If you have a black car like I do, you already know that black paint shows every smudge, chip and swirl mark. Over the years I’ve owned three black autos and only recently discovered a collection of products and an application process that produce what I would consider excellent results.
The key to getting a great shine on black paint is to clean the surface very thoroughly and then apply black tinted polish and wax in separate steps.
You will need to set aside the better part of a day to give your black car this “spa treatment”, but the results will be better than what many professional detailers charge hundreds of dollars to do.
- Turtle Wax Black Box Kit. This kit consists of bottles of black tinted pre-wax cleaner (polish) and liquid carnauba wax, 2 bottles of detailing spray and 2 applicator pads. Conventional wax dries white, highlighting imperfections and chips in the paint. These products are all tinted black and perform wonderfully on black paint. My only gripe is that both the polish and wax come in tall bottles with screw-off caps that are all too easy to over-apply or spill. A wider bottle and/or a flow control nozzle would be huge improvements. Oh, second gripe, the stuff is heavily perfumed. My car really doesn’t need to smell like Fruit Loops!
- Call me paranoid, but before rubbing polish into my car’s paint I want to be certain that the surface is absolutely clean and free of grit. Pros like to use paint cleaning clay for this purpose and so do I. Griot’s Garage makes a kit that includes the clay and a bottle of Speed Shine, which is great for touchups in-between washes. The Turtle Wax kit includes an inferior version of Speed Shine that I don’t use.
- You’ll need a random orbital polisher to apply polish and wax. The best one I’ve ever tried is manufactured by Griot’s Garage. The tool is well balanced, light and sufficiently powerful. It comes with either a 10-foot or 25-foot cord. Although I agree with others that 10 feet isn’t long enough to get around a vehicle, I prefer to just attach an easy to replace extension cord to get the extra length. Make a square knot to keep the cords from decoupling.
- Polish pads and wax pads for your orbital polisher.
- Microfiber cloths for removing polish and buffing. I highly recommend this 36-pack, which is an excellent value.
- The Turtle Wax products will stain your skin and clothes! Grab a box of disposable gloves if you don’t already have some. And don’t let this product get anywhere near a nice paver or concrete driveway. You will spill some. Consider yourself warned!!
- Thoroughly wash your car using your favorite detergent. When I’m polishing or waxing my car, I prefer to wash the wheels first and then make a new bucket of detergent for washing the rest of the car. I really like inserts like this one that fit into the wash bucket, allowing any grit to settle to the bottom.
- Go over all painted surfaces with cleaning clay to remove contaminants. Do one small area at a time. Spray with Speed Shine to lubricate the surface, wipe with a wad of clay and buff dry with a microfiber cloth.
- I learned this trick too late in life. Blast the car dry with a leaf-blower, followed up by a microfiber towel.
- Apply the Turtle Wax polish following the manufacturer’s instructions for machine application. Orange pads and a speed setting of 1 on the Griot’s orbital tool work well.
- Buff off the polish with a microfiber cloth. A little spritz of Speed Shine hastens the job.
- Apply the wax using a red pad and speed setting of 1-1/2. Buff off the wax using a microfiber cloth and Speed Shine.
- Pop open your favorite adult beverage and enjoy your work!