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A simple guide to car detailing

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Ok i thought i would write a simple guide to general car cleaning and maintaining. With all the money we spend on cars then it's only right we treat them with a bit of care.

 

Before i briefly run into a step by step guide i will run off a few things not to do.

 

Car Washes

 

Hopefully we all know that using car washes is not the most car friendly way of cleaning. Reasons being the brushes are very rough and dirty as they are never cleaned so this generally scratches the paint work and causes the swirl marks we all dread to see. No explanation really needed just dont be lazy and wash yourself.

 

Pressure Washers

 

Alot of people use these and to be honest aren't a major problem as long as used from a distance and not an inch away from the paint work. Me personally prefers to put a bit more effort in and use a hose. Reason being is if you have stone chips etc... where the paint cracks (as well all know the z is famous for) if put under to much pressure can peel back the edges of the paint more and remove the paint and laquer. Also they can bury dirt deeper into the paint because of the pressure.

 

Washing up Liquid

 

Another classic alot of people use but to be honest i would keep away as it will strip the wax of your car leaving it unprotected especially if you are not going to wax after. A little to harsh on the car.

 

Sponges

 

Used by millions across the country yet causes more swirl marks than anything else. Why does it create swirl marks? well look at a sponge it has a flat surface. So when your car has the usual dirt and grit on, some of these particles are sharp and as the sponge is flat they have no where to go apart from stick to the bottom of the sponge. When the sponge is then rubbed across the paint the sharper particles will dig into the paint causing scratches and swirl marks.

 

Schammy Leathers

 

Reason i personally dont like using leather is because in my opinion these are very rough on the paint and not the best absorbant to dry off a car.

 

 

 

 

Right now that is the major what not to do's out the way lets look at how clean your car and what to use.

 

Cleaning the Car

 

First things first... don't clean the car in scorching heat or direct sunlight it will make life far harder for yourself and wont bring out the best in the car.

 

So now we have a cool dry day we're going to give the car a thorough clean up.

 

 

Firstly rinse the car down with water to loosen any hard and fresh dirt/grime of the car, just a gentle sprinkle on the hose is more than enough and if you dont have a hose a watering can is good enough.

 

Now the car is wet we are going to use something called the 2 bucket method this is basically one bucket fall of clean water and the other bucket full of your shampooo and conditioner mixed with water. The reason for this being everytime you wash a panel of the car and put it back in the water with shampoo that water is getting filthy, if you have another bucket with clean water in you can rinse off in that first then dip into the shampoo keeping that water clean as possible.

 

A few shampoos to consider if looking for some new products

 

Meguiars #62 Bodywork Shampoo & Conditioner

Meguiars Gold Class Bodywork Shampoo & Conditioner

Meguiars Hyper Wash

Poorboys Super Slick & Suds

Pinnacle Bodywork Shampoo & Conditioner

Einszett Perls

 

Now that we have our 2 buckets filled and ready we need something to wash the car with well my personal choice and what many agree on is using a wash mitt.

 

Lambswool wash mitts have been developed to get around the problems that sponges cause. If you run your fingers through a lambswool mitt, you can see that it is deep pile and not flat faced so the dirt buries deep in and keeps away from the cars paint.

 

Sonus%20Ultimate%20Wash%20Mitt.jpg

 

The 2 i would choose are:

 

Meguiars Lambswool Wash Mitt

Eurow Sheepskin Wash Mitt

 

there are others though that are just as effective.

 

Now we have our mitt our 2 buckets filled it's time to clean the car. First start with cleaning the glass all round the car then start from the top to bottom, remeber to wash the mitt off in the clean water first before dipping back into the shampoo. Take your time and dont rush and it will make life easier.

 

After you have washed the car get out he hose again and rinse of any of the remaining shampoo. Once this is done its time to dry the car and remove any more of the surface dirt on the process.

 

What i found best to use for drying the car is:

 

X2000.jpg

 

Meguiars Water Magnet Drying Towel

 

Far better than a schammy for the reasons mentioned i nthe dont's list. Pretty much the same as washing when it comes to drying, start with the windows then once all done do top to bottom of the car.

 

So now we have washed and dried the car. Next step is to use the claybar... a wonderful piece of kit. Clay bar is basically what it says it's a bar of clay that is suppluied with a quik detailing mist.

 

Here is Meguairs Quick Clay

 

QuikClayG1116.jpg

 

This is really simple to use but takes a long time to get right and see results.

 

All you do is work on a panel at a time and spray the quick detailer and then rub the clay over the panel removing all bits of deep down contaminants that the shampoo and mitt couldn't get then once done dry off with a microfibre towel. A simple test to see if it's worked is to run the back of your hand on the paint work, if it feels as smooth as glass then its done if it still feels rough then repeat process. Do the whole car taking your time remebering to dry off each panel and regularly needing the clay to keep it clean when done and you will notice a big difference. You can possibly get away using only half a bar to do a whole car.

