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Cleaning a car

Discussion in 'Motoring' started by eviljohn2, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I'll be buying a car in a few weeks but although the metalwork is fine (no perforation, rust etc) the lacquer and general paintwork on all of the leading edges has some nasty oxidation on and won't come up sparkly like I want.

    The best option would really be a complete strip and respray but since I'll be stretching to insure the vehicle as it is what are the best products for washing and polishing my nice newish car? :)
     
  2. Mr THX

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    Take a look around THIS SITE, the Forums are a good read as well.

    The product I'd recommend is the Quick Clay, followed by a couple of coats of NXT wax.

    Local Halfords around these parts have started stocking the Meguiars stuff over Autoglym and Turtle Wax (must be more mark up for them :devil: ) before that the wax's and polishes were a real pain to get hold of.
     
  3. mr jones

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    autoglym stuff is spot on, i use there stuff on both my classic cars, gave me a stunning finnish.


    my friend has given me good reviews of maguires claybar stuff on his prelude though
     
  4. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I'll have a look into them - thanks guys. :smashin:

    Any further suggestions or discussion welcome as always. :)
     
  5. Londondecca

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    The best site IMO is Autopia.org.

    I would strongly consider a chemical cleaner such as Carlack to remove the oxidation. Autoglym make some good products but the best thing to do IMO is wash, clay and polish (chemical) and then evaluate the paint again.

    I have seen many cars with terrible paint being transformed with the right equipment and techniques. For example http://autopia.org/forum/showthread.php?t=55828

    I would highly recommend this (free) ebook http://www.guidetodetailing.com/articlenoheader.php?articleId=58

    Edit.

    I also should have said the real key to a great shine is the prep work on the paint.
     
  6. mcfarfs

    mcfarfs
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    I personally find Autosmart products to be very good.
     
  7. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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  8. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Thanks a lot guys, that's just the sort of info I'm after. :clap:
    I'm starting to get the feeling that it's going to cost me a fortune in chemicals. :(

    Have you got your own wheels now then Mcfarfs?
     
  9. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    Car cleaning (detailing - USA) is dirt cheap compared to AV-HiFi. As long as you choose the right basics it is not necessary to spend lots of money. If we assume you have no cleaning products you could spend less than £50 for a complete set of tools and products which would transform most cars. The £50 could also be seen as an investment as clean and shiny cars tend to be valued higher
     
  10. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    That's fair enough, I don't really have any cleaning equipment so what would be the best things to start with for a car that hasn't been cleaned for over a year and has fairly disastrous paintwork anway.

    I think I can find a hose and presumably a sponge and some soap are essential...

    I have cleaned cars before but I want to make a special effort since this one will be mine. :)
     
  11. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    The best articles on car cleaning are on Autopia or the ebook I mentioned but here is my summary on basic paint cleaning.

    Firstly get rid of the sponge, unless you wish to use it for cleaning the wheel arches.

    In terms of a decent shampoo, Meguiars and Autoglym are both available at most Halfords, if you live near a Vauxhall dealership go to the parts dept and ask for some Sonex shampoo – it is one of the best available in the UK.

    To wash the car use a wash-mitt Halfords own brand is ok and cheap, Meguiars make a nice one for about £10.

    Ideally have two buckets, one filled with shampoo the other with luke warm water. Use the 2nd bucket to rinse the mitt after it has touched the paint, this way any dirt etc is not transfered to the shampoo bucket. If you have access to a hose then rinse (low pressure) the car to remove the worst of the dirt otherwise start at the top of the car and do the painted panels. Any lower panels should be done separately as these tend to be the dirtiest.

    After washing rinse with the hose, again at very low pressure, the trick is to try and chase the soap suds down the car, which also minimises water spots.

    Tesco sell some decent but cheap own brand microfiber cloths for about £1. Buy as many as you can, as you can never have enough. For the best MF cloths have a look at pakshak.com.

    Dry the car with some MF cloths.

    There is a strong possibility the lower panels will have tar and other products embedded into the paint. Autoglym’s tar remover is very effective. Apply and wait 15 minutes or so and wipe off.

    Now the paint has been washed and dried it is time to evaluate the paint. If the paint has not been well maintained the chances are there will be lots of swirl marks on the paint. This can be treated in one of two ways firstly they can be partially hidden by using a glaze or they can be removed by using an absravive polish. Always use the least abrasive polish possible. A really good glaze is VANILLA MOOSE WAX HAND GLAZE by Clearkote http://www.seriousperformance.co.uk/sp/products/polish_wax.php.

    As for an abrasive polish Autoglym’s Super Resin Polish is a very mild polish and offers very good paint protection if allowed to dry for an hour or so.

    You might need something stronger than Autoglym but it is a good place to start.

    If you using the Clearkote then I would highly recommend Poorboys EX sealant http://www.seriousperformance.co.uk/sp/products/polish_wax.php#13 or if using the Autoglym Resin follow with Extra Gloss Protection. With EGP, always use a very small amount as to much is both wasteful and can make it harder to remove.

    For that extra depth of finish you could use a decent wax such as P21S (from seriousperformace and other places or my favourite Blitz wax http://www.frost.co.uk/productList.asp?catID=15

    As for clay, it is really hard to describe just what a difference this can make. The paint becomes very very smooth and really helps get the paint perfectly clean. Meguiars make a great consumer clay (about £12) and normally it is used after washing the paint. It is not essential to use clay but once you have tried it, you will wonder how you ever washed a car without it.

    Use the MF cloths to remove any product you have applied to the paint. The fibers will gently remove wax etc without damaging the paint. BTW these cloths are excellent at domestic dusting chores where you simply wipe a surface with a slightly damp MF cloth which removes all the dust – no need for a polish which attracts more dirt.

    Whilst this all sounds complicated, in practice it is quite easy and the efforts are well worth it. I hope this helps and I am sure I have missed some bits but at least it gives a basic structure.
     
  12. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    :clap: :smashin:

    Many thanks, I'll pop into Halfords later and see how far my money will go. :)
     
  13. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Thanks for everyone's help so far, especially LD's. :clap:

    This morning I picked up

    1 x Polishing Mitt
    3 x Microfibre Cloths
    of varying gauges
    1 x Meguiars Quik Clay
    1 x Autoglym Connoisseur Selection


    The Autoglym box has 100ml bottles of
    Intensive Tar Remover
    Super Resin Polish
    Car Glass Polish
    Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner
    Vinyl & Rubber Care
    Bumper Care


    I was going to start on the inside today but it started raining but hopefully the weekend will be good and onwards to doubling the value of my car! :D

    I've attached a few before photos to give an idea of what I'm up against, notice the bottom of the rear window and the mottled parts of the bonnet by the windscreen. :eek: :)
     

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  14. Londondecca

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    I suspect you could get those wheels to near showroom condition quite quickly. Autoglym wheel cleaner is good and easy to use. Spray the wheels and tyres and use a soft paint brush or similar to agitate the liquid, leave alone for a minute or so and then rinse. The tyres can be scrubbed with an upholstery brush. Dry the wheels and once it is bone dry apply a layer of Super Resin. Leave them for an hour or two and then you can buff the wheels and apply the Extra Gloss or apply the Extra Gloss directly onto the cured Super Resin. Again leave for a few hours and then buff. After 24 hours you could apply another layer of Extra Gloss if you wish.

    The reason for doing all of this is the Autoglym will protect the paint on the wheels and dont forget they do have a very hard time with dirt and red hot brake dust. The second reason is that the Gloss makes cleaning the wheels very easy the next time. Thirdly, it is amazing how some clean wheels can lift an otherwise dirty car.

    It is hard to see the damage you speak about but there does appear to be some dulling caused by using an aggressive polish. I would use the Super Resin on that area, it might take several attempts but it should gloss up.

    Here are (I hope) two pictures of a BMW I did some time ago. All Autoglym products and without any mechanical buffers - which I now use



    The Autoglym Vinyl & Rubber Care is very good. Use a dish washing sponge to apply, let it soak in for a few minutes for a matt finish or longer for a higher gloss. If the interior is very dirty I would highly recommend some Woollite (sold at Asda - it is a wool detergent) watered down 6:1 it is a great and very cheap interior cleaner which can be used on carpets, vinyl etc. It is just as good as any commercial cleaner and a lot cheaper. Once the vinyl is cleaned use the AG Vinyl Care to protect.

    Article on using clay http://www.bettercarcare.com/articles.php?articleId=14
     

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  15. Bolf

    Bolf
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    I use Meguiars on all 4 of my vehicles , and the results are awesome.

    Saying that it the paint it seriously flat i'd recommend a body shop to machine polish it. then keep on top of matters with reqular (Weekly or fortnightly) polishes.
     
  16. mcfarfs

    mcfarfs
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    No, just clean my Mum's car for her!

    You can be sure I will let you guys know when I get my own car!

    Actually I have been looking into the idea of getting a classic car such as an MG Midget, and restoring it. But that would be as well as a more modern car, so not for a few months at least!
     
  17. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    The prospect of running more than one car even at 22 is a scary one for me! Good luck with the plan though Mcfarfs. :smashin:

    Personally I'd be very happy to own my "new" car as normal wheels, a TR6 for fast fun and an S1 Disco for off-roading adventures.

