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Waxing and Claying Your Paint

Prepping for wax

Once your car is clean, it’s time to wax…right? Hold on, let’s review two common pre-wax prep techniques.

  • Claying removes any contaminants and debris on the surface.
  • Compounding helps eliminate sub-surface defects.

Which one should you do? Serious car detail enthusiasts do both. If you have an older car with noticeable defects, compounding provides a comprehensive pre-wax clean. If you have a newer automobile and just want to remove minor surface dirt, claying provides a great pre-wax prep.

how to wax your car

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Wax detail

  • Using a lint-free cloth, apply a small amount of wax or polish.
  • Working in consistent patterns (side-to-side, circular, etc.), spread the wax across your car’s surface.
  • Work the polish into your car’s surface thoroughly. The polish should appear clear.
  • Apply a second coat, if necessary.
  • Remove any excess polish.
  • Apply a high-gloss finish (optional).

Paint sealant vs paste wax

Frequently driven cars should use paint sealant. This helps protect your car from the elements, and any exposed surface should receive a thorough application. Paint sealant is made to last longer than paste wax, but doesn’t offer the high-gloss shine and silky, shimmering finish.

For garage cars, paste wax is the better bet. Minimal exposure to the elements allows the luxury to focus on a high-gloss, superior finish. Paste wax lasts a few weeks to a few months, depending on how long your car is outside.

Pro detailing tips:

  • Skip the chemical cleaners for your steering wheel, brake & gas pedals, emergency brake and shift device. These are items you need to grip, and using a vinyl or leather cleaner can reduce friction. Instead, use warm water with a small amount of soap.
  • If you have a garage-kept car, try a microfiber duster to remove any small particles and debris. This allows your car extended periods in between exterior detailing. DO NOT use the duster to remove dirt. This may cause surface damage, scratches and other imperfections.
  • Get on a regular detailing schedule. Keep a fairly regular detailing process. Get your family involved. Have fun with it. Your car will look and perform as good as you want – but you have to dedicate the time first!

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