Did I detail my car right?

Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
1,161
Location
N. Georgia Mtns
First of all I want to acknowledge the fact that I'm not a detail guru. I keep my own cars looking good but I do that from the very beginning of owning a car and don't let things get out of hand. My son's car was totaled this past Winter and he took over my DIL's car and bought her a new one. The car had not received a lot of TLC since they both have very busy lives. He came out recently and we set out to get his car looking good. I used this method: 1. Completely washed the car with Dawn dish detergent. 2. Clayed the car using Meguiar's Quick Detailer as a lubricant. 3. Applied a coat of Meguiar's Cleaner Wax. 4. Finished with a coat of Meguiar's Carnuba Gold Wax. The car certainly looked a lot better and actually had some pop to the shine. Besides using different products, I was just wondering if I should have done something else during the process that would have improved on the finished product? I used Meguiar's products since I had enough on hand to get the job done.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
May 9, 2010
Messages
2,920
Location
Illinois, U.S.A
You did a better job than 90% of vehicle owners. Two things I would change; don't use Dawn as your soap, and while Meguiars Carnuba is a good product I woukt recommend their Ultimate Wax as a final coat.
 
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
13,792
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Indeed, leave the Dawn Dish Soap in the kitchen. I'll dry the paint over the years to beyond what wax/silicon products can bring back! Use only car wash soaps.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
1,468
Location
Gulf Coast, MS
Dawn is good at stripping old wax. But I would like to recommend meguiars ultimate wax also. But put it on as your first wax. Skip cleaner wax and use carnuba was last if you like. Your best wax goes on first since it will last the longest. Meguiars ultimate is actually a sealent which lasts several months. The carnuba will not last half that time. Meguiars ultimate isn't a color enhancer its more of a gloss. The carnuba will give you the deep rich color.
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
8,009
Location
FL, USA
You did a great job. I would have used a more durable wax or sealant for the final coat but what you did is just fine, just know it wont last more than 3 months or so, so you will need to re apply. Good job!
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2012
Messages
3,159
Location
Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: jmb106
I would add a polish after clay bar and before wax.
I think that is why he used the cleaner wax. You did a great job! I do agree with everybody that you should skip the dawn wash and using a dedicated polish (meguiars makes a good ultimate polish.) This is also if your car has imperfections that you wish to smooth out otherwise I would skip polish completely.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2007
Messages
466
Location
Coconut Creek Fla
Originally Posted By: Bgallagher
Originally Posted By: jmb106
I would add a polish after clay bar and before wax.
I think that is why he used the cleaner wax. You did a great job! I do agree with everybody that you should skip the dawn wash and using a dedicated polish (meguiars makes a good ultimate polish.) This is also if your car has imperfections that you wish to smooth out otherwise I would skip polish completely.
I meant a Polishing glaze to add shine, not a compound to level out paint imperfections. Sorry if i was not clear in what i meant.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2012
Messages
3,159
Location
Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: jmb106
Originally Posted By: Bgallagher
Originally Posted By: jmb106
I would add a polish after clay bar and before wax.
I think that is why he used the cleaner wax. You did a great job! I do agree with everybody that you should skip the dawn wash and using a dedicated polish (meguiars makes a good ultimate polish.) This is also if your car has imperfections that you wish to smooth out otherwise I would skip polish completely.
I meant a Polishing glaze to add shine, not a compound to level out paint imperfections. Sorry if i was not clear in what i meant.
Ah, I see what you mean. A nice glaze will add some great pop to it before waxing. if the paint has any imperfections a dedicated polish will help to eliminate or reduce them
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2003
Messages
486
Location
Los Angeles, CA
You did great. I'm pretty sure you used Dawn as a car wash solely as part of the wax pre-prep. I would probably use it too since regular car wash with no wax that isn't the cheapest of the cheap is becoming harder to find. I'd continue to use the Meg's products until you finish them. Next time consider replacing the cleaner wax with Meguiars's ultimate polish or if you want milder, use Mother's Ultimate Step 2 (polish/glaze) and use a synthetic wax. Why? Since you intended to polish, might as well use a great product intended as a polish. smile Also synthetic waxes are super easy to apply. Meaning you can put more of your muscle energy toward polishing instead of applying wax. By the way, other polishes exist. I have no experience with them. Meg's and Mothers are readily available at your auto parts store/WalMart/Target.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
1,468
Location
Gulf Coast, MS
Originally Posted By: Bgallagher
Originally Posted By: jmb106
I would add a polish after clay bar and before wax.
I think that is why he used the cleaner wax. You did a great job! I do agree with everybody that you should skip the dawn wash and using a dedicated polish (meguiars makes a good ultimate polish.) This is also if your car has imperfections that you wish to smooth out otherwise I would skip polish completely.
Agreed, when I waxed mine I polished it also. Had a spot on my hood I missed somehow and didn't notice it until after I waxed it. Got a 3-4 inch white line on my hood. Polish is alright but its just an extra step. I haven't really noticed any noticeable results from the polish personally but I have a tan car. I'm sure it more notice-able on a darker colored car.
 

