Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid when Detailing a Car

Mistake 1: Thinking all waxes can remove scratches from the surface of the paint

It all depends on the type of wax! Take Chemical Guys Slick Finish Wax for instance, this wax contains abrasive and therefore will remove some scratches from the surface of the paint. However, it will only remove light scratches from the surface of the paint so don’t expect it to remove deeper scratches.

On the other hand, Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax contains no abrasives and therefore will not remove scratches. This wax contains only natural cleaning oils, which will remove scuff marks, paint transfers, overspray and much more (but not scratches). The bottomline is that only waxes containing abrasives will remove scratches from the surface of the paint.

Mistake 2: Using a clay bar to remove scratches from the surface of the paint

A Car being Polished

A clay bar does NOT remove any scratches from the surface of the paint because it contains no abrasives.

A clay bar is useful for when a car’s paint feels rough and is no longer smooth to the touch as it can help restore that nice smooth feeling you once knew and loved.

Additionally, people have asked if a clay bar removes oxidation from the paint. It only removes a very light amount of oxidation from the paint, and if your car is severely oxidized we recommend polishing the car for better results.

Mistake 3: Cross contaminating towels

Chemical Guys Clean Towels

Many people make the mistake of using just one towel to clean their entire car. It’s counterproductive to use a towel to dry your tires and then immediately use that same towel on the paint of the car.

The contaminants and grime from the car tire is now in direct contact with the paint. This not only scratches and mars the paint, but causes imperfections with it as well.

Be smart and color code various towels for different parts of the car to ensure a better cleaning experience!

Mistake 4: Not drying your car after a coin-wash

Mercedes being Dryed

Most coin-washes don’t have deionized water, so if you drive off without drying the car then water spots will form due to dust, debris and fallout sticking to the surface of the paint. Not drying your car after a wash basically undoes the entire car wash!

The only way to get rid of these water spots is to polish out the entire car.

Chemical Guys recommends using a blower or towel to dry the car after the wash to maintain the cleanliness and prevent water spots from forming.

Mistake 5: Using water as a clay lubricant

Chemical Guys Clay Luber being Sprayed on a Maserati

Since water tends to drag, it doesn’t allow the clay bar to smoothly glide around the surface of the car. This water drag can cause marring, scratching and other damage to the car.

Chemical Guys recommends using a designed clay lubricant like our Clay Luber to create an effortless glide for your clay bar that reduces dragging and rubbing.

Remember, water makes for a terrible lubricant!

Back to Exterior How-To's

Shop the Products