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> The DEFINITIVE Car Care Thread.
Von Z
post Feb 7 2011, 05:13 PM
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kingjeezy
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Recommend your favorite products, share techniques, and ask any and all questions you may have about car care.

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Polishes vs Waxes

What is Car Polish?

Car polish is a product that removes dirt, grease, scratches and scrapes from automobile paint. It is a car detailing product that comes in several different forms such as liquids, sprays and creams. Car detailing refers to the cleaning and shining work done on vehicles. Many car polishes contain solvents such as turpentine that clean the auto paint and remove impurities from it to allow the shine to show through.

Although car polish brings out the shine in a vehicle's paint finish, it's important to understand that polishes are not the same as waxes. This is confusing to many people since some waxes are sold as polishes and vice versa, but the two products are actually very different. Car wax applied to automobile paint acts as a protective layer. It's non-abrasive and fills in little dents in the paint finish. Car polish on the other hand, is slightly abrasive and it removes surface grime.

While car polish can be used before waxing, car wax should never be used before polishing. Wax will seal in any dirt and impurities rather than remove them like polish does. Years of dirt build-up and exposure to sunlight can give auto paint a dull look that can usually be brightened and improved with car polish. The polish often removes scratches or scrapes as well.

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What Is Car Wax?

Car wax is a waxy substance that is rubbed onto a vehicle's exterior. It is then allowed to dry before being wiped off, creating a protective layer for the vehicle's paint and clear coat. Car wax is usually made from a mixture of carnauba wax and other natural waxes. The carnauba wax comes from the carnauba palm tree in the Brazilian rain forest. The tree produces the wax to coat and protect its leaves to keep in moisture during hot weather and is harvested only during certain months throughout the year. Car wax is used in the same way to protect the exterior of a person's vehicle as the carnauba wax is used to protect the carnauba palm tree.

Auto enthusiasts use car wax on a regular basis to extend the life of a car. It places a protecting layer over the car's paint and clear coat that protects it from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, which can fade the color of a car's paint. It also protects the car from dirt, from road salt during inclement weather, and helps prevent rust. Car wax can also be used to keep moisture off the paint and clear coat.

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Lately, I've been hit by the Detailing Bug, so I've gone out and purchased a bunch of soaps and waxes to take care of my Avalanche. It's black, so it needs a lot of meticulous care and a good deal of repeated treatment when it comes to getting a rich, deep look. Right now, I'm absolutely loving Meguiar's products, using these on a regular basis:



Yes, I know it almost looks like a Meguiars promo, but I have really liked the results I've seen with this stuff, and am hesitant to try anything else out for the moment. If it ain't broke, etc., etc.

Lastly, I have some trim issues that I need to sort out, as Mother's Back to Black only does a decent job of coating it and hiding it for a week or two. Does anyone have a recommendation for me regarding what product(s) to use? I'm pretty sure the fading is actually dried wax from about half a year back, but it's really stubborn...

My truck [horrible pic I know]



The Deets:
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clarkma5
post Feb 7 2011, 05:23 PM
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I'm all about Eagle One A-Z Wheel & Tire cleaner combined with two medium bristle brushes for my rims...one big one to get the sidewalls of the tires and the flats of the spokes, a smaller one to get between the spokes. Stuff works great.

I used Meguiar's deep crystal or gold class car wash. Seems to do the job just dandy.

My favorite wax is P21S, but I get S100 which is the same stuff but in a motorcycle-sized container (available at your local Harley-Davidson dealer). Deep shine, moderately durable, super easy to apply.

I use meguiar's cleaner wax when I want a cleaner wax. Also use mequiar's clay bar. I bought Sonus Ultra Fine clay a couple years ago to try it, but "ultra fine" may as well be code for "doesn't really do much". Probably great for people seeking out that last extra bit of shine and cleanliness but doesn't really work for an everyday car.

For my interior plastics and leather, can't beat 303 Aerospace Protectant. Not shiny like armor all, it's a proper UV protectant and is also somewhat anti-static to stop fuzzies from clinging to your interior plastics. For my cloth, I use 303 Fabric Cleaner followed by 303 Fabric Guard for occasional touch-up and protection of higher contact areas, but for the most part it just gets vacuumed and looks dandy (yay durable VW sport cloth!)