 

So now our car is clay bared, dry and as smooth as glass.... next 3 steps include the same process but different products, This is usually classed as the 3 stage cleaing.

 

First off we need a paint cleaner to bring out the colour and help remove swirl marks. Like waxing a car you put it on the car or cloth and rub it deep into the paintwork and leave to dry to a haze before buffing off with a microfibre. Stage 1 complete

 

I recommend these to be buffing off any cleaners/polishes/waxes they come in poacks of 3 but i recommend maybe 2 packs you can buy cheaper but they tend to break up and leave bits on the car

 

DA1307-y.jpg

 

The product i use and find good is:

 

a3016.jpg

 

Meguairs Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner

 

There are other similar products if you look around

 

Stage 2 is the same process but using a polish now this also helps with the paint and gives it that wet look.

 

The product i use is:

 

M650019.jpg

 

Meguairs Deep Crystal Polis

 

As above there are similar products if you look around

 

Last but not least is waxing... the manual says apply then leave to a haze before buffing... me persoanlly depending on time will leave it for an hour so it works its magic then buff off. As above the same process applies to waxing. This is stage 3 complete and the final work to be done on the body.

 

The wax i use and really recommend is this:

 

G12718_L.gif

 

Meguiars NXT Tech Wax

 

As above there are many more options in waxes and it all boils down to personal preference.

 

 

So now in the above tutorial we have learnt how to clean a car in a corret manner from start to finish.

 

All that is left now is to clean windows etc...

 

Obviously thats not something that needs to be done so this is how i would do it.

 

Every 3 months

 

Wash

Claybar

Cleaner

Polish

Wax

 

Every Month

 

Wash

Cleaner

Polish

Wax

 

Every Week

 

Wash

Wax

 

I hope this guide helps and if there is another already flying around then mods feel free to delete.

 

Please do not hesitate to ask for any advice

 

Regards

 

Dave

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Dave,

 

Excellent..... I really like the simple approach to this. Pics always help a numpty like me ensure I've got the right products..... (which I now seem to have).

 

This Sunday I'll be giving her a good going over..... (weather permitting, watch it p*ss it down :blush: )

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And with the now agreed discount from our latest trader partner.....

 

Even better :yahoo:

 

(I'll wait for Chris to post up announcement as want to make sure its done in the right manner)....

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So in theory i would use the following:

 

2 buckets

 

Wash Mitt

 

Drying Towel - maybe 2 if you feeling a bit flush

 

Microfibre towels - at least 3 really but i say 5-6 is a good amount to have

 

A decent lubricated shampoo

 

A decent paint cleaner or similar

 

A decent polish

 

A decent wax

 

Optionals which i also have are:

 

A scratch remover

 

A tyre Gel

 

A black bumper restorer

 

A window cleaner

 

A wheel cleaner

 

A metal polish ie exhaust etc...

 

Thats pretty much a full bag to do a whole car and then you can buy interior stuff too. I listed Megs stuff but to be honest you choose what you think works best.

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If anyone needs a hand to show how to get the best results, i'll pop along and help, being as i'm looking to buy a 350z it would be nice for me to have a nosey over the car aswell without salesman about.

 

So as said anyone close to S-O-T let me know if you do and i will come along.

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Good right up Dave, pretty much my regime, except the prodcust i use require some slight vaartions, but excellent. Nice to see you've got a fanstatic hadnle on the cleaning, taken me over 10 years to get where i am now and that with detailer mates ;)

 

A few helpful hints :

 

Rinsing

When using a hose, don't use a nossel to rinse the car, just let the water flow out of the hose across the paintwork from the top down, this helps cool the paint before waxing and also drawins the dirt/soap off the car and leaves less water to dry off too.

 

DSC00535.jpg

 

Heres a pic i borrowed from David (Fuku Fuku), to show the difference between half rinsed and half sprayed.

 

Andy

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Thats another good point made by Hope4sun

 

Always remember

 

A hose is to wetten the paint and rinse not to clean the car

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I know everyone will have their own preferences, but I think it's useful to have different ideas in the same thread... So:

 

I used to use the meguiars 1-2-3 range as well. Just moved on to Zaino, and I do think that some of the Zaino products are better - but more expensive!

 

Firstly, as an initial wash - ie when I've first bought the car and am starting from scratch, I do use a dish-washing liquid solution, precisely because it is a bit harsh, and will strip virtually everything off the car. I also spray the side skirts, wheels and wheel arches with a citrus degreaser. As I say, this is a one off process - these products will damage your paint if you use them regularly.

