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Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Tideland Prius, Sep 13, 2006.
Yeah but he's the President of Canada.
lol. No. I had to earn my badge
Before and after. I used regular car wash soap with a hose hook up and a light duty electric power washer. Scrubbed a few area with medium stiffness brush and rinsed. Used my wet vac to remove some water and into the open sun to dry. The backing insulation was also rinsed with the soap but not with power washer. Vacuumed off the excess water and let dry as I rotated it every two hours.
On a side note this was a junkyard pull as the one in the car was.......... No words can describe it.
Just realized I didnt post the after pictures..
As a detailer I must say, this thread is getting out dated. Products have come very far in the last even year. From spray on stuff you put on a clean wet car then dry, to sealants and coatings.
I don't have my Prius yet, (it was a family members car) but am anxious to do a wheels off detail. (The car will go on jack stands all four wheels come off and detail everything).
The use of dish soap is a no no. It doesn't actually remove any or very little wax. It does however remove good moisture and oils from the paint. The likelihood is, the old wax is all gone already when you go to re wax. What is left will be removed during the clay and polish step.
I read a couple posts people asking if their new car needs clayed? Yep, it sure does. Put your hand in a baggie and on a wet car lightly rub the paint. If it isn't 100% smooth you need to clay.
So claying, on my cars I use real clay mainly because I have it. On customer cars I use a clay alternative or towels and sponges that have a special rubber like surface. They do 95% as good in a 1/4 the time. You also don't need detail spray with them, but just water is good. Also unlike clay, if you drop it you just rinse it off and your good again. Yes if I drop a piece of clay it is garbage.
So my process:
Wash with a real carwash soap, preferably without wax if you are going to detail the vehicle, those are fine for maintenance washes. Use two buckets, one with soapy water, one with clean rinse water. Both buckets should have grit guards in the bottom, a grid that lets contaminates fall to the bottom and not back up to be re spread on the car. I don't use foam guns or cannons. A gun attaches to a hose, Cannon to pressure washer. The bad part is I can't take those cool pictures, but I use less soap. When you foam the car you still do a regular two bucket wash, you just use more soap. If you need a presoak ONR is good for that.
Once clean with the car wet I will spray a iron removing wheel cleaner. My cars get Sonax because I have it, but it's expensive too costly for customer cars. Customer cars get Adams wheel cleaner cut 1:1. (Get it on sale, never pay full price as a sale is just around the corner with them). This step is called chemical decontamination. It will help remove iron deposits on the paint. On white cars they show up as small orange specs. That is rail dust fall out that kind of thing rusting.
Next clay. Real clay will need a detail spray. I use Optimum No Rinse diluted to QD specs. ONR is very inexpensive and has many uses.
Now the car is clean, decontaminated, it's time to determine if you need compound or polish. The only way to know that is test spots, you will do a few with different pad combos. Normally a car doesn't need much compound unless the paint is really faded and oxidized. A more aggressive pad and polish will do 90% of the jobs I do.
I use a DA or Duel Action polisher. Mine is a Griots Garage 6" so the backing plate is 6" across and pads would be 6.5", however I upgraded to a 5" plate and 5.5" pads. Less rotational mass, so the machine is more powerful. Why pick that one over a Porter Cable? The GG machine has a lifetime warranty, and is more powerful.
Work the polish till the swirls are gone and the paint is shiny. Shinny paint comes from clean defect free paint, getting rid of the swirls and contaminates will shine that surface. You will need a few pads, 1 pad for every 1-2 panels. I do one panel, then swap pads and do another panel, then go back to the first pad. Heat build up here is bad for work time and effectiveness. Once it's used twice it goes into the wash tub.
Now you need a protection layer. I don't use wax at all, and for most daily drivers it isn't recommended. Wax on a daily driver that is kept inside at night may last 4-6 weeks of giving good uv protection. Sealants are the way to go. They last 6-9 months.
Coatings are another animal, my cars aren't coated, but I enjoy all of this. Coatings last between 1 year and many years depending on who and how it was applied, and how it is maintained. Some require you to have the certified installer wash the car byweekly. To be completely honest, my wheels are coated, and my trim is coated. I redo them every other year.
