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I'm thinking about a 1998 Lincoln Continental


Some basic detailing definitions

This is a VERY basic list of detailing product/tool definitions. It’s not intended as a “How to”, as that will come later.
The amount of products on the retail shelves can be intimidating and confusing for some, so let’s see if we can sort them out. I purposely decided to keep these definitions short and sweet, so as not to further complicate things. ; First, some DEFINITIONS

CLAY BARS; Clay removes “bonded contaminants”, the microscopic debris such as sap, paint overspray, bug remains, rail dust etc. that collects and sticks to your finish that washing can’t remove. If your paint feels rough to touch or ‘bumpy’ and not smooth as glass, you need to clay.

PAINT CLEANERS. Paint cleaners are polishes with a high solvent content, as well as fine abrasives. The solvents in them do a good job of CHEMICALLY cleaning the paint. These are essentially an alternative to strict abrasive polishes.

POLISH, Technically, a polish is any abrasive intended to solve a particular paint issue. Polishes fall into many varying grits, from very fine to heavy. Polishes (in the true sense ) contain NO wax or sealant.

Here are some polish types;

Glazes; A very fine polish with oils and fillers designed to heighten gloss and hide swirls. Water will rinse these away fast, so you’ll need to reapply after heavy rain or washing the car.

Swirl Removers; Fine abrasives intended to level swirls . Every brand is of a slightly different, varying abrasiveness.Some swirl removers contain fillers, which hide swirls.

Scratch Remover; Just another name for a medium to heavy grit abrasive polish that will “cut” paint enough to remove the scratch (if possible).

Rubbing Compounds: A heavier grit polish with a larger particle size abrasive. Their goal is to quickly remove paint, but in doing so they often leave a haze (from the heavy particle size) which must be removed by a finer polish. Whenever you use a rubbing compound, you must follow it with a finer polish to achieve ultimate clarity in the paint.

WET SANDPAPER. This is something generally used by professionals and takes a bit of practice. By using wet sandpaper, you can remove scratches, excessive orange peel or runs from a repaint, overspray, acid etchings etc. Sold in grits from extra fine (2000 and +) to coarse (180 grit). A \"sanding block\" is used in conjunction with wetsandpaper, sold in rubber or foam. They allow the paper to cut evenly while giving even pressure across the paper\'s surface.

Automotive WAX is a combination of natural and synthetic ingredients, even if it says “100 % carnauba”. They just mean that they wax in it is all carnauba, not that carnauba is the only thing in the product. There are many synthetic chemicals that allow the carnauba to stay soft, allow it to “skin”, make it spreadable etc. Some products that are labeled “wax” also contain some polymer content. These are referred to as “hybrids” or a combination of natural and synthetic waxes. Wax bonds to the paint PHYSICALLY and that bond is easily broken with anything of a highly alkaline or acid base, as well as abrasives.


In essence-synthetic wax. No natural wax in the product. Polymers bond to the paint CHEMICALLY and are tougher to remove than wax based products, which is one reason they\'re more durable vs wax based. Abrasives will also remove polymer sealants, as will isopropyl alcohol.


Rotary Buffer: Machine that spins in a strict circular motion, focusing friction and thus heat on one point. The heat focused on a central point allows to paint to be softened and the polish/compound to be broken down easy, resulting in fast paint removal. The choice of professionals, it can result in paint damage if used improperly.

Random Orbit Polisher; This tool rotates in a concentric orbit, much like a sped up version of the human hand, and thus doesn’t generate enough heat on one point to damage paint. Ideal for applying liquid wax and fine abrasives, but not effective on severe paint issues.

Buffing pads; Pads can be made of 1) natural lamb\'s wool 2). A combination of natural wool and synthetic materials, or 3). Synthetic foam. The natural wool and synthetic combination pads are called \"blended\" pads. Foam pads are made in various densities, with cellular \"pores\" and density defining how they cut paint. Wool pads don\'t generate as much heat as foam pads, but they are prone to swirling paint. Foam pads run hotter at a given RPM, but they are less prone to swirling.marrring, and come in densities to meet every need, i.e. Cutting, polishing, finishing etc.

Spur; A spur is a metal tool that is used to remove compound and polish build up on a pad, Once the pad becomes loaded up with polish, it becomes less and less effective, so \"spurring\" the pad is necessary a few times during buffing. To do this, you hold the machine against your knee or lap, pad side down, and trigger the throttle button on and off while holding the spurring tool against the pad and moving the tool back and forth over the pad. This dislodges the caked up compound from the pad. This only works on wool type pads, not foam. A Phillips head screwdriver will substitute for a pad spurring tool in a pinch. On foam, you spur the pad by using a stiff nylon brush (a toothbrush will work) in the same way.

Some basic detailing concerns

TIRE BROWNING; Tire browning\" is a normal condition that occurs in tires. Tires contain compounds called \"antiozonants\" that are like micro-wax, and they are engineered to migrate out to the sidewall of the tire when flexing occurs. When they hit the air and moisture (humid climates see more browning for this reason), the compounds turn a brownish color. This is actually normal, but the degree of it will vary from tire manufacturer to manufacturer. It\'s better to cover it up with a product that makes the tires black than to strip it all off. You also shouldn\'t use a tire dressing with dimethyl silicone oils (like the old version of Armor-All) because they eat away the antiozoanants, resulting in graying tires and cracking.

This whole process is referred to as \"blooming\", and if you clean the tire with a harsh cleaner, it can essentially force the tire additives to the surface, and the chemical reaction is shown by the brownish foam that forms on the tires when they\'re wet.
It cleans so well it that when you repeat this cleaning scenario over and over, it depletes the antiozonants (there\'s only so much in there) and you wind up having none left, which in turn leads to the graying from the eventual depletion of the carbon black (called \"competitive absorbers\" ) that all manufacturers use to color their tires and protect from UV. Not to mention the good possibility of dried out rubber. Which is why you should use a protectant that contains anti-ozonants in it, to put back in what you take out from using harsh cleaners.

A thread at Autopia detailing forum on topic;


In a nutshell, browning is ugly yes, but normal. Better to cover it with a quality tire dressing (preferably one that contains anti-ozonants) that makes the tire look blacker. You just but don\'t want to strip it with cleaners that contain hydroflouric or phosphoric acids (aka Bleech White) or strong alkaline cleaners like Simple Green etc. A good car wash soap and brush, plus a high end rubber protectant are the ticket.to get the longest life (and best appearance) from the tire. .