Is polishing and waxing a car really necessary?

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by l5foye, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. l5foye

    l5foye Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I know there will be many who will think I am posing a silly question but bear with me. Some years ago
    I went to see a friend's 1931 Austin. He is only the second owner. In its 77 years, it has only been washed and dried, never polished or waxed. It looks as fresh as the day it left the factory. So when my wife acquired a black Fiesta some 7 years ago, I decided to experiment and treat it same way the Austin
    was treated. That is, washed from time to time, sometimes with a proper car shampoo, more often with
    a dash of Fairy Liquid. I am now getting it ready for sale and believe me, the paintwork is like the day it left the factory. By contrast, my black ML has had expensive, top of the range polishs and waxes applied on a
    frequent basis and in all, properly detailed. Guess which car has the freshest looking paint-yes, it is the
    Fiesta. It is, of course, possible but unlikely the Ford paint is better quality than the Mercedes. So that brings me to the conclusion that polishing and waxing could well be a waste of time and money.
     
  2. John

    John MB Club Veteran

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    I use wax and gloss protection on mine so that the rain beads off it and it offers some kind of protection against bird sht and other dirt.

    Whether it makes any odds, difficult to know really.
     
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  3. PobodY

    PobodY Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Polishing constantly is probably a mistake; there's no need to keep grinding the top layer(s) of the finish back.

    As above, I quite like the way the water beads off my car when it's been waxed. - I don't have the time or inclination to spend hour regularly working on my car's paintwork.
     
  4. Scott_F

    Scott_F Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    No matter how well it has been cared for, the 1931 Austin will have had lots of paint in its 87 years.
     
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  5. Romeo4

    Romeo4 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Car enamel or Cellulose paint versus water based rubbish?

    I know which I prefer, just look at the water based crap you paint on a garden fence, needs done every year and do not power wash it it will be back to bare wood before you can say Karcher
     
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  6. chrisk2010

    chrisk2010 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Our Lab manager here where i work has a 2012 VW Passat Estate and although it's well looked after by VW (apart from the screen wash leak they can't find) i'm assured that wax has never touched the car and it is a kaleidoscope of swirl marks when the sun hits it even though it looks good from a distance.

    I can't help think that it must be a PITA to wash that rough surface and as above when i look out into the car park when it's raining you can see who's has wax on by the beading and who's doesn't.

    Another car this thread brings to mind is in northolt, i have been working the weekends there for a few weeks doing some work for my dads nieghbour and across the road is a blue nissan that it's owner is always out cleaning, hoovering, dusting over with a cloth, and washing with a bucket sponge and shampoo nothing more. The car it self you can see this guy has a lot of love for, cleaning the windows before he sets out anywhere and the car shows it as it's looks really good ... but ... i can't help thinking it just doesn't "pop" that a few cheap chemicals applied in the right order in the right way would achieve and make the guys life much easier the next time he washed it.

    Is it all necessary ? In my opinion yes but at the end of the day it's what makes the individual happy. One person will look at their wheels and think they are clean and i look at wheels and think give me 20 mins with a hose, brush, and a few sprays of fallout and i'll show you how clean they can be. ;)
     
  7. Alex225

    Alex225 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I posed a similar question on Detailing World based around swirl marks on cars. Is it purely cosmetic and the overall answer was yes.

    In theory if you don’t polish and wax your car it’s not going to fall into a pile of dust. In fact the majority of cars will only ever a wash and dry without so much as a sniff of a DA and wax/sealant.

    I think cleaning a car as in removing grime and road salt etc will do a car good. It will reduce the chances of rust although never stop it entirely.

    Polishing a car is used to bring about a great shine to the paint, can remove swirls and imperfections. The wax/sealant/coating is there to protect that finish.

    So ultimately detailing (to sum it up) is really a cosmetic thing to make your car look it’s best rather than something that extends the life of your Car.
     
