For my 2004 CLK, I use the following Meguiars products :
1. NXT car wash
2. Deep Crystal Step-1 (Clean)
3. Deep Crystal Step-2 (polish)
4. NXT wax
5. Another coat of NXT wax after a cure time of 24 hours
Since my car is brilliant silver, it's much more easier to maintain than your black ones. I did the whole routine once after last winter, then followed by NXT once a month. After the winter, I will start over again.
The swirl marks show more in a black car. You probably need to perform the whole routine more often.
We used to have five black cars (to of them SUVs!) -- I feel your pain! Several suggestions to keep your black paint deep & vibrant.
1). Never wash with dishwashing soap (strips wax). I actually just use water, but some feel the need for soap -- make sure it's car specific!
2.) Rinse car throughly and mantain water while washing (reduces scratching)
3). Always wash from the top of the car (do entire hood, roof, etc.) before working your way down (sides above beltline, grill, etc.) Make sure you rinse sponge extensively between sections so dirt picked up in one area never gets scratched in to another). ALWAYS do areas immediately behind wheels last as they will have the most dirt & sand and rub very gently/rinse a lot.
4) Always dry (and if possible wash) out of the sun!!! Water spots are hell on black cars. I recommend the use of a chamois (sp?) or similar product -- less streaks, no lint.
I'm a huge believer in orbital buffers (NOT the high speed buffers that just spin at high speeds -- those can do major damage very quickly if you're not careful). Sears, along with other stores sell them. I have a large diameter one (12") and just bought a smaller diameter one (5" I think) for small areas like vertical trunk, under belt line, etc.
I use a paste wax and a glaze (both avail @ Sears) on the bonnet at the same time that work great in this designed application. It also is good in getting minor scratches out of the paint (fingernails around door handles, etc) without risking the paint in any way. (My 12 year old likes doing the car with me with no worries).
I wax a minimum of four times a year for black cars (in S. Cal. the paint gets hot enough to shorten the intervals between waxing). You can tell when you need to wax by the size of the water drops when spraying the car. As the drops get bigger over time (dime size or bigger), or the paint doesn't feel silky when you run your finger along it, it's probably time.
Meguires has a great brand line (swirl remover, final finish, etc.) that I use at times too.
Other Things to Avoid
1)Never let bird droppings stay on for any time! They will burn the paint quickly. Worse come to worse, use a water bottle and some napkins to loosen & remove (bird poop trumps water spots any day)
2) If you get an "overflow" of gas that gets on the paint, re wax that area as soon as possible, as the gas immediately strips the wax.
3) Avoid excessive scrubbing -- if water and your spong won't take it off (bugs, road tar, etc), use a little WD-40 on a clean, soft rag -- and then rewax that spot.
4.) Consider using one of those car dusters for in-between washes (avoid windows). They get the dust off without scratching and do it very quickly.
5) Avoid allowing anyone run hands along (kids) or set anything on hood or roof as scratches will occur!
6) Sounds silly, but I finally learned to avoid gardners on leaf blowing days after just washing my car and seeing how they undid it in less than 10 seconds.
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