View Full Version : Car Wash Fine Scratches

Dec 16th, 2009, 10:47 AM
I took my black HHR SS through the automatic car wash (I always wash it by hand but its cold in Michigan right now) and it appears that the moap they use to pre soap the car has left fine scratches in my clear coat. I tried multiple applications of scratchX and it doesn't seem to be cutting it or doing much at all. These scratches are very light and are usually only visible from a certain angle or up close. However, they are there and bothering me since I am a perfectionist. I am using a foam applicator pad to apply it and a supreme shine microfiber towel to remove the product. Any tips that might help?

Dec 16th, 2009, 11:02 AM
First off welcome to MOL!

How many applications have you done to each panel? ....edited....I see you already said multiple.
How much passion....pressure and for how long did you rub ScratchX into the paint?
If ScratchX is not cutting it then you may need to step up to SwirlX or even Ultimate Compound. Many folks here have had nothing but success with this including myself. It's works great by hand and by DA (G110, no in the v2 flavor) which you may also want to invest in if you want to keep your paint looking flawless and your arms a little less tired!!

Hope this helps ya.

Dec 16th, 2009, 11:09 AM
Thank you for the welcome. I have applied 3 to 4 coats of the product with much passion. Is the swirlx a stronger product than scratchx? Is there any chance of swirlx harming my paint more or is it pretty safe and easy to use by hand? I know what you mean about the tired arms though.

Dec 16th, 2009, 11:24 AM
I don't believe SwirlX is much stronger and if it is it's not by much (there's a scale of aggressiveness somewhere around here).
Now UC on the other hand is way stronger. I did my wives '04 Focus with UC by hand, it had swirls and scratches galore on it and when I was thru with it I'd say I did about 80% correction, all swirls gone but there where some RIDS (deep scratches) that stayed.
By hand I would work it into the paint (2ft x 2ft section) with a Meg's yellow applicator, going from side to side, then up and down, and finally diagonally before wiping off and checking the paint with a good flashlight (I use Surefire most here will tell you to get a Brinkmans dual Xenon light). Work it in for no less then a minute and repeat until the defects are gone....usually 2 to 4 passes depending on how bad they are.

I would get both, try SwirlX first and if that doesn't work then go ahead with the UC. I don't believe it will harm your clear coat unless you have had several "full correction" details done to it already.

Dec 16th, 2009, 11:31 AM
Thanks. Maybe my technique needed to be better. I was not doing the side to side, up and down and diagnal motion. Mine was more circular or just side to side. I will pick up some swirlx and try that as well. It can never hurt to have too many car care products on hand any way.

Dec 16th, 2009, 11:37 AM
So very true.....you can never have too much! :chuckle1

As the Mikes here would say...."It's all in the prep work!"

Technique is everything. The more you work on it the better you'll get...heck this time last year I knew nothing other then slapping some wax on the paint after a swirl wash and calling it a good day. Now because of MOL and all the members here, I'm pretty darn confident in my technique!

Afterwards you can still use the SwirlX for light details to remove random defects.

Dec 16th, 2009, 12:03 PM
SwirlX is way down the aggressiveness scale. I think ScratchX is just above it and ScratchX 2.0 is way above those and just under Ultimate Compound.

Dec 16th, 2009, 12:05 PM
Found it:


Dec 16th, 2009, 12:13 PM
Thank you tcope! That's the thread I was looking for. I must have got the ScratchX's mixed up.
If the ScratchX didn't help ya none then go up to the UC, like I said plenty of folks have found success with it! :woot2

Dec 16th, 2009, 12:52 PM
UC = Ultimate Compound, correct? Will this dull the paint any? If so, what will need to be done to bring it back. I am new at the world of detailing as I was also in the boat of slap some wax on it and call it a day not that long ago. This is my first new car and I am doing everything I can to keep it new.

Michael Stoops
Dec 16th, 2009, 02:12 PM
If multiple applications of ScratchX 2.0 are not removing the swirls then you really need to step up to a more aggressive product. In this case, that would be Ultimate Compound.

The swirls you have are incredibly minuscule in depth so the amount of paint you need to remove in order to eradicate them is also minuscule. But if your product of choice and application method of choice aren't getting rid of them, that combo is also just not taking off enough paint to even think about. Ultimate Compound is not going to cloud, dull or haze the paint. The abrasive technology in it is pretty cutting edge (no pun intended!) so if anything it will refine the surface and increase the clarity.

We use UC as our demo product during our Saturday Classes, and we always try to work on a black car as it shows a more dramatic difference. We teach both hand application and D/A application of UC, and always get great results. The image below is from one such class, and the clear area you see on the hood was done by hand with UC - a huge improvement over the horrible swirls on the rest of the hood (by the way, it's from THIS (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37326) thread):

This one shows two sections on a hood that was buffed out during our August 8th (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36241) class, the area on the passenger side of the car was done by hand, on the drivers side by machine. Still, a huge difference even with a single hand application:

Here's another example from our September 12th (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37131) class, although this was done with the G110 dual action polisher, but you can see how effectively UC removed not only swirls but also some pretty bad rotary holograms:

Now, hand application is a tiring process, no doubt about it. But Ultimate Compound will go a long way toward making it as easy as it can be. Just follow a few tips and you should be able to get rid of the swirls on your HHR.

Don't overuse the product; an amount about the size of a 50 cent piece should let you work an area about a foot square, maybe a bit more. Use the areas you see in the images above be a guide
Work in a circular motion, similar to applying a wax, but with quite a bit more pressure. Remember, you're effectively leveling paint here, and that takes some effort! Work the product for a couple of minutes or until it begins to look very translucent on the surface, then wipe it off immediately with a clean, dry microfiber towel
After doing this first spot, pull the car back into the sun and inspect your work. There's nothing worse than doing the whole car only to find out you need a more aggressive approach.
When you're done, make sure to apply a fresh coat of wax to the areas you've gone over with UC. There's nothing that says you have to do the whole car in one day, but if you just do the hood and a fender, or one side of the car, or whatever, make sure to apply wax to those areas. The next day you can wipe down a new area with some Quik Detailer (or similar) and a clean microfiber, just to remove any surface dust, and have at that area.

Good luck with it, and feel free to ask for clarification on anything that you might still require assistance with.

Dec 17th, 2009, 06:56 AM
Thank you very much Michael. That response was very helpful. I am going out tonight and buying some UC. The balck on my HHR SS is a battle to keep clean and look good but a blask car does look awesome when it is a shined up.

Fly Bye
Dec 17th, 2009, 08:10 AM
I have applied 3 to 4 coats of the...

I think a better term would be to "work" the product.

May 10th, 2010, 05:46 PM
I think in the 1.5 years I've owned my car (first car) I've been through the drive through car wash twice. I usually go to the coin wash in the winter to get the bulk of the road spray and salt off. Always hand wash the rest of the year.