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Car Detailing Thread

post #1 of 84
Thread Starter 
I know a lot of guys here like to shine their own shoes and such, does anyone wash and/or wax their own cars? Like other things, my car comes out better when I clean rather than having it destroyed by the car wash. Anyone want to list their tips, tricks, regimen. Favorite products?
post #2 of 84
The Zaino line - waxes, soaps and clay bars. But they require a lot of elbow grease. A few layers of their products give incredible results imho.
post #3 of 84
I use the following products:

Shampoo: Meguiar's NXT. With a cotton chenille or sheepskin mitt, using the two bucket method (one bucket of suds, one of clear water to rinse the mitt after each panel). Then dry the car with waffle weave microfiber towels.

Clay: Blackfire, using diluted car wash soap as the lubricant. This allows you to wash, rinse, clay, re-rinse and dry. No need to rewash after claying, and it works out cheaper than clay lubricant.

Polishes/glazes: Menzerna Intensive Polish and Final Polish, and Menzerna Final Touch Glaze. I use a Porter Cable random orbital with foam pads to apply and buff. I use various microfiber cloths for final buffing--generally the thicker the nap the better.

Sealant: Menzerna Full Molecular Jacket. Apply by hand with a microfiber applicator, buff with a microfiber towel.

Exterior touch-up: Menzerna acrylic spray.

Interior products: microfiber dust mitt to dust the dashboard and cluster, Vinylex on the doors and dash, Lexol on the seats.

I generally like to wash the car at least twice a month, but often don't have time to do more than once a month. Since my car is parked indoors at the office and at home, it doesn't collect much in the way of dirt or bird bombs. I clay once or twice a year, and polish at least once a year. I haven't gotten the hang of the Menzerna sealant yet--it seems to last several months in my climate and driving pattern. In durability terms it appears to be quite similar to doing one coat of Klasse All-in-One followed by a coat of Klasse Sealant Glaze.
post #4 of 84
Great thread. I recently started washing my own car again and could use some recommendations for wax. I find that washing my own car is more theraputic than say, ironing shirts or polishing shoes.

I've always heard great things about Zaino. My local auto supply, however, doesn't carry it.
post #5 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renault78law View Post
Great thread. I recently started washing my own car again and could use some recommendations for wax. I find that washing my own car is more theraputic than say, ironing shirts or polishing shoes.
Except you don't usually have arseholes intentionally tearing with a key your shirts when you are not looking
post #6 of 84
I have a fairly simple routine: Paint: Meguiar's purple-colored soap, sheepskin mitt, two buckets (a soap bucket and a rinse bucket), dry with synthetic chamois, NXT wax with their applicator. Top, as well as dash and other plastic parts: Simple green, 303 protectant, applied with microfiber or an old toothbrush depending on the surface Wheels: wire brush, regular soap and/or simple green. Leather: Lexol two-step process, though often I get lazy and use the Meguiar's leather cleaner/conditioner wipes. Wood parts: just wipe clean.
post #7 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renault78law View Post
Great thread. I recently started washing my own car again and could use some recommendations for wax. I find that washing my own car is more theraputic than say, ironing shirts or polishing shoes.

I've always heard great things about Zaino. My local auto supply, however, doesn't carry it.

Local stores will only carry mass market stuff. The boutique products tend to be too expensive and too labor intensive for high volume retailers.

I'm not a Zaino user. I've had great results with Klasse products, and even better with Menzerna.

If you want to get serious about maintaining your car, you should get a Porter Cable random orbital, and start using professional grade products. I get a lot of my stuff from this site: http://www.properautocare.com/

OTOH, if you don't want car care to become a big money pit, get a clay kit and some Meguiar's NXT wax, and be done with it.
post #8 of 84
I have used the Zaino line in the past and the results are amazing but it was just too much damn work for me. I guess I am getting lazy in my age. I now use the wolfgang line (www.autogeek.net). The resuts appear to be as good as the Zaino with much less work. I also use the porter cable 7424 dual action polisher. Great product and its always good to go with a dual action polisher because it automatically moves over the surface so non-pros like myself will not destroy the paint.
post #9 of 84
Count me in as another Zaino fan. I have a silver car and use Z-2 Pro. The Z-PC polish is one of the best out there. Zaino lasts the longest of any sealant I have tried and looks a lot better than NXT or Wolfgang.

