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      03-25-2011, 11:55 PM   #1
mke135i
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When is a polish needed?

My car has about 14k miles, and I've had it for only a few months (bought it used in October last year). I want to detail it this coming spring, and I'm not sure if a polish is needed. The car is Alpine White, and I can't see many (if any) swirls on the paint. I'm wondering if a hand wash/clay/wax would protect it enough for all summer? When is a polish really needed? How often do you need to wax if you hand wash it at least once every two weeks?

Thanks in advance, and forgive the noob questions.
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      03-26-2011, 04:49 AM   #2
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I would suggest you do the following:
1. Wash
2. Clay
3. Paint Cleaner
4. Paint Protection
If there are no scratches or surface marring on the paint surface you donít need to polish, a paint cleaner will suffice
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      03-27-2011, 12:18 PM   #3
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The answer depends on your expectations and how much time you can put in to a detail. I've seen brand new vehicles with tons of swirls in the paint that justify polishing on day 1. Certainly newer vehicle can look great without a polish but it can also help any vehicle. Similar to TOGWT I'd suggest the following steps but a light polish instead of a paint cleaner. I'll provide you a recommendation for each step as well.

Wash/Dry - DI Packages Washing and Drying Starter Package

Clay Bar - DI Packages DI Gentle Fine Grade Clay Bar 100g & Clay Lube

Polish - For one step by hand the Meguiar's Ultra Finishing Polish M205 can help remove many ultra fine swirls, oxidation, etc. Also using a light polish like this the clear coat will be a bit smoother at the microscopic level. This in turn helps the sealant or wax applied next bond to the paint better.

Sealant - Sealants will last much longer than a wax so for most daily drivers that are not protected every couple of weeks I think a sealant works great. The Menzerna Power Lock Polymer Sealant looks awesome on white paint and it protects for about 4 - 6 months.

If you have any questions about the polish or any other part of this recommendation please let me know.

Greg
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      03-27-2011, 02:45 PM   #4
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polish is if you want your car to shine like crazy.. I'd polish every other time you wax.
(I clay/polish/wax every 4 months and wash my car every 2 weeks.)


wash
clay
wax

wash
clay
polish
wax

wash
clay
wax

wash
clay
polish
wax
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      03-27-2011, 03:37 PM   #5
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Polishing too often is not recommended, given that every time you use a cutting/penetrating polish to remove swirl marks, you are slowly slicing clear coat away. If you don't have too many swirls/hairline scratches/micro-scratches, I would advise staying away from it. Clay barring, sealing, and then waxing will go a long way. In fact, many of us skip waxing if the sealant is able to provide shine/depth/gloss (such as Blackfire Wet Diamond which is what I personally use).
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      03-27-2011, 05:01 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tips. What would be your recommendation to apply the sealant and polish with, hand or buffer? Which pads should I get?
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      03-27-2011, 05:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mke135i View Post
Thanks for the tips. What would be your recommendation to apply the sealant and polish with, hand or buffer? Which pads should I get?
Unless you need to cut into the clear coat (which it doesn't seem like you do), go by hand. Also, I wouldn't use a rotational buffer if I were you, unless you have experience in the detailing business, because you may burn your clear coat if pressure and speed are not right. If you do decide to use a buffer, go with an orbital one (I believe Porter Cable is what most people use/recommend). I personally do everything by hand on my car. I use the yellow foam applicator pads to apply, and microfiber towels to remove.
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      03-27-2011, 11:31 PM   #8
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I have a Porter Cable (12 years old now), and I use it probably once a year. Through my wash and dry routine, I try hard not to introduce swirls and such into the finish. So, once a year pretty much works for me. With that frequency, I don't worry much about removing a lot of clearcoat to "level" the finish.

In your shoes, I would wash and clay, then take a really close look at the finish, in different kinds of light (sunlight, florescent, hand-held Brinkmann light, whatever you have).

