Spring detailing: help me pick paint protection strategy
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    Spring detailing: help me pick paint protection strategy

    I've been detailing for years (I believe I use proper technique, with proper high quality products & towels), but still probably only advanced beginner on knowledge compared to you all. I'd very much appreciate some advice on my strategy for this spring.

    Context:
    - I do everything by hand, and that's how it will stay for now. I realize this will limit what I can achieve.
    - Car is a 2014 metallic black BMW, with some light spiderweb like scratches in the clearcoat, from when I bought the car (used). Garaged daily driver.
    - I live in an incredibly mild climate, central CA, so when you read "daily driver", it's nothing like the environmental stress many of you experience. E.g., it's likely the car will NOT see a single day of rain from April to October.

    What I"ve been doing for the past 2 years, with fantastic results. Car remains shiny and water beads very tightly the entire time:
    - Every six months, April 1 and October 1, I wash the car with gold class car wash, clay if needed, NXT 2 Tech Wax, let cure, Fast Finish (been doing this since FF came out)
    - In between, I do whatever maintenance and topping is needed: two bucket wash (rarely, when needed), waterless or rinseless wash, or sometimes just a detailer spray, etc. I like UQD for detailer. Waterless is about the only product where I don't use Meguiars, I love the results from UWWA but the smell makes me dizzy (I'm using Trifecta as a waterless and rinseless instead)

    Why I might try something a little different this April 1:
    - I imagine that when I do my 6-month maintenance, there is always old NXT/FF on the paint, that I haven't been removing. I'm thinking I should remove it.
    - Opportunistically, if it's possible to get some mild correction of those spider swirls in the clearcoat

    So, what would you recommend for this April 1, given what I'd like to accomplish? Among the options I'm thinking:
    1. Wash car, use Ultimate Polishing Wax (instead of NXT 2) ... I know UPW is recommended for use by hand, but can I really get any correction of those little spiderweb scratches by hand? Then, should I let it cure and top with Fast Finish, given I'd like this base coat to last 6 months until October? I'm thinking the only reason to switch to Ultimate Polishing Wax is if I can get some correction from it
    2. Or, different option if I can't get any correction with UPW used by hand, then this time, after washing the car, I'll use something like Paint Prep to try to strip off the old NXT and FF, before re-applying... although I read mixed opinions on whether these paint prep sprays or citrus washes can really strip sealants (they seem to work well on waxes)

    Any other recommendations, given that a rotary or D/A isn't in the cards?

    Much appreciated!!

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    Re: Spring detailing: help me pick paint protection strategy

    Are you referring to Mirror Bright Polishing Wax? The only "wax" in the ultimate line is ultimate liquid wax and ultimate paste wax which offers no correction. It is a stand alone form of protection like NXT.

    One option is to use a polish like ultimate polish or M205 to give the paint a light polish which will impart gloss, remove light defects (by hand) and remove anything on the surface (wax, sealant).

    The other option is using a cleaner wax which will also clean, polish and protect the paint. White Wax, Black Wax, Mirror Bright Polishing Wax are examples of abrasive cleaner waxes.

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    Re: Spring detailing: help me pick paint protection strategy

    Yes! When I said "Ultimate Polishing Wax", I meant Meguiars Ultimate Polish. The question I had -- which I think you answered -- is: will this remove the wax and sealant, and also do some light correction, even if I"m doing it by hand rather than D/A buffer? The answer seems to be "yes", which is awesome! I was under the impression that Ultimate Polish also left behind a wax coating. Not sure why I thought that -- the product page specifically says it's a pre-wax product. So I'm guessing I'd still put NXT & FF (or perhaps just FF) on top of it...

    I had not considered the cleaner waxes because I'm under the impression that they might not be durable enough for my every-6-months cadence, which I'm loathe to increase

    Thanks for the correction & clarification!

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    Re: Spring detailing: help me pick paint protection strategy

    Okay, I'm going to correct myself: I went back through my notes, and what I really meant was Ultra Polishing Wax. This is advertised as having light defect-removing capabilities (like a polish), with cleaners, AND leaves wax protection that is supposed to be "durable"... which always brings me back to my question of, will it last until the fall... Nick indicated this product's wax should have the lasting power of synthetic sealant 2.0, which I believe should be durable enough for me

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    Re: Spring detailing: help me pick paint protection strategy

    So D166 is an abrasive cleaner wax also referred to as an AIO (All In One). I have seen it mentioned that the protection can range from 30-90 days from one of the Meguiar's reps. Now durability and longevity varies by the environment it is exposed to and how the paint is cared for. With an AIO product there is always a sacrifice in how long the protection lasts.

    If you don't have the time then this is where a cleaner wax comes in hand. If you have the time then this is where one would polish and apply a stand alone form of protection. If you are looking for the longest lasting form of protection then Ultimate Fast Finish claims a 1 year longevity. Will it last a year? Hard to say. I tested it for 4 months and it was doing well. The next one in line would be ultimate wax which has recently been tweaked to last longer and be more durable.

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    Re: Spring detailing: help me pick paint protection strategy

    Thanks again Guz. I put Ultimate Fast Finish on my daughter's car about 6 months ago, she basically hasn't touched it since then other than to wash it once or twice, and I still have pretty strong beading going on. At least in very mild weather, UFF is lasting a good 6 months.

    Gotcha on the AIO (easier, less durability) vs the dedicated polish. I am, obviously enough, roughly trying to get as close to the 80-20 rule as possible, where I can get 80% of the looks & durability with 20% of the work

    If Ultimate Polish would get me 1. some light correction (again, doing this by hand) and 2. fantastic shine, perhaps covering it with Ultimate Fast Finish to get me my 6-month durability (and protect that shine) and get my 6-month-long high shine finish?

    The other option I would consider is Ultra Polishing Wax plus Ultimate Fast Finish on top, if I thought that would get me my 6 months of protection (I'd hope the Fast Finish would extend the life of the Ultra Polishing Wax, but if UPW is just going to de-bond from the paint in 3 months, this option might not work for me)...

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    Re: Spring detailing: help me pick paint protection strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankR View Post

    If Ultimate Polish would get me 1. some light correction (again, doing this by hand) and 2. fantastic shine, perhaps covering it with Ultimate Fast Finish to get me my 6-month durability (and protect that shine) and get my 6-month-long high shine finish?
    This is a fine method and you can certainly do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankR View Post
    The other option I would consider is Ultra Polishing Wax plus Ultimate Fast Finish on top, if I thought that would get me my 6 months of protection (I'd hope the Fast Finish would extend the life of the Ultra Polishing Wax, but if UPW is just going to de-bond from the paint in 3 months, this option might not work for me)...
    Some top a cleaner wax to slightly add a little more protection. Hard to say how long a topper would last over a cleaner wax. But it is possible to last 6 months as well.

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