Ok well here is a rough guide I came up with to help some newbies. The good thing is that the materials and tools used are easy to source.
Any questions just fire away!
Ok here are the stages to keep a car looking its best, whether new or old paint-work this system works, on specific colours different polishes and waxes can look better/worse than others.
The polishing stages can be done with a PC or rotary and hand.
Firstly you must have a clean car to start with so washing properly is a valuable step; you also need the correct tools to work with.
Two buckets, two or more mitts, good waffle weave towel to dry and some car wash clear coat safe stuff too!
Just now many good washes are available, personally I opt for.
-Meguiars Soft wash gel
-Meguiars NXT (removes more protection than soft wash)
-1Z Perls Monthly/Weekly depending on dirt build up.
-Poorboys slick suds
Fill one bucket with soap and water solution and the other with warm water, the soap solution is to use with a clean mitt only and the other is to dunk the used mitt to clean any particles that may scratch the paint. Next wash from roof down (equally) donít do roof to skirt on passenger side then move onto roof to skirt on driver. Use one mitt for the roof to door and another for door to skirt.
Next just hose down and dry thoroughly with a Waffle Weave (WW)
Ok so you have cleaned the car now you want to clay it, using some new soap and water solution for lubrication just put some on the area with the mitt; make sure the clay has some solution on it too and rub back and forth, check your work and donít lean to heavily. Turn the clay when you see it getting dirty.
Next you may want to wash again or just rinse personal preference.
Ok so we are now onto surface analysis, look around the car looking for any deep scratches, swirls etc. Evaluate what polish you would want to attack the car with to get it ready for some sealant.
Apply your choice of polish to the terry towel or applicator pad (terry towel has more of a bite and better for oxidisation) then rub north-south, east-west and diagonals, never in a circle.
For this step I use and have access to a range of polishes, the ones I would recommend are.
1Z Intensive Polish
Meguiars Deep Crystal Stage 1 paint cleaner
Dual Action Cleaner Polish
Once you have worked in the product remove with a micro fibre polishing towel, make sure it is plush and is high quality.
Ok so you have a nice looking base for some perfecting, the step before is to flatten out the clear/single stage and make sure it is as scratch free and swirl free as possible.
So you now want to perfect that finish with a finer polish such as;
Autoglym Super Resin Polish (Dark Colours)
1Z Paint Polish (Dark Colours)
3M Machine Polish (Dark Colours)
Meguiars Deep Crystal Polish (Dark Colours)
Meguiars new car glaze #7 (Dark colours)
Meguiars #80 speed glaze (Red, black etc)
Ok so you have polished the car now and itís ready to be sealed. This is just a simple wipe over with your favourite sealant, some favourites of mine just now are;
NXT (has slight cleaners so may remove some glaze) (Metallic)
Autoglym Gloss (Shine)
Menzerna FMJ (Flake, Reflective)
4 star UPP (Flake, Reflective)
After this step its best to wait 24 hours before applying another coat or adding a wax.
24 hours have elapsed and your car has some dust, ok you can wash or quick detail. With Quick detail you just simply spray and wipe to expose your sealed surface. Make sure you have enough lubrication or you will scratch the surface.
Now here is the choice, many of todayís sealants are rumoured to be layer able although there is only a few that have been proved. In my opinion I would add one more layer and thatís it (unless you are working with an acrylic or layer able product), as it gives a more even coverage. If it did not cure or bite properly the last time, chances are it will this time.
Wait another 24 hours and applying your favourite wax. Donít ruin it now by reaching for the turtle wax extreme. Invest in a good wax e.g;
Clearkote Carnauba Moose (Dark Colours)
Souveran Paste Wax (Gloss, depth)
Poorboys Nattys (Gloss and depth)
Meguiars #16 (Depth, Flake, Gloss)
The wheels and trim were left out as everyone has their own choice of what they do. Although a good wheel cleaner like Meguiars/Poorboys etc is a must as some of the other brands can destroy the finish if not compatible with the wheels.
A good idea is to mix twice the normal washing strength of shampoo to test first on delicate alloys/chrome wheels etc.
A handy tip is to polish and seal the wheels after they are completely clean to help with future washing.
Trim can be dressed in many finishes from satin to gloss. The protectants normally state what finish is left on the container.
For help on choosing the correct product for your needs go to the experts
while you are there sign up too, excellent advice and lots of information.
All products can be bought from various website based companies here are just a few.
Finally an excellent step by step video to ultimate paint protection and preparation.