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May 22, 2015

Polishing and waxing your car
By Scott Roush
If you are like me, you love the look of your car after you have polished and waxed it. If you are also like me, you probably find yourself putting off this task until you can find the time to squeeze it into your busy schedule.

But waxing your car isn't the timely, labor-extensive chore you might think it is. A few hours spent a couple times a year will give your car a new look. Once you finish the job, you have the satisfaction of giving your car that showroom gleam that not only looks great but also will protect the vehicle's paint from the elements.

When to Polish and Wax

Before getting started, you probably want to know the best time to polish and wax your car. Most people do it twice a year, once in the spring to remove the ravages of winter and once in the fall to prepare it for the upcoming winter.

One way to tell if it's time to polish and wax your car is to watch what happens when you wash your car. Does the water bead up on the roof and hood or does it run off in sheets? Experts say the rounder the beads of water, the better. As soon as the beads start to flatten out, it's time to wax.

Some people also recommend applying the wax when your car is in the shade. But sometimes you may not to have your car parked in the shade. One way to determine if it is too hot to wax is to put your hand on the car's surface. If you have to pull it away, then it's too hot to wax.

All About Paint

New cars and trucks are almost all painted with a clear-coat finish. This paint is much more resistant to oxidation. This happens when ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes the paint to gradually deteriorate into white chalky dullness.

Clear coats protect better than conventional finishes, allowing new car paint to hold up many years longer. Older cars painted with a conventional finish will face more problems with oxidation than vehicles painted with clear coats.

Although they do protect better than conventional paints, it's a myth that clear-coat finishes don't have to be waxed. They are still subjected to contamination from elements such as bird droppings, bugs, tree sap, industrial fallout and airborne pollutants.

Selecting a Wax

When choosing a wax, make sure it is the right product for your paint. Check the label to see if the wax can be used on clear-coat finishes. Most waxes on the market can be used on clear coats, but there are exceptions. Clear coat paints are quite thin and an abrasive wax may damage the finish.

Car enthusiasts recommend using a carnauba wax. It gives your car a great look, but use caution. It is the hardest natural wax available. If you see a wax that says it's pure carnauba, it means the part that is carnauba is pure, not that it's 100-percent carnauba. Start with a mild wax and go to a more abrasive product if you feel your car needs more protection.

In addition, select a quality wax. This will help you better achieve excellent results. Ask your local detailer or car dealer for recommendations.

Come back tomorrow for more advice on how to achieve the perfect polish!



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