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Old 09-29-2012, 06:10 PM   #1
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WD40 as a polishing agent?

Spoke with a friend this week, and he reported that his neighbor "polishes" his AS with DW40? He just wipes it on to bring back the shine. Has anyone heard of this before?
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:46 PM   #2
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Spoke with a friend this week, and he reported that his neighbor "polishes" his AS with DW40? He just wipes it on to bring back the shine. Has anyone heard of this before?
One of the active ingredients of WD40 is phosphoric acid. Used often enough, or left on an Airstream trailer too long, it will cause pitting. Phosphoric acid is one of the acids used to etch the surface of aluminum before anodizing (at least according to ASTM D3933).

So, unless you're planning to paint your shiny Airstream, and want to make sure you get good adhesion of the paint, I would not recommend trying to use WD40 as an aluminum polish.

Try Brasso instead. It's a very gentle polish, used for brass-plated musical instruments and can be used on stainless steel, aluminum, chrome, pewter, bronze and copper as well as brass. Not, however, on sterling silver.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:59 PM   #3
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wd 40 as a polish

WD 40 certainly is not a polish but it may increase the gloss on an Airstream that has a clearcoat or plasticoat. It offers no wax protection for the clearcoat. In the old days some people used to use a little Kerosene to give a gloss to old dull cars and then sold them quickly. I would not recommend WD 40 for this type of usage. Airstream has recommended a specific protective waxing compound for clearcoated trailers. I would follow their recommendations.
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:39 PM   #4
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I use it on the rock guards ("segment protectors), but that's it. It cleans them, shines for a while and is easy to do.

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Old 09-29-2012, 07:53 PM   #5
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Sounds like it might almost work as cheap acid wash, does not found like a good idea to use it long term.
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:58 PM   #6
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I would think it would retard corrosion which is one of the reasons is was invented in the first place. It is not going to be as good as wax but it is better than nothing. There is nothing in it to polish metal. If used on a regular basis it should keep the metal from tarnishing or oxidizing. If I had one of the newer Airstreams with the non-Alclad skin, I would think about coating it with WD40 especially in corrosive enviroments like near the ocean. The solvents in WD40 may hurt the clear coat but I doubt it.

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Old 09-29-2012, 09:11 PM   #7
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I would think it would retard corrosion which is one of the reasons is was invented in the first place.
But that doesn't necessarily mean that it's good for all metals.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:11 PM   #8
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Ok, it may put a shine but its not going to last. I have used it on my stainless steal appliances in the house. It cleans and shines. But only for a few days. ( that may also have something to do with having for kids)

Any acid in it is going to be so small it would take years and years of use everyday to even start a microscopic pit it. IMO

It will work, but there are plenty of better things out there.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:18 PM   #9
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Pouring gallons of corn oil on the roof would leave a deep luster also but I'm pretty sure it's not a logical long term solution to a corroded aluminum trailer
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:39 AM   #10
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WD40 is penetrating oil of some sort so dust sticks to it. It shines and cleans the lower rock guards for a while and works better than any metal polish I have.

I used to use it to spray on ignition wires to keep water vapor out. It worked well for that, but wires are better made today and seal well, so it isn't needed for that anymore. I spray it into the truck receptacle for the umbilical and it cleans it and doesn't affect electrical flow, but I wouldn't spray it on the body of the trailer unless I was getting grease off. Then I'd wash and wax the trailer.

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:09 PM   #11
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I used to use it to spray on ignition wires to keep water vapor out.
Yeah. The "WD" in the name stands for "Water Displacing," I think.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:44 PM   #12
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Very close: "Water Displacement, 40th Formula": WD-40 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I read this once before and couldn't remember even Water Displacing. Great stuff, but not a polish.

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Old 09-30-2012, 01:30 PM   #13
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Exactly right on water displacement. As testimony to its effectiveness, I recall my father having an old truck that was a total pain to get started with any moisture present. Show it a puddle, and it was done for the day. I watched as he would open the hood and simply spray WD40 all over everything without pulling wires or removing the distributor cap. The truck would start right up. It made a believer out of me. I've also seen it used to set the bead on a truck tire in the wilderness by taking advantage of its explosive qualities. Not something to attempt in the garage at home.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:36 PM   #14
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Exactly right on water displacement. As testimony to its effectiveness, I recall my father having an old truck that was a total pain to get started with any moisture present. Show it a puddle, and it was done for the day. I watched as he would open the hood and simply spray WD40 all over everything without pulling wires or removing the distributor cap. The truck would start right up. It made a believer out of me. I've also seen it used to set the bead on a truck tire in the wilderness by taking advantage of its explosive qualities. Not something to attempt in the garage at home.
We used to use starting ether to set the bead on big truck tires until a friend rolled his truck. It was blamed on ether remaining in thr tire and exploding as he was barreling down the interstate. Sal.
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