View Full Version : How 2 tell good wax/paint sealant from a bad one

03-01-2003, 06:13 PM

Can I check .. do you have any "tips" on how to choose a
1)Good wax
2)Good sealant

What do you see on the label?
Or if you give it a try how do you know that it is "good" ?

Kindly advice Thank you.

03-02-2003, 12:00 PM
Not trying to negate the usefullness of the forum, but this is an often discussed (debating, and argued) topic on the Corvette and Miata forums, you might look over there for some of the age old threads for more info images/icons/smile.gif

"WAX" is a pretty generic term anymore it seems, and doesn't necessarily imply the product is any kind of wax at all. A wax these days can be a polish, or kind of surface protection other than wax-based.

If you're dealing with a new or custom paint finish I would stay away from cleaner-waxes. The cleaner-waxes commonly "clean" by adding an abraisive to the product. As you "wax" you're also polishing, lifting paint as you do so. If you want to polish, get a polish, if you want to wax get a wax.

Aside from the cleaner-waxes I don't think there are any waxes that can damage your paint, so a lot of trial-and-error can lead to what works best for you. Start with a good reputable brand name and go from there. Mothers and Meguires are the most commonly used brand names out there. Zymol has a reputation for making expensive "custom" waxes (specifically designed for certain model cars) but their consumer walmart products have a poor reputation. Spray-on and liquid waxes can sometimes have a high alcohol content which isn't necessarily desireable, especially if your paint is prone to "streak" when waxed.

One other comment on regular waxes and waxing - a lot of what the final result looks like comes through careful preparation of the vehicle. Just washing a car and waxing may not be enough, especially for a daily-driver car. The paint picks up tons of contaminants, especially when driven often. A good washing, followed by a careful clay-bar procedure will result in a perfectly smooth paint surface free of contaminants. A clay-bar system lifts contaminants embedded in the paint(including metal particals, dirt, etc) without polishing away paint. Sounds like black magic, but the results are incredible. If you've never tried it, try it - a freshly clayed car looks and feels like it was just waxed. A freshly waxed and clayed car is even better.

There are other paint treatments available that are not waxes at all. "Zaino" products have earned a cult-like following and are not a wax at all. Zaino is a multi-step paint application (Zaino calls it a polish, which I don't agree with) that builds up in layers. When properly applied and cared for the Zaino products can result in some of the deepest, slickest, long-lasting shines around. The advantage to Zaino is that it will not slick-off or lift in hot weather (some waxes will), builds up in layers and stays on the car (waxes will evaporate and wash off over time), and is optically pure.

One last comment; no matter what "wax" you choose please choose your applicators and towels carefully. Cheap applicators can scratch paint, only top quality applicators should be used and only 100% cotton towels should be used to wipe the wax off. Sal Zaino's commented that only "100% Cotton made-in-USA" towels should be used. Many foreign-made "100% cotton" materials aren't actually 100% cotton (go figure), and the filler-fibers they use can scratch the paint. I've followed that rule and my MG is pretty much free of any swirl marks or scratches from waxing, even after years of shows and driving.

Finally remember; no matter what recommendations or research leads you to a specific product use what works best for you.

03-02-2003, 02:56 PM
Wow great reply. Thank you.

1 Question: Is a claybar useful on a new car that is barely 1 month old? Yes I am a daily driver images/icons/grin.gif

03-02-2003, 03:10 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by tradertt:
Wow great reply. Thank you.

1 Question: Is a claybar useful on a new car that is barely 1 month old? Yes I am a daily driver images/icons/grin.gif <hr></blockquote>

Yes! When I bought my 2000 Chevy new, I claybared it to get all the microscopic impurities removed (such as rail dust from drasporting the car). It is something I highly recomment you do at least once. By the way, I also use Zaino and love it! (yes, I'm one of those cult follower's aerog spoke of images/icons/grin.gif )

03-02-2003, 03:19 PM
Lolz... I see I see .. but I have heard lots of horror story that if a claybar that is not used correctly .. alot of scratches will appear on the car paintwork ... Anyone have any GREAT articles on how to use a claybar? Time to learn something new images/icons/grin.gif

03-02-2003, 03:30 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by tradertt:
Lolz... I see I see .. but I have heard lots of horror story that if a claybar that is not used correctly .. alot of scratches will appear on the car paintwork ... Anyone have any GREAT articles on how to use a claybar? Time to learn something new images/icons/grin.gif <hr></blockquote>

You just want to use a small spray bottle with soapy water to keep the area you are working on lubricated (work a small, area at a time). Check Sal's website for more details on proper use of claybar:

Zaino Brothers (https://www.zainobros.com/)

03-02-2003, 11:57 PM
Ditto what Basil said -- soapy water acts as a lubricant for the clay-bar. The only way you can really screw up a clay-bar procedure is by using the clay too long (letting it get really dirty) or dropping it on the ground. Some kits call for using their detailing sprays, but I always make a mix of car-wash concentrate and filtered or distilled water. When you start the procedure you just let the clay float over the paint with little to no effort.

