Meguiar's: 5 Steps to a Show Car Shine

Thursday, 1 June 2023


There are two ways to wash a car, the traditional way with a car wash, bucket and hose. Or, the increasingly popular - Snow foam

As with any task, it's always best to have the right tools to get the job done.

Traditional Bucket Wash Method

Use a dedicated car wash, never ever use dish detergent as this will strip any wax/protective coating on the surface of your paint, which will leave your paint susceptible to the environment and UV rays, causing paint fade and oxidation. Washing your car removes the lose contaminants before they have a chance to bond to your paint.  

We highly recommended using the two bucket method, where one bucket contains your chosen car wash solution mixed with water, and the second bucket contains just water and a Grit Guard which is used for dislodging any debris that is trapped in your wash mitt or wash pad. When your tools and car wash solution are ready to go, ensure your car's paint is cool to touch, in the shade if available or wash at dawn/dusk - to prevent water spots, start with a good rinse with the hose, use a jet setting if your nozzle allows it to dislodge any chunks of mud, dirt and grime. 

Dip your Wash Mitt or Wash Pad (never use a sponge, as dirt and debris can get trapped between the surface of your paint and the surface of your sponge and get dragged all over the surface you are washing) into the car wash solution and start with washing the roof panel. Rinse, then move to the bonnet, front bumper, work your way to the back and lower areas of the car, a panel at a time, and rinsing before moving to the next.

Always dry your car to prevent water spots.

Snow Foam Method

A snow foam cannon gives the user the opportunity for a touch free wash on lightly soiled paintwork... Which eliminates washing related scratches and swirls. However, you can also use it on medium to heavily soiled paintwork with the addition of a Wash Mitt or Wash Pad.  In either case, you must first do a pressure rinse on the car, use the water blaster to rinse off and dislodge any loose debris. Follow up with the Snow Cannon attachment and your chosen snow foam solution, start from the bottom and work your way up applying a coat of snow foam all over the vehicle.  If washing a lightly dirty vehicle, let the solution dwell on the surface for 2-3 minutes, before pressure washing away the foam, dirt & grime. Dry with a Meguiar's Drying Towel. For washing a medium-heavily soiled vehicle, coat with snow foam, working from the bottom up, allow to dwell for 2-3 minutes, and then agitate the foam with a Wash Mitt or Wash Pad, working from the top to the bottom. Pressure rinse and use a Meguiar's Drying Towel to dry.

Tip: you can combine these two methods and use a rinse bucket with grit guard in the bottom when agitating the snow foam solution on your paint.


Remove above and below bonded contaminants, blemishes, oxidation and stains that car washing alone cannot remove. 







Above surface contaminants

Assess your paint work after washing, run the palm of your hand over the paint work, if it feels gritty it is covered in bonded contaminants which actually restrict the clarity of your paint colour. Use a clay bar kit to return your paint to perfectly smooth, in preparation for compound, polish and wax.

To use the Clay Bar, remove it from the packet and mould it into a disc shape, about the size of your palm. Note: If you drop the clay bar on the floor you will have to throw it in the bin, the clay is extremely effective at picking up particles of dirt, that once it touches the floor, it will be loaded with grit that will transfer to your paint work. Use the included Quik Detailer product as a lubricant, and spray on the panel, then rub the clay over the panel in a backwards and forwards, or up and down motion. Handy Tip: you can even use it on headlights or windows!

As you work the clay over the surface you will feel it grabbing at the particles, keep working the area until the clay simply glides over the surface. Kneed the clay as required to reveal an unused/clear of clay and repeat the process on the next panel.  Wipe the detailer residue off with a clean microfibre towel. 







Below surface contaminants

Remove below surface contaminants such as swirls, scratches, water spots and oxidation with a compound/paint cleaner product, such as Meguiar's Ultimate Compound and Water Spot Remover or ColorX









While polishing is an optional step, known as a pre-wax glaze it something it's purpose is to create a brilliant high gloss finish, ready for an application of wax or sealant. Any colour paint will benefit from an application of polish, however, these benefits are most noticeable on darker colours such as blue, black, red, green and dark greys. What you'll notice is the colour will have an extra 'pop' to it and have deep, wet-looking, mirror like reflections. It's safe and effective to use on all glossy paints, including clear coats, by hand or with a Dual Action Polisher. The Meguiar's Ultimate Polish is our top selling polish for the DIY car enthusiast.









