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Old 05-03-2010, 04:06 PM   #1
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Default I thought I knew how to clean my car... I was wrong.

I've always been fairly ---- about cleaning my cars. I've been a big fan of Meguiar's 3-Step system and Tech 2.0 wax. I use the 2-bucket method and always work in the shade. Anyways, it would appear I'm a rank amatuer.

I stumbled across these yesterday:
www.detailcity.org
www.autopia.org

There are product lines I've never even heard of. I've also researched the detailing industry and have discovered several ways I've always cleaned that are big no-no's.
There's a detail supply shop near me and I'm gonna go up there and see if the guy has any help for me in getting my Dodge Ram ready to sell. It needs "some" work to the paint. Based on the threads I've been reading, I can get it back to looking practically brand new with just a little bit of effort.

Anybody else here into "detailing" as a hobby?
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:10 PM   #2
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I used to be when I had a car worthy of it. My paint is so bad, I no longer see a point in trying to polish a turd. With my others cars however, I used to keep hundreds of dollars worth of supplies. I would buy new cleaners literally every week just to try them out. My cars used to get detailed on a weekly basis, now, my Miata is lucky to get a wash and a vacuum once in 4-6 months. Rain does a good job of washing, and a good shake off of the floor mats and pick out the trash and I'm good to go.

Best thing I ever used was Rejex, which is an aircraft sealant/polish/wax, whatever you want to call it. Road grime and bugs would literally wash off with low pressure water, and it actually lasted months, not weeks. Also works well on glass, much like rain-x, but better. Only down side is no UV protection.
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
I've always been fairly ---- about cleaning my cars. I've been a big fan of Meguiar's 3-Step system and Tech 2.0 wax. I use the 2-bucket method and always work in the shade. Anyways, it would appear I'm a rank amatuer.

I stumbled across these yesterday:
www.detailcity.org
www.autopia.org

There are product lines I've never even heard of. I've also researched the detailing industry and have discovered several ways I've always cleaned that are big no-no's.
There's a detail supply shop near me and I'm gonna go up there and see if the guy has any help for me in getting my Dodge Ram ready to sell. It needs "some" work to the paint. Based on the threads I've been reading, I can get it back to looking practically brand new with just a little bit of effort.

Anybody else here into "detailing" as a hobby?
do we have to read both sites to find out what you learned or are you gonna share like a nice boy.
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:43 PM   #4
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Give me list for a proper car wash and wax.... I've never bothered before but I am finding myself having urges to actually take care of the wife's new car.
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by y8s View Post
do we have to read both sites to find out what you learned or are you gonna share like a nice boy.
+1
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:45 PM   #6
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I'd love to play with detailing as a hobby, but I just can't justify buying a buffer, pads and compounds when there is so much more to spend my money on. Maybe some day, but only after about 100 other things.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:02 PM   #7
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Who gives a **** about getting cars this clean? I drive mine instead.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:04 PM   #8
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hey gays, look at my super sweet light:

I want a man to breed me.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:06 PM   #9
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I'm interested in hearing about the do's and don'ts of detailing.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:38 PM   #10
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who gives a **** about getting cars this clean? I drive mine instead.
+1
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:56 PM   #11
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Basics:
An oribital buffer is absolutely the way to go for polish/wax. There are literally dozens of different pads for different purposes. Using a buffer properly is an artform... but not beyond the means of mortals.

Wash with a mit (different types available, ie lambswool) that you've soaked in water overnight.

Use 2 buckets when washing. One for soapy water, one for rinsing after each panel or more often.

Body should always be cool to the touch when water hits it... ie, in the shade long enough.

When finished washing the car, spend a few minutes washing the mit.

Net covered sponges used for removing bugs and tar should NEVER be used on anything except the small areas of bugs and tar, not to be used for the whole car.

Drying should only be done with a microfiber towell... not and old worn out bath towell or something that does double-duty on the dog.

Clay'ing when done properly is awesome and worth every second.

There is a lot to be said for masking of plastics/trim pieces.

There is a specific product and a specific method to remove every single type of imperfection in the paint you can name or describe... and they're all different and all just as effective when done properly. They mostly require patience. Never use store-bought generic touch-up paint... always get your paint from the dealership with a matching paint code.

Oxidation (even extreme) is typically not a big problem.

The majority of products you can buy in a typical auto-parts store are not what professionals use. A few Meguiars/Mothers/EagleOne products ARE mentioned frequently... but only a few.

What I've discovered:
For 99% of enthusiasts, a good wax twice a year and a bath every month is fine. For .9% of us, waxing monthly and washing weekly with stuff you get at PepBoys is more than enough. The last .1% of us who think this **** is important need to get out more.

