How To….. Detail You Car

This is a short guide to help anyone detail their car. The good thing is that the all materials and tools

used are easy to source.

These are the stages to keep a car looking its best. Whether on new or old paint-work, this system

works. On certain colors, different polishes and waxes may look better/worse than others.

The polishing stages can be done with a PC or rotary and hand.

Stage 1 – Washing

Firstly you must have a clean car to start with, so washing properly is a valuable first step; you also

need the correct tools to work with…

Two buckets

Two or more mitts

A good waffle weave towel to dry

Some car wash clear coat safe stuff too!

Just now many good washes are available, personally I opt for.

Meguiars Soft wash gel

Meguiars NXT (removes more protection than soft wash)

1Z Perls Monthly/Weekly depending on dirt build up.

Poorboys slick suds

Fill one bucket with carwash and water solution and the other with warm water. The carwash

solution is to be used with a clean mitt only, and the other bucket is to dunk the used mitt to clean off

any particles that may scratch the paint. Start by washing from roof down (equally) - don’t do roof to

skirt on passenger side then move onto roof to skirt on driver. Use one mitt for the roof to door and

the other for door to skirt.

Then just hose down and dry thoroughly with a Waffle Weave (WW)

Step 2 – Claying

Once you have cleaned the car, you want to clay it, using some new carwash and water solution for

lubrication just put some on the area with the mitt; make sure the clay has some solution on it too

and rub back and forth, check your work and don’t lean too heavily. Turn the clay when you see it

getting dirty.

Next you may want to wash again or just rinse depending on your personal preference.

Step 3 – Surface Analysis

Look around the car looking for any deep scratches, swirls etc. Evaluate what polish you would want

to attack the car with to get it ready for some sealant.

Apply your choice of polish to the terry towel or applicator pad (terry towel has more of a bite and is

better for oxidisation) then rub north-south, east-west and diagonals, never in a circle.

For this step I use, and have access to, a range of polishes, but the ones I would recommend are.

Poorboys SSR2.5

1Z Intensive Polish

Meguiars Deep Crystal Stage 1 paint cleaner

Dual Action Cleaner Polish

Optimum Polish

Once you have worked in the product, remove with a micro fibre polishing towel - make sure it is

plush and is of high quality.

Step 4 – Perfecting

Now you have a nice looking base for some perfecting. The previous step is to flatten out the

clear/single stage and make sure it is as scratch free and swirl free as possible.

So you now want to perfect that finish with a finer polish such as;

SSR1 (Metallic)

Autoglym Super Resin Polish (Dark Colours)

1Z Paint Polish (Dark Colours)

3M Machine Polish (Dark Colours)

Meguiars Deep Crystal Polish (Dark Colours)

Meguiars new car glaze #7 (Dark colours)

Meguiars #80 speed glaze (Red, black etc)

Step 5 – Sealing

Once you have polished the car now, it’s ready to be sealed. This is just a simple wipe over with your

favourite sealant; some favourites of mine just now are…

Ex-P (Reflective)

EX (Depth)

NXT (has slight cleaners so may remove some glaze) (Metallic)

Autoglym Gloss (Shine)

Menzerna FMJ (Flake, Reflective)

4 star UPP (Flake, Reflective)

After sealing it’s best to wait 24 hours before applying another coat or adding a wax.

24 hours have elapsed and your car has some dust on it - you can wash or quick detail. With Quick

detail, you just simply spray and wipe to expose your sealed surface. Make sure you have enough

lubrication or you will scratch the surface.

Now here is the choice, many of today’s sealants are rumoured to be layerable, although there are

only a few that have been proved to be. In my opinion, I would add one more layer and that’s it

(unless you are working with an acrylic or layerable product), as it gives a more even coverage. If it

did not cure or bite properly the last time, chances are it will this time.

Step 6 – Waxing

Wait another 24 hours and apply your favourite wax. Don’t ruin it now by reaching for the turtle wax

extreme. Invest in a good wax e.g;

P21s (Flake)

Clearkote Carnauba Moose (Dark Colours)

S100 (Flake)

Souveran Paste Wax (Gloss, depth)

Poorboys Nattys (Gloss and depth)

Meguiars #16 (Depth, Flake, Gloss)

Step 7 – Wheels & Trim

The wheels and trim were left out as everyone has their own choice of what they do. Although a

good wheel cleaner like Meguiars/Poorboys etc is a must as some of the other brands (acid based)

can destroy the finish if not compatible with the wheels.

A good idea is to mix twice the normal washing strength of shampoo to test first on delicate

alloys/chrome wheels etc.

A handy tip is to polish and seal the wheels after they are completely clean to help with future


Trim can be dressed in many finishes from satin to gloss. The protectants normally state what finish is

left on the container.

Further Help and information

For help on choosing the correct product for your needs, go to the experts

While you are there sign up too, for excellent advice and lots of information.

All products can be bought from various website based companies, here are just a few.

Finally an excellent step by step video to ultimate paint protection and preparation.


Hisham Abul Naga

Senior System Analyst