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  1. #1
    Mike Phillips
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    Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!


    • Have you ever been told not to wax your car for at least 30 days by a painter after having the car painted?

    • Perhaps someone has said not to wax or seal the paint because the paint needs to breathe?

    • Or have you read a thread about this topic on a discussion forum?


    Let me see if I can explain what this means and why people are told this...

    The reason painters tell you not to wax fresh paint is for two reasons which are connected...

    First, there's not a single paint manufacture that I know of that recommends sealing, (that means applying a substance that coats over and protects), fresh paint. This is where you'll find people that will argue with you but unless they work for the paint manufacture, then what they post is their opinion, not an official recommendation of a "Paint Manufacture".
    Second, painters will tend to follow paint manufacturer's recommendations because they respect the paint manufacture but also to insure you don't mess up their work. The idea behind NOT sealing fresh paint is to let it outgas completely. This is where some will argue that modern paints harden through chemically curing or catalyzing, and not via solvent evaporation. But again, if the person making the recommendation does not work for the paint manufacture, then what they post is their opinion, not an official recommendation.

    The clear layer of paint is still mixed with solvents, also called reducers; these are used to custom thin the paint to the painter's preference, to the sprayer and to the climate and/or paint booth. After spraying, some of these solvents will evaporate off.

    After the solvents evaporate off and the paint dries to dust-free or tack-free, that is the surface of the paint is now cured and/or hard enough that if air-borne dust lands on the paint it won't stick to the paint.

    After another day or two, maybe longer depending upon the shops normal practices, the paint can be sanded and buffed if that's part of the package.

    Whether it's sanded and buffed or turned back over to the painter, at this point the painter will say something like,

    "Wait 30 days before applying a car wax"

    He might even say,

    "You need to wait 30 days before applying a coat of wax to allow the paint to breathe"


    This is a generic way of saying,

    "Wait 30 days before using any product that can seal the paint to prevent or hinder any and all solvents to outgas or evaporate out of an off of the paint"


    Now this is where some people on discussion forums will want to start to argue and say you can apply brand X because it's not a wax, or you can use anything because the paint is chemically cured, or you can wax the paint because you can't seal a clear coat, or fill in the blank...


    What the painter really means...
    The bigger idea the painter is trying to get across is to not apply any substance that creates a barrier coating over the surface that could "potentially" lock or seal in the solvents and prevent them from out-gassing or evaporating.


    This gets into a discussion about what's "Body Shop Safe" and what's not "Body Shop Safe", and to some level, you an use the term "Body Shop Safe" to also describe "Fresh Paint Safe".


    Products that are "Fresh Paint Safe" are also "Body Shop Safe" and that's because these product won't contain any ingredients that will cause "Surface Tension" which will usually show up as "Fish Eyes" in the paint.

    Most, if not all waxes and paint sealants, and also most spray or quick detailers are NOT body shop safe and thus would not be safe for fresh paint according to the paint manufacturer's recommendation or their painter's recommendation.

    Basically, if a product is known for, or famous for making water bead on car paint, (that thing we all love to see), then if the ingredients in the product that are responsible for making water bead would also try to make fresh paint sprayed onto a car try to bead only this would show up as fish eyes.


    From a "purist" point of view, that is a person that is in a position to not have to seal the paint for approximately 30 days, then waiting simply insures that if there are any ingredients at all that could evaporate or outgas then this person can play it safe and allow the paint to fully dry and cure for the 30 days or longer.

    Some people don't have this option and will be putting their car back into service they day they get it back and will want to apply something to the paint to protect it.

    Outgassing is the process by which solvents and other substances used to mix the paint try to leave the paint is the reason behind why painters will often say,

    "Don't wax your car for 30 days"

    Sometimes this is just an insurance policy on the part of the painter because he knows his paint is durable and will last a long time with nothing applied to the paint and since they don't know you, your background, your skill level etc., let along what you have out in the garage that you might spread over their brand new work of art, they will error on the side of caution and again, tell you...

