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Car Care Best Practices


bpmurr
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While I've been super careful with my car I've noticed a lot of micro scratches starting to form. I'd like to start a thread to find out how people go about cleaning their car. In addition what you do in terms of paint protection/restoration.

 

I use a professional wash pad on my car. I've tried both premium microfiber drying towels and Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois. I lean more towards the Synthetic Drying Chamois since it dries the car faster. I then use a premium microfiber towel and detail spray after drying to give it some extra pop. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to tackle the micro scratches. Any suggestions?

 

Here is a list of the products I'm using at the moment during the cleaning process.

 

Adam's Jumbo Professional Wash Pad

Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash

The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois

Meguiar's Ultimate Quick Detailer

or

Adam's Detail Spray

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I love talking car care! I was just thinking about the same thing Bpmurr. Those little micro scratches...we've got a glorious morning going on here and bright sun....I noticed them in the sunlight...I decided to just let it be. You can drive yourself crazy trying to keep the surface flawless...almost obsessed.

 

It depends what you use your car for too. If it's just a weekend driver and garage kept 90% of the time...it'd be much easier to keep it showroom fresh. Some people are able to do it and God bless them.

 

But I'm going to be content to just be as careful and caring as possible with my washing/waxing/cleaning. My car will still be the cleanest and best looking in town. :D

 

Here's my regular car care arsenal for the Shelby:

 

Meguiars NXT 2.0 Wax

Meguiars NXT Car Wash

Meguiars Ultimate Quik Wax

Meguiars Microfiber Wash Mit

Meguiars Ultimate Quik Detailer

Meguiars Hi-Tech Applicator Pad

Meguiars Gold Class Endurance Tire Gel

Meguiars Supreme Shine Microfiber Towel

 

And for restoration I'd use (I've used them on my old car with great success):

 

Meguiars Swirl X

Meguiars Scratch X 2.0

Meguiars Ultimate Compound

 

 

(no, I don't work for Meguiars...or own stock in the company. ;) They just make the best products for my use LOL!)

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I use 100% cotton, USA made bath towels with the edging trimmed off. Better than any chamois or microfiber towel in existence.

 

As for washing I use Zaino stuff, nothing else. Dark car, so Z5 + ZFX then finish with Z6.

 

Hi ChrisSD...I used to use the bath towels too. Until I was talking to a girl that I work with...she's also a car care/cleaning fanatic..and she brought up the microfiber towels...I shrugged them off, but eventually one day I decided to just give them a try to see what the fuss was all about. I haven't went back to the bath towels since. The microfibers just absorb so much easier and quicker. Not trying to change your mind or anything - Just relating my experience...have you tried the microfiber towels for drying?

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Try the clay bar.

 

Also don't dry the car with any towel type product.

 

I have the california water blade. and it works great. easy to keep clean and does not pick up dirt.

 

those little scratches are in the clear coat. And the darker the color the easier they are to see. When I talk about the spider web look, this is what I am talking about. Looks like a spider spun her web all over the car.

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Hi ChrisSD...I used to use the bath towels too. Until I was talking to a girl that I work with...she's also a car care/cleaning fanatic..and she brought up the microfiber towels...I shrugged them off, but eventually one day I decided to just give them a try to see what the fuss was all about. I haven't went back to the bath towels since. The microfibers just absorb so much easier and quicker. Not trying to change your mind or anything - Just relating my experience...have you tried the microfiber towels for drying?

 

I use them for washing and polish removal, and for the Z6. For drying I use a 230MPH leaf blower!

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Towel drying will scratch car. +1 on the leaf blower.

 

Absolutely! I think it depends on how much rubbing is occuring during washing and drying. For my cars I use a power washer making sure to not get any closer than about three foot with the nozzle and I just bought a Metro Vacuums Vac 'N Blo to dry. The Vac 'N Blo is a nice machine as it shoots out a rather powerful blast of warm air to dry with. This way I'm not using anything to touch the surface of the paint during washing and drying. I tried using a leaf blower as well, but it was a little cumbersome.

 

I found a lot of good info on this site for paint maintenance and correction:

 

www.detailuniversity.com

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While I've been super careful with my car I've noticed a lot of micro scratches starting to form. I'd like to start a thread to find out how people go about cleaning their car. In addition what you do in terms of paint protection/restoration.

 

I use a professional wash pad on my car. I've tried both premium microfiber drying towels and Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois. I lean more towards the Synthetic Drying Chamois since it dries the car faster. I then use a premium microfiber towel and detail spray after drying to give it some extra pop. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to tackle the micro scratches. Any suggestions?

 

Here is a list of the products I'm using at the moment during the cleaning process.

 

Adam's Jumbo Professional Wash Pad

Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash

The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois

Meguiar's Ultimate Quick Detailer

or

Adam's Detail Spray

 

 

I use all Meguiar's products also. I think one of the mistakes I have made and maybe you guys to is not using two water buckets while washing, one for the car wash and one with rinse water. It would make sense to me that it would be much easier in the washing process to scratch the car if we are not using a good clean water rinse bucket before dipping back in to the carwash bucket. I think I remember Grabber mentioning this in the past. If you don't rinse your just spreading the dirt and grit around, regardles of how good your wash mitt is you are still going to scratch the clear coat.

