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Wash & Detail Keep your ride looking hot! Share your detailing ideas in here!

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Old 07-24-2004, 08:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I really have tried to figure this out from reading older posts, but I'm still confused. Maybe someone can help me out..

I just got a new (used) car from a guy that's been taking care of it, waxing, etc. It's a 2001 black civic with a dark grey interior, so the dirt shows up quick. what can I do to take care of the car?

For now, I'd like to minimize the amount of work. My dad wants to start taking better care of his new car (Mazda 3) so he'll pay for this cleaning stuff, unless I tell him I'm buying something way too complicated (i.e. tire shine or whatever).

On the outside, what do I use to wash? I have some big sponge that I've been using along with dishwashing soap, and then rinsing down and letting air dry. As you can imagine this leaves some spots. First, can someone give me a link to a place where I can buy a good sponge (and preferably everything else as well) to use while washing? What sort of soap should I be using? How should I dry the car?

After this, I imagine I should wax it. How do I do this? I've never waxed a car or seen it done. How long will the wax last? Do I need to "clay bar" the car? If so, does that literally entail rubbing clay against the paint? Does one wash the car after waxing?

Sorry for such stupid questions.
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Old 07-24-2004, 10:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First off ... You shouldn't be using a sponge to wash your cars (can hold dirt that can scratch your paint). Use a sheepskin mitt whenever possible (rinse before and after you wash your car & occasionally while you are washing).

Next, leave the dishwashing soap in the kitchen! Use Meuigar's or another car washing brand.

As far as the wax ... I have purchased some Zaino products. I have yet to use them on my car, but I have seen the results on my friends' cars and it works great.

Other folks on this board may use other products that work great for them as well.

Also, keep reading through more posts in this forum, there are a lot of great washing suggestions/instructions to help you get your car looking its best!

Good Luck!
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Old 07-24-2004, 11:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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are there any websites that carry these items? (soap, mitt, wax? etc)
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Old 07-24-2004, 11:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Local autoparts store will have everything you need. Get a couple good microfiber towels for waxing and drying too.

I recomend the klasse products, but I've never seen them for sale in a store and they're hard to find online.
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Old 07-25-2004, 12:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i've found a lot of good advice on this website and autopia.. autopia seems to conveniently recommend all of the products on sale on its site, however.

does the car "shampoo" (soap, right?) matter? I understand I need a (sheepskin) mitt, and towels to dry. Does a squegee work as well as autopia says, or are they just trying to sell products?

as for waxing.. I've noticed that there are liquid and paste waxes. Why would one purchase one over the other? How do I apply these waxes.. I haven't seen any "kits" that sell soem sort of applicator..?
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Old 07-25-2004, 12:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah carwash shampoo matters, dishsoap strips the wax and can leave harmful residue on your paint.

The california water blade works great, then you can use a towel to hit up the tights spots and anywhere else you missed.

Paste or liquid is really your preference. I like the paste stuff cause it hazes better and you can see where you put it easier. But the downside is if you let it sit more than like 30 mins it's very hard to rub it off. Most pastes have an aplicator pad in the jar of wax. If not, but some foam aplicator pads from the local autoparts store.

This reminds me, I've got to wax my car.
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Old 07-25-2004, 12:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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if i get a squegee, while one towel be enough to dry the entire car?

i read on autopia that several applicators are required for waxing, yet waxes come with just one?

lastly, is the pre-wax polishing that's described on autopia really necessary, or can I go straight from washing-drying to waxing?

thanks
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Old 07-25-2004, 12:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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1 towel will be good plus squegee. But you'll need another towel for buffing off the wax. You can just use bath towels. My personal favorites are the days inn towels, we got a couple running around here, wonder where those came from

You'll only need one aplicator pad for waxing if you keep it nice if you drop it on the ground by accident don't brush it off, just throw it away. The pads are cheap, and not worth an accidental pebal in your paint.

