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CCS Smart Pads Dual Action Polishing Guide

Learn how to correct paint flaws, polish and wax your vehicle using the Flex XC 3401 Orbital Polisher , the Porter Cable 7424XP , Meguiars G110 Polisher, Griot's Garage Random Orbital Polisher and CCS Smart Pads by Lake Country. Our Lake Country Dual Action Polishing Guide details the process of swirl removal, polishing, and finishing using the most popular pads by Lake Country.

What accessories do I need?

The Meguiars G110 Polisher comes with a 5 inch backing plate with Velcro® brand hook and loop fasteners.

Griot's Garage Random Orbital Polisher includes a 6 inch backing plate with Velcro® brand hook and loop fasteners.

The Flex XC3401 Polisher comes with a 5 3/4 inch backing plate with Velcro® brand hook and loop fasteners.

For the Porter Cable 7424XP, you will need a backing plate in order to attach the foam pads onto your polisher. The backing plate has a Velcro® brand hook & loop fasteners on the bottom of it to hold foam pads in place as you polish. You will see it described simply as "hook & loop" on pads and backing plates with this feature.

Backing plates for the Porter Cable 7424XP are available in two sizes:

Dual Action 5 inch Flexible Hook & Loop Backing Plate: Use this plate with 5.5 inch and 6.5 inch pads.

Dual Action 6 inch Hook & Loop Flexible Backing Plate: Use this plate with 6.5 inch and 7.5 inch pads.

Note: We recommend using a 5 inch backing plate with 6.5 inch pads to leave a larger margin of foam between the plate and the edge of the pad. This bigger margin of error protects the vehicle from unintentional impact with the backing plate.

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.

Flat, full contact surface. Lake Country's 6.5 inch pads are perfectly flat to provide maximum pad to paint contact. They have enough give to go over a vehicle's curves but they do encourage the operator to use the pads flat on the surface, as they are intended.

CCS Technology. CCS stands for closed cell structures, which are the small pockets the 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 its needed on the work surface. This improves operator control and lessens product waste. The pockets also reduce surface tension so flat pads move more easily across flat panels.


Smart Foam Pad Varieties:
Yellow Cutting Foams 6.5 inch- 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 6.5 inch- 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 Foam 6.5 inch- 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.
White Polishing Foam 6.5 inch- Less dense foam formula for the application of waxes, micro-fine polishes and sealants. This pad has very light cutting power so its perfect for pre-wax cleaners.
Green Polishing/Finishing Foam 6.5 inch - Use this foam to apply one-step cleaner waxes. It is a balance of polishing and finishing that is perfect for all-in-one product application.
Gray Finishing Foam 6.5 inch - 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 6.5 inch – This blue foam pad has soft composition for applying glaze, finishing polish, sealants, and liquid waxes. The soft pad has no cut, making it perfect for applying nonabrasive products evenly.


Red Ultrasoft Wax/Sealant Foam 6.5 inch – 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.


Super Soft Gold Jewelling Foam 6.5 inch – The CCS Super Soft Gold Jewelling Pad is made of Lake Country's softest foam. Use the gold pad to apply a very fine polish or glaze as the final step of the polishing process. Jewelling is the term coined for this step because it intensifies gloss and reflectivity, like a jewel. The gold foam pad also works well for wax and sealant application.


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 5 inch Flexible Dual Action Backing Plate and of course, the Porter Cable 7424XP.

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. The Meguiars G110 and the Porter Cable 7424XP have the same speed settings so the following guide applies to both machines.

Please note: Deep scratches and swirls, and severe oxidation will require compounding with a circular polisher. If you are inexperienced with this type of polisher, consult a professional. If your fingernail catches the scratch or swirl, it will require painting and must be repaired by a professional.


I. Compounding & Swirl Removal

Compounding involves using the most aggressive type of swirl remover, called a compound. Swirl removers can range from light to heavy. The application is the same.

Swirl Removers


XMT Intermediate Swirl Remover 3

Menzerna Super Intensive Polish PO 83

Pinnacle Advanced Swirl Remover

Wolfgang Total Swirl Remover 3.0

Poorboy’s Super Swirl Remover 2

Meguiars #9 Swirl Remover

XMT Heavy Duty Swirl Remover 4

Meguiars #105 Ultra-Cut Compound

Optimum Hyper Compound

3M Perfect-It 3000 Extra Cut Rubbing Compound

Menzerna PowerGloss Compound

1. In the picture to the right, this is a serious case of swirls. Choose an orange light cutting pad and a swirl remover such as Wolfgang Total Swirl Remover 3.0 or XMT Intermediate Swirl Remover #3.

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 on the polisher at 5. 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.

NOTE: The Porter Cable tells you if you're applying too much pressure. The pad will stop rotating. Lighten up on the machine and let it do the work for you.

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 (like XMT Heavy Duty Swirl Remover #4). If you still see no results, upgrade to the yellow cutting pad. 

* If you used a compound, 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 a finishing polish if you’ve just compounded or if the paint just needs a boost.

If your vehicle is in great shape and you do not need a finishing polish, use Pinnacle Paintwork Cleansing Lotion or XMT Carnauba Finishing Glaze to enhance the gloss without abrasives.


PreWax Cleaners


XMT Carnauba Finishing Glaze

Pinnacle Paintwork Cleansing Lotion

Wolfgang Paintwork Polish Enhancer

P21S Paintwork Cleanser

Wolfgang Finishing Glaze 3.0

Pinnacle Advanced Finishing Polish

XMT Ultra Fine Swirl Remover

Poorboy’s Super Swirl Remover 1

Optimum Polish

1. Use the white or green polishing pad on your 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 4.5. 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

You're nearing the finish line. Just a couple more steps will make your vehicle glow.

To lock in the shine, follow up with a wax or sealant. Application of any of these products will be as follows.

1. Attach a gray or blue pad to your Porter Cable 7424XP. 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.


Paint Sealants

Pinnacle Souverän Wax

DP Max Wax

Pinnacle Signature Series II

P21S Concours Carnauba Wax

Poorboy’s Natty’s Paste Wax

Pinnacle Liquid Souverän

Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant 3.0

Four Star Ultimate Paint Protection

Meguiars #21 Synthetic Sealant

Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze

2. Set the maximum speed to 3 or 4. 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 or slip a Microfiber Bonnet over an unused pad. The bonnet is like having a microfiber towel on your polisher. Just be sure to put the bonnet over a clean pad so no products will seep through the bonnet.

Detailing Tips:

  • The polisher will do the work for you. There's no need to apply pressure.
  • Pad and product selection is not an exact science. The severity of the imperfections, the cut of the pad, and the aggressiveness of the product all factor into the final results. Don't be afraid to experiment.
  • Start with the least aggressive method first. Go to a more aggressive pad or polish only if necessary.


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 Cobra Quik Clenz Pad Cleaner or DP 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.