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How Do You Wash Your Car?


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May be a pedestrian thought, but I am on a few car related forums and there is never any discussion on how people take care of the appearance of their vehicles.  

 

Personally, In my youth I would wash and wax my cars on almost a weekly basis. Now, I find little enjoyment washing cars, and even less putting on a coat of wax.  I have been looking at the ceramic coatings and wonder if they are really any good or just the latest flash in the pan.

I have a black car, which doesnt help, and I use a high end wax which works good. I just cant stand doing it a couple times a year. I rarely wash the car as I keep it covered in the garage, but with a wood shop attached next door there is a bit of dust. I will use my yard blower to take care of that.

 

When I wash I use Griots wash, and a boar hair brush, I read one time that a brush is better than a sponge, but who knows?

 

Just a curiosity what other guys do to keep their cars looking show ready.

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I use an electric pressure washer to rinse off the car first. Then use a snow foam cannon (see Google) and soap it up and use a soft mitt and brush to clean it. Pressure wash it off and dry. Makes it more fun than the old bucket and soap method and goes faster.

 

 

Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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1 minute ago, Matt Harwood said:

Who washes their car? Bugs and dirt are my badges of honor!

My motorcycle gets washed when I get caught riding in the rain. 

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Every spring I take a plain garden hose and spray the entire inside of my CJ and let the water run out the missing body plugs.

This gets rid of most of the dust for a while and drys in a very short time.

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I use a good quality car wash soap mixed per proportions on the label i.e. 1 oz to a gallon of water. Found the stuff works great when you do that! Not too particular about brand though I like the Duragloss product line with Meguiar's a close second. Right now trying to use up a half gallon of Turtle Wax soap I got for Christmas a couple years ago. It too works better measured.

 

I use a fleece wash mitt though I'm wanting to try a microfiber one. Microfiber cloths are the best thing I've found to clean insides of windows. Wet it, wipe, polish dry. 

 

I've also found using a 1/4 turn shutoff valve on the hose instead of a spray nozzle rinses the soap off better. You can put the nozzle on to blast worst of the dirt off before the wash and then take it off for the rinse. Water stream floats the soap and grime away.

 

Drying time? I use an old electric leaf blower to blow water out of crevices and then finish up with either a chamois or one of those Absorber synthetic dryers.

 

Polishing and waxing? I don't love that anymore either. Sometimes I'll hire that out☺️.

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Bucket and sponge every month or so with Turtle Wax soap.  Hand wax with Meguirs whenever water no longer beads on the hood.  Spot cleaning daily during love bug season using Bounce dryer sheets.  Agreed.  It's no longer enjoyable.

Edited by George Cole (see edit history)
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In reference to the ceramic coatings- I am a believer. I bought my F350 w the stuff already on there and it makes a huge difference. Way easier to clean and luster is way deeper parked next to my wife's Explorer w same paint code. 

-Anybody have an old car with 'X-coat'? Allegedly it's a sort of clear coat for old original finish vehicles? I've only seen pictures on line- would love to hear form someone who's actually lived with it for a few years. 

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I love washing my old cars ,hot water and shampoo with a sponge then carnauba wax with a microfibre cloth.Whitewalls and all the chrome last then relax.Takes about 2 hours for each car but ,you know what <i can't think of a nicer way to spend my time. If I didnt love my cars I wouldn't bother.

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 For daily drivers;

 Never wash a car in the sun, never hose down a car with a nozzle unless you use the fine spray which also means never use a spray washer as the high pressure embeds dirt into the paint.

I like to use Turtle wash/wax. I use warm water to mix Turtle Wax and I use warm water to rinse the car off. I have two wash buckets, one for the wheels and tires and one for the car.

Vacuum the car out first and dust.

Start with the wheels and tires first-rinse-wash-rinse, then the lower body-rinse-wash-rinse, upper body- rinse-wash-rinse, deck, hood and roof-rinse-wash rinse. Then rinse the whole car down again.

 

Use two terry towels, one in each hand. Left hand to take most of the water, and rt hand to completely dry surface. The sides of the car get done first because they are vertical and shed water first so do this first to avoid water spots, then hood and deck lid, finally the roof and windows.

Open all the doors and wipe down the door frames and the door surrounds, open the deck lid and do the same, then open the hood and wipe down under the hood, firewall, fender wells, all high points on the engine and accessories, core support and fan shrouds. I usually don't have to change to dirty towels because my engine compartment is always clean.

Every six months use leather conditioner on seats,  rubber conditioner on all rubber seals.

Remember to never use something like Armor all on dashes-that's like using baby oil on your face to get a suntan or anywhere near seat stitching because it attracts dust and dust particles contain small amounts of acid which rots out the stitching.

