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Discussion Starter #1
In my experience everyone has their own favorite wax or method of waxing, and I suppose doing anything is better than nothing. However for the last 10+ years I have always used a combination of (2) products that work absolutely AMAZING! :thumbup:

Here are the 1-2 punch products I use:

  1. Meguiars Professional #09 Swirl Remover Polish
  2. Meguiars Professional #26 Hi-Tech Yellow Wax

Oh yeah before starting try this. Run the back of your index finger across a surface on the car; hood, trunk, whatever. It will probably feel a tad dull, flat, and possibly bumpy. This process in my experience goes from this to an amazingly smooth, glossy texture.

The Polishing process for those that have never done it is super important, especially on older or used cars. It has a 'light cut' (3 out of 10 strength on the Meguiar's scale) so this is nothing too abrasive. It basically digs into the top layer and removes the dirt, grime, and swirls - all things I want gone. I have applied this by hand and with a orbital buffer (but I usually wipe off always by hand). Check out the polishing cloth after wiping this stuff off and see what comes out! Just using wax is a problem because one will wax over this grime. I've done it before myself. FYI, it's really tough to get all of the polish perfectly off. It might look a little hazy. No worries, after putting on the wax and wiping it off, everything will be removed!

After the polishing is done, use the #26 wax as typical. I have also put it on by hand or used an orbital buffer. I then remove by hand with a polishing cloth.

It's a 2 step process and can take many, many hours to do well. Usually it takes me between 4-7 hours for my Mustang. I also tape off some of the trip to not get that stuff on the black rubber parts (because it will not come out easily!) Try running the back side of your finger across the paint again after finishing. See how smooth and clean it is??

Anywho, I just did this on my laser red 01' COBRA and WOW!!!!! :bounce2: The metallic red paint is now so smooth and rich in color. The color is much deeper and present now and looks amazing. I need to post some pics soon.

I just though this might help others. I know a lot of folks have their tried and true method so stick with what you know. However for (2) $10 bottles (roughly) on Amazon, plus a little elbow grease this process works A+ for me!

Amazon.com: Meguiar's #09 Swirl Remover 16Oz.: Automotive
Meguiars Hi-Tech Yellow Wax 16 ounces : Amazon.com : Automotive
 

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Good stuff!

For really far gone stuff, I start with 3M (yellow bottle) rubbing compound and a buffer (a real one, no orbital for me), follow up with 3M Perfect-It II polish (also applied w/ buffer) and then a decent wax, applied by hand (I'm on a Meguire's kick right now, forget which particular wax of theirs I'm using though).

And yes, you'll need to clear your schedule for this task, it's a full day's work for sure. Orbital buffers are nice because you really can't do any damage with them, but they are 3x the time and effort of a regular buffer. Only time I use an orbital is for applying wax. For a novice though definitely recommend using an orbital, or learn to use a regular buffer on somebody else's car first lol because you can do some real damage with those things.

And + 1million to masking things like emblems and various textured plastic trim off beforehand. Adds a little time to an already full day but will save some headaches later.

I use the 3M stuff really just due to my own familiarity with their products from 15 years ago when I used to work as a painter's helper/detailer; and it's still what most paint shops use.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
@SoCal2V - Yeah your 3 step process is definitely king of the paint protection! I have not done the rubbing compound, but like you mention that process is not for the novice. However doing what you are is going to provide the absolute best show finish! :shiny:
 

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I also use Meguiars and they work awesome, easy to apply and wipe off. I´m a fan of the Ultimate products line, particularly the "Quick Wax" Spray. Takes 5 minutes to apply, keeps the car looking just waxed all the time, what else can you ask for?
 
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