But I think that beyond the products, what really matters is the methodology you apply to how you wash and detail and how well you keep your car up in general. Always wash from the top down, use a rinse bucket to wring out your dirty wash mitt, and for high-crud situations definitely think about doing your wash in two parts or at least using a second mitt. Before major wax applications, I wash my car with dishwashing detergent to strip all the old gunk off the paint (not a good thing to wash your car with regularly, but for a once-in-awhile major detailing it's a great place to start) and then go into claying. Then I give it another wash with normal carwash liquid before going for a full wax with S100. (I typically go through this routine once-or-twice a year).
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Von Z
post Feb 7 2011, 05:37 PM
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I do agree with you in saying that prep is key. I've had plenty of friends tell me they got done waxing their cars, but that they don't look very good. I ask what they used, and it's usually dish soap and bath towels. I don't care if you use the best carnauba wax available... dish soap and towels is NOT going to cut it. Invest in a chamois, a good soap [anything but Armor All or dish soap, really], and a nice polish / wax.

I've also been thinking of picking up the Meguiar's Clay Bar, but don't know exactly what purpose it would serve. Does it help with fine scratches and swirls? Or is it more like a gunk-remover?
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b0mb3r
post Feb 7 2011, 06:13 PM
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actually dish soap works awesome if you plan to wax your car... it will remove all kinds of grease/wax from cars.
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Von Z
post Feb 7 2011, 06:14 PM
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Understood, but some people I know use it on a regular basis, thus ruining their paint. They then try to make it up by going crazy with waxes and crying when it doesn't look showroom new...
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b0mb3r
post Feb 7 2011, 06:16 PM
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QUOTE(Von Z @ Feb 7 2011, 07:14 PM) *
Understood, but some people I know use it on a regular basis, thus ruining their paint. They then try to make it up by going crazy with waxes and crying when it doesn't look showroom new...

it's amazing how far can claying, polishing and waxing can go...and it really is not that much work.
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goota
post Feb 7 2011, 07:02 PM
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I detail my truck with mud, sticks, rocks and occasionally sand.
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dukenukem
post Feb 7 2011, 07:05 PM
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Out of all the stuff that RJ21 posted I will only really recommend the Gold car wash and the Quick detailers spray. The Meguiars smooth surface kit (Clay bar + detailing spray) is great value and works great for most cars.

For wax I would say go to walmart and look up this stuff
- Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax (No. 845)
http://www.colliniteautomotive.com/products.htm#liquid845


What I currently use

- Meguiars Gold car shampoo
- Meguiars Smooth surface clay kit
- 1Z Einszett Swirl and Haze remover
- 1Z Einszett Paint Polish
- 1Z Einszett Glanz wax (more a sealant than wax and has lasted me well over 6 months now)
- Sonax full effect wheel cleaner - This thing is by far and away the best damn wheel cleaner I have EVER used. It took for 6 months of caked on brake dust out in 1 go. I know detailers who use it on many many thousand dollar rims so it is perfectly safe for your wheels too.
- Stoner window cleaner
- turtle bug and tar remover when I absolutely have to
- Detailers domain branded microfiber towels

I don't really use any products on the inside of my car ... I just don't care enough or have no patience left by the time I get to the interior.

For people who want the some of the best and easiest to use products ...

http://www.adamspolishes.com/p-92-adams-ba...r-care-kit.aspx

Slightly more complete kit
http://www.detailersdomain.com/adamspolish...tailingkit.aspx
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clarkma5
post Feb 7 2011, 07:44 PM
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Clay bars pick up small particles that are on the paint. It's wonderful stuff, it leaves your paint feeling glass smooth and is an excellent precursor to a good, thorough wax job. I would say do NOT use dishwashing soap and/or clay unless you're prepared to wax after, or else you leave your paint unprotected. Lately I've been using it in conjunction with a cleaner wax to get some obnoxiously stubborn tree shit off my paint (not sap just...stuff that won't come off).

My GTI will be 7 years old in April and a polish or rubbing compound has never touched its paint (though I have used glass polish on the windshield a couple times, which is nice). After a full wash, clay, and wax, the paint feels wonderful and looks great, I see no need to polish it.
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Carnut
post Feb 7 2011, 07:52 PM
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subed!
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Aircooled
post Feb 8 2011, 04:39 AM
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Jetta's not good enough to look pretty. There's a 2 or 3 small dings that are starting to rust now that I think of it, I'll take care of those once it gets warm out.
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Altostratus
post Feb 8 2011, 07:30 AM
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Swissvax/p21s ftw.

