Monday, May 26, 2008

First Wax on the New Car

I finished waxing my new car for the first time. I'm not a wax expert. I normally wax my car once or twice a year. I wanted to take the opportunity to add any useful protection right away, rather than learn a year from now that I "should have" done something. I asked a lot of people what products I should use, and was very surprised at the wide variation in answers. A few told me that they use the 10 year old tin of paste wax in their garage. Many told me that they never wax their cars. Several told me that they never wash their cars. To put this in context: this is akin to somebody telling me that they never wash their hands after handling raw chicken meat.

So I turned to the internet. The glorious internet that lets me get advice from unknown goobers who probably don't even own a car. OK, that's a bit much. But you get the idea. Rather than describe the path I took, I'll describe what I ended up doing.

The new car surface felt like clearcoat with no dealer applied wax. I applied Dupont Teflon Ultra Spray Wax. It went on easy and buffed off with normal effort (requiring about 3 passes with a microfiber towel). Here's the only down-side ... The bottle warns you to not apply to plastic or vinyl trim. My new Land Rover LR3 has gobs of black plastic trim - around each wheel, along the base of the truck, and the rear bumper. Their warning is very VERY accurate. After all my care (and it was a bit extreme, since I used blue painters tape to tape-off the lines where the trim met with the body panels) there were some unintended splatters of wax on the trip pieces. These dried to be tiny white spots on the black trim. High contrast and so therefore very noticeable when close up. They can be removed with a lot of elbow grease, and I don't have enough to get it all. I am considering covering them up with some trim color restoration product like Forever Black. Stay tuned on that topic.

After the wax cured a bit, I applied Zaino Z-CS clear polymer sealant. This high-tech product is intended to provide additional UV protection as well as maintaining a show-room shine for up to 9 months. It competes with products such as Ultima Paint Guard Plus. These products are popular with car hobbyists that prepare their cars for shows. Zaino Z-CS can be applied to plastic and vinyl trim pieces, and so I did that. I had tested it on the trim to make sure that it was safe.

For the windshield, I'm trying a new product from PPG called Aquapel. It's supposed to work just like Rain-X, except that it lasts much much longer. Reportedly up to 9 months. I read that it's used on the canopies of US fighter jets. Josh Wardell did an amazing test of Aquapel and Rain-X (and nothing) on his car and posted video of the tests and the results. He's got a lot of product advice on his car care page.

Lastly, I used a common tire treatment from Black Magic. What I did new here was to use some foam applicators instead of spraying the tires directly. This prevented overspray or mist from hitting the car's finish.

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