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Washing/Detailing your car: What do you do/use?


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55 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Deathlok

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 12:27 PM

Was looking at the car detailing vids on youtube. I THINK I got the basics down. Wash the car, either use a leaf blower or chamois to dry the car. Use a mag cleaner, spray on & hose off, then mag wheel polish, aerosol spray black tire product (not pump spray as it flies all over the place), interior clean wipes or a jay cloth & water, leather cleaner/moisturizer. (STAY away from armorall)


I was looking at things like 5 star shine, which is suppose to bond to your car paint to protect it, so whats the truth about things like this?
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#2 OFFLINE   akirby

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 12:47 PM

Wash the car with car wash soap (not dishwashing liquid unless you want to strip off the old wax). Do NOT use a sponge. Keep 2 buckets (1 clean and 1 dirty for rinsing). Use a good quality carnauba wax or other paint protectant like Zaino. They all work - it really comes down to personal preference as to which one to use. On the interior, use a good quality leather conditioner and cleaner. The rest is really just cosmetic.
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#3 OFFLINE   Deathlok

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 01:00 PM

Ok, so far, this is what I have found:

DO:

I usually go to a bay car wash & hose off the dirt. I either blow dry or use a SHAW W@W to dry off the car. But I still get streaks! But I have NOT used one of those washing mitts YET because I am scared of scratching my paint. I am going to get one of those genuine sheepskin washing mitts

For the wheels, I spray on a mag wheel cleaner, let sit for 1 min or so, then hose off. Mag polish & then spray on Megs black tire look.

Don'ts:

Never take your car through a auto car wash. Those have a higher prob. of scratching your car paint.
I know NOT to ever use those brushes in the car washes. Again, those trap dirt & will scratch.
Never use a sponge, this will trap some dirt & scratch.
Always dry the water off your car in a straight line, the way the water flows off the car, never use a circular motion , this might cause swirls.

Questions:
What about waxes? Paint sealant like 5 star shine? etc?

What about taking my car to places like Ziebarts or Mings & getting a professional power polish & waxing once a year, say in the spring?

Do car covers help or do they scratch? (wind blowing them a round, putting on & taking off = scratching the paint, etc)
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#4 OFFLINE   bbf2530

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 01:39 PM

Was looking at the car detailing vids on youtube. I THINK I got the basics down. Wash the car, either use a leaf blower or chamois to dry the car. Use a mag cleaner, spray on & hose off, then mag wheel polish, aerosol spray black tire product (not pump spray as it flies all over the place), interior clean wipes or a jay cloth & water, leather cleaner/moisturizer. (STAY away from armorall)


I was looking at things like 5 star shine, which is suppose to bond to your car paint to protect it, so whats the truth about things like this?


Hi Deathlok. :D Just to add to akirby's good advice, and attempt to answer some of your other questions: First, do not use "mag" wheel cleaners on your wheels.

The Fusion wheels, for the most part except for the ones that have covers on them, are painted or polished then clearcoated (simply a clear paint). Essentially, you clean and protect them the same way you do your paint. All you need to do is wash them with the same car wash soap and water as you use on your paint finish, then protect them with a coat of wax every so often.

My advice/opinions on your other questions and Do's/Dont's:
1. Skip the "ShamWow'. Use 100% cotton towels, or purchase dedicated microfiber towels made specifically for automotive paint finishes.
2. Purchase a good quality wash mitt. If all you are doing is attempting to power wash the dirt off, then drying with a ShawWow, you are rubbing left over dirt on the paint. You can not get the paint 100% clean without using a wash mitt.
3. Again, skip the "Mag" wheel cleaners. They are not necessary, and according to the ingredients can be harmful to the wheel finish.
4. All of your "Dont's" are good advice to follow.

Waxes? You will get a ton of advice. I use Meguiar's products. Specifically Meguiar's Gold Class Liquid Wax. Of course there are other good brands such as Mother's, Zaino, etc. I just happen to prefer Meguiar's.

No matter what wax, sealant or other product you may use, you will need to apply it at least a few times a year for full protection. No "paint sealant" or other product will allow you to have a maintenance free paint finish, no matter what the claims. Especially not if you are careful and proud of your cars appearance.

Car covers? They are very helpful, if you use it. So, you need to really determine how often you will use a cover before purchasing one. Good custom fit covers cost several hundred dollars. So if you use your car as a daily driver, you may quickly tire of covering it every night and uncovering it in the morning. Additionally, you need to keep the car clean to cover it. You do not cover a dirty car, since the cover will scratch the paint finish if it is dirty. A good quality car cover (like those made by Covercraft - LINK: Covercraft) will not scratch your paint finish, if used properly. Do not even bother if you are only going to purchase a cheap cover.

