A Basic car wash only removes topical dirt and filth acquired over short term driving. Regardless of how thorough the wash is, car wash soap does not deep clean, polish or restore the paint from damage done by bonded contamination, embedded dirt and staining, and different types of below surface defects. Well-maintained and properly detailed cars are really the only cars that truly benefit from a basic wash and application of a wax or sealant. The idea being that you have already gone through the process of decontamination (which is different from just washing) and either a light polish, which deep cleans the paint to remove embedded dirt and stains or a full polish, which can completely remove oxidation and below surface paint defects (think restoration) and your paint just needs to be maintained by a wash and wax or a maintenance detail.Paint Decontamination is a process that breaks down and removes bonded contaminants such as industrial fallout (another name for pollution), brake dust, rail dust, tree sap and tar that embed themselves into the surface of the paint leaving the surface gritty and rough.
An easy way to check whether or not your car is covered in bonded contamination is to use the Baggie Test. All you need to do is place a sandwich baggie over your hand and feel your paint after washing. The plastic sandwich baggie enhances your sense of touch and makes inspecting your paint easier. If your paint feels rough and gritty that means it’s contaminated. If your paint feels smooth as glass with no bumps or rough patches more than likely it’s free of bonded contamination.
As we went over previously, a light polish is going to remove embedded dirt and stains from your paint but it’s not going to remove or correct any paint defects such as swirls, scratches, marring and etching. A full polish is going to remove a very small percentage of your paint and also remove any below surface paint defects (oxidation, swirls, scratches, etching, etc.) that were only as deep as the amount of paint of paint removed.
example, if you have a wooden tabletop that is 3 inches thick and you accidently scratch the surface about 1 millimeter deep, it’s going to leave an eye sore but it’s not deep enough to structurally damage the tabletop. So what you could do remove the defect is sand the tabletop down to right below the deepest part of the scratch in the table. This would remove the scratch and restore your tabletop to perfect condition without harming the integrity of the table.The same concept behind removing scratches from a wooden tabletop also applies to removing them from automotive paint. The goal of polishing paint is to remove as many or as much of a scratch, swirl or etch as possible without compromising the integrity of the paint. This is why I always approach a situation by using the least aggressive method or product to get the job done properly. I want to leave as much of the paint on the car as possible so if it gets scratched again I can repeat the process safely and still have enough paint on the car to where it can be done multiple times again.
A perfect example of not selecting the right tool for the job is to use a chain saw to cut the table in half widthwise to remove the mirror surface scratch. You’ve drastically shortened the life of the table because the right tool, product and technique were not properly chosen to match the situation at hand.
For more info and tips please call AAA Auto Spa at (647)848-3223