One other note on clay-bars; Stay away from the Meguire's clay-bar system. Their clay is horrible stuff that smears all over the paint. Clay-Magic is great, Zaino is great, and Mother's (commonly found in auto parts stores) is very good.

If you end up using regular wax on your car I highly recommend getting the Mother's clay-bar kit and using the soapy-water as a lubricant. The kit comes with a full size bottle of their show-car detailing spray, save it and use it later - it's terrific stuff to finish the car off with!

Just another little plug for Zaino, here are a couple of pictures that give you an idea what it will result in. A freshly waxed car will be really good, but after about 10 coats of Zaino the shine is incredibly slick and lasts seemingly forever (this is 10 year old paint by the way):


05-27-2003, 06:01 PM
A friend of mine suggested I look at a web site called "carcareonline.com" (no personal interest -yadda,yadda, etc). This site offers lots of different mfgrs products. It describes each one and gives opinions on each product. My paint finish was not too bad to start with, but I knew it could look better. I purchsed a glazing compound and a wax from this site based on my discussion with their customer service. I have a big Healey, and did it by hand - no machine use, and it didn't take me all day either. I was quite surprised with the results. It made a significant difference to the overall look of my car. The products I used took all the small swirl scratches out of the paint and left an extremely smooth finish. Now the paint almost looks like its a liquid. Whoever this guy is that runs this site, he knows his stuff. images/icons/cool.gif

05-28-2003, 06:09 PM
Been thinking about clay-barring my Miata, as well, because the paint is finally starting to look a bit tired. I'll probably try the Mother's kit (haven't used their stuff in years, but liked it then), and maybe their wax. I'm just about out of Meguiar's anyway...
My question is: What Kind Of Soap To Use To Make The Soapy Water? Carwash soap, or the Dawn dishsoap I use to take off old waxy stuff?

05-28-2003, 11:58 PM

The Mother's claybar kit is a good one. Clay-Magic is in some stores and is good also. Under no circumstances would I consider using Meguire's Clay-Bar system again. Their clay is the worst I've ever used.

The Mother's kit comes with a full bottle of their Showtime detailing spray, and they advocate using it as the lubricant, which is fine but I save the bottle for detailing and use soapy water. I don't like to use the stuff myself, but their kit comes with a small bottle of Mother's liquid cleaner/wax which is pretty good stuff - I just prefer Hi-Tech Yellow Wax or one of Mother's non cleaner-waxes.

The mix I use is about a half to maybe a full capful of car wash concentrate per 16oz spray bottle of water. You can also use that dilution ratio in a bucket and use a sponge to splash the stuff on the car rather than spray.

The few times I've clayed my cars I've also been in the process of prepping for Zaino, which entails going through the wash with dawn. Zaino's clay-bar instructions specify dawning the car first, then clay with the regular soap solution. I really don't know if there's a good reason for that or not though.

[ 05-28-2003: Message edited by: aerog ]</p>

05-29-2003, 09:20 AM

This is a great thread, and you're car looks really superb, but I'm totally lost on some of the terms you are using.

What is a "Clay-Bar", it sounds like something Wallace would have used to repell the English!.
Do you wash the car the car first and does this stuff then remove any old polish and surface grime?...Is it the same as a colour restoring compound?
Also I'm afraid I have never heard of the term "dawning", could you explain please.
I understand "detailing kit", although I have never seen one.
As far as I'm aware none of the products mentioned are available in the UK, although for the life of me I can't understand why, and they really should be!.....Any enterprising importers out there!.
Sorry to ask what must seem very dumb and basic questions, but these products look too good to miss out on!...


graemlins/savewave.gif graemlins/england.gif graemlins/savewave.gif

05-29-2003, 11:13 AM

First, I suppose I used some poetic license with the term "dawning" I should have said DAWN-ING images/icons/smile.gif Dawn is a dishwashing detergent (hand-wash not machine wash) in the states, but any dishwashing detergent should work in its place. "Dawn" is only used to prep the car for getting the car ready for claying or waxing, not for general cleaning (it strips the wax off).

The clay-bar is just as it sounds, a bar of clay that can best be described as a process to prep the paint for wax. The clay-bar kits come with a small brick of clay a couple of inches square and is sort of a cross between modeling clay and a kneaded eraser, but it is designed so as not to pull apart or streak on your paint (cheap ones do though). The clay lifts paint contaminants out of the paint without actually polishing the paint. The process leaves the paint looking and feeling like it's been polished and waxed, but in reality it's just pure clean paint. The clay lifts (rather than polishes) embedded brake-dust and atmospheric contaminants.

