Intermediate cleaning – last stage protection

Assuming you have followed all the previous cleaning guides and are now at this stage you should have very clean paint – congratulations! The next step is to apply a suitable layer of protection to lock the fresh paint away from the dirt and grime of the road. This will make future cleaning sessions a lot easier as a two bucket wash will clean down to this wax layer automatically bringing the brilliant finish held beneath the wax back.

When it comes to the last stage of protection there are a myriad of choices available ranging from a few pounds worth to thousands of pounds worth of product. Ultimately, the choice of product is down to the individual and the car to find a finish (and often a balance of durability, finish and cost) that is the best balance for them. I am currently using Collinite 476. I chose this wax as it is very hard wearing (some claim it lasts for up to six months which is incredible) and very cheap.

You will need a wax of your choice, applicator pads (although microfibre cloth could be used in place of a pad if required) and a microfibre cloth.

When applying wax take the product and a pad to the car and work your way around as you do when cleaning i.e. start from the top and work down and around. Using an applicator pad, swirl this in product and rub the pad across the paintwork in small circles with finger light pressure. To ensure you are getting even coverage, view the paint from angles to ensure even coverage in the wax which will appear cloudy on the surface of the paint.

Top the applicator pad up with product as required and continue working around covering all painted surfaces. I also wax the light covers. When applying, try to keep the layers thin as excess will be hard to buff off and will produce a lot of dust. Generally a tin of wax will do many cars so do not be alarmed if you barely scrape the surface of the pot!

Once applied, the wax will need to cure to the paint surface and then be buffed off.

The curing times for wax will vary greatly depending on the product so check the label of your chosen wax. For Collinite, it bonds near immediately so I apply to two panels at a time then buff off. Others will allow you to coat the car and then wipe off.

Buffing is the final stage and involves using a microfibre to rub off the wax layer. Using a towel, work around the car rubbing off all the residue in small circles.

Once the car has been completely buffed, this stage is finished. Congratulations!

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