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Detailing & Appearance Discuss washing, waxing and detailing information as well as interior/exterior cosmetic modifications. This includes neons, body, cosmetic wheels, etc. Even under the hood detailing.

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Old 08-16-2007, 01:11 PM   #1
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Default first time wash and wax

If the weather cooperates I'm planning on doing a complete detail job on my car this weekend. Wash, wax, claybar, leather conditioner, the whole nine yards. This is my first time doing anything more than just a wash and I've got a few questions about how to use the various products. I've searched through this forum and found some of my answers but wanted to put it all together into one thread to make sure I understand what I'm doing before I have it.

1) Just to confirm, the proper order is to wash, claybar, polish, seal and then wax?

2) What kind of cleaner do you use for the pre-claybar wash. Since I'm planning to put on some new wax should I try to remove whatever is currently on there using dishsoap or should I just wax over the top of it?

3) Liquid Glass seems to be the sealer of choice, but what about polishes? What do you all like to use?

4) can a claybar be used on the headlights/taillights? what about a wax or polish on those?

5) I've got the OEM swoopies on mine and I'm not sure if their polished aluminum or chrome. I saw some wheel cleaner/polishes that were safe for one but not the other so I'm not sure what to use.

6) Do you guys put anything on the windows/mirrors/windshields?

I think that does it for now. If there'* something else I should be asking, don't be afraid to mention it. Remember, I'm new to all this detailing stuff and not really sure what I'm doing.

TIA
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Old 08-16-2007, 01:46 PM   #2
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Here is a basic process you can follow for detailing. Hopefully it answers your questions. You might need a bag of chips to sit down with:

1) Wash the car with a quality car soap. Meg'* Gold Class is good. I really love Duragloss #901, which can be found at Car Quest. You don't need to use anything stronger if you plan to polish. Some people will use dish soap to strip wax, but use it sparingly, maybe once a year. It'* said to be bad for plastic. Get a good quality mitt. Wal Mart has some good sheepskin mitts. Feel around for the softest one(*). Then get a good microfiber drying towel, actually a couple. Some people like the Absorber. Waffle Weave towels work great. Use two buckets to wash, one with the soap, and one with just water. Rinse off the mitt after each panel, and rub it to try and remove all dirt. Then wring it out and dunk in the soap bucket. This will hopefully keep you from rubbing any dirt on the paint. When you are ready to dry, use the hose without any attachments. It might not work great the first time, but once you get wax on the car, the water will "sheet" off the car leaving a lot less to dry up.

2) Clay bar the entire car. Cut the bar in thirds. This makes it easier to kneed, and if you happen to drop it, you have only lost a third (you shouldn't use it if it'* dropped). Do the paint first, then you can use it on the windows and rims. Unless the rims are really caked in dust, you shouldn't need a wheel cleaner. The claybar should do the trick. Make sure you use a good amount of lube, as not enough will make the bar grind into the paint and leave residue.

3) Polish- You can buy over the counter polish, but all they really are is cleansers. I have some of the meg'* polish from their three step program, and all it does is remove contaminants, it doesn't really polish. ScratchX is a decent one, but it will be tiring and take hours to do the car. If you have the $$, buy a polisher like a Porter Cable orbital and some quality polishes. Megs professional line can probably be found locally. Otherwise there are a lot of good ones found online. I can go into that deeper if you want to pm me, or there are several websites around. I just recently got some Menzerna polishes that worked great on my Bonneville. Wipe off the polish with the quality microfiber.

