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Tutorials : From the tires on up !

Posted by Doug Delmont 
Tutorials : From the tires on up !
October 13, 2013 11:01PM
Greetings eveyone ! I thought of a new feature to try to revive the forum : a thread dedicated to short courses in one aspect or another of detailing. Comments and questions will, of course be welcome . So, let's start at the bottom with tires .

The best way to wash tires is with the same car wash solution you use on the rest of the car . You may want to brush the solution into the rubber with a tire brush or other stiff plastic or natural bristle brush . Brushing the tires will reduce the amount of tire dressing you need to use on them later . You can move the car a few feet, rotating the tires, to allow you to get at the bottom part that is against the road . If car wash soap doesn't get the tires clean, move up to dishwashing liquid and finally to all purpose cleaner .

All sorts of products are used on raised white letters and whitewalls . Some, like Westley's Bleche-White, contain oxalic acid, and might be hard on wheels . I will say that Bleche-White definitely works, though .

Rocks get lodged in treads . To improve the tires' appearance, take a screwdriver and pop out as many pebbles as you can .

[ Wait to dress the tires until you have finished washing and drying the entire exterior of the vehicle. ]

Dress the outer sidewalls with a protectant product that you trust . Keep in mind that some dressings are water-based and some are solvent-based . Some are designed for maximum shine and some for a natural appearance . Some products are for tires only and some are for use on all rubber and vinyl . There are also products intended only for interiors or only for vinyl . Read labels . Dressings can be applied by a large soft brush, sponge, foam applicator, spray bottle, aerosol can or pressure sprayer . Old towels can be used to wipe off excess dressing ; If the towel isn't old when you start, it will be once you've wiped down the tires .
Move the car again to rotate the tires so you can apply dressing to the spots you were unable to get at .

Different products require different procedures, so what follows is only a general guide to application . I can say that for many products, it pays to let the dressing soak in before wiping away excess . I like to lay the dressing on thick so it can be done in one coat . Others prefer a light coat to conserve the product . On tires with a textured surface, use a stiff brush to work the dressing into nooks and crannies . For a matte finish, wipe with a towel while still wet to dull the gloss a little . Don't forget to treat the plastic valve cap and rubber valve stem too .

Some good products I've tried include Zaino's vinyl and rubber dressing, Adam's Polishes VRT and Griot's vinyl and rubber dressing . One forum member liked an Auto Magic product the best . I wasn't happy with the appearance of Turtle Wax Formula 2000 but it held up well . Meguiar's Natural Shine was okay ....

The tires make a big difference in the overall appearance of a vehicle so take the time to do a professional-quality job .

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2017 01:07AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Wheel Cleaning
October 13, 2013 11:53PM
Next up is wheels . Wheels come in many forms including clearcoated aluminum . It is imperative that you know what kind of wheel and finish you are cleaning so you can choose the best products for the job . Let the wheels and brake rotors cool before you wash the wheels because rotors can warp and chemicals can work differently on hot surfaces .

For show car work, remove the wheels for thorough cleaning . Use a well-fitted socket wrench to remove the lug nuts . Cover each lug nut with a piece of plastic cut from a zippered food storage bag to prevent any scratches from the wrench . Soak the nuts in a cup of solution to loosen dirt . If you lubricate the lugs before reassembly, you must use a purpose-made thread lubricant so they don't come loose later . Use only hand tools and quality sockets such as Snap-On Brand to avoid putting marks on show car lug nuts . If the nuts are in bad shape already, you may want to try a set of " Tough Nuts " by McGard . Use a torque wrench to do the final tightening . Tighten in a criss-cross pattern or else tighten every other nut until all are torqued . It may be advisable to retorque the wheels after 500 miles of driving too . Double-check all nuts to see that they are tightened before moving on ; Many a man has reinstalled wheels and forgotten to torque the nuts on one wheel .

Wash the wheels with the same car wash solution you use on the rest of the exterior . For dirty wheels that require a more powerful product to clean up, try dishwashing liquid or all purpose cleaner . If those don't do the trick, try a purpose-built wheel cleaner but beware : I've found some of these wheel cleaners dull the finish even though they are advertised as " safe for all wheels " . Pros often have access to steam cleaning equipment, which can be a life-saver .

[ NOTE : Some professionals use wheel acid . These acids are dangerous to the user and to the environment . It simply isn't worth the risk just to make the wheels perfect . ]

Soft brushes such as paint brushes are recommended for soaping up all wheels . Everything from hair brushes to toilet brushes has been tried in the quest to reach all parts of the wheels . Use fabric softener sheets along with brushes to remove some surface contaminents. Sponges can be handy too .

While the wheels are still wet, you can clay them with mild detailing clay to remove stubborn brake dust .
Towel dry the wheels .

--------- Tip : If you wait until you've dressed the tires before going further on the wheels, the dressing will help keep any polish or wax that gets thrown onto the tires from sticking to them .------------

Polish the wheels with appropriate products, basing your choices on the type of wheel and finish as well as how aggressive a product is needed to restore the appearance . Use a small natural bristle brush or a cut down paint brush with tape over the metal part to buff wax out of nooks and crannies .

Several drill-mounted devices are sold to speed up the polishing process . Among these are the Flitz ball, a small and a large Mother's ball and the Silver Bullet by Westley's . Do not use the Drillbrush to wash or polish wheels because it is a harsh brush designed for heavy-duty cleaning of carpet and wheel wells .

To test aluminum wheels to see if they are clearcoated, take a rag and polish a test spot with a product like Mother's or Meguiar's all metal polish . If the rag turns black, the wheels are not clearcoated .

Wax or seal the wheels with your choice of product .

Good products to consider include Zaino Z-CS Clear Seal, Flitz Metal Polish, Nev-R-Dull metal polish, Meguiar's All Metal Polish, Griot's Machine Polish #3, Auto Magic Clay Magic blue detailing clay and Zaino Z-AIO All In One , Adam's Polishes all purpose cleaner .
If you come across wheels that are to far gone to be corrected with polishing, you can send them out for reconditioning that may include sand-blasting, repainting, clearcoating--you name it .

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2014 04:00AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Wheel Well Cleaning
October 14, 2013 04:14PM
Attack the wheel wells with a steam cleaning machine or a pressure washer to loosen whatever dirt you can . Then soap up those areas with all purpose cleaner solution and a long-handled brush . Let the chemical dwell and then rinse with water . Dry the wells with an old towel .

Some wheel wells will benefit from a dose of spray-on undercoating or flat black spray paint but it is usually best to avoid these products and their attendant risk of overspray .

Spray dressing into the wheel well area to get a dazzling effect . Both Griot's Garage and Adam's Polishes sell purpose-built undercarriage sprays . Some detailers use Mop 'n Glo, water-based tire dressings and even engine coating sprays .

edit : Quoting SVR73 : Damn good high pressure water then steam clean and permanon aircraft supershine 50% sprayed on and left to keep them clean .

