|Call or Text Josh @ 727-479-5528
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
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 coat.
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 damage.
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
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 attention.
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 removing wax?
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,
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 supplement.
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 paint finish.
14. My wheels have dulled — how can I make them look good
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 wheel polishing.
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 maximize results.
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 chemicals.
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
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
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
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!
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 spots.
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
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 permanent
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” type
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.
|The Professional Detailer:
by Prentice St. Clair
|How to Videos
Severe Damage Headlight Restoration
Cleaning Wheels & Tires
Waxing by Hand
Waxing with PowerBall® 4Paint®
Using Clay Bar
Polishing Metal by Hand
Polishing Metal with a Power Tool
Interior Rubber & Vinyl Care
Exterior Trim Restoration
Polishing Chrome by Hand
Mothers Detail Guide
Carnauba Car Wax vs. Paint Sealants
Proper Washing & Drying Technique
Car Wax & Paint Sealant Application Techniques
How to Use Auto Detailing Clay
Interior Cleaning and Conditioning How To's
How To Remove Bugs and Tar
Glass Cleaning Facts & Tips
Proper Care of Trim & Molding
How to Detail Wheels & Tires
How to Polish Metal
How To Care for Your Convertible Top
Paint Condition Chart
|Frequently Asked Questions, Tips & Tricks
and How To's all the information you need
to make you more knowledgeable when
hiring a detailer or for the Do It Yourselfers.