2. DryingAn experienced professional can wash and dry a vehicle in the sun without causing any damage. If one doubts their ability to move fast enough in the sun the only reasonable alternative is to wash and dry in the shade. The way to wash and dry is by starting at the top and then working down. One is still not out of the woods when it comes to damaging the paint. Use the wrong material to dry your finish off, especially with black, and you will have at the very least added swirl-marks. This is not to say a terry cloth towel can't be used, but it must be very soft, and get ready to use a whole stack of them. The way most pros accelerate the drying process is to use compressed air in conjunction with a towel or synthetic chamois. In our experience it is best to mop and lightly wipe the surface dry as opposed to dragging across, which scratches the paint. This combined method not only speeds up the drying time but by blowing water out of the cracks and crevices prevents water from seeping out after the truck has been dried. Without access to compressed air the old fashioned way is to accelerate the truck up to freeway speed and then dry-it-off all over again. Drying a vehicle without leaving watermarks can be a royal pain in the neck, but there are appearance products designed specifically to make it a lot easier, and leave a glossier finish in the bargain. The first product that comes to mind is Mothers Spray Wax that's applied by spraying on a partially dried vehicle, and then micro-fiber towel buffing it completely dry. Several of the top brands have offerings in this arena, and they all provide a major head start to performing a show-quality detail job.
3. Clay BarNot since the absent-minded professor invented Flubber way back in 1961 has there been anything as miraculous as detailing with a clay bar. Introduced in the early '90's claying replaced using a wheel (circular polisher) with rubbing compound to prepare a surface for wax and took the task from the exclusive realm of experienced professionals and introduced a foolproof method for rank amateurs to use. Clay has proven to be so superior to rubbing compound when it comes to removing surface contaminants such as paint overspray, rust particles, and mineral deposits that these days rubbing compound is only used to cut heavy paint oxidation, or rub-out a new paintjob. We've yet to see any paintjob exposed to even a minimum of driving that didn't need to be clayed as the first step.
4. PolishAfter using a clay bar properly your truck's paint will feel perfectly smooth to the touch, but if it is oxidized, or has minor scratches that's where the clay bar leaves off and a good polish takes over. If it's been over six months since the last time you waxed your truck the odds are good the paint is already beginning to oxidize, or is stained from harmful airborne contaminants. Airborne contaminants aren't quite as bad as communist paratroopers, but they are almost as destructive. In our book, or should we say magazine, the only way to polish out a paintjob in record time is with a polisher (motorized device) and then access hard to reach areas by hand. All polishes will leave a white trace on the rubber, or fill the nooks and crannies with a white waxy buildup if they are allowed to make contact. The obvious solution is to stay away from rubber and crevices, but if you slip get ready to use some elbow grease and a soft rag soaked with a silicone stripper. Use of an effective silicone stripper will dissolve caked on wax or polish but might require a little assistance from a detailing brush.