Should I prep my paint before
Evaluating the condition of your finish will let you determine the steps
needed to prepare it for waxing. Just because your paint has no major
scratches or other obvious signs of damage doesn't mean its surfaces are
as flawlessly smooth as when they were new. There are many kinds of
subtle surface defects that, if not corrected, can prevent you from
restoring that perfect gloss.
There are two kinds of surface defects
to look for. Those above the surface of the paint include: road film,
bugs, tar, tree sap mist, dirt, dust and fresh bird droppings. Those
below the surface include scratches, swirl marks, oxidation, stains and
etching from acid rain, old bird droppings and other deposits.
How to evaluate a paint finish?
You'll want to inspect the surface visually, as well as by touch. First,
look along your paint surface at an angle. While noting the depth and
richness of the color, search for:
- swirl marks
- etched areas
A photographer's loupe or magnifying
glass will make it even easier to identify any problem areas. Ideally,
do this in sunlight as well as under indoor illumination to find defects
visible under different kinds of light. Any flaws you do find should be
treated with a product such as our
or Deep Crystal System Cleaner.
To find adhered contaminants that your
eyes may have missed, slowly slide your clean, dry hand along the paint.
The surface should feel as smooth as glass. Any irregularities you do
feel are surface defects that must still be removed before waxing. The
advanced-technology formulation of our Smooth 'n Clean Clay Detailer
frees these tenaciously bonded contaminants, while gently protecting
your paint from harm.
What is gloss?
Gloss is an optical term that describes a surface's ability to reflect
light. A high-gloss paint surface is one that directly reflects light
with minimum hazing or diffusion. Dirt, grime and other contaminants on
the surface of a car's paint absorb and diffuse light, reducing gloss
and making the finish look dull and lifeless.
No paint--even the new so-called
"no-wax" varieties--will remain glossy if it is neglected and exposed to
The difference between polish and
Today there is a lot of confusion about the difference between a polish
and a wax. Many manufacturers are marketing waxes as "polishes" and the
terms have become almost interchangeable.
Professionals know there is a big
difference. A polish is more like a paint conditioner that restores
valuable oils to the paint, eliminates fine scratches and creates
incredible high gloss not possible with waxes. An application of a pure
polish should be followed by waxing to protect the shine and extend its
Meguiar's is one of the few companies
that still offers car owners a true polish. All are non- abrasive and
safe for all paints.
If you own a dark-color car, you'll see
a dramatic difference if you use a polish.
Which is better - paste or liquid
The difference between paste and liquid wax is primarily one of
convenience. Modern liquid formulas provide the same protection as
paste, and are easier and quicker to apply.
Are polymer sealants good for my
Quality polymer sealants are noted for their long-lasting abilities, but
in recent years there have been many inferior formulations marketed at
extremely high prices. These products are mostly hype, and lull a car
owner into thinking one application will last for years-only to discover
later that their finish has been damaged by the lack of care.
What is Carnauba wax?
Carnauba is the hardest natural wax available, harvested from palm trees
in Brazil. The wax is melted down and added to Meguiar's formulations to
enhance their durability and protection against the environment.
Meguiar's uses only #1 yellow Carnauba wax, the most costly and highest
Are waxes with Teflon any good?
Professionals consider "Teflon" formulas to be empty hype. Even the
maker of Teflon (DuPont) issued the following statement:
"The addition of a Teflon
fluoropolymer resin does nothing to enhance the properties of a car
wax. We have no data that indicates the use of Teflon is beneficial in
Meguiar's does not make any products
Do colored waxes work?
First, there are thousands of car colors used every year. Some paint
companies offer over one hundred different reds alone. There is no way
that a limited selection of 8-12 different-colored waxes can hope to
match your color exactly.
Second, most paints today have a top
layer of paint that is clear-it does not contain the color pigments. If
you add a pigmented wax on top of the clear surface you are creating an
unnatural effect that will look even stranger as the pigments in the wax
fade. Imagine applying shoe polish to your windshield, and you can
picture what is happening when you apply color waxes to clear coat
If you want a great finish and wish to
remove scratches, it is best to use quality waxes, surface preps and
pure polishes that restore the surface properly.
Is washing & surface prep the same?
Washing is the process of removing loose dirt and grime from a car's
paint. Surface prep is a separate process designed to safely remove
dead, oxidized paint, as well as stubborn surface contamination that
will not come off during the washing process (i.e. acid rain, stains,
Paint that has been neglected or that
has undergone severe environmental contamination should first be washed,
then deep surface prepped with
, Meguiar's Body Scrub or
Medallion Premium Paint Cleaner -- mild abrasive products that are
safe to applied by hand on all paint finishes. Once the surface has been
surface prepped it should then be protected with an application of a
quality wax. Those with dark colors should also consider applying a pure
polish before waxing to create incredible gloss.
We make several types of deep cleaners
and always recommend that you start with the least abrasive surface prep
first and only move to more aggressive cleaners when tests on the
surface clearly indicate you need more "cutting" action. We do not
recommend applying abrasive cleaners by hand application. They may
actually mar your finish. If you have serious surface prep problems, it
is usually best to have a professional detailer do the job.