Car Cleaning/Care FAQ

What to do to keep your car looking and running like new, inside and out.
tobigooddog

Post by tobigooddog » Mon Apr 23, 2007 2:50 pm

ENGINE SHAMPOOS

Some carwash places offer this service, which apparently includes engine degreasing and then regreasing everything that needs to be greased. Can someone please describe underhood cleaning and detailing, and the products used to take the grease off, and the parts that I am supposed to be greasing again, and just generally what to do to bring the underhood area back to brand new condition.

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Post by Nychold » Mon Apr 23, 2007 3:48 pm

tobigooddog wrote:ENGINE SHAMPOOS

Some carwash places offer this service, which apparently includes engine degreasing and then regreasing everything that needs to be greased. Can someone please describe underhood cleaning and detailing, and the products used to take the grease off, and the parts that I am supposed to be greasing again, and just generally what to do to bring the underhood area back to brand new condition.
I can't think of any parts under a hood that would need to be greased on the outside. But maybe some of the other guys can help with that part. As for how to remove grease, get a degreaser. They usually come in squirt bottles, and can be found in any car detailing section of just about any store. I use some orange "Lightning" stuff from Wal-Mart to clean my rims. Very good stuff. To degrease a whole engine, you'll probably want to unscrew the top, and pour the whole bottle over the engine, and possible multiple bottles, then hit it with a hose. Or even get in there with a scrub brush, and help break the gunk off before hitting it with water.

But I've never had to shampoo an engine before, so I might be wrong about all this. :)
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Post by tobigooddog » Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:14 pm

Is my engine supposed to be running while I'm hosing it down?

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Post by mikebai1990 » Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:24 pm

I would leave the engine off. As a precaution, cover up your electrical parts with saran wrap or aluminum foil to prevent possible electric damage. Do not direct pressured water into areas like alternator, battery, etc.

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Post by Tinton » Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:40 pm

tobigooddog wrote:Is my engine supposed to be running while I'm hosing it down?
Yes, when you're running water on the engine, it should be running. That's what I've always been told, it has something to do with the electrical connections. If you don't run it while you put water over it, then you need to at least start it and get it hot so it'll make the water evaporate fast off of it. Also, if the car is running, don't spray water on the exhaust manifolds. You might crack them.

Engine detailing is my specialty, lol. I use any old engine degreaser (use something you get from Pep Boys, not what they supply at a car wash). I usually spray it on when the motors cold, let it sit for 5 minutes. Then I either turn the engine on and spray it with water, or leave the motor off and spray it with water, then turn it on immediately after. After the motor dries off I use a product called CD2. Its very rare and hard to find (at least in my area) but its a miracle worker. You spray it everywhere in the engine bay, when the motor is cold. It'll look streaky as you spray it on. Come back when its dry (an hour or 2) and the engine will be perfectly shiny, no streaks, and it'll smell nice too.

Link to CD2: http://www.amazon.com/CD-2-Engine-Detai ... B0002JMAOS

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Post by mikebai1990 » Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:55 pm

Tinton, I'm not sure how professional you are, but from what I've been reading over at autopia, I thought that the engine is best turned off, while the electrical connections are covered. When I look at the processes of the engine detailers over there, they always leave the engines off. Keeping the engine off ensures that 1)Your hands don't get caught in the belts, and you don't get electrocuted 2)Areas like the alternator, while conducting electricity, don't come in contact with water.

CD2 is definitely a highly regarded engine dresser, although since I can't find it locally, I usually use Armor All Tire Foam to dress the engine.

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Post by Sypher » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:15 pm

Yup, I heard to keep the engine off and wrap off the electrical areas too. Also, Simple green is a good degreaser... but becareful not to get any on the paint. It corrodes paint

tobigooddog

Post by tobigooddog » Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:01 am

paul34 wrote:Man, I realize all my procedure write-ups are too long. Sorry, it was really only meant to be 3-4 steps :|
aww :) I would have been seriously worried if you came up with only 3 steps for anything car cleaning related. Thanks for all the advice, can't wait for a nice day to shampoo my engine!

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Post by Denny2217 » Mon May 28, 2007 7:54 pm

The best information i found and use today was from http://www.meguiarsonline.com and look though the forum. Tons of information and useful tips there. great people thre to.. i reccomed u all take a look.


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Post by mikebai1990 » Mon May 28, 2007 9:31 pm

http://www.autopia.org is also a great source to get info. I find Meg's to be quite Meguiars-biased, so I generally look for help on autopia.org.

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Post by eaglecatcher » Mon May 28, 2007 10:38 pm

I read online today, that you should polish your car no more than once a year, twice a year at most.

