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Old 05-31-2012, 09:54 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Location: Midwest, NE
What I Drive: 2009 Volkswagen GTI

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New car prep

We've been getting lots of questions about what one should do with a new car right after purchase. Should I wax it? Can I wash it right away? What is this clay bar thing people are talking about?

Here's a concise guide for your pleasure.

**Clay your new car! Even if it's brand new off the truck!**

The factory building process generates something that is called "rail dust." It's little pieces of iron and industrial fallout that embeds itself into your clear coat. You might not be able to see it, but you can generally feel it. If you can't feel it with your bare hand slide a sandwich baggie over your hand and then over the paint. Then you'll feel it. The clay bar gently shears these contaminants off the surface embedding them in the soft clay preventing further damage. Your paint will be smooth as glass!

After clay you want to examine your finish to see how much marring (swirling, spider-webbing, etc) your "free" dealer prep has instilled. It might be a lot. It might be very little. There will be some though. Always. After examining, formulate your plan of attack. If it's heavy swirling you might want to employ a more abrasive polish such as Meguires Ultimate Compound. If it's just light I would recommend Meguires Ultimate Polish. Both can be applied by hand, but will be easier via buffer.

After polishing you'll want to seal it. I use BlackFire Wet Diamond sealant. It's a bit pricey but it's worth it for the look and feel. Apply either by hand or via buffer. Buff off with a MF towel.

**You can stop there!**

Wax is unnecessary! There! I said it! Wax is basically a beauty product. It helps with looks but offers basically no long-term protection. My favorite wax to date is Finish Kare FK1000p high temp wax. This wax sort of bucks the trend. It lasts a good long time and retains beading and sheeting abilities for several months.

I've also used Autoglym's HD wax which is an example of a pure beauty wax. From my experience this wax is unrivaled in beading. Very nice, tight, well-formed beads, HOWEVER it does not last. Not even a month passes by and reapplication is necessary.

There you have it. A brief guide to get you started with your new car!

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