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tom_hargreaves

Car Thread

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Hi,

I know from the car thread back on DW that a some people, Novi and Wedgy to name a couple, were putting a lot of time in to detailing their cars.

I'd like to do the same with mine now but I can't remember the website that was being recommended. Or indeed the products that were recommended.

I enjoyed the pictures that followed all this treatment, would be good to share again. But I need some tackle so that I can get in on the action :)

Recommendations will be appreciated.

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The website was http://www.cleanyourcar.co.uk/ That's where I bought most of my products from.

Basic Essentials:

1) Always use the two bucket method. Grit guards are also a good idea.

2) Never use a sponge. Always use a wash mitt (Wookies Fist FTW!!)

3) Avoid power/jet washers. Always just use a hose by itself/or with a nozzel to turn on/off.

4) Use a good shampoo with good lubricity. How much it lubes is more important than the amount of suds. (AutoGlym Shampoo & Conditioner for example)

5) Use a MicroFibre drying towel. Never use a leather.

That's the basics. I can go into more details if you like as well as explain additional products like polishes/waxes/tar removers etc?

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Thanks Wedgy - That's what i'm after. I cleaned my car at the weekend just using some random stuff my dad had in the garage. It consisted of a wash mitt and some Meguiars Golden Class Shampoo.

I hosed it down. Scrubbed it with a wash mitt (Not a fancy lambs wool mitt). And then rinsed. Didn't dry it as I had neither a leather or a cloth.

What is the two bucket method exactly?

I think I recall you were using some chunks of clay? Which removed loads of extra dirt left on the paintwork that remained even after washing. Is that correct?

And is that tar remover for the wheels?

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easiest way to see if your car needs claying is to run your hand over the paintwork after you have washed it (and the car is dry)..if it feels "rough" then it may benefit from claying, if it feels like wet glass then there probably is not a need for claying.

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Ok the 2 bucket method is where you use one bucket which you put the shampoo in. And the second bucket you simply put clean water and a grit guard in as a 'rinse' bucket (ideally a grit guard in both buckets, but just in the rinse bucket will suffice).

The method is, you first hose your car down from the top to bottom to remove the loose dirt/grit/dust. Then, using your wash mitt, you dunk it into the shampoo bucket then, retaining as much water as you can, move to start cleaning your car from the roof down. You want to use a gentle 'massage' technique rather than scrubbing. Once you've done a small section you dunk the mitt into the second rinse bucket, rubbing it against the grit guard to remove the crap, and then reload with soap into the shampoo bucket.

The theory is that the dirt you remove with the mitt stays in the rinse bucket, and the shampoo bucket should stay clean through out the wash process.

Make sense?

I'll reply some more about this and flaying etc when I get home as I'm about to leave the office. Gimme an hour!

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Does this involve vaseline again??

Dammit! Lol. Wrote all that on my iPhone! Surprised I didn't make more errors!

Anyway it doesn't specifically involve Vaseline, but does require vast quantities of lube!!

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Right, off the train and home again! Where was I....

Oh yes, Flaying......I meant Claying!!

Exactly as SgtDave has said. After you've washed the car run your hand over the surface (doesn't necessarily need to be dry for this. Either or) if it feels rough, even though it looks clean, this is because micro particles of grit has embedded inself into the clear coat. The only way to remove them is by 'claying'.

This involves literally rubbing clay over the area you want clean which removed the grit. However it is VERY VERY IMPORATANT to use a lubricant so the clay moves easily, and frictionlessly (it IS a word!) over the bodywork. If you don't use enough lube you may marr (scratch) the paintwork which you obviously never want to do.

First you want to soften the clay by kneading it and folding it etc. What I then tend to do, is use a fairly strong solution of the car shampoo in a spray bottle (which you can also buy from the CYC shop I linked to, or even off of eBay!) and just keep sraying, and rubbing the clay a couple of times, and more spraying and claying and spraying and claying...................you get the point! After the clay starts to look a bit dirty, fold it and knead it (like blue tac) until it looks clean and carry on claying.

You'll be surprised by the amount of dirt is left on the car even when it looks clean! The area's prone to having this embedded grit it the bonnet, the areas behind the wheels (lower front doors etc) and the back of the car. The roof etc, usually remains fairly clean.

GOLDEN RULE OF DETAILING - If you drop it, discard it. Especially for the clay. If you drop the mitt make sure you give it a thorough clean before using again. If you drop the MF towel, put it in the wash and use another one.

Which takes me to cleaning. You'll probably, like me, end up with loads of various MF cloths and other soft cloths for polishing etc. You can put them in the washing machine but don't use conditioner. Just use whatever cleaning agent you use.

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Good feedback. I've only had my car for 5 weeks so it probably doesn't need claying just yet.

