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mtn
mtn SuperDork
10/11/09 2:59 p.m.

I don't have much to work with here, basically what I have is a twenty five dollar limit at a Walmart and then whichever do-it-yourself carwash--and I won't use whatever brushes/sponges they have in there (at the DIY carwash), always too afraid of rocks embedded in them.

What products should I get? Anything that works better than anything else? I'm assuming Maguires is the best bet here?

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury Dork
10/11/09 3:41 p.m.

I wash with one of those wooly mits and whatever cleaner is the cheapest. Using a clay bar will dramatically improve the shine. I also use a small hand squeegee rather than a towel to dry - waaay less spotting. Lastly, it gets a bad rap, but I like http://www.nufinish.com/products_polish.html and a chamois... or if you got it in your budget, a shamwow...

Osterkraut
Osterkraut Dork
10/11/09 3:42 p.m.
mtn wrote: What products should I get? Anything that works better than anything else? I'm assuming Maguires is the best bet here?

That you can get at Wal-Mart, yeah.

I was turned on to P21S "Bodywork Conditioning Shampoo," recently, and I have to say, I didn't know there was such thing as a "superior" soap until using it.

When my current supply of Meguires wax runs out, I'm giving P21S's waxes a shot.

This site will teach you more than you ever wanted to know.

mtn
mtn SuperDork
10/11/09 4:00 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: Using a clay bar will dramatically improve the shine.

Is a clay bar not recommended for an amateur? Wouldn't I risk really damaging the paint if I do it wrong?

DILYSI Dave
DILYSI Dave SuperDork
10/11/09 4:11 p.m.
mtn wrote:
4cylndrfury wrote: Using a clay bar will dramatically improve the shine.
Is a clay bar not recommended for an amateur? Wouldn't I risk really damaging the paint if I do it wrong?

I've done it on a couple of cars and been REALLY pleased with the results. I'm far from a pro detailer.

tjthom
tjthom New Reader
10/11/09 4:46 p.m.

Start with a good wash, then clay bar, then whatever level of polish your paint needs (machine or by hand) then finish off with a good wax. Simple, easy, almost impossible to screw up, and somewhat addicting...

coll9947
coll9947 New Reader
10/11/09 5:06 p.m.

Clay bar is easy and safe for your finish. There are kits that come with lubricant and a bar for cheap. The lubricant is usually just that instant detailer stuff meant for cleaning bird droppings and stuff off of paint.

Use a lot of spray so the clay glides easily. Wash the car from top to bottom, dry it well, then work in about 2 ft. squared sections with the bar, in smooth back and forth motions. Don't use pressure, just let the bar glide nicely. Fold the bar in on the dirty side after every section and smoosh it until it's the normal size, creating a clean new surface on the bar. You'll see after doing areas like rocker panels and hood how much crud the bar lifts off of your paint. After a clay bar session your paint will feel as smooth as a fresh coat of wax--and you haven't even waxed it yet!

The instructions usually say to wipe off the excess lube after each section with a clean towel, but I usually just do the whole car and rinse the excess off all in one shot. Dry it really well, then wax. I only use the bar once a year.

And for drying I really like the squeegees just to get the majority of the water off of the car so you can just towel dry the little stuff. Saves a ton of time and I've never had my squeegee damage my paint. It's a california waterblade i think.

There's a lot of wax to choose from, some of the expensive waxes leave a really smooth nice shine but barely last 3 months before water no longer beads, while others aren't show-car level shine but last a long time and do what wax is intended to do and actually protect the paint.

EDIT: Oh ya, and the bars can last forever if you store them well. I just throw it in a ziploc bag once it is dry. Once the clay is full of contaminants then toss it. I ususally get at least a dozen sessions out of one bar, if not a lot more depending on the severity of the cars I detail.

Keith
Keith SuperDork
10/11/09 5:31 p.m.

I've got a bar, but never used it. I'm guessing the car needs rewaxing after you go over it?

gamby
gamby SuperDork
10/11/09 6:06 p.m.

Don't fear the clay--it's next to impossible to screw it up--just don't drop it on the ground.