So sealants, pick a package you feel comfortable using from polish to sealant. I recommend Meguiars Ultimate line. Yes the bottle says wax, it isn't wax as there isn't any carnuba in it, it's all polymers so a sealant. I like it based on how easy it is to find, price, and ease of use.
My cars get Wolfgang stuff, like before because I have it. It came with my polisher. I am very happy with them and probably will repurchase them unless some new groundbreaking product comes out.
Talking a about groundbreaker, all in ones. I use a AIO on 95% of all customer cars. One product will remove swirls, polish, and protect depending on how long you work the paint.
For a detailer if I can save an hour claying and two on the polish/protectant step I can get another car in that day.
Like most things that multitask something is compromised. That's longevity. I use HD Speed and get 4-6 months of good water beeding and protection.
Want to get a bit longer of protection from your work, from now on when you wash on a clean wet car, spray a spray sealant or spray wax, now dry like normal. You won't get long from that, but could get a week each time, now it isn't unheard of to get close to a year from a sealant. Really fall and spring is when you should reapply anyway so your good. The other thing doing that does is adds a bit of lube to help against installing swirls back into your swirl free paint.
Glass, clay and polish like paint, and apply a glass sealant. Rain X is a older product, I use Griots glass sealant. For glass cleaner windex is not good. It contains ammonia and that dries out plastic and rubber. You want a car glass cleaner. I use Meguiars D120, dilute it to something like 1:64, I also sometimes use Stoners Invisible Glass. It is also a nice product.
Trim clean with an all purpose cleaner. Then a trim dressing. The APC will remove the new wax you just put on so bump that part up in the rotation. Also you don't want trim dressing on your freshly sealaed paint. Sealant won't stain your plastic and rubber trim like wax so there isn't as big of issue there. For apc I use use Meguiars D101 just all purpose cleaner. I have three different dilutions I use depending on how dirty or set in the contaminant is. For trim dressing my cars get Adams Super VRT, it is cost prohibitive for customer cars, they get Carpro PERL. Diluted 4:1. Carpro is also good on tires, and I put it in a garden sprayer for wheel wells.
A good bug spray is a must, it will help break up dead bugs, loosen up road tar and tree sap. Again lots work, I use Poor Boys Bug Squash. dillutable and works great.
For door jambs I use ONR, I keep 4 gallons in a bucket again with grit guard and a gamma seal lid. With the lid I keep it till dirty, a few uses, even a few full washes. I have a few micromfiber towels and the Optimum Big Red Sponge always in the bucket. It allows mess free door jambs and quick touch ups, or a complete wash with less than a gallon of water.
That about sums up the outside, now the inside.
I will do a quick vacuum, but not complete, just get the big stuff.
All hard surfaces get cleaned, depending on how dirty they are either APC again, or a AIO cleaner and uv protectant. If APC I use the same from the outside, the AIO I use Meguiars Quik Interior Detailer (it may be cleaner). It does a great job of cleaning and applying a dressing without being shinny or glossy. What is nice about that product is it's safe on everything. It won't hurt any surface on the inside including touch screens. Yes there are better products for some tasks but it is worry free. If you go the APC route you now need a protectant, either follow up with Quik Interior Detailer or another product, I follow up with 303 Aerospace Protectant. It's a great product that is safe on everything again.
Leather...leather is a step that products are misused. Modern automotive leather is coated in most vehicles, some like the King Ranch are not. If your leather is coated clean and protect is the game. Conditioners are not going to get through the coating to the leather so it just comes off on your pants the next time you get in the car. Mild soap and water, or light APC cleans well and is safe on coated leather. Now uv protectant, I use either 303, or Optima Leather Protectant really what is closer.
Carpet and upholstery that needs spot cleaned Folex available at Home Depot back in the kitchen cabinet area is a great product. When it dries it dries oil and grease free so it doesn't attract dirt again. It's dillutable, but I use it full strength.
Glass, there is no need to polish or clay, but same glass cleaner. Pro tip when you do the final wipe do outside left to right inside up and down, if you have streaks you know where they are.
