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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys,

I just got my Mazda 3 Sport GT-E last week and I have washed it twice already - possibly a third time after today! Is this going to kick the shit out of my paint? I am extremely worried about doing more harm than good - but I dont have a garage and have to park outside so it gets "gunk" on it from being left out, also - i noticed the front rims get really dirty (new brake dust?) so I need to keep them clean too! So first question is am I sending my paint to an early grave by cleaning it too much???

Second question is about polishing...now I come from an old 89 mustang banger that was mroe bondo than metal, spray painted with paint from crappy tire! so this new car/new paint and polishing is all new to me! 0 experience!

I feel the need to polish the car - i have heard this helps with keeping sap and such from sticking as well - which may shave down some washing time?

Dumb question i guess...but should I be polishing a bran new car? I know a user on here had some photos of his Gunmetal 3 that looked amazing - he had all sorts of tools though, rotary polishers and stuff?? I dont have any of that stuff. So - Brand new mazda 3 - where do I start? what do i need to get? what sort of products? what sort of gear? I want to keep it like new as long as humanely possible so I am open to ideas...I live In canada - and I know some of the products mentioned on here in other posts I couldnt find here! (Canadian tire is my best bet for this stuff)

i would love it if someone can give me a step by step of how to start and the procedure, if its not too much trouble.

Thank so much guys! I really appreciate you taking the time!
 

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If you find the coating is fading then you should wax it. I also recommend buy some clear bra for the front bumper cause the paint of the new 3 is kinda thin. Mine already have dings from the road dirt so too late for that, just don't go into the same path as mine.

You don't need to wax your car too often, but it won't hurt to do. Its up to how shiny you want with your car. I usually do easy wax once a month and liquid wax every 2 months.

Enjoy your new car, and congrats.
 

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Polish, in the detailing community, is another word for removing scratches and imperfections in the clearcoat with some sort of buffer (random orbital usually) and compound.

Nothing wrong with properly washing your car often. Definitely keeps the clear coat and paint in good condition! If you aren't doing it right, though, you'll find yourself possibly doing more harm than good.

The user you were referring to is ntechnic, and yes he has a lot of good detailing info. This post will get you started on what type of products you should look into getting and for what purpose they serve. This post by Stitch over on the TruthInDetailing forums has some good info and links to properly washing your car with the two bucket method, and strategies for drying your car quicker with less potential to scratch.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Okay - So i've done a lot of reading (the rabit hole took me to clear bras and PPF...lol) and I still feel a little overwhelmed..not really knowing where to start. What i'm getting a lot of is people throwing out the names of 101 products and brand names like I should know what they are and not really feeling like im learning anything...

I have my new 3 (thanks for the congrats btw) - I bought a new wash mit and some gel soap and thats it...I hear people talk about clay bars, and microfiber cloths, and blowers, and waxes and blah blah blah...where to start?!

I am sorry i feel like a real noob here...but where to start literally? Like i've said I've done the reading...i just am not feeling like its helping :S
 

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Clay bar is by far the most amazing thing at pulling incredibly small contaminants out of your paint. You thought car wash shampoo cleaned your car? Before you rinse off the soapy film, try some of that automotive clay (it's like putty really) and rub it around the soap film. Apply only enough pressure to hold it in place, if it sticks, reduce the pressure.

The result, and it doesn't make sense when you think of clay, but when you actually do it, it will- is an almost glass-like surface. Incredibly smooth, grabs at your skin because it's so clean, and really the sort of surface you want to polish or apply your wax (a protectant to).

Microfiber clothes? Super, super soft cloths with tiny 'fingers' that trap dirt so they don't scratch the paint. The entire cloth is covered with them.

Blower? Ever seen a leaf blower? Or an air-compressor? Blow water off the car so you need less time with the drying towels. Not necessary, but a cool timesaver. Great for getting water out of crevices like mirrors that, unless you thoroughly dry the car (open all the doors, wipe exterior panels but not exposed, like the doorjam), you'll inevitably get water to resurface and create a water mark unless you dry it right away.

Car detailing can be as involved as you want. A simple wash every week, a wax every month and a full clay bar session every six months will do wonders at keeping your car looking great.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you very much Catchphrase! I was driving into work this morning hoping there was no nasty replied on here about me being rude and ungrateful for both of your help! I really do appreciate you guys taking the time to reply!

So...clay bar, sounds like a good idea! I saw some videos on youtube with some tips for doing that. Is it worth doing on my week old baby? or is factory about as good as she will get? This sort of leads to my next point about polish/wax

So lets say I just washed, and clay barred my car, next step would be a nice wax - now...how do you guys wax your cars? I see these rotary polishers and stuff...I am worried about those rings that you see on cars after a while - where the paint is all swirly you know? i would think a rotating head would lend to early onset swirlies!

If i may be so bold as to ask...when you have time maybe catchphrase - would you mind going on this site and making me a short of shipping list? all the gear/product for say like you suggested, Wash once a week, Wax once a month and claybar 2-3 times a year? Sounds cheeky asking, but it sounds like you know a lot more than I do about what sort of stuff is going to be kind to my baby! so, pretend I have nothing (secretly i have nothing) and need to get everything to keep my car looking its best!

