Should I Prep my Paint Before Waxing?

Evaluating the condition of your finish will let you determine the steps needed to prepare it for waxing. Just because your paint has no major scratches or other obvious signs of damage doesn’t mean its surfaces are as flawlessly smooth as when they were new. There are many kinds of subtle surface defects that, if not corrected, can prevent you from restoring that perfect gloss.

What is the Difference between a Polish and a Wax?

A polish is more like a paint conditioner that restores valuable oils to the paint, eliminates fine scratches and creates incredible high gloss not possible with waxes. A polish brings out the maximum in true or natural gloss in the paint finish. An application of a pure polish should always be followed by waxing to protect the paint, further boost gloss and depth and extend its life.

Which is Better – Paste or Liquid Wax?

The difference between paste and liquid wax is primarily one of convenience. Modern liquid formulas provide just the same protection as equivalent paste formulas, and are often easier and quicker to apply. Some modern pastes such as Ultimate Wax Paste are just as easy to apply as their liquid counterparts. Try both types and stick to the one you prefer to work with. You can’t go wrong with either.

What is Carnauba Wax?

Carnauba is the hardest natural wax available, harvested from palm trees in Brazil. The wax is melted down and added to Meguiar’s formulations to enhance their durability and protection against the environment. Meguiar’s uses only #1 yellow Carnauba wax, the most costly and highest quality grade.

It is a misnomer to believe that a wax product containing a very high percentage (or pure) Carnauba content is good. Pure Carnauba wax is hard and unworkable. A good quality wax will always contain a blend of other ingredients.

Do Coloured Waxes Work?

First, there are thousands of car colours used every year. Some paint companies offer over one hundred different reds alone. There is no way that a limited selection of 8-12 different-coloured waxes can hope to match your colour exactly. Second, most paints today have a top layer of paint that is clear – it does not contain the colour pigments. If you add a pigmented wax on top of the clear surface you are creating an unnatural effect that will look even stranger as the pigments in the wax fade. Imagine applying shoe polish to your windshield, and you can picture what is happening when you apply colour waxes to clear coat paint. If you are looking to restore colour and gloss from oxidised or faded paint, Meguiar’s Classic Polishing Compound [G18116] will revive colour and remove light scratches and swirls.

Is Washing and Surface Prep the Same?

Washing is the process of removing loose dirt and grime from a car’s paint. Surface prep is a separate process designed to safely remove dead, oxidized paint, as well as stubborn surface contamination that will not come off during the washing process (i.e. acid rain, stains, tree, sap).

Can I Get Rid of Stains, Spots and Smears on My Car?

The best way to get rid of stains, spots and smears is to remove them as quickly as possible, before they have a chance to bake into the paint. If you have stubborn stains, spots or smears, you will need to wash your car and then use a paint surface prep that will safely deep clean the surface and remove the contamination. This may involve a clay bar treatment followed by Ultimate Compound and perhaps Ultimate Polish also if you are looking to create a really glossy, perfect finish.

Remember to wax after using clay and/or compound and polish products as these will leave the surface completely free of wax.

Can I Hide Fine Scratches in My Paint?

The visible impact of fine scratches can be significantly improved with any of Meguiar’s waxes. Wax will penetrate the scratch and fill it in (within limits), thus making it appear much reduced. However this is not a permanent fix and we would recommend a surface preparation step prior to this in order to actually remove the fine scratches. Scratch-X, Ultimate Compound and Rubbing Compound will achieve this goal quickly and safely.

NOTE: If you can catch your fingernail on a scratch, it’s probably too deep to remove completely and we would recommend you see a professional detailer for help.

How Long Does Wax Last?

The life of a wax finish depends on many things:

1. Type and colour of paint
2. Condition of paint
3. Local environment (normal conditions and extraordinary events)
4. Number of hours exposed to outside condition
5. Quality of the wax used and method of application.

Your best choice in all cases is to rely on the highest quality surface care products available. That’s why Meguiar’s guarantees that under identical conditions, “Our wax will outlast the competition.”

What we won’t do is make outlandish claims about our best waxes lasting a specific time. Beware of those that do. Even the very best wax in the world will not survive a single wash using harsh chemicals and wash brushes.

Are Multiple Coats of Wax Beneficial?

