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Mike Phillips
Sep 6th, 2010, 07:19 AM
"Use the least aggressive product to get the job done"


I'm a strong advocate of giving due credit where credit is due for both professional and personal reasons. To this point I want to give credit to Meguiar's for this quote and philosophy, or approach towards working on automotive paints. I learned this philosophy from Meguiar's when I went to work for them in 1988 as an Outside Sales Rep and Trainer for Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

I know they've been teaching this practice probably from their inception in 1901, that's over one hundred years. I don't want to claim anyone else's work and/or words as my own and it's my eternal hope that others will reciprocate this basic and professional code of conduct.

Now that I've given credit where credit is due, I would like to state that while I learned this philosophy or approach to working on paint from Meguiar's, I've never seen anything else ever written on this topic either on paper or on the Internet so let me share what it means, why it's important ... and to put this approach into practice...



"Use the least aggressive product to get the job done"


The reasoning and logic behind this statement and approach towards working on car paint is for two reasons.



Reason 1 - Automotive paints are thin
Factory applied paint whether it came on a Model T or a brand new Ford Mustang is thin, very thin, thinner than most of us prefer. It's thin because it cost more to apply more paint in the way of materials, (the paint itself), and also time, as in the time it takes to spray the paint and allow flash time in-between each coating.

Time is money, so on an assembly line, or even in a body shop, more time means more money, for theses two reasons, cost of materials and time, paint is on a new car or paint from a body shop is thin.


Reason 2 - Removing below surface defects means removing a little paint
Below Surface Paint Defects are things like swirls, scratches, and etching like Type II Water Spots. Because these types of defects are below the surface level, that means they are "in" the paint, the only way to remove them is to abrade and remove a little of the surrounding paint until you level the upper most surface of the paint job until it's level with the lowest depths of the defects you're trying to remove.


In simple words... removing swirls, scratches and etching means removing a measured amount of paint.


Now let me tie the two concepts above together... follow me on this...

Paint is thin, removing defects means removing paint, there's not a lot of paint available to remove.


Starting to see the problem?


The top coat of paint on your car, no matter what type of paint system you have, (basecoat/clearcoat or single stage), is thin so you must keep this in mind anytime you're working on it or you let someone else work on it.


"Use the least aggressive product to get the job done"


The reason you want to use the least aggressive product to get the job done is so that you'll leave the most amount of paint on the car to last over the service life of the car.


Make sense?

If you want to get deeper... this means that in order to use the least aggressive product to get the job done... you need to have more than one product in your arsenal of detailing supplies or how can you do any testing?

If you're a detailer, or a car owner that likes to take care of your own personal cars, then you need to have more than one paint correction product in your arsenal of detailing supplies.


Tool Time
Products are like tools, they enable you to perform a specific procedure or task that you couldn't otherwise do. Just like a screwdriver enables you to either remover or install a screw, a quality compound or polish enables you to remove defects and restore a show car finish.

You need some tools in your tool box!
If you haven't already, consider adding a few tools to your tool box so anytime you're working on a car's finish you'll already have the tools you need to do some testing and then tackle the job.

A well rounded inventory would include,


Aggressive Compound for serious paint defects
Medium Cut Polish
Light Cut Polish
Finishing Polish
Hand applied paint cleaner
Cleaner/Wax
Non abrasive glaze or pure polish



Where the rubber meets the road...
Putting the philosophy into practice means anytime you're going to work on your car or a customer's car, instead of diving right in head first with your most aggressive product, first test to see if something less aggressive will get the job done.

You see, paint systems are different, some paint systems are more polishable or workable than others but you'll never know until you do some testing.

I always tell my son this because it's true...

"You don't know what you can do until you try"

In the context of detailing, this means you don't know if you can remove the swirls with a light polish and a soft polishing pad until you try. Sure you can remove them with an aggressive compound and cutting pad but if you're goal is to preserve your car's precious, thin coat of beauty, then start each project by doing some testing and try to find the least aggressive product in your detailing arsenal that will enable you to get the job done...


:)

BillE
Sep 7th, 2010, 03:25 AM
Thanx Mike! Great info as usual.

Bill

Michael Stoops
Sep 7th, 2010, 07:17 AM
Yep, we've been preaching this concept for a very long time indeed. Which is partly why so many of us are a bit surprised by how often people automatically reach for M105 to remove even light swirls. It seems we all used to be able to remove these same type of defects prior to December 2007!!!

Forrest Gump
Sep 10th, 2010, 09:45 AM
I'm about to set out on a reconditioning effort for my Ford F-150's clear coat.

I have purchased two (2) of Meguiar's products for this task.

One is The Meguiars Smooth Surface Clay Kit with white clay bars included.

The second one is Meguiar's NEW Clear Coat Safe Rubbibg Compound Cleaner & Scratch Remover.

Which one would be the least aggressive product of the two in this case?

I'll start with that one and see if I need to up the ante' to the other one as I progress.

The clear coat has not achieved failure as posted in the Clear Coat Failure pics but it is mildly cloudy and streaked in spots.

The truck sits outside and is driven in direct southern sun all year long. Hot and direct.

I'll also refer this posted comment / ques. to the Detail 101 Q7A Forum.

Thanks.
Forrest

Murr1525
Sep 10th, 2010, 09:56 AM
I'm about to set out on a reconditioning effort for my Ford F-150's clear coat.

I have purchased two (2) of Meguiar's products for this task.

One is The Meguiars Smooth Surface Clay Kit with white clay bars included.

The second one is Meguiar's NEW Clear Coat Safe Rubbibg Compound Cleaner & Scratch Remover.

Which one would be the least aggressive product of the two in this case?

I'll start with that one and see if I need to up the ante' to the other one as I progress.

The clear coat has not achieved failure as posted in the Clear Coat Failure pics but it is mildly cloudy and streaked in spots.

The truck sits outside and is driven in direct southern sun all year long. Hot and direct.

I'll also refer this posted comment / ques. to the Detail 101 Q7A Forum.

Thanks.
Forrest

Yes, may be best to have your own thread for re-doing a whole truck. But for your question, clay and a paint cleaner are completely different, and even though claying does come before paint cleaners, no real comparisons can be made.

The article refers more to different strengths of paint cleaners and the one you picked up is on the stronger side. It would be great if you could put up some pics of the paint to get a good plan.

TheDetailBoss
Jan 25th, 2012, 07:17 PM
great post Mike and great philosophy. so many out there take down vehicles' clear coat to the point that where the vehicle could have been corrected say for example 10 times over its life, but with one bad correction job could diminish it to 1 or 2 times, maybe even 0. paint gauges that measure paint thickness are always a good investment!