1. What is the difference between a polish and a wax?
Polishes contain compounds designed to remove scratches from the surface of
your paint, while waxes protect your car with a clear, hard coating. Waxes can be
either synthetic or natural, though high-grade carnauba wax delivers the best
combination of lasting protection and deep gloss. Polishes provide the “shine” for
your paint, while waxes provide the “protection.”
2. What is a clearcoat?
“Clear coat” is a name given to the multi-stage paints used today. A “base coat” is
applied with a pigment (color). Then, a top layer of clear paint is applied over the
top of the base coat to add depth, brilliance and provide protection for the base
Clear coats still require the same care as the old single-stage paints. Just
because the top coat of paint has no pigment in it doesn’t make it impervious to
environmental conditions. Top coats of clear paint still oxidize, and the softer
paints used today also allow contaminants to easily embed in the surface. These
softer paints require modern formulations and technology to protect them against
In short, the need for proper care and maintenance of clearcoat paints is just as
important as years ago. Actually, because of their softer, fragile nature, they really
should be maintained better than the older single-stage paints.
3. How often do I need to wax or polish my car?
It depends on environmental elements your car typically endures. If your vehicle is
kept garaged on a daily basis, then a polish or wax can last as long four to six
months. If your car is kept outdoors under harsh conditions, then it will need to be
waxed as often as once a month. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that
a light colored car be polished and waxed at least every two to three months. Dark
colored cars on the other hand, will usually require more frequent and specialized
4. What is a Sealer and Glaze?
When applied before waxing, a Sealer and Glaze helps hide minor scratches,
spiderwebbing, swirl marks and other surface imperfections. It enhances clarity
and shine, while giving paint that deep, wet look. If left unprotected, a Sealer and
Glaze will not last long. It therefore needs an immediate coating of protective wax
to truly have long lasting benefit.
5. Why can’t I use household cleaners to wash my car?
Household cleaners like dishwashing detergent are specifically designed to
dissolve grease. Because wax is essentially a grease, household cleaners will
remove your car’s wax finish; leaving you with little shine and no protection. Also,
some household detergents have micro-fine abrasive in them. These can
permanently scratch your car’s surface. Always use a premium quality, commercial
liquid car wash. They are formulated to dissolve dirt and grime without removing
your car’s beautiful wax finish.
6. What about once-a-year wax and polish products?
Your car deserves better than once-a-year products. It is likely the second largest
investment you’ve made, after your home. Don’t scrimp on the quality of the
products you use to maintain it, or the care you give your vehicle. A regular
regimen of washing and waxing pays enormous dividends for years down the
road. The intrinsic weakness of once-a-year products will become painfully
apparent as the years pass.
7. What’s the best way to remove bugs and tar without dulling paint or
Use our California Gold® Car Wash full strength with a soft scrubber sponge
before washing. The undiluted Car Wash will help remove bugs and tar without
stripping wax or dulling paint. Our Bug Bird & Tire Wipes are effective and
convenient — carry a container in your vehicle for fast, easy clean-ups.
8. How can I tell if I have a clear coat?
Most modern paint finishes are clear coat. The easiest way to tell is to check the
paint code on the inside of the glovebox door or door jamb (depending on vehicle
make), or by checking your new car’s window sticker. A more ”hands-on” method
is to check your applicator (sponge or towel) whenever you use a polish like
Mothers® Pre-Wax Cleaner, Sealer and Glaze, or Carnauba Cleaner Wax. If the
color of the paint is transferred to the applicator, then you do not have a clear coat.
The color you see is the oxidized dead paint being removed by the polish. With a
clear coat, the top layer of the finish is transparent and has no color to transfer to
the applicator. The color of your vehicle will not transfer to the applicator if the clear
coat is intact.
9. Can I wax my vehicle in the sun?
We recommend you wax out of direct sunlight. When your paint’s finish gets hot, it ”
bakes” the wax, hardening it to a point where it can be difficult to remove. Try early
morning or late afternoon when the sun’s at a low angle, or try pulling the vehicle
under a tree or into the shade of a building. And, applying a wax or polish in
sunlight can ”shock” your paint, much like biting into ice cream.
10. How often should I wash my car?
As often as practical. Most enthusiasts wash their vehicles at least once a week.
Some folks wash their cars almost every day. If you don’t have time to wash, try
using Mothers® Showtime® Instant Detailer before your vehicle gets dirty. Its
unique formulation restores your vehicle’s show car shine in-between regular wash
and waxing. But, remember, Showtime® is not a replacement for waxing — it’s a
11. Can I Wax without using Pre-Wax Cleaner first?
If your paint is perfectly clean, sure. Try this test. Run the backside of your hand
over the paint after washing and drying. If you feel anything but perfectly smooth
paint, it’s time to clean using Mothers® Pre-Wax Cleaner or Mothers® California
Gold® Clay Bar System.
