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CCS Smart Pads Circular Polishing Guide

Learn how to polish out scratches and swirls using a circular/rotary polisher and CCS Smart  Pads™ by Lake Country. If you've never used a polisher before, check out our Dual Action Polishing Guide. If you're familiar with the principles of polishing and you're ready to step up to a circular polisher, you've come to the right place.

Both 7.5 inch and 8.5 inch pads can be used with circular polishers. The techniques listed here work with either size pad.

What accessories do I need?

You will need a rotary backing plate to attach Lake Country pads to your circular polisher. Lake Country pads and the backing plates listed here have Velcro brand hook & loop fasteners. You will see it described simply as "hook & loop" on pads and backing plates with this feature.  Choose from a 6 inch or 7 inch backing plate:

Rotary 6 inch Hook and Loop Flexible Backing Plate: Use the 6 inch plate with the 7.5 inch pads. It fits perfectly within the pads' raised lip.

Rotary 7 inch Hook and Loop Flexible Backing Plate: Use the 7 inch plate with the 8.5 inch pads. Again, the plate fits within the raised lip.

CCS Smart Pads ™ Features:

Easy on and off. The hook and loop backing allows you to pull off a used pad and replace it with a fresh pad in seconds. The hooks and loops provide a secure connection combined with the ability to change the pad almost instantly.

Advanced Curved Edge. The gently curved edge of the 7.5 inch and 8.5 inch pads gives you more maneuverability over the curves and contours of your vehicle. Cut in tighter around mirrors and emblems without risk. The generous lip of foam curves around the edge of the backing plate to protect your vehicle from nicks. A hole in the center of the pad allows for easy centering on the backing plate.

CCS Technology. CCS stands for closed cell structures, which are the small pockets that dot the front of the pads. These pockets enable the pads to absorb less product and keep it on the work surface. They act like little reservoirs where excess product is stored until it is needed on the pad's surface. This improves operator control and lessens product waste. The pockets also reduce surface tension so flat pads move more easily across flat panels.


Yellow Cutting Foams- Use this pad to apply compounds or polishes to remove severe oxidation, swirls, and scratches. It is the most aggressive and should only be used on oxidized and older finishes. Always follow this pad with an orange or white pad and a fine polish to refine the  paint until it is smooth.
Orange Light Cutting Foam - Firm, high density foam for scratch and defect removal. Use this pad with polishes and swirl removers. It’s an all around pad that will work on most light to moderate imperfections.
Coarse Green Cutting/Polishing - This foam is of medium density with the ability to level very fine scratches and very light oxidation. Use light swirl removers with this pad. Note: This is a different green foam than the 6.5 inch green pad. This pad is coarser.
White Polishing Foam - Less dense foam formula for the application of waxes, micro-fine polishes and sealants. This pad has very light cutting power so it's perfect for pre-wax cleaners.
Gray Finishing Foam  - Composition is firm enough to withstand added pressure during final finishing to remove buffer swirls. It has no cut and will apply thin, even coats of waxes, sealants, and glazes.
Blue Finessing Foam – The blue pad has soft composition for applying glaze, finishing polish, sealants, and liquid waxes.

Red UltraSoft Foam - This soft, imported foam is ideal for applying the final coat of wax or sealant. The foam works especially well when applying liquid waxes or sealants because it is firm enough to keep the majority of the product on the paint, rather than soaking it up. The red foam has no cut or cleaning ability.


So many choices! We'll narrow it down for you. Most vehicles with moderate swirls will require these items: an orange light cutting pad, a white polishing pad, a gray finishing pad, the  a Rotary Flexible  Backing Plate and of course, your circular polisher.

How do I polish out swirls and scratches?

The following is a general guide to polishing. It will take you from compounding to polishing to finishing. If your paint problems do not require compounding, skip to polishing. If you’re not sure, start with polishing. Always take the least aggressive approach first! If you don’t get the desired results from polishing, then use a swirl remover and light cutting pad.

The pads pictured at the beginning of each section indicate what pads can be used to perform the job described.

Please note:  If your fingernail catches the scratch or swirl, it will require painting and must be repaired by a professional. Attempting to remove deep blemishes like this could result in cutting down to the primer, which would be an expensive repair.