 

Because I'm retired and my daily drivers don't get driven that much They are serviced twice a year. Fortunately I have two lifts.  During those service times is when I take a clean terry towel and soak it with WD40 and clean the underside of the car like frame, suspension, oil pan, trans pan, diff, shocks, springs, fuel tank and body floor. Usually takes about 1/2 hour and gives me a good chance to look things over during the service.  BTW, I don't get dirty when I work on my cars.  

 

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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3 minutes ago, Billy Kingsley said:

Why not wash in the sun? Never heard that before.

Damages the paint prevents water spots and it's probably in every cars owners manual!

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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TA, 

         Yer killin' me bro! 😄

One of my true enjoyments is washing my own cars.  Also, a couple times a year, I like to pour a cup of coffee, get out the Turtle Wax and spend a couple hours doing a good hand wax.  Moved to the desert 22 years ago and our water contains so much calcium I NEVER get to wash my cars at home. 😫

No chamois can remove the white deposits left behind.  So once a month I take them to the local, filtered hand wash, which runs about $40 with a tip.  In between I use a nice soft cloth and a bottle of Quick Detailer every couple of days.

It's the little things you miss!

Cheers, Greg

Edited by GregLaR (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Pfeil said:

Damages the paint prevents water spots and it's probably in every cars owners manual!

You have to wash it in the sun or the water freezes on before you get it all rinsed off. ;) 

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What happens is the sun dries the soap on the car finish before rinsing, or can also burn paint thru magnifying effect of water beads.

 

Good idea to wash cars early or late in the day when sun is at a low angle.

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In 50 years I never washed a car the same way twice ,but cool water and a leather shammy seemed to be part of any method.

I am one who is not afraid of getting old cars dirty !

The 54 Desoto's paint  below was only 5 or 6 months old in 2000 when the photo was taken.

 

 

0312211520.jpg

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19 minutes ago, auburnseeker said:

You have to wash it in the sun or the water freezes on before you get it all rinsed off. ;) 

I wash my cars in the garage, my water is about 85 degrees that I get from the laundry room hot cold regulator in the wall that I put in so I could use a hose from there and it's just inside the house from the garage. Water is filtered in the garage before it goes to the supply side of the house.

 

 Like I said before vehicle owners manuals will tell you to never wash in the sun.

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3 hours ago, Pfeil said:

Damages the paint prevents water spots and it's probably in every cars owners manual saying not to do it!

 

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I too dislike car washing cars at this age.   However I wash the wheels more often than the whole car.  For the 34 we use on Glidden Tours I try to make it shine before the tour, but the 50 year old lacquer is dulling out.   Because we tow to tours on a open aluminum trailer behind our RV, I usually have to wash it again before the tour.   I do that by hand wash on the trailer

with a bucket of soapy car wash, then rinse it off and wipe it off with old terry cloth bath towels and maybe quick detailer on the hood and fenders.   

Campgrounds always have a rulle about no car washing, but none have ever said anything to me.   If I'm close ot the office, I may do the rinse part with a bucket too.   Keeps my trailer clean too.

At home, I keep 5 of them covered in the Barn/Shop and let the RV and 35 Pickup get patina dust.  I on;y wash the RV if I've driven in

the rain.  Washing it with brush on a pole is a big job.

 

854673558_smallRH34.jpg.72f7b9742aad0376e7f245916b9783da.jpg

Edited by Paul Dobbin
spill check and reposition text (see edit history)
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I just wait for a cloudy day & start with a pressure washer. Normal gas station has a touchless car wash I generally use when come back from the beach sice has an underside spray. Also Gulf coast leave a lot less salt on a car than the Atlantic.

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I rarely wash my old cars. I usually wipe off the dust with a damp clean rag then protect and shine up the finish and with an off the shelf detailer of some type. I think of rust I've encountered in old cars due to moisture collecting in hard-to-get-at places, and that usually cures me of the desire to wash them. I don't drive these cars in rain, snow or very dusty environments, so not washing isn't much of a problem. On the rare occasion that I do wash them, I drive them on the highway (speeds of 50 or more) for at least 15 minutes after the wash, and that will certainly dry out any residual moisture in nooks and crannies.

 

I also don't wax my old Mercury with the original finish. I did it a few times when I first bought it, but every time I did it, the process would pull pigment out of the paint and onto the polishing rag, so I started using detailer, and it leaves the pigment in the paint. The detailer gives it a good shine, but if any of you have suggestions for something else that won't damage very fragile old paint, let me know.