Now vacuum. Floor mats out use crevices tools to get under seats and behind places. Why vacuum last? Well when you knock junk out of cup holders, dirt off the dash you now get it cleaned up.
Now onto the important stuff, tools and towels.
There is still a place for cotton terry towels, that's with the steamer. The heat will melt the microfiber (mf) fibers. I will also use them to get up stains with Folex so I don't ruin nice mf towels. That's the only place a bath towel will touch a car of mine or customer car while in my care.
Interior mf towels I use a less expensive one, the Kirkland yellows at Costco are great for this task. When they start to get soiled they become wheel and engine bay towels. Those don't get washed, they get tossed away. These towels are not paint safe in my opinion though lots do they say without harm. The rest of my towels have all come from the rag company unless they came in a package deal of stuff I got.
Drying towels I use Dry Me A River, though they sent me a Pluffle to try with a order and I must admit I like it. Some people complain of linting with them but I don't have that problem. It takes two per car to really get it dry.
Wax, sealant, compound, polish spay sealant/wax all that fun stuff removal eagle edgeless is all I use. Again I admit it's all I have tried it was a recommendation to me I liked it and never tried anything else. You could get away with one per step. Fold the towel in 1/4's and keep flipping sides then upside down you get lots of uses, and more even pressure distribution.
I am not sure the name but they have green glass towels they are fantastic and polish glass down till it almost glows.
With mf towels, if they touch the ground they are no longer paint safe. They just pick up too much stuff to trust they are containment free.
Mf towel care, I wash in the washing machine, only mf towels and my polisher pads. I use a free and clear detergent. Softener will get into the fiber and change how the towel absorbs and repels dust. They have some static charge almost so lint sticks to them, lint can scratch, so no cotton with them. Wash in warm with an extra rinse. Dry again only mf towels and on the lowest dryer setting. Too much heat can melt them.
Brushes, brushes are not paint safe no matter what the package says. Tires get a stiff bristle brush, wheels get a very soft "wheel" brush for the face. The barrels and behind the spokes I use wheel woolies. They are soft and on a long handle to get into the back of the wheel.
Interior I use horse hair when cleaning leather. Carpet and upholstery brush for carpet, I have one that attaches to a drill for easier and quicker spot removal.
Different sizes of almost like makeup brushes long handles short ones.
Qtips for in vents dipped in APC and in the part the seatbelt goes into.
Once the vent is clean Stoners makes a nice aerosol spray to dress down into them.
A few things to remember, you don't need to purchase everything at once. It is expensive, very expensive. For a normal person small bottles of most of these products will last years. You don't need to do everything at once. Break it up over a couple hours a weekend. In a month you will be done and now set for quick maintenance washes.
You don't need the best, technique is 99% of this game. A good detailer can do a better job with junk products than someone who is just learning with the best.
The cheapest shelf price isn't always the cheapest. Some products are dilatable, some just take more to work. I use what I do because cost vs amount used vs time. I make money off my stuff, so I look at it differently than most. For most who cares if the interior takes 25 minutes longer on a Saturday afternoon.
If you are going to order products online wait till a sale, all the stores have sales all the time, never pay regular price.
Hope this helps some and if anyone has any questions ask I will do my best to answer.
I should mention I don't have any interest in any company or product I use.
I haven't posted on this topic in years, but maybe it's due because as noted in the previous post, things have changed a lot since I bought my first Prius and joined this forum in 2004. Plus I plan to do some work on the Prius over the upcoming three-day weekend.
I switched over to coatings exclusively several years ago. The last few applications have been CarPro CQuartz UK and 22ple, though Gtechniq has made some improvements in their latest versions so I want to try out their Crystal Serum Light and EXOv3. EXOv3 is supposed to address some weaknesses in EXOv2 with respect to water spotting.
As with most things, prep is the most important. I still stick with Menzerna polishes (SI1500, PF2500, and SF4500 were the old names, they all have new names now) mostly, despite some dusting issues. I do have some Meguiar's M105 and their microfiber correction system with D300 for coping with heavy swirling. I have some water spotting on the roof and hood of my Prius, so it will likely get the D300 and microfiber pad on those surfaces, and then I'll follow up with some CarPro Essence Extreme and then CQuartz UK over the entire vehicle.