Environmental conditions today do demand more frequent waxing to prevent costly damage to the outer layers of paint. However we don’t recommend applying two or three coats of wax at one time. While there is some slight incremental protection with each application, the effort vs. reward quickly diminishes after two coats. You’ll gain greater benefits by spreading the same number of applications over a longer period.

In other words, rather focus on getting a 100% coverage with a single application, and wax more often.

Why Must I Wax so Often?

In addition to countless environmental factors, catalytic emissions from the cars around you are depositing hydrochloric or sulfuric acid particles on your car’s upper surfaces. All of these contaminants take a toll on your car’s paint if the finish is not properly maintained. A wax provides what we can call a sacrificial barrier against these elements. It takes the strain so your paint does not have to. Thus a thin layer of wax cannot last forever and regular applications will ensure your car remains protected.

Orbital Buffer vs. Rotary Buffer?

An orbital buffer, also referred to as a DA or Dual Action polisher is specially designed to run in an eccentric circular motion. This safe, random pattern doesn’t apply torque to the surface, and assures that the buffer never concentrates its energy in one spot. A rotary buffer, as the name implies, spins in a perfect circular motion. This means it is more effective at removing paint defects but with that comes certain challenges. If you use a rotary buffer and are not skilled in its use, you can easily apply too much pressure to the paint and burn it (damage) even cut right through it requiring a new paint job. It is also easy to instil hologram swirls into the paint finish. These appear as ‘smudges’ that float in the paint but are actually very fine scratches caused by improper rotary buffer technique.

An orbital can produce great results, even in untrained hands and is far better suited to the DIY enthusiast and detailers.

What's the Best Wax for My Brand New Car?

Any new car will require a good quality wax as this is seldom applied by the dealer unless you have specifically asked (and paid) for it. Ideally you should wax your new car as soon as possible, while the paint finish is relatively free of contaminants.

If your car has just left the body shop following a re-spray, due to an accident for example, then you should hold off on waxing for a couple weeks. This is because refinish automotive paint can take a long time to fully cure (even though it feels completely dry) and applying a wax will slow down this important process. This is not relevant with new cars as they go through a high temperature curing oven process during production, something that cannot be practically replicated in a panel shop.

Does Quik Detailer Remove Wax?

No. Quik Detailer is a specially formulated product designed to add gloss and actually prolong the life of your wax by removing fresh contaminants before they bond.

Does Polish Need to Dry?

Unlike wax, polish does not need to dry. In fact, it must not be allowed to dry. Thoroughly work it into the surface one section at a time, then immediately remove the residual haze before beginning the next section. Allowing a polish to dry on the surface will not benefit the paint in anyway whatsoever and in fact, you risk damaging the paint as you will find it tough to remove, necessitating excessively hard rubbing.

How Do I Best Wipe off Polish or Wax After Applying with an Applicator Pad?

Meguiar’s research has concluded that removing product with our Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels [X2010] will produce the best results with the least effort. A quality and purpose designed Microfiber towel will not cause any damage to your paint work as any dust or abrasive particles are safely drawn up into the fibers, out of harms way.

Avoid using an old t-shirt, mutton cloth and rags on your paint – a sure fire way to instil swirls!

How Long Should I Let Wax Dry?

Under normal conditions, wax usually takes 10 -15 minutes to set up and be ready to be buffed to a shine. However, if you wipe the finish and the product streaks or smears, you need to allow a little more time for it to cure. Factors including humidity and temperature affect cure time.

Some waxes such as out Synthetic Nxt Generation Tech Wax 2.0 and Ultimate Wax actually continue to cure for some time after they have been buffed to a shine.

How Do I Remove the Rough Feeling From My Paint?

There are many environmental contaminants that adhere to your paint so stubbornly that even a high-quality car wash can’t remove them. These are mostly microscopic particles that are not seen with the naked eye but can be felt as a rough feeling. In good condition your paint should feel as smooth as glass. Meguiar’s Quik Smooth Surface Clay Kit [G1016] is specifically designed to remove these bonded surface contaminants and contains everything you need.

Claying a car is easy, risk free and the results achieved can be remarkable. Remember to follow a clay treatment with a wax application as clay will remove wax along with this e bonded contaminants..

What Causes Swirl Marks?