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  I spray with a garden hose to float(?) off any grime, go over the body with sponge and plenty of water and towel dry, scrub and clean WWW as necessary.

  Spring and fall clean paint with light compound by hand, (no machine polishing here) followed by a coat of Simonize.

  Works for me.

  I never wash cars in direct sunlight.

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My method is mostly the opposite of Pfeil.  My house is situated just about right that I can wash most anytime of the day and be in the shade.  I fill one bucket with Griots wash, rinse half the car off starting top down. I always start with the top, then hood, trunk, pass side, then move on to the driver side. I have used that pattern for years now.  I will use a high spray for initial rinse, but slow it down to rinse off the soap. I stopped using sponges 30 some years ago and use a fine hair brush, seems to work fine. I have a coarser one that I use on wheels and tires. I do those with the same wash water only after all of the car is finished. I have a couple of fine micor fibre drying cloths that work wonders. I used to use leather chamois but had a hard time finding a good one so I switched to the micro.  Last year I bought a battery blower from Lowes, and it works great to blow the water off, specifically around the doors, bumpers, grilles, any place water can hide.

 

This time last year I was determined to ceramic coat. I looked at what was supposed to be the best product on the market, and theyre still sending my discount codes about once a week. I suppose I may take them up on the offer.

 

 

 

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Last time I washed the Studebaker, it started raining pretty hard, so I backed it out of the garage, grab'd the microfiber towel, and had at it ! Our city water is horrible about spotting, rain is better. Then, pull it back in the garage and dry it off. This is the way I did it when I spray'd on the Mequiars Ceramic too, EXCEPT.... let the rain dampen it again after cleaning/drying it, then spray on the ceramic stuff, let it rinse again (or just spray it off), and then microfiber it dry. Good results.

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Many years ago I washed cars at a Dodge Chrysler dealership.  No more.  I just kind of squirt them down before going on a tour.  It surprises me that a lot of you folks don't like to wash cars and you are car people.  A lot of times on tours when they give out prizes it is some kind of wax or car washing materials.  I never seem to use them. 

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Like many in this thread, I used to love washing/waxing my cars.  Now I don't so I seldom do it.  When I do, I wash off the worst with a garden hose and adjustable nozzle.  I clean off bugs, tar, etc with mineral spirits and a 100% cotton terry cloth.  Then I bucket wash with cotton terry and water with car shampoo - if I'm going to wax, I use dish-washing detergent because it takes off old wax.  I rinse with the garden hose/nozzle, making sure to do it before the shampoo/detergent dries, and dry with a chamois.

 

I like Meguir's stuff.  If necessary, I remove oxidation with clear-coat safe polishing/rubbing compound on an orbital buffer with a cotton terry bonnet.  Then I use the 3-step cleaner/polish/liquid wax, also with the buffer - don't think Meguir's makes the components anymore but I still have some.  If I'm really ambitious, I'll also put on a coat of paste wax.  Yeah, it's a lot of work which is why I don't do it much.

 

Cleaning the engine/undercarriage and interior is a whole other post.  😁

 

 

Edited by CHuDWah (see edit history)
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15 minutes ago, CHuDWah said:

Like many in this thread, I used to love washing/waxing my cars.  Now I don't so I seldom do it.  When I do, I wash off the worst with a garden hose and adjustable nozzle.  I clean off bugs, tar, etc with mineral spirits and a 100% cotton terry cloth.  Then I bucket wash with cotton terry and water with car shampoo - if I'm going to wax, I use dish-washing detergent because it takes off old wax.  I rinse with the garden hose/nozzle, making sure to do it before the shampoo/detergent dries, and dry with a chamois.

 

I like Meguir's stuff.  If necessary, I remove oxidation with clear-coat safe polishing/rubbing compound on an orbital buffer with a cotton terry bonnet.  Then I use the 3-step cleaner/polish/liquid wax, also with the buffer - don't think Meguir's makes the components anymore but I still have some.  If I'm really ambitious, I'll also put on a coat of paste wax.  Yeah, it's a lot of work which is why I don't do it much.

 

Cleaning the engine/undercarriage and interior is a whole other post.  😁

 

 

Yes, McGuire sold out to 3M in 2008 

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 It's not a question of liking to wash a car. It's a necessity if you have respect for your machine and want it to last a long time.

  A always dirty car also it says something just like if your house needs painting, bushes need trimming, grass needs cutting and edging etc. All of that is a reflection of what the owner is about, or not about.

 

 I have two cars I've owned for 53 years, one of them I special ordered new. I have one car I've owned 47 years, and another car I special ordered new and is 45 years old. If I didn't take care of them properly they wouldn't be around today.