    "Don't wax your car for 30 days"


    Make sense?


    After posting this some people will chime in and argue one of the above points and/or say they used this product or some other product on their "fresh paint" and nothing bad ever happened.

    So I will point out, I never posted my opinion or recommendation in the above, I just explained in detail what's going on and why historically you're told not to wax your car's fresh paint and how that relates to other products that are not called car waxes specifically, but would have the potential to do the same thing a car wax would do if they were applied to fresh paint.

    Make sense?


    Polishing Fresh Paint Just for Fun
    If you want to "do something" to your car's paint because you're excited to finally have your car painted and it's killing you to not go out into your garage and play with your toy, then you can apply a body shop safe, or fresh paint safe polish or glaze. These would typically be products created for and marketed towards body shops in the refinishing industry. You want to be careful because the words polish and glaze are used on a lot of products and in the context of what I'm talking about here, I mean non-abrasive polishes made for the sole purpose of creating gloss and clarity when used correctly and masking swirls if the shop in question makes it a practice to inflict swirls and then mask them in order to make the paint look good to get the customer to accept their work.

    Two very popular non-abrasive polishes for fresh paint that are for the primary purpose of just making fresh paint look clear and glossy are 3M's Imperial Hand Glaze and Meguiars Mirror Glaze #7 Show Car Glaze.


    Polishing Fresh Paint to Remove Swirls
    I you find your fresh paint is filled with swirls, specifically rotary buffer swirls or what are also called holograms from a shoddy buff job by the body shop, then if you want you can remove the swirls yourself. If they hand sand the paint you might find Tracers, if they machine sand the paint you might find Pigtails.

    Tracers Tracers - RIDS - Pigtails - Cobweb Swirls - Rotary Buffer Swirls - Holograms - Water Spots - Bird Drooping Etchings - Micro-Marring



    Here's the good news!
    Swirls can be removed with any of the polishers we sell here at autogeek and anyone here on our forum can help you get the right polisher and the right pads and swirl mark removers to do the job safely and do the job right the second time.




    Here are some articles and videos on these topics...

    An overview with demonstrations of the Porter Cable 7424XP, Meguiar's G110v2, Griot's Garage 6" Random Orbital Polisher, Griot's Garage 3" Mini Polisher, Flex 3401, Flex 603, Flex 3403, Cyclo Polisher, Makita 9227C, DeWalt 849,


    Part 1 - How To Pick the Right Car Polisher for your Detail Project



    Part 2 - How To Pick the Right Car Polisher for your Detail Project



    The Flex 3401 in action...


    How to choose the right polisher for your detailing project



    How To Remove Swirls, Scratches and Water Spots using a PC 7424XP, Meguiar's G110v2 or Griot's Garage 6" Random Orbital Polisher


    Using a DA Polisher - Part 1



    Using a DA Polisher - Part 2



    Using a DA Polisher - Part 3




    Most Important...
    Here's how to do a "Section Pass" when trying to remove swirls, scratches and other below surface paint defects.

    How to do a Section Pass





    The Definitive How-To Article for Removing Swirls, Scratches and Water Spots Using a Porter Cable 7424XP, G110v2 or Griot's Garage Polisher




    After the 30 day waiting period...
    After 30 days have passed, or 2 weeks or 90 days, or whatever the painter told you and you adhered too... then by all means, seal the paint with a quality finishing wax or paint sealant.

    You can find a list of premium quality finishing waxes and paint sealants in this thread,

    How To Choose The Right Wax or Paint Sealant for your Detailing Project


    And here's a few more related articles...

    Frosting on the cake
    The Final Wipe – Tips for creating a streak-free, show car finish
    Tips & Techniques for using a Spray Detailer to Remove Light Dust, Fingerprints and Smudges
    How to safely remove a dried bird dropping





  2. #2
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    Re: Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for that article, it really helps. I just have one question that needs clarification: I believe M105/205 are considered body shop safe, ergo; I should be able to safely use them to correct my freshly painted body panels? The panels are showing heavy holograming, etc.