Also, starting my first temp. Detailing job next week. will be washing/setting-up and maintaining the Nissan booth at the Canadian international auto show(toronto) for media day and vip night. Then when the show opens to the public, i'll be the sole detailer for the Toyota/lexus booth.
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Von Z
post Feb 10 2011, 09:11 PM
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I picked up some Meguiar's Ultimate Wash & Wax today from work. I'll be testing it out this weekend and posting pictures and impressions. I've read some good things about it, most notably that it leaves your paint with a slick feeling unlike a good wax.

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porsche944
post Feb 21 2011, 07:51 AM
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Any advice on a good product to keep aging leather moist and crackle free?
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dukenukem
post Feb 21 2011, 08:10 AM
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QUOTE(porsche944 @ Feb 21 2011, 09:51 AM) *
Any advice on a good product to keep aging leather moist and crackle free?

http://www.detailersdomain.com/1zeinszett-interiorkit.aspx

OR

http://www.detailersdomain.com/adamspolish...leaner16oz.aspx

http://www.detailersdomain.com/adamspolish...tioner16oz.aspx
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misnblu
post Feb 22 2011, 02:17 PM
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I'm a Meguiars man for sure but I do use 'Liquid Glass' polymer wax on one of my cars and it's amazing stuff.
Been using the 'Liquid Glass' for over 20 years now with excellent results as long as the paint is in good condition.

Nice thread.
Mothers or Meguiars with Meguiars taking the lead with most everything that I do with the outside of my cars.

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Von Z
post Feb 22 2011, 03:17 PM
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Question: What's the best material to use on your windows? I have microfiber, but I feel like it streaks somewhat, as it isn't incredibly absorbent. I also have Scott Blue Shop Towels, but those feel like they leave lint and whatnot. I know this is somewhat OCD, but I just want to have extremely clear windows with no fogging, streaks, etc.
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shandyman5
post Feb 22 2011, 03:20 PM
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QUOTE(Von Z @ Feb 22 2011, 06:17 PM) *
Question: What's the best material to use on your windows? I have microfiber, but I feel like it streaks somewhat, as it isn't incredibly absorbent. I also have Scott Blue Shop Towels, but those feel like they leave lint and whatnot. I know this is somewhat OCD, but I just want to have extremely clear windows with no fogging, streaks, etc.


I learned a while ago from my uncle who worked at a car wash, that the absolute best way to get your windows perfect and streak free was to buy the cheepest, shittiest paper towels that were WHITE! NOT BROWN! The white towels were excellent and my family has done it for years with great results. NEVER any streaking. You want the cheapest ones because they contain no "fuzzies", aloe or absorbent additive crap. It really is a good secret I figured I would share.
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dukenukem
post Feb 22 2011, 04:08 PM
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QUOTE(shandyman5 @ Feb 22 2011, 05:20 PM) *
I learned a while ago from my uncle who worked at a car wash, that the absolute best way to get your windows perfect and streak free was to buy the cheepest, shittiest paper towels that were WHITE! NOT BROWN! The white towels were excellent and my family has done it for years with great results. NEVER any streaking. You want the cheapest ones because they contain no "fuzzies", aloe or absorbent additive crap. It really is a good secret I figured I would share.

You can also use your regular non glossy newspaper.
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Von Z
post Feb 22 2011, 04:41 PM
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kingjeezy
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QUOTE(shandyman5 @ Feb 22 2011, 03:20 PM) *
I learned a while ago from my uncle who worked at a car wash, that the absolute best way to get your windows perfect and streak free was to buy the cheepest, shittiest paper towels that were WHITE! NOT BROWN! The white towels were excellent and my family has done it for years with great results. NEVER any streaking. You want the cheapest ones because they contain no "fuzzies", aloe or absorbent additive crap. It really is a good secret I figured I would share.

Definitely going to try this out... Thanks!

QUOTE(dukenukem @ Feb 22 2011, 04:08 PM) *
You can also use your regular non glossy newspaper.

Thanks for reminding me to get newspaper for my Cal Duster, haha. I keep forgetting to set the sucker in some newspaper overnight.
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