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2017 05:19PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Exhaust System Detailing
October 14, 2013 04:26PM
If the car has a chrome exhaust tip, clean it and polish it with the same products you use on the rest of the chrome .

For a muffler that is painted black, see if it needs a touch-up . If so, spray it with special exhaust system paint and follow instructions : You may have to drive a number of miles to cure the exhaust system paint .

Body shop supply stores are good sources for automotive paints .
Tutorials : Low painted areas
October 14, 2013 04:45PM
Everybody has seen a recently- washed car on which the rocker panels and other low paint never got cleaned . Usually, this happens because whoever washed the car never bent down to see the dirt . Sometimes it is because he felt it was too much trouble to wash the lower areas . We'll explore some easy and effective ways to tackle the crud at the bottom of a car in this tutorial .

Steam is one option but few of us own a steam cleaner . We'll have to make do with a long-handled fender and body brush, some fabric softener sheets, all purpose cleaner, a product to dissolve tar and " elbow grease " .

Start by washing the car . Then, to remove whatever the car wash left behind, spray the lower areas with all purpose cleaner . Agitate, let dwell and rinse .

Next, spray any remaining tar and stubborn stains with Goo Gone Automotive or some other citrus-based product. Let it dwell, agitate with the dryer sheets and rinse . Clay the areas if need be . Big globs of tar can be chipped away with a plastic putty knife or plastic blade . Dry with an old towel .

Remember to wax the lower areas along with the rest of the car .

Products to consider : Bounce , Goo Gone, Mean Green , Simple Green , Zaino Z-CS Clear Seal

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2017 05:21PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Bug and Tar Removal
October 14, 2013 04:58PM
Before removing bugs and tar, wash the vehicle. That way, you won't end up scraping dirt against the paint as you scrub the tar off .

Spray the bug and tar prone areas with a citrus product such as Goo Gone or a product like Stoner's Tarminator. I've had little luck with turpentine . Mineral spirits can work but I find it so-so . You can even apply a strong dilution of car wash soap . Let the product dwell as much as 20 minutes to dissolve the tar .

Scrub with a fabric softener sheet such as Bounce brand, a 3M Dobie pad or one of their pink ScotchBrite delicate dish care sponges . Rinse .

Scrape really heavy tar with a plastic putty knife or plastic razor blade .

Rub for awhile with a wet cotton towel .

Meguiar's recommends using 3 or 4 extra coats of wax to keep bugs from getting as much of a hold on the paint. I just applied a coat of Zaino's Z-AIO and one coat of Z2 Pro over it and found I could wash the bugs off easier than before .

An old truck driver trick is to spray the front bumper with Pam non-stick cooking spray when the " love bugs " are swarming .

Here are some tools to consider for bug and tar removal :

* Plastic putty knife or one of Bud's tar scrapers or you can sharpen an old credit card with a twin-bladed knife sharpener to make a handy tar & sticker scraper .
* Plastic 'razor blades'
* Long-handled RV Windshield tool with bug pad
* Mitt with bug scrubbing surface on back
* 3M Dobie pads
* Dryer Sheets ( Bounce etc. )
* 3M Delicate Care ( pink ) ScotchBrite pads
* Ribbed Towels to scrub with
* Bug-getter pads

From Profile Detailer :
" Iron X or Iron X Soap Gel is fantastic on bugs. Trix is also available now, which is a Tar Remover/IronX hybrid. So you've got everything you want in one bottle. These are from a company called CarPro.

Other than that, I use Maxolen Sticky Stuff & Tar Remover which is Terpene-based and lovely to work with. I avoid anything with Xylene in it. Naphtha is a nice little liquid on tar..."

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2017 05:24PM by Doug Delmont.
Re: Tutorials : Tire Cleaning
October 14, 2013 07:14PM
Thanks Doug.

Thanks for reviving the forum with some points for discussion. I like the tip to sharpen a plastic card for popping tar.

Can you elaborate on the use of fabric softener sheets? I haven't heard of it before and can't see the purpose...
Tutorials : Regarding Fabric Softener Sheets
October 20, 2013 12:01AM
Profile :
The fabric softener sheets shear off the bugs and tar without any apparent surface damage . I always use them with soapy water to minimize any chance of scratching . I've been using the " Bounce " brand lately . Try it and you'll see what I'm talking about .

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2014 04:28AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Headlight Restoration
October 20, 2013 06:35AM
To restore yellowed plastic headlights , Wet-sand in only a right-left direction using 600, 1000 and 2000 grit . Compound with Meguiar's Diamond Cut or Medium Cut Cleaner #3 and polish with Mother's plastic polish.
There's a body shop in town that compound buffs them but apparently skips the sanding.
I've been able to clean up minor yellowing by using only the Mother's Plastic Polish .
Other good products include Zaino Plastic Polish, Meguiar's PlastX and Meguiar''s Plastic Cleaner .

Several kits are on the market . Some use chemicals and some only abrasive cleaners . Concoursgarage posted about an epoxy sealant that keeps the headlights from yellowing again .
ChrisFix on YouTube recommends painting the headlights with clearcoat paint to keep them from yellowing again .

I've tried sealing the lights with Zaino Z-2 Pro, Z-CS Clear Seal and other products but they still cloud up or yellow eventually .

From AMMONYC channel on YouTube :
You can use sheet plastic such as " clear bra " or one of the ceramic " coatings " to keep the headlights from yellowing again .

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2018 05:20PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Chrome Care
October 21, 2013 12:37AM
Before you decide what to use on a piece of chrome, make sure it really is chrome . These days, there are a lot of plastic parts that only look like chrome and these parts call for different products and procedures .

Once you are sure you are dealing with real chrome, resist the urge to buy a can of 'Chrome Polish' or 'Chrome Cleaner' off the shelf of the local auto parts store . Some such products can scratch and dull chrome . If you do buy an abrasive cleaning product for chrome, test it on an inconspicuous area or , better yet, a piece of scrapped chrome .
Most of the time, all chrome needs is a good washing along with the rest of the car . You can wax the chrome but check to see that your wax is recommended for it . Some waxes are marketed only for use on paint .

There are people who claim that chrome has to breathe and therefore you mustn't wax it . This makes about as much sense as the government's claim in the Fast & Furious scandal , that guns can walk to Mexico . Guns can't walk and chrome doesn't breathe .

Some detailers shine the chrome with lemon juice, an old household trick .

Do not use ScotchBrite or other pot scrubbing pads on chrome unless they are (1) Made for use on non-stick pans and (2) tested first on a test spot or junk part and ( 3 ) There are no abrasive pads nearby that could be used by mistake .

