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DIY - Car Care & Detailing thread

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself' started by VahanPujari, May 30, 2010.

  1. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Fiat, Soul, Character, Love, Passion are the often-used words & are regular experiences, emotions of Fiat Car owners. We treasure our cars like a family member. Let's share here some simple Do It Yourself (DIY) Car Care.

    Broadly the exterior Car detailing includes following steps:

    1. Shampoo Wash

    2. Preparing the Car Surface to make it "Like-New" - Claying

    3. Paint Sealant

    4. Wax


    Use a good Cotton Cloth. Those Yellow clothes thingies sold at traffic signals are useless. Either use Microfiber or soft cotton "baniyans". Do not use sponge. Why? It all comes down to Flat face of the sponge

    Lets see the car paintwork with your typical dirt and grit particles stuck on the top of the paint, that you want to wash off. Some of these dirt particles could be sharp:


    Now, if you wash the car with a sponge, the grit particles gets trapped between the face of the sponge and the paint - they have no where to go due to the flat face of the sponge:


    When you wipe the sponge across the paintwork, you actually wipe the sharp grit particles straight across the paint. As they move over the paint, the dirt particles leave thin hairline scratches:


    DO NOT WIPE CLEAN YOUR CAR WITH DRY CLOTH. Reasons - same as above. I never touch my car with a dry cloth. However, if you've a compulsion like I do (after 2 hours B2B city traffic drive reaching home after 9 pm but still wants to clean the car quickly before covering it with car body cover), go for a good quality Car Duster. Those multi-color Rs. 25 duster thingies are absolutely useless. Go for California Car Duster or Jopasu Car Duster (India-made).

    The "Two-Bucket Method"

    The two bucket method uses two buckets, not one. In the first bucket, you have your car wash solution (Shampoo'es water with foam) as normal. In the second bucket you have clean fresh water. First off you soak your washing cloth in the wash solution and begin washing the car. Then, before soaking the cloth back into the wash solution, you rinse it out in the second bucket of fresh water - this rinses out the dirt and grit particles from this mitt so that they cannot come into contact with your paint, reducing the number of swirls inflicted.

    After the wash comes the "drying" stage. The Chamois - Original leather Chamois or the Synthetic Chamois - is the best for drying the washed surface as it has the best absorbent characteristics. You could use a Microfiber as well to dry the surface.

    Why Protect Paint?

    Paintwork requires protection of its own as well. Its like the skin of your car and it is continuously subjected to contaminants and environmental harm when its outside. Paintwork protection comes in two generic types: Sealents and Waxes.

    Examples of the contaminants are:

    > Ultraviolet Radiation (UV) from sunlight - you cannot see UV, it can cause fading
    > Rain - rain water is actually a contaminant which can also be filled with pollution and acids
    > Bird bombs - highly alkaline and can eat into the finish of your paint
    > Industrial Fallout
    > Road film/ dirt/ tar
    > General muck and grime


    The chances are that you may have just spent many hours washing, and removing defects from your paint and glazing it to get that sought after wet look shine, but it is necessary to protect that finish with a hard-wearing layer in order to keep the finish looking at its best, otherwise the elements above will degrade and damage the paint finish. So a protective barrier is applied to the paint:

    Paint Sealants

    Paint sealants are man-made paint protection (synthetic). They have been developed to provide tough protection for paint finishes to protect you pride and joy and preserve the finish you have worked so hard for. As the name suggests, it "seals" the paint surface finish.

    The look obtained from applying a paint sealant is a very reflective and generally crystal clear look. Reflections in paintwork are sharp and eye catching and metallic flake is allowed to show to its full potential. However, paintwork sealents have been known to lack a certain richness to the finish - despite the superb reflections, the finish can sometimes lack the warm glow obtainable from a carnauba wax (see later) though the modern Paint Sealants now come very close to matching the warm glow to paintwork that is a trait of a carnuaba wax.

    Generally speaking, paint sealants have high durability (3-6 months) when compared to carnauba waxes (1-2 months) and are therefore favoured by those who are looking for a durable finish that is easy to maintain by simply washing the car. Additionally, they are favoured by those searching for the ultimate in shiny, reflective surfaces from paintwork and those wishing features such as metallic flake to be shown off to its highest.

    Paint Sealants require curing time - say 24 hours before you apply wax for that Wet-look Glow finish

    Few examples of Paint Sealants:

    Some examples of sealant products:

    > Wolfgang Gloss sealant
    > Meguiars NXT Tech Wax 2.0 (yes, its actually a sealant!)
    > Meguiars #21 Synthetic Sealant
    > Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection

    Carnauba Waxes

    The look generally achievable from a carnauba wax is one of a warm glow to paintwork that comes from a glossy and rich looking finish that has great depth.

