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Car Detailing

post #1 of 341
Thread Starter 

I need to wash my new car but am not sure what I should do. Washing it myself would be best but the apartment complex I live at doesn't make this doable really. Should I fork out the cash for a pro job or is it super bad to put it through one of those gas station washes?

If I do wash it myself, what is best to use? 


Edited by tiecollector - 8/8/11 at 1:09am
post #2 of 341
Hand wash at a place with jet sprayers. If you go through one of those "mega-brusher" places that swirl and go over your car, you'll get swirls in the paint eventually. If they say "touchless" then it's safe for the car. Won't be as good/detailed as if you do it by hand, but won't hurt the car.

Use a chamois (sp?) to keep water spots from forming. And wax the car on occasion to keep it looking good.
post #3 of 341
Definitely do not go to the tunnel washes with brushes, touchfree washes if you have to (depending on weather..). I don't even like the brushes in the quarter washes.

In an apartment complex, you can use a hoseless washing product and just wash in your parking spot. You won't want the car to be dripping mud, but some light grime isn't bad. I use Optimum No Rinse on my car. Takes some careful technique, but I feel perfectly safe with it. Only use two gallons of water.

Microfiber is where it's at for use on the car. I have a few waffle weave towels for drying (both with the No Rinse and when I borrow mom's driveway), and a ton of other smaller towels for other various tasks.

While not as expensive as buying nice clothes, you can sink a chunk of change in to car care products
post #4 of 341
Your location makes it easy.

Coin op.
Microfibre towels.
Stand back and admire.

By hand
Pro detailer
Touchless car wash

In that order.
post #5 of 341
I get a hand wash in Chicago and pay between $8.00 and 15.00. Some are better than others but it beats going thru the tunnel.

If you want some good info on doing it yourself check out the advice section here.

http://www.autogeek.net/
post #6 of 341
A lot of times to do a good job you have to do it yourself. If you don't have easy access to a water hose, some gas stations have car wash wands you can use for a few dollars. You can go crazy with some car care products and there are forums of car care nuts where Artisan Fan must be a senior member. What I do is first hose the car down to get loose dirt particles off, mix some car wash liquid (Mother's or Eagle One or another middle tier brand, not a laundry detergent) in a bucket, next use a wool mitt to lather the car up (a wool mitt will trap the dirt particles inside the fibers to prevent them from scratching the finish) and hose it down. Next I dry the car using a shammy (real or synthetic, your choice) and apply a paste or liquid wax if you like. I let the wax dry and buff it off using an old cotton towel. Some people apply a polish instead or after a wax and use an orbital buffer instead of applying the wax by hand. There are also clay bars that are used to remove contaminants embedded in paint, though you probably don't have to worry about them for a few month since you have a new car.
post #7 of 341
Cool Hand Luke car wash FTW.



lefty
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post #8 of 341
I could go on for a quite a while on this but will keep it short... If you really care about your car's finish don't go to a car wash of any sort. That includes the touchless high pressure places too. All they will do is make a mess of your finish. If you can do a proper hand wash with the "two bucket method" I would certainly do that as my first choice. You have to read up on proper washing technique, though. If that's not an option you still have better options than heading to a car wash. I live in an apt. building and don't have a hose hookup in my garage. In the winter I wash in the garage using ONR (Optimum No-Rinse) and the two bucket method. Research it a bit on the various detailing boards (I strongly recommend detailingbliss.com). A lot of people are skeptical of the product (I was too), but they typically are those that haven't tried it. It gives great results.
post #9 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by indy116 View Post
Definitely do not go to the tunnel washes with brushes, touchfree washes if you have to (depending on weather..). I don't even like the brushes in the quarter washes.

In an apartment complex, you can use a hoseless washing product and just wash in your parking spot. You won't want the car to be dripping mud, but some light grime isn't bad. I use Optimum No Rinse on my car. Takes some careful technique, but I feel perfectly safe with it. Only use two gallons of water.