Hope this information helps.

Good luck. :beerchug:
2007 Lincoln MKZ - 3.5 liter V-6/6 Speed ATX - Alloy Clearcoat Metallic/Light Stone Leather with Dark Ebony Wood

#5 OFFLINE   skluck

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 02:33 PM

Couple things:

Do not buy the sheepskin mitt from autogeek. It is garbage and lasted me 3 washes before falling to pieces, they are sending me another one (great customer service), but I don't trust the quality.

I use a sponge for the plastic wheel well liners, sheepskin for the car, and a chenille sponge for the very bottom of the car (below the door sills basically) where most of the dirt collects.

I use a supreme guzzler waffleweave microfiber towel for drying the car, it works amazingly well.

#6 OFFLINE   Deathlok

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 05:44 PM

Ok, just to be clear, I use Meguair's hot trim wheel cleaner on the rims, then Mother's chrome & aluminum polish.

And to remove the dust from the roof, hood, and truck, I have to use a wash mitt? I thought I can just use the force of the water from the wand type car wash for that, and a wash mitt for the sides. Is this right?

I am going to buy a sheepskin mitt from Canadian Tire. I have NOT used anything on my car but the water from one of those wand type car washes. So the doors, side panels & below the doors have NEVER been touched with a towel or chamois or anything. I understand there is dirt there. I wanted to check on what I should use before I start rubbing & scratch the crap out of my paint!

so will get me a sheepskin mitt from Canadian Tire, then wash those areas with that.

What about a Squeegee to get rid of most of the water?
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#7 OFFLINE   bbf2530

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 06:30 PM

Ok, just to be clear, I use Meguair's hot trim wheel cleaner on the rims, then Mother's chrome & aluminum polish.

And to remove the dust from the roof, hood, and truck, I have to use a wash mitt? I thought I can just use the force of the water from the wand type car wash for that, and a wash mitt for the sides. Is this right?

I am going to buy a sheepskin mitt from Canadian Tire. I have NOT used anything on my car but the water from one of those wand type car washes. So the doors, side panels & below the doors have NEVER been touched with a towel or chamois or anything. I understand there is dirt there. I wanted to check on what I should use before I start rubbing & scratch the crap out of my paint!

so will get me a sheepskin mitt from Canadian Tire, then wash those areas with that.

What about a Squeegee to get rid of most of the water?


Hi Deathlok. :D Unfortunately, you have lot of innocent misconceptions concerning the proper way to wash and maintain your paint finish. For example, no you cannot usually "...just use the force of the water from the wand type car wash for that (the roof), and a wash mitt for the sides". You need to use car wash soap and water, unless your car has just been cleaned and waxed and is still clean (in which case, you would not need to clean it anyway).

If your car is cleaned and waxed and you are only removing "dust", then purchase a California Car Duster type of duster for that purpose. It will save you a lot of work and headaches.

And again, you do not need to use a "chrome/aluminum" wheel cleaner. As long as it is the clearcoat safe version, there is nothing wrong with "Meguiar's Hot Wheels" wheel cleaner (I am guessing that is what you meant?). But a good car wash soap and water along with a coat of wax once in a while is perfect for the job.

And again, you should not be using a chrome or aluminum polish on your wheels. They are clearcoated (coated with a clear paint), so all you are doing is possible damaging the clearcoat. You are not polishing chrome or aluminum, since the outer layer is clearcoat paint. You should only use chrome or aluminum polishes on chrome or aluminum (bare aluminum). Not on clearcoat paint, or clearcoated wheels.

Look at it this way: Would you use a chrome or aluminum polish on your cars paint finish? No, of course not. But that is what you are doing if you use it on clearcoated wheels.

Instead of us trying to explain all of the intricacies of proper paint care, it would be easier for you to do some reading/research.

I would advise you start on these three websites. Read the "How-to's" and "FAQ's" concerning detailing and car care.

LINK: Meguiar's

LINK: Autopia

LINK: Mother's

You will be able to learn more form those websites than any/all of us could ever get across in a bunch of short Internet posts.

Hope these websites help.

Good luck. :beerchug:
2007 Lincoln MKZ - 3.5 liter V-6/6 Speed ATX - Alloy Clearcoat Metallic/Light Stone Leather with Dark Ebony Wood

#8 OFFLINE   Deathlok

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 06:45 PM

Ok I get it. But what do I use to get the rims extra shiny & glossy? (Just hand dry em?) (after I have washed them)

And zi can still use the Mother's on the chrome on the front & back of the car!
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#9 OFFLINE   bbf2530

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 07:31 PM

Ok I get it. But what do I use to get the rims extra shiny & glossy? (Just hand dry em?) (after I have washed them)

And zi can still use the Mother's on the chrome on the front & back of the car!


