Monday, July 17, 2006
Car Care Part 2 - Waxing
Last issue we talked about the care and washing of the exterior of a car. Let's cover the basics of waxes, polishes and sealants for your vehicles. Next issue we will cover the interior care.
Test your vehicle for oxidation twice a year by rubbing wax on one spot on your vehicle for several minutes. Any paint that comes off on your rag indicates oxidation problems, which will tell you one of two things:
1) If you are applying your wax often enough. Four times a year is best especially if your vehicle sits outdoors full time. If you are applying your wax only once or twice a year, you may need to treat it more frequently.
2) Or two - if the wax you are using contains a low grade of petroleum distillates. Most wax contains petroleum distillates. There are high grade and low grade petroleum distillates. A company doesn't necessarily have to tell you that it contains petroleum distillates if it contains less than I believe it's 6 to 7% distillates. If the bottle does say it contains distillates you don't know if it is low or high grade until you start to oxidize. Given time, a low grade distillate will deteriorate the clear/gel coat sealant on a vehicle, which then causes oxidation and eventual deterioration of the paint.
If the bottle you have does not say it contains petroleum distillates or if it says that it contains aliphatic hydrocarbons beware. Write or call the company and ask for the MSDS sheet - material safety data sheet. The name petroleum distillate is often hidden behind other names such as aliphatic hydrocarbons, which is one of two hydrocarbons making up distillates. I have also seen it as hydrocarbon, petroleum or mineral oil.
My Advantage does not contain petroleum distillates or hydrocarbons. I have it specially formulated for me to not contain distillates because first of all paints have changed in the past three years and they are now lead or Chroma based paint, which is not as hard as lead based paints. Water or Chroma based paints will oxidize within 3 to 4 months if they loose the clear/gelcoat finish. Lead based paints take up to 18 months or longer to oxidize.
Also Avery and 3M who manufacture the decals and striping used on many vehicles specify not to use products containing distillates as they dissolve the adhesive that holds the decal or stripping to the side of the vehicle. That is why you often see them peeling off and oxidizing.
*NOTE: If the striping is oxidizing then use a foaming tub and tile cleaner to restore the color. This works well on cars, trucks, RVs, boats, motorcycles etc.
Be cautious about using any wax or protectant containing silicone or Teflon if the product contains petroleum distillates. If the product contains a low grade petroleum distillate, it will deteriorate the gel coat causing the vehicle to oxidize. Only the vehicle cannot be repainted because nothing sticks to silicone or Teflon. An acid remover can be used to remove the silicone or Teflon but it very rarely removes 100% leaving you with an oxidizing vehicle that cannot be repainted.
Word of caution: If a wax company refuses to tell you what is in their product to protect your vehicle, you should not be using it. Many claim it is proprietary information. Ask for the MSDS sheet. If you notice a reference saying "if the product reaches a temperature of 150 degrees it will turn to formaldehyde and silicate dioxide" beware. Silicate dioxide only occurs when a 50/50 solution of silicone and water are mixed and brought to a temperature of 150 degrees.
If your vehicle is oxidizing then you need a sealant. Look for a treatment that says for heavy duty cleaning or "for removing oxidation." Advantage has also been formulated to remove mild to medium oxidation and old petroleum distillates as well. As a result the color is deepened and the shine is remarkable.
If a product states that it is a wax, it is made from carnauba. Protectants are made with polymer. Carnauba actually seals the surface. If the body of the vehicle is metal carnauba works quite well. Fiberglass - used on boats, RVs and some cars - however, must breathe. If it is sealed by carnauba wax it prevents the fiberglass from breathing. Over time that causes fiberglass to yellow. Polymers give the UV protection like Carnauba but without sealing the surface. A polymer based protectant is best for all surfaces and recommended for fiberglass.
Follow these directions when applying Advantage or any product:
1) Always use Advantage or any product when the vehicle is cool and out of the direct sunlight. Otherwise the product will solidify quickly and cannot protect the surface as it is designed to do.
2) Never wash your towels in powdered laundry detergent unless it is from a health food store. I have been told by a man who worked for one very large detergent company that their laundry detergent was specially treated sawdust. That is why it won't rinse clean out of clothing or towels, why it can leave skin irritations and why it will scratch your vehicle. Use liquid detergent instead then pour some white vinegar in the rinse cycle to remove all soap.
3) Never wash or protect your vehicle using a circular motion. You don't sand wood against the grain of the wood or else it will scratch the wood. Same thing with your vehicle. A vehicle of any kind is painted with a left to right sweeping motion so work with the grain of the paint for best results. Work right to left and left to right.
This article may only be reprinted giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at http://www.goclean.com. Copyright @2006 All rights reserved worldwide