Microfiber is where it's at for use on the car. I have a few waffle weave towels for drying (both with the No Rinse and when I borrow mom's driveway), and a ton of other smaller towels for other various tasks.

While not as expensive as buying nice clothes, you can sink a chunk of change in to car care products

I just saw your post and it would have saved me some typing if I had. Spot on advice.
post #10 of 341
Optimum is a good product but it doesn't clean as good as a regular hand wash in my experience. Indy's other advice is good. No modern auto wash does a good job as all leave swirls in the paint.

I like P21S, Meguiars or Zaino Z-7 for car soap and I highly recommend a sheepskin mitt ($5 WalMart, Eurow brand-pick the softest) and waffle weave microfiber towels for drying the car to prevent water spotting. For interior work, I recommend 303 Aerospace for the dash and plastic parts, doors, etc. I also recommend a weekly or biweekly vacuuming which works wonders.
post #11 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artisan Fan View Post
Optimum is a good product but it doesn't clean as good as a regular hand wash in my experience. Indy's other advice is good. No modern auto wash does a good job as all leave swirls in the paint.

I like P21S, Meguiars or Zaino Z-7 for car soap and I highly recommend a sheepskin mitt ($5 WalMart, Eurow brand-pick the softest) and waffle weave microfiber towels for drying the car to prevent water spotting. For interior work, I recommend 303 Aerospace for the dash and plastic parts, doors, etc. I also recommend a weekly or biweekly vacuuming which works wonders.

As I had said... Optimum is clearly a second choice to a regular wash, but it is def. a good option for those of us who don't have easy access to a hose or who live in a cold winter climate.

I agree that Zaino Z7 is a great wash. It's what I use 75% of the time (I use Adams wash in a foam gun the rest of the time). In my experience P21s TAW is a bit too strong for an everyday wash and tends to strip off my LSP.

Picking up some MF towels (waffle weave) for drying is a great idea. If you really want to get crazy I have the CR Spotless and I was surprised at how good of a job it does.

For the interior I used 303 Aerospace for a number of years and really like it, but if you prefer something that leaves NO residue and a completely matte surface you can't beat Einzett Cockpit Premium.
post #12 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artisan Fan View Post
Optimum is a good product but it doesn't clean as good as a regular hand wash in my experience. Indy's other advice is good. No modern auto wash does a good job as all leave swirls in the paint.

I like P21S, Meguiars or Zaino Z-7 for car soap and I highly recommend a sheepskin mitt ($5 WalMart, Eurow brand-pick the softest) and waffle weave microfiber towels for drying the car to prevent water spotting. For interior work, I recommend 303 Aerospace for the dash and plastic parts, doors, etc. I also recommend a weekly or biweekly vacuuming which works wonders.


Yeah, the 303 is great for the dash -- good protection and really shines things up. I used to use Zaino, but have switched to Einszett. If you really want your car to look good, it's almost a 1-2 day process, which is going to be really difficult in an apartment. I'd either ask a friend with a home if you can borrow their driveway and some water, or just do the basic wash in your space using the multiple bucket method and microfibre towels. Just remember to not wash using a circular motion because that causes swirl marks and to dab dry, not wipe. There's also the use of a Porter random orbital polisher if you're really detail crazy and want to take out swirl marks. Of course these days, now that the car has managed to get a few dings/chips and has seen a lot more track days, my need to get a mirror polish on the car is gone... I'll save it for the shoes.
post #13 of 341
What happens in 'the tunnel'?
post #14 of 341
Let me see if I can find the writeup I did several years ago on a detailing board about my washing process though you might get scared away TC.
post #15 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector View Post
I need to wash my new car but am not sure what I should do. Washing it myself would be best but the apartment complex I live at doesn't make this doable really. Should I fork out the cash for a pro job or is it super bad to put it through one of those gas station washes?

If I do wash it myself, what is best to use? I might head over to grannys to do it.

All the info you'll ever need. An amazing place.

www.autopia.org/
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