Waxing and Polishing a Car – How to Get a Showroom Shine

Having recently bought a sports car I have invested some time finding out how to get a professional “high gloss” wax finish to the bodywork. So here are my findings and observations which should help you to get the best results.

Firstly, polishing and waxing are two different things and they should not be confused.

Polishing is the process of attaining the best finish to the paintwork prior to waxing and it involves using a “polish” which is a mild abrasive intended to remove minor burs and blemishes.

Waxing is the application of a protective and shine enhancing finish coat.

So, here are the processes that I followed and which have got me some pretty good results. Always commence the cleaning, waxing and polishing activities from the roof down and do not wash, polish or wax the car in direct sunlight.

1. Use a hose pipe, pressure washer hose, or a few of buckets of clean water to remove any grit, dirt or potentially “scratch creating” debris from the car. Do not rub the car at this stage as the dirt will cause minor scratches.

2. Once all visible abrasive dirt is removed, use a proper car clean detergent (shampoo) mixed with water. This will not cause water marks and runs like “washing-up liquid” or household cleaners will. Apply the water/shampoo with a large sponge or mitt using the minimum amount of pressure required to remove any water stains or marks that remain.

3. Rinse the car thoroughly with clean water.

4. Dry the car using a chamois leather, or better still a noodle mitt (this absorbs more water). When you have finished, the car should be completely dry with no marks or water runs left on it.

5. At this stage you need to use a cotton cloth to buff the car and get it as shiny as possible. If there are any minor scratches or scuffs it may be possible to polish them out with an auto body polish. If this is the case, follow the instructions on the product container precisely and ensure that all residues of the polish have been removed when the “polish process” is complete.

The quality of your wax finish will be determined by how good a job you have made of the car cleaning process up to this stage, and it is the activities up to this point that require the greatest investment of time.

6.1 When the car is clean, dry and gleaming you can start to apply the wax. There are actually two types of wax, “real” wax and resin, and both should provide good results. (The resin is easier to apply and may last longer.)

6.2 The wax application should be a quick process. You start by adding a small quantity of wax or resin to a cotton cloth and then gently (with a minimum of pressure) apply it to the car. You can commence by using circular motions, but you MUST finish with straight motions, e.g. up and down the length of the hood, for best results.

6.3 Always work on a small area at one time and try to follow a logical pattern, e.g. starting with the roof, hood, trunk etc and working down and around.

6.4 Once you have finished and the wax/resin has dried (which should be very quickly), you take a clean cotton cloth and wipe off the residue. You will need to continually turn and shake the cloth to remove the fine residue powder. Once this is complete your car “should” have a showroom shine. Furthermore, repeating the wax application on a regular basis should build up the protection of your paintwork against air bound chemicals, ultra violet light and general dust and dirt.

Always follow the instructions for the specific product that you use and keep the wax/resin off rubber trims, alloy wheels, tyres and glass.

Source by Martin Lambert

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