Originally Posted by Merrill'spontiac
What should I look for when selecting an orbital buffer?
A well built random orbital buffer, ROB, that will give you years of dependable service. Porter Cable and DeWalt make an excellent choice. Be prepared to spend around $100 to $120 for the purchase for the buffer. For all the pads, backing plate, and polishes plan on another $100 to $125. It may seem like a lot of money but it will be the best purchase you could make to keep the exterior of your car looking great. Most of us have 2 or more cars and that makes it easier to justify the cost of the machine, pads, and chemicals.
You should only need to polish your car once a year if the car is outside all the time and once every 2 years if the car is in a garage. Polishing is really deep cleaning the surface of the paint and yes clear coat is paint, removing swirl marks, and to some extent scratches. Once the car is polished you can then apply your favorite wax or sealant.
Some waxes and sealants claim to hide swirl marks and scratches and they do at the cost of hiding the shine of the paint surface. For some of us this is acceptable due to the amount of time we wish to spend waxing our cars. I prefer to have a highly polished paint surface, as free of defects as possible, and top it off with an optically pure sealant or wax that lets the beauty of the paint shine through.
I also believe that putting any type of wax on your car is better than doing nothing at all. There is no reason to be obsessed with the perfect finish unless your car is a show car and you are competing to be best in your class.