29 April 2013

Griot’s Garage Car Care Tip: How to Wax your Classic

“Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Breathe in through nose, out through mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don't forget to breathe, very important. ” – Mr. Miyagi, in “The Karate Kid” (1984)

Old Miyagi knew crane kicks and bonsai trees, but his car care techniques leave something to be desired.

We do everything in our power to avoid introducing scratches and swirls into our paint, right? But there is always the possibility that we use a little too much pressure when washing, or some dust blows up on the car while detailing that could get rubbed into the surface, thus creating the dreaded scratch. And following Mr. Miyagi’s car care advice, that unfortunate scratch will become an unsightly circular swirl faster than you can say, “Sweep the leg!”

Next time you’re detailing, forgo the circular “wax on, wax off” motion and instead follow the cross-hatch pattern recommended by the sensei of car care, Mr. Griogi, of Griot’s Garage. You’ll save yourself the embarrassing swirl marks, and have an easier to remove (and much less noticeable) straight scratch.

Straight-line passes and the cross-hatch pattern should be used any time you are touching the paint with a pad, towel, or wash mitt. It’s safer than the circular motion, and you are able to easily overlap each pass to ensure full coverage of the car.

Say it with me: “Wax on, cross-hatch. Wax off, cross-hatch. Breathe in through nose, out through mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to clay, very important.”

4 Reader Comments

  • 1
    John Neuenburg San Rafael, CA May 2, 2013 at 13:16
    Hah! This is why I collect vintage military vehicles. No waxing = more time for driving. And beer. In fact, even washing is not too important!
  • 2
    Bob Arper Bremerton, WA May 2, 2013 at 02:00
    So this is saying that we shouldn't be using the motorized buffers to remove wax or to simply buff an existing wax job? I don't own a buffer but have always thought I should buy one.
  • 3
    Bob Refior Okemos, Michigan June 7, 2013 at 11:09
    Dear Friends: BALDERDASH! A clean soft terry cloth applicator, a quality rubbing compound, cleaner, polish, or wax for whatever results you are trying to obtain, applied in small concentric circles on an extremely clean surface with moderate pressure will result in your family and friends (and car show judges) sheltering their eyes from the luster glistening off your vehicles surface. I challenge your results. Care to compare?
  • 4
    Tim Sterling Heights, MI June 19, 2013 at 21:56
    I use Griot's power applicator in that pattern (or roughly so), using their products (what a commercial) then wipe off by hand followed by a buffing machine. The arthritis doesn't act up as much, and the shine is great. Or on your daily driver, Kit wax with a sponge applicator and quick buff and voila!

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