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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a new 2013 SE in black. Of course it has been on the dealer's lot, etc for a year. I gave the car a good wash and a coat of Mequiars NXT but I am not happy with the shine and finish. It just doesn't have a deep gloss or mirror to it. Maybe it is because it is the Pitch Black and not an upgraded paint? There are no imperfections in the paint but I can feel that the finish is not that super smooth glass texture you see on show cars.
I'm wondering what is my best option. I am okay washing and waxing but don't have experience running a polisher or claying.
Is clay sufficient by itself?
Should I buy a polisher and try cleaning it? If so, I am not really sure of what polishes or tools to use. I have been reading and many people like Junkman make it sound easy, so I am leaning this way. Budget is not a big problem, but time often is. If running a polisher is an all-day job then it may only get done once a year.
Should I just take the car to a pro detailer? If this is going to cost $200 and up, maybe it is better to just invest in the equipment instead of paying that cost every 6 to 12 months?
Any suggestions from the guys who made this decision and can lend some encouragement?
The car is garaged every night. I live in Florida so my biggest problems are the sun while my car sits outside at work each day, and the dirt from the turnpike that dries on the car after every time it rains.
 

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Clean thoroughly, clay, polish and wax. Watch it pop!

Wax is just to protect, not shine. Claying and polishing do that.

Black shows everything so it needs to have a mirror finish to really shine...like a mirror.
 
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If you've watched Junkman's videos, you know what's involved in getting it clean and keeping it that way. Clay is the first step in the process, and it's going to get you that really smooth surface that you're looking for. If there's just surface contamination keeping the paint from sparkling, you might not need to polish. You absolutely do need to wax, though, since claying removes whatever is on top of the paint - including wax.

One concern is that it's been on the dealer's lot for a year and they've been doing whatever washing process they do every few days. THAT could have put some damage into the paint that requires machine correction.

Regarding time vs money, if you properly maintain your paint after it's been corrected, you shouldn't need to pull out the polisher frequently or for long. I have the PC 7424 and I spend a few hours twice a year taking care of minor scratches that I've put there during the year. I was lucky to be able to get hands-on practice on other cars at a (free) detailing class that Meguiars puts on locally. It gives you tons of confidence if you've never done this before.

If you're looking for quick results, get local recommendations/referrals for expert detailers in your area. DON'T take it to the detailing place at the local car wash - they're likely to do more damage than good. Depending on the condition your car is in, it's likely to cost quite a bit more than $200.
 

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@Kevin:
You will get the excellent results, as the guys mentioned - just try to follow the Junkman's videos and do the proper job.
But, as you properly mentioned - your color is "Pitch Black" (not the Phantom Black - which I would say "different black")...did you see black puma or panther? These beasts have no "sparkles", it pure deep black colour, so thats what your car looks like. Your car will be totally black in the cloudy weather and will shine without sparkles under the sun.
Enjoy your ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
DON'T take it to the detailing place at the local car wash - they're likely to do more damage than good. Depending on the condition your car is in, it's likely to cost quite a bit more than $200.
Yeah, I already went that "$125 detail at the car wash" route on another car and got it back with swirls. That will never happen again.
I seem to have bad luck with taking cars to someone else to work on. Of all the things I have screwed up, they haven't been as bad as what the so-called pros did, from major repairs to oil changes.

@Kevin:
You will get the excellent results, as the guys mentioned - just try to follow the Junkman's videos and do the proper job.
I only watched parts of the different videos to get an idea of what was needed and if it was something I might want to do. I will give claying a shot after watching the full video.
If it works out then I will get a polisher. If the claying is a problem then I will find a good detailing shop. Not too much of an investment in a claying kit to find out if I am clumsier than a caveman.:D
 

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Clean thoroughly, clay, polish and wax. Watch it pop!

Wax is just to protect, not shine. Claying and polishing do that.
Wax, sealants, coatings etc. or anything else you apply to paint can alter the appearance. Products can hide defects and improve the looks. Perfect paint is nice but not everyone has the time or skills to get it perfect and maintain it. The definition of "shine" is definitely a matter of personal opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
clay bar part of it is easy. its the polishing that takes some work
And also the most investment. Over $200 for a decent machine, pads, & polish.

Wax, sealants, coatings etc. or anything else you apply to paint can alter the appearance. Products can hide defects and improve the looks. Perfect paint is nice but not everyone has the time or skills to get it permit and maintain it. The definition of "shine" is definitely a matter of personal opinion.
I agree that a good wax appeared to give more depth to the finish for all my cars in the past.
 
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