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1999 SLK230 Sport
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got a spread of Zaino products to try since I had heard so much about it and that everything I heard was positive. So I had to see for myself. Follows is a review of my experiences and results using these products.

First, and most importantly, you MUST follow Sal Zaino's instructions EXACTLY if you want to achieve superior results with these products. This includes using ONLY 100% American Made 100% cotton, HIGH quality terry towels. Do NOT use cheap terry towels as they contain polyester sheeting and stitching which will scratch your finish over time.

The Zaino products came quickly, and were well packaged. The products I received were

1) Z-PC Fusion Dual Action Paint Cleanser Swirl Remover.
2) ZFX Flash Cure Accelerator (Highly Recommended)
3) Z-2 Pro Show Car Polish for Clear Coated Finishes
4) Z-5 Show Car Polish for Swirl Marks and Fine Scratches.
5) Z-6 Ultra Clean Gloss Enhancer Spray
6) Z-7 Show Car Wash
7) Cotton terry application pad


To prepare the car for the process, you first wash the vehicle using plain, original formula DAWN dishwashing detergent. I know there are many out there that prefer not to use Dawn but, it does a good job of removing any old wax on the car, and its not like you are going to use it everyday. Besides, after you wash you will clean and protect the paint anyway. (for some people, a clay bar may be necessary, but my paint did not need this extra step)

Next, using my Porter Cable 7424 and a Green Cutting Pad from Proper Auto Care I started on the finish to remove the very light swirls that I had using the Z-PC Cleanser and Swirl Remover. This compound is a self diminishing abrasive cleaner that, when used properly, will not harm or damage the paint in any way. It's consistency was easy to work with and it wiped clean with very little effort.

Now comes the fun stuff. Using the mixing bottles provided with the ZFX flash cure accelerator, I mixed up about 1 oz of Z-2 Pro and 5 drops of ZFX. After shaking to mix well, I let it sit for a few minutes to get the chemical reaction going.

Using the terry applicator provided put a very THIN coat of Z-2 Pro over the entire finish. Use straight (not overlapping circular) strokes. Use front to back direction on the roof, hood and trunk and up and down on all side panels. Let me emphasize that you do NOT have to use this stuff in heavy amounts. In fact, 1oz was all I needed to completely coat my entire SLK. This coating should be allowed to sit for AT LEAST 1 hour (longer is better) so the chemical bonding process can finish.

The Z-2 removes very easily and left a shine that no pictures could do justice to. Very deep wet looking shine that you expect to only see on concours cars and the newest ones off of the showroom floor.

Finish up the job with a very light mist of Z-6 working a small area at a time. You have to be sure to completely buff out the Z-6 or you will have to go back and do it again.

This concluded my first day with Zaino.

The next day out I put 1 more coat of Z-2 on, followed by 2 coats of Z-5. The swirls that were left after Porter Cable buffing, literally disappeared. The next day I put on 2 more coats of Z-2 Pro and finished with Z-6. According to Sal Zaino, it is ok to layer Z-2 Pro and Z5.

You do not need multiple coats to get superior results. One coat of Z-2 Pro or Z-5 will give you a shine like you have never seen before and will last for 4 to 6 months. If you want more from a shine, then you can layer the products. The more layers you put down, the deeper and richer looking the shine gets.

I then took my car out into the sunshine for the acid test, I have never seen my paint look so good as it did then. I had several people that asked me if my car was brand new (It's a 1999)

To sum up my first impressions about these products, I only need one word, and that word is WOW. What a fine family of products. Good quality, great support from Sal and an unmatched ease of use for a product that delivers so much. Sal Zaino delivers on what he promises if you follow instructions exactly.

I am completely sold and will continue to use these products.
 

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I'm not convinced that the products are any better than anyone else, its the process you took to get there that made it better. I've actually seen a corvette that went throught this process with Zaino, the owner claimed he recently did 6 coats of Zaino's finest and thought it looked fantastic. At a Meguiars event, they taped off half his hold, redid it with Meguiars products and it actually looked a lot better. Even then I don't believe the Meguiars products were better, just the process was done by a pro and therefore came out better.
 

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Buellwinkle said:
I'm not convinced that the products are any better than anyone else, its the process you took to get there that made it better. I've actually seen a corvette that went throught this process with Zaino, the owner claimed he recently did 6 coats of Zaino's finest and thought it looked fantastic. At a Meguiars event, they taped off half his hold, redid it with Meguiars products and it actually looked a lot better. Even then I don't believe the Meguiars products were better, just the process was done by a pro and therefore came out better.

Don't bother contradicting. Its just not worth it. If you've been on car forums long enough like I have you'd know that Zaino is the numero uno hyped up product, second only to Amsoil ;)

Two words for anyone thinking of detailing their car "Paint Preparation". Get that car squeeky cleaned and then clayed first and I guarantee any Carnubu wax, polish or sealant you slap on and buff with some elbow grease, or better yet rotory machined, will give you very good results.