Swirl marks are actually microscopic scratches in the finish. Swirls are often caused by the use of a buffer with the wrong type of polishing pad and/or wax or polish. Automatic car washes can also cause swirls, along with hand car wash using the incorrect equipment, cloths and techniques.

Pads and cloths with micro abrasives (from falling on the ground or improper storage) are also a cause of swirls marks. To avoid swirls, thoroughly wash all dirt particles from your finish before applying polish or wax. Always use a 100% terry cloth towel or Meguiar’s Microfibre Supreme Shine Microfber Towel [X2010] because the fibers draw any contaminants on the surface into the towel instead of allowing them to scratch the sensitive paint.

How Can I Remove Swirl Marks from My Cars Paint Surface?

Meguiar’s Scratch-X is clear coat safe & ideal for removing swirl marks/fine scratches from the most sensitive of paint finishes. Used with our foam hand applicator pad, it won’t dull, dull-off or scar the clear coat finish. If your paint is also oxidised or faded, Color X will dramatically revive colour whilst also removing fine scratches and swirls. Always wipe off with our Microfibre polishing cloth (AG3030).

NOTE: If you can catch your fingernail on a scratch, it’s deep and we would recommend you see a professional detailer for help.

What is Clear Coat Paint?

Today, over 90% of all factory finishes are clear coated. A clear coat finish is a multi-layer paint system comprised of a primer, a base coat (the pigment colour of your car), and a clear coat. Although a clear coat does protect the base coat, it is very sensitive to scratches and swirl marks because of its clear, non-pigmented layer that allows light to reflect through it.

Are certain waxes in your range better than others ?

Essentially, yes. Technology with respect to waxes and automotive wax research and development has come along way and Meguiar’s has always been at the forefront of this development process. Generally synthetic waxes are more resilient and thus will outlast waxes based on natural components – and this includes Carnauba. Synthetic waxes tend to be priced higher due to the more complex formulations and technology involved. However, every vehicle and it’s owner are different as are the environmental conditions in which you reside. Thus your purchasing decision should not be made on price alone. Find a wax that works for you and use it. A good quality wax applied poorly and sporadically is going to serve a far lesser value than an entry level wax applied carefully and regularly.

Do any of your waxes contain abrasives?

Some of our waxes contain cleaners. These may in some cases be considered micro-abrasives which are extremely fine. They are not suitable for removing scratches but will help clean the paint while you wax.

For Surface Prep, What’s the Difference between Classic Rubbing Compound, Scratch-X and Ultimate Compound?

All three products are designed to remove fine scratches and swirls. Scratch X is best suited to small areas and isolated scratches – for example under door handles or an isolated bird dropping that has left a mark on the paint.

Ultimate Compound and Rubbing Compound are more suited to large areas, or the entire car. Ultimate Compound contains a more aggressive/effective abrasive and is thus most effective at removing scratches, swirls, scuffs stains etc.

How Do I Remove Tree Sap from My Cars Paint?

Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay Kit [G1016] is designed to grab these bonded contaminants and remove them without scratching the finish. After using the Clay System we recommend you reapply your favorite Meguiar’s wax as clay will remove any wax protection.

You can safely use the clay on glass windows also. Be sure to use the supplied lubricant [Quik Detailer A3316] while claying – both to protect the clay and your paint finish.

Is Hot Rims All Wheel Cleaner safe to use on my wheels?

If your wheels have a coating on them – typical of most factory OEM wheels, then Hot Rims All Wheel Cleaner [G9524] is perfectly safe. It should not be used on chrome wheels or wheels that have a raw metal (non coated) finish. Further to this, take care when applying to wheels when you have powder coated or painted brake callipers.

The new formulation of Hot Rims All Wheel Cleaner released in early 2013 is also extremely effective at cleaning the tyre rubber.

Are Our Glass Cleaners Safe to use on Tinted Windows?

Yes! All our glass cleaners including Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner in both trigger and aerosol forms are perfectly safe on tinted window films. Make sure you use a quality lint free microfiber towel to wipe the glass and tint films down to ensure no scratching.

What Product to Clean and Protect Interior Trim?

Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer [G13616] is the quick and easy solution. A simple spray on and wipe product fur use on all interior plastics, rubber, vinyl and leather. It has no gloss enhancer and leaves surfaces clean and natural looking,

Alternatively if you prefer a satin sheen, or if the surface is in less than perfect condition, Natural Shine [G4116] cleans, conditions & protects all vinyl & rubber surfaces. It restores colour/shine providing cleaning agents to remove dirt and grime adding lasting UV protection. Not recommended for leather.

