Nice Looking Cars! I tried to give you a bunch of information for you to use. Please feel free to take or leave whatever you want, and youtube is your friend here. Adam's has a bunch of videos on youtube and on their site which are very helpful.
Below is a pretty typical process for me when doing a full detail. This was based on a write up I did previously and I have added and subtracted lessons learned. Also some products have changed or come out so I tried to adjust the write up to reflect my updated process.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS, WE'RE HAPPY TO HELP!!
Exterior Washing, Polishing and Protecting:
1. Tires, Wheels, Wheel Wells, and Exhaust Tips - I always start with this step so as to not put water on paint. If I don't put water on the paint, then the water won't dry and it reduces the chances of water spots. I go one wheel at a time rinsing my tools in between. I make sure to have all my tools and chemicals prepared before putting water on the vehicle. What I mean by that is I have a bucket full of water and a little bit of CS, and I put all of my tools in the bucket. I start by spraying water all over the wheel, tire, and wheel well. Then spray some diluted APC into the wheel wells (I use APC because the majority of my wheel wells are carpet not rubber or plastic), then I take my Fender Brush (one of my favorites) and I brush the entirety of the wheel well. Then I rinse the wheel well. I follow that by spraying TRC or WTC onto the tire face and tread block, and use a Tire Brush to clean. In this step, the tires start to turn orange/brown which shows that the tires are dirty. I repeat this step until the chemical no longer turns brown but appears white. WTC is a very powerful cleaner safe for most factory wheels and very good on tires. However, I try to limit my WTC use because it's pretty heavy duty.
For Wheels, I spray WC into the wheel barrel, rotors, and wheel face. You'll see the spray starting to turn red/purple, this means the chemical is reacting with and breaking down the iron/metallic particles that contaminate the wheel from brake dust and other grime from the road. I use a wheel brush to agitate the chemical, I actually like to use the Lug Nut brush to agitate the rotors and get in the lug nuts, and I also think it's a good option to use for the face of the wheel - otherwise the Red Wheel Brush is much bigger and makes cleaning the face of the wheels much much quicker. Then I would either use a wheel woolie or a barrel brush to get the wheel barrel and the back of the spokes. Then I would make sure to rinse the tire, wheel, and wheel wells thoroughly. and to avoid scratching the wheels, I try to rinse my tools after I use them, before I put them back in the bucket. Then I repeat for each wheel.
For the exhaust tips, I basically just spray APC into the exhaust and use the wheel woolie or barrel brush to agitate, then rinse it all out.
Wheel Cleaner (WC)
Wheel and Tire Cleaner (WTC) - Seems more powerful than TRC, leaves tires fully stripped from all dirt and protection, but not always necessary to use so much cleaning power.
Tire and Rubber Cleaner (TRC)
All Purpose Cleaner, Diluted 1:1 with water (APC)
Car Shampoo (CS)
Wheel Woolie or Wheel Barrel Brush
Lug Nut Brush
Red Wheel Brush
Here's Adams Process:
2. Wash Car with Strip Wash - This step is to not only clean the vehicle exterior, the strip wash is also trying to break down any protection (wax, sealant, etc.) you have on your vehicle. This can sound like a bad thing, but just keep in mind, later in this process we will be adding protection back to the paint, and likely a much better protection. We want to remove any existing protection, because we want the paint to be "naked." This will allow whatever protection chosen to be applied directly onto the paint/clear coat, as opposed to being applied to remnants of another wax or sealant.
Start by having everything prepared before putting any water on the paint, once again we want to reduce the chance of water spots. Preferably you would use a two bucket wash method, in addition I love to use a pressure washer and foam cannon. If using a pressure washer and foam cannon, put about 2-3 oz of strip wash and 1 oz of Mega Foam in the foam cannon bottle, and I like to use 2-3oz of APC as well, I have seen in the past how APC is such a good degreaser that it will break down sealants and waxes. The problem there is if it dries on the paint, it can cause damage. So I was very careful about using APC. I start by rinsing the vehicle first, with only water, them immediately (since I am prepared) I attach my foam cannon and cover the vehicle in the strip wash/APC solution. I let that dwell for maybe 2 minutes.
If you're not using a foam cannon you can start here by having two buckets filled with water and grit guards. One bucket has only clean water and a grit guard, the other has your soap solution of 3-4 oz of strip wash, and here I also like to add 2-3 oz of APC again. My wash mitt(s) go in the soap solution until after I have initially rinsed the vehicle. Once I have rinsed I grab my wash mitt and go from the top of the vehicle to the bottom. I am always aware of what's on my mitt, and if I picked up dirt or sticks or whatever. I make sure to get it off by either picking it out, using the pressure washer to clean it off, and putting my mitt in the bucket with only water and rubbing against the grit guard to clean the mitt before dunking back into the soap bucket. Try to keep the vehicle wet and lubricated by squeezing your mitt to release water/soap, until you finish cleaning the vehicle, and then immediately rinse thoroughly. If you need to take a break or if you aren't prepared for step 3, I would dry. (I wasn't prepared so I dried) if you have the option to dry with air, that's a good option, if not use a microfiber towel with no drying aid, meaning don't use Detail Spray or anything just use the towel. If you can go straight into step 3, do that you will dry the vehicle after that!