Pre-Wax Cleaner is also a great way to ”feather” the edges of minor scratches and
swirls, making them less visible to the eye. Follow the Pre-Wax Cleaner or Clay
Bar with Mothers® Sealer and Glaze and give your car or truck’s finish extra depth
and richness. Then, apply the Mothers® Natural Formula Pure Carnauba Wax to
protect the polished finish.
12. What is a Clay Bar?
Clay bars, like the one in our Mothers® California Gold® Clay Bar Paint Saving
System, are used to remove contaminants from painted surfaces. With today’s soft
paints any contaminants that sit on your paint can quickly become embedded and
cause damage. These contaminants aren’t easily removed, even by washing or
waxing, but the clay makes it easy.
If you can feel bumps in the paint after washing and drying, chances are you’ll
benefit from using a clay bar on your vehicle. Remember to wash your car before
using a clay bar, and to always wax afterwards (clay bars will remove wax from
your car’s finish).
13. Can I wax too often?
Today’s paints are softer and thinner than previous years. If you’re going to wax
less than six times a year, our Mothers® Original Formula Wax with Cleaners
(either paste or liquid) or Mothers® Reflections® Polish are great products to use.
If you’re going to wax more often, consider stepping up to our Ultimate Wax
System® — this way you can control the frequency of cleaner being used on your
paint, and the added step of Sealer and Glaze will give you that extra ”pop” in your
14. My wheels have dulled — how can I make them look good again?
If you own a newer vehicle with original equipment alloy wheels -- and they are not
chrome or chrome-clad -- chances are they have a clearcoat. Unfortunately
because of the heat involved with wheels, the finish is even softer and more fragile.
For these, we recommend your favorite Mothers® car wax for routine shine and
protection. Tougher jobs may require either our Plastic Polish or our
PowerPlastic® for the unique plasticized clearcoat — both work equally well on
clearcoated wheels. Follow each wash with your favorite spray wax — FX,
Mothers® or Reflections® — for added protection, quick and easy. Mothers®
offers a solution for every type of wheel: non-coated aluminum (use our world
famous Mag & Aluminum Polish, the standard by which all others are judged),
chrome plated (use our Chrome Polish — formulated for today’s show quality
chrome plating), billet (our Billet Metal Polish is just the ticket for those high end
billet or forged wheels). A PowerBall® or PowerBall Mini® makes short work of
15. Is liquid wax easier to use than paste wax?
No, not at all. With today’s modern formulations, paste waxes are just as easy to
use as liquids. And, they’re more economical. A can of paste wax will often last
through twelve or more applications, while liquids frequently are used up after four
or five applications.
16. What can I do to make waxing my car easier?
Well, for starters, read the directions on the package. We’ve put an enormous
amount of research into each of our products. The directions on the package are
the direct result of this testing, and are written specifically to minimize effort and
17. What about those free car washes at the gas station?
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Many of those car washes use
mechanical brushes which can damage your paint surface. In most parts of the
country, the water is recycled, meaning your car is getting the same water applied
as the rusted out 1974 Plymouth Volare that just pulled out (unless your car just
happens to be that Volare). While filters can catch small particulates, they can’t
filter out the dissolved salt from winter use, or all those hoards of other nasty
18. What type of towel should I use to dry my car?
For years we have used and recommended 100% pure cotton thick-loop terry
cloth towels for drying. And though we still like cotton, we have found that the new
ultra-plush microfiber towels have won us over.
Microfiber towels come in various blends, qualities and sizes. A thick, soft weave
of 80% polyester and 20% polyamide in a size of about 16-inches square is ideal
for drying. They have tremendous absorbency power, wring easily, and are scratch-
free (don’t forget to remove the tag). You’ll find you can dry an entire car with only
one or two towels. Some people like a larger size, which are often also available in
a waffle weave. Whichever you choose, as with cotton towels, launder separately
and without fabric softeners (the fabric softener scratches paint).
Microfiber towels also come in a variety of colors so it makes it easy to identify
one color for each task; i.e., drying, polishing, waxing, etc. We find that a 70/30
blend towel works well for product removal. Buy an assortment.
We also get a lot of questions about the use of a chamois to dry your car. We have
found that people who have chronic problems with swirl marks in their paint,
especially after the first washing following a flawless detail, are using a chamois.
Try microfiber; you’ll be glad you did.
19. If a little car wash soap is good, is a lot better?
No. Too much car wash concentrate can leave a film on your vehicle. Use about an
ounce of car wash per gallon of water.
20. Is it a good idea to put a “thick coat of wax” on your vehicle before
We don’t recommend it. You’re only going to waste product. If you apply a thick
coat of wax, removal will be more difficult, and you may encounter streaking,
smearing and pilling (tiny wax balls accumulating on the paint) and your buffing
towel may become saturated with wax, causing extra effort in the removal stage.
When properly applied, the final wax layer should only be a few mils thick. There’s
no way to make this layer thicker. Our suggestion is wash your vehicle as often as
possible during the winter months (on those days that get above freezing). If a
warm spell comes along (over 50° F), consider washing and waxing your vehicle
while you have the chance.
