... car waxing and polishing tips

Compliments of  Valentine's Concours & Road 'n Track Carnauba waxes

Valentine & Co - Finest carnauba wax polish for cars
Classic sportscar: Ferrari F430. Classic car wax: Valentine's Concours Carnauba

Washing your car | Cleaning & conditioning paintwork | Water spots | Tar | Insects & tree sap | Moo cows
Swirl marks & scratches | Dull paintwork | Applying Valentine's Concours Carnauba wax | Frequently Asked Questions

It's easy to get superb results with Valentine's Concours Carnauba BUT it's important your car's paintwork is really clean before applying the wax. If the paint looks flat and dull it needs cleaning or conditioning to remove traffic film, ingrained dirt or oxidation. Here's what to do...

Washing your car
Everyone knows how to wash a car, don't they? But there are ways of making the job easier.

Use a hose or powerwasher (carefully) to loosen dirt and mud and, finally, to rinse the car.

Wash by hand using a bucket & sponge and a mild car shampoo (from a reputable manufacturer). Best avoid car shampoos which include ' wax'.

Dry the car thoroughly ideally using one or two old, soft bath towels. Chamois leathers are fine but require a great deal more work than a towel.
 
Don't use household detergents washing up liquids or abrasive household cleaners on an automobile! Some products may damage rubber seals, paintwork and clear coat finishes.

Don't use automatic car washes unless you really must. Contact types can scratch paint, while non-contact (automatic high pressure water washers) can drive grit into the paintwork. If you use a manual car wash, dry the car afterwards. If you don't, water spots will be a problem when you apply wax.

Start by soaking the whole car using a hose or powerwasher to loosen dirt. Use a hose or powerwasher to remove mud and dirt from the lower bodywork, wheels and wheel arches, but be very careful. Using a high powered washer too close to the car can damage paint and tyres.

Use a bucket and sponge to wash the car with mild diluted shampoo. Wash the windscreen and windows first so as to avoid transferring traces of wax from the bodywork to the glass. Wash the car from roof down; this helps avoid grit from the lower bodywork being caught in the sponge and causing scratches.

Wash wheels last using car shampoo. Use a different sponge and a wheel brush to reach tricky areas. If your wheels are badly marked with brake dust use a wheel cleaner recommended by the car's maker. Be careful with wheel cleaners - some types corrode wheel studs, a big problem with some Porsches.

Rinse the car thoroughly with clean water. If you can, use filtered water. It will reduce water spots.

Dry the car completely. Start with the windscreen and windows. Use one or two old, soft bath towels. Water left on the bodywork will almost certainly form water spots which are surprisingly tough to remove. Ideally, launder the towels for future use.

Cleaning & conditioning paintwork
After washing, carefully inspect the paint finish. It should look clean and shiny. Run your fingers over the surface - it should feel pretty smooth.Unfortunately, you may find some imperfections. However, if the paintwork looks really clean and shiny, apply Valentine's Concours Carnauba right away.

Here's what to do if your car's paint finish shows imperfections:

Water spots - wash and rinse the area and dry off immediately.

Tar spots - use a tar remover from a reputable manufacturer. Lehm klay works well also but can be a bit of a hassle to use. Tar removers are generally easy to use and very mild. At least one Ferrari agency uses tar remover as its standard pre-cleaner before applying wax or polish.

Dead insects & tree sap - if washing with car shampoo doesn't solve the problem, tar remover or lehm klay will. Stains from dead bugs can be hard to get off. Be patient and gentle. Fortunately, it's a whole lot easier if the car has been waxed with Valentine's Carnauba which leaves an ultra smooth, tough, slippery surface.

Moo cows - about the hardest thing in the world to remove from a car's bodywork is cow shit. If possible, hose off as soon as you get home. If left to dry this stuff sets like concrete. Hose and soak with water, then use car shampoo and clean off with an old sponge. If necessary, use a brush - but carefully. Tar remover will generally help. The good news: like insect stains, cow shit comes off very much more easily if your car has previously been treated with Valentine's Carnauba...

Swirl marks & light scratches - try this: look closely at your paintwork with direct sunlight reflecting off the surface. You may well see networks of fine, circular scratches in the surface. You can even find these on a new car straight out of the showroom.  The bad news: despite what some polish makers claim, swirl marks and scratches are almost impossible to remove without stripping off a layer of paint or clear coat -  which really is a professional job. Fortunately, it's possible to disguise the problem to some extent.

What most 'scratch removers' do is try to hide the scratch by building up a layer of product in the fine grooves. Unfortunately, nothing works perfectly because, to be 100% effective, the material filling the scratch would have to be the same - or have the same refractive index - as the paint surface.

A specialist detailing company, whose people prepare cars for international motor shows, tell us that there is no magic solution; no product entirely hides swirl marks. Even brand new show cars can have swirl marks which show up badly under directional display lighting. Their solution is to work with the stand and lighting designers to minimize the problem.

We have consulted research scientists who specialise in examining surfaces at atomic level. We've looked at swirl marks through their optical microscopes which magnify more than 1000 times - light scratches look like the grand canyon. The build-up of wax can be clearly seen. The more wax in the scratch, the less visible the scratch becomes. To the naked eye, some scratches seem to disappear completely.

But we don't claim that Valentine's Carnauba 'removes scratches'. What it does do is help disguise them. Wax builds up in the fine grooves, making swirl marks and light scratches seem to disappear - but the effectiveness will vary with different paint colours or clear coat types.

Dull paintwork- the surface of the paint may be oxidised or obscured by traffic film. You will need a pre-cleaner or, if the paintwork is really bad, a 'cutting polish'. Fortunately, there are a host of excellent products on the market.  Almost all are abrasive and work by removing a thin layer of dirty, oxidised paint to reveal clean, new-looking paint beneath.

Cutting polishes come in different grades - try the mildest first. When using pre-cleaners, paint renovators or cutting polishes, always read the instructions. It's surprisingly easy to rub right through layers of paint or clear coat, particularly on edges. Be careful. Over-enthusiasm can cause serious damage or at least leave swirl marks or scratches in the surface.

Applying Valentine's Concours Carnauba Wax
Once you have cleaned and prepared your paintwork it should look shiny and new - BUT what you now have is a raw surface which needs protection. It's time to apply Valentine's Concours Carnauba Wax... you'll be amazed  how easy this is.

Use the applicator provided. Very little wax is needed. Apply in straight lines - don’t swirl in circles. Make sure the surface is evenly covered. Treat a small area at a time - one quarter to one third of a body panel.

Do not allow our wax to dry out on the car! – ideally, polish off immediately.  If you leave it too long and it sets, don't try to rub it off. Just  apply a little more to soften the first coat  and polish off as usual. 

Polish off using Valentine’s microfibre polishing cloths or clean, dry terry towelling. Polish gently (in circles if you wish) turning the cloth frequently. Now, stand back and admire the deepest gloss you've ever seen.

 


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