Gave the Terrain its first clay this evening. It looks better and it's cleaner then how it was delivered to me.
The secret here is claying - the process of rubbing clay over the surface of the car to remove the thin layer of crap that no amount of washing can get. After claying, the surface of the vehicle feels glassy smooth - and this is before
any wax or polish. Waxing is a process of cleaning - you're not adding chemials, polishes, waxes, or anything of the sort. You're simply cleaning the surface (but perhaps waxing afterwards if you like...).
Anyhow, a quick and tell for the folks here at terrainforum.net! Keep in mind, Jewel Merlot is the only color worth showing off
Materials I used: Several clean microfiber cloths, claying kit (which includes a clay bar(s) and lubricant) (I used http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.asp?T1=MEG+G1016"]this
Meguires kit[/URL]), and some good music.
1. Wash the car. I took it to a good local washer, but did just a basic wash. You don't want to apply waxes or other chemicals.
2. Started the clay process once the vehicle was dry. You spray a generous amount of lubricant (included in the clay kit) onto a surface of the vehicle (I started with the hood), and then lightly move the clay back and forth along the surface (no circular motions). You'll immediately feel the clay picking up all sorts of stuff. After a pass or two, you will feel the surface becoming smooth. Once the section is complete, wipe the rest of the lubricant off with a clean cloth. You'll notice the surface has gotten very clean/smooth.
After Clay (no
waxes / polishes added [yet]). The surface feels like glass:
Look at how much dirt a single pass with a bit of clay did (again, on a freshly "cleaned" car). I folded over the clay several times, so about 20x this much dirt was removed, JUST on the front end, AFTER the car was "cleaned".
3. Proceed with Wax/Polish. I use Meguires No.2 polish w/ carnuba wax. It's treated me well over the years:
4. Repeat all over...
This evening I did only the front end (front quarter panels, hood, bumper). Here's some more after pictures:
Before - Clean'ish, but not truly showroom clean. If you run your hand along the surface, it's smooth, but not glassy smooth:
(Note, the doors weren't done)
Any questions you have are welcome.