Contaminant removal has changed over the past few years, spray-on iron removers and claying mitts are seeing a lot of use. The claying mitt generally leaves some marring though, so it isn't recommended if you weren't planning on doing some paint correction afterwards.
Other products I currently use and can recommend:
Sonax wheel cleaners
Sonax Brilliant Shine Instant Detailer - I regularly use this after a wash
Optimum Opti-Bond Tire Gel
Einzett (has a new mfgr with similar sounding name after company founder died) Cockpit Premium for matte finish interior
Optimum Protectant Plus for satin finish interior
Optimum Powerclean for an APC
Leather Masters Strong Cleaner and Protection Cream - use this a couple times a year, otherwise seats get Optimum Protectant Plus or 303 Aerospace
Gtechniq C4 plastic restorer - good for 2+ years of restoration on sun faded exterior plastics. I have an unopened bottle of CQuartz DLUX which is a similar type of product which I plan to start testing.
22ple VS1 Final Coat - sacrificial protection that extends the life of a paint coating
CarPro Hydro2 - an interesting product, especially for wheels
There are other products I use which less frequently - there must be, as two whole shelves of a long cabinet in my garage are dedicated to detailing products.
If you need to clean the carpet or cloth or headliner, use Folex. You can purchase it at Home Depot or Bed Bath and Beyond
My website if you need some inspiration for detailing for rides
First I want to thank you for all the information and the updating of products.
A lot of people have been using whatever their old standby is and would love to know what the current slate of methods are. Maybe a rundown of methods by rank would be nice. Not really a rating but more of a class; State-of-the-art, Professional concours, pro, detail, everyday... A roundup of products would be excellent, but less important. More of - what would I use - in what situation. For us enthusiasts, (everyone here), a primer on what the newest or in this case newish methods are. Ceramics, plastic coatings, etcetera.
For me, I have to say your write-up was pretty extensive. Always had the idea that I would like a ramp, like a concours drive-up ramp, to raise the car for detailing. (anybody who uses this idea, send me a pic.) I always assume that if the rocker panels and such were right there, they would get clean. And as you say every step is important.
What soap would you recommend for stripping and starting over. (a lot of time I have water spots and such stuck under my sealants.) My car soap does not take wax off, so we are told. Or I assume any of the sealants.
Taking the wheels off must really give you nice access to the hard parts people conveniently gloss over. Wheel wells, air dams, suspension, lost tools stuck on the chassis, abs sensor wires that are loose....
The hand in bag trick is actually an excellent idea. I have gotten to the point that I will clay a car almost every time. And yeah it takes practice and is a pain. I usually use soapy water if I do not have detailer. It helps with fumes and I usually do not have extra cash to splash. The clay you mentioned and the alternatives piqued a lot of peoples attention. If time please school us on the whole clay world. (Again, it is amazing how much cleaner/amazing a clayed car gets.) I have seen kleenex unable to stay on the flattest part of the car. It just slides off.
I agree, any clay that slips out of your hand, is immediately thrown away. (I always plan on putting clean paper or sheets down to catch them but I never do. As I age my hands are getting harder to control the clay and be supple, subtle, and feel the action working; add in the squirm and surface tension reducers and voila.)
For the micro-fiber towels I assume you can reuse them once washed. (I have seen some so bad that no washing got them clean let alone usable.)
I am completely yours when it comes to the info on all the exterior trim and the interior parts. What works, cleans, recolors, etc. Tools and products for the upholstery cleaning is another dark area. I have had some success using home stuff but really need help here.
Windows seem to be an issue depending on tools. I can get them clean but with two or more steps. The haze from inside gas-off and general grime is hard to beat. Worse is the contact patch with whatever towel used. Help! I have used razor like tools for other jobs, but for cars I am a bit more suspect. And 0000 steel wool is a bit out of the completely safe zone?
Polishing, using power tools, paint repair....