21. What can I do about water spots on the paint?
Simple — get them off as soon as possible. Carry Mothers® Showtime® Instant
Detailer and a clean terry cloth or microfiber towel in the trunk. Attack those water
spots before the sun has a chance to evaporate them, and they’ll come right off.
Showtime® also works great on gas spills when refueling.
22. Are silicone car care products a bad thing?
Not necessarily. It’s the type of silicone that’s important. Some low grade silicones
are not ”body shop friendly,” meaning they cannot be removed with standard paint
prep before body work and painting. All Mothers® products are ”paintable,”
meaning they can safely be used in and around body shops, since body shops
have the chemical cleaners to prep the surface before painting.
23. Why can’t you make your car care products less expensive?
At Mothers® we use only quality raw materials in our car care products. Premium
ingredients cost more, but the superior results are readily apparent throughout our
entire line of Mothers® products. Remember, with car care products you get what
you pay for (which means you might think twice before smearing a $2.95 product
on a $30,000 vehicle).
24. I lease my car, why should I care how it looks?
Chances are, you’ll care when the lease ends. If you check your contract, you’ll find
that you’re probably responsible for the appearance of your vehicle when it is
returned. If the paint is dull and lifeless (because it was never washed, polished or
waxed) you could be hit with a reconditioning fee of $500 to $1,000!
|Call or Text Josh @ 727-479-5528
What’s So Bad About Bugs?
Yes, bugs look awful dotted across your front bumper and
hood, but they’re also very destructive. Maybe it’s revenge,
but bugs can damage the paint long after they hit the car.
As insect remains decompose, they produce enzymes
intended to break down the carcass. These enzymes also
break down automotive paint, resulting in etching.
Here in Florida and across most of the Southeast, love
bugs are the primary culprit. Love bugs in particular have
very fatty bodies, which produce a lot of enzymes. Plus,
their sheer number and affinity for busy roads make them
unavoidable. And, since they are love bugs, they hit your
vehicle two at a time.
Water spots are mineral deposits that have etched their way into
the paint and they can be very tough to remove. When a drop of
water evaporates, all the minerals contained in that water remain
on the paint. Etching is a gradual process, but those little spots
will accumulate before you know it. The best way to avoid them is
to dry your vehicle each and every time it gets wet. If that sounds
too ambitious, at least dry it after washing and after a rain. If it’s
already too late, here are some tips for removing those cloudy
Smoker's Film is an oily film that builds up on the inside of a car's
windows when someone smokes while inside the vehicle. Not
only does this make the glass dirty and hard to clean, but it will
also impair your vision, especially when there is direct sunlight
hitting the glass. Headlight glare from oncoming traffic at night is
another time when dirty glass can be hazardous to your health.
Standard glass cleaners lack the powerful cleaning ability
necessary for removing this vicious contaminant. Rather than
resorting to using Isopropryl Alcohol or heavy duty cleaners,
which has a very negative effect on the dashboard should there
be contact, you need a cleaner that is both powerful enough for
removing smoker's film, and gentle enough that it will not cause
damage by overspray.
Are you washing weekly or weakly?
Weekly washing is best because some contaminants quickly do
serious long term damage to paint if they are allowed to remain.
Two such organic compounds are bug remains and bird
droppings. These bio-hazards contain complex proteins that
bond to the surface and organic acids that penetrate and break
down the surface, eating into your clear coat if not removed
promptly. Weak spots in the clear coat make your vehicle
susceptible to corrosion and discoloration.
Another problem contaminant is brake dust. It contains metal
shavings from the rotors and adhesives used in the production
of brake pads. Try to picture the dirty plume of brake dust and
roadway chemicals that travels along with a moving vehicle. This
fog of chemicals shower the lower portion of your vehicle with a
clinging, nearly invisible mist. Brake dust itself, is highly corrosive
and very sticky. Washing your vehicle weekly will remove these
contaminants before they have the opportunity to do unsightly
Mechanical Car Washes
NEVER bring your car to an automatic car wash that has vinyl,
rubber, or felt strips that touch your car – they’re loaded with dirt
and grit and will really mar the clear coat on your vehicle’s finish.
If you must use an automated car wash, go to the “touchless”
Again, when drying your car, use high quality microfiber towels –
nothing else. Using any old towel you have lying around will
cause micro-marring in the finish – those swirl marks you see
when you look at cars’ finishes in the sun
Contamination of your car paint
Every car regardless of age; new or not, will have some form of
contamination attached to the paints surface. This will give your
paint a rough, gritty feel. This is nothing more than pollution from
the air that contains particles that attach to the clear coat and will
have to be removed with a separate process. Trust me on this
one as most people will either not understand this process, or
they will get lazy. Skipping this step will deliver disappointing
results and will diminish the end result of all your efforts. Like car
washing and waxing, this is not a one time only process; you may
have to do it once a month or once a year. Every case is unique.