can running a drill at 1/2 speed damage it?

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Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 07-06-2010 09:19 PM 1215 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2104 posts in 3697 days

07-06-2010 09:19 PM

I’ve got a pretty good electric drill made by Dewalt. It is the corded variety and has a variable speed trigger. I was just wondering whether using it at less than full speed for extended periods of time (like to attach a polishing pad) would cause any more damage than normal use. I’m curious if it may cause excess heat build up because the cooling fan isn’t going full blast too. I’d like some opinions. It’s not woodworking related, but I need to buff out my headlights. I got failed for state inspection and the service station wants $140 to polish them.

7 replies so far

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1880 posts in 3530 days

#1 posted 07-06-2010 09:28 PM

Drills are not designed to run continuously irrespective of what speed they are running at. Having said that, if all you are going to do is buff your headlights then it would probably survive that.

Is there something else you can use – such as elbow grease?

-- Joe

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699 posts in 3662 days

#2 posted 07-06-2010 09:49 PM

Well I thought this was kind of an odd issue to be brought to the lumberjocks but what do you know…. I have seen the solution for this here on lumberjocks as well.

Headlight buffing.

go figure huh?

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

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2104 posts in 3697 days

#3 posted 07-06-2010 10:46 PM

Thanks Joe,
I’m not trying to be lazy. Its just that I’ve been told it can take 30 minutes to do this with a kit that uses a drill. I don’t even want to think of what it would take to do my hand. Sitting outside in this 100 degree heat sanding my headlights is not my idea of a fun weekend morning. If the drill can do it, I’d rather use the drill. Maybe I’ll break the job into a few small sanding sessions to let the drill cool between uses.

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486 posts in 3050 days

#4 posted 07-06-2010 11:43 PM

I got one of those headlight cleaning kits and did the headlights on my wife’s car. I used my Milwaukee Hole Shooter drill and it performed like a champ and I never took at all between headlights. Those drills offer variable speed for a reason so operating at ¼, ½, or full speed should not make any difference.

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132 posts in 2920 days

#5 posted 07-07-2010 12:29 AM

First, I have burned up a drill using it as a polisher it wasn’t an expensive drill but it was enough to make me hesitant on using my good drill. My in-laws gave me B&D polisher for Christmas about 10 years ago and I can’t kill it.

Second, I have to thank you for posting this here on LJ even though it isn’t woodworking. I have the same problem with my 2000 Honda Civic and I never thought about trying to polish it out. I bought the car new and within two years the lens were hazed over. The dealer wanted $495 per head light to fix them. My wife talked to them so I don’t know if they were replacing or polishing but I couldn’t justify spending $1K on headlights for car that only cost $13K.

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

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2104 posts in 3697 days

#6 posted 07-07-2010 04:35 AM

Well, they wanted $200 to polish the lights. My car is only probably worth about $400. lol.

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9439 posts in 3002 days

#7 posted 07-07-2010 08:32 AM


I just did my Intrepid. Used my Variable Speed B&D with a regular Hard Rubber Sandpaper Holder and adapted it to hold a Buffing Pad. I used Turtle Wax Light Rubbing Compound to start. Didn’t work all that well.

Went to 800 Grit Wet Dry Paper, The GUK just flowed off with the water. IMPORTANT to FLOOD the Headlight with Water ALL the time your doing it. It doesn’t take a lot of effort. Then down to 1000 Grit. Then Compounded again. Taping off Painted areas close to Lights is also a good idea.

To Finish I used McGuiers “Plastic X” about $8 Bucks, on a CLEAN Buffer, it’s made for doing this type of thing. Then Polished with Turtle Wax Cream Polish. I’d say they are back to 95% of new and you’ll see that the first time you drive at night.

BONUS: Intrepid has a LOT of Black Plastic Trim, around doors, glass, center column, etc. NO kind of Polish would get that stuff shining! Why? OXIDIZED! Same as Headlights. Applied “Plastic X” by hand, on a Clean Terry Cloth brought them right back, then Polished with same Turtle wax. LIKE NEW!

I searched Google until I was Blue In The Face looking for Remedies. LOT of “Kits” out there that don’t get good right ups! $$$$$ The Link below is to “” and it was the Best I could find. LOT of other GOOD Car Care stuff on there also. The Link should take you right to a Video of a guy doing the Headlight thing, but there are lots of the same, but different techniques on there also.

NOTE: Apparently it’s not just about Cars. Just as I was leaving I noticed a Video on “How To Increase A Mans Stamina”. Of course I didn’t bother looking because I have MORE than enough STAMINA!! It’s USING it that’s more of a problem ….LOL…

Enjoy Everyone….;-}


EDIT: I just went back on the site to see what they might have on “Woodworking” and plugged that into their search. YIKES!!!! First Page Said “Topics 1-20 of 3,090 On Woodworking”. Articles & Videos. I AIN’T going back there tonight I’ll tell you!!!

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

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