Maintaining the exterior

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reltaletocna relnoacctroc From Ron Childs:

I have used Blue Coral Polishing Compound on bumber and other scuffs with great success. I sightly bashed into the stucco of my garage once and thought I really messed up my car. All of the scuffs polished out with no visible damage (what a relief). My garage, unfortunately, will not be the same.


From Don Mallison:

I wrote an article in the SHO Registry magazine about a year ago that went into this, but I will be happy to go over some of the most important points.


1. Keep the car clean. Wash with soapy water and rinse with lots of water. Use a clean soft cloth or a good wash mitten. Don't use the mitten on the wheel wells or down low, keep another rag for those areas and don't put the two in the same bucket. Run lots of water around the plastic panels and inside the wheel wells. Water does not make your car rust, it's water trapped by dirt and salt that makes it rust. I have used Ivory dishwashing detergent for decades, and it won't hurt your car unless you constantly wash and never wax. Some people say it removes your wax, but if it does, that's OK, since you should re-wax anyway, and it won't remove enough wax in one gentle wash to hurt between waxings. Don't waste money on so-called wash-n-wax products. It can't wash and wax at the same time...think about it! ;-}

2. Use a good wax on your paint (Wax contains no abrasives, and puts a fine gloss on already shiny paint and protects it. Polish contains abrasives and can wear through paint or clearcoat if used too much. Use polish if you have swirls, mild scratches etc, then top with wax). I like the Collonite advertised in the Registry magazine. Lasts longer than any carnuba I have used. About 2-3 months in normal use. Apply the wax with a soft synthetic sponge. Buy these at the grocery store...the real big ones about 4" X 8" and cut it in half so it is palm sized. Put just a little wax or other product towards the center, and you can wax up to seams without filling them.

3. Use soft cloths to remove wax and buff by hand. I recommend Sears Best diapers (the fold-em-yourself kind). Buy a couple packs and wash them a couple times before use in a non-perfumed detergent without softeners or bleach (softeners can leave streaks in dark cars).

4. I love No Touch tire care. It works, is easy and I don't see it harming the tires in the amount of time it takes for a tire to wear out on an SHO ;] Wipe the No Touch off the rims, and if any gets on the body, just wipe it off. I do the tires right after I wash the car, then they will be dry by the time you finish waxing.

5. On windows, use Windex, or a blend of a little ammonia and warm water. Use paper towels to dry, and you can use newspapers to buff them. I like Rain-X but it takes lots of buffing to get the streaks out. Once they are out, the windows look great and clean easier the next time.

6. DON'T use Armour All or similar products. Meguires makes a great vinyl and leather cleaner to use on the vinyl and plastic parts. It's not as greasy as other products. Use Lexol cleaner and the companion conditioner on leather. Keeping leather clean is the key to stopping it from cracking as much with age.

7. Between hand waxing, I think it's OK to use some of the better spray detail products. Meguires (if it's good enough for the million dollar Dusey, it's good enough for me!) #34 Final Inspection spray is great when your car just has very light dust, or to get fingerprints off at a car show. I don't recommend you believe ANY of the products that say you can spray on a really dirty car and not scratch it! (again...common sense says that no "lubricant" will keep sharp glass, i.e. sand, from getting to the paint on a dirty rag.)

8. Buy a good fender cover and use it! leaning on your car to change oil, filters, check brake fluid etc is where most of the wear comes from.

9. For carpet and cloth upholstery, I use a clear cleaner that I buy at K-mart. I don't remember the name, but it is a general purpose cleaner in a spray bottle. Spray it directly on the carpet or cloth in a fine mist and work in with a clean cloth (or medium brush on real dirty carpet). Take a clean towel and buff. You will find you can do the entire car in minutes without having to wait hours for it to dry....it will dry in one or two minutes. DON'T soak your seats or carpet with soapy water. You will just create mold and mildew and start rust on the floorpan and deteriorate foam rubber. Don't let any one "detail" your car and get the carpets and seats soaking wet. It's not necessary. For floormats, since they take the brunt of the dirt, and are removable and rubber backed, if you want to really soak them, that's OK, but the method mentioned above will work on all but the worst, and you can put them back in the car in a few minutes instead of hours.

10. Wheels: Regular carnuba wax works wonders on the slicer wheels, and you use soapy water to clean them easily once they are waxed. On the lace wheels...good luck. Quicksilver has gotten a bad rap, so I would stay away from it (ed. note: I have not had any trouble with Quicksilver on my lace wheels). Try some of the better brands and pay attention to get the stuff for clear coated wheels. Once your clearcoat has gotten scratched and you have those ugly white streaks starting, the only solution is to buff to metal and start over with clearcoat. Solution? Buy aftermarket wheels and deep six the lace ones.

11. Detailing Clay? I have not tried this. Eastwood, Griots Garage and Meguires all sell it. I am going to get some and try it. It claims to remove crud (my word) embedded in the paint. If after waxing you can feel any roughness in your paint, you need to polish (start with the mildest that will do the job) and wax again. You can use the Meguires #34 Final Inspection as a lubricant with the clay, then wipe with a clean diaper. Wax as a final step.

12. Bright metal? I have found that once it's clean, just wiping with your final wax buffing cloth will do just fine.

13. Headlights and Tailights: Meguires makes a plastic polish that works wonders on old dull plastic (in the gauge cluster too). On headlights some Rain-X will help you clean the bugs off on trips.

14. Black plastic doorhandles etc.: Wurth (a German firm) makes a rubber care spray that is the best I have seen for door handles contaminated with cheap wax or polish. It doesn't last forever, but one can will last years, spray it on a cloth or paper towel and wipe on the handles at each wash. I have not found anything (even so-called black plastic polish) that works long term.

15. Color Waxes: PLEASE DON'T! Most "wonder" products contain harsh products that strip the oxidation off real bad paint. If you want to set fire to your hood, then OK, but don't expect this stuff to really protect your paint in the world of bird droppings and sun baking water drops.

16. Wash and wax in the shade, and try to let your car cool if it's been in the sun. Don't apply any product in direct sun unless you desire a repaint. Beware of shade trees in mid-late summer. Some of them will coat your car with tree sap from the leaves/branches in just a few minutes!

17. This is proven advice that has helped me win 4 national awards including one with a triple black 72 Buick GS that is unrestored. I got some of my advice from another multiple black Buick champion detailer that shared with me.