 
 I also have a 62 Pontiac that I bought 29 years ago from it's original owner who really kept that car up. I'll never forget the day my wife and I picked it up. Sal had just finished washing the car for the last time and had it backed out of the garage when we came, he had tears in his eyes and told us she was ready. Sal told us that he bought it for his wife when he was in the Navy, had bought it at Mike Salta Pontiac in Long Beach, I was familiar with that dealership because they sponsored guys I raced against drag racing. Anyroad, when we were almost ready to leave his house his wife came out to say goodbye to her old ride and to tell us to take care of the old girl and apologized for the little piece missing out of the top of the rt. door panel and told me that was caused by her daughter because she was teething at the time and they didn't catch her in time, then she said goodbye and burst into tears and went went into the house.

 I felt like I was stealing something from them, and in a way I was.

 

  Like one of the old creative VW commercial once said and I totally agree ; The VW Beetle ( or any car you fancy) just happens to be a member of the family that happens to live in the garage.

 

One of my best friends is a car guy, he doesn't do mechanical work on his cars but he does keep them maintained and always washes and waxes them. One day I was over at his house and he was waxing his 56 T-Bird and his neighbor comes by and says " gosh Wynn you just did that last week" Wynn spun around and said; you know I just love to feel the contours of this car, it talks to me through the metal, and it's very therapeutic.

 

Car people understand these things. 

 

 
   

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I dont like doing it but I still do. I keep my work trucks very clean as well. Try to at least wash them on a weekly basis (inside about once a month) and they are both garage kept. My f150 which Im about to replace is a 2006. For a pickup that has 'worked' construction for 15 yrs I would put it up against most that drive back and forth to the office. Pop was the same way, his thinking was if you pull into a job with a dirty, beat up truck how will the customer think your work is?

I think some guys look at it as a badge of honor, how beat up their trucks can get. I have seen brand new trucks that look like they have been through a war. I just dont get it.

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I wash with regular car soap and water, then dry. 2-3 times a year I use some Meguiars #7 which really brings out a shine, but is a lot of work. Then I wax it after that. When it rains I just hose it off after and towel dry, we don't have really hard water so spots aren't much of a problem. Do any of you use the quick detailer spray stuff? Is it just to clean up minor dust and bring in some shine? If so I might pick up a bottle.

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I wash my vehicles in the shade using a mitt, bucket, car soap & dry with a chamois.  I have an adjustable hose nozzle that has a gentle stream setting. The vehicles that fit in my garage get waxed in there. My truck gets waxed outside since it doesn't fit in the garage.  I also make a point to wax the roof of my truck and the top of the bed cap when I wax the rest of the vehicle. Waxing usually happens in the spring & fall if I'm lucky. Some people give me the oddest looks when I wax the roof (using a step ladder or the tailgate)  but I could care less. I'm not the one with faded, cracked or failing paint on the roof of my truck unlike others I've seen. Hey someone has to be the "odd old guy" in the neighborhood. 😄

 

I also have to confess that maybe once a year I hand wash my enclosed care trailer. Heck I even remember hand waxing it once or twice in the 15 years I've owned it. 

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I used to love cleaning my brothers cars growing up (before I could drive 68 Cuda  black fastback and 70 lime light green GTX) so I instinctively love keeping my cars and trucks clean to this day. My wife once told me, "I never knew someone could have that much fun cleaning a truck".... 

 

Surprised no one has mentioned Adams for final work...

Great product, a bit more money but if you buy in bulk (gallon or more) it's worth it. 

 

I was skeptical of the cost at first but I'm kind of anal about experimenting and testing products no matter what the job is, so for me, I found Adams to be the most efficient to use. I use less product and therefore have determined it to be more cost effective than any of the other popular products I've tried.

 

Eagle One used to be my detailer of choice as they had a great glass cleaner that also worked great as a detailer/spot remover but they changed the chemical make up quite a few years ago and it's horrible to work with now. Adams products are far and above anything I've ever used for protecting my cars. 

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1 hour ago, 30DodgePanel said:

Surprised no one has mentioned Adams for final work...Great product, a bit more money but if you buy in bulk (gallon or more) it's worth it. 

 

I was skeptical of the cost at first but I'm kind of anal about experimenting and testing products no matter what the job is, so for me, I found Adams to be the most efficient to use. I use less product and therefore have determined it to be more cost effective than any of the other popular products I've tried... Adams products are far and above anything I've ever used for protecting my cars. 

They were set up at a Carlisle show a few years back. Interesting product line but as you say, VERY expensive. 

 

To me, Adams and Griot's Garage products are like Snap-On tools. You can justify the expense if you're using them to earn a living.

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