Just a general note to some folks:
If you pick up your car from a place that doesn't wax the car for some reason or you asked them not to, P21S/S100 paste wax can be applied and removed in about 20 minutes. One of the easiest waxes ever. This might be useful for someone who picks their car up far away from home, but doesn't like the idea of the dealer prepping the car because of the swirls that will show up two weeks later. As long as the car is clean, you have basic protection if your journey home includes an overnight stay or two. Should last at least two weeks and can be removed quickly upon arrival with alcohol or a stronger car wash solution.
I know there are people buying from the NE and driving back to California!
So that I understand clearly. You are recommending P21S/S100 to be used by the dealer and washed off by us prior to proper initial detailing. Correct?
On the same notion, how about those of us living in places with real winters, how do we proceed in cold weather with regards to waxing?
Personally, I actually don't like letting the dealer prep my cars in terms of a full exterior detail. They touch the paint quite a bit. Because I live so close to my dealer, I don't care if I take it home dirty (14 miles). For a color like silver or storm titanium, it would be hard for the dealer to induce swirls. For red, black, dark blue, green, etc...it's easier. I've seen new yellow cars with swirls all over. How anal you get about it is up to you. Some think caring too much detracts from enjoyment! Your dealer could end up taking good care of it too, so I won't blanket all of them.
P21S/S100 is one of my favorite carnauba based waxes, but it's main benefit is the quickness of application. Goes on like butter and you can wipe it off right away. I like to apply to a panel at a time and by then it has slightly hazed.
Some protection is good for a long trip home. If your drive home requires a roadtrip, then chances are you want to get started with your new baby as quickly as possible. As the paint is new, you don't really have to do much to the paint for it to look good and your primary goal is probably protection. But of course your paint should be washed before application. This is where you have to make a decision if you can wash your car on the way or just let your dealer do it. If it's 200 miles home, maybe you don't care about protection at all. If it's 2000, then you might concede and have your dealer wash the car so you can apply the wax. Maybe you don't care, whatever the mileage.
You can leave the wax on when you get home if you'd like, but I mentioned removal because some will prefer to start over with a glaze or some kind of sealant that requires bare paint. Some people might be tempted to use a very mild chemical cleaner and also use clay on their vehicle.
Personally, I prefer the looks of a well prepped vehicle topped with a carnauba or some polymer or oil rich wax, as opposed to things like Zaino and Klasse. However I still use the latter. Why?
Carnauba systems are time consuming and to meet my paint surface requirements, I would be waxing every one or two weeks (if I was using P21S). If you have time and the will, then go for it. However, Zaino gets me at least 4 months of protection and over six months is not uncommon with 5-6 initial coats. That would certainly last you the winter. Of course, if you store your car for the winter, you can use carnauba as it is unlikely to degrade in the absense of strong sun or environmental enemies.
I'm with Vantage, Zaino or Kalsse will get you 6 - 9 months of really good protection in my experience. Carnauba wax does not last very long and in hot climates only 3 - 4 weeks! I like the look of wax but love how long polymers last.
I like to apply at least three coats, but I usually stop at six. Three at a time seems to work best for me and you can add a single coat anytime you wish.
The directions seem a bit daunting for those who always just did the "wax on, wax off" type thing. Once you understand it, it's pretty easy to work with. Those who find it hard to remove are almost always applying it too thick. 3 coats from 1 oz. is not uncommon once you get good at it.
Without writing an essay, here are the basic steps. I added a few prep items that would constitute the full treatment not mentioned on the zaino website. A "*" signifies a required step.
1)* wash car, you can use dawn dishwashing liquid if you want to remove any waxes, oils.
2) clay paint, recommended. Can be done in conjunction with step one to save time (that's how I do it). Plastic baggie test to help decide.
3) Polish to remove imperfections in paint, may be expanded to chemical cleaning, full swirl removal, and spot touchups. New cars may not benefit from any of this.
4) Depending on how or if you performed steps 2/3, rewash car. May want to wipe down car with Z6.
5)* Mix Zaino Z2 or Z5 with ZFX additive in mixing bottle, apply one coat to surface. Z2 most probable, Z5 not needed.
6)* Wipe off Zaino Z2 or Z5 after it dries, end with wipe down with Z6.
7) Repeat steps 5-6 (with the exception of mixing) up to three times in a 24 hour period.
This seems like a lot of work and perhaps even confusing, but most of it is learning the Zaino terminology. The other benefit is that you won't have to do it again for six months and over the long haul, it saves you time.
For clarification, Z2 is their main sealant and Z5 is nearly the same but is supposed to hide swirls. I find that Z5 does a horrible job of hiding swirls. The optics seem a bit different, with Z2 having a slightly higher shine, but it isn't noticeable for most people. I use only Z5 on my black vehicle, but Z2 makes it look even more plasticy.
I look forward to seeing you again, I want to talk with you a little bit on Sunday about how you think the Zaino system would stack up against what I'm currently doing. I find that what I'm using currently (Mother's Pure Carnauba), seems to hold up pretty well (several months), even on my wife's Accord and that car is parked outside daily without a cover. But I'm interested in changing over if you think I can get a nicer result (though from your input above it sounds like the Zaino's main advantage is ease of use and durability ?).
