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    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax


    Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax






    What it is?

    A premium quality Carnauba Paste Wax


    What it does?

    Protects your car's paint while adding and with regular use, maintaining gloss, shine and protection.


    When to use it?

    After first cleaning the car via washing, rinseless or waterless wash.


    Why to use it?

    To protect the paint while creating a beautiful finish.



    Special Instructions

    This is what I call a show car wax or a finishing wax. This means it only offers beauty and protection. It is the OPPOSITE of a cleaner/wax or AIO in that it offers zero cleaning and zero defect removal. What this means is this wax is ONLY for paint that is already in good to excellent condition, specifically the paint must be clean and free from any ABOVE surface defects like oxidation and road grime. While it's really for car paint that is defect-0free you could apply it to paint that has swirls, scratches and water spots, defects that are in the paint not ON the paint but the type of car owner that would buy and use this product would also be the type of person that is savvy enough to either remove below surface paint defects themselves or hire the job out to a pro.


    Important Information

    While it shouldn't stain exterior plastic trim, it's a good practice to not get any carnauba paste wax or any synthetic sealant for that matter on plastic trim. Slow down, be careful, no risk and no regrets. If you want to work fast and sloppy then tape trim off first.




    My comments...

    This is as stated above an on the label, a premium quality carnauba paste wax. It's very waxy and oily and it performs exactly as I would expect a wax that is described as it is marketed. The paint on the Bentley was mostly swirl-free but it did have some water spots on the hood that I define as imprint rings. I could have machine polished the paint and removed the imprint rings but that was not the scope of my testing. My testing was to use the product like the average non-machine car owner would use it and that's what I did. For these test parameters it performed flawlessly. If you own a nice car with paint in good to excellent condition that also passes the baggie test, and if you prefer to hand-wax your cars, then you will love this wax. Just apply as thin of a coat as you can and then use clean, soft uncontaminated microfiber towels to remove the dried wax and you will love the results.



    2018 Continental GTR3 Le Mans Edition
    Here's my test car. I don't know the owner as this car belongs to a friend of Yancy. I didn't talk to the owner so I don't know what his expectations are for the paint on this car. When it arrived it was mostly clean but had some light traffic film on it so I used the Pinnacle Waterless Wash to clean her up. I then inspected the paint using a swirl finder light and to my surprise the paint was actually very swirl-free. Except for the imprint rings on the hood I would say the paint was n very good condition overall. If it were my car I would machine polish the paint to remove the imprint rings and whatever light swirls were in the paint. The baggie test showed very light contamination but because I was not going to machine polish the paint I did not clay the paint. My own personal rule for car detailing is I do not clay paint that I'm not already planning on doing at least one machine polishing step. So no polishing means no claying. This is okay though because this gave me a chance to hand wax the paint on this car like the average person, not a member of this forum, would do on a Saturday. (although the average person probably isn't going to be driving or detailing a car that cost about a half million dollars)

    For those that read our forum you also saw that I used this car to test out and review the new Pinnacle Black Label Leather Balm. You can find that review here.


    Working by hand
    Anyone that's attended any detailing class I've ever taught in the last 30+ years knows I'm a machine guy. My joke I share at all my classes is that over the course of the class I'm going to show how to use dozens of machines and that's because here at Autogeek, we sell machines... we don't sell hands.

    I can't even remember the last time I hand waxed a car. I always use an orbital polisher. The last time I hand POLISHED a car was when I did the paint restoration on Wayne Carini's recently acquired 1953 Hudson Hornet with the original paint. But even after hand polishing I then machine applied the wax. Here's a picture of me hand polishing the original paint as Wayne watches nervously. I used Pinnacle Advanced Finishing Polish and a microfiber applicator pad and tell you what... that was a LOT of work in the way of true elbow grease.


    Skill Challenge
    So I looked at this review as a chance to test my skills and re-visit the idea of working by hand. Not for me, but for all the people that contact me, usually on the forum, and ask me how to detail their car and then let me know they are doing all the work by hand.


