After the wax job (I am confused)

Tiny
INMYHEART28
  • MEMBER
  • 2010 HYUNDAI ELANTRA
  • 4 CYL
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 9,700 MILES
I had a wax job done on my car a week and a half ago or so. Then it rained a lot. At first I noticed nothing. After a while the black trim pieces (on my white car) took on a white film. I went back to the place where the wax job had been done to have the white removed (though I had no idea what caused the white.) The job that they did was not complete as some areas still had white on the black trim. So I decided to take the car to another car wash to finish removing the white. The owner of the other wash said that it could be that the wax was put on the trim pieces (which should not be done. I am not sure that this was done but this is what was suggested to me.) The second car wash removed the rest of the white and did a good job (except for some white still on some windows which I plan to bring back and have done as well.)The problem at this point is that I still see specks of white on the black trim. It is not nearly as bad as before. Is it possible that the flecks that I see could have stuck to the car from the agent that they used to remove the white. I plan to take the car back to the second car wash that fixed the problem on Monday. Will I ever get all of the white off? Off of the trim and off of the windows? I am not even sure what caused the problem. I do not accuse the first car wash of doing anything wrong. I do not know. All I know is that I want my car back to normal.
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 4:10 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
This is not the type of problems we deal with, and it is things like this most of us never get involved with. What probably happened is most waxes need to dry to a dull haze, then they are buffed off. Plastic trim is usually rough or textured, so wax will get into the grooves when it is still a liquid, but be impossible to rub off when it is a dried solid. That wax wont hurt anything, and it will wear off eventually on its own. It is one thing to take good care of a car, but your expectations go beyond what car wash and detail people normally are concerned with. I would be more concerned that excessive scrubbing on plastic will ruin the finish, both in terms of even texture and even shine. You could end up with blotchy areas that will look bad permanently.
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 5:02 PM
Tiny
INMYHEART28
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So what do I do now? Just leave it alone?
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 6:22 PM
Tiny
INMYHEART28
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I am not really sure how my expectations are too high. I was not pleased when my trim pieces turned white. I do not want them to be white. I want all of the white removed. I do not know what caused the problem but isn't that what car washes and detail places work on?
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 7:18 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Yes, the best I can suggest is I have watched on occasion the detail guys at the dealership I used to work at, and they used wax in a spray bottle. Time is money, and they keep that in mind when they determine how much they have to charge for their service. The over-spray got onto everything, and they just wiped it off. I do not recall ever seeing the white you are describing, but I never went looking for it either. Every trade-in car got detailed after it was inspected and repaired, then set out on the lot, and again when it was sold, just before the new owner came to pick it up. Once sold, the salesman's job was just beginning. Part of that job was to insure everything was done properly, and you can be sure he didn't want to explain why the plastic trim was white when he was presenting the car to the new owner!

What I would suggest, if this is as bad as what you're describing, is to use a fairly hard bristle brush to scrub the affected areas, and head to a Chrysler dealership and ask for a bottle of "Total Clean". You might even sweet-talk someone in the body shop into giving you an almost-empty bottle to try. This is a mild cleaner that is used for light stains on plastic trim panels and fabric. It comes in a bottle to pour it from, or a spray can. The spray goes on like shaving cream. Put a little on the brush, scrub the area, then wash it off with water. If you do not wash it off right away and it dries, just make it wet again with water and scrub it off. If that doesn't totally do the trick, go back and ask for a bottle of "Super Clean". That stuff feels oily and it is used to remove road tar and bug juice. It works great too if you get a grease stain on fabric. You should ask first if it will damage plastic as I do not remember. I did not use that very much. It works well too for power antennas that are sluggish due to excessive bug juice.

I know other dealerships and auto parts stores have the same cleaning chemicals, but with their own names. I mentioned the Chrysler products because I am familiar with them and I have used them a lot.

You might also ask if they have a top coat they use that makes plastic trim shiny and if that will solve this problem. You'll see tire sidewalls that are shiny when they use that stuff on them. It does not last real long, but it might be all you need to get the job done.
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 7:56 PM
Tiny
INMYHEART28
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I thank you for your long and detailed reply. My problem is that I am not really a do it yourself kind of guy. I was hoping that a car wash (best) or a detail shop (second choice) could handle this. I am not really sure what else needs to be done. Again, I am not sure what caused it. All I have to go on is what the car wash owner suggested but who knows? It was a very thick white film on the trim pieces. Now it is just specks of white on some of the trim pieces. Mostly removed. I do not want the trim pieces to be ruined and I know they say if you want something done right, do it yourself. However, I am not really someone who has any knowledge of cars inside or out. The only way to handle this would be to take it to a car wash or a detail place (maybe the dealership.) So far the job has been mostly done but not totally and nothing has been ruined. I would like it finished (windows cleaned of all white film, small bits of white removed from trim.) Is this asking too much of a car wash? If you were a customer, what would you say to a car wash in order to get it done right? Last time the guy said he thought It was done but if not bring it back. However, I do not wish for them to do any damage to my car. Do you have any suggestions from that angle, as the customer?
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 8:16 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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This is beyond what car washes do. They get ninety five percent of the dirt off the exterior. Keep in mind too that anything anyone did at these shops to cause your complaint, they have been doing to all the other cars they have worked on, and they would have had numerous complaints. They cannot survive financially if they have to stop working on one car to fix what they did to another car, so we need to look for something out-of-the-ordinary that was done to yours.

While trying to visualize this white stuff, the closest I can come is from watching my friend repairing cars in his body shop. Once a car is painted, he often has to "wet-sand" the body, then buff the paint. That leaves it real smooth, and the buffing leaves it very glossy and shiny. The water from the sanding sprays around and has to be washed off when it is still wet, otherwise the paint in it hardens on the windows. It takes a lot of scrubbing to get the dried stuff off. If it gets ignored, it comes off eventually from rain. I'm going through this right now. He specializes in rebuilding smashed one and two-year-old Dodge trucks. I bought a 2014 last year, and while it is not finished, I needed it a month ago. It had that sanding splatter on the left side. I hauled a trailer to an old car show swap meet where it rained on the way down and while we were packing up on the last day. By the time I got home, most of the splatter was gone. There is not much plastic on it, but what little there is around the wheels is covered in mud, so I do not know if the paint is gone from there. I am not at home right now to look at it. If he was delivering a vehicle to a customer, he would have washed that stuff off first, and with any plastic trim, he uses the hard bristle brush I mentioned. Usually he gets one of his daughters to do that while he works on other stuff. Cleaning that splatter only takes a couple of minutes.

While we are at it, allow me to share another tidbit I learned at the dealership. When you wash car windows, if you use a rag, you'll almost always get streaking that is hard to get rid of. Instead, use news print or brown paper towels, like you would find in a rest room. Those do not have the oils and chemicals in them that cause streaking. If you flip the paper over, do not allow any part of it to touch the glass that came in contact with your hands because fingerprint oil is just as bad. I tried that on a customer's car and the owner was amazed when I did that right in front of him. This works inside and outside, but you might have to do it twice inside if there is cigarette smoke on the glass. Any spray glass cleaner works.

Getting back to your problem, a better idea might be to visit the body shop at any new-car dealership. Let the manager look at it and offer a suggestion. We used to have trouble with smog affecting the paint on vehicles coming from Mexico. It got so bad that they were putting sticky protective sheets on the roofs and hoods while they were in transport. The detail people had to fix that before the vehicles were put out on the sales lot. They would have to fix what you have too, otherwise you can be sure they would hear about it from the salespeople.
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 9:48 PM

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