Me: I am still using the Klasse system AIO and SG. Seems okay but I know things have progressed greatly over the last two decades or so. My method is to use two buckets or one, (all rinsing is done with a hose, no bucket to collect any debris).
I rinse the car several times for a long period. Soap soak. Repeat many times. When I feel comfortable, or less worried, I actually put the mitt to the paint and squeeze. Eventually the car seems clean. Rinse, start clay. If it is still the same day, I get to the AIO steps. Do it twice, just for coverage more than thickness is my guess. Do all windows and inside. (They have been cleaned while waiting for my OCD steps.) Eventually the SG goes on. If a miracle and I have garage space and days to wait, I will repeat the SG. I usually never get to the wax step. But if I do, it is a simple ps or s100 that was easy, popular and will not stain. I have no facts on its protection or shine.
Now it may not be necessary to have all the time-saving techniques since we are not pros; but my current method needs to change or be expedited.
yes this is a big ask. But you have shown you have the power.
Dawn dish detergent is good at stripping the wax off the car from what I've read.
Car wash soap in a bucket of warm water with a good splash of ammonia?
Thanks for all the advice!
Seems we have lost Cooper. Was hoping to get some information.
I included his post in mine to clarify a few points. Was hoping someone could school us on the new methods.
I just inherited a Prius and while the clearcoat is peeling, I am a Pro Detailer so this section is somewhat out dated, I will break it down into several sections as I see the older Phd Dissertations while a couple are good are simply way too long, for many of you.
My background - In Silicon Valley, was a Zaino Dealer, and was the 3rd largest dealer in the US. Decided to open up a shop and it became very successful. Will leave it at that.
My process is as follows:
Dawn Wash to remove road oils, wax(will get into that later) and general dirt. I have to chuckle as I have done this same procedure on 10,000+ vehicles with zero damage, from a Honda Civic to a Bugatti Veryon.
Clay Bar - Every vehicle gets clay barred. I don't care how new it is, it still has "stuff"/contaminants stuck on the paint that detract from the shine. The goal here is to get the paint as flat as possible as that gives the best shine.
Polish - Every car gets some sort of buffing(Will get into that in another post) Buffing continues to remove what the clay bar missed and further improves the shine. My standard detail used Zaino's AIO(All In One) Ceramic coatings used Jescars Correcting Compound.
Polymer Coating - A standard detail included a plethora of Zaino products. Since it is a polymer it lasted well beyond any Carnuba and I would put a 12 month warranty on the detail.
Ceramic Coating - I tested well over 25 products and settled in on three
Ceramic Pro - Not the best in the world but they provided the best warranty, and seemed to be the defacto standard as they saturated the market. Nice shine but no depth.
Kamikaze Miyabe - a much better finish than Ceramic Pro and good depth but durability was not as good
Feynlabs - Without question this one just kicks butt. This is the best of the best, It has an unreal shine and the best paint depth I have ever seen in a Ceramic. It has great durability, my test car is going on 5 years and I still get stopped at gas stations wanting to know what I put on my paint. I am in no way shape or form associated with the company. I just know what separates me as a high end detailer from the others.
Enough of this post for the moment. I will do seperate posts s some are more applicable than others.
Washing Your Car
There is always a debate on proper washing techniques, many wash the wheels first, the bottoms up approach, many wash top down. There is the single bucket approach, and the two bucket approach.
The goal is to get the car clean with the minimum damage to your paint.
Tools: The tools used range from sponges, wash mitts, hand towels, brushes, Foaming Systems for washing to cotton and Microfiber towels, to old T-shirts, Leather and Artificial Chamois and rags for drying.
I prefer a Wash Mitt for washing the car and quality Microfiber or 100% White Cotton Towels Made in the USA(They must be made in the USA) for drying Microfiber is the best.
Car Wash Soap: Never wash your car with just water!! You need a lubricant to help move the dirt off the surface of the paint. Plain water will not do that and you end up using unnecessary pressure to move the dirt and cause minor scratching every time you wash.
