critique my cleaning/waxing process
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This is a discussion on critique my cleaning/waxing process within the Detailing Forum forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Been lurking around here for a bit and seems like there are some pretty sharp guys on here with some ...

  1. #1
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    critique my cleaning/waxing process

    Been lurking around here for a bit and seems like there are some pretty sharp guys on here with some good info(methodical in particular i have noticed and i am sure there are others)

    Here is what i do, any thoughts?

    1) good rinse of entire car in shade

    2) start with wheels and tires- use simple green on wheels, wesley bleech white on tires. Any buckets or tools used are not used for other areas of the car.

    3) i have designated bucket and microfiber mitt for washing car, i use a meguires car soap in purple bottle crystal something. I start at top of car and work my way down. i am careful to rinse mitt before going back into bucket. i try and wash horizontally with the mitt and not do circles while washing. Trying to avoid swirl marks? i rinse frequently and try and keep vehicle wet while washing to avoid water marks.

    4) For drying i use a clean water blade followed by microfiber cloths. i am careful to make sure the microfiber is clean as i know they are like magnets for everything that will scratch your paint. i will take car for a slow cruise around the block to blow out water from the stuborn areas and then dry areas as need be.

    5) in between washes if there is no rain i will use a california car duster and some spray wax with a clean microfiber to touch up the car.

    My waxing process is as follows, currently i only do this twice a year.

    1) clean the car as described above.
    2) clay bar the entire car with clay bar from auto store, mothers or meguires yellow clay bar.
    3) wash car again
    4) use a $10-$15 paste wax from the auto store. i use one of those round hand aplicators and try and put wax on in a horizontal manner rather than swirling it on. i then buff it off with a clean microfiber.

    i do this twice a year, spring and fall. With my new STI i have the gray metallic color and i am worried about the dark color showing scratches so i am thinking i need to wax this thing a few more times a year and have some questions.

    1) I clay bar twice a year. Should i clay bar everytime i wax?
    2) Does clay bar remove existing wax?
    3) if i decide to wax more often what should i use to remove the existing wax? Dishsoap? Do i need to worry about removing existing wax?
    4) What is up with all these other processes, glazes, polishes, sealants ect. Do i need to add any other processes to my waxing process or are those other steps for distressed paint?

    thanks guys!

    -Dave

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    Clay barring a car must be done very cautiously, as you can mar your paint a whole lot more than even with a poor wash technique.

    No, you do not need to clay bar everytime you wax.

    a 10-15$ paste wax under normal driving conditions will be gone in 2 months... 3 at MOST. I highly recommend Menzerna powerlock. It is the most or one of the most durable sealants on the market right now and is very slick and helps to keep the car clean. Waxes are mainly for looks... they do help, but sealants are what do the hard work. The powerlock is a little pricey and you will have to order it, but it's worth the extra money, as a little goes a very long way.

    Washing the car you want to make sure you have plenty of sudes... forget the MF wash mitt and go to lowes and get a grout sponge made by proline. The small holes in the sponge are very easy on your paint and much of the dirt will be trapped inside of the holes and therefore will not scratch the paint. If you clay the car to much you WILL get scratches and they will have to be polished out.

    The key to washing and claying is making sure the surface is as slick as possible.

    I don't think a clay bar will remove your wax, but it will at the very least cut into it a little.

    I would either read my sticky on how to wash and detail, or go to autopia.org and read everything you can. Most OTC products are crap... plain and simple. You don't have to spend a fortune on products, but knowing which ones are best for the money is key.
    Last edited by Methodical4u; 09-18-2012 at 01:15 PM.

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    Thanks for the pointers Methodical. i will give that power lock a try and do some more reading over at autopia.

    So with my paint being fresh wtih only a few thousdand miles i could go with a nice detailed wash and go right into the powerlock sealant right? Or put a coat of wax on before i use the sealant?

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    may have answered my own question.How does this look?

    1) wash
    2) pre-wax cleaner(since my paint is new i shouldnt need to polish)
    3) paint sealer
    4) carnuba wax to add some shine if needed

    In future as paint starts to get mared up i will need to look into some additional steps of a polish to remove scratches and a clay bar to remove contamenents before i seal and wax, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by arm2004 View Post
    may have answered my own question.How does this look?

    1) wash
    2) pre-wax cleaner(since my paint is new i shouldnt need to polish)
    3) paint sealer
    4) carnuba wax to add some shine if needed

    In future as paint starts to get mared up i will need to look into some additional steps of a polish to remove scratches and a clay bar to remove contamenents before i seal and wax, right?

    Sorry, but this is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. New paint almost ALWAYS needs a fine polishing. Dealers HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING WITH PAINT! I NEVER let a dealer wash my car or touch it.

    Your second misconception is the idea that wax adds shine. There is nothing more shiny that a good sealant ... the look is simply different. A wax has a warmer, almost glow to it. A sealant looks much more like a candy coated or glassy appearance. If you want shine. I would strongly recommend opti-seal. You need very little, you spray it on the applicator, wipe it on and leave it. It will flash into the paint and gives an EXCELLENT gloss. You can also recoat it each time you wash the car several times. With each layer (up until about your 3rd), you will get more and more shine. You can also coat all plastics, so you don't need to worry about leaving white residue with this stuff. I really like it.

    You can always seal/wax even if it needs to be polished, you will just have a little less shine. The higher polished the paint is, the less scratches and therefore the more reflective properties of the paint which is why it looks more "shiny".

    Wash the car with dawn... feel the car with the sponge as you wash to see if you can feel contaminents in the paint before you bother claying the car, you might be able to save yourself that part. I always wash the car and then wash again with dawn because dawn is actually very slick stuff and the clay bar slides very effortlessly across the paint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arm2004 View Post
    Thanks for the pointers Methodical. i will give that power lock a try and do some more reading over at autopia.

    So with my paint being fresh wtih only a few thousdand miles i could go with a nice detailed wash and go right into the powerlock sealant right? Or put a coat of wax on before i use the sealant?

    Always wax over sealant... not the other way around... don't ask me why... just the way it works. Yes you can go right to the powerlock as well as the opti-seal. Powerlock will last longer and is more slick.

  8. #7
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    Just get a Zaino kit and be done with it and have no worries.
    Up the Irons!

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipset35 View Post
    Just get a Zaino kit and be done with it and have no worries.
    Zaino is a good company with a lot of good products... however, with the testing I have both read and seen, and while Zaino is going to be better than pretty much any OTC sealant or wax (save for Duragloss 105 and maybe Collinite products) they are not the ultimate in durability.
    2012 WRX: TurboXS DP, AEM CAI, TP stage 2 tune

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