Tech Article Title Author Date
Exhaust Tip Polishing Denny Cannon 2000

A lot of A4 owners seem to be interested in improving the appearance of their drab looking stock exhaust tips by polishing. I got mine to look like bright polished chrome in about 2 hours and here's how. Keep in mind this is what worked for me. You may come up with another method that works as well or better. 

First let me say that because the stock tips are stainless steel, they won't oxidize, fade or discolor once they're polished. 



Materials Needed:

1. Assorted grit emery cloth pack (Coarse, Med & Fine) and/or a metal finishing pad, available at any good home improvement store. I used the emery cloth first, but I think the metal finishing pad (Norton) would have done an excellent job by itself.

2. #7 white automobile polishing compound or something similar if you want a bright finish. 

Procedure:

If you use emery cloth, start with the coarse grit just to quickly remove the dark, unfinished metal. Sand lengthwise with the grain of the metal and use the coarse grit to just get rid of that top layer. Don't overdo the coarse grit because it will leave fairly deep scratches. 

As soon as you see a brighter silver appear, switch to the medium grit to minimize the scratches left by the coarse grit. Then go to the fine grit until all scratches are minimized. Notice I say "minimized" because even the fine grit will still leave visible scratches. 

At this point I tried 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper but didn't get rid of the scratches, nor did it polish the metal very well. So I headed back to Home Depot to look around for something else, which is when I discovered the Norton 4-3/8x11 Metal Finishing Pad. This pad is great! It removed the scratches left by the fine grit emery and left the metal pretty smooth with barely visible scratching. The way it performed made me wish I had known about it in the first place, although I think the emery cloth got rid of the "bad" metal faster. 

I wanted a chrome look, so tried good old #7 white auto polishing compound and BAM! Chrome city! I spent about an hour with the polishing compound and it's difficult to distinguish it from chrome. If you want a more subdued stainless look, do just a couple passes with the polishing compound. 

Good luck and expect a few knuckle bruises along the way.