exterior maintenance basics

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by draheim, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    Well, it fits my schedule. I'd rather devote 4 hours (in a warm enough weather) getting it good for a whole year (quite possible if you top and maintain with Clear Seal and Z-6, which takes no more time than drying). I know I'm not good at sticking to a strict schedule of 4 times a year, especially with a family at home.

    Yes, I know about the plasticky look, especially with the old Z-2 formula (compared to Z-2 Pro) and on silver cars. That's why I avoid Z-2 Pro on black. Z-5 Pro gives more depth on black and other colors.
     
  2. Texas911

    Texas911 Member

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    I'll only add that the thing I like about the Zaino is that it lasts a long time. I usually do an intensive wax job sometimes just once a year! I've tried "over the counter" waxes, but they just don't seem to last long. Just FYI. But will add that Zymol is the best shine I've seen.
     
  3. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Please don't get me wrong, like I said, when I was younger I spent more time obsessing about my vehicle appearance. Also as I said, I understand peoples desire to keep their vehicles looking good and I think there is real value in maintaining and protecting the look and finish of your vehicle.

    So I'm not faulting or I don't mean any negativity towards anyone who enjoys and/or simply wants to invest whatever time, money and effort into exterior and interior vehicle maintenance.

    I just know that I've changed. When I was debating what color to purchase black was and has been one of my favorite colors, but experience did teach me that it is hard to maintain. I more or less made an agreement with myself that "if" I purchased another black vehicle, I would strive to "care less" about how it looked all the time.

    But since I know the desire to keep a new or any vehicle looking as good as possible for as long as possible I don't fault anyone for wanting to pursue the wonderful task of exterior maintenance.

    To the OP I would say my advice is, whether it is simple " Car Wash"- tools or Polish and/or Wax, don't go cheap. Buy the higher quality materials. Again in my experience when it comes to materials or tools going cheap is never a good idea.
     
  4. draheim

    draheim Member

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    Thanks to all who replied to my post. I ended up placing the following orders yesterday:

    Zaino
    Z-2 Pro
    Z-7 Show Car Wash
    Z-18 ClayBar
    ZFX accelerator

    Griot's Garage
    sheepskin wash mit
    10 100% cotton buffing cloths
    ultra-thick microfiber towel
    spray-on wax
    spray bottle for wax
    (I skipped the Speed Shine for now, just going for the bare necessities)

    I have been spoiled by all the sites that offer free shipping - I think Zaino charged $10 and Griot's charged $13 + sales tax! (because they apparently have a physical presence in my state)

    Hopefully with that and a couple of buckets I'll have a good wash/wax starter kit.

    I still need to figure out if I'm going to try to wash at one of those self-serve car wash bays or just do it at home. As I recall the self-serve car washes make you plug a bunch of quarters in for about 5 minutes of access, which wouldn't be enough time to wet the car down, wash thoroughly, and rinse. Only alternative would be to pay twice as much for two cycles of water access. But it would definitely be better for the salmon not to wash the car in the driveway...
     
  5. Joe166

    Joe166 New Member

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    Most of those quarter places let you add a few quarters for more time. You don't usually have to go through two full cycles, unless you just stop and use the mitt for a long time and then some of them want you to move out of the bay so others can do their cars.

    How do you get the salmon to help you and yes, you would probably have to move closer to the water.
     
  6. draheim

    draheim Member

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    :D LOL and if you'd believe it, I'm an editor
     
  7. seasalsa

    seasalsa Active Member

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    IMHO you do not need anything special to protect the original finish. I am trading in my 2004 (96,000 trouble free miles)that has never seen polish, much less clay or Zano. The dealer remarked about how great my car looks, wanted to know if I just had it detailed. I have just washed it (when it looked dirty) with plain water for the last 6 years. The seagull poop comes right off, tree sap needs a little turpentine and you have to pick the evergreen needles out of the wiper well.
     
  8. draheim

    draheim Member

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    I took Friday afternoon off and, it being a rare rainless day (and a truly beautiful one at that, surpassed only by today), took the opportunity to give my new Prius her first bath. Using all the supplies listed earlier in this thread, I washed the car with Dawn, then used the Z-18 clay bar, then washed it again quickly using Z-7 car wash to remove any clay/lubricant residue (rinsing probably would have been sufficient), then dried it and applied just one coat of Z-2 polish (using the ZFX accelerant), hand-buffed that off after 30 minutes, and finally applied a coat of Zymol wax. The whole thing took me almost 4 hours, including getting everything set up etc.

    I must not have clayed correctly because there are still a few tiny raised bumps on the roof and hood that you can feel but can't see. Not a big deal; otherwise the surface is literally as smooth as glass - especially the doors and other vertical surfaces where no contaminants have settled on the paint. The Zaino was kind of a pain to apply and remove, but worth it if it provides significantly more durable protection. The final coat of Zymol wax really helped too. The silver paint reflects just like a mirror now.

    It might not be truly necessary to do all the coats and layers of Z-2 and wax etc., and I'm sure some people can get by with just the occasional wash. But my thinking is that more of the dirt and contaminants will roll off the car in the rain rather than adhere to it, which will then end up requiring fewer washes and leave fewer minor scratches and swirls. So yes, 3+ hours of intensive work every 6 months or so, with regular washing and maybe a spray-on wax in between, is worth it to me for the satisfaction of knowing the exterior will stay in great shape for years to come.