Always use a Car Wash Soap, the chemical balance is set to not be harsh on your paint or surrounding trim and provides lubricants to easily remove the dirt. Liquid dishwashing detergent is too harsh to use consistently. While it won’t ruin your paint, although there are many raging debates to the contrary, I have never seen anything “scientific” to prove that is the case. Dishwashing detergent is good for those once in a great while washings to prep your car for waxing/polishing.
Sponges, and there are some exceptions, T-Shirts, Colored towels, diapers, etc will scratch your paint. T-Shirts and Diapers have no nap to capture dirt, so they will drag dirt across the surface creating surface scratches, known as swirl marks reducing your shine. Colored Terry Cloth towels and foreign made towels have a tendency to mix cotton and Polyester which will scratch the paint. The dye used to color towels has a tendency to harden the material which will cause scratches.
I am also not a huge fan of Leather and Artificial Chamois. They are too flat and there is no place for the dirt to go. While you may have just washed the car, there is mineral content in the rinse water and the Chamois will drag that across the paint. Plus if there is any wind, dust can land on the paint surface and get dragged across the surface and guess what… scratches
If you have any doubts about what you are using to wash and dry your car, rub the item over a recorded side of a CD with medium pressure in one direction. If you see scratches in the rubbed direction, you have found the cause of your paint swirls.
Washing Methods: The single bucket method combines the wash and rinse water in a single bucket. It’s not bad and is the generally practiced method. You can add a “Grit Guard” to the bottom of your bucket to help alleviate dirt being worked up and put back into your Mitt. A “Grit Guard” is a “webbed” piece of plastic that fits in the bottom of the bucket. The “webs” have a tendency to trap the dirt that has sunk to the bottom and hold it there, rather than let it get sloshed around and reattach itself to your Mitt.
The two bucket method has the wash/soapy water in one bucket and rinse water in a second. Rinsing your wash mitt in a second bucket keeps your wash water much cleaner and decreases your chances of dragging dirt across the finish.
Let start with the basics:
Never wash your car in direct sunlight if you can help it. When the surface is hot, the soapy water will dry too quick, and the rinse water will leave behind water spots(mineral deposits left behind when water dries in large drops)
I wash my cars in early morning or the evening when the sun is not so direct.
Always “water” your car down before washing. Run water over the entire car before starting the wash cycle. It helps soften the dirt and makes removal a touch easier.
Do not use a jet like, blasting spray, it has a tendency to push the dirt into the paint surface and drag it along the surface before it gets blasted off. Use a gentle spray for the initial soaking
I prefer the top down method of washing versus bottoms up. Here is why; The top of the car is generally the cleanest, and gets dirtier the closer you get to the ground. That means you are moving a smaller amount of dirt and leaving a smaller amount of dirt in the wash or rinse water.
The bottoms up method of washing, pulls a larger quantity of dirt off the car in the beginning cycle of the wash and leaves it in your wash/rinse water. The increased quantity of floating dirt increases the chances of some small amount getting dragged across the paint surface.
I have seen some posts telling you to wash the wheels first. I don’t agree, you are washing off very fine brake pad dust first and potentially dragging it across your paint surface.
I wash the top first, then rinse, the hood and grill area, and rinse. Next are the sides to just above the rocker panel, and rinse. Next is the rear end, which has a tendency to collect more dirt than the sides, wash and rinse. Then I go back around the lower portion of the sides and the wheel wells, wash and rinse. Finally the wheels, wash and rinse. If it is extremely warm, I will dry the car first, then do the wheels. Getting the water dried as soon as possible should be kept in mind to prevent water spots from forming.
Rinsing: The best trick for reducing the amount of water left on the paint surface is to let a slow film of clean water run over the surface. This has a tendency to let the water slide off the surface and reduces the amount of water left on the surface to dry. Harsh blasting or jet like rinsing leaves large beads/puddles.
On a side note this is one of the greatest tricks used by Snake Oil Car polish salesman. They let the water gently run off of their demo piece and claim their product has increased protection and helps reduce the amount of water stuck to the surface. Ask them to drop water on their demo piece from two feet in the air and see the results. I haven’t found one yet that will do that.
