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Old 03-14-1999, 09:36 PM
Lee Scheeler
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Without typing a 30-page essay on every aspect of detailing I will try and address some of the more common things first.

Washing: Washing should not be done in the direct sunlight. Shade or overcast is preferable as direct sunlight can cause waterspotting. The first step to a good wash is a good pre-rinse. Using hose or diffuse pressure-washer spray, remove as much of the surface grime as possible with the water. When washing it is very important to work in a top to bottom pattern. This way you do not have to re-wash areas you have been over and you keep the wash-mitt cleaner. To do things right, for the longevity of the car's finish, using 3 separate wash mitts is best. Each one has its distinct job and it will keep that job for its existence. (wash mitts are cheap, paint jobs are expensive!) Have one for the top painted surfaces and windows, have a second for the lower areas such as the body cladding and wheel-wells, and a third for the wheels and tires. By keeping separate mits you don't grind last brake dust from the wheels into the nice shiny hood or smear tar/road grime into your fender. That brings us to the next part of washing...soap. Please don't use dish-detergent or any household cleaners. At best it will only strip the surface of its wax and shine, at worst it will actually damage the finish. Any high quality car wash is good, I would personally recommend Zymol, 3M, or Meguiar's respective car washes. The last element of a good washing….the mitt. More people ruin finishes with sloppy handling or ill chosen mitts than perhaps any other mistake. Whatever you use make sure it has NO synthetic fibers in it. Even if it says 100% cotton burn test* the edges to make sure the thread used to sew it are not polyester/synthetic. A 100% cotton chenille mitt, a true natural sheepskin mitt, or a Boar's Hair brush are all good safe choices. So now your car is out of direct sunlight, you have rinsed it thoroughly, you have your safe mitts/brushes ready for washing, a bucket of water with some high quality car wash in it (keep the water cool or luke-warm please), and you are washing your car top to bottom. When you have all that going on you are well on your way to preserving that "wow" finish everyone loves. Washing is as much preserving the finish as it is about cleaning it. By-the-way, if your washing your car and you run across a glob of something that doesn't want to come off readily with the wash just let it go. Cleaning the paint is an entirely separate chapter. You are likely to do more damage grinding away at whatever it is than you are leaving it on there a bit longer till you can properly remove it with something specialized. As always, these are only recommendations for the person in their driveway.

*when burn testing the flame should just blacken or char the fabric, if you see any balling or “gummy” look to it you have synthetic thread which is a major culprit of swirl marks.

I hope this helps out...I will post further articles in regards to the other steps in the detailing process. Look for upcoming posts on drying, cleaning the paint, swirl marks, waxing/preserving, and quick fix/maintenance tricks. Then again there are always interiors to think about too...

Lee Scheeler

[This message has been edited by Lee Scheeler (edited 03-15-99).]

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Old 03-15-1999, 01:12 AM
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I learned a few things.
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Old 03-15-1999, 06:16 AM
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Thanks, some good ideas in there.
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Old 03-16-1999, 03:16 AM
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thanks...very many things are an art..and now i realize even washing a fine automobile is a fine art too...

thanks again...

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