Car Cleaning/Care FAQ

What to do to keep your car looking and running like new, inside and out.
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Car Cleaning/Care FAQ

Postby jomotopia » Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:29 am

look in here for car cleaning/care questions. if your question hasn't been asked and answered, post it up in here and when enough good answers are posted i will edit it all together into a FAQ entry. please try to keep all posts on topic. everyone please add your own FAQs/Walkthroughs to this thread.

Where should I wash and wax my car?

You should do your washing and waxing in the shade, out of direct sunlight. It's also probably a good idea to not do it under any trees, because you don't want sap and bird "stuff" landing on your car while you're washing it.
Last edited by jomotopia on Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JHamilton » Fri Jan 12, 2007 2:26 pm

Here are some fantastic videos in reference to detailing your car.....

http://www.adamspolishes.com/videos/Index.cfm


I am in no way involved with Adam's polishes, nor do I endorse or even use their products. I have always found these vids to be an excellent resource.
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Re: Car Cleaning/Care FAQ

Postby Sypher » Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:45 pm

Cleaning off tar, sap, glue, and other junk that sticks onto paint

For doing this, I highly recommend using a product called Goo-Gone
Image
This product is available in most automotive stores.

Follow the directions on the bottle for prepping/cleaning the area needed to be cleaned (since directions are already labelled on the bottle I'll skip this step and go straight to what to do AFTER using the product). When you are happy with the cleaning results, get another terry cloth or buffing cloth and apply a new coat of wax on the area you've just cleaned. The reason for this is because Goo-Gone is a very strong product that will remove any surface layer debris from paint (this includes wax); so it's a good idea to reapply some wax onto the cleansed area to protect the paint.

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Postby eaglecatcher » Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:37 pm

Procedure for Thorough Paint Detailing

Others may disagree with me on this, but my clear coat was extremely faded, and this made my paint look almost new.

Wash
Wash
Claybar
Polish
Wax

Wait a day or two

Wash
Wax

The reason you want to wait a day or two, is to allow the wax to cure onto the surface. If you wax twice in one day, the 2nd coat will not have the same effect, as it will not bond as well. If you can't tell a huge difference between the first and 2nd coat of wax as well, then you didn't do something right. Your paint should feel as smooth as a babies bottom after two coats of wax.

All by hand, that took about 7 hours of work.

Thats what I did for my car, and it restored my paint immensely. you can adjust it, you don't have to wash it that many times, I just did so I could be 100% sure I got all of the crud off the paint. I probably washed it about 6 times between when I got it and when I finished detailing. Mine was pretty bad though, so most cars won't need that much work.

edit: fixed my poor writeup order. I got a little carried away with washing steps there. whoops. man, this is old too.

Supplies

2xWash Mitt I prefer two because I can switch out, as well as use two at a time

2xWaffle Weave Drying Towel I suggest two big ones. These dry better than any other fabric I've tried.

4xMicrofiber Applicator Pad: must use for waxing, also for polishing

1xWheel Brush Speaks for itself

4xCotton Terry Cloth Great for anything. Polishing, buffing wax, etc

4xMicrofiber Cloth Great for anything also. I use them for the final wipedown after waxing.

2xBucket One for soap, one for rinse

Bottle of Soap: I like Blue Coral, lathers up realy nice and cleans well

Wax: You can do liquid or paste. I prefer paste. More work, but better shine

Clay Bar: never use a clay bar more than once on your paint. You can reuse them to clean glass, but not onthe paint. They wont scratch glass, but can scratch paint

Polishing Compound: Works miracles for faded clear coats, as well as scratches

Stoner's Glass Cleaner and Rain-X: best combination for wet and dry visibility through your windows

Tire Shine: I bought the spray can, but I think wipes would be better. The spray gets on your wheels, and is a magnet for brake dust and dirt.

all this stuff gets expensive, I've spent at least 150 bucks on it, probably closer to 200. Don't buy it all at once though. Buy a few things every time you go to autozone. It never hurts to have a few extra microfiber rags lying around.
Last edited by eaglecatcher on Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sypher » Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:42 am

eaglecatcher wrote:Procedure for Thorough Paint Detailing

Others may disagree with me on this, but my clear coat was extremely faded, and this made my paint look almost new.

Wash
Wash
Claybar
Wash
Polish
Wash
Wax
Wash

All by hand, that took about 4 1/2-5 hours of work.

Thats what I did for my car, and it restored my paint immensely. you can adjust it, you don't have to wash it that many times, I just did so I could be 100% sure I got all of the crud off the paint. Mine was pretty bad though, so most cars won't need that much work.


