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foxmulder said:
Does anyone have any tips for cleaning/waxing a car?

Hi and welcome to the forum :thumb:

Here you go although i cant take credit for it,it was from another forum

Making your motor look it's best (and protecting your investment) is not that difficult, I've listed all the stages below, however from new your will only need to wash (maybe clay), wax and maintain. The full cycle only really needs doing say every 6 months or so.

Washing...

Use a good quality wash product (Such as Meguairs Gold Class Wash or similar), a good quality mitt, and plenty of water. Rinse the car well to get rid of grit and start cleaning from the top down, wiping front to back rather than in circular scrubbing motions to minimise swirls. After every pass either rinse the mit with the hose or in a clean bucket of water, this removes the grit/dirt from the mit and stops you rubbing it over the rest of the paint.

Rinse the car well and dry using a microfibre drying towel (best for minimising swirls/maring) or a good quality synthetic chamois.

Surface Prep...

Now the car is clean gently run your hands over the paint, does it feel rough or smooth like glass. Any roughness is due to contaminants that cannot be removed by washing. These are easy to remove using Clay. If you've never heard of this it's a strange concept. Basically the clay bars supplied are like a large lump of Blu-tac, you rub it over the surface (which has been sprayed with some form of lubricant) and it lifts off the contamination leaving the surface smooth. Products like Meguairs Quik Clay come with a bottle of lube, however if find it as easy to use a strong wash solution, it's cheaper than the lub and you can then use the lube for more important duties (more later). Claying is one of the best things to do for your paint, it doesn't take much effort and leaves it glass smooth, which ultimatly helps you get a better finish.

If your going to give the car a real working over, say after a harsh winter it's a good idea to get rid of the products already on their, this is where a paint cleaner comes it. Products like Meg's Stage 1 are rubbed on and buffed off and leave the paint squeaky clean with no products (or dirt) left on. It can be a little hard work by hand, but only needs to be done maybe once a year. I doubt that you will need to do this initially.

Polish.

The term polish is often used for the top coat finih, but this is not strictly correct. Any Polish you use here will not provide any protection just improve the gloss of the finish. Polish comes in different abrasivness grades, if you look at the Poorboys range it goes from SSR 3 to 1, with 3 being the most agressive. Products such as SSR1 or Megs Deep Crystal Polish are not agressive and will just give you paint good gloss and reflection without any major removal or paint (or defects) particuarly when applied by hand. It depends upon how well the dealer has preped your car as to wether you need to polish initially, I would go for this step to get the best possible finish, but only using the mild polishes.

If you get swirl marks or light scratches later on it the cars life, you can remove them with one or the more agressive polishes. One product I would recommend is Meg's Scratch X. This is a more agressive product for had application to remove scratches. It works. I use it particuarly under the door handles where you get marks from finger nails, it removes these.

Protection.

Now that the paint is clean, smooth and glossy it needs protection. This is where the Wax or Sealant comes in. A sealant can be considered to be a synthetic wax. Generally they are a little more longer lasting than the classic carnuba based waxes, you can if you want to use a selant (such as Poorboys EX-P or Megs NXT) and then put a wax on top, or you can just use a wax and keep toping up the finish. As with all stages get hold of some Microfibre towels and applicators and follow the instructions on the pack.

Maintain...

To maintain your finish you of course need to wask reguarly, but also keep checking the slickness and the beading. When water isn;t beading as much as it did initially it's time to top up the finish. What you use depends upon what wax or selant you used. For example if you used the Meg's NXT you can pruchase a quick wax the complments it. Using this it's easy to top up the protection and shine. Remeber the Clay Lube, well this is also knowns as Quik Detailer, using it you can get get give the car a quick once over if it is still basically clean but maybe dusty, be careful though if there is too much grit on the surface. Another good use for the quik detailer is to keep in the boot with a couple of clothes for removing bird bombs or big insect strikes just after they happen. The quicker you can get these things off the better.

Wheels/Tyres.

A good clean and alloy brush is essential, again C&S have a good range, I would personally recommend getting Meg's wheel Brightner in the gallon size. This can be diluted with water and so lasts much longer than buying the individual bottles. Clean the wheels first before the rest of the car and make sure you don't use the same sponge or mitt that your going to use on the paintwork. For the ultimate you can use products like wheel wax to help keep off the brake dust.

On top of all this, you can use tyre dressings, trim dressing and then there's the interior to look after.....

When it comes down to it a full kit of products will be around £100. Most should last the life of the car, only the wash and the wheel cleaner needing topping up.

It all depends upon how much effort you want to put in and how much pride you take in your car.
 
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