    Pictures
    I practice documenting all my work because there's always a handful of trolls on the Internet and all they do is go negative. So down below I took pictures showing the entire car with a coat of wax on it and "yes" I did it all myself, at no time did I request a stunt double or a detailer double. I don't do mock-up very well.


    Time
    I was curious to see how long it would take me to hand apply the wax and in some respects even more important, remove the wax. As long as the car is clean applying the wax is pretty straight forward. I use and teach using an overlapping circular motion to spread a wax out and lay down a uniform layer. If the car is clean and your wax applicator is clean there's really little chance of screwing up this part.

    The riskier part is wiping the wax off. If a SINGLE abrasive particle finds its way onto your microfiber towel and buries itself in the weave of the towel, at the same time you are wiping the wax off you will be putting swirls and scratches into the paint. I call this,

    working backwards

    In a follow-up post to this review I'll share the link to what I consider is the most important article I've ever written. It has to do with how and why to inspect your microfiber towels. Look for it below and do yourself a huge favor - click the link and read it and also watch the video.




    Step-by-step directions

    Anytime you're applying a wax to car paint the car must be clean and free from all loose dirt and dust. Everyone reading this should be able to handle this part. If you have questions, post them below and I'll be glad to share your options, tips and techniques. For this car I used a waterless wash as it was raining outside and the car was already parked inside for video work.


    Start time
    I started at 2:00pm, Monday, June 17th and took a picture after applying the wax to 100% of the car and another picture after removing 100% of the wax off the car.




    Step 1: Start at the top and work your way down and around the car

    There's no hard rule that you have to start at the top, that's normally a "machine" best practice so start where you want. I did start at the top but to prove I was in the flesh and doing the work I had Yancy take this "action shot" of me applying the wax to the hood.




    Pad Gripping Technique

    Note how I'm holding the wax pad?



    That's a very basic grip for holding a wax pad, that is sandwiching it between my thumb, (under the pad), and my 4 fingers on the top of the pad. When I move to the vertical panels I switched over to a different gripping style and I'll share that below too.




    That took me about 15 minutes to apply the wax to the entire car. Faster than I thought it would take.










    Step 2: Allow the wax to dry to a haze

    When I apply finishing waxes, I start at the top then work my way down and around the car and usually by the time I've went over the entire car I can start where I started and then follow my PATH-OF-TRAVEL, (how do you like that term), and by doing this the wax where I applied it first is ready to go and by following my path-of-travel the wax will be dry and ready to remove as I get to it.















































    Step 3: Using a clean, soft microfiber towel, remove the dried wax.

    My favorite paint care towels at this point in time are the Forrest Green Edgeless Towels. I like these for a number of reasons. One reason is that it is edgeless, that's pretty obvious. Another reason is that it has a short flat weave. This means there's less risk for contaminants to burry into the towel and this means a towel less likely to become contaminated and also easier and faster for me to inspect.















    Done



    It took me an hour and 15 minutes to wipe the wax off. When this wax dries it's not hard to wipe off but it also doesn't fly off the paint. You need to use your towel to break-open the wax on a panel and then using overlapping passes, creep out or move out from the area you broke open and do so GENTLY. If you rub like a crazy man you tire yourself out, look stupid and you'll probably put swirls and scratches back into the paint. So take your time and enjoy the experience.



    3 levels of wiping

    Level 1: For the upper portions, roof, hood, trunk lid, window frames and tops of fenders and stood as I wiped these areas.

    Level 2: For the middle panels I sat on a Speed Master Rolling Detailer's Cart and rolled around the car removing what I can reach.