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I use all Meguiar's products also. I think one of the mistakes I have made and maybe you guys to is not using two water buckets while washing, one for the car wash and one with rinse water. It would make sense to me that it would be much easier in the washing process to scratch the car if we are not using a good clean water rinse bucket before dipping back in to the carwash bucket. I think I remember Grabber mentioning this in the past. If you don't rinse your just spreading the dirt and grit around, regardles of how good your wash mitt is you are still going to scratch the clear coat.

 

Makes sense. I've always used one bucket and just rinsed the wash pad off prior to putting it back in.

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Very good thread. I think most are aware of ShowCar's thread as well.

 

Honestly, I try and refrain from washing my car if I can help it :o . Mostly, after I'm done driving it I'll take the dust that has collected on it off with a California Duster - they work absolutely great! The cloth has paraffin wax in it that picks up the dust, and it does not scratch. After that I give it a quick detail. I was using Mequirs as well, but recently decided to try the quick detail from Turtle Wax, and I now prefer it! The Turtle Wax quick detail seems to polish more than the Mequirs, and I can definitely feel the difference in the paint when I'm rubbing it off. I believe they include some type of carnuba wax in the spray, as well.

 

Never wash your rims with the same mitt that you wash your car with. The mitt from the tires will pick up a lot of brake dust, etc., that you don't want on the paint finish. On a quick detail basis, I simply use an old white cotton t-shirt to remove the dust between drives (on the rims), and it does VERY well; no water.

 

As for the windows.... I've found that simply the cheap Windex that you find at the dollar store does fine, and dry it with a *clean* microfiber towel - almost buff the window until there is no wetness left over. Clear as crystal!

 

I've actually found a very neat product that I use on all the plastic (plastic trim interior, and exterior like the heat extractors, etc) and hoses in the engine bay. It's a spray (like Armor All), but it doesn't leave the greasy feeling. You can find it at motorcycle stores (it's a plastic "wax" that you spread on with a microfiber towel. Let it sit for an hour and come back and buff for the "shine"). I'm pleased with the results that I get from it - it brings out the shine but isn't greasy.

 

So... between washes that's my method - California Duster, quick detail, wipe the rims with a t-shirt, clean the windows with windex and a microfiber towel.

 

Hope this helps! :salute:

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Agree totally,esp about the Megiars suite of products.Big believer in 2 bucket approach--been using it for 20 years!!I do clean my wheels using Mothers and a different wash cloth,then hose them off.I dont use a blower, but get on a nearby highway and hit 70--it gets rid of almost all the water,then use the detailer spray.Much more fun than using a towel.Im lucky that i dont have to drive when it rains,and keep it garaged with a cover on it.Do have 1200 mile son it though.Ive only washd it once, when i got it home.My drill is I use the Meguiars glaze once a month,and use the Ultimate detailer and the Californie duster in between One point to make is, when you polish or detail the car,dont use alot of pressure applying or taking off the wax/cleaner.It doesnt take much effort to scratch the paint,so tread lightly,and buff sveral times easily to avoid crratches

Of course use a micro fiber wash mitt as wel,actually 2-one for the top part of the car,one for the dirty dusty parts.Got mine thru essential Garage.

Edited by Torched10
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I'm now using a Jetspeed Air dryer to clear out water from all the crevises. Works great and much less bulky than a leaf blower.

 

http://www.chemicalguys.com/ELECTRIC_BLOWE...R_p/acc_303.htm

 

I only use 100% cotton towels for gentle drying. I wash them after each use with liquid detergent on a double rinse cycle. I use micro-fiber towels under the hood/trunk, on the door jambs and on the wheels. My car is over 2 years old and I see no visible swirls on its Vista Blue finish.

Edited by 6-Speed
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Some great ideas here for everything but the windows. How do you all get those perfectly clean windows (especially on the inside) witout smearing? I have tried a lot of products and towels, but have yet to find what I consider the best solution.

I use a wet microfiber cloth to clean the window then dry it with a Zwipes microfiber windshield & glass cloth. The Zwipes cloth dries and polishes like nothing else I've tried.

I usually rinse the first cloth between cleaning each window. I haven't found anything that works better than water. My windows never get a film or streaks, they just get dusty.

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As for the windows.... I've found that simply the cheap Windex that you find at the dollar store does fine, and dry it with a *clean* microfiber towel - almost buff the window until there is no wetness left over. Clear as crystal!

Don't apply regular Windex on tinted window surfaces; the Ammonia in it will damage the tint. Windex and many other glass cleaning products have Ammonia free cleaners that are tint safe.

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Don't apply regular Windex on tinted window surfaces; the Ammonia in it will damage the tint. Windex and many other glass cleaning products have Ammonia free cleaners that are tint safe.

I had a tint guy tell me that years ago and that's when I found that plain water worked the best!

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......For drying I use a 230MPH leaf blower!