I have an air-driven random orbital buffer that I generally use for polishing and to remove the excess paste wax; one of the things I'm wondering is if the Zaino products are suitable with an orbital, or are they designed to be buffed out by hand ?
The best advice is to always use what you like, but I can certainly try to sway you one way or the other. Zaino has been on my car somewhere between 6-9 months and is almost gone. Will try to wash her before Sunday to give you an idea of what it's like after so long.
I have a Porter Cable 7424 with a variety of pads that can be used for a variety of jobs. One of them is a finishing pad, which is the most soft and one of the most dense pads in the range. It works well for applying liquids that don't require any abrasive action. You can also work the product in if there is a benefit (such as a cleaner-wax), but for Zaino you merely want to apply it as thin as possible.
The finishing pad makes it very easy to do three cars at the same time. It produces a very consistant, thin layer. For paste waxes, you probably have to spread it a bit on the pad or melt it in your hand a bit like butter. However, the main problem is that the pad must accept a certain amount of product before it becomes effective with liquids. I call this "loading" the pad. When only 1 oz. is required to do three coats (especially on the Elise), you will find almost as much product wasted in the pad when you wash it out. Thus, I think it's easier to do it by hand for small jobs. Some parts will have to be done by hand anyway, such as tight spots and around the mirror housings.
As far as removal, I don't see the need to use a machine of any sort, but it's up to you of course. Most products are easy to remove by hand anyway. When using a microfiber towel or something like that for removal, you can flip and fold the towel to always get a fresh side on the paint. If you use a machine, you usually have less control, because the same surface is buffing off the product. Perhaps if you constantly switched bonnets or used a towel over a pad and kept switching it, it would work better.
The Elise has so many curves and angles, that I'm not yet sure how well a machine will work. On a slab sided sedan, it can certainly save time. Still, the Porter Cable was one of my best detailing purchases.
just adding to Vantages post, Zaino does not recommend using a machine for their products also because you are not supposed to wax in circles and also to remove in circles, you are supposed to applu with a linear motion i.e. vertically from top to bottom of front clamshell without appluing it in a circular motion like you see in other products. Anyway just go to the Zaino website and read up!
I really like Liquid Glass. It's easy to apply and buff off. It seems to last a long time. Water forms beads on the car for the 6 months between pre-emptive waxings. On a new car, I use the pre-cleaner and then put on 2 coats of Liquid Glass with a 4-hour bake in between (the instructions recommend letting the car bake in the sun to harden the wax in between coats).
Holy cow, 6 coats of Zaino! This is why I've never been interested in the stuff. Everyone who uses it puts on a zillion coats.
I used to use the 3M liquid wax. That stuff worked pretty well, too, but wasn't quite as easy to buff off. It would also sometimes show hazy swirls in the pattern that it was applied in. I think that might be due to moisture absorption during application. As in: water from the cracks in the car gets transferred to the foam applicator and then forms an emulsion with the wax. I had the same trouble with Meguiar's, too. Black car.
With something like P21S, your slope of diminishing marginal return is steep. Coverage is pretty good on the first coat, and some carnaubas are not really layerable because of solvent content and limitations in the formula. An advantage to some synthetics is that the current layer bonds to the previous as you build it up.
For Zaino in particular, diminishing returns don't start to bother me until the 5th coat. Because you can do a coat in 20 minutes after you wash your car, many people feel inclined to do so. I like at least 2 coats just for coverage.
I'm guessing liquid glass has a fairly high content of solvents and cleaners, so it's not exactly layerable. Maybe they are light enough that you can. Apparently it was reformulated, but I'm not too familiar with the new one, so feel free to correct me. It's an old school product that has evolved slightly, but its users seem to like it. In some ways similar to Klasse All-in-One and Sealant Glaze. I still keep the All-in-One on my shelf.
If I used liquid glass, I would be tempted to top it with P21S. Think that would work well John, or would it detract from the "plasticy" shine that many synthetics exhibit?
PS: P21S always looks better the next day. A QD or distilled water wipe down helps it out. One of the few carnaubas that has a curing time in terms of looks.
BTW John, it's true that once people try Zaino they become somewhat of a zealot. Almost annoyingly so. I avoided the product for a long time because of the hype. The ease of maintenance makes it hard for me to switch.
>>>Holy cow, 6 coats of Zaino! This is why I've never been interested in the stuff. Everyone who uses it puts on a zillion coats. <<<
Zaino baffles me at times. It's most outstanding quality is the 6-9 month lifespan. But most Zainoites layer and layer. So why not use something like P21S / S100 for 15 bucks that looks better? Takes about 15 minutes to do a car like the Elise. No worries about white stuff on the trim. Just apply and wipe it off more or less. About a notch harder than a spray quick detail job.
I would prefer P21S too, if only I could do 12 coats over the span of 2 days and then forget about it for six months. Then again, some people never get the time to do a bi-annual detail, so 20 minute increments make more sense. Sigh...there is no perfect product. Still thinking of using P21S for the first few months of ownership.
Maybe I should just find a dealer to sell me perma-plating for $300.
PS: The toughest problem for Elise owners will be finding the time to detail the car instead of driving it.