    To apply a wax, always follow the manufacturers instructions, here are some generic tips:

    > Use a sponge or microfibre applicator for application by hand.

    > By hand, apply in circular motions first and finish in straight lines to ensure even coverage.
    > Keep the layers thin, remember the residue you remove is wasted product!
    > After letting it dry to a haze, Buff off residue with a microfibre towel.
    > Apply it Panel-by-panel i.e. first apply it to only hood, let it dry to a haze, buff it & only then go for the next panel.

    EDIT: There is an excellent contribution by the member anoop on the car detailing process - from Washing to Wax Polishing on Page 13 here---> http://www.teamfiat.co.in/forum/showthread.php?53-DIY-CAR-CARE&p=68652&viewfull=1#post68652

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  2. Ranjan

    Ranjan Novizio

    Navsari, Gujarat
    Re: DIY - CAR CARE

    Superb DIY directions. I try and wash the car myself mostly. Nowadays when I am on vacation and the car wash person washes my cars.....was horrified to see some scratches due to improper cleaning of wash cloth...... will have now to spend on some special treatment. Does some one know of some special treatment for these small scratches??
  3. nehamit

    nehamit Timido

    Re: DIY - CAR CARE

    Dear Amit, simple truth in plain lucid manner, thanks! I have found out a commercial solution here in Ahmedabad. An agency is working for car cleaning and even TATA-FIAT dealership has contract with this agency. They have all material like microfibre cloth, wax, shampoo, california type duster from China and they clean the car everyday with great care. They do interior cleaning, shampooing, waxing once a week. They have different plans, but I have subscribed to Rs.400/month plan and I am very happy with the results. My both cars are now looking fresh, new everyday. This agency has contract for more than 1000 cars in Ahmedabad!
  4. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Re: DIY - CAR CARE

    Wecome aboard, Dr. Amit

    So nice to hear from you again

    Thats a good agency there at Ahmedabad. What I did is to get 3M Paint Protection Treatment done (review thread posted in relevent section here). It made my Linea just-like-new :-D making me so happy :wow
  5. Re: DIY - CAR CARE


    I need to know which brand of Wax to use for best results?

    Also, does anyone here face the problem of the black plastic on the top of the bonnet loosing all it shine. The one on my car looks as if its already a couple of years old. A proper dashboard polish is the solution. I have tried a spray based solution(Aerosol). But it never lasted for more than 8-10 hrs. Sorry , i don remember the brand. I know about the brand Formula 1. But that is also a spray based solution. Can anyone share info on what to use???

    What about tire wall polish?? i read some where that cola (pepsi/Coke etc) give a very good finish :eek: . But haven't tested it personally.

    Lastly, what to do if you want to remove those little scratch marks??? has anyone tried Formula 1 Scratchout/ any other similar product??
  6. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Re: DIY - CAR CARE

    For waxing, its preferable to use pure carnauba wax only. Avoid any Wax POLISH as polish contains some cleaning agents which takes off a few microns of the paint. I used Formula 1 carnauba wax earlier but now its very very difficult to find original one. Currently I'm using Turtle wax Super Hardshell which is excellent. The details are in my Linea Ownership thread/ topic.

    For that plastic part, I've used only Formula 1 product called "Dashbaord Protectant" & used very rarely with the spray can bought 7 years back still lasting. It gives very good results.
  7. Re: DIY - CAR CARE

    For Dashboard protectant and tire dressing, I use the Armorall. Tire dressing I prefer the gel as opposed to Aerosol spray.
  8. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Re: DIY - CAR CARE

    From easily available Wax in India, Motomax is a brand by our very own Pidilite (owners of Fevicol brand). Another one is Waxpol.

    If you look for wax products on ebay sites, you can get hold of nxt Tech Wax 2.0 which is a combination of Wax & Sealant - an excellent product I would say.
  9. Re: DIY - CAR CARE

    Brought a pack of Brake dust repellent from GP Road. Good one.

    It is doing an excellent job of repelling Brake dust making it easier to clean the alloys.

    (Mods : please move the post to the appropriate place if this doesnt belong here)[attachment=0:1agnc8hq]DSC00885.JPG[/attachment:1agnc8hq][attachment=1:1agnc8hq]DSC00883.JPG[/attachment:1agnc8hq]


  10. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Re: DIY - CAR CARE


    Exactly what does it do? Does not allow brake dust to accumulate on Alloys?

    Never mind. You just post. You've so many Love-hate experiences with TASC to share with members :mrgreen:

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