In this article you will learn:
There’s more to brightening up your car's dull paintwork than giving your vehicle a quick wash and wax. These are great first steps for new car owners, but professional detailers perform a number of other steps that most beginners tend to overlook, such as prepping and decontaminating their car’s paintwork or using a finishing compound to enhance their vehicle’s depth of gloss.
In this guide, we shed some light on some of these lesser-known pro steps so you can achieve that coveted, showroom shine for yourself. All you need is a few high-end detailing products and tools to revitalize your car’s worn-out paint and create a deep, cloud-reflecting finish.
Your car’s paint does a lot more than give your car color and aesthetics. There’s a lot of technology in your paint that protects the metallic surfaces of the car body underneath. For instance, your clear coat is about the thickness of a piece of paper, but this important layer protects the rest of your paintwork from stains, soils and water damage.
But over time, UV rays from the sun and other harsh, environmental factors start to degrade your glossy clear coat, dulling the appearance of your paintwork. Auto detailing products like car wax prevent this degradation by adding an extra layer of protection and shine to your vehicle. A carnauba wax, for instance, adds a slick layer of hydrophobic protection to prevent streaks, water stains and oxidation to your clear coat. That’s why it’s so important to maintain your vehicle with more than just a basic car wash. You also need to prep, polish and wax your car to protect the body of your vehicle and restore your car’s original, high-gloss shine.
One step that sets professional detailers apart is prepping the surface of the car after they wash and before they wax or polish. Although your paintwork may look clean after washing your car, your vehicle is subject to lots of contaminants on the road that may be invisible to the naked eye. This dirt and debris can become deeply embedded in your clear coat, so you won’t be able to remove it with a regular car wash.
Polishing and waxing over the top of these pollutants can degrade the overall quality of your finish, so it’s important to prep your paintwork by removing these contaminants before you continue detailing your car.
Professional detailers often use a clay bar and lubricant to lift these soils and debris, then wipe the surface clean with a few microfiber towels. If you still feel a gritty texture on the surface of your car after performing this step, you can also use an iron remover to chemically dissolve any leftover contaminants. This step ensures that you achieve the deepest shine and the smoothest possible finish.
Before using a wax or car polish all over your vehicle, you want to make sure you like the level of correction and shine you’re going to achieve. One combination of products and applicators may give you a deep, metallic shine, while another may create a wet-like gloss. Some cutting pads and polishes may create a smoother look than others. You may have to mix it up to get the results you’re looking for.
Find an inconspicuous area on your car, like the front rocker or the back bumper, to perform multiple spot tests, placing each one next to each other so you can compare the effects of each. If any product or applicator creates damage or discoloration to your paintwork, stop using this product and switch to a different wax or polish to prevent further damage to your vehicle. Once you’ve found the combination you’re looking for, you can blend away any additional test spots, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Don’t break out the dual action polisher just yet; professional detailers recommend that beginners and at-home detailers start detailing by hand in order to become familiar with the washing, waxing and restoration processes. This gives you the flexibility to take every step at your own pace without having to worry about damaging your paintwork. Products that were designed for use by hand won’t cause micro scratches and swirls from an improper technique as long as you follow the step-by-step instructions on the bottle. We recommend our Hybrid Solutions Pro 1 & Done Polish and Hybrid Solutions Pro Flex Wax for anyone looking to achieve a show car shine at home!
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