4) Seal-There are two options here, sealant or wax. Sealants last longer, and waxes usually look better. Most people that live in a northern climate will use wax in the summer, and sealant in the winter. I actually have a wax (Collinite) that will last 5-6 months. You can use both, some will do the wax on top for a better look. Another option is to use a glaze. Glaze is like a light polish that will leave fillers to hide scratches. The only thing with a glaze is that sealants won't usually bond with them, so you can only use wax on top. Back to waxes, most otc waxes aren't very good for durability and sealants are pretty limited. Duragloss has a good line of products. You may also find professional Meguiars products locally, of which the #26 sealant is a good one. You can find a lot of quality products online, many that aren't very expensive. You will want to do two applications to ensure proper coverage. Usually you want to give 24 hours inbetween coats. Use a foam applicator and buff with a quality microfiber, not a t-shirt. Also wax/seal the rims. This will make it much easier to keep them clean.

5) Other- Get some Mothers Back to Black for the plastic behind the hood to restore the dark look. The BTB doesn't last very long though, there are better products found online. Use RainX or sealant on the windows to add in cleaning and keep whipers from streaking. Get something to clean/protect the seats as well as the dash and other plastic. Also if you like the look, get some tire dressing, but make sure to scrub the tires first.

I think that covers most of it. I'll add more if I think of anything. A good site for products: www.danase.com as well as www.autogeek.net and a good forum for questions/ideas www.autopia.org
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:45 PM   #3
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Excellent advice above. You may have to wash one other time after the polish depending on what you are using to polish the car with.

Post the products you will be using and we can help you out with more in depth detail.

As far as the wheels go try a claybar, after the car is claybared, and then seal with a sealant or wheel wax. You can use a chrome polish after the claybar then seal if there are problems after the claybar.

Once you claybar the wheels throw the claybar away. It is no longer good to use on paint due to brake dust in the claybar.
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:52 PM   #4
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Good advice on the clay bar. A good standard to add to that, if you can't kneed the piece to where you have a good clean surface, you don't want to use it on the paint any more. At that point relegate it to use for glass or the wheels. And keep the clay in a plastic bag when not being used.
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:08 PM   #5
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I haven't selected any specific products yet. Mothers and Meguires (sp?) always get great reviews here so I'm gravitating towards them. Liquid Glass has gotten good reviews here too. I'm certainly open to suggestions if you feel strongly for/against certain products.
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:33 PM   #6
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It sounds like you will be using good ol hand power to polish and wax the car.

Hard to go wrong with a Mothers system. It is a three step process that lends itself to being applied by hand.

I would also use Megs Scratch X for deeper scratches or swirl marks.

Purchase some quality microfiber buffing cloths and applicator pads. Megs had quality cloths and pads and are available at most auto locations.

Links to help you out.

http://www.mothers.com/products/

California Gold®
Pre-Wax Cleaner–Step 1

California Gold®
Sealer & Glaze–Step 2

California Gold®
Pure Carnauba Wax–Step 3

California Gold® Clay Bar System

California Gold® Car Wash

Do you have any budget in mind for expenses?

Also the Mothers system is a great start to help keep your Bonneville looking great.
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:27 PM   #7
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zuluhead, here is some great wax on this page: http://www.mactecllc.com/collinite.asp

The 845 Insulator wax near the bottom is what I have, and the 476 paste wax is the sister wax. The 845 is a liquid wax, and is said to look just a little better than the 476, but the 476 lasts a little bit longer. The wax connoisseurs don't consider it as one of the best looking waxes, but I know it looks better than the Meguiars Gold Class I was using and lasts six months. This site is great because they have free shipping.
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Old 08-17-2007, 01:19 AM   #8
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thanks for all the help and suggestions, I'm excited about trying my hand at this
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimm
Also wax/seal the rims. This will make it much easier to keep them clean.
Is this the same wax/sealer that I'm using on the painted surfaces or should I be using something different for the wheels? And I can wax/seal the headlights/taillights/rear applique too, right?
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Old 08-17-2007, 12:39 PM   #10
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there are waxes/sealants made specifically for wheels, but you don't need to buy those. I don't think they last any longer from what I've read. Just use some durable wax, and you'll be good to go. And yes, you can wax the glass/plastic of the mirrors, lights, etc.
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