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Old 09/26/2006, 02:44 PM   #1
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Location: So Cal
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Cool Carwash 101

Secrets and tips from the pros:

"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest." - Mark Twain
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Old 09/27/2006, 08:47 PM   #2
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Posts: 330

What's with the link? No car wash info there and couldn't use browser back to get out of it!

Highland Green GT/CS
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Old 09/28/2006, 07:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by luisa2552
What's with the link? No car wash info there and couldn't use browser back to get out of it!
That's strange, it was working earlier "better" ... it can still work if you type in a zip code onto the AAA home page (I just checked it) ... regarding getting back out, (I know this may be a little confusing since the "Back" button appears to be active) usually when you click on a link like above, a new window opens to take you to the site ... when you're done, just click it closed (again, the "Back" button should'nt have appeared active) ... hope this helps ...

"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest." - Mark Twain
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Old 09/28/2006, 09:07 AM   #4
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Cool Here's the article (w/o pic's) ...

With these secrets from professional detailers,
you'll have your car looking good in no time

By Roy M. Wallack
Illustrations by Chris Robertson

In 90 seconds, Mike Pennington changed my life. Well, he changed my car's life, anyway.

A minute-and-a-half is all it took Pennington, the director of training at Irvine-based wax-and-polish-maker Meguiar's, to gently rub a clay bar in circles over the hood of my long-neglected 1990 Acura Integra. In seconds, the beige bar dripped with a film of brown muck all of it from a car I'd washed an hour before.

When Pennington finished claying the three-foot circle, it felt as smooth as glass a striking contrast to the scratchy feel of the surface that surrounded it. Then I noticed one more thing: The circle was distinctly lighter than the rest of the hood. It was astounding; he had pulled years of imbedded grime out of my paint in less time than it takes to fill the gas tank. And he'd done it without breaking a sweat.

"Car care has come a long way over the last few years," Pennington explained. "Now that we have products like clay bars and spray waxes that make the process so simple and quick, you don't have any excuse for not having a great-looking car. Comprende?"

Car Wash 101
Yeah, I got the message. But it's some comfort to know there are millions of us who think we understand the simple process of car washing and waxing and yet don't have a clue. So we keep scrubbing our cars with lemon-fresh dishwashing soap, unaware that it'll strip the wax off our paint as fast as it takes the grease off our dinner plates. We still use dirty old rags and break out the old-fashioned cans of rubbing compound we've had lying around the garage for years, oblivious to the fact that they'll scratch our cars' finish and remove almost as much paint as dirt, respectively.

But what do you expect? The average car owner doesn't have the time or expertise to wade through the yards of car-care stuff on display at your typical auto-parts store. So cars get dirtier.

Well, no more. A new breed of products is making it easier and faster than ever to care for your car's finish. To get us up to speed, we sought out some of Southern California's best auto detailers and suppliers and enrolled ourselves in what amounted to Car Wash 101.

The Dirty Truth
This may sound un-American, but not all car filth is created equal. Sometimes, your car only needs a wash; sometimes, a wash and wax; sometimes, a wash, Washin' on the Web
Looking for more information on caring for your car's finish? Trying to find some of the products and tools discussed in this story? Here are a few of our favorite websites:

clay-bar cleaning, polish, and wax. But before you settle on a strategy, remember: It's a war out there.

Our automobiles are under constant assault from bird droppings, diesel soot, road grit, pulverized tire rubber, and UV rays. Cars fight back with a line of defense called a "clear coat," a thinner-than-paper (.002-inch) layer of clear acrylic enamel paint. The clear coat has been original equipment on most vehicles manufactured since 1990.

Although this clear coat offers advantages over old-style single-stage paint, there's also a downside. "Clear coat is softer than the paint on older cars, so it scratches and develops swirl marks more easily," says Jeff Jeppeson of Classy Cars, a detailer in Huntington Beach. It can also discolor, fade, and develop hairline cracks over time, despite the built-in UV sunscreen. And when airborne contaminants that bombard it daily aren't quickly washed off, they get embedded.

The result is, well, my Acura. "Particles build up on clear coat like plaque on your teeth," says Scot Prescott of Detail 301, a Beverly Hills detailer that handles the car fleets of actors Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne. The solution? "You have to wash on a weekly basis," says Prescott, "especially in a place like L.A., which is loaded with airborne contaminants."

Step by Step
The most important lesson to be learned in Car Wash 101 is elementary: Wash caked-on dirt off your car every week, and wash the car, regardless, every two weeks. (This has been a very dry year, so be judicious in your water usage.)

To make things simpler still, we've broken the process down into six easy steps:

1. Wash
Frequency: Weekly or biweekly.

Tools: Wash bucket, specially designed car-washing soap, lamb's-wool washing mitt or 100 percent cotton terry cloth towel, nonacid spray-on wheel cleaner, and soft-bristled tire and wheel brush.

