Gloss is an optical term that describes a surface's ability to reflect light. A high-gloss
paint surface is one that directly reflects light with minimum hazing or diffusion. Dirt, grime, and other bonded contaminants on the
surface of a car's paint absorb and diffuse light, reducing gloss, and making the finish look dull and lifeless. No paint will remain
glossy if it is neglected and exposed to environmental contamination for even a short period of time.
The best test or measure of gloss, shine, depth of color, reflectivity, and overall beauty, is the test
you perform when you look at your car's finish with your own two eyes.
sealant safe/good for my car’s finish?
A high quality polymer sealant is good for your car's finish
and can give protection upto 8 months. Quality polymer sealants are noted for their ability to offer longer lasting protection than
traditional waxes. Automotive waxes, whether natural or synthetic, are meant to be sacrificial barriers.
That is to say that they are meant to protect your finish by sacrificing themselves so your paint
doesn't have to, thus keeping your car shinier for a longer time.
How long do
I need to let a wax dry before removing it?
Under normal conditions, waxes and paint protectants
take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to dry. To determine whether the wax or paint protectant has cured enough to remove it, you can
perform a "Swipe test".
To perform a Swipe Test, take your index finger and swipe it across the film of wax or paint protectant
on your finish. If your finger wipes away the dried residue and the surface below is shiny, then the wax, or paint protectant, is
ready to be removed.
If however, you swipe the finish and the product streaks or smears, you need to allow a little more time
for it to fully cure.
One popular misconception that we would like to address is the false idea that the thicker the layer of
wax or paint protectant you apply at one time, the more protection you will leave behind. This is not true. Only a small amount of wax
actually bonds to the finish during each application, while the rest is simply removed when you wipe the excess off the surface.
How do I
perform a surface evaluation?
You'll want to inspect the surface both visually, as well as by
physically using your sense of touch. Sometimes your sense of touch can reveal defects that the eyes cannot see. First, wash and dry
your vehicle. Then look along your paint surface at an angle while noting the depth and richness of the color.
Ideally, do this in bright sunlight as well as under strong indoor lights because some defects show up
best under specific types of lighting conditions.
To find bonded contaminants that your eyes may have missed, slowly slide the face of your clean, dry
hand along the surface of your car's finish after washing and drying your car. The surface should feel as smooth as glass.
Any surface irregularities you do feel are bonded contaminants that must be removed before polishing or
waxing. The best way to remove above surface bonded contaminants is to use clay.
clear coat paint?
Automotive paints are a mixture of ingredients including resins, binders, fillers,
additives, and carrying agents (typically solvents, sometimes water). Clear coat paint is simply paint, or resin without pigment.
Non-clear coat paints (also called single-stage paint) is paint (or resin) with pigment added to give the paint color.
Today, approximately 95% of all cars coming out of the factory have a clear coat finish.
Clear coat finishes (also referred to as two-stage paint systems) are simply a layer of clear resin
applied over the top of colored resin. Although a clear coat does protect the base coat, just like a single-stage finish, the clear
coat needs to be regularly maintained to keep it in top shape.
Clear coat finishes need to be waxed periodically to maintain their appearance value.
clear coat finishes “Scratch sensitive”?
Clear coat finishes are incredibly sensitive to scratches and swirl marks. Because the
top layer is clear, light reflects through it and bounces back highlighting these scratches from behind. This tends to magnify defects
making them easier for your eyes to see.
coat paint oxidize?
The molecular structure of modern paints is much tighter and more dense. This in-turn makes the pore
structure tighter and denser. A dense molecule structure makes it difficult for water and other detrimental substances to get into the
paint through pores and other microscopic surface imperfections where they cause oxidation and rust.
Most oxidation problems can be avoided with even minimal attention (i.e. regular washing and periodic
waxing with a premium wax or paint protectant).
Can a clear
Yes and No
The word ‘fade’ means to: "Lose color or brightness gradually."
Technically speaking, since the clear coat has no color, it cannot fade or lose its brightness (at least
if we use the above definition).