Hi Deathlok. :D As I previously mentioned: Since the wheels are clearcoat painted, after you wash them, you wax the wheels just as you would your paint finish. That will keep them "extra shiny and glossy", just like it does with your paint finish. And just like your paint, there is no need to wax them every time you wash the car, just as you do not have to wax your car every time you wash it (unless you do not wash it for months at a time).

Concerning the "chrome on the front and back of the car". Yes, you wash and wax that too, just as you do your paint. It is simply chromed plastic trim.

Hope this helps.

Good luck. :beerchug:
2007 Lincoln MKZ - 3.5 liter V-6/6 Speed ATX - Alloy Clearcoat Metallic/Light Stone Leather with Dark Ebony Wood

#10 OFFLINE   FFHdriver

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 09:10 PM

Hi Deathlok. :D Unfortunately, you have lot of innocent misconceptions concerning the proper way to wash and maintain your paint finish. For example, no you cannot usually "...just use the force of the water from the wand type car wash for that (the roof), and a wash mitt for the sides". You need to use car wash soap and water, unless your car has just been cleaned and waxed and is still clean (in which case, you would not need to clean it anyway).

If your car is cleaned and waxed and you are only removing "dust", then purchase a California Car Duster type of duster for that purpose. It will save you a lot of work and headaches.

And again, you do not need to use a "chrome/aluminum" wheel cleaner. As long as it is the clearcoat safe version, there is nothing wrong with "Meguiar's Hot Wheels" wheel cleaner (I am guessing that is what you meant?). But a good car wash soap and water along with a coat of wax once in a while is perfect for the job.

And again, you should not be using a chrome or aluminum polish on your wheels. They are clearcoated (coated with a clear paint), so all you are doing is possible damaging the clearcoat. You are not polishing chrome or aluminum, since the outer layer is clearcoat paint. You should only use chrome or aluminum polishes on chrome or aluminum (bare aluminum). Not on clearcoat paint, or clearcoated wheels.

Look at it this way: Would you use a chrome or aluminum polish on your cars paint finish? No, of course not. But that is what you are doing if you use it on clearcoated wheels.

Instead of us trying to explain all of the intricacies of proper paint care, it would be easier for you to do some reading/research.

I would advise you start on these three websites. Read the "How-to's" and "FAQ's" concerning detailing and car care.

LINK: Meguiar's

LINK: Autopia

LINK: Mother's

You will be able to learn more form those websites than any/all of us could ever get across in a bunch of short Internet posts.

Hope these websites help.

Good luck. :beerchug:

I like Meguiars products, but IMHO the best wax I ever used was the Klasse AIO/SG combination. It's expensive but you use very little for the entire car and it lasts a long time.
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#11 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 03:46 PM

What bbf2530 said about reapplying was is partially true. All waxes no matter how good they are require two things, buffing, and upkeep. The UV from the sun and heat break the wax down, most of it dissipates into gasses, but he wax base remains on the paint, and after a few years of applying wax, it eventually builds up and starts to look dull no matter how much you buff it and needs to be removed. The Zaino polish really is a one time application, but it is not maintenance free either. If you apply 2 coats, preferably 4 to start, that is it, you really don't need to ever apply another coat, unless you fail to keep it clean. The upkeep though is very simple. A simple spray down and wipe with either Z6 or the new Z8 Grand Finale is all you need to maintain the look. If you do it at least once a month, the surface will remain slick, if you do it once a week, it is even better, if you let it go too long though, dirt will start to stick to the paint and you will need to clay the surface again with Z6, but you wont need to reapply any Z2. I have been using this stuff since 2001 when I got my first new Ford F150.

Application is also easier than using wax, no, repeat, no buffing required, you don't need to use a mechanical polisher with Z2. I bought the accelerator kit from them, which include 4 2 oz bottles and a little tube of accelerator, you put 1 oz of Z2 in the bottle and a few drops of accelerator, shake it up good, and it good for the first two coats, and will probably have enough left over for a third, but you can only do 2 in 24 hours, it needs to setup overnight before applying any more coats. When you apply it, you use the cotton applicator pad they recommend and start off with a quarter sized spot of Z2, which should cover the entire hood and part of the fenders, if it doesn't, you are putting it on too heavy. You should barely see it when it hazes. Do this to the entire car, which should take about 30 minutes, and by then it is ready to be polished off. Using a clean cotton terry cloth towel, wipe the car off, changing the towel sides often. Like I mentioned above, no buffing required, a simple wipe off is all it takes for an immediate shine. Once done, wipe the entire car down with a fine mist of Z6, doing a small section at a time with a clean terry cloth towel. Once you are done with that, apply the second coat, which you will find actually goes on easier now than the first coat did. Wait 30 minutes again, and wipe it all down again, and apply another wipe down of Z6. If you want a deeper gloss, do it again the next day. After that, just a wipe down after washing it with Z6 is all you need for upkeep. I did my Diamond Black Veracruz the week after I got it, and for 2 years, all it needed was an occasional wipe down with Z6, and it still looked like it was just waxed. The darker the color the more intense the glow.