If the chrome has rust, the metal is rusting out from underneath . You may be able to remove some of the surface rust with chemicals but it will not prevent a recurrance .
Scratched chrome can be polished with Meguiar's All Metal Polish and other polishes .
Tutorials : Glass Cleaning
November 08, 2013 03:05AM
Here's the Glass Cleaning Compendium , reprinted for everyone's convenience :

Here is a quote of Ron Ketcham from a past thread :
" Dedicated surgical towels, washed seperately from all other towels. Never use fabric softeners. Two towels, folded into quarters. Mist the entire glass area, agitate with one folded towel, then wipe dry, going in the opposite direction with the second towel. You wouldn't try to sand a piece of wood with the sand paper all bunched up, would you? The folded surgical towels contact the glass evenly, both the agitation one, and the wipe off one. Once one piece of glass is done, flip to the clean part of both towels, mist the next piece of glass entirely (let the glass cleaner do it's job of disolving the grime), then wipe with the drying towel. Never use a towel that has been used to remove wax, sealant, dressings, etc. for glass.No matter how many times you wash them, they still have some residue and that transfers out of the towel to the glass..."

Here is a quote from Auto Appearances : " Try distilled water. Maybe that will work. Think it is .59 a gallon. Had a large job I was doing and ran out of window cleaner... Thankfully there was a Super Walmart across the street. I bought a bottle of 70% Isop. Alcohol and a gallon of distilled water. Mixed a 50/50 bottle. It worked very well. I sprayed the solution onto a window cloth ; did not want the stuff on plastic or the paint..."

And a quote from Steve Okun:
" I also like what Ketch suggested... with one modification. Try applying the detergent via a sponge dipped in and squeezed out of a container of window cleaning solution. Box the window with the wet sponge...and then fill in the box. Follow up with a surgical or microfiber towel to dry and buff to a streak-free finish. The reason I like to use an applicator instead of a spray is because the friction contact breaks the surface tension and removes the film. The drying action collects the dirty solution. No streaks! With a spray, you frequently do not spray all the surface, so when you rub a damp towel across the missed area, you smear the undisolved residue. Surgical towels are a tight, cotton, herringbone weave that is great for hard surfaces like glass..."

Here are quotes from Brian Angelucci :
" Save your money and buy a 5 gallon pail of Invisible Glass for $49. You'll love it "...
"1. During the wash, clay the glass.
2. With the car completely dry, spray the windows with your favorite glass cleaner and immediately wipe with a surgical huck towel. Surgical huck towels are so much better than microfiber towels. Streak free every time. I get mine from WC Detail and they are very cheaply priced. No lint! I used to use microfiber but now only use the huck. All cleaners evaporate quickly in direct sun so wipe quickly..." " Another cool technique is to use one of those long spackling knives. Wrap with microfiber and press down into the dash/window area that's hard to reach and that will get where you can't. "

This quote is from David R :
" I bought a Glass Test Report from www.gurureports.org . They ranked Bon Ami #1, Clear Vue by Turtle Wax #2, & Sprayway #3. They really liked Invisible Glass, but felt it left a slight film. I personally can't remember having any problems with it before...The Eimann Fabrik wasn't so good on "Soiled" glass, they said. They felt it rolled off dirt and wiping the product off only smeared it around. Their biggest suggestion seemed to be to use #0000 steel wool with any glass cleaning product and they all will work well." ** Editor's note : Brass wool is softer than steel wool and will not scratch. ** " If the person was a smoker, follow Ron's process and use an all-purpose cleaner first to clean -- then the Invisible Glass to clean, shine and streak-free windows. "

Quotes from NEW AGAIN :
" Stoner products are good, but not great. I use Meguiar's glass cleaner and mix with DISTILLED water as per directions and use the 2 rag method, one being a MF cloth. I start with all the windows cracked about 3 inches to clean the lips of the windows [GOOD IDEA]. Then the windows are rolled back up. I start with the inside first. " "...whatever direction I use to clean the inside, I do the opposite on the outside [ so I can tell whether the streaks are on the interior or exterior ]. " " The two towel method (cotton/surgical) is what I use. I never spray the windows ; I spray my glass cleaner on the cotton towel and dry with the surgical. Stoner is a good glass cleaner. Multi-surface cleaner is a big no no and glass cleaner with ammonia is bad for tinted windows..."

A quote from Paul M :
" I can vouch for AIO on glass. Some time back I tried to get horrific water staining off the rear windscreen of my Alfa (previous owner). I tried everything including very abrasive metal polishes. None completely removed them. Then I tried AIO with a 4" cutting pad and PC. It worked so incredibly well...completely cleaned the mineral stains. Klasse is a miraculous product! "

Quotes from Bud Abraham:
" ...Another culprit to clean glass [ trouble ] is the cleaner, if you are using a concentrated cleaner. Should you have, say, a 30 to 1 dilution cleaner you MUST dilute it 30 to 1 or the surfactant (soap) in the cleaner will streak the glass. Whatever the dilution, be sure you dilute to that level or more to avoid streaking..." " a. Use ready to use glass cleaner instead of a homemade concoction.
b. Spray the cleaner on the window
c. Use only towels are dedicated to windows. Using towels that have silicone
and grease in them is a HUGE part of the streaking problem.
d. Use two towels, one for cleaning and one for drying.
e. Fold the towels into pads.
f. Square the window on the first pass.
g. Flip it over and fill in the center.
h. Repeat that process for drying.

A quote from Mike R :
" ...Wash my hucks solo with hot water, very little (if any) detergent, and white vinegar. Since they're only used on regular clients' cars with perpetually clean windows, they don't ever get that dirty and always do a GREAT job, no matter what kind of cleaner I use. "

Quoting Dan Draper :
"... I wash the surgical towels and the microfiber towels together with a little vinigar to break down the waxes. This way there is minimal lint..." " I do many windows in direct sunlight, all you need is 1 part denatured alchohol and 4 parts water, spray on and wipe with a surgical towel, flip the towel over to the dry side and wipe again. Its the easiest and most efficient way I have found..."

Quoting Toddco Bodywerkes :
" We have been using Sprayway glass cleaner for the past fifteen years & haven't had any complaints with streaking or smearing. "..." You will see fantastic results with the Stoners Invisible Glass & a cloth diaper. As for the hard to reach areas, you can use a simple wood paint stick wrapped with a paper towel to get in those hard to reach areas. "

Quoting Wayne :
"...Gunk glass cleaner. It comes in a spray can and works GREAT! no fumes and tint safe too! (and about 1/2 the price of Stoner's). "