 

2ndly, using the meguiars quick-clay kit is an expensive way to clay a car. When I was using it, I easily got through a bottle and a half of the quick detailer each time (this was on the legnum, which is a BIG car). All the detailer does is act as a lubricant for the clay. I now use a spray bottle with dilute zaino car shampoo as the lubricant - much cheaper, and just as effective. You can buy clay bars separately. Rember that if you drop a clay bar, you need to throw it away or you'll be griiting not claying :wacko:! Always have a spare handy.

 

The zaino system doesn't need a paint a paint cleaner - it's all done by the Z2/Z5 and the activator, so I've actually found it a lot easier than the Meguiars system. The polish is also easier to apply because you use so little. It's early days, but I've been very impressed with the zaino external stuff so far.

 

I washed the legnum with zaino shampoo for the first time this weekend, and have been very impressed with it compared to Meguiars Gold. The leggie is due a proper polish, so it's been looking a bit scrappy. It looked fantastic after a simple wash and dry with the zaino shampoo - I can't recommend this stuff enough!

 

I'm less enthusiastic about the zaino interior and black stuff cleaners though - again it's early days, but I think I'll be sticking with Meguiars Trim detailer for the black bits.

 

Not sure about Zaino leather products - my wife did the Z's seats with this, and I think she rushed it (although I wouldn't tell her to her face :crutches: ). I'll be having another go soon.

 

Meguiars Hot Rims Wheel cleaner is the best product I've used for cleaning brake dust off untreated rims - awesome stuff. However, since I've zaino'd the Z's wheels, simple zaino shampoo and water is all that I've needed to clean the alloys.

 

For the windows, I use Meguiars NXT glass cleaner. This is becoming a sore point in our house as the aforementioned wife keeps nicking the bleeding stuff to do the house windows :angry:! She thinks it's the best she's used too - and she's cleaned a lot of windows! At £8 a bottle it has to be good!

 

And finally, for the finishing touch, once I've washed and dried, I go over the car with zaino Z6 spray (Meguiars equivalent is the Quick detailer spray) - works just like window cleaner - spray on and buff off before it dries. Very quick, and gives a lovely shine.

 

You can see the results of my older Meguiars efforts by clicking the Legnum link in my sig below, and my first attempts at Zaino by clicking the 350Z link in my sig.

 

Yours analy :yawn:

 

B!

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Guest prescience

[How've you found the internal/leather/rubber products?

 

Not used them mate, just stuck to clay bar, Z2, Z5, Z6, Z7 and ZFX accelerant.

 

Until my re-trim yesterday B) , I didn't have leather as only bought a base car originally (spending my money elsehwere ;) )

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More hints and tips are welcomed... i was just covering the basics to get a good clean and protection with products that aren't a massive budget.

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Until my re-trim yesterday B) , I didn't have leather as only bought a base car originally (spending my money elsehwere ;) )

 

 

:worthless::p

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Ok, os i thought i'd add my methods :)

 

The main products i use from Zymol are listed below (also there sponges, applicators, Chamois , etc as they really do leave the wax on the car!!!)

 

Bug sponge

SP833Lg.jpg

 

Zymol Sponges, Chamois, Microfiber towles, etc.

 

Clear - Auto Bathe

131.jpg

 

HD Cleanse

132.jpg

 

Carbon Wax

118.jpg

 

Glasur Glaze Wax (if its show time as a final coat)

 

Lehm Klay (though i use Meguirs an Detialer too)

Lehm-Lube 2

213.jpg

214.jpg

 

Treat Leather Conditioner

Vinyl Conditioner

Tyre Preserve

 

 

Heres a breif breakdown of my twice a year ritual and pre-show cleaning method (so most easy to remove parts are taken off, like number plates, bumpers, trim, etc)

 

I would normally take each wheel off for shows and:

 

Clean the wheels, i use Meguirs wheel cleaner and a few softbrushes, etc on them. Just work on one side at a time

Apply water

Spray Cleaner and leave

Brush the wheels and use buds/wheel brush, etc to get into wheel nut recesses and around the air valve.

Dry and apply wax.

All using clothes, sponges, buckets, wax and applciators that never ever go near the paintwork. Brake dust is garanteed to give you swirl marks!

 

 

Stage 1:

 

Rinse the car of with cold water

Wash car using Clear-Auto bathe (3 buckets and sponges, 1 for top, 1 for sides and then one for the underside/wheels so no grit, etc can scratch the car)

Rinse the soap of, letting the water flood the panels, rather then spraying them.

Dry and Chamois, some people find Shammeing a little hard on the paint, but i tend to stick to synthitic or cod oiled chamois as they leave less streaks on the car and are a softer.

 

Also i see them getting used like towels, the best thing to do is to wring it out, then lay it onto the paint work spread right out and just pull it off towards you. Any final drips can be dried off with a microfirbe towel.

