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      04-17-2024, 11:55 AM   #1
Zed4Em
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Ok to skip polish or paint correction and just wash and wax?

Dear all,

This is my first time owning a proper weekend car (06 Z4MR - Imola Red). The paint is generally in very good shape, with some chips, swirls, and curb rash at the bottom of the passenger side front bumper.

Coming from the world of vintage watches, I am inclined to keep things "unpolished" and just use a good PH neutral foaming soap using a spray cannon and two buckets, and then apply wax after a good wash.

Is there any downside in just accepting the car's cosmetic condition as is, and washing/waxing regularly (once every 2 weeks perhaps) to maintain? Any long-term issues with this minimalist approach?

Thanks!
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      04-17-2024, 12:38 PM   #2
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See 99% of other cars on road and you have your answer. Though most of those still wont even wash every 2 weeks.
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      04-17-2024, 12:44 PM   #3
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Removing swirls (polishing paint) is mostly about looks. A more perfect surface will better accept protection thus better resisting contamination, but I think it'd be minor.

By never polishing the paint, you'd have more paint left to sacrifice, if need be. The paint being marred, however, wouldn't show how deep the clear is - you'd need to polish to show that off.

Finishing products (wax, polymer, ceramic) can only highlight the current condition of the paint. The deep gloss comes from polishing, not so much the topping product.

There are no issues with what you propose, other than unsightly marring that only some of us really sweat over.
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      04-17-2024, 01:27 PM   #4
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Good responses so far. Don't fall victim to believing you "need" it. I would recommend doing at least a clay bar so the wax has some proper adhesion. Also I am going to guess you simply enjoy the process of waxing (totally fine), but from a protection standpoint using a ceramic spray is more efficient in all aspects. In case you weren't aware.

Either way I think you should post some pics because that's a great car. Cheers.
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      04-17-2024, 04:17 PM   #5
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No, there is zero issues or downsides to doing that. It is all about how you want your paint to look. And to clarify by how it looks, we're talking about swirls and spider webbing which is usually seen more on a real sunny day or with a bright light shining on the car.

You can still clean and wax your car and it will pop but will show swirls in sun. You can also get car glazes that help hide the swirls by filling them but those are only temporary solutions. But yeah, no issues whatsoever, most people simply wash and wax their car.
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      04-17-2024, 04:27 PM   #6
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Appreciate all the responses! Will keep thing simple then.

Per Nettle's recommendation, attaching a photo of the car.
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      04-17-2024, 04:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zed4Em View Post
Appreciate all the responses! Will keep thing simple then.

Per Nettle's recommendation, attaching a photo of the car.
Damnn looks good! You sure you don't want to polish that? 90% perfect paint will make that red pop so much in the sun. Most of your car's shine/looks come from the paint condition in the first place rather than your last step protection like wax.

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      04-17-2024, 05:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMidnightNarwhal View Post
Damnn looks good! You sure you don't want to polish that? 90% perfect paint will make that red pop so much in the sun. Most of your car's shine/looks come from the paint condition in the first place rather than your last step protection like wax.

Thanks very much! I may one day, but perfectly happy with the way she looks at the moment.

I am spending most of my money on maintenance items, such as liquids and valve adjustment. She is very healthy overall, and the S54 underneath is unlike anything I've ever driven in the past.....
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      04-17-2024, 08:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nettles View Post
I would recommend doing at least a clay bar...
I second this. I use the Nanoskin autoscrub clay replacement and try the baggie test before/after -- you will be amazed. No affiliation, just first video when I searched:

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      04-17-2024, 08:37 PM   #10
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At some point if you get curious about polishing, you can do it pretty cheaply and easily. Take my X3 for example, I want to keep it decent looking but I don't sweat the details since it's the family truckster. I just polished it lightly last weekend. It's like a $25 plug in polisher from Wal Mart, about $15 in a bottle of light polish (swirl / haze remover, nothing too abrasive), and it was maybe an hour of work, if that. Made a huge difference for very little money or time. So it can still be a simple approach, no need for a multi-day megabuck process.
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      04-17-2024, 08:55 PM   #11
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Personal advice: don't clay bar a vehicle unless you intend to polish it afterwards. Just don't do it.
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      04-17-2024, 09:06 PM   #12
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Yeahh sometimes it can marr it. But I'm pretty sure most modern synthetic clays are fine with good lube. As long as you don't get the heavy synthetic ones.
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      04-17-2024, 09:52 PM   #13
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Yeah, imo I wouldn't wax a car initially without clay/mitt. I would skip waxing and switch over to ceramic coatings
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      04-18-2024, 10:32 AM   #14
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Personal advice: don't clay bar a vehicle unless you intend to polish it afterwards. Just don't do it.
Disagree. Unless you are using an aggressive clay compound, which you have to specifically look for as they aren't stocked on most shelves, the chances of marring (when proper technique/lubrication used) is minimal. Caveat always applies - when in doubt, do a test spot.
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      04-19-2024, 12:17 PM   #15
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You do marr the paint with clay. Every time you touch the car, you marr it, even if you can't see it.

However, that would only really matter on a perfect finish or recently polished. On a typical car that hasn't been polished yet, claying it won't impart any noticealbe marring over what is already there.

If it were recently polished, and you didn't want to pay to redo it, but wanted a super clean surface for new wax/sealant/ceramic, I would advise against clay, and suggest only a chemical deconn aka iron/fall out remover spray.
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      04-19-2024, 12:48 PM   #16
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Appreciate all the great responses so far! Certainly learned lots and got me more interested in eventually polishing the roadster.