Some tips...

1. The key to a liquid wet look is a level clearcoat surface before the sealant or wax is applied.
2. Microfiber towels are a great investment as is detailing "clay" which removes surface contaminants. www.pakshak.com is the best imho.
3. Never use Windex for windows. It's the square toed shoe of the window cleaning world. I use a product from Germany called 1Z and a good "waffle weave" microfiber.
4. Start the process with a good soap like P21S or Zaino Z-7. Invest in a good quality sheepskin mitt.
5. Use Eagle One All Wheel & Tire to clean your wheels and tires.
6. Generally speaking boutique products perform better that what you see in auto parts stores but Mother's makes some good stuff. Meguiars is the Polo of the detailing world. Big marketing budget but mediocre quality.
7. Never use terry towels; they scratch.
post #10 of 84
I use Griot's. Ordering from the catalogue is convenient. I'm sure there's other stuff out there, but I'm happy. The in between "speed shine" is particularly useful. Just some of that on a microfiber towel, and it looks good as new. Of professional guys, Detailing Dynamics is absolutely the best detailer I know. They take body panels off the car, etc. Eddie is a really nice guy too. They are like $1000+ a pop. Not for me, that's for sure, but some people I know swear by them. http://www.detailingdynamics.com/
post #11 of 84
I used to use Ziano, now I use Klasse products for the exterior. I use Connolly leather care products for the inside, nothing beats this stuff. It cleans and conditions very well, but just as important keeps the factory matte and not shiny look to the seats I prefer, Lexol makes the leather shinny.

The micro fiber towels, drying chamios, etc are bought from Griot's.
post #12 of 84
I have a red car so it requires a bit of maintenance. I find Turtle Carnuba wax is sufficient for most purposes. There is a line called Swissol which is apparently quite good. As the name suggests, it is from Switzerland.\\ For chrome, I use English Custom Polish which is quite good.
post #13 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by retronotmetro View Post
I use the following products: Polishes/glazes: Menzerna Intensive Polish and Final Polish, and Menzerna Final Touch Glaze. I use a Porter Cable random orbital with foam pads to apply and buff. I use various microfiber cloths for final buffing--generally the thicker the nap the better. Sealant: Menzerna Full Molecular Jacket. Apply by hand with a microfiber applicator, buff with a microfiber towel. Exterior touch-up: Menzerna acrylic spray. Interior products: microfiber dust mitt to dust the dashboard and cluster, Vinylex on the doors and dash, Lexol on the seats. .
Big fan Menzerna also. I like the Einszett Perls Shampoo and LackFinish Detail Spray www.autopia.org http://www.properautocare.com/ some useful links.
post #14 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing View Post
I have a red car so it requires a bit of maintenance. I find Turtle Carnuba wax is sufficient for most purposes.

There is a line called Swissol which is apparently quite good. As the name suggests, it is from Switzerland.\\

For chrome, I use English Custom Polish which is quite good.

What do you use on your leather, LK?
post #15 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artisan Fan View Post
Meguiars is the Polo of the detailing world. Big marketing budget but mediocre quality.

I think there are notable exceptions to that generalization. I find the Meguiars Gold Class and NXT shampoos to be very good, particularly in hard water. I ran out of P21S shampoo about a year ago and bought some NXT locally. Never went back to P21S.

The Meguiars NXT wax is reasonably good at hiding swirls and marring. It doesn't last too long but it is very easy to apply. If you aren't going to invest the money in a PC and the time to use it to remove swirls, I believe NXT is one of the best products to use for cosmetic work.

Those are the only Meguiars products that I have found to be useful.
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