The process is really simple, you soak a small area of paint (remember, the car has been really cleaned well before doing this) with soapy water, then the brick of clay is softly swept back and forth over the surface with little to no force. The clay might skip a little bit but once the paint is clean the clay just slides around like it's on ice. As the clay gets dirty you flip it over to the other side, then start kneading it (just like a kneaded eraser) to clean it up.

Zaino's webpage on their clay product sums up the process pretty well, but there's nothing special about their clay - any brand works the same way (except Meguire's clay has a terrible reputation which I can confirm):
Zaino: https://www.zainobros.com/files/z18.htm
Clay-Magic: https://www.clay-magic.com/

I'd be surprised if you can't find it somewhere, but I checked and Halfords doesn't seem to stock anything like a clay-bar images/icons/frown.gif Good luck finding a source!

--- Scott

05-29-2003, 06:15 PM

Superb reply, as usual !....

I checked out the web pages you kindly linked and this stuff looks really good.

I've e-mailed the Companies to check if they distribute to the UK.

Once again thanks for the explanation, essential to a simpleton like me!.

Cheers graemlins/savewave.gif graemlins/england.gif graemlins/savewave.gif

[ 05-29-2003: Message edited by: BEEJAY7 ]</p>

06-01-2003, 04:55 PM
Many of the products are probably available online anyway-even Dawn diswashing soap! I'm gonna wait till I get a whole, nice weather weekend off to do an actual detailing job.
BEEJAY-have you ever used Autoglym stuff? I believe it's just becoming available Statestide, and have always wondered if it works well.

06-02-2003, 05:42 AM

I have used Autoglym and they have a very extensive product range.

They are also good supporters of the British Classic car scene, sponsoring many Concours type events. For this reason alone it is worth taking a look at their products.

To the best of my knowledge they don't have anything like Clay-bar or the Zanio products, they are more into more traditional polishes and cleaning materials.

graemlins/savewave.gif graemlins/england.gif graemlins/savewave.gif

06-02-2003, 11:42 AM
How about GS27?

I also saw that Halfords carries a "teflon" polish by Simonize (I've not seen it here). I bought a new Ford Probe in 1989 and they tossed in a couple bottles of "Auto Armor w/teflon", it was terrific stuff! I wonder if the stuff Halfords carries is the same (white liquid, nice smell, dries quick, wipes up easily, leaves a terrific long-lasting shine).

Dave Russell
06-03-2003, 12:16 AM
How 2 tell good wax/paint sealant from a bad one

I think that this question is like asking which is the best car or which is the best toothpaste.

I have tried almost everything on the market & concluded that a good washing with dish soap followed by "Meguiar's #7 Show Car Glaze" & topped off with "Nu Finish" polymer gives the best combination of easy application, shine & durability. easy & quick & looks good.

07-09-2003, 10:47 PM
Another thing to think about when looking at waxes is whether or not they are acutally a "sealant" or not. Of course, one of the main purposes of wax is to protect, and therefore the word sealant comes to mind. I agree that the term wax has really lost a true meaning. It's used for numerous products, all of which vary a great deal.

Many of the synthetic "waxes" actually do seal your paint. The pro is that synthetic sealants last much longer than natural, organic waxes (e.g. carnauba-based). However, some synthetic sealants have received some criticism for preventing your paint to "breathe." When I first heard that, I was confused since paint does not inhale and exhale. I've since learned that paint needs to have some contact with oxygen. That's what they mean when they say it needs to "breathe." It's important if you care about the longevity of your paint.

Some people don't care if their paint breathes or not... perhaps they know they won't have a particular care forever anyway. Others do care. In order to distinguish which synthetic waxes seal and which do not, you need to ask whether or not it's an acrylic. Acrylic synthetic waxes seal your paint and most non-acrylics don't. I'm sure as more and more synthetic waxes are developed, this topic is likely to become more confusing. In the meantime, you may want to inquire about acrylic vs. non-acrylic synthetic waxes.

I personally love acrylics right now because I have a lease on my daily driver. It's worth it to me right now because they last so much longer! On the other hand, once I find my *keeper* car I won't be using acrylics on it.

Hope this helps with the sealant part of the original question.

07-09-2003, 11:02 PM
This raises a curious question... how does the "paint" portion of a clearcoat paint "breath" since it is (I'd assume) sealed up by the 2nd "clearcoat"?

I also thought that one of the reasons we apply a good coat of wax (pick your flavor) is to seal it from the elements and atmosphere, including air and all it encompasses.

