Choosing the Ideal One-Step, or All-in-One Product

By: Jason Yard, Product Marketing Manager, Malco Products, Inc.
For the most part, there is a common misnomer in the automotive industry that a product, designed to paint correct or polish, also provides durability and protection. Conversely, that is not always the case. Unless a product label includes callouts like ‘all-in-one’ or ‘one step’, it should not be expected to protect the quality of your paint job.

For the most part, there is a common misnomer in the automotive industry that a product, designed to paint correct or polish, also provides durability and protection. Conversely, that is not always the case. Unless a product label includes callouts like ‘all-in-one’ or ‘one step’, it should not be expected to protect the quality of your paint job. Most quality polishes and correction compounds are designed to refine paint, by the removal of scratches, swirls, and imperfections. Many of these products contain fillers and solvents that help hide defects; however, few contain any form of paint protection or wax. 

Auto detailing methods chart

Because recent technology advancements have contributed to an explosion in the one-step market, there are more quality options available than ever before. Removing defects with traditional compounds requires a slow, two to three-step process. A good one-step product, like Malco’s EPIC® Paint Correction System, cuts out two of those steps, speeding up the process for a better-quality finish than a traditional product. Nevertheless, the question remains: how do you choose the ideal all-in-one product for your detail? It largely depends on your overall detail goal(s). For the high-end detail that requires advanced paint correction to achieve perfect results, a mix of compounds (such as the EPIC line) followed by paste wax application, ceramic coating or a similar long-term protectant will be ideal over an all-in-one product.

Otherwise, a true one-step polish and wax will excel in at least three detailing methods: weekend warrior, reconditioning and quick detail. For the weekend warrior, who drives regularly and enjoys the maintenance of keeping a vehicle looking its very best, a one-step can be used a couple times per year to polish out swirls and secure a few months of protection. When it comes to the reconditioning market, where the goal is to revamp the aesthetics of the vehicle for sale, several all-in-one products (like Malco’s new Accelerate) are fitting. These products are primarily designed for polishing the paint of a used car, for a glossier result with up to three months of protection. This effect is optimal for those cars that may spend some time sitting on a lot. Lastly, for a quick detail, it is best to consult a scaled detail menu. These menus have packages that range in quality from good to better to best. ‘Good’ and ‘better’ details can be turned around much quicker, with the use of an all-in-one product, while still resulting in a pleasing finished result.

When choosing a one-step product, another factor to consider is scaling. For instance, the density of a foam pad will determine how much correction can be achieved. A forced rotation orbital will often perform quite differently from a free-spinning orbital. Similarly, some products (such as Malco’s paint Rejuvenator) are designed for a rotary with either a foam or wool pad. When using a wool pad, medium scratches are being cut down, but refinement is a lot less smooth. It is also important to consider how each paint corrects. Therefore, it will make sense to test a handful of pad options with the one-step product prior to overall application. 

All things considered, the true benefit of an all-in-one product is that while you are polishing or cutting medium scratches, you are leaving behind a wax with a slick finish, deeper gloss and a level of protection from the elements. Moreover, not all one-step products are alike. Some are superior in correction, while providing very little durability. Some are full of fillers, filling swirls and scratches rather than correcting them. The rest mostly contain wax that provides little refinement. An ideal well-rounded, one-step product will cut up to P3000 level scratches, while adding a glossy protective layer for 60-90 days. Remember to consider your ideal levels of protection and durability, next time you are choosing a one-step or all-in-one detailing product. 

Written By: Jason Yard, Product Marketing Manager, Malco Products, Inc.

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