If it was the first time waxing the car, I say use one of the company's step systems. Zaino has them so does Meguiars. You'll want to use a good paint cleaner, then a polish, then a wax. There is a VERY good write up on the "perfect shine" somewhere in the detail forums. I think it's in the washing FAQ.
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Old 07-25-2004, 12:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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here's the link. http://www.bmw-forums.com/forum/topic1481.html
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Old 07-25-2004, 01:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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if you guys have a sams club around you can get like 50 car wash towels... duno how much but they sure are handy for washing... no streaks
if you have a lot of grease on your car you might want to use dishwasher soap (tip from zaino)...
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Old 07-25-2004, 11:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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thanks for the info and link..

i've looked over the zaino stuff, and it looks like it's a lot more work than i'm goign to be able to do. This is more or less a daily driver - I'll be driving it to and from school, and out on the weekends. The post by L337 has tips for what to do after every outing.. that's definetely not an option.

What I want is to be able to take care of my car, say every weekend, and to not have the process last longer than about 2-3 hours. 3 hours really is a maximum, for now.

So far, it seems that this is what I'll need to do:

1. I wash the car twice with a high concentration of car wash.
# After the wash and dry, I examine the paint with my hand. If I find rough areas, I use a good detailing clay and lubricant to remove the contaminants. I finish the cleaning process by going over all of the painted surfaces with a quality pre-wax cleaner. To get the best cleaning action, I use a quality cotton terrycloth applicator to apply and a plush microfiber buffing towel to remove the residue and buff.
# After using the clay bar and the pre-wax cleaner, your paint will literally squeak. You will also be able to see all of the paint defects, which means it's time to get out your polish and treat each area of damaged paint. If I find heavy scuffs or surface scratches that I can feel with my fingernail, I repair these areas with an good scratch remover formula or fine rubbing compound. Swirl marks and other minor blemishes I polish out using a swirl-remover polish formula. Any polish designed to remove 1200 to 2000 grit sanding marks will handle swirl marks. I also use the same polish to go over any area where I used a rubbing compound to restore the full luster of the paint.
# Once perfectly polished, it’s time to seal the paint and lock in the beauty. Even the best wax is no match against pollution, road salt, and other contamination. Use a synthetic formula that does not contain abrasives. You already did all of your polish work in the steps above. Also, if you use an abrasive formula (any formula containing polishes or cleaners), you won't be able to apply more than one coat. I recommend two or three coats. Each coat should be allowed to cure (dry) for at least 12 hours before applying the next coat.

For the last step, can I use a wax instead? I'm not going to have 12 hours to let the car sit and dry before I can reapply another coat.

What's a pre-wax cleaner? Is that the same as a detailing spray? Ahh there are so many terms.. how is this applied, it seems to come in spray bottles?

Lastly, you mentioned that it would make sense to purchase a step thing. I was looking around online and noticed that Meguiars has a 3 step system that includes paint cleaner (Meguiars deep crystal paint cleaner), polish (deep crystal paint polish), and wax (deep crystal carnauba liquid wax). If I buy these three things, the applicators/towels, etc. needed for them, will I be all set? Why isn't a clay bar included in this step system?

Thanks again
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Old 07-25-2004, 11:17 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Some more questions (sorry - maybe this will be a post you can link newbs to):

What do you guys do in the winter? Same routine as all other times of year?

I've been reading that it's not necessary to wax more than once every month/couple of months. Don't the first 3 steps (above) strip old wax off of the car, exposing the paint? So once you've done the 4 steps and waxed your car, what's the procedure for every weekend? Just wash and dry?

Thaaaanks
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Old 07-26-2004, 08:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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what is the condition of your paint? Do you park your car outside?

If you park your ride outside, putting a cover on it will reduce your detailing work by 75%.

Checkout Proper Autocare.com for some good wash/detail combo packages<--click here.

