General Question

Fred931's avatar

What are the best techniques and the best products for washing a car?

Asked by Fred931 (9414points) June 6th, 2009 from iPhone

I’m just sick and tired of buying new things and such just to find out nothing I do makes a positive change in my cars’ appearance.

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14 Answers

basp's avatar

I use something that I’ve had around for thirty years to keep my car washed… husband.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

you gotta get a shamwow, but really what exactly are you trying to change? I mean all washing does it take the dirt off and then waxing gives it a nice shine. If the paint looks crappy there’s nothing washing it will do.

crisw's avatar

Here are a few good links:
Auto Detailing- Secrets of the Experts
Detailing Wiki
The Detailing Handbook

Two product lines you will often see used by car aficionados- Meguiars (which is available in stores) and Zaino (which isn’t.)

gailcalled's avatar

@LKidKylw1985 What’s a shamwow? Might you mean “chamois”?

digitaljesus's avatar

I feel your pain, I was really serious into detailing for years with my 1991 3000GT VR4. Here are the products I know that work:

1. Zaino. Best long lasting polish on the market, hands down.
2. Blackfire. If you have a black car, or even if not, this stuff is amazing. Wettest shine out there, just doesn’t last as long as Zaino.
3. Crystal Guard. If your paint is old (like mine), this stuff fixes a myriad of issues. Think of it like glass particles liquified. First time I used it I burst out laughing cause I couldn’t believe how well it worked. Stuff is from Japan and hard to find, but worth it.
4. Dawn. Only way to get all crap off your paint. Strips all waxes, oils, and polishes off. Good for complete washdowns when you’d like to try a new combination of products on your paint.

Other tools:

1. Clay Bar. You have no idea the amount of crap in your paint till you claybar it. You’ll be shocked. Takes forever and is difficult, but it’s really the only way to truely have a good base to start your polish on
2. Orbital Buffer. Get a Makitsa…spend the money and do it right. Don’t get a crappy one. – great place to buy stuff for care care. Good forums too.
4. Paint temperature thermometer. Polish and compounds don’t work 1/2 as well when your car has been baking in the sun for hours. Paint is like reverse skin pores. When it cools down, it opens up and chemicals can penetrate into the paint proper.
4. EZ-UP Tent. Great to put over car if you don’t have a garage while you detail.
5. Never-Kink hose. Best hose to have, can find at home depot.

That list should make your car look crazy good. My recommended process is:

Dawn wash, dry, clay bar, dawn wash, dry, Crystal Guard, Zaino/Blackfire, Zaino Z-6 finisher. End result, car is clean as possible and has good long lasting polish protection for at least 1.5 months (with bi-weekly NON-Dawn washes, and a layer of Z-6 finisher to keep it sealed).

Let me know how that works our for you.

PS: Invest in a car cover, a proper one made for your car. Good ones cost ~$300…expensive, but makes all your detail work last at least 2x longer.

gailcalled's avatar

@digitaljesus: Do you make house calls?

digitaljesus's avatar

@gailcalled Lol, not yet. Perhaps that can be a promising second career after I retire

Bobbydavid's avatar

The best technique is to use the immagrants on the corner!
The best product is whatever they use!

gailcalled's avatar

@Bobbydavid:So not funny. (And it’s “Immigrants.”) Listen for a while and learn the mores of this site.

@digital jesus; What about tiny scratches from my cat, who finds the hood and roof of my navy blue car just the place to scope out the mice in my garage? I’m not too into elbow grease these days. What I have left goes into my garden.

Bobbydavid's avatar

I found it funny and to be honest, am I bovvered?

digitaljesus's avatar

@gailcalled I’d recommend first Claybar-ing the scratches to get all the crud outta it, then using Zaino’s Z-PC. I wouldn’t use Crystal Guard on that as it’ll highlight scratches, not cover them up. So yeah, dawn wash, clay bar, dawn wash, Z-PC and you should be good to go.

gailcalled's avatar

@digitaljesus: Thank you. Now how to keep the cat from returning?

Fred931's avatar

@gailcalled Get a car cover?

SeventhSense's avatar

What’s a shamwow? Where have you been living on the moon? I feel like I know Vince at this point.
“You’d be out of your mind not to buy one”....

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