 

Stage 2 (All done 1 panel at a time) :

 

Re-wash each panel with stronger mix of bathe and water, at this point i normally go around all trim, rubbers, joins, etc with cotton buds and tooth brushes.

Dry and Chamois

I used half a lemon on Tar (though Autoglym Tar remover is fine if removed quickly with clean water), I do use a bug sponge at this point and not a normal sponge.

Lubricate and then Clay bar the panel

Apply HD Clense using Pre-Wax Applicators (you think your car is clean, wait until you feel the paint after using this stuff)

Buff off the HD Clenser

 

Stage 3

 

Clean windows, rubber and plastic with applicable products, (Shoe polish is very good for wheel arches or a spray of foam based wheel tryer blackener)

Then apply 1st coat of Carbon Wax to each panel and polish as you go.

Then working on each panel, a second coat of Carbon wax and polish

Then a 3rd coat of Carbon Wax or Glasur Glaze Wax

Repolish (always use the microfirbe clothes, less effort and its what really brings the shine)

 

Sad i know, but i've just spent a lot of time cleaning cars I have even come up with a few mixes of products that i concocted for all sorts of things and i'm equally keen on the inside of the car and the engine bay.

 

Andy

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Do Zymol not use any form of polish in thier range? Recently I have read a number people who use Zymol and they talk about cleaning, clensing and then waxing but there is no mention of polishing at all which is a vital part of cleaning a car.

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Do Zymol not use any form of polish in thier range? Recently I have read a number people who use Zymol and they talk about cleaning, clensing and then waxing but there is no mention of polishing at all which is a vital part of cleaning a car.

 

As far as polishing goes, its only of the paintwork its self after clensing (with just a microfiber towel), then the rest of the shine comes from the wax, unlike most products made form chemicals, etc. They use high quanities of Carnauba wax, that when applied, cured and polished gives the deep wet look shine and coats the paintwork in barrier to protect further. So no need for extra polish. But i know where your coming from, it varies with product to product. I've tried most on the market, and the finish with this is as good as any 3 stage B)

 

Hopefully you can see the wet look here, its not a good pciture, bare inmind that the car is not acually black, but has gold flecks in it, but the finish is very deep

 

byesky2.jpg

 

 

Andy

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So in theory i would use the following:

 

2 buckets

 

Wash Mitt

 

Drying Towel - maybe 2 if you feeling a bit flush

 

Microfibre towels - at least 3 really but i say 5-6 is a good amount to have

 

A decent lubricated shampoo

 

A decent paint cleaner or similar

 

A decent polish

 

A decent wax

 

Optionals which i also have are:

 

A scratch remover

 

A tyre Gel

 

A black bumper restorer

 

A window cleaner

 

A wheel cleaner

 

A metal polish ie exhaust etc...

 

Thats pretty much a full bag to do a whole car and then you can buy interior stuff too. I listed Megs stuff but to be honest you choose what you think works best.

 

Whats the difference between a drying towel and a microfibre towel? What do you use the microfibre towel for? :blush:

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They are really the same thing, though you can get them made from different materials, i tend to use Microfiber towels to dry as there very absorbant :), microfiber is mainly for polishing though as it saves on the elbow grease :)

 

The other nice thing about using a microfiber towel to dry with is you know they have not been "sized"

 

Not all towels are created equal. Every domestically made towel is washed several times by the manufacturer to remove excess dye. Unfortunately, this leaves the towel looking limp and used. So, manufacturers then "size" the towel to make it look more attractive and new again. This "sizing" process uses a starch and silicone mixture that will scratch and contaminate your paint finish. Drying towels are not "sized".

 

Andy

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They are really the same thing, though you can get them made from different materials, i tend to use Microfiber towels to dry as there very absorbant :), microfiber is mainly for polishing though as it saves on the elbow grease :)

 

The other nice thing about using a microfiber towel to dry with is you know they have not been "sized"

 

Not all towels are created equal. Every domestically made towel is washed several times by the manufacturer to remove excess dye. Unfortunately, this leaves the towel looking limp and used. So, manufacturers then "size" the towel to make it look more attractive and new again. This "sizing" process uses a starch and silicone mixture that will scratch and contaminate your paint finish. Drying towels are not "sized".

 

Andy

 

So do you use the microfibre towel to dry or to polish or both :blush::headhurt:

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Drying towel is jus tthat its for drying the car off after a wash... more absorbant than a microfibre and bigger too, made of different material too.

 

Microfibres are used to apply polishes/cleaners/waxes etc... and they are also used to buff off but obviously use a clean one. They can be used to dry but i prefer using my drying towel.

 

Me personally use... water magnet drying towel to dry off the car when wet

 

 

Microfibres to apply polish/wax and to buff off the polish/wax

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