That inspection step, and your comfort level with the results, will indicate whether you want to polish. I do use and like M205 with my Porter Cable, though I get crazy and follow it with Menzerna PO85RD (hey, I'm retired; I have the time): )

I have heard of people using M205 by hand, but not sure what to use as a hand-held pad. With any hand-polish job, be prepared for an arm workout.

Yeah, be careful of rotary polishers. They work great in the right hands, but they come with a somewhat careful learning curve. A random-orbit polisher (Porter Cable and others) are fairly idiot-proof.

I'll agree with "Etien's" owner above about Blackfire Wet Diamond. Pretty easy to use, and I love the look! Doesn't seem to be as much of a dust-magnet as other products I have tried. It's at the front of my (large) product shelf. I have Black Sapphire Metallic, but I've seen Wet Diamond look awesome on Alpine White.

Have fun! A well-done "detailing" job is worth the effort.
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      03-28-2011, 06:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyMoe53 View Post
I have a Porter Cable (12 years old now), and I use it probably once a year. Through my wash and dry routine, I try hard not to introduce swirls and such into the finish. So, once a year pretty much works for me. With that frequency, I don't worry much about removing a lot of clearcoat to "level" the finish.

In your shoes, I would wash and clay, then take a really close look at the finish, in different kinds of light (sunlight, florescent, hand-held Brinkmann light, whatever you have).

That inspection step, and your comfort level with the results, will indicate whether you want to polish. I do use and like M205 with my Porter Cable, though I get crazy and follow it with Menzerna PO85RD (hey, I'm retired; I have the time): )

I have heard of people using M205 by hand, but not sure what to use as a hand-held pad. With any hand-polish job, be prepared for an arm workout.

Yeah, be careful of rotary polishers. They work great in the right hands, but they come with a somewhat careful learning curve. A random-orbit polisher (Porter Cable and others) are fairly idiot-proof.

I'll agree with "Etien's" owner above about Blackfire Wet Diamond. Pretty easy to use, and I love the look! Doesn't seem to be as much of a dust-magnet as other products I have tried. It's at the front of my (large) product shelf. I have Black Sapphire Metallic, but I've seen Wet Diamond look awesome on Alpine White.

Have fun! A well-done "detailing" job is worth the effort.
Agreed 100%. Also, the highlighted text made me laugh in a good way...I hadn't realized my signature could lead others to think Etien was the name I gave my car...it's actually my name
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      03-28-2011, 06:30 PM   #10
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Hmmm...Doesn't Etien mean "Steven" in French? (Old high school French class flashback.)

Sorry for the goof...but I do agree completely on the Wet Diamond. I recommended it to a friend who bought a used 3-series, and he liked it so much, he bought me a new bottle!

BTW--what's your method of applying/removing WD? For me, I apply with a foam applicator (careful not to use too much), and after a few seconds, I remove it with a quality microfiber towel. It is way easier for me to remove it before it dries out.

If your method is different, well, I always like to get new ideas!
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      03-28-2011, 07:34 PM   #11
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I'm impressed sir, you are correct, my name does mean Steven in French

That's great...the product is so good that word of mouth got you a free bottle haha

Like you, I use a foam applicator pad to apply it and a microfiber towel to remove it. I also noticed that it is much easier to remove before it dries out completely, however because the instructions recommend to wait, I wait until it hazes out.

One thing that I have realized from experience is that the more you remove, the less effective that specific microfiber towel becomes. In short, when you notice that removal is not as easy as it was when you started, grab a fresh towel. I fold the towel in halves twice, and that gives me 8 possible faces for removal before I have to grab a fresh one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyMoe53 View Post
Hmmm...Doesn't Etien mean "Steven" in French? (Old high school French class flashback.)

Sorry for the goof...but I do agree completely on the Wet Diamond. I recommended it to a friend who bought a used 3-series, and he liked it so much, he bought me a new bottle!

BTW--what's your method of applying/removing WD? For me, I apply with a foam applicator (careful not to use too much), and after a few seconds, I remove it with a quality microfiber towel. It is way easier for me to remove it before it dries out.

If your method is different, well, I always like to get new ideas!
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      03-29-2011, 09:54 AM   #12
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Etien--Your method is the same as mine!

