How I clean my car up:
1. Wash car with a good stripper wash https://www.amazon.com/Adams-Strip-W...strip+car+wash
(you can use Dawn dishwashing liquid but ONLY use it if you can’t find a stripper wash. NEVER use Dawn or any other soap other then car wash soap to wash your car after this step!! Using Dawn or other non-carwash soaps will cause your paint to dry out and crack). This removes all of the old wax and allows you to get right to work on the car.
2. Clay bar or use one of the new synthetic wash mits to clean the car
3. Polish with dual action buffer.
a. Wool pad is for getting out heavy scratches and I wouldn’t recommend using this if you’re a beginner. You can really burn the paint quickly and/or create a lot of nasty swirl marks. Stay away from this one until you have an old beater to work on first and learn.
b. Foam pad. I buy all 3 of the 6” pads for my dual action from Harbor Freight. Buy several of the “cut” pads if you choose to go this way. On a car our size, I use 2 cut pads per product. So if you are using a medium cut, I use 2 for that, then switch to the fine cut…use 2 for that. 1 pad for wax and 1 pad for paint protection should be good enough.
4. Use a “beginners” type of polish. You can buy Meguiars medium cut….it should do just enough for you and is very forgiving. You can still burn the paint if you run too long in one spot. Then move onto a fine cut polish from Meguiars.
5. Move the buffer up/down/left/right and adjust the speed of the buffer dependent on scratches/swirls you are trying to remove. Do not stay in one spot too long with the medium cut. I usually don’t go faster then 60% of the speed on the buffer unless I have a really deep scratches… speed = more heat = easier to burn paint. Basically when you polish the car, you are trying to heat up the clear coat just enough to “melt” it and fill in the scratches. The fine cut can be held in one spot a lot longer as it’s really forgiving.
6. Once done, I usually sit my car out in the sunlight for an hour to let everything “harden” back up. If you’re in a dusty area, don’t do this unless you are going to re-rinse your car before doing anything else.
7. Here is where you have choices. Are you going to use paint protection or just wax? If you are using paint protection, apply here with the waxing pad or microfiber pad cover and the lowest speed possible on your dual action. (Xzilon is awesome paint protection…if a car was Xzilon protected at the dealership, you couldn’t pin stripe it…they would just peel off once dry) Wipe off and buff to shine with a quality microfiber towel. Allow to cure for several hours. You can repeat this process to make sure the paint protection is on your car.
8. Now you can wax. I like Meguiars NXT liquid synthetic wax. Using a different pad (wax pad or mircrofiber cover again) work wax into paint. Let dry to a haze. Work one section at a time and remove with a clean microfiber towel, turning towel after completely removing wax. Buff to shine. When section (usually 2’x2’, ½ hood, door, ¼ panel, etc) is complete, move onto next section using a new, clean, dry microfiber cloth on the next section.
With the above process stated, there is a newer product on the market call ceramic coating. I just did with my new Charger. I highly recommend having this done instead if you can afford to have it professionally done! The shine is 10x better on it and it lasts a lot longer then the above. But the downfall is you have to take it to a reputable installer and it runs about $800-$1200. But, that installer should clean the car up and make the paint look like it rolled off the showroom floor before coating it. This is just a quick overview. There are many videos on youtube that show how to do this correctly. Watch as many as you can stand to watch and then try it on the most inconspicuous area on your car. As a note, black will ALWAYS be the hardest color to detail, followed by grey and red.
A bit more information:
Microfiber – used for taking wax off and buffing to a shine
Terrycloth – most towels are made of terrycloth. Use clean, dry, extremely soft towels (usually the more expensive bath towels) when drying you car.
After you have detailed your car, get a good microfiber wash mit to wash your car. Use the 2 bucket method (I use 3…1 for the tires and wheels). One bucket with your carwash suds, the other is filled with plain water to rinse your washmit and get all the crude off of it. Label these buckets as there will always be residual crude that can cause scratches in the rinse bucket.
1. Follow manufacturer’s directions on car wash soap bottle for best results. If it says 2oz of car wash soap per gallon of water, follow it.
2. Dip washmit in rinse bucket, then in wash bucket….
3. Start at top of car and work your way down one section at a time. Make sure car stays wet before washing and after washing until you dry it. Never wash your car in direct sunlight.
4. Put washmit in rinse bucket
5. Rinse suds off of vehicle
6. Grab washmit from rinse bucket and dip in wash bucket and repeat steps 1-6 until complete.
7. Dry vehicle using clean, soft terry cloth towels. A better alternative to this is to use high pressure air to dry the car. This will keep the paint nicer longer. You can use a silicone water blade to get the excess water off followed by terry cloth towels, but if not done properly you can scratch the paint with the blade.
8. Now do your rims and tires.
9. You can follow up a quik detail mist and microfiber cloth to give your car a shine again if you desire.
**Note – NEVER use any soaps other then a car wash soap for your car. These are harsh and will strip the wax from your car immediately.