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I'm about to polish and wax my Cambio Coupe for the first time, and am planning on using an orbital machine to do this (Griot's Garage machine and supplies). I have a couple of concerns: (1) the bumpers are made of painted plastic/rubber -- has anyone had any paint problems when polishing or waxing the bumpers? (2) these cars are so darn delicate (I actually dented the hood by simply closing it) -- any problems forseen with using a machine to polish/wax as opposed to doing this by hand? (3) I've never used a machine to polish or wax a car before: any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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I have been considering a power buffer on and off for a long time.

Could you possibly try it out on your wife's car for the first time rather than your maserati? It can get a little tricky around the edges. Keep the pad lubricated all the times and level with the paint surface.

I wax by hand using an applicator and microfiber towel. A coat of meguirs professional cleaner wax and topped off with P21S has kept my car looking brand new for the entire lease term.
 

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I recommend using clay. It works better than wax. While people think wax last 1 year it doesn't. After you wash it 2 or three times you've washed all the wax off.
 

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Yes, I 2nd that. Clay before you do anything. Its easy and it removes the microscopic bumps.

I usually clay twice a year and then use a cleaner wax in between for maintenance.

However, if you park your car under trees, especially ficus trees, you would have to clay once per month. I always try to park in covered parking lots etc to protect the car. Always keep it covered over night.
 

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John,
I use the same polisher that Griots sells, it is great (though you can find the exact same one for less $$ elsewhere on the net, it's pretty common). Do not worry about the bumpers in general, they polish up just fine. Using Griots foam polish pads and Griots polish or 3m's Swirl Remover, you won't harm the paint. For polishing, I use speed setting 4 or 5, and go back and forth over a small area a few times before moving on. I use slight pressure, allowing the weight of the polisher to do much of the work. Put the polish on the pad, put the pad on the car, then turn it on. Never run the polisher without it being on the car, as the pad will fly off. A rule of thumb is that the polishing takes off fine swirl marks and minor scratches. If you can feel the scratch, you won't be able to buff it out.

Absolutely clay the car first, you must!!!. If you don't you could create swirl marks from paint contaminants getting trapped in the polishing pad. Clay by hand, and use a mixture of car wash and water (1oz wash to 12oz water) in a spray boittle to lubricate the paint as you use the clay. If you drop the clay, or a polish pad for that matter, get a fresh one.

Here's a little trick which applies to polishing or waxing: when polishing or waxing the hood/roof/trunk, run the polisher or wax pad parallel with the car (from bumper to bumper in direction). When working on the doors and quarter panels, you want to use a floor to ceiling, or up and down, direction. This helps diffuse the reflected light in a manner which helps flatter the vehicles paint job and styling. The top surfaces (hood, roof, trunk) will "glow" in the sunlight from the light being reflected straight up, whereas the doors and quarter panels will diffuse the light downward, showing off the body/belt lines (which are quite subtle). The traditional method of circular motions was to ensure coverage. You'll get better results using back and forth motions and putting on 2 thin coats of wax as compared to using a circular motion and applying only one coat.

Griots wax shines well and is easy to buff, but doesn't last very long. I'd recommend using the Zaino process instead of wax, but it's a lot of work (4+ coats with Zaino) . However, once you see what Zaino can do, you'll start to enjoy the effort it takes, and you'll only need to do it about once or twice a year, compared to every other month with wax.

Good luck.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Joe, just so I'm clear then, it's okay to clay/polish/wax the bumpers (front and back)? Also, Griot's talks about claying with their machine, but it sounds like you like to do it manually? Thanks a lot!
 

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John, clay can only be done manually. The clay comes as a bar, about the size of a small soap bar & it is meant to be rubbed on the surface of the car by hand.
 

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John,
Yes, it's O.K. to clay/polish/wax the bumpers, and any other painted surface.

Like Greg mentioned, clay works best by hand. Just keep on kneading it as you go., and make sure your paint is well lubricated with the car wash/water mixture I mentioned.

-Joe
 

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I can't believe how long that entire process took! By the time I got to the wax removal stage, I was ready to pass out. Anyway, what about wax removal using the Griot's terry cloth bonnets and the orbital machine? Does this do a decent job?
 

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I forgot to mention the health requirements before taking on this process. The Detail diet - A coat a week keeps your shape thin and sleek. (sorry, sugar high)

Sorry to say that I've had the best luck removing wax with large cotton towels and some elbow grease. The bonnets for the buffer are so small that you need to change them out too often.
 

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I've been using a lot of the Griot's stuff for a while now.

The terry bonnets take off some but not all of the wax. They are a good start, but you'll still need to go over it by hand (I use their wax removal microfibre cloths).

DO NOT use the machine or the special pad to clay the car. Just do it by hand. The clay sticks in the pad and is a mess to pull out when you need to kneed it. I even spoke with Griot's and the gent who helped me said that it a bad idea. I'm surprised they still sell that pad considering all of their other products are so good.

The whole process--washing, claying and waxing does take a lot out you. Just remember to drink plenty of fluids! ;)

On a related note, how do you go about shampooing the carpets inside the car? Products? Technique?
 

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On the carpeting use 303 Fabric Cleaner. Just spray on and wipe off with a damp terry cloth. Pretty amazing stuff - works all around the house/boat as well. For more soiled carpets you really need to steam clean. 303 is great for this as well.
 
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