While some of this might be a bit fanatical, once you follow at least the basics of the above methods, it becomes a habit and you will keep your paint in decent condition.
As stated always use 100% White Cotton towels or quality Microfiber Towels(They should be at least an 80/20 mix and tested on a CD)
Drying is much simpler than washing. I use my hands to push water off of the surface. It reduces the amount of towels needed to dry the car. With a towel, start with the top and work my way down. Do the windows at the same time, I am drying the rest of the car, but if it is very warm out, I have a second towel to completely dry the windows and prevent water spots from forming.
Other methods of drying:
Leaf Blower – Use a leaf blower to blow the water off the car. This is a pretty nifty method for getting water out of the mirrors, and those spots that have a tendency to bleed water. It also reduces the chances of water spotting and reduces the number of towels needed to dry the car.
Make sure it is clean before you use it on the car. I would hate to have a stick come flying out and scratch the paint.
California Water Blade/Squeegee– These are great for getting rid of rinse water and drastically reduce the number of towels needed to dry the car. My biggest concern in using these is dragging it across a spot of dirt that got missed during the wash cycle. I have seen some pretty serious scratches made by these when they were dragged across a missed wash spot.
I prefer the following method for washing:
Gently soak the entire car with water first
Use a good quality car wash soap and water
Use a good quality mitt or 100% White Cotton wash towel
Start washing from the top down
Hood & grill
Sides almost all the way down
Finish the sides
If it is extremely warm and the rinse water is drying, dry the car then do the wheels
Gently run rinse water over the car
Good quality 100% White Cotton towels or quality Microfiber towels, or leaf blower
Hand Squeegee the big chunks of water
Dry top down
If warm have a second towel handy to dry the windows
I hope this at least gives you some ideas and methods. As I stated in the beginning, this is pretty extreme, you can adjust your washing methods to suit your own tastes.
Last but not Least – Car Washes
Any car wash with swirling brushes is causing great harm to your paint. DO NOT, and I REPEAT, DO NOT USE THEM!!!
Even the car washes that have the shaking friction modules can swirl the paint. Are they convenient, you bet, it just depends on your level of interest in keeping your car scratch free versus convenience.
The best is a place that hand washes your car.
Claying A Car
One of the most mysterious areas of detailing. It is not that difficult to do. The retail kits you get at the local auto parts stores are a mild grade and usually include lubricant.
Start on the hood as the hood roof are the easiest to do if you have not clayed before.
Lubricants - those that come with the kits work just fine but if you run out or buy just the clay bar a spray bottle with a few drops of car wash soap works great. No need to go out and buy a special clay bar lubricant.
Spray 1/4 of the hood, then cup the clay bar and use light to medium pressure and rub the clay bar over the lubricated surface.
Check the clay bar surface if it shows dirt then knead the clay bar to get a new surface. Wipe down what you just clayed with a towel and move onto a new section. Again if the clay bar show dirt just knead it so you have a new surface.
On the vertical sides same spray about 1/4 of the door and cup the clay in your hand and put some pressure on it. Continue until you have the sides done.
If the Clay Bar starts to disintegrate, then it is done and time for a new one.
Thank you for all of the detailing tips. I am a big fan of clay bar, especially on a white car it is amazing. My clear coat is flaking too and my hood is chipped, so I didn't really need or want to do a full detail with traditional products. I figured that a clay bar would just pick up those flakes of clear coat, and I didn't want to use a buffer. So I tried the new Speed Clay 2.0 which isn't clay so you don't have to worry about dropping it, it came in a kit with a spray hybrid ceramic wax. They make something similar called a nanoskin mitt, either way it is like an eraser that lifts/sheers the deposits off the paint.
The main advantage of this system is it is fast, no prep or buffing or needing lots of towels. You "bar" as you wash using the soap for lubrication, then you spray the wax as you dry. And I used the bar and wax on the glass too and it made them clear with no wiper chatter. So even with the peeling clear coat this bar worked great, knocked off loose bits, and the parts with no clear coat will bead water. Overall the car looked amazing, better than it has in years even with all the flaws.
Very good not many people know about a clay bar, especially on glass. It is amazing the difference it makes.