Just giving your car a quick wash and wax is easy with modern spray waxes. You can even apply some of them to your car while it’s still wet and just rinse it off.
But sometimes more work is needed. Our black cars especially can get covers in swirls and scratches and a spray wax won’t help here.
Your car will look a million times better if you fully prep the paint before polishing or waxing. This is especially true for black cars that have faded paint.
Polishing your car won’t hide the scratches, it will REMOVE them. You can easily follow these steps to achieve that dream mirror finish.
Step 1: Washing
Your car needs to be as clean as possible before you polish or wax it. Washing it the correct way will help preserve the shine and wax coating. So make sure you know all about the two-bucket method and other safe car washing methods.
Avoid using a car shampoo that has wax or gloss enhancers in it. There are some shampoos you could use such as Adams Strip Wash that can give a deeper clean and are designed to remove your old wax or sealant. Removing old wax might help your new wax bond with your black paint. Old waxes can make your paint look faded so just removing it will help boost your car’s appearance.
Step 2: Iron Remover
Iron removal is a spray product that will dissolve embedded iron particles that are attached to every car. These particles will prevent wax from bonding. They will also break off and scratch your paint when you are polishing or waxing it. It’s one of those must-have products for car lovers. Especially black car lovers like us.
Read the instructions of whatever iron remover you have and follow them carefully. Some iron remover sprays can stain the paint if not used properly. You usually need to park in the shade to avoid the product drying.
There are plenty of Iron Removers on the market of which Carpro Iron-X is probably the most famous.
Step 3: Tar Remover
It’s hard to see tar on a black car but it’s still a good idea to remove any before waxing or polishing. You might be able to feel it directly behind the front wheels. Does the area feel rough?
Tar remover will remove a lot of this roughness which again makes your car easier to wax and gives a better result.
A clay bar can also remove tar. But you will cause fewer scratches if you use a tar remover product.
Some tar removers can damage plastic and rubber trim so extra care is needed. As always read the instructions. Gtechniq W7 Tar and Glue Remover is one of the best.
Step 4: Clay Bar
Some people like to skip iron removers and tar removers and go straight to the clay bar stage. But the clay bar will have less work to do if the other two products are used first.
If your paint doesn’t feel super smooth then you should use a clay bar. But an important word of warning, clay bars can cause bad scratches and scuff marks on car paint. And always use plenty of lubricant when claying a car.
Any scuffs or scratches created by using a clay bar will need to be polished out. The scratches are usually not very deep and can be removed with a polishing compound and DA Polishing machine. Most detailers will not use a clay bar unless they plan on also polishing.
Remember, a clay bar is an abrasive product and should only be used if needed. You might find that only some panels on your car need claying. Don’t clay anything that doesn’t need it! Mild or soft clay bars are usually all that’s needed for most cases.
Step 5: Polish
To get the best shine possible from your car you should polish it. The polishing stage will remove swirls and scratches from your paint and really bring out its shine. Polishing (or compounding) will be most effective if done with a Dual Action polishing machine.
Polishing a car can take several hours depending on the number of polishing stages you do. You can first use a heavy-cut compound and pad to remove deep swirl marks from a car that hasn’t been cared for well.
A basic compound like Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound can give great results by hand and is even better when using a Machine Polisher.
You can then follow up with a softer pad and a finishing polish to bring out the shine. The more stages you do the longer it takes but the better the results could be. If your car paint is in pretty good condition you will probably get away with a single-stage or all-in-one polish and a medium pad.
Polish can stain plastic so you will need to tape up any plastic or rubber trim first.
Step 6: Wax
Wax is what adds shine to a car. You might not even realize when a white car has been waxed but you will definitely notice when a black car has been waxed.
The final step is the protection step. Wax will add gloss but also it will help protect the polishing work you have done. Waxed cars are easier to wash because dirt doesn’t stick to waxed cars so well. There are many types of last-stage protection other than wax. Ceramic coatings and paint sealants are also available on the market.
Step 7: Maintenance
Now that you have your car the way you want it you should learn how to keep it looking good. Proper handwashing and safe drying are key.
For light dust, you can use a product like optimum no rise. But only for light dust. If there is any dirt on your car you should wash it.
Unfortunately, an automatic car wash will wash away your wax and add tones of swirls and scratches.
At a minimum, the safest way to wash a dirty black car is to use microfibre wash mitts and the two bucket method. But an even better method is to use the pre-wash method.
This involves using a pressure washer and foam cannon to remove as much dirt as possible before you go in with the hand wash. This will keep scratches to an absolute minimum.
A simple spray wax like P&S Beadmaker can be applied after you wash your car and while it’s still wet. It adds stunning levels of gloss with little effort.