How to Use The System 4000 Pad Washer

Working as a pro detailer, I get through a lot of pads.  But if I wasn’t taking good care of them, I’d get through a whole lot more!  

Thankfully, the days of having to spend hours hand scrubbing your pads with soap in a sink are long gone, thanks to the System 4000 Pad Washer.  It’s such a quick and convenient solution that there’s no need to blow your dirty pads out frequently while polishing; there’s no need to put them in the washing machine at the end of the day either; one simple device takes care of everything, and so I thought I’d write about how I use the System 4000 Pad Washer to help you make the most of yours too.

In Daily Operation

We all know that during your compounding and cutting stages is when your pads will get the most clogged and contaminated, because that’s when they’re doing the most work and removing the most surface material. It’s part and parcel of the process, but nevertheless once a pad has become over-saturated or caked with a mixture of spent compound and abraded paint material, you’ll notice a drop in performance. Not only will that slow you down, you’ll often find this is when your pad collects more contaminants and holds them against the paint surface – creating more pigtails, haze, and other unwanted ‘dirty-polishing’ side effects.  Rather than removing defects, you can find yourself inflicting worse ones than you began with. Kelly and I made a detailed video about this not long ago which you should check out below, if you’re a fan of the geeky stuff ☺

So, it pays to regularly clean your pads and the best way I know of is to use the System 4000 Pad Washer. When we’re using it ‘during’ a job it’s important that the pad is not just cleaned but comes out dry again afterwards, so here are my top tips for a quick and effective pad refresh with the System 4000:

  • Do use Snappy Clean Boost in your wash solution – just enough to make a few bubbles if you swish your hand around, and leave the water feeling a little slick.
  • Don’t oversaturate the pad to begin with – think of your pad like a pizza with 4 to 6 slices, and give the middle of each slice just one good pump of cleaning solution. This will make sure it’s evenly distributed on the pad, and prevent flooding.
  • Increase the speed gradually – begin with a low speed setting on your polisher so that during the first few seconds of operation, where the pad is wettest, you’re not slinging liquid all over your shop, car or clothes. Once the bulk of the solution has been washed out, you can increase the speed significantly.
  • Use the whole wash plate – System 4000’s wash plate is ribbed to help massage the pad during cleaning, but the bumps in the centre have an additional combing effect which will help separate microfibers in particular. Pay attention to how your pad is rotating, and make sure each zone of the pad face gets treated by both parts of the wash plate.
  • Check the remaining compound solution – when you think the pad is probably clean, squeeze out some of the remaining moisture and see how clear it looks. This will tell you if it’s ready to dry off, or if it needs another round.
  • Drying the pad thoroughly – again, to minimize excess sling lift the pad slightly (less than 1/2”, or about 1cm) above the wash plate and select a low machine speed, building up gradually to full speed as you observe the water being spun out beneath the yellow lip. Once at maximum speed, be patient as it won’t be long before the pad is dry enough to use again. If you can press it firmly against your shirt without transferring any moisture, you’re good to go.
  • Plan your operation – yes you can use the same pad over and over, but it’s probably more efficient to have a short stack of and to clean a few at a time before moving on to the next panel or section of the car.

At the End of the Day

When the job is done and your pads are ready to be put to bed there’s really no need to do anything differently – and this is, genuinely, such a big deal if you’re detailing under pressure. Pads can be rinsed or blown out and then washed in a washing machine, and I’ve seen a lot of detailing shops doing just that (and it happened here too). But, now we have the System 4000 Pad Washer, I wouldn’t want to go back to that. When the day is done, I gather all my pads and clean them with the System 4000 pad washer, leaving them on a rack overnight so they are bone dry in the morning.

System 4000 avoids the need for high temperatures and spin cycles, so your pads will retain their ‘fresh from the packet’ look, feel and performance for so much longer. Especially when you’ve got dozens of pads to take care of, that’s what makes it such a valuable investment.

Until next time,
Jay @ LC UK

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