The amount of money I would spend on cleaning products, plus my time doing the work, makes it CLEAR that it's way more worth it to pay a professional a couple times a year to lay the smack down on your car. I'm talking about a guy who spends a couple hours to do it right. I'm talking about paying a guy $200 to detail your car three times a year who will do it ten times better than you in 1/4 the time.

You'll still need to hose it down and hit it with a mit in between those times, but take those entire afteroons you used to spend and do something productive while a pro handles the car. I've done the math... it's worth to me to pay a pro.

And I've looked... a good detail by a pro is $200. Anybody who charges less is either brand new in the business or is skimping on product or the job.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:59 PM   #12
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I just dusted my car with a rhinoceros ball-hair mitt...it looks phenomenal!!! I'm considering taking it for a drive this year if the humidity is low, I don't want to soften the paint or expose it to direct sunlight in the summer months. People who expose their vehicles to UVB radiation are heartless killers.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:20 PM   #13
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thanks sam.

maybe I will pick up a second bucket. my current bucket currently does double duty as car wash bucket and potting soil storage. this is counter productive.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:24 PM   #14
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thanks sam.

maybe I will pick up a second bucket. my current bucket currently does double duty as car wash bucket and potting soil storage. this is counter productive.
Mine was used as a chuck bucket a while back when one of my kids had the flu. Same day I got my CX7.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:32 PM   #15
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Mine was used as a chuck bucket a while back when one of my kids had the flu. Same day I got my CX7.
I like to rub my car with puke once or twice per year, it really brings out the shine in the pearl.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:49 PM   #16
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your all noobs to this crew i bet they have plenty of detailing tips not to mention arms the size of popeyes.http://www.autopia.org/forum/pro-det...man-hours.html
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:54 PM   #17
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I wash mine about once a week....sometimes twice if it rained or something. I wax about once a month with a 2-part process....Meguars #83 followed by gold class using a DA. I wash with Gold Class wash and used an Absorber to dry. I do rinse the Absorber everytime before using it. I generally use two seperate wash mitts for the car...one for the wheels/wheel wells/underside of side sills (cotton) and one for the painted surfaces (microfiber). I did get to use a friends PC to give the car a quick polish and it was a PITA...but the results were nice. I have never used a clay bar lol
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #18
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I have never used a clay bar lol
You should, if anything for getting it nice and clean before rubbing the **** out of it with power equipment. You might be surprised by how much **** it pulls off the paint.

I also think you can over clean the paint, or work on it too much. That might be the reason my first few cars had paint problems after a year or two of me constantly rubbing it with **** that had light grit. It might have been shiny for that time, but I just did it too often. If done right, you shouldn't have to use power buffers and what not but once every few months, with washing in between.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:08 PM   #19
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Another decent site is autogeek.net. They have a forum and sell their own in-house brands as well as other brands like Meguiar's, 3M, etc. They run good deals from time to time. A lot of people on autogeek are also on autopia. I'm not really active on either, just lurk once or twice a year to see what the latest rage in products is, or just to work up some inspiration when I know I need to break out the random orbital.

I have a bunch of different polishes & waxes, pads, microfiber ****, etc. The thing is, I like having nice paint, but I view the labor more as a chore than a hobby. Especially with a black car that shows every little imperfection. So if I'm going to spend the time to detail the paint (about once a year, maybe less often now that it's garaged) I want to use good products that won't have me cursing.

I wash with the two-bucket method, and a short-nap microfiber sponge. Don't get one that looks like it has dreadlocks because they can hide debris inside, much like real dreadlocks LOL. If I see any debris on the sponge I just blast it off with the hose. Dry with microfiber towels. It's been a couple years since I have let a cotton towel touch my paint and I'm much happier for it.

NA Miata single stage paint is pretty easy to polish to remove oxidation & swirls. After claying I start with Meguiar's M105 and then go to M205. This is on a Porter Cable random orbital that I've had for about 5 years BTW. There are finer polishes than the 205, but then I start to get into diminishing returns as far as my time is concerned. After polishing I give a wipe-down with 50/50 isopropanol/water and seal with Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant, then after 24 hours top with Wolfgang Fuzion wax. Those products are stupid easy to wipe on and off, and a little goes a long way. I give it another coat of Fuzion every 3 months or thereabouts and it keeps the water beading like a sumbitch.

The newer polishes, waxes & sealants on the market are waaaayyy better than what we had 5 years ago IMO. If you're still using a carnauba wax that's a bitch to buff off and only lasts a few weeks then you owe it to yourself to shop around. Most of the really good products can't be found at your FLAPS so you have to hit up the online vendors.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:10 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
Basics:
The amount of money I would spend on cleaning products, plus my time doing the work, makes it CLEAR that it's way more worth it to pay a professional a couple times a year to lay the smack down on your car. I'm talking about a guy who spends a couple hours to do it right. I'm talking about paying a guy $200 to detail your car three times a year who will do it ten times better than you in 1/4 the time.
^^^This
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