For soap, I used Meguiar's Deep Crystal wash. It sudses up great, smells great and is reasonably priced. I also use a fresh 1/4 bucket of it (mixed w/ water, of course) as a clay lube. As long as the water is clean and really sudsy, the clay glides right over the paint. Much faster/easier to do than w/ the lube. When you're done w/ a panel, rinse it off and move to the next one.

Abzorber is a good synthetic chamois. Waffle-weave microfiber drying towels are popular w/ the detailing geeks these days.

The detailing geeks don't like NuFinish, but it works. It's a little blotchy at first, but the water beads for a long time. Do 2 coats and it'll look better.

M2Pilot
M2Pilot New Reader
10/11/09 7:06 p.m.

A bit of car wash or dish detergent in a spray bottle of water works well as a lube for the clay bar too.

alex
alex Dork
10/11/09 8:09 p.m.

Any experiences with the spot-free-rinse type stuff, that advertises no hand drying? I've always been curious about that.

Lesley
Lesley SuperDork
10/11/09 8:13 p.m.

The Meguiar's clay bar is too hard to really knead it and get it gliding over the surface, I've found Mother's, or the Purple kind (Magic Purple? not sure, name escapes me) easier to work with. Results are dramatic - the surface of my truck was abrasive with dirty contaminants after being parked in an industrial area for six months. A once over with a clay bar, wax, and the towel slid right off the hood.

mtn
mtn SuperDork
10/11/09 9:28 p.m.

Okay, I've actually had a realization: I'm really effing close to an Autozone. I'd completely forgot it was there. I'm assuming they have everything the wally world has, only more?

gamby
gamby SuperDork
10/11/09 10:43 p.m.
Lesley wrote: The Meguiar's clay bar is too hard to really knead it and get it gliding over the surface, I've found Mother's, or the Purple kind (Magic Purple? not sure, name escapes me) easier to work with. Results are dramatic - the surface of my truck was abrasive with dirty contaminants after being parked in an industrial area for six months. A once over with a clay bar, wax, and the towel slid right off the hood.

You might be thinking Clay Magic for the purple one (although it's blue IIRC). I like it because it's cheap.

heyduard
heyduard New Reader
10/12/09 1:29 a.m.

+1 on the clay bar. esp if the paint hasn't been cared for in some time.

You haven't mentioned the condition of the paint nor type. New? No webbing or swirls? any serious correction will require serious stuff. are ya planning to wash and wax every month or less? a good shampoo and carnuba wax will be fine. I don't mind washing often, but I rather wax/polish fewer times a year; so paint sealants work for me. as mentioned, NuFinish is one example. NXT 2.0, Mother's FX, etc.

Meguiars is a good choice for the wash and wax because you can get their stuff nearly anywhere. and their products are supposed to work together. plus they have polishes in their consumer line up: scratchX and Ultimate Compound.

Since you have a budget, Meguiars Deep Crystal system might be hard to beat - shampoo, cleaner wax, glaze/polish thing, and last stage wax. You might be able to fit in Clay magic.

If you're going to use traditional car shampoos, use the two bucket method. one for the soapy water. one for rinsing before sudsing. As others have mentioned: a good mitt or sponge, microfiber towels for buffing/removing, waffle weave microfiber towels for drying.

CLNSC3
CLNSC3 New Reader
10/12/09 2:40 a.m.
coll9947 wrote: And for drying I really like the squeegees just to get the majority of the water off of the car so you can just towel dry the little stuff. Saves a ton of time and I've never had my squeegee damage my paint. It's a california waterblade i think.

I started using a California jelly blade last spring and I absolutely love it!

ea_sport
ea_sport New Reader
10/12/09 11:51 a.m.
gamby wrote: The detailing geeks don't like NuFinish, but it works. It's a little blotchy at first, but the water beads for a long time. Do 2 coats and it'll look better.

So NuFinish is safe on the clearcoat? Will it make a big difference if I apply it by hand versus with a polishing machine (random orbital thingy)?

44Dwarf
44Dwarf HalfDork
10/12/09 5:11 p.m.

NuFinish rocks!!

apply with radum obrit take off by hand only on any finish. no swirls if yo take it off by hand.

