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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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Car Washing / Basics

Here is an article I wrote for a local newspaper, thought I owuld share it with you.

Car Washing/Basics

I spend a great deal of time helping people with their car care needs.
The number one question I get asked is about how to properly wash a
car. Many people are going to automatic car washes these days because
it’s convenient and saves time. The reality is that the best procedure
and the way to ensure a great finish is to hand wash your car
yourself. Before I discuss the steps on hand washing, let’s take look
at the different automatic washes and how they affect your car. I have
had many people tell me their car looks great and all they do is run it
through a car wash once a week or so. I have also heard a number of
people tell me they had wheels damaged, antennas broken, outside
mirrors cracked, and paint swirled from automatic washes. To those
having good luck using automatic washes, eventually your luck will
end. Odds are that at some point your car will get damaged. The brush
car washes come in direct contact with your car’s finish. This is how
swirls occur in paint. The touch-less wash is better for your finish
and is the preferred method for cold weather washes when you can’t do
it yourself outside. The best solution is to make sure you properly
detail your car twice a year, getting a good quality paint sealant on
the finish. Hand wash whenever possible, and only use a touch-less
pressure wash in cold months. If you clay your car during every
complete detail, it will be easier to maintain during the cold months.
(See my web site for how to clay www.perfectautofinish.com)
When you hand wash always use car wash soap -- NEVER use dish detergent
or laundry soap. Work in the shade; the sun can cause water spots.
Use the two bucket method – one bucket for soap, one for rinsing. Use
chenille mitts or micro fiber mitts, don’t use sponges or towels.
Have some all-purpose cleaner on hand for the wheels and tires, Simple
Green or 409 work well. To start, rinse the car, getting it wet from
top to bottom. Starting at the top and working with the soapy water
solution and wash mitt, do a small section at a time, rinsing as you
go. Pay attention to problem areas that won’t come off with the soap,
like tar and overspray. Don’t worry about those areas now; come back
to them after the initial wash. Change water as often as necessary,
depending on how dirty your car is. When you take the mitt from the
soapy water to the finish, return it to the plain water bucket, that
way you won’t transfer contaminants back to your car. After you wash
the entire vehicle, rinse well. Before you get to the wheels and
tires, you should dry the car so water spots don’t occur. To dry, use
an electric leaf blower and a waffle weave micro fiber towel. Don’t
use terri towels or chamois because they can scratch the finish. The
electric leaf blower will get water out from behind emblems, trim,
molding and other areas where water can sit and hide. Next, spray some
all purpose cleaner on the tires and wheels. Use a wheel brush and
soapy water to clean tires, wheels and wheel wells. For stubborn brake
dust, use an alkaline cleaner (see my web site for more info) then
rinse well. Now go back and inspect the finish. If you see any
foreign contaminant on the finish, use a small piece of clay to remove
it. Spray some water based dressing on the tires, stay away from
solvent dressings. Make sure you move the car up a little to dress the
underside of the tire. Apply a coat of wax or paint sealant on
wheels. Keep in mind that it is extremely important to clay your car;
this procedure removes surface contaminants that do not come off during
the wash cycle. (for claying information see my web site) Drying your
car without removing these particles will create all sorts of problems
like swirls and scratches. If you follow these simple guidelines you
will keep your car looking its best.
Gary Kouba, Owner Perfect Auto Finish
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-20-2006, 05:30 PM
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Introducing some of Gary's very informative posts.

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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-02-2007, 09:12 PM
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Given the fact that there is a clear coat over the paint, can anyone tell me how important is a microfiber towel for washing/drying

Bluestone/Redline
Order 11/04/06
3000-11/16/06
3300-12/20/06
Delivered 12/28/2006
In the Driveway 12/29/2006
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-02-2007, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
Given the fact that there is a clear coat over the paint, can anyone tell me how important is a microfiber towel for washing/drying
I'm sure Gary can do a better job here, but VERY important. Clear coat is a very thin, couple of mils or paper thick, unpigmented paint. Scratch that up with abrasive drying towels and it can take a professional detailer to remove, it it's possible at all.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-02-2007, 10:48 PM
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True, true, very true...

I can attest, Gary knows what he is talking about.

My SKY has never, ever been machine washed. Looked after this myself. Two weeks ago I took my SKY to Gary's on the recommendation of another forum member Eye on Sky.

When I picked up my car three hours later the difference in appearance was like night and day. It now has a finish that shines like a new mirror.

CS
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-02-2007, 11:08 PM
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Ok........thanks guys. I guess I am going out to buy some microfiber.