All Purpose Cleaner (APC)
Wash Mitt or Sponge, etc
Microfiber Drying Towel
Here's a video explaining the Two Bucket Wash Method:
3. Chemical and Clay Decontamination- Every vehicle has contamination on it, even new ones. In this step you will be removing contamination that has been stuck in the clear coat. This step can look very different depending on who you talk to. Some people like to do this step during the wash, I'm not sure if there's a "right way", but this is one way to do it - by following the wash and dry:
If you choose to go with a Ceramic Protection. This step is essential in the preparation for protection. Ceramic Products bond directly to your paint, but by leaving contamination on your paint, you're impeding the ceramic protection form bonding. Even if you're not going the ceramics route, this is a still a great step to include in your process to truly clean and decontaminate your vehicle.
I start by spraying down the vehicle (depending on the weather and if you're doing this indoor or out door you may want to go panel by panel) with IR (or you can use a diluted WC), This acts just like WC in that it's reaction with iron and metallic contamination turns red/purple. It may be hard to see on black. If you're using on a dark vehicle, you can see evidence of it dripping purple on the ground below... Anyways spray the vehicle (try to keep it away from plastic and rubber), then let it sit for 2-4 minutes. Then rinse it all off.
Then I used a clay lube and used a clay bar to remove other contaminants that are stuck in the clear coat. I normally use very careful, very light pressure (since clay is an abrasive) and never ever do it dry. Always make sure the surface is lubricated. Do this for all the wheels, paint, glass, chrome, or anything that shines, I don't use it for my trim pieces or headlights. You will see and feel your clay bar start to pick up little specs of contamination. Periodically keep an eye on how much contamination is on the clay bar, and you may need to bend/reshape the clay in order to get a clean surface before continuing. Important note: you never want to drop this on the ground. It will pick up rocks and stuff that can drag some nice scratches in your paint. That goes for microfiber towels and wash mitts too. They love to grab stuff so be careful never to put them on the ground. I like to rinse and dry the vehicle once I'm done with the clay, others don't think its a necessary step.
Note: Clay is an abrasive, so use gently and carefully.. Make sure the surface is lubricated and you will be fine. You will notice a difference in the slickness of your paint.Try the baggy test as Adam does in the video below.
Iron Remover (IR)
Clay Lube (Diluted Rinseless Wash or Detail Spray)
Clay Bar of Choice (I like Visco Elastic Clay and Clay Mitt. The most mild clay would be the Fine Clay Bar)
So, to answer your question in short yes, with paint correction you are using abrasives to remove or cut away at the clear coat - or in your case possibly single stage paint which will remove scratches and oxidation and will reveal a new layer of paint. This is probably the most effective and true way to achieve shine. You can add protection on top of corrected paint which will also enhance the shine.
If I may say so, I have had great experience with Adams Revive Hand Polish (AMAZON) and a Blue Hex Grip Applicator (I think they are sold out on the site and possibly replacing with an upgraded formula, time will tell - If you need it sooner, I placed the Amazon link to the product above. Or you can ask around and authorized dealers may have it). I mention this one because it makes a difference even when you think your paint is perfect. Somehow it takes your shine to the next level. About the product: It's a very minor abrasive, the least abrasive polish that Adams carries, and it is also acts as a paint cleaner to use prior to applying protection. Since the abrasive is minimal and you're meant to use it by hand, the risk of ruining your paint by burning through it is almost non-existent.
However, if you have the ability and resources to use a machine, whether Adams Swirl Killer, Porter Cable, or any Dual Action Polisher, They will make much quicker work of bringing shine to your paint. Pair with a White Pad and the White Polish for a the least abrasive combination for machines. If you find that your paint defects are deeper, move on something more abrasive like a Blue Pad and Compound.
Get indoors if you can at this point. This step is important to get your paint as perfect as possible. This is highly recommended. Once you apply the protection, any defects your paint may have will now be sealed under wax/sealant/coating. My vehicle was relatively new, and I didn't have many defects to my paint, so I skipped the polishing step. Looking back, I would have done a polish even if just a RHP. Polishing will make a difference. Although I didn't do it, I would recommend you at least do a polish with the polish with the white pad at this step. RHP with a blue hex grip pad (or white pad if using a machine) would be the last thing I would do before moving on. The polishing step is pretty heavily subjective depending on your preferences and your specific paint, so please feel free to ask me any questions you have about this, and I can try to answer them or point you to some help. But since I don't know the specifics, it's hard for me to direct you on here. Looking back, I would have done a polish even if just a RHP. Polishing will make a difference. Although I didn't do it, I would recommend you at least do a polish with the finishing polish with the white pad at this step. Also, The OSP with the One Step Pads look awesome and I'm excited to try them out. RHP with a blue hex grip pad (or white pad if using a machine), and remove with a microfiber towel, would be the last thing I would do before moving on. .
