Real Review: Putting Meguiar’s 3-in-1 Wax to The Test

There’s an old joke that as women use half-a-dozen different shampoos, conditioners, body washes and exfoliants in the shower; men would be perfectly content with a single bottle of liquid soap that promises to perform all of the same tasks. Although the likelihood of any “all-in-one” shampoo, conditioner, body wash, foot scrub and mouthwash truly being effective at any of these tasks, shelves at neighborhood grocers are still stocked with them. And so it goes with anything that promises far too much than it seems likely.

At least, that’s how I felt about Meguiar’s 3-in-1 Wax at first blush. I have been a dyed-in-the-wool customer of Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax for a quarter century, using it on my high school car way-back-when. Heck, I’ve got a maroon bottle of the stuff stashed away on a shelf right now. The Cleaner Wax gently removes contaminants from the paint while laying down a sacrificial layer of protection. No, it’s not going to give you the same effect as a multi-stage restorative detail, but it certainly can polish up even a 30-footer like what I drive.

So again, Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax was all that I thought I needed. When Meguiar’s asked if I’d be interested in testing out their new 3-in-1 clean, polish, protect Wax, I was reticent at first primarily because I felt there was little way it could deliver on so many promises. Coincidentally, the perfect opportunity to press Meguiar’s promise arose when I went to visit Mopar Connection’s Brazen Charger project car this past June as it waited to be rewired by Painless Performance in Fort Worth, Texas.

As mentioned in an article published earlier, dragging Brazen over 700-miles from Nashville to Fort Worth was a little problematic. As we had the dashboard removed earlier (for a complete restoration as well as installing a Vintage Air heater/defroster kit), this also meant that the windshield was removed. Despite our best efforts to seal up the windshield frame with cardboard, plastic tarps and nearly a whole roll of painter’s tape, torrential rains throughout Arkansas drenched and wind-whipped our Charger’s paint to death.

The roof, fenders and parts of the doors were in sorry shape due to the flapping tarp, and the whole car was caked with road grime and debris. Since Brazen wasn’t running and couldn’t be moved, we gave it a waterless wash. Next, out came the Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay kit. Properly clay barring our paper-thin single-stage paint took well over an hour, but is ideal for extracting contaminants that have embedded into the paint’s surface, leaving it smooth and totally exposed.

Seeing so many scratches and hazing left by the wind-blown tarp, we treated the surface (especially the problem areas mentioned earlier) with Meguiar’s MT300 Professional DA Polisher and an array of rubbing and polishing compounds. Since the paint was so thin, I was careful not to “burn” through the paint, but gently remove swirls and scratches as best as I could. Satisfied that I had done the best with my limited skills, it was time to put Meguiar’s 3-in-1 Wax to work.

The kit itself comes with a foam applicator pad and microfiber towel, equipping you with all you need to tackle the job. A quarter-sized dab of wax covers about 2-square-feet of bodywork, so apply as needed. Making small concentric, overlapping passes to leave a thin, even coat, I moved on to the next panel, leaving the first to dry. Admittedly, our trouble spots required a second pass as they needed the extra attention. Yet, after several hours and what must’ve been a gallon of sweat, Brazen’s shine had returned.

Admittedly a tremendous “15-footer,” Brazen’s paint was applied over 13-years ago and for little more than the cost of materials. Even our painter managed a good job on zero budget, the paint itself is rice paper-thin, so chips and scratches are a real concern. Nevertheless, I was happy to see Brazen looking more like its former glory. True to Meguiar’s word, the 3-in-1 does manage to knock down finer swirls and scratches, filling in and building up a protective layer that leaves a smooth, drag-free finish.

Priced at $18.99, the Meguiar’s 3-in-1 Wax Kit is well worth the price of admission. Obviously, to you top tier detailers you’re going to look closer at Meguiar’s Professional Series, but for us Saturday morning “quickie” detailers, this is a nice step up that won’t cost you any more time than your previous hand polish, liquid wax job – but will deliver a far superior end result that say, my once-favorite Cleaner Wax that I think just got overthrown.

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching Mopar Connection Magazine. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story. He's also the co-author of "The Chrysler B-Body Restoration Guide."

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