I persoanlly use this article as my way of achieving the best shine, defect free look while also providing the best protection.
The process I'm about to explain came from years of experimenting with dozens of polish and wax combinations to discover what products produced the best results. As it happens, I stumbled on this process quite by accident. I had applied a carnauba wax over a synthetic sealant on my Guards Red Porsche 944 Turbo. When I pulled the car out of the garage into the bright sunlight, I could not believe my eyes. The finish was noticeably deeper, richer and more vibrant. The paint had taken on a new depth, like it had a clearcoat finish.
After a few years of trying my process on the cars of family and friends, I concluded that it works on all car finishes that are in good condition, but has the most dramatic effect on dark colors. With the ability to achieve consistent results, I decided I would give the process a name, The Perfect Shine™. This chapter outlines The Perfect Shine™ Process.
The perfect shine comes when your car's paint finish is in good condition, free of surface contamination, polished, glazed, protected and waxed. Let's look at each of these requirements individually.
Good Paint Condition
For the first 12 to 18 months of a new car's life, the paint is relatively oxidation-free and in good condition. If you maintain your new car's paint with regular washing and protection, oxidation will remain minimal, and cleaning the paint will be a minor task. At a minimum, you should wash your car weekly. If you don't have time to wash weekly, use my Quick Detailing™ process.
As you drive your car, debris from the road (i.e., tar, oil, bugs, etc.) will lodge itself on your car's paint. The longer this debris is allowed to remain, the more difficult it is to remove. This is just one reason that regular washing is so important. While outside, your car will also collect other contamination. (Birds, bugs and neighborhood kids seem to have a natural attraction to beautiful cars.) These contaminants must be removed; you can't wax over them and expect to get a show car finish.
Polishing is necessary to remove minor blemishes, including surface scratches, swirl marks, pitted areas (minor road stone nicks) and scuffs. When polished, the paint finish will feel perfectly smooth. Your hand and polishing towel will literally glide over the surface. Feeling a perfectly polished car is a stimulating experience for most car nuts. There's nothing quite like the polished fenders of a curvaceous Porsche, Ferrari, Viper or Corvette.
Glaze is a term that's grossly misused in detailing products. Glazes are paint treatments used to fill small surface scratches and swirl marks. To a painter, glaze is the term used to describe the process of restoring full paint gloss. In The Perfect Shine™, ultra-fine polishes are used to refine the paint finish to achieve or restore full gloss.
Paint is protected when it's sealed from the elements. As we've discussed in previous chapters, synthetic sealants offer the best protection. Synthetic coatings are five to ten times more durable than the carnauba waxes. They offer extended protection from the elements and create a super slick surface. In The Perfect Shine™ process, the synthetic protection is an acrylic sealant. I have not found a polymer sealant that works. I will explain why later.
Waxing is the final step of The Perfect Shine. We're not talking just any wax here; we're talking about a pure, natural carnauba wax. Pure carnauba waxes don't have cleaning properties or synthetic compounds added. They are made from a blend of carnauba waxes, beeswax and natural oils. A quality show car wax gives paint depth and warmth. I know, I know, it sounds like we're talking about a fine wine or something. Just don't underestimate the value of a great show car wax when it comes to the final results of your car's finish. Now that you know the six requirements for The Perfect Shine, I'll share with you my personal tips that keep my cars turning heads. The first thing to know is that I treat my toys differently than my daily driver. It's very difficult to maintain a perfect shine on a daily driver, unless you only drive it a mile or two a day. Show cars (toys) are easier, because their job is to stay beautiful.
THE PERFECT SHINE
The Perfect Shine is a simple process that reliably achieves the best shine possible on any paint finish. Follow these steps and product recommendations:
Wash your car twice with a high concentration of car wash solution. I recommend Sonus Gloss Shampoo
. If your car is excessively dirty, you can use Dawn dish-washing liquid. If you do, be sure to rinse thoroughly.
After washing and drying, examine your car's paint with your hand. If the paint is not perfectly smooth, use a paint-cleaning clay system and clay lubricant to remove the surface contamination.
When the paint is clean and free of surface contamination, examine again for minor surface damage. If you find heavy scuffs or surface scratches, repair these flaws with a fine rubbing compound or scratch remover. If your paint has swirl marks and other minor micro marring, use a swirl remover polish. I also use swirl remover polish to remove any surface hazing created by using rubbing compound. You can polish by hand or machine. I prefer to work by hand unless the paint has heavy damage or swirl marks.
