is peace of mind and if you are learning and become pretty serious about maintaining your finish it is a must have tool to have.

M3's typically have 118- 128 microns total when new in my experience, however I have worked on a few with sub 100 microns in certain areas on brand new non machine buffed vehicles.

Really low readings 90 microns or below is "Stop and proceed with caution", or especially high readings 300 microns or higher usually mean re-paint and are readings that cannot be trusted to have a healty thickness, abrading paint can be rewarding but caution and attention to what you are doing is important.
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