I'm going to get one of those softer mitts and a drying cloth. And i'll definitely try the two bucket method, as I hadn't ever really given this a thought but it makes perfect sense. Bu the time I was finished yesterday the bucket was just full of black water!

The car shampoo I have is on that website so it must be half decent so i'm going to stick with that.

EDIT: Sorry, forgot to say thanks for the comments!

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I've got a Mini Cooper S in Red. It's getting dirty again already, but next time I do a proper job cleaning it i'll take a before and after picture.

Cool. Red's a tricky colour though as it's prone to fading over the years in the sun. Think it's only an issue with older cars though.

Just briefly as well. After cleaning you ideally need a good polish followed by a wax. I highly recommend AutoGlym HD Wax! Here's the vid I made of my car while back. Look at that sheeting!!

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Grit guard is a Meguiars product and while good they're a little expensive as they have a special size bucket. There is a cheaper option now. While I don't normally postlinks to work I'll do it this time

www.autocraze.co.uk/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=grit+guard&search_in_description=1&osCsid=6e9491e937ea4ecded0f407af964ddd8&x=0&y=0

We're a Megiuars master stockist and don't keep the varity of makes that CYC does. Just not enough room.

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Great price for the grit guards. Thanks for the link.

The buckets I got were a couple of quid each and they fit the grit guards fine. I'll try and find the link to the website tomoz. It was some specialist plastics company.

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The routine I used to do was a quick wash with mitt and two bucket method once a week. And about every 2 to 3 months I would strip back the wax and polish (by using strong shampoo mix and claying) and redoing the polish and wax.

You can generally tell when it needs redoing as water doesn't bead and runoff as well when the wax is wearing off.

Basically, after you've polished and waxed it, you want to look after this protective layer as best as you can by regularly, but gently washing it. It's a nice idea to top of the weekly wash with a Quick Detailing Spray.

Edit- I said 'used to' as I've gotten quite lax lately! Naughty naughty! I'll do a proper full detail within the next month though to get some early protection on for the winter months.

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Yeah yeah Chemical Guys stuff is awesome! The Quick Detailing spray I mentioned was the Chemical Guys Speed Wipe. Can either use neat, or dilute it a bit with water in a spray bottle to make it last longer.

Did use the Chemical Guys Maxi Suds II Shampoo initially too before switching to the Autoglym Shampoo & Conditioner.

Regarding Tar. After you've cleaned your car, you may see black spots stuck on your alloys, and on your bodywork. This is basically spots of road tar stuck to your car, and no amount of scrubbing will remove them. This is where a product like Tardis, or Autoglym Tar Remove comes in. You spray, or dab some on with a cloth, leave a few minutes, and you should see the tar start to disolve. You should be able to then wipe it away gently.

Regading Alloys. If you don't clean them enough you may find areas of baked on break dust which is a bastard to remove. I highly recommend Bilberry to remove them and for cleaning the alloys to an amazing level! http://www.cleanyourcar.co.uk/valet-pro-bilberry-wheel-cleaner/prod_499.html

Additionally it's also useful to have a number of brushes for various tasks. An alloy brush such as this:

http://www.cleanyourcar.co.uk/wheels-and-tyres/vikan-extra-long-wheel-spoke-brush/prod_391.html

And a detailing brush for minor areas where the mit can't easily get to. Such as around headlights, badges and door shuts etc.

http://www.cleanyourcar.co.uk/wheels-and-tyres/valet-pro-inch-round-wheel-brush/prod_973.html

Also, ALWAYS clean the wheels before cleaning the car!

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Finally, found the link to the buckets I mentioned.

http://www.ampulla.co.uk/product.asp?P_ID=439&V_ID=587&strPageHistory=basket

They've got Blue one's too here - http://www.ampulla.co.uk/product.asp?P_ID=719&strPageHistory=related

These are perfect for detailing and the grit guards fit perfectly at the bottom! I've got one white and one blue.

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Maybe it's just me, and also the fact I couldn't afford a pretty car if I wanted one, but I can't understand how you guys have the patience to spend hours and hours cleaning a car - especially beyond the point where it looks clean and shiny! Have you always been meticulous about such things or is it only when you started getting better-quality cars?

I am, of course, assuming that none of you went from test to MG!

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It's just addictive for some reason. Trying to get the ultimate shine/reflection!

I got pranged last year though and have a dent in my offside rear panel. Since then I've been less bothered about maintaining the car. I still 'detail' it about once a month, but before the dent I washed it 'almost' every weekend. Since it was done on a regular basis it was really quick too. Only took about an hour every saturday or sunday.

To do a proper detail with polish and wax etc took me about 4 hours in all, but this was only once every quarter.

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