Tamang OC lang - a newbie's guide to car appearance maintenance
First of all, I'd like to thank sir Edwin, ma'am madkatz and all the tsikoteers at the Detailing thread for sharing their knowledge and experiences about detailing. I got most of my methods based on their inputs, and this would never be possible without them.
Like most of us, I came from using old t-shirts and whatever cloth available to clean our rides. I saw rain as a blessing since I could just wipe it down afterwards to clean it. Our Ranger attests to almost ten years of that. Now I am horrified whenever I see Bimmers and Mercs running around practicaly swimming in swirl marks.
This is not an end-all, be-all comprehensive guide to auto detailing, but rather a guide to a couple of common car care procedures for both enthusiasts and newbies.
I am also not in any way affiliated with Microtex, Mother's, Optimum, Collinite, Micromagic, Joy, or Perla.
Any comments or suggestions to improve this would be welcome!
1) Clearcoat - automobile paint has a protective layer of non-pigmented resin over it. This is the clearcoat.
This is the surface that gets scratched during improper washing or correction.
Any kind of abrasive, such as rubbing compounds, and polishes will erode the clearcoat.
An intact clearcoat gives an "orange-peel" like appearance
Products that are "clear-coat safe" are non-abrasive
2) Swirl marks - these are small scratches that are not very apparent because they are usually found superficially. They can be seen using LED lights or Xenon lamps.
A typical black car during nighttime, when shined with headlights, will reveal these swirl marks.
3) Water marks - these are left by evaporating water. they may, or may not be superficial. Superficial marks, such as mineral deposits can be removed by claying or dissolution with an acid.
*note: don't wear watches, rings, belt buckles, or steel-buttoned shorts while washing or waxing. these can scratch and ding the surface
*note: don't wash in an open area on a hot day. it'll be a watermark farm.
1)at least 2 buckets
Q: why 2 buckets?
A: one will be used for dissolving the shampoo in, the other will be a rinsing bucket.
2)car shampoo (Microtex Shampoo ~P150)
Q: why a car shampoo and not dishwashing liquid or powdered detergent?
A: dishwashing liquids, such as joy, are grease strippers, and the waxes that protect a car's paint is made up of oils. Using dishwashing liquids will strip these waxes. Powder detergents will leave unsightly streaks when they dry.
Q: why do I need shampoo at all? diba okay na water+chamois or water+washmitt?
A: water cannot lubricate the surface enough to prevent microscratches from occuring. a typical "driver-maintained" car (water+chamois) is guaranteed to have a ton of swirl marks.
3)microfiber washmitt (Microtex - ~P320, ACE - ~P90)
Q: why a washmitt and not a sponge?
A: a microfiber washmitt will pick up the dirt from the surface. A sponge will drag dirt across the surface, causing micro-scratches.
Q: are the cheap microfiber washmitts from ACE good for this?
A: they're okay for the job, but if you get these single-sided washmitts, you will need two of them. In comparison, a double sided washmitt can be flipped, so that the other side can be used for the bottom half of the vehicle
4)microfiber chamois (Microtex chamois: P250) or a microfiber drying cloth (Microtex Elite: P600-900, depending where, Water Magnet)
Q: why non-rubber?
A: like a sponge, rubber chamois will drag any residual dirt across the surface, causing microscratches. a microfiber chamois will pick them up.
*Rubber chamois can also strip wax.
Q: aren't microfiber chamois less effective than rubber ones?
A: microfiber chamois hold less water, and may take some time before "sucking up" water. They work more effectively when already damp (but not soaked)
*a microfiber drying cloth, such as the Microtex Elite is more capable than either kind of chamois (dries an SUV without needing a single squeeze) and will not scratch the surface (due to its wafer-like microfiber weave).
Q: what if I don't have a microfiber chamois or cloth?
A: "slapping" the car with a rubber chamois to dry it is safe for the clearcoat.
5)cheap microfiber cloth (i.e. the 3 for 88 pesos from micromagic)
A:drying the mags, the doorsills, the engine bay
Q:akala ko ba di kelangan ng sponge?
A:para sa wheel wells!
1)cheap microfiber washmitt for the mags. (i.e. the one available in ACE for less than 100)
Q: what if I don't have one?
A: a cheap microfiber (i.e. micromagic) will do
2)tire brush (Mr. Clean: P:250, Mothers: ~P200)
*note: the Mr. Clean brush can be used for the mags themselves
3)electric blower/leaf blower (900-1.5k in RAON, depending on the brand)
*note: this is for the crevices, crannies, door handles, and emblems to prevent formation of hard water deposits
Q:What if I don't have one?
A:you could manually blow at these areas with or without a straw, but be prepared to get light headed. Alternatively, you can just try to reach at these places with a microfiber cloth.
Q:are there any dangers to using pressure washers?
A: not really, but if the pressure is too strong, it can strip wax.
1)Prep the materials
~Microtex Washmitt, ACE washmitt, Microtex Chamois, Micromagic microfiber, Leaf Blower
2)Prep the buckets
Q: why three?
A: personal preference, I put a rinse bucket on each side of the car for easy access. Half a bucket each to conserve water.
Q: why is one red?
A: to prevent confusion, the red one is for the shampoo-containing water.
3)Prepare the shampoo.
Q: how do you know how much capfuls to use?
A: stir the mixture, then try to feel it between your fingers
if it is slippery, it's good to go. In a bucket of this size, I usually use three capfuls
Q: does it need to be bubbly?
A: no. lubricity (how slippery it is) is more important
4)Wet the car
if using a pressure washer, you can use it to clean the wheel wells.