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DIY - Car Care & Detailing thread

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

  1. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    Washing - continued

    After parking the car under a shade, apply water liberally on the tyres. After that, use a good cleaning agent of your choice - I prefer car shampoo - and use a mild brush to brush down the tyre to clean all the mud deposited. If you are really particular, you can even jack up and clean the stones which have got lodged in the grooves.
    Brush down vigorously and follow it up by again water washing the tyres - use plenty of water and make sure that there is no soapy residue left.

    When you are done with tyres, start clean your alloys\wheel caps. Dip a rag in the foam and wipe down the alloys\wheel caps throughly and then wash them thoroughly with water.

    After thoroughly cleaning with water, wipe down the tyres with cotton waste. If you are particular about tyre shine or want to keep the tyres looking like new, you can apply tyre cleaners.

    You can use alloy wheel cleaners \ break dust repellents or as a lesser effective substitute, you can use good wax on the alloys.

    Once you are done with tyre and alloys, start hosing down the car with plenty of water. If the water you use is hard water, you can use some softening agents (like ONR in preferred dilution). Use plenty of water to loosen the dirt, but do not use a cloth to drag the dirt - dirt particles may get lodged in teh cloth \ sponge and may introduce micro scars. While hosing the car with water, do not use much pressure - this can make the grit drag over the surface which in turn will results in micro scratches.

    After this, take some water in one bucket and add a good car shampoo to it. Car shampoos are usually pH controlled, and are based on detergents - not on soaps. Soap based cleaners may contain trace elements which can damage the paint. Use a wash mitt or a microfiber cloth or a good soft cotton cloth to apply the form on the car surface. general purpose Sponges are less preferred since they have cavities which can entrap dirt particles which can streak the surface.

    Use small motions instead of long sweeping motion and make sure that every time the cloth\mitt picks up dirt, rinse it in the water in the other bucket. This technique of using two buckets - one to dip and wash and other to rise clean the cloth - is called two bucket technique. An alternative is to use a bucket with grit guard.

    A grit guard is a plastic guard which sits inside the bucket which traps the grit to the bottom of the water.

    make sure that you rinse the cloth frequently so that the cloth remains dirt free every time you use it on the car to apply foam. Foam the car thoroughly - it is advised to have different cloths to foam the lower side of the car and upper side of the car. Dirt accumulation are more on the lower half usually.

    When choosing a good car wash liquid \ shampoo, do not choose one which contains trace elements of wax -wax is a sealant and when you wash, you want the paint to open up - not seal close.
  2. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    Washing - Cont.

    Once you are done with applying foam and loosening all the dirt, apply water again. Use plenty of water and make sure that you hose down all the foam from the surface.

    When apply the foam and water down your car, please make sure that the car never dries under natural heat.

    Apply water in sheet like instead of sprinkling it since sheet will remove most water from the surface.

    When the car have been properly cleaned using water, use soft cotton towel or micro fiber to pat dry the car. There are special high capacity towels available which can absorb lot of water - one substitute you can look at is a really soft pet towel with lot of water absorption capacity.

    Never apply much pressure, and while pat drying, if you come across any dirt particles, do not try to force them off.

    Once you finish pat drying your car, evaluate the paint surface. If the car have been waxed recently and you used a wash\shampoo which will not affect the wax, and if the paint is in generally good shape, you can follow up the wash with a quick wax or even with spray wax.

    On the other hand, if your paint needs rejuvenating or you stripped all the previous wax layers and you have surface contamination you need to go for surface preparation \ pre-wax cleaning
  3. kedarbendre

    kedarbendre Esperto

    Messages:
    4,215
    MH 12
    Anoop thanks for sharing this information. This is really useful. Now I dont need google to wash my car :)
  4. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    surface preparation \ pre-wax cleaning

    From the moment your car leaves the paint booth, the car surface gets affected by the pollution.
    When the car leaves the paint booth, the paint is at its impenetrable best. It is like a smooth sheet without any pores. As the time goes by, the pollution in air, the regular contamination the car come across in daily life, daily wash with hard water etc open up micro pores on the paint and these contamination gets deposited and some times, a mild oxidation layer gets formed. Most of the times, a regular was is not enough to remove these contamination.

    Before we start steps to enhance the shine of car paint, we need to clean the surface first. The cleaner the surface, the better the results are.
    Usually paint cleaners are mildly abrasive in nature. The locally available rubbing compounds are a kind of paint cleaners, but personally, I prefer to call them paint killers.
    It is very important to clean the paint from all the bonded surface contamination, oxidation layer, surface imperfections,stains,soot etc and a paint cleaner is one way of doing it, if the contamination level is high. How ever, please do keep in mind that the paint cleaner is abrasive in nature and should be used very carefully and sparingly.