What they list for their exterior "bare essentials" package is the following:
Meguiar's Gold Class Shampoo (16 oz.)
Chenille Wash Pad
Water Sprite Plus
Eimann Fabrik Hi-Intensity Cleaner (32 oz. spray)
Short Handle Tire & Wheel Brush
Lexol Vinylex (16 oz. spray)
BLACKFIRE PolyClay (2 3 oz. bars)
BLACKFIRE Clay Lubricant (16 oz. spray)
Microfiber Power Scrubber Cloth
Klasse All-In-One (16 oz.)
Microfiber Applicator Pad
Perfect Shine Buffing Cloth

Their interior "bare essentials" includes:
--------------------------------------------------
Eimann Fabrik Clear Vision (32 oz. spray)
Viper Glass Cleaning Cloth
Eimann Fabrik Spot Remover (32 oz. spray)
Leather & Vinyl Scrub Brush
Terry Applicator/Wipe Pad
Klasse Vinyl, Leather, Rubber & Plastic Cleaner & Protectant
Microfiber Applicator Pad.

If you don't buy their stuff, at least you can see what they put in their packages.
My advice is to keep things simple, then add things as needed.

As far as using "high concentrations" of anything, just follow the manufacturer's instructions on the products you buy and modify as necessary for your situation.

It's really not that complicated to get a great shine and keep it that way.

btw, I mix my own Quick Detailer spray.
I use 1) 16-20oz of distilled/deionized/soft water. Any of the home delivery waters will do fine. 2) a couple of drops of good car soap 3) a cap of rubbing alcohol.

Mix in a good spray bottle and use a wet Microfiber cloth to apply, dry/polish with another microfiber cloth. You can also use this to pre-spray bird droppings so they will come off with minimal rubbing during your washing.

Another tip is to fill your wash bucket with very warm water so that any contaminants that are on your car that will melt,soften or disolve will come off with little effort.

I also use Solar Polish on my ride. One application is about as thick as 3 or 4 applications of other polishs. You ride will be silky smooth and be as shiny as a mirror in the sunlight. Check it out here<---. If you buy it, be sure to shake for several minutes before you use it.

I also use Gel-gloss from Home Depot to remove light scratches from just about everything. It a gentle abrasive (like 3000 sandpaper). I use it on glass, plastic, chrome and light colored paint. Always test a new product on an inconspicuous place first.

Good luck.
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Old 07-27-2004, 11:44 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the advice.

I do park my car outside (cringe), and under a tree at that. It's a pine tree, so there aren't any leaves or anything, and not too many bird droppings either. There are however a few, and I'll mix that solution that you spoke of to remove them - thanks for the advice.

I'll be driving this car once/a few times a day, so it's not really practical to put a cover on it.

As you (silver) mentioned, I'd like to keep this process as simple as possible, especially since I'm new to the whole cleaning scene. Right now I'm thinking these are the things that I'll purchase:

http://www.autopia-carcare.com/kit-washtrio.html
http://www.autopia-carcare.com/meg-g-7116.html
http://shop.store.yahoo.com/rodi/cha-3016.html
http://shop.store.yahoo.com/rodi/cha-2116.html (If I don't like it I'll get the one that you recommended, I'm just trying to minimize shipping costs)
http://shop.store.yahoo.com/rodi/cha-2216.html

I'll wash and dry the car, use the paint cleaner, then the polish, then the wax. I'll do that I'm guessing once every few months (correct me if I'm wrong) and then just wash and dry the car weekly.

Is that about right?

One more question... when I'm going through the entire process and polishing, waxing, etc., which step strips old excess wax from the car?

Thanks.
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Old 07-27-2004, 12:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I ussually at the begining of the summer go through and do a VERY good job off cleaning and polishing and waxing the car. Then at the end of the summer I do it again. In between I just give another good coat of wax ever couple of months or so.

Then during the rest of the time, wash every couple of weeks or if the car looks kinda dirty. I use a car brush to get rid of the dust and if I don't have time to wash I use some quick detailer to shine it up.

The paint cleaner is the part that will strip wax unless you're washing with dish soap.
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