Wax On, Wax Off (How to Prepare & Wax Your Car)

The other day I decided to really clean my car’s exterior. I gave it a quick wash and did a thorough inspection of the body to look for scratches, bonded containments and stains. There were actually quite a few, so I decided to make a quick pit stop at AutoZone. I generally use supplies from a company called Meguiar’s and overall I’m really pleased with their cleaning products (no one has paid me to say this- I wish!). Here’s what I used for my project:

1. Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay
2. Meguiar’s Quick Detailer spray
3. Meguiar’s Scratch X 

4. Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax
5. Lots of microfiber towels! You can use cotton terry cloth if you want too, but I don’t care for it personally.
The last picture in the sequence below is actually a reflection. I took the picture with my iPhone pointed and the car to show the finished results. Just for the sake of science I also took pictures in the reflection of my freshly waxed black truck (very little prep work and a different wax though).  No comparison; the rich glossiness of my Vette is unreal.

For the car wash I just go to the local Pay ‘n Spray (that’s not what it’s actually called) and I use their water & soap. I don’t feel like I need to spend big bucks to spray off the road dirt. After the rinse I toweled  off my car and got to work.

I scoured the car for light scratches, stains (bird poop is nasty stuff- it can leave residue that will not wash off), and scuffing. Scratch-X is perfect for this kind of light damage. Just put a bit on the affected spot and buff away.

After the Scratch-X I moved on to the clay. You need to make sure the area you’re working on is lightly lubricated. I sprayed on some Quick Detailer and then rubbed the clay over the misted areas. Clay is cool stuff- it will actually pull out any little particles that have bonded to your car (the stuff that washing won’t get rid of). People may not realize it, but the surface of your car should be perfectly smooth to the touch. If there are any tiny little bumps or any kind of grittiness to your finish the clay will remove them.

After the clay it was time to wax. I like to wax my car by hand and listed to music- I find it very therapeutic.  This was my first time using liquid wax and I thought it was pretty convenient and it applied easily. What I really like about Ultimate Liquid Wax is that it rubs on nearly clear (in other words, it didn’t leave that yellow goo in the cracks of my car). When I went to polish off the wax I got a shock- it took a lot of extra effort beyond what I’m used to. I had to buff it hard in order to get maximum consistency and gloss. Taking it off was more work than putting it on!

But the finished results were well worth it. Proper preparation is essential to achieve the best results.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen my car look this good. But now I have to detail the wheels, engine bay and interior! It must be love.

Posted by Cam, September 10, 2011