Matt Rawlins
June 1, 1999
Contributers: Matt Rawlins

Step By Step

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To help make our 4.6 look like new again, we recruited some of Meguiar’s best products including their Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo, Gold Class Liquid Car Wax, Quik Detailer, Gold Class Clear Coat Prep and Swirl Reducer, and Clay Detailer. The sum of these products can do wonders for any car’s finish.
The first step is to wash the car down with Meguiar’s Car Shampoo and a good soft sponge. It’s very important to use the right automotive detergent rather than something like Palmolive. Dishwasher detergent will strip the protective wax off a car’s paint, therefore leaving it wide open to the harmful elements. Using specific car wash soap will clean the paint while not removing any of the wax.
After we thoroughly washed and dried the car with a soft terry cloth towel, we used some of Meguiar’s Quik Detailer to wipe off any dirt residue left over. The Quik Detailer is also a great product to use when you want to clean off the paint quickly and you don’t have the time to wash it first. It does a great job of lifting the loose dirt off the paint without scratching the finish.
You can see in this photo as well as in the photo above that the right white stripe has been treated with the Quik Detailer and, compared to the left side, is much cleaner.
The next step is probably the most labor intensive but definitely worth the hard work. Once you’ve finished the last couple of steps, gently run your hands over the finish and see if you can still feel rough spots in the paint with your fingertips. If you can, that means you’re still not done de-oxidizing your paint. What you are feeling are small particles from the atmosphere that somehow got trapped onto the paint. Whether it’s tree sap, chemicals, or some other form of pollutant, it needs to be removed. The answer lies with Meguiar’s Smooth n’ Clean Clay Detailer. Used in conjunction with the Quik Detailer, the clay lifts any dirt or particles that are on the paint that shouldn’t be. It’s quite an amazing process and result.
Just spray some of the Quik Detailer onto a section of the car that you’re going to work on (in this case we did the right half of the trunk), and then gently rub the clay bar back and forth. Next, with a soft terry cloth, wipe off the excess moisture. Do this for any part of the car’s paint that feels bumpy and rough and the results will amaze you. After all is said and done, the paint should feel as smooth as glass. Look at the difference between the left (untreated) and right (treated) sides. You can see small dots that are dirt particles still on the paint on the left.
Once the whole car has been de-contaminated with the clay bar, it’s time to polish the paint. This can be done either with an orbital buffer/polisher or by hand. The orbital polisher will definitely be the faster way, but not everyone has one. For the polishing process we used Meguiar’s Gold Class Clear Coat Prep and Swirl Reducer which acts as a “two in one” product. It removes contamination and blemishes while restoring gloss and color in preparation for waxing. Once again we did the right half of the trunk so that at the end you would be able to see the difference between the treated and untreated sides. The Prep and Swirl Reducer also comes with its own handy applicator which makes things much easier. Apply the polish on the applicator and then gently rub over the paint in a circular motion. Work the polish over the whole car, therefore allowing the polish to dry into a white residue. Then go over the car again with a soft terry cloth towel.
That last step prepared the paint for this next and final step—waxing. The importance of waxing the car after all of your hard work is to keep contaminants from getting underneath the paint again. The wax acts as a protective shell over the paint, while bringing out the full color and sharpness of the paint. According to Meguiar’s, this Gold Class Liquid Wax is one of their finest car waxes they have ever made in their 95-year history. The results speak for themselves.
Check out the difference between the two sides. The untreated paint looks faded and dull...
...while the paint is sharp, crisp, and you can see the writing of the products in the paint’s reflection. Wow.
Here is the 4.6 after a couple hours of grooming. Thanks to the help of Meguiar’s great products, the 4.6 can now roam the streets again, proud to show off her stripes.

Taking care of your car is one thing, keeping it looking like new is another. Anyone can throw some dishwasher detergent into a bucket, sponge down the car, and then drive around the block to dry the excess water. That’s not really taking care of your car, nor is driving it through a car wash once a month to get the bugs off the windshield so you can see clearer. Proper maintenance of a car, your investment, means a lot more than the occasional rain shower to clean it off.

Fortunately for those of us less inclined to spend an entire day washing and waxing our cars, we have companies like Meguiar’s doing our homework which allows us to restore and keep our car’s paint like new with very little work. Established in 1901, Meguiar’s has passed down its knowledge over the years to car enthusiasts as well as the novice with their long line of car care products. The best advice from the technicians at Meguiar’s is to always keep your car’s paint as clean as possible. With so many contaminants in the air, especially in bad parts of the country like Los Angeles, it’s not an easy task to keep the paint clean all the time.

Your Mustang’s paint is similar to our skin, needing the proper care and protection from the elements and aging. Believe it or not, your Mustang’s paint is only .006-inch thick, which means that if you don’t take care of the finish regularly, forget about it. It will be gonzo before you know it. According to Meguiar’s, repairing the original finish is far better than having it repainted for obvious reasons. Cost effectiveness, color matching, car value, and so on. These next few pages will hopefully clear up any questions or confusion you might have about how to rejuvenate your Mustang’s finish and maybe inspire you to go out there and give it a good waxing.

Many of you will remember our red-with-white SVO 4.6L project car which 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords inherited from Hot Rod magazine a year or so ago. Since the adoption of the vehicle, we’ve done some good mods like 18-inch Momo wheels with Nitto tires, a Borla Cat-Back exhaust, and a nitrous system. All of these mods have gotten our 4.6 to about 320 horsepower at the rear wheels (on the juice) which should translate to high 12s on the right slicks. Needless to say, the 4.6 has added a few miles as well as some not-so-good contaminants from the Southern California atmosphere. So for this car-care story we decided that the car was definitely in need of some paint cleaning with the help of Meguiar’s and their extensive line of car-care products. Generously, Meguiar’s sent us some of their best stuff to help the 4.6’s oxidized paint look like new again. Follow along with the photos and captions as we show step by step how to rejuvenate your Pony’s paint.