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Hi MacawMania.
Great review! Nice to see that someone else that loves the Meguiar's - Chemical Guys product combination. CG isn’t cheep but remember you get what you pay for. I’ve been using both for the past 3 years with fantastic results. Recently I tried the Meguiar’s Ceramic Wax. Not the best on the market nor the most expensive, but the best bang for the buck. Now it’s my go to final finish product after buffing in a CG Butter Wet Wax shine. CG also sells a product called Jet Seal, thing "sun screen" for your paint. This is a must if your car has to sit out in the weather.

For you guys new to detailing you need the proper equipment to detail any vehicle. There are several high end random orbital DA polishers but for starters and to make sure this is something you are really interested in without breaking the bank, I recommend the Bauer Long-Throw Random Orbit DA Polisher at Harbor Freight. With a coupon it’s under $100 bucks.

For any beginner make sure you swap out the 6” backing plate and pads for 5”. It’s much more forgiving for anyone just starting out. The most important thing to remember is don’t lean into the machine. Just drive and hang on and let the machine do the work. You don’t want to heat up and over-work the paint. You only get one “Ah ****” when detailing clear coat, and don’t ask how I know this.:)

I just bought my unmolested ‘18 ST3 in April with 15k on the clock. It had never been detailed. The photo below shows what the pads looked like after being clayed and gone over with a medium polish. Both pads started out like the white one on the left. The pad on the right shows all the crap that was lifted out of the paint after 4 years.
Dishware Automotive tire Circle Grana padano Art


Regards,
Turbolver
 

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I'm a little late to this, but I would highly recommend you guys try a "synthetic" clay bar sponge

Traditional clay will get dirty and scratches paint when overloaded

Clay sponges can be sprayed/rinsed clean for every section, and reused for many cars/jobs.


 

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I'm a little late to this, but I would highly recommend you guys try a "synthetic" clay bar sponge

Traditional clay will get dirty and scratches paint when overloaded

Clay sponges can be sprayed/rinsed clean for every section, and reused for many cars/jobs.


Like the medical profession, the first rule of detailing is 'do no harm'. clay bar can be tricky and there have been a lot of advances. just need to find the one that works for you. I personally am a traditionalist and use the manual method (for now), but may experiment with the newer options in future. happy detailing :)
 

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@Trbolvr and @ST3ROID - thanks for your inputs, definitely something to consider moving forward.
Absolutely, glad to share my trial-and-error / experience!

TL;DR
Spray with soap/water before first rinse and wash
Two-bucket method (or three for overkill)
Meguiars Ultimate Line:
  • Wash&Wax soap
  • Wheel cleaner
  • Compound
  • Polish
  • Liquid Wax (or Ceramic wax)
  • Quik Detailer (or Ceramic detailer)
$100 LONG-THROW polisher
Chemical Guys Hex pads


You use a pay and spray car wash? I used those during my apartment days. If you don't use their soap - get a spray bottle and fill with your wash soap & water, spray your car down with this (first thing) followed by wheel cleaner before rinsing. Similar to using a foam cannon - it will help break things loose for that first rinse before hitting with a wash mitt. Use two buckets - one for rinsing with a grit guard on the bottom, one for soap. Also, give Meguiars Ultimate Wash&Wax soap a try - it smells great and works well if the paint isn't too dirty/abused.

Meguiars products are great - I'd recommend their Ultimate Quik Detailer or ceramic detailer. Works great on windows too! The ceramic detailer needs to be applied/removed quickly - Ultimate version is more forgiving.

Don't forget about door jams etc. when drying. After the exterior body is dry, open all doors / hatch / hood and dry & detail those areas.

If you ever get into paint correction - YouTube is great for techniques but can also oversell.
@CarEnthusiaST is spot-on:
The $100 long-throw polisher at Harbor Freight (or eBay) is just as effective as a $300 Rupes. The Rupes has less vibration/noise - first-hand experience at a detail shop.

Meguiars ultimate compound does a great job with less risk damaging paint vs. traditional compounds. Followed by Meguiars ultimate polish (make sure to use masking tape on ALL trim - will stain everything except paint and windows). I use six pads for compound and four pads for polish - you'll need to change them as they get loaded up. Another option is to buy fewer pads and clean them between sections. I recommend Chemical Guys Hex pads


P.S. - NEVER park under pine trees
 

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Hay Guys,
Seeing that detailing is usually done in the garage or at least anywhere out of the sun and weather. Most overhead garage lighting leaves a lot to be desired, here is great DIY solution to help seeing what you are detailing. You can even lay it on it's side so you can slide it under the car when working there. This is a great investment for any garage and adds a new meaning to creative plumbing. :)

Wood Flooring Floor Wood stain Paint
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Hay Guys,
Seeing that detailing is usually done in the garage or at least anywhere out of the sun and weather. Most overhead garage lighting leaves a lot to be desired, here is great DIY solution to help seeing what you are detailing. You can even lay it on it's side so you can slide it under the car when working there. This is a great investment for any garage and adds a new meaning to creative plumbing. :)

View attachment 405840
That's a neat solution. Unfortunately, some folks like me don't have access to a power point in our apartment garages. So we have to make do with our less-than-optimal overhead lighting.
 

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Regarding lighting for car repair, I like using flashlight headbands, ala John Cusack in the 1980’s John Hughes film Sixteen Candles.


These are the ones I currently use:

 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Regarding lighting for car repair, I like using flashlight headbands, ala John Cusack in the 1980’s John Hughes film Sixteen Candles.


These are the ones I currently use:

Yup, I use one of those headlamps as well. Was very helpful when I was doing my purge valve replacement.
 
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