Bluestone/Redline
Order 11/04/06
3000-11/16/06
3300-12/20/06
Delivered 12/28/2006
In the Driveway 12/29/2006
Monsoon/single CD
Rear Spoiler
Tan/Tan
Chrome
Auto
CLEAR BRA
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 06:46 AM
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Microfiber...

...The only way to dry

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 08:26 AM
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Just a few Washing tip I use for my Sky.
1st-I always start with the tires, including washing the inside of the rims & fenderwells (once dry I coat with 303 Aerospace) then start a new bucket of soap & begin with the car.
2nd- I never ever get soap on the ragtop. Soap removes the RaggTopp protectant and when it's time to clean it I use the RaggTopp cleaner then protectant again. I vacuum my top after ever 2 days of driving to keep the dust out of the cloth.
3rd- Amen to the leaf blower!
4th-After ever wash I wipe under the hood, all plastic engine parts I can reach, under the trunk lid, edging of all door. If done every time it makes it a breeze to clean. I even wax the door seals & edgings.
5th- 303 Aerospace protectant all black plastic, headlight covers, wheels, wheel wells, mug guards, fenderwells, etc.

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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
Ok........thanks guys. I guess I am going out to buy some microfiber.
If you have a Dollar General near you, they have them in stock in bundles of three. They also have a microfiber wash mit.

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny Ragtop View Post
Just a few Washing tip I use for my Sky.
1st-I always start with the tires, including washing the inside of the rims & fenderwells (once dry I coat with 303 Aerospace) then start a new bucket of soap & begin with the car.
2nd- I never ever get soap on the ragtop. Soap removes the RaggTopp protectant and when it's time to clean it I use the RaggTopp cleaner then protectant again. I vacuum my top after ever 2 days of driving to keep the dust out of the cloth.
3rd- Amen to the leaf blower!
4th-After ever wash I wipe under the hood, all plastic engine parts I can reach, under the trunk lid, edging of all door. If done every time it makes it a breeze to clean. I even wax the door seals & edgings.
5th- 303 Aerospace protectant all black plastic, headlight covers, wheels, wheel wells, mug guards, fenderwells, etc.
With the exception of me doing my tires/wheels last you have my routine copied. Have you been spying on me?


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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Red Line View Post
If you have a Dollar General near you, they have them in stock in bundles of three. They also have a microfiber wash mit.

I found some online at ERIE microfiber.......but they didn't have the mitt.......That is something I am going to look for at DG.........Thanks Red Line

Bluestone/Redline
Order 11/04/06
3000-11/16/06
3300-12/20/06
Delivered 12/28/2006
In the Driveway 12/29/2006
Monsoon/single CD
Rear Spoiler
Tan/Tan
Chrome
Auto
CLEAR BRA
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 12:45 PM
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Are we supposed to detail the car as soon as we get it home?
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 04:50 PM
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I would, you would be surprised how much crap is on the paint surface, factory crap, railroad crap, trucking crap, highway crap, all other crap--
Bath it, clay it, bath it again, dry it, polish it and seal it--oh yea, cars in heaven--
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by It's my turn View Post
Are we supposed to detail the car as soon as we get it home?
Have a look at Gary's First detail thread. Short answer is yes, you don't have to, but after a half day of bonding with your new car, you'll be thrilled with the results. You might also want to look over Gary's Detailing kits to get just about everything you'd need to get it done right.
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-03-2007, 07:43 PM
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Thanks--I've already read that thread entirely and priced-out my Super Kit #4, plus the Ragtop cleaner and protectant, a washing mit, a couple of applicators, plus a couple of foam wax applicators. I just didn't see exactly when you are supposed to first detail your car. It says that you want to remove any wax that the dealer or you have put on the car, so I wasn't sure if I was suppposed to wax first or something. Sorry, I'm a newbie.

I haven't broken the news to my husband yet that it's going to cost another couple hundred bucks to protect the car properly. I think I'm going to squirrel away the $200 a little at a time and am hoping that when we pick up our Sky the salesman will ask us if we want the car detailed for a lot more than $200. Then I can say, "honey, we can do it ourselves for around $200 and I already bought all the stuff." Then I become the hero instead of "you spent how much on what???" Pretty sad, when I'm the major breadwinner, hmmm? Well, he grew up very poor and has a hard time spending a dime. I was shocked that he agreed to buy the car, but I did a spreadsheet on our budget, the cost of the car, the car payment, etc. Of course the deciding factor was doing the test drive--once he drove the Sky he was hooked.

We women have our ways! He still doesn't know that I'm planning to get a customized wind screen from Robert at some point, but that can wait. I'm actually looking forward to giving our baby her first detail. My husband will be in shock, because I hardly ever wash our van. There's really no incentive to have a bright, shiny van. This is going to be waaaaaay different.

Thanks for your input.
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