 

Be carefule here. Remeber that air is not filtered, so anything the blower picks up out of the air on the intake side may be blasted against the cars finish. So if you have a lot of dirt from prior use, then you may just sand blast your finish without even knowing it.

 

I do use compressed air to dry my motorcycles. Air is filtered, but then again my motorcycles are a lot smaller then the car. lol

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I use a wet microfiber cloth to clean the window then dry it with a Zwipes microfiber windshield & glass cloth. The Zwipes cloth dries and polishes like nothing else I've tried.

I usually rinse the first cloth between cleaning each window. I haven't found anything that works better than water. My windows never get a film or streaks, they just get dusty.

 

Thanks for the input... I will definitely give this a try!

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Very good thread. I think most are aware of ShowCar's thread as well.

 

Honestly, I try and refrain from washing my car if I can help it :o . Mostly, after I'm done driving it I'll take the dust that has collected on it off with a California Duster - they work absolutely great! The cloth has paraffin wax in it that picks up the dust, and it does not scratch. After that I give it a quick detail. I was using Mequirs as well, but recently decided to try the quick detail from Turtle Wax, and I now prefer it! The Turtle Wax quick detail seems to polish more than the Mequirs, and I can definitely feel the difference in the paint when I'm rubbing it off. I believe they include some type of carnuba wax in the spray, as well.

 

Never wash your rims with the same mitt that you wash your car with. The mitt from the tires will pick up a lot of brake dust, etc., that you don't want on the paint finish. On a quick detail basis, I simply use an old white cotton t-shirt to remove the dust between drives (on the rims), and it does VERY well; no water.

 

As for the windows.... I've found that simply the cheap Windex that you find at the dollar store does fine, and dry it with a *clean* microfiber towel - almost buff the window until there is no wetness left over. Clear as crystal!

 

I've actually found a very neat product that I use on all the plastic (plastic trim interior, and exterior like the heat extractors, etc) and hoses in the engine bay. It's a spray (like Armor All), but it doesn't leave the greasy feeling. You can find it at motorcycle stores (it's a plastic "wax" that you spread on with a microfiber towel. Let it sit for an hour and come back and buff for the "shine"). I'm pleased with the results that I get from it - it brings out the shine but isn't greasy.

 

So... between washes that's my method - California Duster, quick detail, wipe the rims with a t-shirt, clean the windows with windex and a microfiber towel.

 

Hope this helps! :salute:

 

Great stuff! hey try the Meguire's rubber and vinyl shine it is great on the exterior trim, engine compartment plastic and hoses and makes the interior vinyl surfaces shine great with no greasy feeling. I use the Micro fiber towels with clear glass window cleaner and just buff it dry it works great on the windows, after you clean you rims go around and dry and buff them with a micro fiber towell it works great. check out my photos and look at the rims and engine compartment.

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I'm now using a Jetspeed Air dryer to clear out water from all the crevises. Works great and much less bulky than a leaf blower.

 

http://www.chemicalguys.com/ELECTRIC_BLOWE...R_p/acc_303.htm

 

I only use 100% cotton towels for gentle drying. I wash them after each use with liquid detergent on a double rinse cycle. I use micro-fiber towels under the hood/trunk, on the door jambs and on the wheels. My car is over 2 years old and I see no visible swirls on its Vista Blue finish.

 

Mine is the same way - no noticeable swirl marks. Maybe blue is excluded! :)

 

Great stuff! hey try the Meguire's rubber and vinyl shine it is great on the exterior trim, engine compartment plastic and hoses and makes the interior vinyl surfaces shine great with no greasy feeling. I use the Micro fiber towels with clear glass window cleaner and just buff it dry it works great on the windows, after you clean you rims go around and dry and buff them with a micro fiber towell it works great. check out my photos and look at the rims and engine compartment.

 

Good info. After a wash, I use the foam tire cleaner on the tires. I foam each tire and then run over them with a t-shirt to get rid of the drips and even everything out. I dislike the tires shine that leaves them looking wet.

 

Also (just thought of this) after you clean you rims, throw three to five coats of WAX :yup: on the rims. Buff them with a micro fiber towel for even more shine :)

 

And as for vacuuming - use the attachment with the bristles on it. I've found they do a really good job of loosening the gravel that gets way down in the carpet (rub back and forth and they'll pop up). And I don't know if you've found the same thing, but for some reason I find a LOT of my wife's hair in there after she's in the car. The bristle helps wrap those out too. :D

Edited by SicShelby
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hey guys, before i bought my car, i planned on using the best products out there,

when i got it, my friend who has a body shop told me to be carefull to not wax

it too much, then i got really paranoid. This summer in nyc, its been raining

alot, and unfortunately i'm rebuilding my garage, so my shelby is outside but covered

whenever its not driven. i've had it for about a month now and all i do is wipe it down

with microfiber towels and water, thats it, i don't spray the water directly on the car, i just

lightly spray some water on the towel to get a little moisture and wipe. whenever i see water

spots or stains i wipe it right away, makes me look obsessed but who cares?

i know i'm going to eventually wash it some day, but not any time

soon! lol

and i drive my shelby almost everyday, and its super clean.

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