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Paint appearance and care advice for a n00b

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by Colasec, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. Colasec

    Colasec Member

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    Hey, so... I've never washed a car before. I've never waxed or buffed or polished, and wouldn't have the first clue on how to get started (except maybe get out the hose? :wink:). I don't know what Liquid Glass or Glare are. I gather that Xpel is something fantastic but quite pricey, and couldn't give you a definition for Opticoat or C-Quartz. I've picked up all these terms from reading here and at TM, but I don't really know what they mean.

    My black S60 arrives in 3-5 weeks. I want it to look beautiful and shiny but have limited time. I will be keeping it in my garage at night and in a covered parking garage during the day at work.

    Can someone please give me a quick rundown of what I need to know?

    For example, I love how @Celidh's car looks in http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/17501-Liquid-Glass and I really love how @dbrooks's car looks in http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/tesla-model-s-full-correction-and-opti-coat-orinda-auto-detail.

    What sort of things are worth doing by myself? How do I do them? How often do I need to do them?
    What sort of things should I pay someone to do? The Xpel full coat costs more than I can justify - how is Opticoat different and what does it cost? How long will it stay looking like that?

    You get the point. :cool: Thanks so much for your help.
     
  2. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    Always a fan of the stuff from Griots Garage. They have pretty much anything you might need. They also see a how-to guide for folks just starting out.

    Omar
     
  3. JPP

    JPP Active Member

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    Second omarsultan's opinion--Griot's Garage has been my go-to folks for car care for over 10 years.
     
  4. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    The first thing I would do (especially on black) is take it to a trusted?recommended detailer and have a paint protection applied. I use the GlarePro simply because it won artsci's testing.
    Do this the first week you have your car. It will look great and most importantly help protect the paint from the inevitable swirls that you will put on it.
    Then, Glare makes a product called Sahara. This is easy to use and keeps the car looking stunning in between professional applications of the GlarePro.
    For washing I've been using this from Griot's. It works well in the garage with no water.
    You will need micro fiber towels. These are wonderful for the Sahara, and These are wonderful for the Speed Wash.
    Get more than you'll ever think you'd need. You WILL use them. Switching towels frequently prevents swirls too.

    Most importantly, get the professional application of the paint protection (GlarePro or the like) DO THIS. You will be glad you did.

    Have fun. I never washed a car either and I'm finding it to be very relaxing and rewarding.
     
  5. gnelson

    gnelson Member

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  6. Hometheatremaven

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    Xpel Ultimate will protect your paint from chipping caused by stones, shopping carts etc.
    None of these other products can do that. Xpel Ultimate is warranted for 10 years.
    It's the first thing I put on my Tesla after having it detailed.
     
  7. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    #7 SCW-Greg, Jul 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
    I use a 3 bucket method for washing now...

    Always wash when it's cool, out of direct sun.

    Rinse the car down before you start, to get the dirt loosened up.

    1 bucket dedicated to washing the wheels - first - always.
    Using a wheel cleaning solution, and microfiber brush on a stick that gets back in to wash the rims behind the spokes.

    Poor mans foaming gun (Gilmour), to next foam down the car, to help more dirt to float off naturally before you start.

    2 buckets (one for soap, one rinsing water) for the body of the car with two or more microfiber mitts for that. Using the mitts and turning over for each body panel. Rinsing them frequently in the second water bucket. Work from top to bottom, front to back. Always do the back of the car last, since that's where most of the dirt accumulates.

    Then rinse it down throughout, get all the cracks rinsed out well.

    The drying process is one of the ways that introduces swirls. The best way to dry is to use a high power blower. One that is strong enough to completely push the water off, even the littlest beads. If little beads are left behind, then spots will be left behind too.

    If not blow drying your car, make sure you have towels that are "drying" towels - that are microfiber. Too many towels say microfiber, but really aren't good for drying (like the Meguairs towels I just picked up at Costco for $14.95 - good deal, bad drying towel).

    Never try to brush off the dust on the car between washes. I do believe the California Dusters can work safely, but you can never get them to *not* leave behind the wax streaks that are in embedded in the cotton fibers - even seasoned ones.

    But like others have said, get your black Model S professionally polished / paint corrected and top coated before you start. This will add a lasting layer or clear coat on top of the factory one. This becomes your sacrificial layer to swirl up.

    Still a believer of C. Quartz (when professionally applied) not because of it "gloss" readings, but because of it has the most measurable/sustainable/durable protective coating over the others.

    But coatings can be a personal thing, just choose one, and go.

    I enjoy washing the car (at least during the summer), get to know your car really well. Sense of satisfaction in getting it clean.
     