    Thanks for your time!

  3. #3
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    Re: Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    Excellent write up as usual Mike. I have a question though, when a customer goes to pick up their vehicle from the body shop, is it safe to do a IPA wipedown to inspect the painted area? I would assume that it would be ok to do this without interfering with the curing process but I have nothing to base this opinion off of.

    Thanks for any input or clarification,

    Richard
    "Challenge yourself to live a better tomorrow than you did yesterday"

  4. #4
    Super Member Finemess's Avatar
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    Re: Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    Great videos Mike, very helpful. Thank you.
    'Cause there's just something women like about a pickup man.
    Rich

  5. #5
    Super Member Mindflux's Avatar
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    Re: Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    I was just thinking about this yesterday. Picked up my wifes 2010 Jetta for a new bumper since someone rear ended her 40 days after I bought the dang thing.

    Now I can't do diddly with it for a month. Hrmmph!

  6. #6
    Regular Member detailjohn's Avatar
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    Re: Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    Excellent write-up Mike. I however have not heard of a wax causing fish eyes, shouldn't it be pretty solid after it's been through the bake booth? I could be wrong, just not familiar. Usually if the paint gets sealed prematurely you can get dye-back, which will make it look oxidized. If this happens you can simply polish it back without any damage to the paint. A fish eye will generally happen where the clearcoat or paint doesn't stick due to a silicone or similar not allowing it to bond from what I've seen.


    John

  7. #7
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    Re: Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    John, maybe they recommend not waxing in case a wax contains silicone, which may lead to fish eyes as you stated? This is very interesting, thanks for the post. Now to wait until Mike chimes in tomorrow.

    Richard
    "Challenge yourself to live a better tomorrow than you did yesterday"

  8. #8
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    Re: Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    My painter tells me body shops also say that because they don't want you close to the paint. In other words, they say it to cover up crummy work. He suggested the to go ahead and do whatever I'd like as soon as I'd like.

  9. #9
    Mike Phillips
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    Re: Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulgari View Post
    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for that article, it really helps. I just have one question that needs clarification:

    I believe M105/205 are considered body shop safe, ergo; I should be able to safely use them to correct my freshly painted body panels?

    The panels are showing heavy holograming, etc.

    Thanks for your time!
    M105 and M205 are both "Body Shop Safe" and perfectly safe to use on fresh paint after it has dried till it's safe to sand and compound, this can be anywhere from a few hours to a few days...


    Quote Originally Posted by rwright View Post
    Excellent write up as usual Mike. I have a question though, when a customer goes to pick up their vehicle from the body shop, is it safe to do a IPA wipedown to inspect the painted area? I would assume that it would be ok to do this without interfering with the curing process but I have nothing to base this opinion off of.

    Thanks for any input or clarification,

    Richard
    I wouldn't recommend doing this and I wouldn't do it myself. See what I wrote here,


    How to Mix IPA for Inspecting Correction Results

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phillips

    WARNING
    Do not chemically strip FRESH PAINT. Fresh paint has not fully cross-linked, dried and hardened. Introducing any type of solvent to the surface and allowing it to dwell could have a negative effect on the paint.

    Besides, that, chemically stripping the paint with IPA to see if the body shop swirled out your new paint job and then masked their shoddy work with a glaze, right there in front of them is probably not going to go over very well with the shop owner, manager or painter.

    You pose an interesting scenario because anyone that's been hanging out on a detailing discussion forum for any length of time has probably read out "Body Shop Horror Stories", that is when a customer comes to find out the paint they just had sprayed onto their car is filled with rotary buffer swirls, also called holograms or buffer trails from the mis-use of a rotary buffer. Sad to say this is the norm for most body shops, at least most production body shops for a whole host of reasons, some almost legit.