Now it's time to glaze your paint to bring out its full gloss potential. For this I recommend a fine hand polish. I typically use a product like Sonus Paintwork Cleanser
or P21S Paintwork Cleansing Lotion
. If your paintwork is already in perfect condition, you can skip this step.
Once perfectly polished, your paint is ready to be sealed. For this I use a product that's been protecting my cars since 1987, Klasse All-In-One
. The Klasse acrylic formula has proven its quality to me again and again. Klasse All-In-One is a one-step acrylic resin that cleans, lightly polishes and protects paint with a durable acrylic finish. The best way to apply Klasse All-In-One is with a foam applicator pad. Klasse All-In-One contains cleaners that remove previous layers of Klasse All-In-One. If you wish to apply additional Klasse acrylic protection, you can apply one or more coats of Klasse Sealant Glaze
. Klasse Sealant Glaze does not contain cleaners; it is a pure acrylic sealant. Additional layers of Klasse Sealant Glaze will increase protection and finish depth.
You're almost there. The final step, the literal icing on the cake, is waxing. You may be asking, "After polishing and sealing, why wax?" The answer lies in the richness of color, depth and clarity that only a high-quality carnauba wax can bring out on a polished surface. For this job I reach for P21S Carnauba Car Wax
. P21S is a true show car wax. Compared to other show car waxes of similar formula, P21S offers the most stunning results on black and red cars. P21S brings out a warmth and depth on red and yellow that is hard to duplicate. On black and dark blue cars, the paint looks like a reflection in a pool of water.
On steps four through six, I use a quality foam applicator to apply product (except Klasse Sealant Glaze, which requires a terry cloth applicator) and a waffle weave microfiber towel to buff. For final buffing of the Carnauba wax, I use theConcours Buffing Towel.
Maintaining The Perfect Shine
If you've finished the six steps to The Perfect Shine, you'll need to do some light maintenance to keep it looking great. If it's a true show car (toy), keep it covered. Even while it's neatly tucked away in the garage, you should keep your car covered. This keeps dust and pollutants off of the beautiful finish, and the wax won't evaporate as quickly (yes, wax evaporates).
Next, plan to do a quick detailing on your car after each outing. Choose a good detailing spray containing no protection or a carnauba wax detailing spray. A good detailing spray will restore shine. A carnauba detailing spray will replenish the wax lost through evaporation. Quick detailing will normally take no more than 5 to 10 minutes.
You can apply a fresh coat of P21S wax as often as you like. I recommend reapplying wax monthly, or whenever you want your car to look its very best.
Between washes and after washing, I recommend using one of the Sonus detailing sprays, Sonus Acrylic Spritz
or Sonus Carnauba Spritz
. Both products will restore shine and protection. Sonus Carnauba Spritz contains the same grade carnauba wax as P21S Carnauba Wax. If you keep your car garaged and covered, this is the best detailing spray to maintain the concours finish. If your car is a daily driver, use Sonus Acrylic Spritz, which contains the same acrylic formula as Klasse.
The Klasse protection will last 5 to 6 months. Plan to repeat The Perfect Shine™ process two to three times a year to keep your car's paint in perfect showroom condition.
How The Perfect Shine Works
There's no particular magic to my process; however, at least two of the ingredients are key. Finish preparation is the most significant function of the process. The paint finish must be refined through several grades of polish. This is how jewelry makers create gems of radiant beauty.
The key ingredients are Klasse All-In-One and P21S Carnauba wax. The reason these two products work together, where others do not, is actually pretty simple. Klasse is an acrylic resin coating. It's not a petroleum- or water-based product. It's an acrylic. When it dries, it dries hard. Most synthetic sealants are polymers based on the element silicone.
To my knowledge, all polymer sealants are based on an emulsion system containing petroleum distillates. As a result, even the mildest petroleum distillates remove polymer sealants. Most, if not all polymer sealants remove previous coats with each new coat applied.
Likewise, carnauba waxes contain petroleum distillates. In waxes, petroleum distillates are used to soften the carnauba, which is rock hard in its raw form, so it can be blended into a paste or cream. The P21S Carnauba wax formula uses a highly refined petroleum distillate, much the same as that used in the manufacture of cosmetics (i.e., lipstick wax). The solvent content in P21S Carnauba wax does not affect the cured Klasse sealant. By conducting side-by-side durability tests, I have proven Klasse remains solidly intact.
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