It can however become dull, but that's not the same as fading and is more typically a sign of oxidation
and the buildup of above surface contaminants. (See in this FAQ – Can clear coat paint oxidize?)
Now let’s ask the above question in just a little different way.
colour coat below the clear coat fade?
In short, the answer is yes, however, it depends upon the
environment in which the car is exposed.
A car parked inside most of its life, far away from the equator will not show much sign of fading.
A car continually parked outside in a desert region close to the equator will fade more quickly and the
results will be more apparent over time because of the increased exposure to UV rays.
While these answers are technically correct, the non-technical answer to the question, "Can clear
coat fade?” is yes, but very slowly. Most people cannot perceive any visual change over the course of normal day-to-day living
or during the length of the ownership of their car.
Can a clear
coat become dull?
Even more than yesterday's paints, today's clear coat finishes look faded whenever the surface becomes
contaminated by above surface contaminants, things like:
As contaminants build-up on the surface they reduce the reflective quality of the finish by creating a
surface with somewhat of a textured-feel to it. This in turn acts to diminish gloss (which is a direct result of how smooth your
surface is), thus causing the paint to look dull.
The best way to prevent a clear coat finish from becoming dull is to remove fresh contaminants as
quickly as possible. To do this, wash your car weekly with a premium car wash solution like Meguiars.
Washing your car weekly is especially important if your car is a daily driver and parked outdoors for
any length of time.
When contaminants build up (you can tell if you have bonded contaminants by drawing the clean face of
your palm across the finish after washing and drying the car and feel little bumps that are stuck to the finish), the best, fastest
and safest way to remove them and restore a smooth as glass surface is to use smooth surface clay.
Swirl marks are scratches in the finish. Sometimes these scratches are microscopic in
size and only visible in bright light, like direct sunlight or very intense artificial lights. Other swirl marks are very deep and are
easily visible in just about any lighting condition.
Swirl marks can generally be placed in two categories, which describe the origin of the swirls.
1. Cobweb-effect also called spider web scratches, car wash scratches, towel scratches etc.
2. Buffer Swirl or Holograms. Cobweb-effect is the term to describe the visual appearance of the
thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of tiny scratches inflicted into your car's finish through normal, everyday wear and
Swirl makes can be formed because of:
Working from the bottom up potentially dragging dirt that has accumulated on the bottom parts
of the car to the cleaner upper section of the car.
Using tatty, worn, dirty, or scratchy wash mitts, sponges, drying towels etc. As a standard rule,
anytime a wash mitt is dropped to the ground, it should not be returned to use but instead should be either discarded or cleaned.
To avoid the cobweb-effect type swirls and scratches, thoroughly wash all dirt particles from your
finish before applying polish or wax. Always use a microfiber polishing cloth like the 3M Microfiber cloth.
better for applying cleaners, polishes and waxes, machines like the rotary buffer, dual action polisher, or the tried and true method
of applying products by hand?
Each method offers its own unique benefits and features. Machines like
rotary buffers, dual action polishers, and orbital buffers are simply tools. Depending on the surface condition and what you're
trying to accomplish, one may be better suited for the task over another.
While hand application of paint cleaners, cleaner/polishes, pure polishes and waxes can achieve
brilliant results a majority of the time, professional painters and detailers prefer using a machine such as a rotary buffer, dual-
action polisher or an orbital buffer for a number of different reasons.
Here are a few:
Depending on the procedure, machines are nearly twice as fast as your hands
Machines are much less fatiguing to your hands, arms, and back
Dual-Action Polishers and Orbital buffers apply a thinner coat that's easier to wipe
Dual-Action Polishers and Orbital buffers spread polishes and waxes more evenly, for more
Machines do a better job of cleaning deeper and removing surface defects and oxidation
Machines are better at removing swirls
Machines force more polishing oils into the surface, for deeper gloss and reflections
Machines are more effective at removing serious defects than your hand
They mimic your hand motions and give you an impressive finish without any risk of burning your
It's important to remember that while a rotary buffer can do a lot of good, it can also be dangerous,
potentially creating swirls, or burning through paint if not properly used. Using a rotary buffer correctly requires skill, good
technique, and experience. Don't try to learn how to use a rotary buffer on any vehicle that is important to you.