Sierra048

Thread starter
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
1,161
Location
N. Georgia Mtns
Thanks for all the great replies and tips. I learn from doing and asking questions. I had several follow up comments and questions: 1. I used Dawn because I thought that was needed (especially after reading some prior threads here) to prep the surface. Since I was claying afterwards, washing with a regular car wash would have been preferred over the Dawn? 2. I understood the need to prep the surface which is why I used the Dawn and then clayed. I get confused when some say to polish then wax, or polish and glaze or glaze and then use a carnuba wax to finish. I guess my problem is I don't understand the differences in the functions of the cleaner waxes vs the polishes vs the glazes vs the waxes. If you could share a little bit more on this aspect I think I might get a better feel for what I need to do to accomplish my goals. Again, many thanks for the helpful input. One of the biggest reasons that this is such a favorite site of mine.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Messages
5,444
Location
MTL, CANADA
I dont think you did anything wrong by using dawn. Dawn strips all the wax off, than you clayed with removed the paint contamination. A polish is used to remove or cover up slight paint defects..worse defects might require rubbing compound which is simply a more abrasive product that yoylu might use a DA machine to apply. Essentially you would use the least abrasive necessary and move to less abrasive. Rubbing compound-polishing compound-polish-cleaner wax than on to waxes. You wont necessarily use the cleaner wax. Cleaner wax is more a one step product that cleans the surface and leaves behind a wax coat. I look at paint prep like sanding. You start with a coarser grit and work towards a finer grit. You wont use coarse grit and than go right to applying wax..using a rubbing compound may expose small scratches that will be removed by polishing compound or polish. Once you move on to waxes, some would use a synthetic wax first followed by a glaze. I could be wrong but the glaze is for the look, it makes the car shiny, like a high carnauba wax product. Not extremely durable thus the first coat of synthetic wax. So a polish removes minor defects small scratches etc..than you follow with a wax which typically has no abrasives in it just a protective layer and a glaze last to improve the gloss and appearance. Hope this helps!
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2007
Messages
466
Location
Coconut Creek Fla
Originally Posted By: Sierra048
Thanks for all the great replies and tips. I learn from doing and asking questions. I had several follow up comments and questions: 1. I used Dawn because I thought that was needed (especially after reading some prior threads here) to prep the surface. Since I was claying afterwards, washing with a regular car wash would have been preferred over the Dawn? 2. I understood the need to prep the surface which is why I used the Dawn and then clayed. I get confused when some say to polish then wax, or polish and glaze or glaze and then use a carnuba wax to finish. I guess my problem is I don't understand the differences in the functions of the cleaner waxes vs the polishes vs the glazes vs the waxes. If you could share a little bit more on this aspect I think I might get a better feel for what I need to do to accomplish my goals. Again, many thanks for the helpful input. One of the biggest reasons that this is such a favorite site of mine.
Go snoop around Meguires website they have lots of info on the correct steps. Or Autogeeks website i am sure they have the information you are looking for.
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
6,040
Location
DFW
I used Ivory Liquid as a car wash soap after reading an article about detailing in Car & Driver in the early 90's. I switched back to dedicated car wash soap eventually, but I had used Ivory for about ten years. This was on a 1989 Honda Accord that was white - no clearcoat used in the 80's on Honda's white cars. I waxed with Meguiar's cleaner/wax only. The paint was still smooth, shiny, and beading water in 2012 before I got rid of the car. I used to wax it four times a year, but reduced to twice a year after getting a job that includes access to a parking garage.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2012
Messages
1,876
Location
Southwest
Originally Posted By: Sierra048
First of all I want to acknowledge the fact that I'm not a detail guru. I keep my own cars looking good but I do that from the very beginning of owning a car and don't let things get out of hand. My son's car was totaled this past Winter and he took over my DIL's car and bought her a new one. The car had not received a lot of TLC since they both have very busy lives. He came out recently and we set out to get his car looking good. I used this method: 1. Completely washed the car with Dawn dish detergent. 2. Clayed the car using Meguiar's Quick Detailer as a lubricant. 3. Applied a coat of Meguiar's Cleaner Wax. 4. Finished with a coat of Meguiar's Carnuba Gold Wax. The car certainly looked a lot better and actually had some pop to the shine. Besides using different products, I was just wondering if I should have done something else during the process that would have improved on the finished product? I used Meguiar's products since I had enough on hand to get the job done.
I admit: My opinion is an outlier. Don't use Dawn. Ford says not to in their manual and I bet others do too. Furthermore, it doesn't work. I keep reading how it makes the sealant "melt away" well, it doesn't. Not with my four or five month old Collinite sealant anyway and probably others. Otherwise, I don't have a huge problem with your protocol, except its probably unnecessarily complicated. If you need the abrasive action of an all-in-one cleaner, by all means use one. But that should be good enough to go straight to a spray wax. Do you really need that abrasive action? If your finish is in good condition, just put a non-abrasive sealant on there and maybe a beauty wax if you are so inclined.
 