    If surface contamination is not much, but you feel that car already have wax coating, use good Pre-wax cleaners to strip off all the wax.

    If the surface imperfection is not much, use clay bar to clean the surface. Clay bar is neither a substitute for any process nor a one-in-all solution for polishing\waxing. Clay bar is a tool which helps you to remove surface contamination easily and quickly.
    It is not at all abrasive and is one of the most preferred method to condition the paint surface.
    ashish27 likes this.
  5. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    Thanks Kedar - nice to know that this thread is useful. Will try to add as much info as I can.
  6. Cinju

    Cinju Esperto

    Messages:
    1,333
    Trivandrum
    Anoop wonderful topic. Keep going. To add to this, those who would like to have a look at what professionals do please refer here . Even they have some videos on car detailing here. Anoop's explanation along with these videos would make you a specialist :clap.
  7. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    Let us Clay

    Clay bar is a rectangular shaped bar, and is used after lubing it.

    Clay is useful to remove metal contamination, paint contamination, soot, embedded micro contamination in the pores and is a very good glass cleaner.

    How does the clay cleans the paint?
    Now, that is an interesting question. Clay is an abrasive cleaner - but used properly, it is not abrasive to the car paint, but to the contamination. That is why we need to lube the clay before we apply it.

    How do you know when it is time to clay your car?
    Claying is preferred once or twice a year, unless the car gathers heavy contamination. Once you wash the car, gently slide your hand over the surface - if it is smooth, you are done - no need to do any thing further. If you feel teh surface is rough,grainy or bumpy, clay it.

    Apply the lube and gently rub the paint using clay. Do not use much force - clay cleans the contamination by aberration, so you do not want it to do the same on your paint surface. Once the claying is done, you can see a thin film of dirt of it - you will not see dirt particles. that is because clay do not magically lift off the contamination, but cleans it by grinding it mildly.

    Remember - Paint cleaners and clay are not your every month cleaning products. They are designed to clean aberrations and are mildly abrasive in nature. Compared to paint cleaner, we can safely say clay is not abrasive, but improper use of clay will mar the surface finish.
  8. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    Pre-Wax Cleaners

    Before we go to next step, let me add a bit more info on pre-wax cleaners.

    Many people thinks clay bar is a replacement for pre-wax cleaners, but it is far from truth.
    Clay removes surface contamination, while pre-wax cleaners strip old layers of wax, embedded stains and even gives surface a mild correction. They are a mixture of light polishing agents and cleaning solvents, but the cleaning ability is given by cleaning solvents - not by polishing agents. That is why you can use pre-wax cleaners almost monthly, with out affecting the paint thickness in a measurable level.
    Claying should ideally followed by pre-wax cleaning so that the surface is ready for the next level of treatment.
    I am not going deep into different kind of pre-wax cleaners.

    Some points to remember:

    Always work under a shade. A hot car surface is not a good place to do any detailing work.
    Work on a small area, and buff off residues as you go. Pre wax cleaners usually do not need to dry before you can buff them off.

    You can use micro fiber or soft cotton cloth folded like a pad to apply these pre-wax cleaners, but the best applicator is a foam applicator. Use a foam based applicator and use microfiber cloth to buff off. Do not use lot of pre-wax cleaner - a small amount is all you need.

    Once you finish Paint cleaning \ claying \ Pre-wax cleaning, your paint surface should be smooth and should be clear of all contamination. Now, the car is ready for the next step.
  9. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    Wax or Polish? What is in a name?

    Though both terms are used interchangeably, there is a fine difference between wax and polish.

    In generally, Polish is a mild abrasive substance which will clear the paint surface of mild oxidation and smoothly micro sands the surface and gives the surface a wet, deep glow.

    On the other hand, wax is a protective coating - it covers the micro pores in the paint and seals it and helps the paint to shine. A wax does not have cleaning properties, and applying a coat of wax on a non clean surface is not at all recommended because wax will seal the minor aberrations.

    Though generally polishes are abrasive, there are exceptions. meguiars claims that they use a secret polishing oil and their 'pure polish' is non abrasive.
  10. anoop

    anoop Superiore

    Thanks for the link, Cinju. good to know that you find these posts of good use. Those videos are good reference points.

    I should have added a statutory warning too - this topic can be addictive and can be injurious to your wallet :D

    Taking a break now - rest of the stuff, I will post mostly on Monday.

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