  8. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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  9. Btrflyl8e

    Btrflyl8e Active Member

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    #9 Btrflyl8e, Jul 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
    Not to be sexist... But I'm a girl and found Zaino easy to apply and had great results. I applied two coats of Z2 PRO with ZFX after following all directions. I wanted 3 coats but it was just too hot out and I got tired... but it looks amazing still, after 2 months of harsh conditions. No garage, near the beach, sits in blazing sun all day and it's dark blue. The polish makes it hard for dirt to stick, and also makes washing (with Z7 of course) a breeze. Always carefully dry with 100% cotton quality towels. I bought one of the kits and it was less than $100, and will last a long time. I'm sure the other options look far more amazing, but I decided this was fine since it's not being entered into car shows our anything. I just wanted a shiny car that stayed looking nice between washes and some protection for the paint, and this exceeded my expectations.

    Here is the result the day I applied it:
    20130510_131805-1.jpg
     
  10. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    The product the other guys are talking about cost under $100, what you are recommending is a wrap which costs thousands of dollars. Big difference.
     
  11. gnelson

    gnelson Member

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    Your Model S looks great. Sometimes cars with Zaino will look even better after they are washed one time after the application.

    If you get streaks from a California Duster use Zaino Z-8 Grand Finale Spray Seal.

    My 10 year old Corvette (daily driver) with Anniversary Red paint still looked spectacular after using Zaino. I got so many compliments on the paint. The only areas on the Corvette that could have benefited from a coating are areas that are covered with the Tesla factory paint armor; therefore, I opted not to get a coating applied.

    Adams also has good products that are useful for exterior care. They have great towels and a good wash bucket. I really like to use their detail spray for drying a car after it is washed and rinsed. Their tire dressing is also excellent. Stay away from Armorall like the plague that it is. Adams In and Out spray is also good for trim pieces.
     
  12. blc1017

    blc1017 Member

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    #12 blc1017, Jul 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2013
    +1

    Since it had been awhile since I had washed a car, I also took the time to watch the Junkman's videos on YouTube, here: Junkmans 2-Bucket Wash Technique - Part 1 - YouTube
    It's a series of videos that are very helpful in showing exactly what you need to do, as well as recommending some products.

    I also am a fan of CQuartz Finest, and I think there is a detailer in the San Diego area you can check out. I had my car detailed within the week after delivery, wash it once a week, and it is still perfect. The detailer's car had two year old CQuartz on it and looked brand new. I don't know about the other products, but CQuartz has a warranty that comes with it. There are also people who recommend you have your car detailed/paint corrected first with something like CQuartz before you go the wrap route.

    Have fun. Washing my car is one of the nicest things I do for myself each week...never knew work could be so relaxing!
     
  13. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    Here is what I do and what I recommend.

    How you wash your car will depend upon how dirty it is and how much time you have.

    I have a pressure washer with an MTM Hydro foam lance on it. I rinse the car with the pressure washer to loosen up the dirt, grime, etc. on the car. Next, I foam up the car with a mixture of Detailer's Pride Xtreme Foam Formula or Chemical Guys Mr. Pink. (Sometimes I get crazy and mix the two together). I let this sit on the car as it drips down. You can get quite a bit of foaming accomplished. The less you touch your car, IMHO, the better.

    2013-06-08 14.34.08.jpg

    After a while, I will rinse this down.

    I start with the wheels using Griot's Garage rubber cleaner and heavy duty wheel cleaner. I scrub out the wheels with a Daytona Speed Master. I've used Iron X as well, but try to keep it away from the calipers. I also use a separate wash mit and microfiber towels (they're all black) so I don't use them on the rest of the car. Rinse the wheels.

    The car gets a wash with either Blackfire Wet Diamond conditioning shampoo or DP or Chemical Guys. Whatever strikes me. If I'm going to polish the car or strip the wax, I'll use Dawn. I use another microfiber wash mit for the car. Always start from the top and go down. Never go bottom to top or back track -- you may introduce dirt to previously cleaned areas that way. Rinse.

    Some dry with a blower; I have dedicated microfibers for this. I also use my compressor to blow out the triangular directional lights, mirrors, door handles and rear lights. Don't forget to open your frunk, trunk and doors to clean the door jambs. Usually I just use a quick detailer (Poorboy's, Blackfire or Griot's Garage). I use the lower quality microfibers (the kind I bought at Costco) for the jambs and hidden areas.

    If you are a wax kind of guy, you can use a spray on wax. I like Pinnacle Liquid Souveran, but I have used Griot's Garage Spray on wax as well. For paste waxes, I've used Mothers and Meguiars, but my favorite wax is Collinite 845. If you've got tons of money to spare, pick up some Wolfgang Fuzion or Blackfire BlackICE. Some people don't like waxes because they are old fashioned or are perceived to have short life. Several have longer life spans -- 6 months! If you apply a paste wax, you can use a spray wax in between for maintenance.

