Car Cleaning/Detailing 101: The Basics (exterior)

Taylor

New Member
I know a lot of sports car owners like to wash and detail cars themselves. I also know there are a lot of people out there who use auto car washes. I hate to see that. I understand going to the car wash once and a while is ok, but you should never use the automatic wash. If anything, please use the manual wash.

But of course the best wash available money and best result wise is the wash you do yourself. You don't need to be a pro. I will do my best in this thread to show you the easiest way to give your car the best wash and detail possible without taking too much time and money.

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First, I know there are alot of car detailing threads on the web. These are GREAT ways to wash your car. But for some people its too much work. Detailing a car to its full potential is best left to a detailing shop or someone with lots of time and money on their hands.

We don't have all the tools to buff our own paint, the skills to wetsand, or the money to buy high end polishes and waxes.

Lets start.



WASH

Items needed:
- 2 Wash mitts
- Car soap (any brand)
- Wheel/Tire Cleaner
- Old Rags
- Bug/Tar Remover (optional)
- Drying Cloth
- Soft towel

Step 1

Wet the car down using your hose. Make sure to spray any areas with large build up of mudd and bugs. Also make sure to spray the inner wheel wells.

Step 2

Spray pre-wash cleaners on the car. I like to spray any of the bug/tar remover on the car (usually the front bumper), scrub, and spray it off right away. Then I spray my rims/tires down with the Rim/Tire cleaner. Spray them off with the hose, and use old rags (soft rags so you don't scratch up the rims, on chrome rims you may want to use a separate wash mitt) and wipe down the rims as best as you can. This may seem pointless because you are about to soap the car, but it will help in the drying process later. The rims usually have the largest build-up of crud.

Step 3

Begin soaping sections of the car and using your wash mitts to scrub the car. I like to use one wash mitt to scrub the "cleaner" areas of the car like the hood, roof, pillars, trunk, doors, and tops of the fenders. I use my other wash mitt to scurb on the "dirtier" areas of the carl like front bumper, areas immediatly around the wheel well, and side skirts. Wash a portion of the car, then spary it off. TAKE YOUR TIME!

Step 4

Give the car one last rinse and begin using your drying towel, usually a shammy made of lamb skin, and get the water off the car. When done drying the car. Go back over the car with a very soft towel, usually a microfiber towel, and just dry the car again. This will help keep small water spots off the car.

DONE. Thats the best way to give your stang a quick, but still very good, wash. There's always more you could do. I like to take some old rags, get under the rear end, and scrub down the gas tank and anything else exposed. But thats just me. I'll provide links at the end of this thread if you want to look into further washing/detailing.


QUICK DETAILING

There's really not much you can do when you are trying to put "quick" and "detail" in the same sentance. But if you are going to meet up with a few buddies on a friday night and don't have time to do a full detail. Here are some thing I, myself, would do.

Items needed:
- Turtle Wax Formula 2001 Protectant (for interior and exterior)
- Tire wetter (anything, just try not to buy stuff with high silicon content)
- Clean, soft rags
- Detailing Spray
- Chrome polish (if you have chrome rims)
- Wax (for rims that are not chrome or machined)

Step 1

After cleaning the car and drying. Use soft rags to clean out any cracks and hard to reach points on the car. This will get rid of water that may streak the car when you start to move it later that night. I would be esecially careful around the doors, water loves that area.

Step 2

Next, if you think your car still has good wax on it. Use a detailer spray and soft rag. Spray the detailer on parts of the car you want to really "shine up" and rub it in with the rag. This is good for a temporary wax type look. I usually do the hood and roof before I go out. Doors every now and then.

Step 3

Rims are always a good place to focus when doing a quick detail. Get some tire wetter on your wheels. Try to be sure it doesn't get on anything else but the tires. It can cause a nasty build up on your brakes and also really tears up paint. Buying wetter that has no silicon will reduce risk.

After that if you have chrome rims use some chrome polish on them. Just follow the dirrections on the bottle.

If you have black/anthricite/painted/polished/hypercoated rims use some wax on them. It will give them a little shine.

Step 4

Use the Turtle Wax protectant on any black plastic on the car. For mustangs the mirrors, chin spoilers, and wiper cowl area are places that need this. The protectant gives the black plastic a deep black look and really makes it shine.

DONE. If you are looking for a better detail. I would suggest using the links below to see the best way to fully wash and detail a car. These links will show you how to clay bar, do scratch removing, swirl removing, paint restore, plastic restore, and professionally wax your car.