    Level 3: For the lowest parts I sat my butt on the ground and scooted around the car. I did this to make sure I removed all of the wax out of the lowest parts, which are also harder to see unless you at that level looking across from those lower panels. This just goes with what I always say about detailing cars and that is,

    There's no glory in detailing cars


    Much of the time you're sitting on your butt. For example washing wheels and tires. Hard to look cool when you're sitting on your butt cleaning your car's wheels and tires or your customer's car's wheels and tires.


    So with three levels of wiping and being careful I guess that's why it took me an hour to carefully remove the wax. I will admit I though that took a long time but I don't know if I would do it any faster on paint like on this Bentley.







    Beauty shots....



















    Review


    This is a really nice carnauba wax. The price point is such that you would expect a premium quality product and it delivers. It has a real waxy feel and substance to it that you find with other high-end carnauba waxes. There are no harsh solvent odors and there's really not any noticeable scent. It smells good but not in an artificial way. It spreads out like a high end wax and feels very slippery on the surface during application. I would attribute this to the wax content plus the natural fruit oils the label states are included in the formula. After you let it dry it leaves a substantial waxy film on the surface as you would expect and even hope for from a product that claims to be a carnauba wax. I point this out because some waxes don't feel waxy during application or during wipe-off but feel more like a synthetic sealant, kind of choppy while wiping off.

    I would not call this a true "Hard Wax", some older people would know what I'm talking about, but it's also not a pre-softened wax by any means. It's right in the middle making it a professional grade product, not something I would recommend for the person that looks at waxing their car as a chore they feel compelled to do as a right of car ownership.

    After wipe-off it leaves the paint as I would expect and that is slippery. The aesthetics are also pure to the eye, great gloss, shine and depth. Of course these are characteristics a quality wax creates on paint that is in good to excellent condition. If your car's paint isn't already shiny after washing and it doesn't pass the baggie test then this isn't the right wax for you. You would be happier with a bottle of Nu-Finish or better yet, BLACKFIRE One Step. Cleaner/waxes, also called AIOs are for neglected paint. This new PBL Reserve Wax is for show cars or cars that look like show cars, (could be a well-kept Toyota Prius), and are also treated like show cars, that is carefully and regularly washed and kept nice looking.

    I'm not the kind of guy to hand wax a car. You can blindfold me and hand me any quality orbital polisher and I'm much more at home machine applying a finishing wax than hand applying it. But for those of you that own something cool... something you enjoy taking care and take pride in driving, AND you are a hand-waxer, then you'll love this product. Just be sure the paint is washed, dry and clean and passes the baggie test and then also have plenty of clean, inspected microfiber towels for the removal of the wax. Also, a good hand held light comes in handy when you're all done to do a final inspection to make sure you have not left any missed spots.




    On Autogeek.com


    Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax





    What I used to wash the car

    Pinnacle Liquid Crystal Waterless Wash with Carnauba 32 ounce bottle


    Towels
    You can NEVER have too many high quality paint towels - I strongly recommend you get two 12 packs

    12 Pack Forrest Green Edgeless Microfiber Polishing Cloths


    Tires

    Pinnacle Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner & Conditioner < I used this on the tires because it CLEANS.

    I scrubbed the Pinnacle Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner & Conditioner onto the tire sidewall using terrycloth as my cheater method to make tires look good/better when I don't actually "wash" the car. If you don't wash a car with running water it's a tick more difficult to do a great job of cleaning wheels and tires so I cheat.


    Products used on this car,





    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  3. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    Continued....



    Estimated time to use this product, take the pictures, process the pictures and then write the review.

    Approximately 7-8 hours.


















    .
    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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    Re: Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    Continued....


    Click the link below. Watch the video. Read the article and look at the pictures. Then make this you new BEST PRACTICE. Share with all your car buddies that care about how their car's finish looks.


    How, why & when to inspect your microfiber towels when detailing cars


    Believe it or not... a clean microfiber towel is one of the most important things you have control over when it comes to doing pro quality work. So always inspect your towels before "touching" paint.


    Wash your hands too - always WORK CLEAN!





