Polishing stainless-steel isn’t for everyone, but as we are all aware, it needs to be done when it is time to get a truck completely clean and dialed in. Marco Bolanos of Clean Culture MDS of Riverside, CA brings passion, detail, and shine to the trucking industry, which includes bringing “stunning” to stainless. Here are some helpful tips from Marco, along with some specific instructions, on how to get the job done right.
Born and raised in Pomona, CA, Marco started out working for many car dealers, performing detailing services, until a client had a need for some metal polishing. He fell in love with it almost immediately, with the gratification of seeing the finished product. This began his venture of polishing, which most new business owners understand, there is a struggle when you first start out. Marco started with wheels and used being close to the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach to his advantage by meeting trucks along the side streets in an effort to have drivers give him a chance. As some may know, there are quite a lot of polishers in California, and it sometimes seems to be every man for himself, with very few willing to lend a hand to help someone else succeed.
Marco operates as a mobile service as a convenience for truckers to save them time and fuel costs, since they are already out on the road running loads. His services include any and all types of polishing, washes, paint correction, ceramic coating, interior and exterior detailing. He also has a shop in El Monte, CA for those customers who prefer bringing their equipment to him. Four years after starting his business, he primarily services the custom truck industry, but has gradually got into fleet service in and around Southern CA, as well. Included with the commercial truck industry, Marco also polishes for some local architects, including the stainless-steel brackets for the custom infinity pools, and pontoon boats.
Everyone has a set system for polishing and Marco, like others, has a system which works well for him. His wash crew is always on-site hours or even the day before to make sure the truck or trucks are washed so Marco can get to work immediately. After washing, Marco will handle all of the aluminum polishing first, saving the stainless-steel polishing for last.
Most are aware, but some parts on a truck that are made of stainless would be air cleaners, side mirrors, deck plates and, in some cases, bumpers. Wind burn and pitting from the road or weather occurs mostly on the air cleaners or bumpers, and the severity will determine the course of action needed. As another example, stainless-steel bumpers may need correction in the event someone previously tried to polish against the grain of the metal.
Marco’s first step is consulting with the client with an initial walkaround to make sure there is a full understanding of what services he will be providing and a cost to complete the work so the outcome is exactly what the client is looking for. With stainless polishing, it is necessary to access the metal to see what kind of condition it is in, and whether it will need to be sanded and resurfaced, or not. On a 10 to 15-year-old stainless-steel bumper that has never been polished, Marco will first sand the bumper beginning with 320, 400 and then 500 grit sanding processes. Grit is a rating of the size of the abrasive material on the sandpaper. Beginning with a coarse sandpaper, the higher the number, the finer the abrasive, which creates smoother finished surfaces.
After the sanding step is complete, Marco will begin the cutting process with a yellow wheel and a 6,000-rpm rotary polisher, then move to finish with a white untreated buff and a green bar. Between each polishing stage he will hand polish, leaving a light haze, which is recommended with the pitting older pieces will have. If it is a newer bumper, he will hand polish after all stages have been completed. For his final stage of hand polishing, Marco prefers the new-to-market Rebel Forged Red, made by Renegade Products, which is a formula that started coming together last year and was unveiled earlier this year. Marco is proud to have had the opportunity to help in the formulating of that product.
For air cleaners, if no sanding is required, correction polishing will be performed so the shine in the stainless matches all the way around. As most know, the front of the air cleaners takes on all the elements, usually leaving the back side consistently shiny. Correction polishing is a blending process starting with a heavier cut wheel and, again, the 6,000-rpm rotary polisher. Similar to a painter doing color matching, blending is done to make sure the stainless shine is evenly matched from the front of the air cleaner to the back of the air cleaner.
Special thanks to Carlos Munoz for the photography of the Freightliner, the orange Peterbilt 389, and the photos of Marco. From day one, Marco treats every customer the same, in that they all receive great customer service and his utmost attention to detail. He is gaining traction with his goal of being a one-stop shop, offering several services at one location, or brought directly to the customer. Many can polish aluminum well, but it takes an artist to bring that “stunning” shine to stainless.
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.