So, did you hear the one about the guy who really wanted to put a polish on his car? He bought one of those $49 wheels you attach to a drill and on a nice hot Sunday, in direct sunlight, and put all he had into pressing down on that wheel. He was going to get a nice shine, that’s all there was to it.
He was also going to get a good look at bare metal because he bore right through the wax, the clear coat, the paint, and finally had buffed himself a nice, shiny spot where all of that used to be. Moral of the story: If you want to learn to wax your car, don’t be anywhere near a phone at 2 a.m. with a credit card when those commercials come on.
He was at B&B early the next morning, asking if they could help him out. “Those things are nothing but sanders,” says Wendy Tomassi, a manager of B&B Collision. “And they seem to forget that you want to leave a little product on the car – that’s the whole point of waxing it.”
For those who don’t know, we asked the expert; Wendy says if you’re going to wax your car:
Do it in the shade,
“and never when it’s really, really hot out.”
Using clean soft clothes, you put the coat of wax on and you gently take the coat of wax off. You must leave some product on the car to protect it. You’ll normally see some people standing there with a six-pack using all their muscle to try to rub that wax off, and they’re sweating, and you walk up to them and ask ‘What did you do?’ and they say ‘I waxed my car.’ And I say ‘No you didn’t. You didn’t leave any protector on there.’” “People in general don’t know how to wax a car, and make the fatal mistake of thinking just because it’s clear coated, it doesn’t need to be waxed.”
“Wrong,” Wendy says. She says you don’t have to do it every weekend. Twice a year is good if you know what you’re doing, but it’s a good idea to run your car through a quarter car wash to get the bird droppings off. They’re acidic and will eat right through the clear coat and the paint in no time at all, Wendy says. Makes you wonder what the birds are eating, doesn’t it?
Then there’s the problem of overspray. You’ve probably noticed it in traffic. The person next to you will hit their sprayer button and miss their windshield completely, hitting the top of their car and if you’re in position behind them you can just turn on your wipers and clean your windows.
One day a customer drove in with two streaks of overspray hitting her trim and it was all over the top of her car. “She asked if we could get it off,” said Randy, and while we were talking, a porter came out and already has started to get it off using a triple fine steel wool.
“Well, when she got home and saw some more overspray on the windshield, she went in the house, got some steel wool out of a drawer and needless to say she scratched the s— out of the windshield. So she called and wondered why we’d used steel wool and it hadn’t left a mark and she’d used steel wool and it had just scratched it up worse. We told her to come back in and we’d show her.”
“The best in my mind is when we paint a customer’s car, sometimes they ask us for a little touch up paint. So we put some in a baby food jar and we always ask them if they’re going straight home. There’s a reason for that.”
“We warn them – don’t leave it in the car. Take it straight home and put it in the garage or in the basement or in a shaded area like that. So she says OK, leaves, needs something for dinner, stops at a grocery store. The paint was in the glove box.”
“She was in the store for 20 minutes, which was long enough for the temperature in the care to rise and she came out to see it pouring out of her glovebox all over her black carpeting.”
Sometimes, it is easier to let a pro do it, even though you can. I can make pasta, but not as well as Mario’s – that sort of thinking. Getting a good coating of paste wax on your car now, before the bad weather hits (which could be any minute given this is Michigan) isn’t such a bad idea. It’ll carry you through most of the winter.