    Inspect your towels with your eyes and your sense of touch. Be sure to inspect both sides of your towels. Then fold and store in a clean place.







    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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  6. #4
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    More...


    This is a little, tiny tip but sometimes the little things are the big things...

    From the first post in this thread,

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phillips

    Pad Gripping Technique

    Note how I'm holding the wax pad? My thumb is underneath the pad and my four fingers on the top. I'm able to squeeze the pad between my fingers to "grip" the pad while pressing down with my 4 fingers to the top of the pad to apply pressure to the face of the pad to spread the wax over the surface. Again - very basic stuff.





    I took these pictures to show how I held the foam wax pad that will come with this wax, when rubbing the wax onto the vertical panels.




    When working on a vertical panel, this gets a little trickier because of the way your wrist bends or actually doesn't bend. So here's how I held the pad for the vertical pads.


    For the vertical panels, Instead of spreading my 4 fingers over the pad so my finger tips are on the far side of the pad, instead I have them dug into the pad just above my thumb.








    Then while gripping the foam so I don't drop it, (gravity), I bend my fingers and roll my knuckles over the face of the pad and then PRESS them against the foam and thus press the face of the pad against the paint as I rub the wax over the paint.






    Hope that helps a little...


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  8. #5
    Senior Member acuRAS82's Avatar
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    Re: Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    As usual, great review Mike. Iíd be interested whether this has longevity like Souveran or Fusion or other. Iím sure itís too soon to tell and I didnít see anything in the description.

    Itís interesting that unlike other PBMG pastes (excluding BF Montan Wax), itís not a wipe on, wipe off. Obviously some different chemistry put into this one.

    I wasnít ever expecting PBL to come out with a pure carnauba beauty wax (non-Hybrid SiO2 like Synergy), but given my delight with most PBL products, Iíll keep an eye on this one.

  9. #6
    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    Nice article Mike. Gorgeous car!, and stunning end results.

    I take it a car like this wouldn't cost me too much, only $399/mo...Ö for 699 months! LOL

  10. #7
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    Quote Originally Posted by acuRAS82 View Post

    As usual, great review Mike.

    One of the hardest things to do was resist the temptation to whip out an orbital polisher and machine apply this wax. I RARELY work by hand but I also get it that the majority of do-it-yourselfer car owners still work by hand. And this is why I used this wax by hand on a car without first machine polishing the paint. I was,

    Keeping it real...






    Quote Originally Posted by acuRAS82 View Post

    Iíd be interested whether this has longevity like Souveran or Fusion or other. Iím sure itís too soon to tell and I didnít see anything in the description.
    If this wax were used on a daily driver, for example a 2017 Toyota Camry, I'd guess that for the average person, with average washing tools and average washing skills, 2-3 months assuming the car is washed once or twice a month.

    If this wax were used on a SIV or Special Interest Vehicle like you see in this review, then I'd say up to 6 months. Cars like this tend to be garage kept. Sad to say, cars like this are NOT normally well-taken care of. Either the owner/driver doesn't know how to care for their car or they simply don't hire a trained expert to care for their car. So the saving grace for cars like this is they are garage-kept, not driven daily, at least not like a 2017 Toyota Camry, and thus the paint and thus the wax will see a lot less micro-abrasion.

    What primarily wears a "wax" off car paint is micro-abrasive. Micro-abrasion takes place any time something "touches' the paint. Here's examples of things touching the paint,

    1. A wash mitt being moved over the paint surface.
    2. A drying chamois or drying towel being moved over the paint surface.
    3. A microfiber towel being moved over the surface when used with a spray detailer, waterless wash or rinseless wash.



    The above 3 things are the most common GENTLE ways the surface of paint is touched. Here are the WORST and most aggressive ways paint is touched,

    1. Swirl-O-Matic spinning brush style automatic car wash.
    2. Swinging soft mop style automatic car washes.
    3. 100% Hand Car washes (the mitts are not changed out often enough to be contaminant free)
    4. Charity car washes - the local cheerleaders washing cars at a 7-11 on a Saturday.