    Thanks to everyone for all the helpful tips.
     
  9. Joe166

    Joe166 New Member

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    You can clay just stubborn spots and then do the touch up "waxing" after.
     
  10. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    Unless the imperfections are under the paint and occurred at the factory, in which case there's nothing you can do.
     
  11. Paradox

    Paradox Prius Enthusiast / Moderator
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    The Zaino was hard to remove since it was the first coat put on after everything was stripped. Subsequent coats will come off MUCH easier.

    Glad you're happy with the results!
     
  12. Joe166

    Joe166 New Member

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    True, but what is your point? Did you somehow read into my post that I was saying anything that contradicts that point?

    He said he missed a spot or two and since he had requested basic exterior maintenance basics, I thought it would be nice to point out to him that you don't have to clay the entire car each time.

    That is all.
     
  13. draheim

    draheim Member

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    Truce... I think 32k just meant that there's a chance there are some imperfections that can't be removed no matter how much I clay those areas, so don't overdo it. Your point that I don't have to clay the whole car next time is a helpful one; since this is all a good learning experience for me I'm taking small steps even if I don't get the finish "perfect" the first time... I've learned that sometimes less is more until you have a better idea what you're doing, or you can do irreparable (or very expensive) damage. Overall I'm very happy w/ the results; my car is still shining beautifully and I don't really see any flaws, swirls, scuffs, or other issues w/ the finish.
     
  14. boochi101

    boochi101 Junior Member

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    sorry to be a noob in a pro area of zaino stuff but I applied that TOYOGUARD bottle stuff to my car today. Washed car with car wash liquid (some ICE liquid) dried and then applied the TOYOGUARD. Waited some 30 minutes to dry to a light haze and then buffed with a clean towel. I think it came up really good. the clolor is Blizzard white pearl and it looks wet and deep shine. No swirl marks or scratches seen at all. I am happy.

    I am not sure what is in that TOYOGUARD bottle but I think it is easy on/easy of stuff.

    One question - can I apply the toyoguard wax to other vehicles or that can be used on only vehicles with TOYOGUARD paint protectant?

    Thanks.
     
  15. cit1991

    cit1991 New Member

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    I'm not sure if what I'm about to say is blasphemy, but here goes.

    I avoid dishsoaps. They tend to strip wax, unless of course that's what you want to do.

    Using a quality carwash soap (Adams or Maguires), I use a sudsgun to spray foamy suds over the car to dislodge the big stuff. Then for the stuck-on dirt, a foam pad to wash it off.

    After rinsing, I feel certain areas to see if some clay treating is necessary. I don't clay the whole car, unless the whole car needs it.

    For protection, I really have become a fan of Optiseal. One bottle really does last dozens of applications. You spray it on a microfiber-covered sponge pad (couple squirts) then wipe it on...resquirting every few square feet. That's it. No wiping afterward. It's so easy, I do it really often, like every other wash or so.

    If you're really anal, you can get a demineralizer to remove the dissolved minerals from your hosewater. At the end of the rinse, put the demineralizer between the spigot and the hose. Then re-rinse the car to displace the normal water with demin water. That way there will be no mineral deposits where the water dries without being removed with a towel. It's great for big cars, since you can skip drying completely with no spots.
     
  16. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    Car wax makes my car shiny and it looks nice for a while after I wax it providing I keep it clean, it also seems to make it easier to get bugs or road tar off. But other than that does it really do any good?

    My company supplied work vehicles usually went the whole 5 or 6 years I had them with nothing but an occasional wash job. The paint under the dirt looked just as good as the paint on vehicles that were waxed frequently. I tried waxing the hood of a 5 year old Expedition, which had never been waxed before, and it come out just fine. So I was wondering does wax really protect the paint or have any useful function other that cosmetic?

    I plan to keep waxing my Prius because I like it to look good so the question is just academic.
     
  17. andino

    andino Senior Member

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    I haven't tried Zaino but I use Meguiar's 3 step system every 3 months and it works great. I clay bar before applying and wash with ICE shampoo. Between, I use a quick liquid polymer like ICE polish to keep the shine up and the water from sticking. I actually just waxed my car 2 weekends ago and it looks great. BP really shines and has much more depth than a normal white.

    BTW, don't use dawn soap for every wash as that will strip the wax. Use a car conditioner/shampoo and the wax will stay happily on your clear coat. Hope you have fun wash/waxing because it will definitely show after its all said and done.
     
  18. car78412

    car78412 Member

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    With every new car I have recently owned (last 10 years) I clay bar the whole car to removed contaminates from shipping. Then I apply an acrylic wax (Klasse). I wait a week for it to cure then apply another coat of Klasse. The third week I apply a pure canuba wax PS21s without cleaners. This provides the paint with thorough protection from the sun and contaminates. Every 6 months I apply another coat of Klasse then a coat of PS21s. The car maintains its like new finish for many years.
    When washing your Prius, use 2 buckets of water. One with soap added and one with just plain water to clean your washing cloth before reapplying. This will keep all the harmful grit off your washing cloth.
     
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