Actually, this would be what I would do:
wash
claybar
wash
polish
wax
wax
wash

You really dont need that many washing steps Usually it takes me about 5-6 hours to fully detail a car

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Postby mikebai1990 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 3:59 pm

There's no need to wash after a waxing.

If you guys want detailing tips, you can check out autopia.org, forum for detailing enthusiasts.

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Postby Sypher » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:09 pm

mikebai1990 wrote:There's no need to wash after a waxing.

If you guys want detailing tips, you can check out autopia.org, forum for detailing enthusiasts.


oh yea, tahts right.. you dont need to wash.. I dont know why I put wash after wax :lol: :oops:

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Postby mikebai1990 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:42 pm

Washing Method/Procedure and Drying

1. Get two buckets to use. One bucket will be used for the wash solution. One bucket will be used for the rinsing. I usually use two wash mitts and one microfiber towel. One mitt for upper half of car, one mitt for lower half of car, and microfiber towel for wheel cleaning.

2. For the car shampoo, use approx. 1 ounce to 1 gallon dilution ratio. For a medium sized car, you need around 1.5 gallons of wash solution. So, fill one bucket with wash solution, and one bucket with water. If the weather is cold, using hot/very warm water can help keep your hands warm.

3. Use the hose and rinse the car down. Try to get most of the loose dirt and grime off. Make sure to spray water into your wheelwell area to remove the dirt that is hidden. This will help prevent future rust.

4. On the tires, you can use tire cleaners such as Eagle One tire cleaner. Spray the tire cleaner onto the tire and let it dwell for a few minutes. Then agitate with a tire brush to remove all the dirty stuff on the tires. Rinse off with hose.

5. Then, use the microfiber towel (a wash mitt will work also), and perform same steps as shown below when cleaning the wheels. If the wheels are very dirty, I would recommend using a separate rinse and soap bucket.

4. For the paint: Dunk the wash mitt into your wash solution. Swish it around to let the wash solution saturate the wash mitt. Slightly squeeze the wash mitt to prevent excess dripping. Don't squeeze it dry, though! You need enough solution to provide enough lubrication to prevent scratching.

5. Start from the top of the car to the bottom. Use the wash mitt on the paint using straight, very gentle, light, short strokes. Make sure to use as little pressure as possible to minimize marring and swirling. Do the car panel by panel (roof, half of hood, top half of one door, etc...). After finishing each panel, squeeze the wash mitt out completely and put into water bucket. Using your fingers, ruffle the wash mitt in the water to remove all dirt and particles that have accumulated in the wash mitt. Take wash mitt out and squeeze. Put into wash bucket and continue on next panel.

6. You can rinse the soap off after finishing each panel. Or you can wait till you finish the top half and rinse off. If the soap solution is drying because of the sun/heat, then make sure to keep the surface wet with water to prevent water spotting.

7. When you are done washing the car, the car will be wet with your rinsing. If the surface is well waxed and protecting, you can use a "free-flow nozzle" method to remove most of the car. Take the sprayer nozzle off of your hose and let the water in the hose flow freely. If you have a shut off switch, it will be better. Basically, you take the freely flowing hose, and run it over the paint surfaces, flooding the surface and letting the water run off the paint surface. This will remove most of the water on the car (only if it's well waxed, though!)

8. After using the free-flow method, some water will still be on the car. You can use a Absorber, a synthetic chamois, which is highly absorbent. Otherwise, you can use a waffleweave towel. When using both drying towels, never drag the towel across the paint surface. This will cause marring if there are dirt particles from the air that stick onto the car. Put the towel or the Absorber onto the paint and let towel absorb the water.

9. After you are done washing, you can use a quick detailer to provide a sacrificial layer of protection on top of your wax. I use Duragloss Aquawax, a spray wax sealant, to further protect my car between washes.
Last edited by mikebai1990 on Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Sypher » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:49 pm

Excellent writeup Mike. I would to add that a microfiber towel would also work well for drying the car. (that's what i use)

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Postby mikebai1990 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:54 pm

How to Clay a Car

Car clay is similar to regular clay. It is very flexible and sticky. The purpose of using clay is to remove contaminants that are stuck to the surface of the paint. By regular washing, these contaminants will not come out because they are microscopically embedded into the clearcoat of the paint. By claying, you probably will drastically improve the smoothness of the paint and final appearance of the car. Claying is usually done before polishing and before waxing.

You can buy many types of clay. Brands that are often used included Mother's, Meguiars, ClayMagic, etc... Usually if you buy a clay kit, there will also be a quick detailer which is used to lubricate the surface while you clay. Another often used lube is just regular car wash shampoo. It works very nicely and can save you some money with quick detailers.

