I just got back from waxing my 98 Civic with Meguiar's cleaner wax. The parts of the paint that are still in decent condition do look very clean and shiny now.
But I discovered a problem. Before I waxed, I washed and then used a clay bar. What I saw that I did (on at least a part of the car, I didn't notice this anywhere else but on one three square foot area) was irritate the paint. I saw some scratches (a good square inch or two) that I know weren't there before; I also saw an area a bit bigger, that had a lot of scratch marks around the grey paint, which was itself very rough (making me wonder if the clear coat had been rubbed off). This second area might have had scratches before, but nothing as big or noticeable as it is now.
Now the clear coat is peeling off all over the car--I surely can't blame that on claying. But is it possible that (1) I didn't do it right (I did watch the video on the 5-part thread, on claying), or (2) this car's paint job is so bad, that I shouldn't even bother, b/c it has so many contaminants that the bar will pick them up and then rub them into the paint?
I'm pretty sure the damage occured in the claying stage. I didn't notice it until after claying; it is the roof right over the driver's head and very easy for me to see.
Any suggestions? Like I said, this car's paint job is shot anyways--I clayed simply to fend off as much further deterioration as I could. But my original plan was to clay my 05 Sienna minivan, which I've never clayed, and I'd like to make sure that I am doing it right, before I even think about claying that one. The minivan's paint job is actually pretty decent.