Polishing, Glazing, Waxing & Sealing.
In this blog section I will dispel some myths and hopefully correct some historic inaccuracies from previous brands advertising.
First of all each method with have different results and lengths of protection. Some will also have enhancing and corrective abilities.
In this section I will only talk about products that are hand applied, I will however show you what can be achieved with machine polishing so you know which method will be best for your paint.
A polish has 2 jobs when hand applied. Correct very minor marks (light swirls, towel marks and cobwebbing from contaminants during the wash process) and provide an even finish to prepare the surface for a good wax.
Polish is not wax. They are 2 very different things often described as the same from years of misinformation of an older generation.
Polish is your first step after washing and drying to enhance and add gloss and depth to tired and dull paintwork.
A glaze does 1 job. Fills in swirl marks and hides paint imperfections temporarily for a quick tidy up. Ideal for show season, or a pre sale smarten up.
Sealants are newer tech in the cleaning world. They are best applied to bare paint (no Polish, glaze or wax) as they are designed to bond for longer the paintwork and provide around 6 months protection (brand dependant). Whilst they offer excellent water repellancy and slickness they are not always as glossy and repellant as a traditional hard wax.
The pinnacle of paint protection for many years. These come in all sorts of mixes, fragrances, thicknesses and colours.
The best type for ease of use and overall performance are waxes with a high caranuba content. This is the natural water repellancy element that is harnessed from trees and plants allowing for excellent protection. Waxes are designed to be high gloss and enhancing to a vehicles paint/clear coat and easy to apply and remove provided you adhere to the manufacturers guidance.
All of the above products should be applied in the same way.
Hand applied via a small sponge application, in moderate circles with minimal pressure.
Avoid using too much product and avoid pushing that product into panel gaps and edges.
Work on cool panels out of direct sunlight and work with 1 panel at a time. This ensures you'll only be concentrating on 1 area and avoid either missing or cooking product onto a panel.
If for any reason a product sticks/bakes/dries you can reapply fresh product to remove the old.
Removal of product will depend again on manufacture guides but as a rule most are ready to remove in 2/3 minutes with a soft fresh microfiber cloth.
Use the rule of 80-20. 80% removal with 1 side and then flip the cloth over to remove the last 20%. This avoids chasing excess product around the panels leading to streaks or missed bits.
This hopefully seperates the 4 main areas of surface protection. For the most part you will Polish then Wax or Glaze then wax at home on the drive.
The further you advance you'll more likely move on to Polish, Panel wipe, Seal then wax for the ultimate in hand applied protection.
Below are a few examples of where machine polishing has to step in. Mechanical abrasion is used along side dedicated polishes and even tougher compounds to cut unto the first few microns of a vehicles surface to reduce or remove swirls and scratches.
And that should cover most basic questions about paint enhancement and protection that you can utilise at home on the drive way.
Next time I'll be sticking with the outside and talk trim and tyre dressing, glass cleaning and chrome work.
Damien @ 3D+ Detail