Durability, dust repelling, rubber staining and ease of use are the only X factors to the average consumer ;) Zaino is good on most of these but I am sure you will agree anything that makes you sit down and mix things like a chemistry professor and then makes you put multiple coats of several different products until your arm falls off fails the ease of use test miserably LOL :D
 

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Yal said:
anything that makes you sit down and mix things like a chemistry professor and then makes you put multiple coats of several different products until your arm falls off fails the ease of use test miserably LOL :D
Haha, but to some it's the journey that matters most. :cool: So your theory is he worked so hard on the process that no matter how it came out, in his mind it would be perfect? Sort of like the people that try out for American Idol or that dance show that have worked hard and think they are perfect and then sound like William Hung.

Sorry ByByeAmericanPie but it's your own fault that we tease you, it because there are no before & after pics.....
 

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1999 SLK230 Sport
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Buellwinkle said:
Haha, but to some it's the journey that matters most. :cool: So your theory is he worked so hard on the process that no matter how it came out, in his mind it would be perfect? Sort of like the people that try out for American Idol or that dance show that have worked hard and think they are perfect and then sound like William Hung.

Sorry ByByeAmericanPie but it's your own fault that we tease you, it because there are no before & after pics.....
I dont mind any teasing. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I just presented an honest and unbiased review of a family of products that I had never tried before and to be honest, I was MORE than impressed. I have used MANY different products over the years and there is nothing that I have used, ever, that gave me the results that Zaino did. And to tell you the truth, it was easier to apply and remove than just about anything I have ever used.

I always take meticulous care in preparing my paint surface when I detail. I clay regularly, and strip the wax at least once a year, polish (to replentish the oils) and am always sure to keep a good coat of protectant on the finish.

All this aside, I stand by my review of Zaino and everything that I said it did. I saw it with my own eyes and will swear to anyone as to the impressive results I obtained. Pictures, before and after, would show nothing on a well cared for finish. It would be impossible to show depth of shine in a mere photo.

I think that anyone that uses Zaino, and follows the application guidelines to the letter will be equally impressed.

Deep, rich shines to you all!
 

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Yal said:
Don't bother contradicting. Its just not worth it. If you've been on car forums long enough like I have you'd know that Zaino is the numero uno hyped up product, second only to Amsoil ;)

Two words for anyone thinking of detailing their car "Paint Preparation". Get that car squeeky cleaned and then clayed first and I guarantee any Carnubu wax, polish or sealant you slap on and buff with some elbow grease, or better yet rotory machined, will give you very good results.

Durability, dust repelling, rubber staining and ease of use are the only X factors to the average consumer ;) Zaino is good on most of these but I am sure you will agree anything that makes you sit down and mix things like a chemistry professor and then makes you put multiple coats of several different products until your arm falls off fails the ease of use test miserably LOL :D

just because zaino happens to be the number one hyped product, doesn't make it the best. I have been buffing cars, boats, rv's, etc. proffesionally for five years now. i have worked at three different shops and used a wide variety of products. i wasn't that impressed with Zaino's line of products. Menzerna is by far a superior product line.... Menzerna has over 112 years of experience developing polishes. Mercedes Benz has used Menzerna in their factories for quite some time now.... that should tell you something right there. Menzerna is so far ahead of any other company out there right now.
 

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I have to agree with ByByeAmericanPie. And also with Buell...

The Maguires products leave a slightly brighter shine than the Zaino's. However, the Maguires shine lasts until you park your car in the sun for an afternoon. The Zainos shine lasts, as ByByeAmericanPie said, 4-6 months.

ByByeAmericanPie will discover after using the product for awhile that he's doing far too much work. You only need to do the mixing routine for the first application. After that, straight from the bottle. Further, I Z12 the car every couple of days, and it takes maybe 10 minutes start to finish... The Z6/Z12 also dissolves little tar spots, which is handy.

I did a lady-friend's black C240 about 6 months ago and haven't touched it since. She's not exactly a "clean" fanatic for her car - it gets washed when it rains or when I harrass her bad enough that she runs it thru the car wash. After 6 months, the car still shines (when it's washed!) and feels slick to the touch...

Is Zaino's expensive? Sure, but so are the cars we're talking about here...
 

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1999 SLK230 Sport
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yal,

Have you tried Zaino?
 

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Someone has to do the part hood test, preferebly a blind test where someone applies Zaino on one quarter, Megs on another quarter, Eagle Nano on the other and one more wax, see which one still shines. We need a black car preferably that hasn't been waxed in a while. I have the buffer and Meguiars products. Need someone to come and do the Zaino quarter, the Eagle Nano water and the last quarter. Then don't tell the owner which section has which wax with which and every month, for 4 months see which wax still shines and which shows signs of still being on.
 

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ByByeAmericanPie said:
Yal,

Have you tried Zaino?