For a higher gloss and the ultimate in UV protection, our Ultimate Protectant is ideal for use on plastic, rubber and vinyl surfaces.

For leather, our Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner [G7214 and G17914] are specially formulated to clean, nourish, rejuvenate and protect leather surfaces without leaving any oily residues.

How Can I Clean & Protect My Soft Top Convertible?

“Cloth Fabric” soft-tops, cannot be cleaned using any of our products other than our car wash solutions. Manufacture of this cloth material has inbuilt waterproof protection & using any Meguiar’s cleaner can harm the waterproofing.

We suggest washing with a Meguiar’s car wash solution together with a soft bristle brush, gently agitate to loosen the dirt, then rinse off with a strong flow of water. However, if the soft top is of vinyl or rubber, Meguiar’s Natural Shine Protectant (G4110) cleans, conditions and protects vinyl & rubber surfaces, helping to restore a ‘like new’ colour and shine. Contains cleaners to remove dirt and grime while providing UV protection & lasting power.

How to Remove Polish/Wax from Exterior Rubber and Plastic Trim?

Meguiar’s Gold Class Trim Detailer [G10810] is ideal products for removal of polish/wax residue from rubbers. It also restores colour & richness to discoloured trim/mouldings and is suitable for use on all porous & non-porous black trim.

Of course, best is to avoid getting polish and wax on these surfaces in the first place.

How to clean and maintain tyres?

Using a soft bristle brush, scrub the tyres with a Meguiar’s car wash solution. Alternatively Hot Rims All Wheel Cleaner is also a powerful tyre cleaner. Rinse off with a strong flow of water. After drying, Meguiar’s have a range of tyre maintenance products to suit your individual requirements:

Hot Shine Tire Trigger [G12024] and Hot Shine Tire Coating (G13815) helps to eliminate mess. Another firm favourite is Endurance High Gloss Tyre – available in gel, aerosol and trigger spray. Endurance has built a name for itself over the years as an extremely long lasting tyre gel that will not attract dirt and grime and will not wash off in the rain.

How Do I Get the Best Results when applying a wax to my car?

When using any of out waxes, “less is best”. There is no need to apply a wax product thickly – it just becomes difficult to remove and buff to a shine. Always apply onto a cool, dry and clean paint surface. For cooler temperature regions or in high humidity areas, a longer cure time is usually required. Apply with even pressure in small overlapping circles, taking care to ensure 1oo% coverage of the surface. Avoid getting onto rubber and plastic trim.

We recommend using the Meguiar’s Supreme Shine Microfiber Towel X2010 for a faster, cleaner and safer wipe-off.

Is it ok to use any Meguiar’s car wash product with any combination of polish and wax?

All Meguiar’s car wash products are PH neutral, containing no harsh detergent based chemicals that strip away the wax and are therefore safe to use with any of our polishes/waxes. Meguiar’s products are formulated and tested to work with all other products in the brand, thus it is safe to use our Gold Class Car Shampoo with Ultimate Polish followed by Nxt Generation Tech Wax for example.

Is PlastX (G12310) Ok to use on painted plastic surfaces?

PlastX is not suited and we do not recommend it for use on painted plastic surfaces. PlastX does contain a particular type of micro abrasives especially formulated to polish clear plastics without altering optical clarity. These micro abrasives could potentially mar or damage the surface of glossy painted plastics.

What is the Difference between Final Inspection, Quik Detailer and the New Ultimate Quik Detailer

All of these products are in the same family and are designed to enhance the shine and protection of your paint without scratching the surface. Ultimate Quik Detailer is the newest product in this family and it’s highly advanced formula contains synthetic polymer technology, making it easier to remove fresh surface contaminants with superior lubricating agents. it also contains a powerful hydrophobic component, causing water to bead and run off the surface. Because of its super lubricity, it is not recommended as a lubricant for Clay. Here Quik Detailer is ideal.

M34 Final Inspection is a body shop paint-safe product meaning that it contains no silicones in its formulation. This attribute is only on interest to panel shops where spray painting take place and thus M34 is not offered in traditional retail channels.