If you’ve got a vested interest in keeping your car clean, shiny, smelling fresh and maintaining that immaculate finish that you paid dearly for, then you’re very familiar with Meguiar’s. The company has been around since 1901 and have been supporting the clean obsessed since then. When we decided to share some tips for how to protect your vehicle’s finish, they were the first folks we thought of. Fortunately, Mike Pennington, Global Director of Training and Consumer Relations was happy to provide us with these tips, and answer a few questions.
1. What should consumers look for when they want to protect their paint or finish? What sort of products or processes are the most effective for maintaining style, color and texture.
When it comes to protecting your paint finish against the elements, carnauba waxes are a good option, but a synthetic polymer based product will always yield maximum protection. Meguiar’s Paint Protect is a great choice since it is an easy to apply pure synthetic polymer sealant that offers maximum paint protection and water beading. Keep in mind, if there are swirls or other defects on the paint finish, they need to be removed using other specialized products to create gloss and reflections prior to applying any type of protective carnauba or synthetic polymer sealant for protection.
2. What should consumers be aware of in products that can potentially harm a finish? Are there products they should avoid on chrome, certain paint finishes, glass, plastic, etc.
If your paint is a modern basecoat/clear coat, it is important to stick to products that are designed and safe for these newer delicate clearcoat finishes. Some of the harsher traditional style rubbing or polishing compounds can actually haze and scour a newer clear coat very easily. Make sure to check product labels to ensure desired products are clear coat safe.
In addition, if you are working on a matte paint or vinyl surface do not use compounds, polishes or any type of waxes that contain any type of abrasive, as the abrasive will damage that beautiful uniform matte finish by making it appear blotchy and uneven.
When working on wheels, it is extremely important to choose the right wheel cleaner. Wheel cleaners come in a variety of aggressiveness levels (chrome, factory coated, and aluminum) and you should always match the correct product to the right wheel surface to ensure you do not potentially damage the wheel surface. If you are unsure of what wheel surface you have, always grab the least aggressive wheel cleaner such as Meguiar’s Hot Rims Aluminum Wheel Cleaner. It is safe to be used on any type of wheel surface including polished aluminum, powder coated and even an anodized wheel.
Proper toweling is also a crucial part of car care. When working on paint and glass, always use premium, clean microfiber towels like our Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels, to minimize the possibility of swirls and to maximize ease of use.
3. What are some of the techniques and products you recommend to keep a car clean and shiny on a regular basis?
Frequent washing using a pH neutral carwash, like Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax, is the best way to remove loose contaminants before they have a chance to bond or etch to your paint safely while adding gloss and protection.
In addition, the frequent use of a spray detailer like Ultimate Quik Detailer to remove light dust and finger prints, will keep your ride looking like it was just detailed all the time. When washing your car or using Ultimate Quik Detailer it is a must to use premium cleaning accessories like wash mitts, drying cloths and microfiber towels in order to minimize the chance of creating any light swirls.
4. What are your thoughts on waterless cleaners and when are they appropriate vs professional detailing or washing?
Waterless carwashes, like Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax Anywhere, are great alternatives to washing a vehicle when you do not have: access to water, live in a water restricted area, or just don’t simply trust others to wash your car. When used correctly, waterless carwashes are a great choice to remove light to moderate dirt and debris from all surfaces without the risk of scratching. However, when you have mud or severe dirt and debris, a traditional carwash will still be required.
5. What exactly does the headlight refresh do, and why is it a good idea to use this product?
Plastic headlights tend to oxidize overtime due to UV exposure. Yellowed and discolored headlights are not only a safety hazard, but they are also an eyesore. The good news is, there are a variety of headlight restoration kits available that restore clarity to plastic headlights. Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Headlight Restoration Kit is a simple 2 step process that not only creates crystal clear headlights, but also adds a protective coating that will up to a year.
6. Do you have recommendations for types of paint or finishes for certain types of vehicles, namely are there paints/finishes/maintenance routines that make more sense for a show car that only gets trailered vs a car that either cruises on a regular basis or is regularly exhibited?
A daily driver tends to require more care simply because it is exposed more often to the environment. Frequent washing, waxing and overall care is the key to keeping it looking its best and well protected. When it comes to a weekend toy or prized show car, they typically require less care over time. Once they look their best with a few initial steps, they are simple to maintain because they do not have as receive as much wear and tear as one that is driven daily. In addition, appearance and shine are the main goals on these vehicles, so the use of true polishes, like Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish, are the best choice since they are designed to create high gloss. At times weekend toys and show cars may not even require a coat of protection / wax since they are not driven regularly.
7. What’s the biggest odor-challenge the odor-refresher has tackled and overtaken?
Meguiar’s Air Refresher Odor Eliminator has successfully tackled many odors like sports equipment, food, spilled drinks, but a smoker’s vehicle has got to be towards the top of the list. It is important to note that before using Meguiar’s Air Refresher Odor Eliminator, it is vital to remove the source of the odor and clean the interior if needed. For example, if a drink or food spills, it is important to clean up the spill prior to using the air refresher.