Dr Detail....Part 5
Details … Details … Details!
Rx: Make it REEEEALY shine!
ALWAYS glaze before you wax.
“Wait a minute…” you might ask. “Isn’t that what we’ve been doing all along?” Making it shine? Well … YES … but … this article will give YOU the key to a PROFESSIONAL shine. Not just what you’re used to.
OK … ready? Here it is … GLAZE, GLAZE, GLAZE …. Have you heard the 3 Real Estate laws? Here’s a Freebie then … LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Yes, it’s the same concept. If you want it to really shine … glaze! If Professionals have a secret, it’s glaze.
What’s a GLAZE???
Glazes, often called “Polishes”, are paint-conditioning oils that you need to work into your finish on a regular basis. By the way … I don’t like to use the term “Polish” instead of “Glaze”. When you’re cutting metals a “Polish” is a mild abrasive. That’s not what we’re dealing with in paint care. So we’ll just stick to “G L A Z E”.
Enter Ol’ Sol, stage left! When the sun comes out you want your paint to sparkle, right? Bring on the sun! Well, old brighty, up there has a dark side. You can’t see it happen but the more sun your paint gets … the DRYER it gets. “Oh, No!” You know what happens when your paint dries out? It becomes much easier for the moisture in the air to chemically react with (oxidize) it. Left alone, abandoned in the desert, oxidized paints will just blow away. So sad! Dry paint may oxidize quickly but dried out clear coat pops off. You can clean off oxidation but when the clear coat dries out it gets brittle, cracks, allows moisture beneath and delaminates from the color coat forming an air bubble beneath. Eventually the bubble breaks. If you’re following me you can draw the obvious conclusion … REPAINT! So YOU must be the hero and keep it from continually drying out and going away. “But, how?”, you ask. Glaze! Haven’t you been paying attention? Just keep glazing and … Ta da!
Your paint began it’s life in a can or drum (or tank car) as a liquid, right? Then someone squirted it on your car and expected it to dry out, turn solid and get hard. That’s all well and good but in reality it NEVER gets completely dry. Ever heard the admonition not to wax a new paint job for a period of time like 45 to 60 days? It takes significant time to get a paint dry enough to let it live on you car in the real world. But some of the liquids formulated into you paint are meant to hang around … forever if possible. The “liquids” still in the paint (chemists call them “plasticizers”) allow the paint to remain somewhat resilient to the elements. As time goes on more and more of the plasticizers get baked out by the sun and do leave … but YOU can be a superhero to your paint and give it renewed life whenever it needs it. Put the moisture back with a good quality glaze.
So far we’ve washed the paint so we don’t rub abrasives like dust around and we’ve cut any surface problems away with Cleaners. The paint is clean and smooth and it’s time to protect it and get on with life.
Before you spread the wax or polymers take time to condition the paint with a quality glaze. Now glazes come in primarily three flavors. You’ve got your “Machine” glaze, your “Hand” glaze and your “Cleaner” glaze. The first two are easy to sort out. How do you plan to apply you glaze? Gonna’ use a machine or caress it in by hand?
OK, what about a “Cleaner” glaze? When you cleaned your paint with abrasives you may have noticed some residual abrasive marks (fine scratches). Or you may have noticed some minor but unsightly little “spider web” sized scratches we like to call “Swirl Marks”. If so you now have the opportunity to not just cover them up (as any glaze will temporarily) but you can actually remove them as you glaze. That’s where the “Cleaner” part of the “Cleaner Glaze” comes in. The abrasives in these products are just the finest of rouges. They will do the finishing work and are essential to the best shine. You can use a cleaner glaze by hand or machine but you get a better finish with a machine. Remember to use a little effort and pressure because you’re expecting the rouges to cut out those fine marks. A hand or machine glaze can just be spread out but if you’re gonna’ use a Cleaner Glaze, work it a little. You’ll like the results.
For your selection let me mention that Meguiars puts out several of all three. The common ones are their Mirror Glaze M03 Machine Glaze; M05 and M07 Hand Glazes and the legendary M09, Swirl Mark Remover. 3M also puts out great glazes like #05996 Foam Pad Glazes (it’s tinted dark but don’t fall for that), #05990 Imperial Hand Glaze and #05928 Finesse-It II cleaner glaze. There are several others for following up after specific compounds.
Once you’ve selected your glaze, application is all about the same. Spread it thin! Conditioning oils (glazes) get very tacky as they “dry”. If you leave little piles of glaze on your paint you’ll find them fairly stubborn to remove when you wipe down. Spreading it thin avoids the problem. A tiny bit of moisture in your applicator will help to spread it out thin. If you do find a glob or two DON’T spend all day trying to get it off. A little fresh glaze on a pad will dissolve it and you’ll get a second chance to spread it thin. Furthermore, your next step, protection with wax or polymer, will pick it right up. If I must confess, I “kinda” LIKE getting a little gloppy. You see, residual glaze from this step will dissolve into your wax during application so you can blend the excess glaze into you wax and actually make use of it.
If you’re going to use a Machine Glaze with a … machine … then you may be interested in a special pad by 3M. I call it a waffle pad but it’s their black pad part number 05725, Finish Pad. It’s specially designed to aid with glaze application. It’s not the only one of its kind either. In the past anyone putting out a pad similar was forced to abandon it in lieu of law suits. Now, I guess the patent must have run out because I see a few popping up. This pad has “nubs”. Little foam mounts sticking up from the base foam of the pad. What these do is allow you to select how much surface contact you are working with. Start out with moderate pressure, enough to collapse the “nubs” for full contact. As the glaze dries and you feel increasing drag from the tack building up, ease up on the pad to get up on the “nubs”. This will reduce contact between pad and paint and reduce the drag as well.
Wipe down with microfiber and don’t forget the welder’s helmet or at least sunglasses.
By the way … which is glossier … wax or glaze??? Glazes never dry into a hard film so they will continue to level out as long as they’re on you paint. Remember our discussing about how gloss is effected by how level and smooth the surface is? Well glazes give you an artificial surface that is extremely flat, therefore glossy. The negative to that is that they don’t stay on very long either. So why use them? Well besides the “conditioning” we discussed earlier they are the glossiest things on earth. You’ve watched the TV car commercials where the car looks like liquid light? Pure glaze!
So, glaze your paint but wax over it to lock it down. Glazes can be used as a top coat but you’ll need to be anal about reapplying every 3 or 4 weeks or risk an unprotected surface … naked to the ravages of “The Eye in the Sky”. Sorry, getting carried away again.
So, here’s the bottom line. Go through all the steps to wind up with a hard waxed surface. Then you can spread glaze ON TOP for that “wet” look and it doesn’t matter if it washes away in 3 or 4 washes. The wax will continue to protect and any additional glaze can just beautify. If you keep a lot of glaze on your paint it will never look better. Ever hear of “Yellow waxy buildup”? Well, waxes DO build up and can get to the point where THEY look dull and need to be stripped and reapplied. Glazes can’t build up so you can spread as much as you like, as often as you like. If you wait out the life span of your wax job before you re-wax you don’t have to worry about the buildup but if you like applying something frequently it should be glaze not wax.
So let the shine begin!
Please submit your questions for this column at www.DrDetail@DrDetailForLess.com and we’ll cover them in a future column. You can also submit your own testimonials and comments about the subjects covered here and we’ll try to publish them as well.
Thanx, until next week,