Washing the car
(from the Swissvax detailing hand book)
A thorough but gentle wash is the ideal starting point. Unfortunately, many car shampoo products erode the paintwork over time due to the degreasing agents they contain. The outdated recommendation to wash without a shampoo is also wrong. Without a shampoo, the wash solution has no way to encapsulate and "transport" the dirt away. We therefore recommend Swissvax Car Bath, a paintwork-friendly shampoo concentrate that effectively breaks the bond between the dirt and the paint surface. Its pH-neutral formula guarantees that your high-quality Swissvax wax will not be effected.
IMPORTANT washing/detailing tip
Never wash a vehicle in the full sun and always use enough water. Always keep the whole paintwork wet with water/Car bath solution while the car is being washed.
"True Shine & Swirls"
Article by Brett
True shine can only be achieved by removing defects that distort reflections on the painted surface. Swirl marks from either general washing or previous buffing are, in effect, thousands of micro scratches that refract the light reflecting off the painted surface. This gives the appearance of a dull and, in severe cases, cloudy surface. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to that vibrant colour you fell in love with in the dealer showroom, it’s hidden beneath all those imperfections.
AutoFX WA has spent many years researching the best products and refining our techniques for restoring automotive paintwork to its peak condition. Compounds, buffing pads, hardware and paint types – we’ve left no stone unturned in our pursuit of polishing perfection.
How do we remove swirls?
We can remove swirls through a multi-stage, mechanical process of polishing using abrasive compounds. This mechanical polishing levels the paint to create a true reflective surface.
The compounds we use contain no “fillers”. Other cutting compounds often use fillers to mask the swirls left behind by highly aggressive abrasives, reducing the number of stages of polishing required and thus reducing the time needed to complete the treatment. This one-step cut and polish is a “band aid” solution to the problem and should be avoided. Although polishing with these compounds produces a good result initially, once the fillers are washed off, all you’re left with is a surface that has more defects than before the treatment was carried out. Because we don’t use fillers, we can achieve true shine even before any waxes have been applied.
Why do we use waxes then?
Once the paintwork has been corrected, we still need to protect the surface from nature's elements. UV rays, acid rain and general dirt will break down the oils in a painted surface and essentially dry it out, leaving solid colours looking faded and clear-coat finishes looking dull or in some cases blistered, flaking or peeling.
How many stages of polishing will be required?
This depends on how deep the swirl is. For the paint to be level, we need to cut down to the bottom of the deepest swirl. The deeper the swirl, the more stages required to level the paint. For cars that are driven daily, we’d recommend a treatment that will remove about 95% of the swirl. More often than not, this achieves a perfect finish in the eyes of our customers. The last 5-10% of the swirl is the hardest and most time consuming to remove, hence adds a significant cost for little obvious gain.
What about scratches?
Some scratches can be removed. However, our number one concern during a paint rectification treatment is for the safety of the paintwork. If too much paint has to be taken off to get rid of a scratch, we’ll err on the side of caution and not risk future paint degradation. In most cases, these deep scratches will have a reduced appearance and be less noticeable. As a rule of thumb, if you can feel the scratch with your fingernail, it’s probably too deep to totally remove safely.
Article by Des Wong
What’s a clay bar? Why should you use it? Does it scratch? What’s the best clay bar to buy? We give you some answers here.
A clay bar is also known as a compound block, because it’s made from various compound materials to make different grades of bars.
Clay is an important part of maintaining your car’s exterior, including paint and glass. It acts like a magnet that absorbs foreign particles that have fallen on the car’s surface and become difficult to wash off over time.
Do you remember your car’s silky smooth surface when you bought it? If you run your hand over it now, you’ll probably find that it feels quite rough. If that’s the case, you need to “clay it”. A clay bar will pick up nearly 99% of fine particles from the paint, leaving the surface so smooth you’ll slide off it if you lean on it.
You can also use a clay bar on black or dark paints to remove bugs while you wash your car, instead of scrubbing it and possibly causing far worse scratches. Using it on your glass every so often keeps better surface tension on the glass, making it easier to clean and allowing water to bead off in the wet.
It’s true that a clay bar can produce very fine scratches (called marring) in the paintwork, but these can be reduced to almost nothing with precautions like making sure the car is properly washed before you start, and keeping the painted surface wet and cool throughout the process with water, soapy water or clay lubricants. If soapy water is your choice, then I recommend that you only use good car wash shampoo and never use any domestic cleaning agents/detergents.
The best clay bars to buy are not the retail type found everywhere. Trade brands are the ones to look for, and will range anywhere between $40 and $55 each. The retail blocks are weak and will break down after a few uses, plus they’re less than half the size of a professional block. If you buy a trade/professional block, it will last much longer. The other advantage is that if you want to use a trade block, you can get a mate to go halves with you, cut the block in half, and you’ll end up spending less than $30 each. If you cut it in two, you can also use one half for the top surfaces only, and the other half for the bottom parts of the car.
Remember to wax your car after using a clay bar, unless you’ve had a recent proper paint correction and/or a minimum of two coats of wax containing at least 40% wax in the last 3 months.
To sum it up, it’s important to treat your car with clay at least twice a year. Good luck.