I really appreciate your guys time and effort - truly.

Cheers

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You may have owned the car for a week, but there's also the question of how long the car sat on the dealer lot. You don't have to clay bar a new car, but then again, clay bar usually grabs at things you can't see. You can try claying one panel and attempt to feel any differences.

For wax, I use microfiber pads. About the size of my palm. Put a looney-sized dab of wax on the pad (if its liquid), and dab smaller drops from the pad around the body panel. Then spread it evenly. Let it dry thoroughly and remove with clean microfiber cloth. With paste, use on the pad. I do it by hand.

Those round scratches you're talking about are called "swirls" and they can occur from both washing and drying the car. The key to reducing the likelihood of that (and it's not necessarily from using powered devices) is to use a good shampoo, a good wash device (like a wash mitt) with naps for trapping and preventing the dirt you just wiped off from scratching the paint. Also the two-bucket method (one rinse bucket, one bucket with soap/water solution) with grit-guards also help reduce the likelihood of pushing dirt back on to the paint.

Also, use clean drying microfiber towels, and dry in the same direction you wash. I use two- one for pulling off as much of the water as possible, and the second one for getting the last of the moisture out.

Meguiars and Mothers both make excellent products.

Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash | Canadian Tire
Two buckets, each with grit guards

Simoniz Microfibre Premium Wash Mitt | Canadian Tire
Microfibre Drying Towel | Canadian Tire
Mothers® Clay Bar System | Canadian Tire
or
Meguiar's® Quik Clay Detailing System | Canadian Tire
Meguiar's Tech Wax Paste | Canadian Tire
Microfibre Cloths, 8-pack | Canadian Tire
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Catchphrase you are amazing! I cannot thank you enough for your help. The links you provided are wonderful and I will definatly be making the trip there after work to pick some stuff up!

You mentioned you use microfiber pads for applying the tech wax. What pads are these? they available at canadian tire? so you are just gently spreading it over the car/rubbing it in a bit - then buffing it off? I will not ask you to explain the art - i will do my homework for that! I was just wondering what the pads you were talkinga bout were - as you did mention you do it all by hand?

You mentioned the dual bucket method with the grit guards? everything I see says the grit guards are for cleaning the rotary pads? Am i mistaken? are these really worth it? the grit guard website is showing the "system" at like 150 bucks for a bucket and what looks like a piece of plastic to keep the dirt/grit at the bottom of the bucket from getting back onto your pads?

You mention drying in the direction I was - sorry it seems like a trivial detail, but if you felt the need to mention it i feel the need to try to understand! i normally just go at it with the mit (alraedy have the microfiber simoniz mit) i just rub it all over, no real direction (assuming you mean up/down side/side etc?) maybe my technique needs work! ha.

I am going to chronicle my exploits here with photos as I go! going to get my detailing on this weekend i think, supposed to be hot hot hot here :)

Thanks again for all your help catchphrase! my Mazda 3 is smiling at ya!

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The grit guards just drop into the bottom of any bucket. They do a great job of cleaning out your wash mitt. I wash and wax my car in straight lines from the front of the car toward the back of the car. If you do anything in a circular motion it has the possibility of showing swirl marks easier.

Another great site to buy products from is We Are Car Care -- Car Wax, Car Polish, Auto Detailing Supplies, Car Buffers & Car Accessories Store and Auto Detailing Supplies : Car Wax, Polish, Sealant, Shampoo, Buffing Pads : Meguiars : 3M : Mothers : Detailing.com
 

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These are the type pads I like:

Amazon.com: Viking 903000 Microfiber Applicator Pad - Pack of 2: Automotive

The Meguiar's NXT paste wax kit comes with a foam applicator pad. It'll work fine if you use paste. If you go liquid, definitely try getting a microfiber one- it'll absorb less wax than the foam and get more of it on the car instead.

The one version I found at Canadian Tire had a 1-star review saying it created swirls. Not sure if this is true and if you can actually get in store and take a look at it yourself you can decide.

I bought two buckets and two grit guards for $30. Read more about them here.

For door panels, try and go up and down. I typically have my right hand washing, and my left hand checking if any sap or stickier residues need a little more attention to lift up.

After hosing the car of any loose dirt, I typically wash my wheels first, then the roof, the hatch (or trunk), the hood, and then each side. Quick rinse each panel after washing so the soap film doesn't sit on the panel for too long. Wheels first because if you do them last, the overspray of dirt/soap from wheels can get back onto the body.
 

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I believe you have mistaken the clay bar and the clear bra. Clay bar is a type of wax and clear bra is a protective film. I highly recommend to bite the bullet and put the clear bra (not clay bar) on the whole front section of your 3 (at least the front bumper). The new Mazda 3 has the thinnest paint I've ever seen and the road dirt from freeway will scratch through the paint (this cannot be saved by applying wax, cause the paint is damaged).

With respect, I see catchphrase recommend some product, but I will say its overkill. Mazda 3 is a budget car, so no need for Limbo treatment. Just make sure the cloths that touch your paint are free from dirt, wax it every 2 month, and apply interior wax, your car will be as new as showroom floor. If you spend more than $100 for auto care products, then you are spending too much.
 
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