1. Break the clay bar in half. You don't need the entire clay bar, and it is better in case you drop your clay on the ground (once that happens, you should not use the clay on the paint anymore. It will most likely cause scratching.)

2. Knead the clay so that there is a large flat surface you can work with. I usually start at the top of the car and work my way down so I remember which areas I have/have not done. Spray the area (work with approx. 2'x2' area at a time) you need to clay with quick detailer or car shampoo. Don't hesitate to be liberal with the shampoo or quick detailer. You need as much lube as possible to prevent marring.

3. Place the clay on the car and glide the clay across the lubricated surface. You should not use any pressure on the clay. Just let the clay glide back and forth to remove the contaminants. Repeat areas that still have rough paint. Do the same to the entire car.

4. If you are using quick detailer, it is probably a good idea to wash the car after you are done in order to remove the dirty detailer that may have dried on the car's surface. If you used car shampoo, then make sure you rinse the areas you clay when you done with that portion of the car.

5. After claying, it is recommended to move straight onto the polishing stage or the waxing stage. By claying, you are essentially removing any wax protection that you had on the paint. By waxing on a perfectly conditioned surface, you will achieve better shine and more durability from your wax.

FAQs:

1. Will claying damage the paint on my car?
If you use enough lubricant with the clay, the clay cannot possibly damage the paint on your car. It will not remove any clearcoat.

2. Do I need to clay a brand new car?
It is certainly a good idea to clay even a brand new car. In shipment, cars are usually transported by railroad, and sometimes dirt or metal particles (microscopic) can be embedded into the paint of the car. Claying will ensure the best for your brand new car.
Last edited by mikebai1990 on Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby NjSi » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:57 pm

I have this wax Called Zaino.....it works wonders.....more info is up on there site at http://www.zainostore.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc My car used to be black...after about 3 coats of this stuff, its lookin more of a midnight blue pearl.....atm i have about 30 coats on my car and water just beads off it....Very good stuff i give it a 10/10

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Postby mikebai1990 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:09 pm

How to Properly Clean Wheels

Having clean wheels is very important to the general appearance of the car. Properly maintaining the wheels well prevent brake dust from sticking on to the car. Protecting the insides and outsides of the wheels will prevent pitting and corrosion. It is important to begin the protection early in the wheel's life.

1, Take the entire wheel off of the car. Make sure to jack the up the car safely. Use jack stands in case of jack failure.

2. Wheels that are stuck with brake dust can be cleaned using wheel cleaners. Usually, wheel cleaners should be handled with caution, because they may be acidic or basic. Spray the wheel cleaner onto the wheel and let it dwell. Then agitate with a wheel brush. Rinse off with water. Do the same with the inside of the wheel.

3. Use a durable wax or sealant to protect the wheel. By protecting the insides and outsides of the wheels, brake dust will no longer stick to the car. Even a simple swipe of the finger will remove any brake dust if there is wax protection on the wheels.

4. Next time, you can just use some car wash shampoo, and the brake dust and any dirt will come right off.

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Postby mikebai1990 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:13 pm

Cleaning the Underbody

The underbody of the car is constantly subjected to dirt, mud, sand, and salt from the roads. Thus, it is prone to rusting. The underbody of the car should be cleaned with a pressure washer or a strong water sprayer. During the winter, the driver should try to spray the underbody of the car to remove the salt that is used on the roads. By spraying the underbody, rust is relatively less likely to occur.

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Postby mikebai1990 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:29 pm

How Often do I need to Wax?

Does completely depends on the type of wax you are using and the conditions where you park your car. If you use a heavy carnauba wax (Collinite), or a sealant (Zaino), multiple layers should yield protection of up to 6 months or so. Most over-the-counter waxes such has Mothers Cleaner Wax, Meguiars NXT/Gold Class should last around 1-2 months.

Protection can generally be gauged by the beading of water on the paint. If the beading pattern of the water is even, tight, and spherical, then the wax is protecting very well. If the water beads are highly distorted or having a sheet-of-water appearance, then most likely the wax has lost it's protection. However, sometimes tar and dirt can also decrease the beading performance. Thus, it is usually good to wash the car first before analyzing beading.

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Postby violinandbass87 » Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:47 am

mikebai1990 wrote:Cleaning the Underbody

The underbody of the car is constantly subjected to dirt, mud, sand, and salt from the roads. Thus, it is prone to rusting. The underbody of the car should be cleaned with a pressure washer or a strong water sprayer. During the winter, the driver should try to spray the underbody of the car to remove the salt that is used on the roads. By spraying the underbody, rust is relatively less likely to occur.


if you have your car on the ground, how do you wash the underside of the car?


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