Quoting Anthony Orosco :
" Microfiber towels are also used for window cleaning but many detailers prefer the surgical towels because even MF's can leave a lint trail. I use surgical towels for the interior and MF's for the exterior "... " To strip a window you can use alcohol and water in a 50/50 mix or a vinegar/water mixture. You can then use your regular window cleaner now with the towel of your choice. For me nothing beats my home made cleaner and a micro fiber towel. Stay away from the real plush MF's for windows because they leave fiber lint that is invisible to the eye unless it catches light. MF's for windows should be soft but not overly plush. "..."
First, don't use newspaper print, at least not the type with ink on it for the ink can smear the windows. They may look clean but the ink can be transferred to the window and fog up the window or it can also be transferred to the carpet, vinyl or leather seats. If you like the paper then buy blank newsprint type paper.
Second, you may want to mix up a bottle of distilled water and sudsy ammonia, just be easy on the ammonia because it can be a real wake up call if inhaled. This is used as a "stripper"... for those really bad windows where the streaks just seem to go from one side of the window to the other. Smokers windows are notorious for this. After you clean the window with this stripper, hit it once more with your regular window cleaner. The Stoner stuff is good to use.
Third, if you clean your windows first, like the windshield, then worry about getting dressing on your clean window, don't fret. Wear a surgical glove and apply the dressing carefully on a sponge (not so much that it soaks thru), then apply it to the dashboard. The glove will keep the oils from your hand smearing your clean window and also keep the dressing from soaking through to your hand...
Fifth, make sure there is no fabric softner in the rince cycle and no dryer sheets in the dryer.
Sixth, do not attempt to clean windows where you have also washed the car and there is evaporating water. It can play heck with wiping off wax and windows. "... "... cornstarch, applied with a damp terry cloth towel polishes glass fairly well and is safe to use. I would stay away from steel wool but I have had great success with chrome polish on some glass when seeking to remove hard water spots. A vinegar wash can also do wonders but you need to let it dwell on the glass and it should be cool and in the shade, in the cool part of the day also so as not to evaporate so quickly. Many detailers soak a terry towel in the vinegar and then lay it on the glass, let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub the glass with the towel. Rinse and dry, inspect, and repeat if needed. " "Zaino makes a great window cleaner/polish as does [ One Grand]. The [One Grand] cleaner seems to have a bit more cleaning power but the Zaino is easier to use and less mess. " "I use one wet microfiber and then buff dry with a waffle weave microfiber."

Quoting Jackimoe :
"...Fort Howard type blue paper towels. These do a much better job than micro-fiber towels on glass. After a few years of testing the micro-fiber towels, I have noticed that they tend to leave a film or don't absorb the dirt and glass cleaner they are supposed to. This results in the glass getting hazy much quicker..."

Quoting Matthew Gibb :
" Most of the time I use Omikron Klearview blue, which not only does an awesome streak-free job on the glass but shines up wheels, hard plastic mirror backings, is safe on paintwork if you overspray and also brings rubber seals back to life. However, if I come across some really bad windows I dry with perforated chamois and then de-mist and polish the windows with Lanotec CITRA FORCE which contains citrus peel extracts. But sometimes I must get out my tiny foam brush and AUTOSOL to fix scratched glass and water spots. "

Quoting Ghost From The Past :
" No matter what you decide to use to clean the windows, use a leather chamois for a final buff, (after it has been washed & dried in a load of laundry). It will leave the windows streak-free. "..." The best method I've found for the cleanest windows is Rain-X, both inside and out. Trust me, there's a method to my madness. Apply the Rain-X to the glass with a paper towel. Wipe the glass with a damp cloth, then buff with a clean micro-fiber for perfect windows. The Rain-X on the inside glass makes subsequent cleanings easier, even if you're a smoker and get cigarette smoke film on the windows.

Quoting Don M :
FOR HOT WEATHER In SUN- " Simple two step method. Take a small hand towel (cotton diaper) and dampen (just wet enough to leave a light water trail on glass). Use a spray on glass cleaner and spray the window. Wipe off with damp cloth. Take a bath towel (dry) and buff the glass...PERFECTION . In the hot, the cleaner evaporates, but not all of the cleaner, JUST the water portion. Wiping this will cause smears. Using a damp cloth lets the cleaners do their job without smearing (too, it soaks up the excess cleaner). The dry towel buffs off the light water/cleaner spots leaving the glass perfect. "

Quoting Angelo Appi :
" The 00 Steel Wool is too coarse. Use nothing higher than 000 steel wool on the windows. Depending how long the waterspots have been on the glass and if they are water spots and not acid rain marks, which would resemble each other. The steel wool (Lightly) with window Cleaner with high alcohol or vinegar content should do the job. You always should use a window cleaner with a high alcohol or vinegar content when it comes to cleaning windows. The more water you have, the more streaks you will get. The other window cleaners will evaporate a lot quicker, allowing fewer streaks. "

Quoting Terri :
" ...There is a product on the Market called 'Ducky', out of Pasadena California that is made for Marine use that really seems to help get out the water spots..."

Quoting Rob M :
" Exterior windows are usually cleaned when I wash the car. But to get rid of the water spots, I use Clear Difference by Auto Magic. I clean all windows with clear difference and a window towel (NO LINT) Then I go over all the windows with Invisible Glass by Stoner with a microfiber to make sure all streaks are gone. The clear difference will get rid of 85 - 95% of all smoke, finger prints, grease, oils etc. and the Invisible Glass will clean the rest and leave the window 100%..."

Unnamed person quoted, posted by webmaster:
" May I share something with you that works well for me? : To clean glass use a minimal amount (literally, just a pinch) of corn starch. If you're well- heeled, use Johnson & Johnson baby powder, again use just a pinch. Why Johnson's brand? Government testing (yes, all available powders were tested) revealed Johnson's was the most pure (read: clean and consistant in size)...
Wash and completely dry vehicle. Apply the powder to a slightly dampened clean (100%) cotton cloth and lightly rub (in an east-west direction) a 6" area at a time. Without applying more powder, go over the area again (in a north-south direction). Wipe clean all residue before continuing. For best results, this portion of the vehicle cleaning should be done in an enclosed area to minimize flying powder. Use a clean, dry toothbrush to remove excess powder from the glass surround. Work's great on moonroofs too. It will leave them clean, streak free and smooth to the touch.
To some, this method is overkill. To me it's absolutely the best way to clean windows. "

Quoting C.M. Gaines :
" ...you need bright, direct, indoor lighting to NOTICE the streaks completely as you clean windows or if you must, check after in the direct sun outdoors.

