WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A POLISH AND A WAX?
Polishes contain compounds designed to remove scratches from the surface of your paint, while waxes protect your car with a clear, hard coating. Waxes can be either synthetic or natural, though high-grade carnauba wax delivers the best combination of lasting protection and deep gloss. Polishes provide the "shine" for your paint, whiles waxes provide the "protection."
WHAT IS A CLEARCOAT?
"Clearcoat" is a name given to the multi-stage paints used today. A "base coat" (frequently water based) is applied with a pigment (color). Then, a top layer of clear paint is applied over the top of the base coat to add depth, brilliance and provide protection for the base coat.
Clearcoats still require the same care as the old single state paints. Just because the top coat of paint has no pigment in it doesn't make it impervious to environmental conditions. Top coats of clear paint still oxidize, and the softer paints used today also allow contaminants to easily embed in the surface. These softer paints require modern formulations and technology to protect them against damage.
In short, the need for proper care and maintenance of clearcoat paints is just as important as years ago. Actually, because of their softer, fragile nature, they really should be maintained BETTER than the older single stage paints.
HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO WAX OR POLISH MY CAR?
It depends on environmental elements your car typically endures. If your vehicle is kept garaged on a daily basis, then a polish or wax can last as long four to six months. If your car is kept outdoors under harsh conditions, then it will need to be waxed as often as once a month. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that a light colored car be polished and waxed at least every two to three months. Dark colored cars on the other hand, will usually require more frequent and specialized attention.
WHAT IS A SEALER AND GLAZE?
When applied before waxing, a Sealer and Glaze helps hide minor scratches, spiderwebbing, swirl marks and other surface imperfections. It enhances clarity and shine, while giving darker colored paints that deep, wet look. If left unprotected, a Sealer and Glaze will not last long. It therefore needs an immediate coating of protective wax to truly have long lasting benefit.
WHY CAN'T I USE HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS TO WASH MY CAR?
Household cleaners like dishwashing detergent are specifically designed to dissolve grease. Because wax is essentially a grease, household cleaners will remove your car's wax finish; leaving you with little shine and no protection. Also, some household detergents have micro-fine abrasive in them. These can permanently scratch your car's surface. Always use a premium quality, commercial liquid car wash. They are formulated to dissolve dirt and grime without removing your car's beautiful wax finish.
WHAT ABOUT ONCE-A-YEAR WAX AND POLISH PRODUCTS?
Your car deserves better than once-a-year products. It is likely the second largest investment you've made, after your home. Don't scrimp on the quality of the products you use to maintain it, or the care you give your vehicle. A regular regimen of washing and waxing pays enormous dividends for years down the road. The intrinsic weakness of once-a-year products will become painfully apparent as the years pass.
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO REMOVE BUGS AND TAR WITHOUT DULLING PAINT OR REMOVING WAX?
Use our California Gold® Car Wash full strength with a scrubber sponge before washing. The undiluted Car Wash will help remove bugs and tar without stripping wax or dulling paint.
HOW CAN I TELL IF I HAVE A CLEARCOAT?
Most modern paint finishes are clear coat. The easiest way to tell is to check the paint code on the inside of the glovebox door or door jamb (depending on vehicle make), or by checking your new car's window sticker. A more "hands-on" method is to check your applicator whenever you use a polish like MOTHERS® Pre-Wax Cleaner, Sealer and Glaze, or Carnauba Cleaner Wax. If the color of the paint is transferred to the towel, then you do not have a clear coat. The color you see is the oxidized dead paint being removed by the polish. With a clear coat, the top layer of the finish is transparent and has no color to transfer to the towel.
CAN I WAX MY VEHICLE IN THE SUN?
We recommend you wax out of direct sunlight. When your paint's finish gets hot, it "bakes" the wax, hardening it to a point where it can be difficult to remove. Try early morning or late afternoon when the sun's at a low angle, or try pulling the vehicle under a tree or into the shade of a building.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WASH MY CAR?
As often as practical. Most enthusiasts wash their vehicles at least once a week. Some folks wash their cars almost every day. If you don't have time to wash, try using MOTHERS® SHOWTIME® Instant Detailer. Its unique formulation restores your vehicle's show car shine in-between regular wash and waxing.
CAN I USE MOTHERS® NATURAL FORMULA WAX WITHOUT USING PRE-WAX CLEANER FIRST?
If your paint is perfectly clean, sure. Try this test. Run the backside of your hand over the paint after washing and drying. If you feel anything but perfectly smooth paint, it's time to clean using MOTHERS® Pre-Wax Cleaner or MOTHERS® California Gold® Clay Bar System.
Pre-Wax Cleaner is also a great way to "feather" the edges of minor scratches and swirls, making them less visible to the eye. Follow the Pre-Wax Cleaner or Clay Bar with MOTHERS® Sealer and Glaze and give your car or truck's finish extra depth and richness. Then, apply the MOTHERS® Natural Formula Pure Carnauba Wax to protect the polished finish.
WHAT IS A CLAY BAR?