The one place that I am strongly considering freshening up are the headlights. They are fine, but do show very mild signs of aging/oxidation from UV and elements.

What do folks recommend as the most gentle way of refreshing the headlights? For example, I saw some kits on Griot's website. Do folks recommend them?

Thanks so much again!
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      04-19-2024, 01:18 PM   #17
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Any of the kits will work. They are basically progressively finer and finer polishes, starting with course to remove the issue and then getting finer until the haze and then swirls are gone.

It wouldn't be unreasonable to try polishing them with the exact same stuff recommended for the paint. Other than the kit including some more aggressive options, it's basically the same thing for the later steps.

If you buy a polisher it'll make the kits a lot easier to use too. Unless they come with a drill attachment that is.
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      04-19-2024, 02:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zed4Em View Post
Appreciate all the great responses so far! Certainly learned lots and got me more interested in eventually polishing the roadster.

The one place that I am strongly considering freshening up are the headlights. They are fine, but do show very mild signs of aging/oxidation from UV and elements.

What do folks recommend as the most gentle way of refreshing the headlights? For example, I saw some kits on Griot's website. Do folks recommend them?

Thanks so much again!
Yes, Griot's makes great products that are easy to use. When you do go looking for a polisher, their new line of DA polishers are fantastic too. Their G9 is one of the best value DA machines right now (and has been since it was released a few years back). Haven't used their polishes but I always see great reviews for them.

I'm a big fan of Sonax products too so check out their offerings. Their polishes are top notch. The 04-06 and 05-05 will cover just about anything you need, except the extremes on either end.
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      04-19-2024, 03:12 PM   #19
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I never bother with polishes made for a specific surface, I just use a fine polish (my favorite is Griot's boss perfecting) with a soft-ish pad (like green or white LC CSSS).

You don't want to cut too deeply into headlight plastic as you'll remove the coating. For this reason, I wouldn't wet sand unless you're simply trying to get them too look as good as possible, but only for a short period as they will turn (like if you're buying new lenses soon).

Just a light polish with high speed is what I recommend for glass, plastic, piano black type finishes like window pillars.
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      04-19-2024, 03:50 PM   #20
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Imo, once the OE UV coating fails, it's too late and not worth it to sand it all down, as nothing will be as hard or good as OE, and if you're okay with constant polishing, it will otherwise be yellowing. If its just the edge, imo use like 4000 (Amazon kits) grit pad and wet polish to blend the failing edge coating and apply ceramic coat.
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      04-19-2024, 10:40 PM   #21
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Hello Zed,
You've been given a lot of advice, some conflicting or differing anyhow, but I'll offer my opinion.

1. Yes, purchase a clay mitt or sponge (fine grade) and use it on your vehicle. As long as you choose a quality brand and use plenty of lubrication, while cleaning it and the surface constantly; you'll have no issues. Just do small sections and don't worry about the bag trick. You'll know it's coming clean as you go through the process. I've conversed with Mike Phillips on many occasions, btw, being a retired professional detailer myself.

2. If you don't want to use a polish then purchase and use a cleaner-wax, such as made by Meguiars or Sonax. I'm sure many others make a good product also but Meguiars and Sonax are my favorites for paint correction. A cleaner wax has a slight amount of abrasives which will restore the luster of your vehicle that a wax alone cannot do. So, it's a combination polish/wax. I used to make my own mix when I did it professionally. Use it once a year for this purpose only, as with the clay mitt. Use your standard wax or sealant as often as you desire.

I was always a big fan of carnauba waxes (still am) but I'd highly recommend using Menzerna Power Lock or Wolfgang Paint Sealant. Those are absolutely phenomenal products that do not streak and they'll last a lot longer. They equal or exceed the shine and hydrophobic properties of anything I've tried including Si02 products. Trust me on this one.

My routine for many years was to wash regularly which included using a drying aid with carnauba wax in it. I'd then apply one of the Sealants above, about every two or three months. That really is still my routine although I've now incorporated Wolfgangs Si02 Silica. I'll apply that once a year after making my yearly paint correction. I'll then resort to my wash/wax/sealant weekly/monthly routine . Don't fall for all of the hype of ceramics. I'm not diminishing their quality and effectiveness, but a good routine is most important and such will insure your vehicle always looks it's best. Ceramics only allow people to go longer at neglecting their paint.

A little background. I've buffed and made paint corrections on well over 10k vehicles as a professional. I've also professionally painted more than a dozen vehicles for family and friends going back to the 80's.

Lastly, in regards to headlights. It depends on how bad they are. If it's minor than I'd recommend using 2000-2500 grit and step up from there, etc. Then finish with your cleaner wax and a little elbow grease, otherwise a rotary. If it's major, you'll need to use 400-600 grit to get rid of the imperfections and then apply a clear coat or PPF.

God Bless,
Ralph

P.S. Beautiful car

Last edited by Ralph III; 04-20-2024 at 10:06 PM..
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      04-20-2024, 05:48 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zed4Em View Post
Appreciate all the great responses so far! Certainly learned lots and got me more interested in eventually polishing the roadster.

The one place that I am strongly considering freshening up are the headlights. They are fine, but do show very mild signs of aging/oxidation from UV and elements.

What do folks recommend as the most gentle way of refreshing the headlights? For example, I saw some kits on Griot's website. Do folks recommend them?

Thanks so much again!
I use and love Griots products but haven't used the restoration kit. However, their kit has gotten great reviews. Check out other options highlighted by Project Farm. He recently tested headlight restoration kits. Good luck!
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