Here read this review and check out the pictures, This stuff really is amazing.

Zaino Review
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#12 OFFLINE   commishbob

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 06:23 PM

I swear by Zymol car wash concentrate. Not the 'Cleaner Wax' but the clear blue car wash. Trouble is is that it's become very difficult to find. I've resorted to eBAY and sometimes Amazon. It's great stuff. Ii use a quality mitt and dry with the artificial chamois I find at discount stores for about $7/$8 and come in a plastic tube. I used a mag cleaner on previous vehicles but won't on my FF because of the painted inserts. As mentioned I plan to just use mitt and the same Zymol wash.
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#13 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 01:24 PM

I swear by Zymol car wash concentrate. Not the 'Cleaner Wax' but the clear blue car wash. Trouble is is that it's become very difficult to find. I've resorted to eBAY and sometimes Amazon. It's great stuff. Ii use a quality mitt and dry with the artificial chamois I find at discount stores for about $7/$8 and come in a plastic tube. I used a mag cleaner on previous vehicles but won't on my FF because of the painted inserts. As mentioned I plan to just use mitt and the same Zymol wash.


You can use the Zaino car wash instead of Zymol when you can't find it anymore. It does a really good job cleaning the car, smells good too.
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#14 OFFLINE   commishbob

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 12:21 PM

You can use the Zaino car wash instead of Zymol when you can't find it anymore. It does a really good job cleaning the car, smells good too.


Yeah, the more I hear/read about that Zaino products the more intrigued I am. I just ordered a large bottle of Zymol off eBAY (and paid through the nose for it) but when I run out I'll give the Zaino stuff a shot.
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#15 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 02:05 PM

Real Zymol I heard is great, just not the crap you buy off the shelf.
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#16 OFFLINE   commishbob

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:07 PM

Real Zymol I heard is great, just not the crap you buy off the shelf.



Yeah, the Zymol "cleaner/wax" stuff or whatever it is they call it that I find these days just isn't the same stuff.
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#17 OFFLINE   JJay03

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:47 AM

Yeah, the Zymol "cleaner/wax" stuff or whatever it is they call it that I find these days just isn't the same stuff.


I use meguiars professional line all the way I have bought quite a bit of stuff from here.
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#18 OFFLINE   enfuego

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:14 PM

The only two things im goin to throw out there are the california water blade it awsome will dry like 90% of the car streak water spot free insatantly. then just dry how you would around like door handles and what not. It really cuts the dry time down alot and works great. the real blade not fakes the one with th T blade.

And 2 is REJEX really check this stuff out it was designed by NASA to help keep the space shuttles cooler on re entry and works awesome these are just suggestion and i know you guys have products you love. i have used stuff from mother,megs,3m,car brite and so one from sellers like ARATARI that stop and sell products to dealers and i find these to work better hope this might help someone out
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1993 Taurus SHO MTX oxford white
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#19 OFFLINE   highway

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:02 PM

The only two things im goin to throw out there are the california water blade it awsome will dry like 90% of the car streak water spot free insatantly. then just dry how you would around like door handles and what not. It really cuts the dry time down alot and works great. the real blade not fakes the one with th T blade.

And 2 is REJEX really check this stuff out it was designed by NASA to help keep the space shuttles cooler on re entry and works awesome these are just suggestion and i know you guys have products you love. i have used stuff from mother,megs,3m,car brite and so one from sellers like ARATARI that stop and sell products to dealers and i find these to work better hope this might help someone out


I use the zaino AIO/Z2. One thing i do is after the wash I blow off the car with my leaf blower, especially the crook/crannies around the lights, mirrors etc... where they water always drip after you dry it.. I then i run over it with an absorber :)

#20 OFFLINE   enfuego

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:08 PM

I use the zaino AIO/Z2. One thing i do is after the wash I blow off the car with my leaf blower, especially the crook/crannies around the lights, mirrors etc... where they water always drip after you dry it.. I then i run over it with an absorber :)

Leaf blower sweet never thought of that but when i wash it at work i use shop air so not much different only more bad a$$ with the blower
2010 Fusion Se tuxedo black
1993 Taurus SHO MTX oxford white
2006 F150 black
1988 F150 black
94 Bronco red winter truck
91 Taurus SHO oxford white the project




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