Important note: When attempting paint correction, always do a test section around 2' x 2'. Start with the least abrasive and move to more abrasive as you go until you get the results that you're looking for. Paint Correction is a learning process, and is different for every paint. Each paint reacts differently to abrasives so it's important to see what your paint needs by doing a test section and re assessing your results throughout the process. I will post the levels of aggression below. Also note that Adams has a color coordinated system to make it easier for the us regular people to get good results when machine polishing. But don't be afraid to mix and match Pads and Liquids to find a good combination for what your paint needs.
Pro Tip from @falcaineer : Dress your rubber and plastic pieces with VRT prior to polishing. If Polish gets on those pieces, it tends to leave ugly white marks. So applying a dressing will protect the pieces and make them easier to clean up if some polish gets on them.
Polisher (if you don't have one, it looks like Adams in the future may be introducing a rental program for polishers)
Blue hex grip pad
Single-soft Microfiber Towel, or Double-soft Microfiber Towel
Machine Polishing Pads
Least Aggressive - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - > Most Aggressive
White Foam Pad - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - Blue Foam Pad - - - - - - - - - -- - - - -- - - Microfiber Pad
Least Aggressive - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - -- - - - - - - - -- - - -- - - - - -- - - - - - - - -- - - - -- - > Most Aggressive
Revive Hand Polish - - - - Polish (white) - - - -- - One Step (gray/purple) - - - - Compound (blue)
5. Surface Prep- This is crucial to the process for Ceramic Coatings to fully clean the surface and remove an polishing oils or leftover wax that may be lingering. Use Adam's SP or a solution of Isopropyl Alcohol to spray down the paint and wipe with a Single-soft Microfiber Towel, or if you prefer, spray on the towel and wipe the surface. Do this for the glass and all the paint and the lights, and chrome and wheels. On the texturized plastic and rubber trim pieces, I would use TRC with a Microfiber Utility Towel to clean those pieces. After you have cleaned the oxidation off your rubber and plastic with TRC, follow up with SP and remove anything that's left prior to applying the Coating.
Surface Prep (SP) or IPA solution
Tire and Rubber Cleaner (TRC)
Single-soft Microfiber Towel
Microfiber Utility Towel
You mention Ceramic Paste Wax, that is great stand alone protection.
My favorite type of protection would be a ceramic coating. That way you can ensure that your paint will remain protected for many years (new UV Ceramic Paint Coating is stated to last 5 years, The new UV ceramic spray coating is stated to last 1 year). If you take the time to do a coating on each vehicle, it will just be a one time coating until you need to recoat in years, depending on which you choose.... The Ceramic Paint Coating is made for Paint and Trim and Metal. The Ceramic Spray Coating can be used on pretty much any exterior surface and some interior surfaces (Paint, Trim, Metal, Glass, Matte Finishes, Carbon Fiber, Rubber Floor Mats...). I love the Ceramic Spray Coating.
If you choose to go with a full coating, then you can still use the Ceramic Paste Wax as a maintenance every 3-6 months or however often you please. Other great products for maintaining ceramic coatings are Ceramic Waterless Wash (Basically use it as a quick detailer, Spray and wipe to get light dust, fingerprints, etc. off.) Wash+Coat (A shampoo car to use in a foam cannon or in a bucket wash, infused with ingredient to help maintain your ceramic protection.) and Ceramic Boost (basically a spray and wipe product that will provide the best build up for your ceramic coating).
But for this step, just follow the steps on the package for whichever protection you choose. Also let us know on here so we can better guide you if you need it. We Love to help!
And you're done!
Like I said take or leave all this info. The important part is to find a process that works for you.
There's a big initial investment of time and money especially if you're just starting off, but I found that really enjoy my time detailing my vehicle and others' vehicles. It's therapeutic and Adam's products really enhance the process for me. And once you get those tools and towels, those will last you a while with proper care, so the majority of things you'll need in the future are refills or the occasional new chemical you want to try.
Speaking of care... After I finish using a towel, I immediately throw it in a bucket full of water and I'll try to have some APC in the bucket or some detergent if handy. If not, car shampoo will do. But reason for that is to start breaking down whatever the towel may have picked up. If a towel is especially dirty like when I rinseless wash or waterless wash, my towels get real dirty. I put them in a bucket of water and once I'm ready (normally just later in the day, I don't like to leave towels for more than a day) I will spray the dirty towels down with APC and Rinse them with High pressure, whether I have my pressure washer out or I can just use my outdoor spigot, which has a good bit of pressure out of the wall. I let that loosen the dirt, then I take them to the Washing Machine. Also, if I use any SiO2 product, I immediately put those in a bucket of water because even if a product has a low level of SiO2 like the Wash+Coat, Wash and Wax, Ceramic Waterless Wash, and Ceramic Boost, that SiO2 can dry if you give it enough time. So I put those in water and wash those towels as soon as I possibly can. I wash them in Cold Cold water, Adam's has their own detergent which is GREAT. Microfiber Revitalizer. And I add an extra rinse cycle. I dry like in the dryer using Low Heat or No Heat.
I never ever mix my microfibers with cotton or really anything else, I normally have enough to wash a small load after a wash.
Here's a thread for Microfiber Care: