El Camino Central Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I would to start a “Detail Tip of the Month” if there is any interest.

To most of us many of these tips might seen very ho-hum, but not to maybe young first time car owners. Some of the tips might be very simple while others such as how to use a Clay Bar or how to clean leather seats might be very interesting. We can also continue to discuss different products we like to use. Some of the tips might be very short and brief and others in more detail.

For October (My birthday month) I would like to start out with where it all starts.

How to really wash your car

Washing your car correctly, (and keeping it clean), is an important step in keeping your car's looks in tip-top condition. Commercial car washes can scratch the paint and strip the protective coat of wax or top coat off of your car's finish. They can't get the entire car clean as you want it to be either, and can be quite costly. So, the best idea for you is to take a little time and wash your car correctly yourself, and here is how to do it:
First, it is important to park your car in a shady spot out of the drying heat of the sun. Let the body surface of the car cool down if it has been sitting in the sun's heat. If you try to wash the car while the surface is still hot, the soap suds will dry faster than you can rinse them off, and that will create a problem for you.

While the body surface of the car is cooling, you can do two things in the mean time. One is to gather together the tools you will need to accomplish your car-washing task. You will need a bucket, a soft brush, a good car washing detergent that is specifically made for cars - (do not use dishwashing detergent or other household cleaner as these are too harsh for the car's surface) - an absorbent sponge designed for car washing, or soft towel, chamois towels, a water hose, and a good tire cleaner. Again, do not use a harmful abrasive cleanser. Use a cleaner that is designed for use on car tires.

The second thing you can do is to follow the manufacturer's directions and use the tire cleaner. This type of cleaner is usually a spray foam that you apply to the car's tires and let it soak for a certain amount of time. The tires are then rinsed clean with water. If the first cleaning didn't completely remove the accumulated road grime, you should try applying the product again. This time, though, gently use the soft brush to clean the tires, rims, wheel covers, etc. Let the product soak again and then rinse the tires thoroughly with clean water.

Now you can begin to wash the car by first spraying off the entire surface of the car using the water hose. Try to spray off as much of the dirt, grime, bugs, bird droppings, etc. that you can by using the pressure of the water. Also, spray the wheel wells in order to remove accumulated mud, dirt, and grime.

Follow the manufacturer's directions for the car washing detergent and mix it with water in the bucket. Now you are ready to begin.
Start by washing the roof of the car. Move the sponge or towel in wide, swirling motions, making sure to cover every inch of the car's surface. (Be sure to keep your sponge or towel wet throughout the entire washing by dunking it in the bucket often.)

Next, move down to the windshield. Car wash detergents are not harmful to glass, and will effectively remove road dirt and grime that has accumulated on the glass surfaces. Be careful l you lift the windshield wipers up to clean underneath them, so as not to break or otherwise damage them. Then, move onto the hood and was it using the same wide circular motions. Finally, wash the trunk area, and then thoroughly rinse the entire top area of the car's body surface with clean water.

Now that the top is cleaned, empty out the dirty water in the bucket and replace it with clean water and car washing detergent. Now, start with the back of the car, below the trunk, and wash this section using wide circular motions. Wash all areas of the bumper well. Be careful washing around the license plates as they can be sharp and skin cuts can occur. Move onto the sides of the car and wash each side well. Make sure to wash door handles, mirrors, lights, etc. Then move onto and wash the front bumper. Thoroughly rinse all of the newly-washed areas.

Your nest step is to dry the car's surface. Using the chamois towels, gently wipe up the water on the car's surface. Start at the top and work your way down and then around the entire car. Don't forget to open the doors, hood, etc., and wipe up any water that dripped in.
Finally, use a good glass cleaner and absorbent paper towels, or soft, clean towels to spray and wash all of the windows and mirrors. You may use this to shine-up the chrome enhancements of the car also, or you may choose to use a commercial chrome cleaner.

This may seen long in text but, it should only take you about 45 min to an hour (or less) to wash your car.

If anyone has a detail question please feel free to email me anytime.

Dave (70ELCO)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,921 Posts
Good post as usual someone, me :D , will inevitably have another opinion.

All is good don't get me wrong.
(do not use dishwashing detergent or other household cleaner as these are too harsh for the car's surface)
I agree to a point with this. New car finishes are lots better than they were. BC/CC is an encapsulating epoxy process creating a sturdy hard finish. Mild dishwashing liquids will not hurt the finish. They will more often than not strip the wax off and road grease some tars and environmental contaminates to a lesser degree. Not blotches from acid rain.

I use Joy on the Elky when she needs to be waxed. Putting new wax over contaminated wax or wax with embedded debris needs to be removed not over coated with new wax. My way of thinking and to me that is completely logical. So most car wash liquids do not strip. Just surface clean and for the most part they do a good job and I use them in-between waxing. Like you said, sort of, cleaning is the important part.

Next is the windshield. No detergent will hurt the windshield or windows except the inside of them if they are tented. I wouldn't do what I am suggesting on the inside.

For the Windshield I will clean it with Babo, Comet cleanser or some other abrasive when necessary, making sure I don't get that on the finish because it will hurt the finish it is just like sand paper.

Goss's Garage is where I picked this tip up at. Wet a sponge that you will not use on the painted surfaces. Get it damp not wet dripping but damp. Apply some Ajax, Babo or if you go to Mr. Goodwrench and get their cleaner it is pretty much the same except in cost.

With a damp sponge, like a rubbing compound, apply the cleanser and scour the windshield top to bottom rinsing as you go. Rub it until the water sheets and doesn't leave spots / beads as it runs off. That part is clean completely. Sort of like Clay bricking a finished surface. once you've done the entire window and water sheets down the window/Windshield all over all the road grease is removed. Do not Wax windows they look nice but give the wipers fits when it rains and will help the window hold dirt and debris.

Again I am just suggesting a different method to be used when necessary. Not disagreeing completely. A surface ready to wax should treat the water on the finish the same way if the car is clean. Don't use cleanser on a finish only a window glass. Not chrome or body trims either.

Finally I would add that it is necessary to take the car/truck to a car wash once a month or if it is an occasional driven car / truck when the vehicle has been in heavy dirt or bad weather conditions and absolutely before putting it up for the winter. This will help you keep the underside clean and free of most road salts, and contaminates. Wash the vehicle's underside at the car wash. Car washes have Meric Acid, to remove road grease and solvents like oils, grease and fuel. I use the Tire cleaner / Engine degreaser setting to get a good bite on the crap under the vehicle. Then a good long soaping and then rinse. I never use a Wax from a carwash under the truck it will seal in debris and that is not good. I also don't ever suggest anyone use those stupid brushes at a car wash for any reason, unless you want to pay for another paint job.

Just my slice of the dream.

And finally..............

Happy Birdlegs to you!
Happy Birdlegs to you!
Happy Birdlegs 70ELCO!
Happy Birdlegs to you! :eek:ha: :eek:nfire:

I almost forgot... Once the Windshield is clean use a little Windshield washer cleaner, like you put in the resivor for the squiter, to clean the wiper blades. That has a conditioner in it that will prolong the life of the wiper blades.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Another product that works great on glass is Soft Scrub. It's a mild liquid abrasive for bathrooms, available under several brand names. Just squirt it on a wet glass and scrub with a sponge, then rinse off. It won't hurt the finish and you can also use it on chrome or stainless trim.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
abrasive cleaners on windshields

Do those products, eg. Softscrub, Ajax, etc. remove the tiny pitting in original glass?
 

·
NECOA Founder
Joined
·
844 Posts
Good post. Like ElkyPete, I do use a dishwashing liquid when I plan a new wax job. In my case, I use Dawn.

Another step I've found to cut some washing time is by using either a California Water Blade (in conjunction with the drying towels) to speed the drying process or a leaf blower, then the towels. The neighbors think I'm crazy as he** standing in the driveway with a leaf blower pointed at the Elky or my Vette, but it's kinda like being at the last step of a drive through car wash, before final drying. It works for me. Seems to work a little better on the Vette than the Elky, probably because the lines on the Vette are more conducive to wind pushing/flowing water over the body.

I think the monthly tip idea is a good one. Keep it up.

:p Just wait until we get to the "Which Wax" discussion. :p
-dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
481 Posts
The California Water Blade is a big time saver when it comes to drying, also in between washing i like to use the california duster to keep the dust down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
All good drying tips. I did forget to mention a big help tip after you wash the car before drying. I always remove my hand sprayer at the end of the hose and and let the water run not so hard starting at the top letting the water run off the body. This sheets off any bubbles that are on the surface removing a lot of standing water. Now your ready to dry the car in what ever way you do it in half the time.

I know a lot of people use dish wash soap. I have found out a lot just use if because of all the nice big soap bubbles it makes that are not as thick when using a car wash soap. The only thing I find good with that if one of our Daily photo gals is washing her car with it. :p

I still think thats a big no-no as it will help remove wax and does not have the car wash soap brightners in it. I have even seen laundry soap used such as Tide...no no. I use Zip-wax car wash soap, but others work well I'm sure. These car wash soaps are made for your cars paint and do work best. Some may disagree, thats ok.

If you have road grease that is hard to get off there are a lot of products in your auto care section that take care of that so easy. From spray to liquid. Some even use W-D40 as their grease remover. Just remember to re-wax the area.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
1,867 Posts
I couldn't do with out my water blade now. It's ssssooo much easier & faster than towels. I also use a California duster in between washings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Ivory liquid dishwashing soap doesn't have most of the harsh chemicals that remove the wax. Just use a capful to about 2 gallons of water. What it really does is make the water "wetter". I also prefer car wash soap, particularly Eagle One Wet Look, but whatever you use, less is more. If the bottle says a capful to a gallon, or whatever, don't use more. If you do, the streaking problems are a real pain, at least down here in Florida where it's almost always hot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Not to beat this topic to death but, sometimes pre-drying off your car to good is...well not good. By the time you get around to the other side of the car and there is no water left it can leave drying warter marks. More so on dark colored cars. This is the case often if you do live in wamer weather.

Another tip: If this does happen to you, always have a spray water bottle handy. Just lightly spray a mist of water on the dry but water spotted area and then just wipe dry again. The paint surface will come out spot free and perfect! Just a little bit more info to share with everyone.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top