Quoting Jon Miller :
"...Tried this product today-works really well on surface water spots. This glass cleaner (Glass Scrub™) removes insect smear, road oils, mineral deposits, lime scale, tree sap and more. A heavy-duty, cream cleanser that deep cleans auto glass safely and effectively without strong acids, alkalis, phosphates or solvents. It is specifically formulated to clean glass without scratching. The best time to use Glass Scrub is after you've washed the car but before you dry it. The glass must still be wet. I apply a small amount of product on a folded glass cleaning cloth, rubbing the glass in circular motions, making sure to apply to all areas thoroughly. Flip the cloth to a clean, dry surface and rub again. www.properautocare.com "

Quoting John Finby :
" I like to mix a gallon of water with the right amount of window cleaner concentrate and let a towel soak in the bucket of water and cleaner. Then I simply wipe the windows with the wrung-out towel and dry/buff the windows. This cleaner can be reused, but obviously get a new wet towel everyday and of course a new drying towel. Most important is what was said above ; not to mix your towels when cleaning them. "

Quoting Wendy :
" I mix my own [glass cleaner] : 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water, a couple of drops of a biodegradable dish soap. cheap, easy, works, eco-friendlier. "

Quote of Pro Auto Clean :
"...Eastwood products makes a kit that will give you all the stuff to polish your glass, and its pretty reasonable too. I have one, it works, but be patient. "

Quote of Jerry Slater :
( on removing deposits from windshield interiors ) " ...Windex ,Clear-Vue window cleaner. The object is to clean the window in normal fashion with one window cleaner. Dry and start over with the other window cleaner. I guess it doesn't matter what the brand names of the cleaners are, but they have to be different base cleaners. Examples : vinegar base, alcohol base, ammonia base. It seems that there are quite a few different chemical gases leaking from the vinyl interiors and it takes couple different cleaners to cut it. "

Quoting turbomangt :
" ... Most problems with windows is getting the area around the trim (both inside and out) clean. Because of the design of our hands (unless you are spider man) you can't get your fingers even around the trim. Take your favorite glass cleaner, and a plastic net type sponge, spray the glass lightly and use the net sponge all along those tight areas, (the net will force its way tight up against the trim, cleaning it well) then finish up with your mirco fiber towel. I know this seems simple, but what a difference it makes. It's easy , doesn't take any more time, and the glass comes out R-E-A-L nice. "

Quoting John Sharp :
"I recently tried the One Grand Glass Polish. I liked it. I will use it again. I liked the results. "

Quoting Jim Hamill :
" I use RTU glass cleaner. Spray it on to a cotton towel and wipe the top half of one side, wipe with a MF towel, do the rest of the windshield one quarter at a time. The MF towel is great at getting into those tight little spots. The bits that it does not reach, I use one of those little spongies that some people use for painting. "

Quoted From Kevin Farrell's article posted on Mobileworks by Kleen Car :
"I use a combination of different towels. We all agree that micro fiber is the best choice for cleaning. However, some micro fiber towels do not absorb water very well and this is problematic in window cleaning. A regular micro fiber towel tends to push the liquid around the glass and never get absorbed in the towel. You need a towel that not only will clean, but will also be absorbent. With that in mind, I will use a surgical towel to perform the “cleaning” part of the process, and I use a waffle weave micro fiber towel to use as a “final buff” towel to ensure any and all residue has been wiped off.
Before you start : The first thing to look for in cleaning windows is if there is any glue residue from old decals or stickers on the glass. If so, use an older towel to remove the glue and keep your actual window towels clean. You never want any glue on your towels as that will smear all over the glass you are trying to clean. "

Editor's Note :
The following link is to an article on laundering towels for glass : [www.autoint.com]

Quoted from Matt Williams on Mobileworks Forum :
" I think the type of towel you use is crucial to maintaining streak free windows. I was a believer in a plush microfiber towel to clean windows. The towels I used were for cleaning windows only, were properly washed and gently dried. However, they always seemed to leave streaks after being in use for a bit. Could have been that I was picking up some of the dressing from the dash, but I was always careful with these particular towels. I switched from microfiber to the surgical huck towels and 3M Glass cleaner (pre-made in the can) and have had perfect windows since. I also use one side of the towel to clean the surface and the other "virgin" side to dry surface. These towels have made a huge difference, and now cleaning windows aren't such a nightmare!! Good luck. "

Quoting a former pro detailer :
" Coffee filters work in place of towels for wiping glass. "

Quoted from Autopia Forum post by Dietoremain :
"Meguiars NXT Glass Cleaner, amazing stuff."

Quote of Mobile Jay from Autopia Forum :
"I have used Stoners and didn't like it so much. the others I haven't used but my favorite is from Auto Magic. Its simply called glass cleaner-ready to use and its #64. I buy it by the gallon and its really amazing. and I used Z12 to polish extremly bad water spots and it worked way beyond my expectations."

Quote of JimWh from Autopia Forum :
"I actually brew my own. Either thirds of Alcohol, Vinegar and filtered water or 50/50 of Alcohol & filtered water. "

Quote from www.AutomotiveHelper.com forum :
" Alright. I clean approx. 100 windshields a day...
Here is what you do:
1.Start the car
2.Take a quality cleaner such as Stoners Invisible Glass, or Pro Glass foam cleaner
3.Spray the window as needed
4.Crank up the defroster as high as it goes, as hot as it goes.
5.Take a slightly damp terry cloth, or very soft rag (if you wash your rags with out putting them in the dryer *ie when you take them out of the washer, fold them and leave them to dry on their own, they work exclent).
6.Box the window
7.With long strokes side to side, move your way from the bottom to the top.
8.Flip rag, and box window again.
9.Allow defroster to completely dry window, and it should be 100% streak free. "

Quote from Mobileworks forum :
" I would add how important it is to check glass from a variety of angles for streaks. The angle you see when cleaning can disguise many imperfections. The combination of Cobra microweave waffle window towels (from autogeek.net) and Stoner's Invisible Glass has been a superb one for me."

Quote from www.thedetailinghandbook.com :
" Another tool which can lower the amount of stress you place on your body when detailing is the Glass Master Pro. This tool allows you to reach far away corners of the windshield or the rear window without contorting or straining your body. "

Editor's notes :
I've had good luck with the glass cleaning blue paper towels used in gas stations . I've read that some types of newpaper use ink that can smear glass. Someone suggested obtaining the paper without print on it for less mess, etc.
I use Griot's disposable lint-free cloths. Top-of-the-line sells a similar product. The advantages include no laudering time or expense and no left-over residues after washing. I cannot claim to produce perfect windows myself so others will have to evaluate the disposables for themselves.
One forum member emphasized going over the windows with a dry towel to "buff" away any smears.
Anthony advocated using a strong ammonia solution on smokers' windows ( not aftermarket tinted ) as a stripper to be followed with an alcohol cleaner such as Invisible Glass by Stoner.
Finish up with horizontal strokes inside and vertical strokes outside and you'll be able to tell which side the streaks are on.
Household paper towels can contain glues which will streak.
The October 2008 issue of Consumer Reports P.9 reported on a test of 10 household window cleaners. The winner was Windex No Drip Streak Free Foaming Action.

Consumer Reports included a recipe for home brew window cleaner too :
1/2 cup sudsy ammonia
1 tsp. Dishwashing liquid
1 Pt. rubbing alcohol
Enough water to make a gallon ( apply with a spray bottle ) .

