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First time buffing and clay barring
December 16, 2014 - 11:08 pm


I have a 2009 Ford Focus that has all kinds of surface scratches, dings, and paint with contaminants embedded in it. I want to buff and clay bar it, but this is my first car and I have zero experience doing anything like this. I bought a 3m paint restoration kit and a Black & Decker 6 inch random orbit waxer and hopefully it will come with good instructions on how to buff. I've tried youtubing instructions but I found a lot of different videos, some of which have contradicting advice. Can anyone recommend a specific good one? Also, if I want to clay bar it to get out all of the contaminants, should I do it before buffing and waxing? Or after the buffing but before the waxing? Also, can I clay bar the whole car and then wax the whole car or should I do it section by section?

I'm a complete novice to this and I would really appreciate any tips or advice anyone can offer me. Thanks!

December 17, 2014 - 2:00 am

Detailing a car or truck for the first time "correctly" can be a little intimidating especially if you've been browsing the exterior products page!

Look at detailing as a series or an order of specific processes...

Starting Off

Everyone starts off as a beginner but with some reading, questions, and trial, error, and practice you'll be amazed how much you'll be able to do. After reading and understanding some of the basics, the more hands on, the quicker you'll build your knowledge and gain experience.

Wash - Performing a regular wash using warm water and your favorite car wash if a great place to begin. This will dissolve and remove contamination making the finish ready for claying. Use a small brush and clean around trim, emblems, and those hard to clean areas.

Clay - Claying is the next important step in this process. Always use plenty of lubricant and work on one section at a time to ensure it's clean and smooth before moving on..

Compound & Polish - Using progressively finer compounds and polishes remove minor scratches and swirls from the finish by abrading or mechanically removing them. These products also remove stains, grime, and oxidation leaving it bright and revived.

Work a 2' X 2' section of a panel at a time ensuring that your satisfied with the results before moving on to the next section...

Sealant & Wax

Sealants are man made or a "synthetic wax", Sealants actually cross-link and bond to the finish. Sealants have come a long way over the past 10 years or so and will actually rival some of the finest waxes and far exceed waxes durability.

Wax is a more natural product typically containing various grades of carnauba. Rather than bond, waxes sit on top of the finish. Waxes typically give the finish a warmer glow and a deeper wet shine.

If used together, sealants should be applied to a freshly polished finish, allowed to cure, and wax as the final step.

Make detailing enjoyable and practice. Take your time and do not become overwhelmed. Just because there are a thousand products doesn't mean you have to use them all.


A dual action polisher is one of the most valuable detailing investments you'll ever make. A dual action polisher will result in a more consistent and uniform results in much less time than performing the same work by hand.

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