44

belteshazzar
belteshazzar SuperDork
10/12/09 6:50 p.m.

i really like nufinish. been using it 15 years or so.

one of the best parts about it is how easily it's wiped off after it was applied.

I think it was black magic or something like that... I was so mad because it took like 8 cloth diapers and I still felt like I was just smearing it around.

M2Pilot
M2Pilot New Reader
10/12/09 7:13 p.m.
alex wrote: Any experiences with the spot-free-rinse type stuff, that advertises no hand drying? I've always been curious about that.

I've used the Mr. Clean version. It works well. I bought it on sale so initially it's been cheap enuff. I don't think I'll buy the refills for it tho. I'll stick with the California water blade & absorber.

ea_sport
ea_sport New Reader
10/12/09 8:08 p.m.

Is this a decent choice for random orbital: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=43424? I don't need a top of the line one since I'll probably only use it 3 or 4 times a year.

JeepinMatt
JeepinMatt Reader
10/13/09 1:30 a.m.

My sister and her husband bought me a Mr. Clean AutoDry (you know, that handle that attaches to the hose) a few years back. Rinse it with purified water and no need to dry it. Works great. Not exactly grassroots, but I'm not complaining one bit

foxtrapper
foxtrapper SuperDork
10/13/09 6:50 a.m.
mtn wrote: ...I have is a twenty five dollar limit at a Walmart and then whichever do-it-yourself carwash

Use the shampoo from the bathroom to wash the car.

Don't know why you're convinced walmart sponges are made with rocks, but ok. Steal the one from the kitchen sink. Use the washcloth from the bathtub when you take the shampoo. Either way, the car is clean. Even underpants work well.

If you're really paranoid about rocks in the water bucket (mixing bowl snatched from the kitchen), use a broken florecent light grate on the bottom. These are found in office dumpsters everywhere. For free, put a hairbrush in the bowl, bristle side up. Rinse it after use btw.

For nearly free clay, use cheap modeling clay. Playdo may work, but I've never tried it myself. That's $1 for a whole tub. Free if you've got access to someone with a small kid.

for free polish and paint reconditioning, change your oil. Otherwise, keep wiping the dipstick. Smear it all over the paint. Then wipe it off. It looks really nice for a few weeks. That's why the greasy paw prints from a mechanic look so good.

For the wax job, the furniture polish/wax works. Not long lasting, tends to atract dust, but it works. Floor polish/wax/sealant works even better. Lasts longer, attracts less dust. The stuff can be found living under the kitchen sink in most houses. Especially if a woman lives in the house.

If you're willing to spend money on waxes, the Mequires Deep Crystal stuff is cheap and pretty durn good. Looks nice, doesn't last forever. Cheaper still, whatever you find moldering away on the basement shelf. Really, any of them will work, at least for a few weeks.

Raze
Raze Reader
10/13/09 7:26 a.m.

Meguires Deep Crystal for soap, it's cheap and acts like RainX, then add Megquires Tech Wax, it's expensive at $15/bottle, but it's amazing, easy on, easy off, in the sun or shade, works for months, great shine...

I dont' waste my time w/clay bar but then again I drive a truck.

For wheels get yourself a true tire brush with semi-stiff bristles, not soft, and not brutally hard...

Just make sure you get some proper non-abrasive cloths for the wax rub down. I really like Tech wax because it just doesn't need elbow grease like other waxes, and the shine is outstanding, this is on black vehicles, both my Eldorado and Ranger...

mtn
mtn SuperDork
10/13/09 8:05 a.m.
foxtrapper wrote:
mtn wrote: ...I have is a twenty five dollar limit at a Walmart and then whichever do-it-yourself carwash

Use the shampoo from the bathroom to wash the car.

Don't know why you're convinced walmart sponges are made with rocks, but ok. Steal the one from the kitchen sink. Use the washcloth from the bathtub when you take the shampoo. Either way, the car is clean. Even underpants work well.

Nope, not the walmart sponges. Those ones are good. Its the scrub brushes that you see at the DIY carwashes that I'm afraid of, something like this: With soap coming out of it.

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