    WRT the actual thread, I spent today working on the car and have a very nice interior now and the exterior is coming along nicely. With any luck I'll have it looking close to new by tomorrow along with a full report for those that are interested. I'm fairly sure that I've added £500 or so to the value today with just 8 hours work. :)
     
  18. mcfarfs

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    Good going! :thumbsup: :smashin:
     
  19. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Right, I've spent all weekend working on the car and it looks immeasurably better - the Autoglym Bumper Care stuff in particular works wonders. :smashin:

    I'm going to do a final polish this evening but the paint is still heavily oxidised, what would be the recommendation for a more aggresive polish that comes in a small quantity? If it doesn't come out as well as I hope is it worth waxing the surface at all or just leaving the polish on top? :)
     
  20. Londondecca

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    The clay should have helped remove some of the oxidisation but you could try something like Autoglym Paint Renovator. I cannot remember what is the smallest size bottle they make. If you use the Renovator you will need to follow up with some Super Resin to bring back the gloss.

    Are you getting any paint transfer when using the Resin. The general principal is to use the softest polish first to avoid removing unnecessary paint, of course there will be times when it is necessary to do so.

    After claying try the Resin using a fair amount of pressure, wipe off the excess and reapply using moderate pressure, this will show if you need to find a more abrasive polish.

    Does the oxidisation look anything like these http://www.autoint.com/tips/check_crack_degradation.html http://www.autoint.com/tips/paint_delamination.html
     
  21. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    What do you mean by paint transfer?

    I'm just waiting for the sun to come off the car before carrying on, hopefully I can get a better picture then.

    The oxidation (if that's what it is) shows up a bit better in this picture I've just taken; it doesn't look like either of those pictures. No depth to the colour although that will get better with repeated washing etc and the inconsistent colour. I'll try and do another one later without the sun on it. At least I've done a good enough job to get a decent reflection.

    Thanks again for the help, it really has been invaluable and I wouldn't have done half as good a job as I am now plus I'm learning loads for the future. :)
     

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  22. HMHB

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    Well, my previous 2 cars that I owned for about 3 years were only cleaned a couple of times as I hate doing it. Since I bought a new car in March I've cleaned it 3 times but it never seems to look really really good. There's always streaks and I never get it totally clean. It may not help that it's black and so the dirt is hard to see whilst washing, but it also doesn't help that I have no interest in cleaning cars !
    At the moment I'm just using Turtle Wax (used washing up liquid on previous cars !) should I be considering something else ? Do some of these products offer protection as well as cleaning ?
     
  23. Londondecca

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    I am glad it does not look similar to the links I posted - the only cure for that type of paint failure is a full respray.

    Paint transfer - sorry I did not explain myself, normally with oxidisation some paint/clear coat will actually be transfered onto the polishing pad. It is normally quite noticeable which indicates the paint problem might simply be one which can be corrected by polishing.

    Be careful with the cleaning stuff, it can quite quickly become additive and before long you could be cleaning the engine with q-tips :)
     
  24. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Well I've just applied the next coat of polish and I was getting something (looked like dirt but the car is as clean as I can get it) on the pad when I was doing the bad areas.

    I've just been reading up on how to clean an engine. :rotfl: I think that's a stage too far for the moment as the outside still seems to need a lot of work. :)
     
  25. Londondecca

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    I am guessing the streaks come from an insufficient rinse after washing or washing the paint when it is to hot

    Washing up liquid is a quite effective way of damaging the paintwork if used on a regular basis. Whilst there is nothing wrong with Turtle Wax it would probably only last a few weeks at most. If you want to protect the paint and allow for easy maintenance I would recommend a synthetic sealant such as Autoglym Super Resin & Extra Gloss. You can order slightly better products from the USA but for connivance of buying versus performance Autoglym is hard to beat.

    I would recommend spending a day cleaning everything which is painted and then use the Autoglym Resin & Gloss. After 24 hours you can add another layer of Gloss for even more protection. After about 4 layers diminishing returns set in. This will give you up to 6 months protection and should make cleaning easier
     
  26. HMHB

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    Sounds like a good product, is there anywhere I can take the car to have it done as I really do detest cleaning cars :)
     
  27. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Bring it down to me if you like John. I've spent all weekend working on the car and it looks hundreds of times better now - in fact I'm off to get a photo to show everyone. :D It's nothing like new and the paintwork is still in fairly bad shape but at least there's some depth and shine to the colour now.

    Autoglym is the mutts nuts and the selection pack that I got has gone a very long way and enabled me to do everything apart from gloss the outside (going to get some EG after lunch to do this evening). :smashin:
     
  28. Londondecca

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    I would try asking on Autopia.org - there are quite a few Brits with a healthy spread across the UK
     
  29. Bernard Barnett

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    You should never use washing-up liquid on a car as it contains salt.
     
  30. HMHB

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    I've only ever used washing up liquid on company cars, now I've bought my own I got some Turtle Wax ;)
     

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