What is the
difference between dual action polishers and orbital buffers?
Dual-Action polishers and Orbital
The motors and drive units on these two types of polisher's oscillate in an eccentric circular motion.
This type of motion is much safer to the paint because it's virtually impossible to apply too much concentrated pressure in one place
at one time. Chances are good that when too much pressure is applied, the oscillating action will come to a stop thereby protecting
Because these types of machines oscillate instead of rotate, they will not instill the dreaded buffer
swirls or holograms into your finish as long as you use the appropriate chemicals, buffing pads and bonnets. This safety feature makes
these machines highly popular with enthusiasts who would like to use a machine but at the same time, are afraid of burning or
inflicting swirls into their car's finish.
Orbital buffers offer a number of benefits:
Uncomplicated – Remove from box-> attach buffing pad or bonnet -> plug in -> turn
on -> start buffing
Versatile – Can be used for cleaning, polishing, and applying waxes
Takes most of the labor out of the process as the machine does the work
Faster, more thorough - covers more area and does a better job than hand
Creates a more uniform, higher gloss finish than your hands
Pushes polishing oils and protective waxes into the pores and microscopic surface
Smaller size and lighter weight makes them easier for anyone to use. Very easy to control, requires no
previous experience or skill to use correctly. Smaller size enables you to work on small panels and tight areas easier with better
Velcro® interface makes changing between pads fast and easy.
Rotary buffers are drastically different in the way they work compared to Dual-action
polishers and Orbital buffers.
The drive unit used in a rotary buffer is referred to as a direct drive. What this means is the auger
(the threaded part to which the backing plate attaches), is driven directly off the electric motor. This results in a powerful
rotating motion. This rotating motion is typically clockwise as you look at the rotary buffer from behind, as though you were using it
on a panel.
Because the rotary buffer is a direct drive machine, it can do a lot of work very quickly. By work, we
mean, the rotary buffer will remove paint.
Sometimes removing paint is necessary in order to create a high gloss, defect-free finish. Example: If
you have a scratch in your car's finish, say someone keyed your car, or a cat jumped up on the hood and left behind claw scratches.
From a horizontal point of view, these scratches would look like this,
In order to remove these scratches, you will need to remove enough paint surrounding the scratches in
order to make the surface level. As you can see in this example, removing the scratches will require removing quite a bit of paint
material, and in the case of the deep key scratch, you will not be able to completely remove it without exposing the base, or color
coat of paint. This is a situation where you are better off improving the scratch, not completely removing the scratch.
Many cars, after being painted, are wet-sanded in order to remove orange peel or to bring the surface to
a show car quality finish. After the finish has been sanded, the way you remove the sanding marks is to buff the finish with a cutting
compound and a rotary buffer. The cutting compound abrades the paint, removing, or leveling the finish until it’s completely
After the surface is buffed flat, it will then be polished with a cleaner/polish like Meguiar’s
M-83 Dual Action Cleaner/Polish with the rotary buffer to restore a swirl-free, high gloss finish. Rotary buffers are necessary to do
both of these procedures because both of these procedures require that some portion of the paint is removed.
Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers do not have an aggressive enough action to remove small
particles of paint in an effort to remove most defects, including sanding marks.
Do not purchase a dual action polisher or orbital buffer hoping to use these to remove major or even
minor scratches, as they are just not aggressive enough. They can often be used to remove fine or shallow scratches and swirls, but
they will not remove any scratch that is deep enough to place your fingernail into.
Remember, using a rotary buffer successfully requires both skill and experience. If you use a rotary
buffer and are not skilled in its use, you can easily apply too much pressure to the paint and burn right through it, requiring a new
paint job. This same result can happen if you use a buffing pad attached to an electric drill.
orbital buffer work with your products?
Orbital buffers are designed to help you safely produce a better shine with less effort on your part.
Orbital buffers, offer the safe oscillating-action that Meguiar's G-110 Dual-Action Polisher uses, the primary difference being one
of size and design.