LINKS TO FULL DETAILING:

http://www.3.8mustang.com/forum/showthr ... =Detailing

http://www.corral.net/tech/maintenance/detail.html
 

Taylor

New Member
Meguires makes good stuff. I have a combo of a buch of different products.

It includes Eagle, Turtle Wax, Meguires, Mothers, and Armoral.
 

MetBlueV6

New Member
Exterior Detailing

Hate to say it, but the tang that my wife and I show, 06 Met. Blue with Metal flake likes the Meguire Gold Detail and the Wash that they put out. One safety issue that needs to be out that some of the wet tire solutions will dry the rubber out, (ie Armor All) the other is not to spray the tread, this does, and I've seen it, cause the car to slip.

When I look at it at shows, I get a big laugh, maybe the guy does not have enough moter and later when they do the burn outs he needs the help.

By the way, when I show my Stang, it gets only hand wash and takes at least 1 1/2 days to detail out, worth every minute, have three trophies on the shelf just this year to prove it.
 

Wendy

Hi Guys!
There's no way I can ever spend that much time because it's so dusty here (and I have no garage) that before I get half done, the car is covered. I will say I really don't do much to the tires as far as armourall goes because dirt sticks right to it. I am yet to find something really good that doesn't attract dust.
 

Taylor

New Member
The tire wetter that dries out your tires is the chemicals with lots of silcone in them. It dries out the tires horribly and can also cause a build up between the brakes that causes the brakes to screech very loudly.

Just check the label on the brand you are buying. Usualy silicon will/won't be listed.
 

MetBlueV6

New Member
Detail, sometimes too much

Well so much for the weekend, got done with a show and am now enjoying the autumn color change up here, Your right about the slicone cause of squeaking brakes, the hard part is, the calibers glaze over than its all over but the crying.

Have to really work on them to get the product off or have them re-serfaced.

Hope you guys enjoy the fall weather and get out in it and show the strong side of the Mustang that makes the V-6 it's roots
 

JRicky

New Member
I like black magic stuff.....the best wax was the stuff called "rain dance" it was blue....THE best, hell, it probly causes cancer or something so they dont make it anymore
 

Taylor

New Member
jricky917 said:
I like black magic stuff.....the best wax was the stuff called "rain dance" it was blue....THE best, hell, it probly causes cancer or something so they dont make it anymore
You'd be surprised, some of that off brand stuff works well. Others...not so much.
 

Taylor

New Member
Wendy, MetBlueV6,

I cleaned up my sticky with all the un-needed posts that were off topic from car detailing. I started a new thread with your guy's chatter in it.
 

jmp782

New Member
ALso...detailing...when you wax.....they always say go in a circular motion. Don't do this...you polish and wax to get rid of swirl marks, so why go in a circular motion? Best results I have ever had(worked for a professtional detailer and a lot of customers wanted it done by hand....) is going up and down....in a striaght line! serious..try it next time...a lot smoother finish
 

Turanza2

New Member
Ok question: I have a new 08 Mustang, headlights obviously look clear and great. What do I use to keep them that way? I hate when they get a hazy film.
 

mizke

da man
i dont know about protecting them by doing more then cleaning them, but it does take a few years for them to get hazy.. myabe hit them with some wax a few times a year...
 

Taylor

New Member
the "hazyness" comes from multiple things. Dust collecting on the inside of the lights can cause a slight haze in direct sunlight. Rock chips and bugs can cause the outside to permanantly start to haze as as well.

The major issue is condensation. If ANY water gets inside the lights, on a warm day your headlights will fog up. Small leaks and you will notice it from time to time, if the leak gets bigger your lights will start permenently looking hazed. The water inside the lights will eventually cause the headlight plastic to start to discolor and erode causeing the really nasty cases of haze.

The best way to prevent if possible is to take your headlights out and seal them often. Look for leaks, if you see condensation on a warm day, take them out (when they arn't fogged), dry them the best you can, and seal them.

Other wise..buy new headlights.
 

JRicky

New Member
yeah, I lost the original head lights to major yellowing of the plastic...now I swear by PlastX polish, blue stuff, comes in a white bottle...use it def everytime I wax the car
 

pirate bman

Active Member
You guys should come work for us, I learned all the things you guys said before i got full on into professional detailing, which I now do on a daily basis for my job. ironically I know more from learning the really uptight external sources and filled in the gaps with what I've been taught through my job. Doing this as a small side gig has produced very pleasing results and high recommendations to other people. THe Mustang is a trophy and I get sooooo many props and compliments for how clean and shiny it is than any thing else
 
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