Wash & Wax

Wash & Wax

Ten years ago, the concept of washing and waxing your car was just that, you washed it, and then waxed it. Even ten years ago though, this usually didn’t provide optimum results. So twice a year or so we might get a workout with a rubbing compound to get rid of swirl marks or oxidation, and a few layers of paint as well.

For years this is the way I did it, the same way pop taught me how to do it and probably his dad before him. At one time this might have proved to be enough but it’s definitely not anymore. I, like a lot of people, have tried those polishes and waxes that claim to last six months or even a year, and in reality they often last a month if we’re lucky.

So is there a product that will really last that long and provide showroom shine too? The simple answer to this question is NO, and it also happens to be the correct answer as well. I’ve tried most, and along the way became confused about polishes that are also waxes and waxes that aren’t polishes and what the do we need a polish for if we have wax?

I’m not one to only research one type of product under normal circumstances, but for this article, that is exactly what I did. The easy reason is that there is one particular company that has a product line for everything you need to detail your car, inside and out, top and bottom, no questions asked. That company is Meguiars.

The fact that Meguiars is used and recommended by so many carmakers, auction houses and television shows must say something about the product. The other fact is that when you visit Meguiars’ website you will immediately understand the R&D that goes into every product they sell and advertise. Another factor is that because Meguiars has everything you need to detail your car, it can become quite confusing, and as we all know, when we get confused we will often stick with what we know best, but Meguiars solves this problem too.

Taking a quick look around their website, you’ll find as I did that they also have a Paint Care PX database that will recommend about 90% of the products you should be using for your car, in your particular environment. I say 90% because they do leave out a few items that you’ll probably need such as their Quik Detailer and Quik Clay products for those in-between maintenance issues that come up (you know, like bird poop, tree sap, etc.)
Don’t get me wrong, Meguiars isn’t cheap, and I’ve estimated that you’ll probably spend between $100-$300 a year on their products alone. What you get in return, though, is a paint job that will last years longer and a showroom shine that will stand out all the time, no matter where you are.

The amount you spend will depend largely on environment variables. For instance, does your car sit outside all the time or is it garaged? Do you get a lot of rain or a little? Road Salt or no? All these things contribute to how often you will need to maintain your cars’ paint finish. Just for fun I used Meguiars PX clinic and used a 2000 Mustang GT, Medium color and chose a New Orleans/Florida environment that is incredibly hot in the summer with lots of rain, tree sap, bird crap, etc. The response from the database suggested that I would be washing my car once a week, while polishing once a month, and waxing every two months. Not 100% practical if your someone like me who likes to set aside one day to do everything. But knowing this, I can now estimate that I would probably polish and wax every two months and maintain in between by keeping some Quik cleaner, Detailer, and Quik Wax in my car to take care of those pesky issues that pop up from time to time.

I won’t go into the details on why bird poop will first bond, then oxidize, and finally crack your paint in a matter of just a few days in a hot sunny climate. If you’ve had it happen then you already know, and if you haven’t, Meguiars covers it in much better detail than I ever could or for that matter would want to.

There are two other things I want to make note of before I wrap up this month’s article. The first is that Meguiars has answered a question that has been nagging at me for a few months now. I’ve been wondering how these guys and gals can keep their engine compartments so clean on daily drivers and Meguiars at least in part has answered my question. I don’t know what kinds of products were used before, but I do know that Meguiars offers a few products for under the hood applications that will help in that department. The first is their extra heavy duty cleaner that is both biodegradable and safe for all rubber and plastic parts under the hood of your car. The second is a product for reconditioning your hoses to protect against heat and replace the natural oils lost in the different rubbers under your hood. Not surprisingly this second item can also be used in other areas of the car to treat plastic and rubber molding as well.

The last thing is their Dual Action orbital buffer. I love this thing, it’s small, light, and very convenient to use and the foam pads seem like a much better idea than the classic terry cloth over pad application. As well, Meguiars suggests that you do not wash the foam pads, instead just set them in their own containers (like a ziplock baggy) and reuse them over and over.

Meguiars recommends that you never use any terrycloth or foam pad for different product applications, it will go a long way in keeping you from achieving the best possible shine when your mixing chemicals from the Deep Clay prep and say, the Pure Polish on the same pad or cloth.

would highly recommend Meguiars for your car care needs, and if your local store doesn’t have everything you need, you can order directly online as well. Also, you might check out Meguiars Centennial package, it’s a bit expensive at around $350.00, but I would consider this a one-time purchase as it also comes with the buffer and some pads as well. It would probably make a good birthday or Christmas gift for the car nut in your family.

The days of just Washing and Waxing your car are over with, Meguiars recommends a 5 step system for that showroom shine finish all the time. Washing, Prep, Polish, Wax, and Maintaining your car is necessary in these days of industrial polution and acid rain. For more details visit Meguiars through the links listed below.

As usual, no product promotional material was accepted for this article, I choose to endorse Meguires on the basis that I have used their products in the past and find results consistent with their claims. My views expressed here are solely my own and that of American Muscle Cars & Muscle Fords.

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