To "superclean" the inside of the windshield, use a Mr. Clean eraser , dry , and follow with glass cleaner . Spray the glass cleaner directly onto the towel to avoid drips on the dashboard .
- From video by ChrisFix on YouTube -

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2018 02:39AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Trim moldings
November 08, 2013 03:17AM
Dirt gets trapped under vinyl side moldings and it can take time to clean it out . While washing the car, be sure to direct the spray from the pressure wand so as to blast dirt from both the upper and lower edges of the moldings . You can use a battery-powered electric toothbrush or a detailing brush to get soapy water under the edges . Finish with a high pressure rinse .

Remove wax residues from the vinyl with an all purpose cleaner or Meguiar's Heavy Duty Vinyl Cleaner and a stiff brush such as a toothbrush . Use a softer brush to get wax out of the spaces between the trim and the paint .

Treat black moldings with a dressing or with a dye such as Forever Black . Body shops sell trim paint for extreme cases .

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2013 02:04PM by Doug Delmont.
Re: Tutorials : Tire Cleaning
November 11, 2013 10:15PM
Thanks, Doug. Very helpful. smiling smiley
Tutorials : Types of waxes / sealants
December 07, 2013 02:55PM
Profile :
Appreciate your responses !

Choosing a car wax :

There are many brands and chemical compositions of car wax available today . Within those broad categories, there are sprays, pastes, liquids and even car wash solutions containing wax . The subject gets even more complicated when you examine the cleaning and polishing ingredients mixed into many waxes . In fact, some waxes contain no cleaners at all, some contain only chemical solvent cleaner and some contain gritty cleaners . The amount of and aggressiveness of the gritty cleaner can vary greatly from wax to wax .
There are no hard and fast rules for comparing waxes these days : A paste wax won't necessarily outlast a liquid . A synthetic won't always outlast a natural wax . Carnauba-based natural waxes don't always outshine synthetics . Extravagant claims by the wax makers are unreliable to say the least ! And those expensive, ' long-lasting ' dealer-applied " paint sealants " don't always appear to live up to their claims .

To pick out the right wax for you, first decide what your needs are . Do you want a wax that you can apply quickly by machine ? Do you want a dazzling shine ? Do you want a formula that hides paint defects well ? Do you want a one-step product containing cleaner, and if so, how much cleaner ? Is price a major factor ? Must the wax be able to withstand commercial car washing ?

The needs of a show car owner will likely be different from those of a pro detailer .

You can gather some information from old tests that were conducted by Consumer Reports and the Guru Reports . There are online reviews posted by real people...and some not-so-real people .

To test waxes, wax half of a car hood with one wax and half with another . You'll be able to compare gloss as well as loss of gloss over time . Durability is trickier to judge because there may still be protection even after water beading stops . Compare cleaning performance as well as dulling caused by aggressive cleaners .

Let's cut to the chase now .
Zaino Z-2 Pro won the Guru Reports test . The same test praised Mothers California Gold, Collinite, P2s , Klasse and several others .

Consumer Reports winners have included Black Magic liquid, Turtle Wax Carnauba liquid, Nu-Finish paste, Meguiar's Car Cleaner Wax and Zxmol blue . They also liked Mother's three-phase and Zymol's multi-step process .

Pro detailers often use one of the waxes from Auto Magic, Meguiar's, Pro or many other suppliers .

I recommend and use the Zaino line of products but I'm not doing this professionally and I'm not a chemist. Therefore, as they say in online reviews, " YMMV " .
Wishing everyone success...

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2014 04:29AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Mirrors
January 04, 2014 03:37AM
Mirrors :

Some side and rear-view mirrors are coated and can be easily scratched . Wash them with normal soft materials and dry them with a microfiber or cotton towel . Don't wax a mirror because that may cause some visual distortion . Never scrape anything off of a mirror with a razor blade and use caution even with plastic tools .
Avoid scraping dirt against the mirrored surface : Never wipe dirt off of a dry mirror and use plenty of water when washing one .
If the mirror housing mount pivots, move it to clean areas that are hard to get at .
Painted side mirror housings should be waxed . Black plastic housings can be treated with Zaino Plastic Polish or a good dressing such as Adams Polishes VRT .
As part of the final phase of your detail, re-aim the side mirrors so the driver can see straight to the rear with just a little of the car body visible . Set the rearview mirror to cover as much of the rear window as possible and leave it in the " day " mode .

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2017 05:31PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Door and Trunk Locks
January 04, 2014 03:49AM
Door / Trunk Locks :
During the wash phase, avoid blasting water directly at the lock cylinders on the doors and trunk . Water can get in and damage the lock mechanism . If you think you accidentally sprayed water into a lock, spray in some WD-40 later on . The WD-40 displaces water and is also great for thawing frozen locks in winter time . Some locksmiths recommend WD-40 for routine lock lubrication in preference to purpose-built graphite-based lubricants .

To get a door lock cylinder up to snuff, wax it and brush the wax in under its edge with a natural bristle detailing brush . Wipe with a towel and brush excess wax away .

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2014 04:27AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Weatherstrips
January 04, 2014 04:15AM
Door and trunk weatherstrips seal out rain and reduce wind noise . These rubber strips can degrade over time and can be damaged by chemicals such as lithium grease . You can treat the weatherstrips with special silicone grease or simply dress them with a good water-based rubber and vinyl protectant such as Adams Polishes VRT . The treatment helps preserve the suppleness of the rubber and imparts a deep black shine . It also helps keep the doors from sticking closed in the winter .

If the trim pulls loose, glue it back into place with 3M Super Weatherstrip Adhesive or equivalent .

To repair torn or perforated trim, use a product such as Plastic Rubber or Liquid Rubber . Some black RTV silicone gasket maker can also do the trick .

Note : The silicone grease mentioned above is available from Ford dealer parts departments and under the brand name Sil-Glide in auto parts stores .
Tutorials : Light Lenses
January 04, 2014 04:25AM
If the plastic lenses on the tail lights, marker lights etc. become hazy or scratched, restore them with plastic cleaner and / or plastic polish as indicated . Mild products such as Zaino Plastic Polish can be used every time you detail .

Broken lenses can be temporarily patched with special tape from Victor Brand .

There used to be special red or amber paint for discolored lenses ....
Tutorials : Engine Compartment
January 04, 2014 04:38AM
Let's start it off with a list of rules for working under the car's hood :
1) Don't wear jewelry. Jewelry can catch on a moving part and cause serious injury. If you accidentally ground a piece of metal jewelry between a hot terminal and ground metal, you can get an instant electrical burn ; in the case of a wedding ring shorting against a battery terminal, you can burn off a finger as the ring heats up.

2) Before working around the engine, remove the car keys from the ignition to keep anyone else from starting the engine while you are under the hood.

3) Do not wear a necktie or carry tools and pens in your breast pockets. Ties can be grabbed by whirling alternator cooling fans and other parts and pocketed items can fall against fans and be hurled back at your face.

4) Electric cooling fans can start up on their own with the ignition off. Stay clear of them.

5) Batteries release hydrogen, which can be ignited by cigarettes or sparks. If that happens, the battery can explode and spray acid into your eyes. Wear goggles and keep water handy, especially out on the road.