    With the above examples, the things touching the paint are for the most part swirling and scratching the heck out of the paint and if the paint is being scratched this means whatever is on the paint, be it a wax, a synthetic paint sealant or a ceramic coating, all of these things WILL be abraded or micro-abraded off the paint finish.


    Because your question comes of often, I recently wrote a fresh article to answer this question. The topic is about how long a ceramic coating will last but the information applies to anything used to protect car paint.


    How long will a ceramic coating last on my car?





    Quote Originally Posted by acuRAS82 View Post

    Itís interesting that unlike other PBMG pastes (excluding BF Montan Wax), itís not a wipe on, wipe off. Obviously some different chemistry put into this one.
    I'm not a fan of wipe-on, wipe-off products. Whenever I use these types of products I break the rules and allow the product to dry and then wipe it off. To me, when it comes to waxes and sealants, (not paint coatings), if you wipe it on and then immediately wipe it off - you just wiped it off.

    So I never do the WOWO with WOWO waxes, I let them dry. I think the root history behind wipe-on, wipe-off waxes comes from someone that is NOT a car detailer or even passionate enthusiast, but a marketing guy. Just a guess. That said, applying a WOWO wax or sealant on and then wiping it off certainly won't hurt anything, you just have to wonder how much product you're actually leaving behind on the surface. And for me? If I'm going to go through all the work, labor and expense to wipe something on, (or machine apply something), I want to get the best bang for my buck and at least I can wrap my mind around letting something dry and then hoping and assuming more will stay behind on the surface after wipe-off versus wiping a product on and immediately wiping it off.



    Quote Originally Posted by acuRAS82 View Post

    I wasnít ever expecting PBL to come out with a pure carnauba beauty wax (non-Hybrid SiO2 like Synergy), but given my delight with most PBL products, Iíll keep an eye on this one.

    There's a couple of sayings that come to mind,


    Never spend another person's money


    And,

    Something for everyone



    At SEMA each year I see a booth for a company that says wax is dead. Of course, they don't sell wax. But a high quality wax is actually the perfect product for some people and some cars. No one has the right to take that preference and pleasure away from anyone.

    I know the rage is ceramic paint coatings, (or polymer paint coatings or quartz paint coatings), but there's still people that want waxes and sealants and there's a time and car for these products.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  12. #8
    Senior Member JustJesus's Avatar
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    Re: Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phillips View Post

    At SEMA each year I see a booth for a company that says wax is dead. Of course, they don't sell wax. But a high quality wax is actually the perfect product for some people and some cars. No one has the right to take that preference and pleasure away from anyone.

    I know the rage is ceramic paint coatings, (or polymer paint coatings or quartz paint coatings), but there's still people that want waxes and sealants and there's a time and car for these products.


    Thanks for another great write-up. Beautiful paint to boot.

    That wax looks good. I'm still a fan of the waxes. I still wax cars.

    Knowing the rage is coatings, I'm finally getting ready to start trying those out. Finally. I've had two coatings on my shelf for some time, and will hopefully have a chance to play with them tonight.

    But, I'll always use wax on one car or another!

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    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    I think wipe on, and let dry might apply with some paste waxes, but not with some others. For example, a wax like the old Blue Coral.

    That one was apply on a 18'X18" section, and rush to pick a towel up with lightning speed. Otherwise, you were in for one hell of a time of removal.

  14. #10
    Senior Member hoyt66's Avatar
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    Re: Review: Pinnacle Black Label Reserve Wax

    Thanks Mike. Nice write up. Reviewing the pics I think I can be a little more liberal with how much wax I use. I think trying to go too thin is costing me some time.
    2012 Dodge Challenger RT Classic Bright Silver
    2018 Ford F150 Xlt Sport 4X4 Magnetic Grey

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