There is no short drive through Texas, but one thing is for sure, there is a vast amount of interstate and plenty of truck traffic. As most of you already know, operating a big truck comes with a variety of maintenance responsibilities, including the most important, which is dealing with mechanical issues, but you also need to give some attention to the aluminum parts of your truck, as well.
Brian Arthur, owner of CENTEX (CENtral TEXas) Polishing is a one-man show, with his mobile polishing service based out of the Temple, TX area. When his girlfriend Mandi isn’t working at her regular job, she offers up a second set of hands to help out. He provides metal polishing, paint renewal, scratch repair and ceramic coating services straight to where your truck is, no matter the state.
Brian (33) was born and raised in Augusta, GA but the Army brought him to Texas where he fell in love with the area and decided to stay. He served our country on active duty in the Army from July 2006 to September 2014, at which point he went into the reserves, which is still the role he is in today. Even though he has moved to reserves status, he has been deployed many times and currently is preparing for yet another deployment in the very near future.
Many polishers and truck owners might relate, as Brian commented that polishing is very therapeutic for him, with regard to what he has been through in life, as well as what he has been through in the Army. He started his polishing business unofficially off and on in 2017 due to his deployments, and officially started his company in May 2019. He trusts the process of the polishing and what the end result looks like… shine and clarity.
Polishing isn’t necessary, but if you have a desire to preserve the shine of the aluminum on your truck for years to come, this is definitely the way to go. The following steps provided are to help give you general guidelines should you want to polish your truck, otherwise it will give you insight on the steps the polisher you hire may take to bring back that shine to your aluminum.
To start the polishing process, you need to start with a clean surface. Whether you wash your whole truck or just wash off all the metal, cleaning will be the first step, and you need to make sure you do it good. Many products are available to assist you in getting the best clean possible.
Once cleaned, check the condition of the metal to determine the process needed. Brian uses a dual action sander and says, “Make sure you have quality equipment to handle all your polishing projects.” The process of sanding uses sandpaper in varying grit (he normally starts with a 320-grit depending on the condition of the aluminum). Grit size or abrasive grade indicates the size on the abrasive side of the sandpaper. The higher the grit number, the smaller the abrasive grain and finer the product. Brian will move up from 320, then up to 600, and continuing on up to 800 grit. Although it isn’t always needed, he will use 1,000 grit, as the higher you go, the easier it is with a polishing buff.
The next step is starting the buffing stages with the first using a Orange buff with a brown tripoli polishing compound for use in cutting and removing scratches from the aluminum. This step will bring out some luster but, more importantly, it removes all of the sanding lines. After this step is the use of a yellow airway buffing wheel with a green polishing compound which will give you an added depth of clarity to the aluminum. In this stage, it is important to make sure the polishing lines are tight, which are caused by the left to right or right to left motion. Try to keep the lines as close together with every pass you make.
Brian uses Rebel Red by Renegade Products for the next step, which is the hand polishing. He said to make sure to use a microfiber applicator for this step because it is not as abrasive on the metal versus a terry cloth. Make sure to let the polish dry for a few minutes so you are getting the best results in preparation for the final step.
The final stage in polishing your aluminum is utilizing a purple polishing compound, paired with a flannel buffing wheel, which will bring out the very high luster everyone strives for. Finally, make sure to check over the aluminum you polished to see if there are any areas which need more attention. Ideally, the plan is, when you look over the finished product, it is exactly how you want it, with that show-quality shine.
Aluminum polishing, like all metal polishing, is a dirty job. Please make sure the environment you polish in is clean and take precautions, so you do not inhale the polishing particles (wear a ventilator). Many training videos are available from polishers and polishing manufacturers, which includes Renegade (their YouTube channel and website both have a lot of great information and tips). Training is important to make sure you get the results you are looking for, whether you polish yourself or hire one of the amazing polishing professionals out there within the trucking industry.
A goal of Brian’s, when he retires from the Army, is to build his business enough to provide jobs for veterans to help them rehabilitate, as well as give them a job to take pride in. Veterans were taught and trained to work hard and pay attention to detail, and polishing will allow them to use that training within the polishing industry, which includes giving that attention to the aluminum.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was brought to you by the fine folks at Renegade Products, manufacturers of detailing and metal polishing products for the trucking industry and beyond. For available products and uses, see your local retailer or visit them online at www.renegadeproductsusa.com.