The word "oxidation" (reaction to contact with Oxygen) also comes to mind - but perhaps the term "oxidized paint" is grossly misused ?

07-10-2003, 03:39 AM
A lot of what people refer to as “breathing” is more properly termed outgassing, volatile compounds in the finish evaporating out to the atmosphere. Remember the saying “watching paint dry”?

Paint that is dry to the touch will retain some volatiles for a considerable time, even modern low VOC (volatile organic compound) finishes. If the finish is not allowed to outgas properly it may not cure correctly and can be damaged. A PPG rep once told me that when those superamazingpolyundergloat sealants that dealers love to stick you for (they have obscene profit margins on those) first came out an awful lot of new cars’ finishes were ruined. This is why all painters will tell you not to wax a new paint job for a couple of months.

Nowadays, with current OEM finish formulations and oven curing it’s not a problem on new cars. For a re-spray you still should let it cure for a while before waxing or sealing.

Basecoat finishes are specifically formulated to work with their topcoat. There are also formulations that allow for use with or without a topcoat. In these instances the topcoat is permeable to the basecoat’s volatiles just as multiple layers of the same finish would be.

It is critical that a clear topcoat be compatible with the basecoat. There are many different types of paint and some are not compatible. I have a friend whose car was clearcoated with a finish that was not compatible with the basecoat. Looked great initially but after a while the basecoat deteriorated severely. Not it’s stuck under a really tough clearcoat, looks horrible and will be really difficult to strip. graemlins/violin.gif

The term oxidize is accurate. Even if the initial curing of the coating is some kind of oxidation reduction reaction that creates the beautiful, glossy finish composition exposure to the environment will cause the surface to further react with oxygen to transform it into that crusty, chalky chemical state that we all dread.


07-10-2003, 11:53 AM
graemlins/thumbsup.gif Well said, PC.

07-11-2003, 03:56 AM
Yes, well said - but I'm still curious about the other statement that doesn't make a bit of sense to me:

<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>paint needs to have some contact with oxygen<hr></blockquote>

While I agree about the gassing, etc (seems like more often than not they recommend waiting 60 days before waxing) it seems to me that the above comment is contrary to reality, especially after that 60 days (or whatever is recommended).

07-11-2003, 02:15 PM
aerog, gotta say Iíve never heard anything like that either.

tsuba, got any background info on that?


John Loftus
07-11-2003, 08:50 PM
Just a little trivia ...

I remember seeing the first claybar system being sold through auto paint shops in the early 80's. It wasn't advertised for prepping paint for wax but for removing overspray.

I agree that the Meguiars will streak if not well lubed but the 'stickyness'is what removes the contaiminents ... perhaps it works better?! I have also used the Griots clay bar which does a fine job.

BTw, I designed the Meguiars bottle with the little finger grips about 8 years ago. So next time you are in the auto store you can say you know the guy who designed it! (I know ... big whoopie!)

The old bottle (only used on professional series products) was too small on the base and would tip over causing a domino effect with the other bottles on the shelf. The new design has a wider base along with the debossed logo and finger grips.

meguiars bottle (https://www.meguiars.com/product_showroom/showproducts_template.cfm?SrcLine=PP&SrcCat=3)


07-11-2003, 10:55 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by John Loftus:
BTw, I designed the Meguiars bottle with the little finger grips about 8 years ago......<hr></blockquote>

I'm impressed!....you're, like the "Raymond Loewy" of wax bottles....cool!
Of course, I'm sort of "into" industrial design, because of my job.
If I ever see you in person, I'll buy a bottle of the stuff and *insist* on having you autograph it!

As for waxing cars, I'm on a different planet from the rest of you guys.....I usually just power-wash the Spridget and spritz it with some Pledge.

(I better leave now before someone throws a claybar at me.....I actually don't even know what a "claybar" is.)

07-12-2003, 12:08 PM
John, great bottle! I don’t need to go into an auto store I’ve got a big collection of them in the garage. graemlins/thumbsup.gif

aeronca65t, You’ll have to come out to Orange County. You can get John’s autograph and I can smack you silly with a wash mitt. Power-washer and Pledge? images/icons/shocked.gif

Here’s some info on clay detailing - https://www.clay-magic.com/


John Loftus
07-12-2003, 12:47 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by aeronca65t:

I'm impressed!....you're, like the "Raymond Loewy" of wax bottles....cool!<hr></blockquote>

Ha! ... What's surprising is the longevity of the design. Most of the computer related design that I have done (emachines, gateway, etc.) is produced for a year or two before being replaced. The Meguiars bottle and label design just keeps going and going. I've been working on a slew of new stuff for them but we'll see if it ever makes it into production.

Regarding the 'bottle signing', you won't have to twist my arm. You know what they say, I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than .....