Yes actually I have. I still have a tube of the Z5 polish that I use sometimes just cause it lying around. I still have a full bottle of Z1.

Like I said it was pretty good but I have tried so many others since and have come to the conclusion that Clean, Clay, Polish and Sealant (maybe a carnubu Wax if need be) is hands down the ultimate way to go AND you can argue the best ones of each until you are blue in the face but it still comes down to those steps and how prepped your paint is to begin with. Some paints need some cutting before you even start thinking about making them shine and that can go from a mild abrasive cut to an all out assault on a badly oxidised paint!
If you have a random orbital or know how to use a rotary PROPERLY you are golden no matter what you use ;)
Again this is not counting durability, dust repellency, rubber staining and ease of use (I hear sling factor is important too if you are using a rotary).
 

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Another thing people need to stop comparing Sealants to Waxes. Zaino is a sealant. It will outlast #26 and S100 and any other carnubu(sp?) wax when nature assualts with heat, rain or snow. If you want a battle then test Zaino against Wolfgang Gloss Sealant, Klasse Gloss Sealant, NXT and Megiuars#20. Also you will have to pick a polish to put under each of these products because the Zaino process includes a polish step.
 

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i want to say thanx for the review, i have been an auto detailer for about 3 years now, i detail regularly a dodge neon SRT 4, a newer linclon town car, and a new dodge charger, both doges are black, and the customers are very picky about the shine. For most customers i use megs liquid, and it works out good, it gives an awsome shine and it relativly quick. As for my car, and my mothers car, i want to go for the absolute best, my moms 95 E 320 is black and has an awsome finish still on it. but lately when i buff the wax i get a foggy finish to it when u look at it in the correct position. Any ideas what might be doing it, should i try a diff. wax or technique????
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
How often do you strip old wax off of the car? The foggy look you see may be something as simple as excessive wax buildup. You can strip the old wax relatively easy by using original formula Dawn dishwashing liquid. Be sure to follow up with a good polish to replentish the essential oils in the paint before you rewax or reseal the finish.
 

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The foggy finish is most likely some oxidation. If its just wax build up you'll know after you washed with dawn. After youv'e stripped the wax with dawn, try a paint cleaner. Meguiars has a good one in their deep crystal line up that works very well on dark colors. The surface must be cool to touch. This will clear up the mild oxidation you are seeing. Polish and wax/seal on top.
 

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Some waxes have a tendency to streak on some cars, don't know why but you wipe off the wax as best you can yet it leaves these streaks or fogginess to the wax that you don't even notice sometimes until a day later. In the Meguiars line, I found #21 to do this. In the Klasse line I find that their SG product does this. My solution was to stop using them as both companies make other products that don't do it. Funny thing is many people love these products, but I think it has more to do with the type of paint that causes this.
 

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I had a conversation with a car wax manufacturer once who told me that that foggy business is the result of using too much product. The cure is to wipe the car down with very cold water using a microfiber or cotton rag.

It always worked for me.

The fogging business is not an issue with Zaino products...
 

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Buellwinkle said:
Someone has to do the part hood test, preferebly a blind test where someone applies Zaino on one quarter, Megs on another quarter, Eagle Nano on the other and one more wax, see which one still shines. We need a black car preferably that hasn't been waxed in a while. I have the buffer and Meguiars products. Need someone to come and do the Zaino quarter, the Eagle Nano water and the last quarter. Then don't tell the owner which section has which wax with which and every month, for 4 months see which wax still shines and which shows signs of still being on.

Some NSX guy did one already. http://www.nsxsc.com/nsexcitement/waxtest.html

Zaino is hard to beat. Prep work with any stuff though is important. I am sold on Zaino been using it for years and still on my first bottle.
 

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Used Zaino on all my M5s and other BMWs = Superior Results!

Zaino can't be touched, period. Durability is absolute tops. I had a black BMW 540i stored outdoors in the Texas heat and I waxed it TWICE a year. The car looked perfect and a quick wash was all I needed. If you don't believe Zaino, you have never used it.
 

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Sure, the test compares Zaino to a Meguiars product I wouldn't wax my bicycle with and I agree, Gold Class doesn't last. Also the criteria used is very subjective, some waxes have higher reflectivity, some have depth, some have fillers, some don't, some have color enhancers, some don't. If reflectivity is a criteria I would put up Meguiars #16 against Zaino for reflectivity and longevity. But I still use NXT on some cars because reflectivity is not the priority, NXT's color enhancing, fillers and depth are far better than Zaino's from what I've seen. When you would use NXT depends on the condition and color of the paint. So just a typical guy that wants to just wax his car every other month in 20 minutes, isn't going to clay, buff and get crazy, I would bet that NXT would outdo Zaino hands down. Now if you get into the claying and buffing and are going for the max shine, then yes, Zaino is probably better than NXT, certainly most waxes are better than Gold Class and #16 would probably beat Zaino hands down.
 
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