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HomeAccessories > Car Care > Meguiar's Car Care > Meguiar's Testimonials
Meguiar's Q&A
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You Have Questions...Meguiar's Has Answers!

Should I prep my paint before waxing?
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
  • scratches
  • 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 ScratchX 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.


Unprepped Prepped

No paint--even the new so-called "no-wax" varieties--will remain glossy if it is neglected and exposed to environmental contamination.

The difference between polish and wax.
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 life.

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 wax?
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 car?
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 quality grade.

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 car waxes."


Meguiar's does not make any products containing Teflon.

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 paint.

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, tree, sap).

Paint that has been neglected or that has undergone severe environmental contamination should first be washed, then deep surface prepped with ScratchX , 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.

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