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I purchased a brand new Atlas last month and was taking it on a road trip 2 days later. I wanted to clean it and do some basic wax prior to a 2000 mile road trip, so here is what I did. My question is now what next steps should I take? Should I remove the wax, should I polish then add the wax again, should I claybar, polish then wax?
  • day one,wash, clay bar
  • day two, quick wash to touch up what I missed (at night)
  • 2 coats of Meguiars Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax, added by hand. Luckily I had my wife and daughter help me.
  • Rain-X the windshield
  • Day three, road trip. Thunderstorms every day, wax looked great as water beaded up. Rain-X worked well, never had to use the wipers


  • now do I claybar, polish, ceramic wax again, or anything else? Is it good enough

  • What will the benefit be if i polish, then ceramic wax? Am I missing something or not following a step in which I’m doing it all wrong? I’m clearly no professional, nor do I want this to be a long process. I’d like to spend no more than 4 hours total on the entire process, roughly once per quarter. I live in Las Vegas and it’s about 105 for the next month.
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2021 Jetta SEL
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103 Posts
Looks great!

One thing I do on my new cars is apply an iron remover. While new cars sit they collect iron dust from the industrial areas they are parked in. Although cars aren't spending much time in lots lately. ;-)

I've used both of these products and were happy with them. I like IronX better but it's more expensive.


 

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It really depends on condition of paint.
Most vehicles come with at least some swirls in the paint that should be polished out before applying ceramic coating.
Black paint shows more swirls than light colored.
Since you state you don't want to spend more than 4hrs, I don't think polishing would be on your radar.

To see how it really looks, look at the sun's reflection in the paint. If it looks like a spider web around the sun, it could use a polishing.

I spent about 15-20 hrs on my Golf R correcting the paint before ceramic coating.....first time picking up a DA polisher and I was probably over cautious and thorough.
You can see some before/after pictures here. I'm more than happy with the results.


I'd do the iron remover as stated (skip the clay bar since you just did it recently) and then apply Griots Garage 3-in-1 ceramic spray.
I bought the bottle for $20 and have maybe used half of it with multiple coats on my Explorer and Mustang.
Very easy to apply, spray on, wipe off.
It seems to last at least 4 months before it starts to lose it's beading properties (still works though). That's not much of an issue because it only takes 10 minute to reapply.
 

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2014 GLI
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37 Posts
Used to be a detailer for a while. I would highly recommend not ever using a clay "bar" use some sort of lubricant/spray wax and a clay pad that you can throw on an orbital. It'll speed up the time this takes by a lot. You have a fairly new car so you shouldn't need to do this step for a bit. Only if you have pollen or other things that are stuck in the paint. You also want to use a light compound that'll take all the swirls out from the claying process. I recommend meguiars ultimate compound. I've had great experience with this personally. You have a dark car so you don't want something that'll cut too deep. Once you do that wax with whatever your heart desires. Using a DA, whole thing will definitely be under 4 hours. Just don't do this entire process all the time. Maybe once every year or two. Then just wax every 3 months and you should be good for long time.
 

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'21 Muskmobile M3 Dual Motor, '10 Smugmobile
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I took delivery of my white Model 3 last week, and did the following steps:

1. Pressure wash to get loose dirt off
2. Foam with foam Canon
3. Wash with 2 bucket method and good washmitt
4. Pressure wash
5. Apply ironX (it was mind-blowing how much contaminants on even a brand new car)
6. Pressure wash again
7. Dry with leaf lower and microfiber towel
8. Coated the whole car (body, glass, wheels, lights) with 303 Graphene spray

Instead of the 303 you could also opt for the Turtlewax spray 'n shine improved formula. It's just as good but a lot cheaper and better availability than the 303 Graphene spray. Both are equally easy to apply.
 
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