I. Swirl Removal

Swirl removers can range from light to heavy. Wolfgang Total Swirl Remover 3.0 is designed to work on a broad range of imperfections to eliminate the need for multiple products.

1. In the picture below, this is a serious case of swirls. Choose an orange light cutting pad and Wolfgang Total Swirl Remover 3.0.

2. Apply a circle of swirl remover around the edge of  the pad. Some will say apply a quarter size amount. You can even apply it directly to the paint. Ultimately you're going to spread it around so how the swirl remover gets on the paint is up to you. Spread the swirl remover over a small section  (about 2 x 2 sq. ft.) with the polisher turned off to prevent sling.

3. Set the maximum speed at 1500 RPM. Turn the polisher on and work the swirl remover in a side to side, overlapping motion. Move slowly to give the abrasives time to work. KEEP THE POLISHER MOVING AT ALL TIMES.

4. When the swirl remover turns to a transparent film, the abrasives have broken down. Turn off the machine and lift it off the paint. Buff away the residue with a soft, Cobra Microfiber Towel and inspect your results. If you are not satisfied, repeat the process with the same product or a more aggressive compound. If you still see no results, upgrade to the yellow cutting pad. 

* A light haze or dullness is normal. The next step will restore the gloss.



II. Polishing

Polishing improves the smoothness and gloss of the paint. Use Wolfgang Finishing Glaze 3.0 if you’ve just compounded or if the paint just needs a boost in gloss. 

If your vehicle is in great shape and you do not need a finishing polish, use Wolfgang Paintwork Polish Enhancer to enhance the gloss without abrasives.

1. Use the white pad on your circular polisher. Apply the polish of your choice to the pad or to the paint and spread it around with the machine turned off.

2. Set the maximum speed to about 1000 RPM. You're not trying to cut. You're just trying to burnish the paint to a high gloss. Work in a side to side, overlapping motion until the polish turns clear.

3. Buff with a Cobra Microfiber Towel and check your results. If you can still see some haze, repeat the process. This time, be sure that the abrasives are fully broken down before you buff.


III. Finishing

Note: Because of the speed and potential heat generated by a rotary polisher, you may elect to do the finishing work by hand or with a dual action polisher. If you are comfortable using a rotary, use it at a slow speed with zero pressure. Keep the machine moving at all times. 

Once you've achieved the optimum shine, follow up with a  sealant to lock it in. Use Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant 3.0.

1. Attach a gray or blue pad to your polisher. Apply the product to the paint or to the pad. Spread it around the paint in a 2 x 2 sq. ft. section with the polisher turned off.

2. Set the maximum speed to 1000 RPM. You do not need speed to apply nonabrasive products. Spread the product over the paint until its sufficiently covered. There are no abrasives to break down. You are just trying to get even coverage.

3. Buff off the product with a Cobra Microfiber Towel.  

4. Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant 3.0 will need to cure for 12 hours before being exposed to moisture.

Detailing Tips:

  • Keep the polisher moving continuously. A circular/rotary polisher will burn the paint if it is left on the same spot for more than a second or two.
  • Work at a slow speed. A slower speed will reduce the heat build-up and thereby reduce the risk of burning the paint.
  • Work the pad flat against the paint or with the back edge of the pad tilted very slightly upward (that's the edge closest to you). This position will help you avoid dragging the edge on the paint, which creates holograms.

Foam & Wool Pad Cleaning

The easiest way to clean your foam and wool pads is to drop them in pad cleaner while they are still wet with polish or wax. Dried products are more difficult to remove from the pads. To do this, mix up a bucket of water and Wolfgang Polishing Pad Rejuvenator at the start of your detailing session. As you finish using each pad, drop it in the cleaning solution to soak. When you are finished with your detail, use the Foam Pad Conditioning Brush to agitate the pads. Then rinse the pads and lay out to dry. Note: Dry pads with the hook and loop backing facing up so water drains away from it. Standing water on the backing material could eventually cause separation. When your clean pads are dry, put them in a sealable plastic bag or container to keep them free of dust until their next use.

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