At this stage your vehicle should feel smooth and have a deep, high gloss appearance. Now it's time to preserve this high gloss finish by applying a wax, sealant or coating.

Wax Protection serves as your protection against the sun, acting as a sacrificial barrier against environmental elements, delivering water beading protection that preserves your high gloss paint finish. Keeping a quality coat of protection on the vehicle also provides many other additional maintenance benefits which are often forgotten. A vehicle with a good coat of protection will stay much cleaner when in use, is easier to get clean during washing, and is easier to dry after washing. These additional maintenance benefits are especially apparent with Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Products & Hybrid Paint Coating.

Meguiar's has a few different types of waxes or protection options to choose from.

Polish/Waxes, not to be confused with Cleaner/Waxes, provide protection & added high gloss from their polishing oils in one product. There are two different types of Polish/Waxes Meguiar's offers, Carnauba Based & Synthetic Based Waxes or "Sealants."

Carnauba based waxes such as Meguiar's Gold Class Carnauba Plus have been used for many years & provide great protection & excellent gloss.

Synthetic Based Waxes such as Meguiar's Ultimate Wax, or Meguiar's NXT Polymer Paint Sealant, are also referred to as "Sealants" and are polymer based, man made wax protectants. Our synthetic polymer based waxes utilize more advanced technology, and will provide more protection, last longer, and be more durable than our Carnauba based offerings.

Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax and Spray Wax represent our most advanced & latest technology. Utilizing a hybrid ceramic/Sio2 base, Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Waxes offers the longest lasting protection in a traditional liquid wax we offer, & also offer extreme water beading levels never before seen within our other waxes. These water beading characteristics offer enhanced ease of maintenance, the vehicle stays more clean & is easier to get clean during washing.

Meguiar's Hybrid Paint Coating blends the best attributes of traditional ceramic paint coatings with the advantages of our proprietary Hybrid Polysiloxane Technology. Meguiar's Hybrid Paint Coating is our most durable & long lasting paint protection option to date, offering 1+ year longevity all while offering an easy application.

Cleaner Waxes or also known as "one step cleaner wax," provide cleaning, polishing, & wax protection in one easy step. While Cleaner Waxes won't provide the same overall results as doing these three steps individually, it is an excellent choice when time is priority.

Which one should you use? A lot of this decision comes down to personal preference. One of the biggest mistakes when applying a wax is applying it too heavy or thick. This prolongs the drying time, makes the waxes more difficult to remove and actually wastes product.

In New Zealand we recommend applying waxes at the following intervals for the BEST protection:


Quik Detailers

Now that you have your cars paintwork looking it's best and it's well protected, a proper maintenance routine, is key to keeping it looking it's best. Frequent removal of contaminants before they have the chance to bond or etch into your paint by way of washing regularly (ideally every 1-2 weeks) with a dedicated car wash solution and a clean wash mitt, for in between washing, Meguiar's offers a range of Quik Detailers - which provide the lubricity needed to safely and quickly wipe away light dust, fingerprint smudges and fresh bird droppings etc. without scratching the paint work - simply spray the surface with your chosen Meguiar's Quik Detailer and wipe with a clean microfibre. Meguiar's Quik Detailers work to provide added gloss, with the Meguiar's Ultimate and Ceramic Detailers boosting water beading protection. For any level of contaminants that are heavier than just dust or fingerprints, we recommend using the traditional wash or snow foam method or the Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax.

In New Zealand we recommend using a Quik Detailer for quick touch ups as often as required, but also as a drying aid - use the Ultimate Quik Detailer every 2-3 weeks, and the Ceramic Quik Detailer every 3-4 weeks.

Quik Waxes

Our Quik Wax Sprays provided added protection, gloss and slickness to extend the life of your wax coating. They should only be used on a clean surface, such as after washing or using a Quik Detailer. Our Quik Waxes will not dry white on rubber or plastic unpainted trim - they're quick and easy to use - simply spray on, and wipe off with a Meguiar's Detailing Towel. The Meguiar's Ceramic Spray Wax requires a different application process, in which you spray on to your panels, then use a high pressure hose setting (jet, or flat work best) or a water blaster to spread the product over the surface then dry with Meguiar's Drying Towel.