I know some people do the whole wax clay polish thing more than just in the spring and fall, so I was wondering if anyone agrees with that? The reason was it took too much off of the clear coat after too many times.
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Post by hockeystyx16 » Mon May 28, 2007 11:21 pm

i washed/degreased my engine today. it had some sludge on it, and every time i drove spirited, engine heat would make that sludge start to melt and it stunk like sh1t after i slowed back down and wind didnt blow all the stench behind the car.

i got a can of engine degreaser from ace, after i got back home, i opened the hood, let the car cool for 5 minutes, pulled the battery, and doused engine with the degreaser. went at it with a toothbrush. then with the leftovers i sprayed some on all the fluid containers, strut towers, firewall, everything. let it sit for a couple minutes. then sprayed everything down with the garden hose.

engine is nice and clean now. i dont think its leaking or burning oil (oil hasnt moved down on the dipstick in the past 2 weeks) but if it is seeping thru somewhere, now i can tell exactly where. engine bay smells like sh1t from the degreaser, but its alright. i dont have a problem with it.
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Post by mikebai1990 » Tue May 29, 2007 5:10 pm

eaglecatcher, that rule is generally true if by polish you mean machine buffing with a random orbital or a rotary. If you polish by hand, you won't need to worry about removing too much clearcoat. It's very hard to removing clearcoat just by hand. Of course, you could be extreme and point out 2000-3000 grit sandpaper, but I mean liquid polishes.

The best way to prevent the need to polish so much is to evaluate and change your washing regimen so that you don't create swirls and scratches on the paint surface. If you can do that, then you will only need to clay and wax in the future.

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Post by eaglecatcher » Tue May 29, 2007 5:13 pm

my paint already had swirls when I bought it, I guess the lady liked machine car washes. I have to give it to her though, at least she drove a stick and kept it fairly maintained.

I really don't need to polish though, I only did the whole car when I got it just to shine it up a bit, but iv'e got some paint scuffs (where the hell did they come from) on the front end that looks like little rock chips, as well as a paint line on my front bumper where a car rubbed up against mine and left a 6 inch long line of white paint. no scratches, just a paint transfer.
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Post by eaglecatcher » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:56 am

Evaunits01 wrote:Im wondering how to wash bug crap off my car. I dont know what exactly what kind of bug crap, but i have a lot of grasshopper in the area and i'm assuming that what it is. Problem is that i tried washing it off, but i wont come off. I used mircofiber towels to RUB it off (with pressure) and it takes forever for it to get off. I also used an old towel which worked fine, but i can see little scratches over the area i used it.... =/

Anyways to summarize:
1) How do i get rid of bug crap on my car....?
2) After i wash car, how do i get rid of my old wax so i can apply new wax.
3) If i live in an area with realllly hard water should i not wash my car?
first off, the best way to get it off, would be to have a layer of wax under it. seeing as it wont come off, you probably don't have any wax on that spot. if you're really in a pinch, you can either a) get some of the bug/tar remover. harsh, but effective, or you can b) use a claybar, and I promise that will pull that crap off like that. elbow grease can be effective, but it can also be damaging to your paint, so be careful not to work too hard.

1) bug/tar remover or a clay bar. I also use wash mitts to wash my car. The only thing I use microfiber for is for buffing. For stuff that gets stuck on, I use a cotton terry cloth and lots of suds. microfiber isn't the best for washing IMO.

2) if you want to remove the old wax, clay bar, but if you're going for an all out detail, by the time you polish and clay like you should, you will be down to the plain clearcoat for a fresh wax coat or two (I prefer two coats, 2nd applied usually a day or two after the 1st) I often however, just apply my wax on top of the old coats if I'm not going for a full detail.

3) umm, thats like saying "I don't have a hot water heater, does that mean I shouldn't take showers" if you have hard water, you will just have to be more diligent in drying the car. Try to do it out of direct sunlight, and have several towels (waffle weave are my favorite) and dry the car off ASAP. If I just spray my car down, I get loads of water spots (which I absolutely despise) but if I dry it quickly, I don't get a single spot, and we have hard water here as well. There are filters you can buy, I believe it was Paul on here that was buying one, maybe not, I dunno, we'll see if he chimes in, but that just makes towel drying even less of a necessity because it removes all the impurities, so nothign is left on the paint (water spots) after the water evaporates.

if you've got any more questions, feel free to ask. There are a few others around here that are as obsessive about detailing their car as I am, so maybe they can offer some advice as well.

I will say though, that a full arsenal of cloths and towels and all other chemicals and supplies needed, makes cleaning your car worlds easier. Its expensive to buy all that stuff, I've probably spent oh, 400 bucks or so on cleaning supplies since I got my car 8 months ago.

of course, once you buy all the towels and rags, you can just wash them a reuse them, so they can be used many times before they have to be replaced, and having more than enough rags and towels is always better than not enough.
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