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Discussion Starter #1
so its been nearly a month since we bought our 09 Enclave AWD and monday is the first chance i will have time to wax, polish and detail. living on an island where vehicles are not allowed it has been a long time since i had a car worth caring for and it seems a lot has changed in products and applications. the local touchless auto wash is my only option for washing but one advantage is a shaded area where i can park and detail the car. i would like to put a fresh coat of wax and polish to bring it back to showroom shine, it has been neglected by the original owners. im assuming i need to use a compound to cut the crud polish first (after washing). then wax and polish i assume. do i need to use a clay bar anywhere in the steps or any other products or steps i am missing? i have a set of meguiars ulitmate products, liquid wax, polish, clay bar etc.
 

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I've done a fair amount of painting and rebuilding of salvage wrecks over the years and my thoughts are:
1) If you've never used an electric buffer, DON"T! Without a doubt you will cause more damage than you will do good
2) Hand polishing or compounding may only improve the finish slightly because it is a lot of work and probably add grit marks
3) Clay bar will probably be worthwhile - maybe not - depending on what is on the paint. Clay bars do a great job but
have their limitations. Don't expect too much other than accomplishing a good surface cleaning, you will just have to try it
but heavily embedded particles are difficult to remove this way.
4) You can't wax over (much) dirt or tree sap, so it has to be clean before waxing
5) This is a 5 - 6 year old vehicle that "has been neglected by the original owners". You can definitely improve the appearance
and be rewarded for doing so, but don't expect miracles either. It may be neglected to the point of needing a professional
polishing/buffing at a body shop to make it shine to the level you expect.
6) From another post you mentioned the vehicle spending the winter outside. Not the best situation, but one of the biggest
enemies will be the sunlight. Use a dash cover or a sun reflector in the windshield. I would definitely not cover
the car with a car cover! Regardless of advertising, they trap moisture and any wind causes movement which very slightly
abrades and wears the paint. Just like towing a boat on the interstate with a mooring cover on it - the movement will wear the
paint in time. Today's clear coat paints are very tough and durable, but only so much can be expected by waxing.
7) If you can find inside winter storage, or at least a carport, I would consider it one of the best things to do to preserve and protect.

Good luck and enjoy Mackinac island in the Fall!
 

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If it's spent a lot of time outdoors, then a claybar after washing is definitely a good idea. If you want to go the buffer route, I disagree that you should stay away. Get an orbital buffer like a Porter Cable and it's next to impossible to do any damage. Unless you want to do waxing often, go with a sealant. They usually last a few months. Look up autogeek.net or autopia.org if you really want to learn more.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks very much for the advice guys. not having my own driveway i dont have access to power tools, so apart from the touchless auto wash everything else is by hand. probably heard it before, but wow thats a lot of sheet metal to work on. i used compound which made an immediate difference to me. i then used a clay bar for the first time and im amazed at how much smoother the surface was. then meguiars ultimate liquid wax and then polish. chrome got the treatment next with windows, wheels and tires getting a good detailing as well. time for a break and then the interior got covered in meguiars clean and shine with certain trim accented with leather wipes, i like the contrasting matte black and black shine on the doors and console. big day but my day off work well spent and enjoyable. pity some clouds appeared while parked to take photos. next time i will detail under the hood. the plastic lower body trim has a couple of very noticeable large scratches and im considering plastidipping the whole lower body trim, perhaps see if i can get a color to match the paintwork.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks blue oval, i love Mackinac island in the fall. starts to quiet down and it means winter is on the way. wont be long before we can put our bicycles away and drive snowmobiles on the island. hopefully i can figure out how to post a pic of my nice clean Enclave and i also have a pic of my car taken from my home. if you squint real hard and imagine you can just see it.
 

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FYI, you want to claybar BEFORE you compound. That takes the junk off the paint before you grind it around. :thumb:
 
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