Clay bars like the one in our MOTHERS® California Gold® Clay Bar System are used to remove embedded contaminants from painted surfaces. With today's soft paints any contaminants that sit on your paint can quicly become embedded. These contaminants aren't easily removed, even by washing or waxing.
If you can feel bumps in the paint after washing and drying, chances are you'll benefit from using a clay bar on your vehicle.
Remember to wash your car before using a clay bar, and to always wax afterwards (clay bars will remove wax from your car's finish).
CAN I WAX TOO OFTEN?
Today's paints ARE softer and thinner than previous years. If you're going to wax less than six times a year, our MOTHERS® Original Formula Wax with Cleaners (either paste or liquid) are great products to use. If you're going to wax more often, consider stepping up to our Ultimate Wax System® - this way you can control the amount of cleaner being used on your paint, and the added step of Sealer and Glaze will give you that extra "pop" in your paint finish.
MY WHEELS HAVE DULLED - HOW CAN I MAKE THEM LOOK GOOD AGAIN?
If you own a newer vehicle, chances are it has clear coated wheels. Unfortunately because of the heat involved with wheels, the finish is even softer and more fragile. MOTHERS® offers a special polish for these wheels, called "Clear Coat Wheel Polish". MOTHERS® is the only company that offers a polish for every type of wheel: non-coated (use our world famous Mag & Aluminum Polish, the standard by which all others are judged), chrome plated (use our Chrome Polish - formulated for today's show quality chrome plating), or Clear Coat Wheel Polish (for all OE and aftermarket wheels with clear plasticized coating). See our detailing section for how to tell what type of finish YOU have on your wheels.
IS LIQUID WAX EASIER TO USE THAN PASTE WAX?
No, not at all. With today's modern formulations, paste waxes are just as easy to use as liquids. And, they're more economical. A can of paste wax will often last through twelve or more applications, while liquids frequently are used up after four or five applications.
WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE WAXING MY CAR EASIER?
Well, for starters, read the directions on the package. We've put an enormous amount of research into each of our products. The directions on the package are the direct result of this testing, and are written specifically to minimize effort and maximize results.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE FREE CAR WASHES AT THE GAS STATION?
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Many of those car washes use mechanical brushes which can damage your paint surface. In some parts of the country, the water is recycled, meaning your car is getting the same water applied as the "clapped out" 1974 Plymouth Volare that just pulled out (unless your car just happens to be that Volare). While filters can catch small particulates, they can't filter out the dissolved salt from winter use, or all those hoards of other nasty chemicals.
WHY CAN'T YOU MAKE A PRODUCT I CAN JUST SPRAY ON MY CAR, AND BE DONE WITH IT - LIKE AN INSTANT PROTECTANT?
Just like those 200 mpg carburetors and miracle cancer cures, such a product doesn't exist. Yet every year, scores of consumers fall for miracle wax products hocked by fly-by-night companies. Truth is - there is no magic bullet. MOTHERS® cutting-edge technology offers quality products that perform great, apply and remove easily, and keep your car or truck looking like new.
IF A LITTLE CAR WASH SOAP IS GOOD, IS A LOT BETTER?
No. Too much car wash concentrate can leave a film on your vehicle. Use about an one ounce of car wash per gallon of water.
IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO PUT A "THICK COAT OF WAX" ON YOUR VEHICLE BEFORE WINTER?
We don't recommend it. You're only going to waste product. If you apply a thick coat of wax, removal will be more difficult, and you may encounter streaking, smearing and pilling (tiny wax balls accumilating on the paint) and your buffing towel may become saturated with wax, causing extra effort in the removal stage. When properly applied, the final wax layer should only be a few mils thick (about the thickness of a sheet of paper). There's no way to make this layer thicker. Our suggestion is wash your vehicle as often as possible during the winter months (on those days that get above freezing). If a warm spell comes along (over 50° F), consider washing and waxing you vehicle while you have the chance.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT WATER SPOTS ON THE PAINT?
Simple - get them off as soon as possible. Carry MOTHERS® SHOWTIME® Instant Detailer and a clean terry cloth towel in the trunk. Attack those water spots before the sun has a chance to evaporate them, and they'll come right off. SHOWTIME® also works great on gas spills when refueling.
ARE SILICONE CAR CARE PRODUCTS A BAD THING?
Not necessarily. It's the TYPE of silicone that's important. Some low grade silicones are not "body shop friendly", meaning they cannot be removed with standard paint prep before body work and painting. All MOTHERS® products are "paintable", meaning they can safely be used in and around body shops, since body shops have the chemical cleaners to prep the surface before painting.
WHY CAN'T YOU MAKE YOUR CAR CARE PRODUCTS LESS EXPENSIVE?
At MOTHERS® we use only quality raw materials in our car care products. Premium ingredients cost more, but the superior results are readily apparent throughout our entire line of MOTHERS® products. Remember, with car care products you get what you pay for (which means you might think twice before smearing a $2.95 product on a $25,000 vehicle).
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