Traditional Orbital buffers are typically larger than the G-110 and typically have two handles on
opposite sides of the buffer unit itself. There are smaller Orbital buffers on the market, and some with different handle
configurations, but in the end, they all do the same thing and that's use a random, oscillating motion to safely apply cleaners,
polishes and protectants.
The benefit to using an orbital buffer is, they will produce better, more even results than the results
you can achieve only using your hands. The only drawback to the orbital buffer is sometimes their larger size can make it difficult to
work on small areas, like windshield posts, or tight spaces like the space under a rear deck wing. Since most orbital buffers use a
large 8" to 11" buffing pad, you tend to use more product because the pad itself will absorb a certain amount of your
Dual Action Polisher can be used for doing smaller areas.
Oxidation is a form of rust that forms on painted and clear coat surfaces. It is caused
by being exposed to a combination of UV rays emitting from the sun and oxygen. This combination of oxidation, dirt and grime needs to
be cleaned off which will reveal the shine that is hidden underneath. A regular application of Body Wax will keep these contaminants
from forming and adhering to the paint or clear coat.
By using a polish that contains abrasives, the top oxidized layers of the colorants or pigments of
enamel paints are removed. This exposes the fresh unoxidized colorants and pigments and the original gloss.
To keep the pigments or colorants from oxidizing and changing color, auto manufacturers add a thin clear
paint system with UV protectants on top of the older enamel paints. Removal of clear-coat paint with a polishing product containing
abrasives reduces the thickness of clear-coat and its UV protection which leads to eventual failure of the paint system.
How do I
know when I need to clay?
After you wash and dry your car, run the palm and fingertips of your clean hand across the top
surfaces. Don't be surprised if what you feel is rough and bumpy. The roughness you feel is the presence of harmful environmental
bonded contaminants such as brake dust, tree sap mist, tar and, more that have bonded to your paint finish. Most of these contaminants
will wash right off if immediately addressed, however, others bond to the finish and week by week, if not dealt with, will gradually
mask and blur the reflection. To remove these bonded contaminants and bring back that "smooth-as-glass" finish, this will
require an extra step, prior to polishing and waxing, commonly referred to as "claying". The wax layer becomes more
effective after claying.
clay bar be changed?
The life cycle of clay is limited. The best way to tell when it is time to get a new piece of clay is to
check the color and texture of the piece you are working with. As you rub the clay bar across the surface of your paint, you are
picking up bonded contaminants. After some time, you "fill up" the clay with these particulates. You can tell when the clay
is "full" because it will have a darkish color and the clay might begin to feel rough to the touch. Another time to switch
to a new piece of clay is if you accidentally drop the piece you are working with. When clay hits the garage floor, it will pick up
large dirt particles from the floor, which can in turn scratch your vehicle if you continue using the clay. When your clay bar is
"full" or has been dropped, we recommend you throw away that piece and utilize new piece of clay to avoid scratching the
surface of your paint.
Do I clay
Bonded contaminants prevent a freshly waxed surface from reflecting light and shining to its full potential and
also repel the adhesion of car wax. If you determine that your finish is not smooth-as-glass by feeling the surface after a wash, you
should consider claying prior to polishing or waxing. By prepping the surface properly, with clay your paint cleaners, polishes and
waxes will perform at a higher level.
Yes, while clay is designed to remove above surface bonded contaminants, clay will also remove some wax protection
from the surface. We strongly recommend following the claying process with a coat of wax for maximum gloss and protection.
remove scratches and swirls?
No, clay does not remove scratches and swirls. Keep in mind, scratches, swirls, oxidation and
stains are all imperfections that are below the surface and require a specialized paint cleaning processes like compounding and
polishing. Clay, on the other hand, is designed specifically for above surface bonded contaminants, such as tree sap mist, industrial
fallout, over-spray and road tar.
How do I
Clay needs to be stored in a cool, dry place in order to keep it clean and fresh. Between claying sessions, we
recommend storing your clay in the plastic case. Simply mist the clay with Meguiar's Quik Detailer, place the piece of remaining clay
in the storage container, and close the lid tightly. Be sure to keep that container in a cool, dry location.