An old adage says: "April showers bring May flowers." I'd like to add:
"and dirty cars!" With gloomy weather and poor driving conditions in
the rear-view mirror and sunny days ahead, now is the perfect time to
give your vehicle a thorough spring cleaning. To help maintain that
new-car shine through spring and into summer, Meguiar's, the
century-old leader in vehicle appearance care, has sent us this list of
what they call the "Dirty Dozen" car care myths, as well as real facts
on how to keep your vehicle looking its best.
Myth 1: Dishwashing detergent is safe to use as car wash.
Absolutely Not! Would you use dishwashing detergent on your hair? Then why would you use it on your car? With repeated use, dishwashing detergents remove everything from your paint finish including waxes, silicones, and polymers. For best results, use a pH-balanced car wash product. Whether you use Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash or other high-quality products, these products contain cleansers and conditioners specifically formulated to enhance the appearance and protection of automotive paint finishes.
Myth 2: Washing and cleaning are the same.
While they sound similar, they are vastly different procedures. A car wash removes loose contaminants from your finish like dust, road grime, and fresh bird droppings. On the other hand, paint cleaners and clay bars such as ScratchX and Meguiar's Smooth Surface Clay Kit remove stubborn stains, blemishes, and bonded contaminants like paint overspray and tree sap mist that won't flush off with simple washing.
Myth 3: If a car looks shiny, the cleaning process can be skipped.
Not until you complete a thorough physical and visual evaluation of your paint finish can you determine that your car is clean. The surface should be as smooth as glass. If it isn't, you should be able to feel bonded contaminants that can be easily removed with a clay bar for easier application and wipe off of polishes and waxes with dazzling results.
Myth 4: Clay bars should only be used by professionals.
If you have ever played with Silly Putty, you can use a clay bar. The bar will grab and gently remove all bonded contaminants, leaving the surface silky smooth.
Myth 5: Waxing can remove swirl marks.
Swirl marks are scratches and the only way to remove a scratch from paint finish is to reduce the thickness of the paint down to the bottom of the scratch. Micro-fine, hairline scratches can often be removed by hand using a non-abrasive paint cleaner, or scratch-removing cleaner. Moderate scratches may require use of a polisher, and deeper swirl marks caused by the improper use of rotary buffers and rubbing compounds may well require professional color sanding and buffing.
Myth 6: There is no difference between polishing and waxing.
The sole purpose of polishing is to create a brilliant high-gloss surface. Meguiar's Deep Crystal Polish promises a fast, easy way to create a stunning show car shine. Polishing removes a microscopic layer of paint and creates a fresh, glistening surface, but does nothing to protect paint. Waxing a car protects the finish from the elements by coating it with waxes, polymers, resins, and silicones. Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0 provides superior protection with its blend of rich nutrients and tough polymers. Waxing will not make a dull surface shiny, but will protect your freshly polished paint.
Myth 7: Machine polishers damage the paint finish.
Even novices can quickly master the use of a dual action polisher or orbital buffer without any risk of burning the paint finish. However, rotary buffers, which operate at much higher RPMs, are best left to trained professionals.
Myth 8: Diapers, t-shirts, and flannel make good cleaning cloths.
Always use 100% cotton, terrycloth towels, like Meguiar's Soft Buff Terry Towel or premium microfiber towels, like the Meguiar's Supreme Shine Microfiber, to eliminate uncertainty and reduce the time and effort required for wipe downs.
Myth 9: Wax protection can be guaranteed to last up to 1 year.
There is no integrity in guaranteeing the protective time because every car and every car owner is different, along with the environment in which the car is in.
Myth 10: Paste wax offers greater protection than liquid wax.
There are now liquid and paste car waxes on the market that offer equal ease of use and performance qualities. Two examples are Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0 Liquid and NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0 Paste, both of which provide quality and performance as well as the company's water-repelling "hydrophobic polymer" technology to help preserve the shine.
Myth 11: Lighting a hood on fire without damaging the paint finish proves the protective qualities of a car wax.
Regardless of whether the paint finish is protected with a coat of some magic formulation, it should be unaffected by flaming alcohol. When you place your hand directly where the flame has been the moment the flame goes out, you will discover that the surface is barely warm. It is simply a demonstration of physics.
Myth 12: Once a car is waxed, regularly protecting the paint finish becomes unnecessary.
The best long-term protection for your vehicle is to regularly remove contaminants with a mist and wipe product before they have time to bond to your paint's finish.
In recognition of Car Care Month, customers that purchase $20 worth of Meguiar's automotive retail or marine products from April 1 - June 30, 2008, will receive a $5 rebate. This offer applies to products purchased from retailers nationwide. For more information, visit Meguiar's com, or download the rebate form here.