If it gets into the 40s here today, I think I will wash, clay, and put a fresh coat of WD on.

The yearly polishing will wait until we really get some springtime weather here.

Thanks for the reply!
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      03-29-2011, 10:00 AM   #13
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You're very welcome friend! This past weekend was amazing weather-wise, and as of Monday morning it's been ugly. If things look good by Friday, I'm thinking wash and second coat!

Take some shots of the ride and post up when you're done!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyMoe53 View Post
Etien--Your method is the same as mine!

If it gets into the 40s here today, I think I will wash, clay, and put a fresh coat of WD on.

The yearly polishing will wait until we really get some springtime weather here.

Thanks for the reply!
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      03-29-2011, 10:30 PM   #14
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I did wash, and got another coat of WD on today. The 1er had been stored in a friend's garage from December 1 until March 1. I did notice that it needs its (minor) yearly polishing, but I'll wait for some warmer temps in April to do that.

It still looks pretty good, though. You have to search for the minor issues on the finish.

After I polish, I'll take some pics, and post.

I used more MF towels to remove the WD today than in the past. You are right. A constantly clean towel works best.

If you run into issues with removing WD, or anything else on the finish that dries out too fast (could be an issue with you in Jax), try spraying a little Meguiar's #34 "Final Inspection" on it, then use the MF towel. It takes care of the problem, and doesn't leave any oils or stuff behind.

I can find #34 here in the boonies of Pennsylvania at the local NAPA store, so you should be able to find some.

Mike (Michel)
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      03-30-2011, 06:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyMoe53 View Post
I did wash, and got another coat of WD on today. The 1er had been stored in a friend's garage from December 1 until March 1. I did notice that it needs its (minor) yearly polishing, but I'll wait for some warmer temps in April to do that.

It still looks pretty good, though. You have to search for the minor issues on the finish.

After I polish, I'll take some pics, and post.

I used more MF towels to remove the WD today than in the past. You are right. A constantly clean towel works best.

If you run into issues with removing WD, or anything else on the finish that dries out too fast (could be an issue with you in Jax), try spraying a little Meguiar's #34 "Final Inspection" on it, then use the MF towel. It takes care of the problem, and doesn't leave any oils or stuff behind.

I can find #34 here in the boonies of Pennsylvania at the local NAPA store, so you should be able to find some.

Mike (Michel)
Mike,

That's an awesome tip. I hear good things about Meguiar's #34 so I will have to get me a bottle. Also, I forgot to mention, I keep a bottle of Blackfire Deep Gloss Spray for the same purpose that you use #34, however, I'm always open to new ways/options. Thank you for the recommendation.

I know what you mean about having to look for small flaws. My car being of a dark blue, shows some very minor microscratches at very specific angles while in the sun, but one must really look for them. Sadly, I think if a car is daily-driven, it will never be "perfect", but we can always dream and get it as close as possible

Keep us posted once you polish and detail...let's see some images!
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      04-02-2011, 01:18 PM   #16
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Washed last night and gave it a second coat of BFWD this morning - again, wow! The only problem now is that my car is so clean that I don't want to drive it haha
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      04-03-2011, 02:13 PM   #17
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Washed last night and gave it a second coat of BFWD this morning - again, wow! The only problem now is that my car is so clean that I don't want to drive it haha
That is great to hear! It's a great combo that I love to use together.

Greg @ DI
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      04-06-2011, 10:21 AM   #18
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This is kinda off topic, but is there anything bad about washing the car when is lightly raining and then quickly moving it into the garage to get it dried? Reason is we are getting 60+ weather this weekend, but it looks like it might rain... really want to get my car detailed soon.
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      04-06-2011, 10:55 AM   #19
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This is kinda off topic, but is there anything bad about washing the car when is lightly raining and then quickly moving it into the garage to get it dried? Reason is we are getting 60+ weather this weekend, but it looks like it might rain... really want to get my car detailed soon.
Absolutely no issues as rain is not composed of hard water. It should be fine.
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