    It is my opinion, others can disagree if they like, that the best way to inspect for rotary buffer swirls or holograms is in strong, bright overhead sunlight, this of course requires a sunny day around noon in the summer months and depending upon your geographical location this might not always be possible. But when possible, full-on overhead sunshine is the best way to inspect for even a hint or trace of holograms and of course after somehow stripping the paint to remove any fillers or glaze.

    Stripping brand new paint right in front of a group of people that probably won't understand what you're doing and why because this is primarily an "Internet thing" by D.O. Detailers and Enthusiasts.

    The idea of wiping with some type of cloth and some type of chemical that's not going to make the paint look good in and of itself is going to be very foreign to these people. Brand new paint is also going to be scratch-sensitive, more so than after it fully sets-up, again, it's would be an awkward scenario and if you ever do it please video the entire thing so we can all watch as it should be fun watching you explain what you're going to do and why and then actually doing it.

    Again, I wouldn't recommend it.

    My guess is your proposed scenario is all hypothetical?





    Quote Originally Posted by detailjohn View Post
    Excellent write-up Mike. I however have not heard of a wax causing fish eyes
    I meant in the context of wax or any paint sealant being introduced into a fresh paint environment, (into the body shop), not applied to the paint after it comes out of the paint booth.

    Theoretically you're not supposed to take products into body shops that can contaminate the shop, this would include a car wax or a paint sealant. While I've seen shops with products that are not "Body Shop Safe" inside the shop, that's not a good "best practice". I have met plenty of shop owners that are very adamant about keeping non-body shop safe product out of their shop and away from their shop.

    It's all about what's on the car's panels before it goes into the paint booth that can cause fish eyes or any type of surface adhesion problem.

    Think about this... if a product makes water bead up on paint, like a car wax or a paint sealant, then you wouldn't want that product in a shop or on a panel BEFORE the paint is sprayed because if it will cause water to bead up after paint, it will cause fresh paint to want to bead up or create fish eyes.

    I think I wrote about this in the article because a lot of forum members and lurkers don't have a lot of experience or knowledge about the refinishing industry and don't understand there's reasons why some companies would have more than one line, for example 3M, Mothers and Meguiar's, all have their "Professional Line", which includes "Body Shop Safe" products for use in the "Refinishing Industry" and they also all have their "Consumer Line" for use and sale into the "Enthusiast" or "Retail Market".

    Huge difference in products and intended markets.

    Most enthusiasts are not spraying fresh paint, they are working on cured paint, so it doesn't matter if the products they use are body shop safe or not, it won't hurt but it won't matter. Not so with a fresh paint environment.

    Make sense?

    Quote Originally Posted by rwright View Post
    Now to wait until Mike chimes in tomorrow.

    Richard
    Did the above explanation answer all points of interest?


    Quote Originally Posted by Detail View Post
    My painter tells me body shops also say that because they don't want you close to the paint. In other words, they say it to cover up crummy work. He suggested the to go ahead and do whatever I'd like as soon as I'd like.
    I'm trying but I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean by your wording? So instead of guessing I'll refrain from trying to comment...

    From experience, I think it's safe to say that most painters know that most of their customer's don't know a lot about detailing in general and fresh paint dos and don't in specific, so they want to keep things simple and get the car back to the owner and then get back to work, not have an in-depth class or discussion on paint chemistry.

    For this reason, when you pick up your car from your painter, either the painter or the shop manager or the owner of the shop will say something very generic like...
    Hi Mr. Smith,

    Here's your keys, thank you for your payment, recommend us to your friends and wait about 30 days before you wax your car.

    Goodbye Mr. Smith come back if you need us again...
    Make sense?


  10. #10
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    Re: Don't wax your car for at least 30 days!

    Mike, As a professional car painter with 26 yrs. experience I think you explained this extremely well. Part of the reason that alot of shops have trouble with swirls in their paint after buffing is do to the paint being fresh and not fully cured when its buffed. It is very easily scratched as you said and most shops just use orbital buffers.

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