6) Do not remove a radiator cap if the system is hot and pressurized. Let it cool. Many old hands have been burned using various tricks to open a hot radiator. You can squeeze the upper hose to see if the pressure has gone down before opening the system.

7) Use water-based dressings under the hood instead of the flammable solvent-based ones.

8) When cleaning a battery, remove the ground cable first and replace it last to prevent accidentally grounding the hot terminal during clamp removal.

9) Wash your hands and dispose of gloves after cleaning a battery to avoid accidentally touching your eyes or mouth with acid residue on your fingers.

10) Let the engine cool enough before reaching near hot exhaust manifolds and other parts that could burn you.

11) Don't stand in line with a running fan. Fan blades can break off and fly out and dropped parts can be flung back at you.

12) While the engine is running, stay clear of belts, the alternator fan, pulleys etc.

13) Eye protection is always a good idea.

Engine compartment cleaning :

Get a signed waiver releasing you from any responsibiity and/or liability for any pre-existing condition or moisture in electronic mechanicism .

My best tip: Save plastic grocery bags and dry cleaning bags. Use the bags to cover the air intake, battery, coil & distributer ( if applicable ), alternator and anything else you choose to. Use rubber bands to hold the bags in place when possible.

NOTE : On old carbureted American cars, remove the air cleaner wing nut and put it in your pocket to prevent loss. Remove the air cleaner, disconnecting any vacuum hoses and ducts if necessary. DO NOT reinstall the wing nut onto the stud for safe keeping because you could drop it into the throat of the carburetor and cause a big problem ( keep it in your pocket ). Put a bag over the carburetor. Clean the air cleaner separately. After the engine is washed, reinstall the air cleaner and remember where you stowed that wing nut.

Warm the engine some before washing it. Once you are done, the heat of the warm engine will help dry off hard-to-reach spots. Complete the drying process with compressed air and towels.

If you use a solvent-soaked rag to wipe down parts, keep the solvent off of hoses and other rubber. Let the solvent dry completely before starting the engine so nothing can catch fire.

Use agitation along with chemical to loosen grime, not chemical alone. You'll need more than one type of brush to reach everything.

You can place soaked towels on the fenders to keep chemical overpray from streaking the finish. Hose down the whole car before cleaning the engine to dilute any accidental overspray.

If you run out of engine degreaser, some wheel cleaners and all-purpose cleaners will do the job safely.

Many professionals steam clean engines .

During your quality control inspection, look at the engine compartment from all four directions ( front to back, back to front and side-to side ) to see if you missed any areas .

If you use a dressing to shine up the underhood parts, make sure it is not a flammmable soilvent-based dressing and don't use anything that will interfere with the engine control sensors .

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2017 05:37PM by Doug Delmont.
Re: Tutorials
January 20, 2014 02:44AM
Very good Doug
Tutorials : Door Jambs
January 24, 2014 01:53AM
After washing and drying a car's exterior, wipe off the door jambs and door edges with an old towel .

If you are doing a thorough wash as part of a detailing job, wash the lower half of the door jambs once you've hosed down the car for pre-soaking . You may need to use a degreaser or All Purpose Cleaner to get the jambs clean . Pressure rinse the jambs while avoiding spraying water into the interior of the car . Pros often steam clean .

Later, spray a little WD-40 into the hinges and locks to displace any water trapped there and to replace any lubricant you washed out .

There's no need to wax the door jambs because sunlight won't attack the paint in there . If you want to wax them though, go ahead .

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2017 05:38PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Applying Cleaner-Waxes
January 24, 2014 02:24AM
Every wax comes with its own set of application instructions . I recommend following them but I will provide some procedures that work with many different one-step cleaner-waxes .

1) Wash, dry, remove bugs and tar, clay and compound buff first if necessary .

2) Shake the wax well . Apply the wax sparingly with a cotton or microfiber applicator or piece of toweling . An orbital or dual-action polisher is better than hand application because it will work the wax more for better cleaning and polishing .

3) Apply the wax in small circular motions and work it in well to assure that it cleans, polishes and later adheres to the paint well . If you apply the wax with a power polishing tool, hand wax the hard-to-reach spots with either an applicator or the wax bonnet you used on your orbial machine .

4) Let the wax dry to a haze or dry completely depending on the instructions on the bottle .

5) Fold a towel into fourths ( eight separate cleaning sections ) . Wipe the residue off by first breaking it up with back and forth motions . Then use circular motions . Flip to a clean portion of the towel for the final buff .

6) During your quality control inspection, look down the sides and top of the car to find any wax residue you missed .

You can tape off vinyl or rubberparts that you don't want to get wax on , so they don't get stained . If you need to remove wax or polish from such parts, try these ideas :Use a toothbrush or other brush and all purpose cleaner. Meguiar's Heavy Duty Vinyl Cleaner works too. As a last resort, use laquer thinner but test first in one spot.
Apply protectant , special paint, or a dye such as Forever Black or Griot's bumper dye if need be to cover any permanent discoloration.
Fron SVR33 : " I like using IPA or steam to remove polish residue .

The best way to remove the mess of a poly sealant would probably be to brush on mineral spirits or a Naptha-based product like PPG Acrilikleen or Prepsol . Then towel off the dissolved sealant. Do this At Your Own Risk, of course.

Otherwise, Griot's Paint Prep or Dawn dish liquid might remove the polymer sealant .

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2017 04:02AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Minor wet-sanding
January 24, 2014 02:41AM
Wet sanding is used to remove scratches. smooth paint touch-ups, prepare paint for touching up, restore headlights and more . If you wet sand excessively, though, you can thin the paint too much, causing it to peel or fail later . A paint depth guage is a recommended tool .

Buy good sandpaper such as Mirka or 3M Wet or Dry . Expect to use nothing coarser than 400 grit . You may need 400, 600, 1000, 1500 and even 2000 grit sheets of paper .

You can find what you need at Body Shop supply houses and auto parts stores . While you are at it, pick up a sanding block and a small rubber block used in body shops . Both of the blocks will come in handy as sanding blocks . Note : Wet-sanding can also be done by machine .

Soak your sandpaper for 10 minutes in a solution of water and car wash soap .

Pour on clean soap and water intermittantly throughout the sanding process to wash away loosened material and to keep the surface lubricated .

Sand in a back and forth motion in one plane only ; horizontal or vertical .

Use finer and finer paper to remove the damage done by the coarser papers .

Finish up with appropriate componds, polishes and waxes .

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2015 01:44AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Claying the paint
January 26, 2014 05:28AM
After washing and bug / tar removal, use fine detailing clay to remove contaminants that are above the surface . Such contaminants can include industrial fallout, rail dust, paint over-spray, tree sap and stubborn dirt bits .