Technique: Wash your wheels and tires first, then wash the body and windows from the top down. Wet the entire car before you start to wash, and keep surfaces wet the whole time. To avoid water spots, finish by rinsing the car thoroughly with a stream of water instead of a spray.

2. Dry
Frequency: Whenever you wash.

Tools: Your choice of a microfiber towel, a natural or synthetic chamois, or the squeegee-like Original California Water Blade and tire dressing and specially designed tire-dressing applicators (if desired).

Technique: Dry painted surfaces first, then windows, going from top to bottom. Always finish by drying inside the doors, hood, and trunk jambs. This is also a good time to apply tire dressing if desired. Next, run your hand over the car. If it feels as smooth as glass, your job is done. If it doesn't, it's got contaminants bonded to the paint, and you'll need to go to Step 3.

3. Clay
Frequency: Whenever painted surfaces feel rough. Usually once or twice a year.

Tools: Clay detailing system. Often sold in a kit ($16-$20) that includes lubricant spray and clay bars.

Technique: Spray lubricant on a small area and rub the clay over the surface using light pressure. Continue until the surface feels glassy smooth. When you're finished with an area, wipe it clean with a towel. Knead the dirty clay surface into the center of the bar and continue until you've done the whole car, which should take 20 to 30 minutes. Remember that a freshly clayed surface is naked and needs a protective coat of wax immediately afterward.

4. Shine
Frequency: As needed. An optional step before waxing to restore a high gloss and remove tiny scratches and swirl marks.

Tools: Car polish (not to be confused with much harsher polishing compound), sponge applicator pad, 100 percent cotton terry cloth or microfiber towel.

Technique: Pour a small amount of polish onto a dry terry cloth towel and massage into the surface with a circular motion. Allow to dry, then remove with a dry terry cloth or microfiber towel.

5. Protect
Frequency: Three to four times a year if your car is garaged at night, every other month if it's kept outside. Before winter and at the beginning of summer are ideal times.

Tools: Premium wax, sponge applicator pad or clean 100 percent cotton terry cloth or microfiber towels, detail brush.

Technique: Apply a small amount of liquid or paste wax onto a dry applicator or towel and massage onto the surface with a circular motion to create a light haze. Allow to dry completely, then remove with a clean towel. Clean wax residue from trim and other tight spaces with a detail brush like the one described in the "Tips" box below.

6. Interior
Frequency: Weekly and whenever a crisis arises.

Tools: Vacuum cleaner, leather or fabric upholstery cleaner, glass cleaner, vinyl dressing.

Technique: Remove the floor mats and vacuum them and the interior thoroughly, paying special attention to crevices in and around seats. Wipe down all the interior surfaces with a damp cloth or interior dressing. Clean the upholstery and carpet as needed by following the directions on the product's packaging. Finish by cleaning the windows and mirrors inside and out with a glass cleaner formulated for automotive use.

Tips and Tricks From the Pros
Wash and wax your car in a cool, shady area to prevent the rapid drying that leads to water spots.

If you drop your wash mitt or towel on the ground, get a new one to avoid scratching paint with the grit it's picked up. Most mitts can be machine washed and dried (skip the liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets).

If you like using a bucket of soapy water to wash your wheels and tires, use a separate one for the rest of the car to avoid transferring abrasive grit to painted surfaces.

Remember that polishes create gloss and waxes protect. Many car-care products combine these two compounds, allowing you to do both in one step.

Use a light coat of wax. Thin coats are easier to apply and remove and are less likely to create excess wax "dust" that can be a hassle to remove.

Never use a high-speed buffer because, in the hands of an inexperienced user, the heat it generates can burn right through paint. Instead, buy an orbital model (about $40 at your local hardware store).

Make your own detail brush for removing hard-to-get wax residue by cutting the bristles of a two-inch paintbrush in half. Wrap the metal band with electrical tape and soften the bristle tips by running them back and forth over sandpaper before using.

Make sure wheels are cool before applying wheel cleaning solutions; hot rims can be stained by the chemicals they contain.

Spray a high-quality interior protectant inside the car's wheel wells to give your car a like-new look.

To apply vinyl dressing to the dash without getting it on the windshield, wrap a rag around your hand and apply the dressing only to the bottom side. Otherwise, you'll have to use glass cleaner to fix the mess.

When buying and using car-care products, be sure to read and follow all label directions carefully.

Paint transfers, like those that come from close encounters with painted curbs, come off easily if you rub them with a soft cloth dampened with paint thinner (mineral spirits). The same goes for tar and adhesive residues from old parking and bumper stickers.
R.M.W. and Alan Rider

"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest." - Mark Twain
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