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  8. Steveml63

    Steveml63 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hi,
    We bought a new Audi last year and as part of the deal it came with a ceramic protection coating free of charge.
    It’s now a year old and has never yet been polished - simply washed and chamois dried.
    It still looks exactly like it did when it left the showroom.
    I would certainly get this done on the next car we buy.
    Our ML63 was waxed when we first got it and since then is washed with a good quality car shampoo (that has some waxes in it) and is chamois dried.
    It still looks very shiny when clean - but not as shiny as the Audi.
    I was always warned not to use washing up liquid - as it apparently has a high salt content and might damage the paint finish.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  9. renault12ts

    renault12ts MB Club Veteran

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    I have no time to wash my car, but when I do...it comes up a treat.

    It is down to what you want and nothing more. Buy a car, don't wash it for three years and then give it a good going over prior to sale and it will look as good as any mollycoddled car out there.
     
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  10. Railwayman

    Railwayman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I think most detailers do what they do not because they think it will prevent their pride and joy turning to rust but for the look. Each to their own I say, I personally cant be asked, quick wash with fairy liquid comes up good enough for me. As for damage to the paint, my car is 15 years old, had it from new and paint is fine, just a few stone chips no rust.
     
  11. baxlin

    baxlin Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    OK, I admit to being a tad (a tad?? says Mrs B!) OTT about cleaning etc our cars, and am daft enough to think they go better when polished/waxed...(yeah, I know!).

    But does it matter in the long run? No idea, but as the car is possibly the second most expensive purchase most folks make, it seems sensible to take care of it, both oily bits and shiny bits.

    Heard an MOT tester say that he likes testing obviously well-kept cars, not that it should affect the result, but on the 'benefit of the doubt' decision? Maybe, maybe not.

    And I hate to see an upmarket car covered in swirl marks.....

    No prizes for guessing I’m also a member on the Detailing World forum.

    Malcolm
     
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  12. baxlin

    baxlin Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    In the 50s and 60s, my dad had company cars, and he’d put seat covers on each new one, only to take them off the day before it went back. Always seemed odd to me, as he’d never enjoyed the proper, often leather, upholstery.

    This was brought to mind by the above quote, sorry R12ts, as to why one would put up with a dirty car yourself, and then clean it up for someone else. OK, I know it would likely attract a better price, but if it needs to be cleaned for someone else to have, why not for you/me?
     
  13. zoros

    zoros Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    If you genuinely believe that simply washing a car only (especially using a salt based washing up liquid) is atleast as good if not better than polishing a car's bodywork - you are deluded.
    Polishing anything - prolongs the life of the patina/coating/finish. QED.
     
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  14. Romeo4

    Romeo4 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I think you should keep a car clean if it suits you, not so that the dealer you sell it to can make more money.

    It might make it more sellable if a private sale but I doubt if a dealer will give you a better deal because you have washed and polished it regularly
     
  15. Alex225

    Alex225 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    To the untrained eye perhaps and come sale time even a keen detailer wouldn’t expect a car their buying to be swirl free perfection.

    But to say a car that’s totally untouched for years then just gets a scrub with a bucket and sponge is comparable in looks to a properly detailed vehicle is simply not correct.

    Admittedly you may not see it and that’s entirely up to you but the fact is that there is a difference.
     
  16. GeeJayW

    GeeJayW Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Detailing isn't just about the paintwork...
     
  17. Scott_F

    Scott_F Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    ....it's about the soul.

    (It's not really)
     
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  18. Happytalk73

    Happytalk73 MB Club Veteran

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    You’re on a roll today Scott. :thumb:
     
  19. John

    John MB Club Veteran

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    Is that the same type of person who puts cling film on remotes to stop them getting dirty?

    Not something I've ever understood either.
     
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  20. alabbasi

    alabbasi Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I find this very hard to believe. Single stage enamel or lacquer paint does not have much UV resistance and will likely fade under direct sunlight. While direct sunlight is rare in Britain, i would expect for the paint to have faded over 77 years. This is the kind of paint that products such as t-cut was made for.

    Modern paints have integrated UV protection in the clear cat (or integrated clear with single stage urethane paint) and should hold up much better without washing. II would avoid using dish soap as it contains salt which can cause rust.
     

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