There are two ways to clay . Either lubricate the surface with a solution of water and car wash soap or use a slick detailing spray . You can save time by claying the washed car while it is still wet if you like . That way, you only have to dry it once .

If you ever drop clay on the floor, either throw it out or pick out as much dirt as you can and save the piece for use on rocker panels and other dirty areas . Dirty clay can scratch the paint by dragging dirt along the surface .

You can check first for bonded contaminants by running your bare hand over the surface but you'll detect more contaminants by feeling the surface through a piece of cellophane . Expect the horizontal surfaces to need the most claying .

Cut off a small piece of clay from your bar, knead it a little, and rub it gently back and forth on the paint . Once it gets dirty, flip it over and use the other side. Fold the clay and use it until it is impossible to get a clean clay surface . Discard the used clay or save it for use on dirty rocker panels and encrusted wheels . Go back and cut off some new clay to start the process over .

You can use clay on glass, plastic, chrome and aluminum but you must use fine clay and use it properly .

Store the clay in a sealed plastic bag to keep it moist and add a little detailing spray before storing it .

Claying will improve the results of any compounding or polishing you do and the smooth surface will have more gloss too .

Auto Magic's blue clay is popular . Griot's Garage yellow clay got a positive review . Zaino's clay works well but is sticky and a little harder to work with . Meguiar's enthusiast clay is good and they offer different clay in their Detailer line of products .

Special Note : Turtle Wax markets a unique product called " Liquid Clay Bar " . Whether it does the job of a clay bar is unproven . It is used to wash the vehicle with deep cleaning action and that it does but I found it left the finish slightly dull. I used 3M Ultra-Fine polish in the purple bottle and a DA polisher to bring up the shine afterwards .

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2017 05:26PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Dressing Exterior Vinyl / rubber
February 08, 2014 03:47AM
Make sure all surfaces are clean and ready for dressing before application . Remove any wax stains with all purpose cleaner and a stiff brush .

Vinyl and rubber dressings such as Adam's Polishes VRT can be applied either by spraying or wiping them on . Spraying is fast and easy but can result in overspray and wasted product . Wiping is the usual method but can be time-consuming and not get the dressing into recesses easily .

For deep textured surfaces, brush dressing into nooks and crannies .

When dressing large parts such as the plastic cladding on a Chevy Avalanche pickup, you can speed things up by using a foam sponge mop as an applicator . These mops are available cheap from Dollar General and other stores .

Don't use dressing on parts like step rails because slick surfaces can cause people to slip and get hurt .

Give the product time to soak in before wiping off the excess .

Silicone-based dressings have a natural cleaning effect . If you apply dressing to rubber parts with an old towel, you can remove surface dry rot from the rubber in the process . This will make the new dressing look better and last longer .

Dress window seals, trim moldings, weatherstrips, antenna mounts, tires, cladding and plastic bumpers for a thorough job .

Some pros use a dye like Forever Black for long-lasting results instead of dressings . Repainting with trim paint isn't out of the question either .

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2018 05:24PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Pickup Truck Caps
February 14, 2014 04:09AM
Many fiberglass pickup caps have a Gel Coat finish . They tend to oxidize heavily , so you should use an aggressive cleaner wax or polish to restore the appearance . Beware that if too much material is buffed away, the Gel Coat may never shine well again . Frequent waxing will help retard the oxidation .

In response to the troubles with Gel Coat, some fiberglass cap makers are now painting their caps instead . Treat painted caps as gently as you would car paint .

The seals and gaskets used on caps don't stand up well against high pressure washers . Avoid blasting high pressure water at a cap .

To wash the area between the cap and the cab of the truck, you can wrap a large towel around a piece of cardboard and use it to soap up and agitate in that hard-to-reach area .

For routine window cleaning, see if the front cap window is removable . If not, see if it slides open to provide access to the back window of the cab . By opening and closing cap and cab windows, you should be able to reach most or all of the glass .
Tutorials : Sticker Removal
February 14, 2014 04:23AM
If you are preparing a car for resale, sticker removal is a standard step in the detailing procedure . Even if you are simply sprucing up your own car, you may have a sticker you no longer need . Here's how to get the stickers off without damaging the surface underneath :

If the sticker is on glass, it is permissible to use a metal razor blade or scraper . Be careful to avoid scratching and watch out near rear window defoggers . Use a solvent such as WD-40, Tarminator, or Goo Gone to remove any remaining sticky residue . Finish up with glass cleaner .

For stickers on paint, you can try pre-soaking them with Goo Gone, scraping with plastic razor blades ( Never metal ! ) and applying heat with either a heat gun or hair dryer .

Some stubborn waterproof stickers may require sanding the sticker to make it porus and soaking it with Goo Gone or other solvent .

Tip -Keep a plastic putty knife on hand for this and other chores .
Tutorials : Trunk Surrounds
February 14, 2014 04:33AM
The area around the trunk is similar to a door jamb except that it is hard to pressure wash or hose it without getting water in the truck, risking mold growth .

First, lay a sheet of plastic in the trunk to catch water that gets accidentally sprayed in . brush soap or all purpose cleaner into the muck that has collected around the trunk . Let it dwell and rinse . Dry with a towel . Remove the plastic and towel off anything wet inside the trunk .

You can use a polish or cleaner / wax to remove any remaining stains and dirt from the trunk surround .

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2014 04:38AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Polishing Exterior Plastic
February 14, 2014 04:40AM
Plastic polishes are low in abrasive and are ideal for shining up parts such as tail light lenses and plastic side mirror housings .
I've used Mother's Plastic Polish with good results but I prefer Zaino Plastic Polish .

Plastic polish can be used as the final step in headlight restoration too .
Tutorials : Abrasives
February 14, 2014 05:00AM
Don't use abrasive products on the paint unless it is necessary .

Rubbing compound contains abrasives intended to remove a little paint . Compounds are used to level paint, remove oxidized paint from single-stage paint jobs, remove body shop dust from new paint jobs, remove minor scratches and to smooth out major scratches .

The best compounds employ " diminishing abrasives ", abrasives that break down into finer and finer particles as the compound is buffed into the paint . If a product has diminishing abrasives, it is imperative that you work the product thoroughly so the abrasive breaks down and brings up the shine .

Diminishing abrasives are great but it is still necessary to apply finer products after using an aggressive compound . Follow this procedure for top notch results :
* Wash
* Bug and tar removal
* Clay
* Compound buff
* Polish
* Wax

Some abrasives are specifically designed for clearcoat paint . These include " buffered " abrasives that are mixed with a lubricant to prevent scouring of the clearcoat .
Products to look at include 3M polishes and compounds sold at body shop supply stores. Also, Meguiar's professional line including Diamond Cut Compound, Compound Power Cleaner, Dual Action Compound polish, Swirl-Free Polish , #6, #9 . Zaino Fuzion is a multi-purpose product that acts like a compound if applied with a coarse pad .

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/28/2017 04:59PM by Doug Delmont.
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