The Fundamental Variables of Paint Polishing:
Pt 6 – Working Section Size

p>Paint Correction Variables - Detailing Training Courses - Paint Polishing Pt 6 - Working Section - Los Angeles Detailer


By Christopher Brown of OCDCarCare Los Angeles –


Working Section Size During Paint Correction

Working Section Size is an often overlooked, but crucial variable of paint polishing. Its impact can alter the overall result quality and efficiency on a panel or entire vehicle.

A Working Section is the immediate subsection of a vehicle panel, receiving paint correction. Traditionally, the industry guideline or ‘acceptable standard’ for a working section size is defined as a 2’ x 2’ or 18” x 18” section.


Proper Ergonomics Make for Happy Polishing

A more fitting guide for an optimal working section size is utilizing the width of your shoulders and using chin level and the navel as the height boundaries.

These guidelines allow detailers to optimize the ergonomics of their unique body type to their advantage while polishing.

An ergonomic polishing section maximizes control of an object directly in front of the individual, no matter the size of the detailer. This guideline follows the principle that the human body functions most efficiently with tasks directly within its control area. Control is lost or compromised on: the machine, pad angle, pad pressure, and arm speed if the machine moves too far outside this zone. This loss of control results in inconsistent polishing technique and a lower finish quality.


The Effects of Bad Ergonomics and Working Section Size

The further a polisher moves outside of this control zone, the more effort required by the muscles of the arms and shoulders to control the weight of the machine. Therefore, the arms and shoulders begin to fatigue after only a minute or two when polishing outside the control area.

Secondly, and probably most importantly; the moment fatigue sets in, polishing technique is instantly compromised. The worse fatigue becomes, the more the form will suffer over the course of the paint correction session. The immediate impacts of bad form are inferior and slower results. These negative side effects may affect the rest of the project, possibly adding additional hour(s) to the overall project time.

The more frequently a detailer polishes with improper form, the higher the likelihood that bad habits become actual technique.

This is why the maxim, “practice makes perfect,” is wrong. Instead, the saying should read, “proper practice makes perfect.“


Working Section Size and its Effect on Pad Cleanliness

Lastly, working section size is crucial to the overall result of a polishing concept already discussed in this series–pad cleanliness.

The larger the area of correction, the faster the pad will build up with abraded paint residue. Surface scouring occurs when hard paint residue build up and embeds onto a pad surface, creating hazing or even larger paint defects.

Pad scouring is completely avoided if a regular pad cleaning approach is adopted. Again, this returns to the concept of pad cleanliness. Pads cleaned after each working section allow for near optimal pad and product effectiveness during the entire paint correction process.


© Christopher Brown – OCDCarCare Los Angeles – – 2013



Click here if you missed Pt. 1 – 5 of the series: The Fundamental Variables of Paint Polishing



For more interesting topics on: auto detailing, paint polishing, and car care please browse: OCDCarCare Los Angeles’s – Detailing Article Archive.

Christopher Brown