Sierra048

Thread starter
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
1,161
Location
N. Georgia Mtns
Originally Posted By: jmb106
Originally Posted By: Sierra048
Thanks for all the great replies and tips. I learn from doing and asking questions. I had several follow up comments and questions: 1. I used Dawn because I thought that was needed (especially after reading some prior threads here) to prep the surface. Since I was claying afterwards, washing with a regular car wash would have been preferred over the Dawn? 2. I understood the need to prep the surface which is why I used the Dawn and then clayed. I get confused when some say to polish then wax, or polish and glaze or glaze and then use a carnuba wax to finish. I guess my problem is I don't understand the differences in the functions of the cleaner waxes vs the polishes vs the glazes vs the waxes. If you could share a little bit more on this aspect I think I might get a better feel for what I need to do to accomplish my goals. Again, many thanks for the helpful input. One of the biggest reasons that this is such a favorite site of mine.
Go snoop around Meguires website they have lots of info on the correct steps. Or Autogeeks website i am sure they have the information you are looking for.
Took your advice and visited those websites. Really good information there. Never heard of Autogeeks before and never gave a thought to visit the Meguiars site beforehand. Thanks.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2007
Messages
466
Location
Coconut Creek Fla
Originally Posted By: Sierra048
Originally Posted By: jmb106
Originally Posted By: Sierra048
Thanks for all the great replies and tips. I learn from doing and asking questions. I had several follow up comments and questions: 1. I used Dawn because I thought that was needed (especially after reading some prior threads here) to prep the surface. Since I was claying afterwards, washing with a regular car wash would have been preferred over the Dawn? 2. I understood the need to prep the surface which is why I used the Dawn and then clayed. I get confused when some say to polish then wax, or polish and glaze or glaze and then use a carnuba wax to finish. I guess my problem is I don't understand the differences in the functions of the cleaner waxes vs the polishes vs the glazes vs the waxes. If you could share a little bit more on this aspect I think I might get a better feel for what I need to do to accomplish my goals. Again, many thanks for the helpful input. One of the biggest reasons that this is such a favorite site of mine.
Go snoop around Meguires website they have lots of info on the correct steps. Or Autogeeks website i am sure they have the information you are looking for.
Took your advice and visited those websites. Really good information there. Never heard of Autogeeks before and never gave a thought to visit the Meguiars site beforehand. Thanks.
Your welcome.
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
2,408
Location
CA
The dawn wasn't necessary because you weren't using a coating treatment that requires an absolutely wax-free surface to chemically bond too. Instead you followed up with pretty regular polish/wax products that didn't require the dawn stripping. While the gold is fine and dandy, I would agree in that if you spent so much time and effort in the process, you would be better served with using a more expensive wax product that would give you close to the same result or better/different result but last much longer. Every car looks great just waxed, and it is a personal preference and you see terms like a warm glow or shiny reflective or whatever thrown around. And why people say nothing is better than carnuba. But unless you are set on a specific look for a 1-day show, you need to take durability and ease of use into account, and compromise an ideal look for 99% look that might last longer than 2weeks. First time perhaps you find the time well spent and fun. Later on you just want to maximize the return on your time spent detailing. So I would recommend picking some products that are a bit more modern and have much higher durability, to give you a longer result for the time you spent on it. These don't have to be super boutique, the meguiar's ultimate mentioned previously should get you much better bang for your buck with less work needed
 
Last edited:
Top