    If you're a sealant guy, I recommend Menzerna Power Lock or Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant. I also like the line by Blackfire. I use the Blackfire Wet Diamond spray on polymer for maintenance.

    For better and longer term protection, either apply yourself or have professionally done the application of GTechniq C1 and EXO v2 or C.Quartz.

    To round out the tires, I use Pinnacle Black Onyx tire gel. Good gloss, and it doesn't sling.

    Polishing is another story.

    To be more environmental, you can try out Optimum No Rinse (ONR) rinseless wash. Many people and detailers swear by it as a way to clean your entire car with about 2 gallons of water (and a lot of microfibers).
     
  14. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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  15. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    Not sure.

    I am impressed with Chemical Guys, though: 4 pictures of the obligatory hot car woman in one page! :tongue:
     
  16. Colasec

    Colasec Member

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    Thanks everyone for the plentiful advice. The pointer to artsci's thread was particularly helpful; thank you so much, @artsci, for your time and work to provide such valuable information. Thank you too to @kevincwelch for the detailed instructions with specific product recommendations.


    So here's my plan (followed by questions) :


    ASAP after delivery
    Have a professional detailer perform:
    1. Remove any residuals, including wax and oils.
    2. Wash with Glare Ultra Wash and clay bar, polish to remove factory swirls and scratches.
    3. Apply two coats of Glare Professional Finish (first as a polish, then as a wax).


    Wash when needed as follows. No claying or wax.

    A. When I'm feeling lazy or am pressed for time: spray down with Griot's Spray-On Car Wash, gently wipe off (and buff?) with Griot's Spray-On Car Wash Cloths.


    B. Otherwise:


    1. Park in the shaded driveway (>5pm in the summer, >3pm in the winter).

    2. Rinse the whole car with water from the hose (use quick disconnects for ease of switching hose attachments).

    3. Use a Gilmour Foamaster foam gun with Chemical Guys Mr. Pink to foam the car. Let sit while I'm washing the wheels.

    4. Wash wheels with Griot's Chrome Wheel Cleaner and Griot's Wheel Scrubber Brushes.

    5. Use two buckets equipped with grit guards, one for Griot's Car Wash and one for water. Wash with Griot's Micro Fiber Wash Mitts: four total - one for each quadrant, flipping over halfway, rinsing mitts frequently. Work each quadrant separately, top to bottom and front to back. Do front quadrants first, then back quadrants.

    6. Rinse with hose.

    7. Blow dry with my electric Toro leaf blower. (is that a good idea? what if it is too strong?)

    8. Wipe down frunk/trunk/door jambs with Griot's Spray-On Car Wash.


    Every three months
    Instead of washing, spray down with Glare Sahara Wash and Detail Spray and gently wipe off with Griot's Microfiber Polish Removal Cloths.


    Every 18 months
    Have a professional detailer remove the existing Glare application and re-apply.

    Bird bombs and bugs
    Do a full wash if the car's reasonably dusty. Otherwise, spot-clean with Griot's Speed Shine and Griot's Microfiber Speed Shine Cloths (which can be kept in that handy new frunk carrier).


    -------


    - Is the Glare Professional coating "slick"? Will it repel dust? It's very dusty in my area and I'm wondering if I should apply something like Optimum Detail after the Glare Pro application to help prevent dust accumulation.


    - Are the micro-fiber towels reusable? Like, do you throw them in the washing machine and use them again?


    - In the washing rinse step, do I have to let the water fall gently on the car? Or is it okay to spray it? Do I need to be worried about the intensity of the spray?


    - Is Griot's Car Wash "good enough" for the shampoo step? The Blackfire Wet Diamond Conditioning Shampoo seems overly expensive.


    - If it's a hot or dry day, is it okay for the washed-but-not-rinsed parts of the car to dry with the soap on them while I'm still washing the other parts? I can't wash in my garage and really would prefer not to wash at night. What are my options?


    - Are the "polish removal" cloths the right ones to use with the Sahara spray? Should I "buff" with those too, as in this video? "Polish removal" sounds harsh.

    - What do I do about the windshield? Never run the wiper wash and just assume it's not going to need to be washed more often than the car? What about bird bombs and bugs?
     
  17. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Thanks everyone for the plentiful advice. The pointer to artsci's thread was particularly helpful; thank you so much, @artsci, for your time and work to provide such valuable information. Thank you too to @kevincwelch for the detailed instructions with specific product recommendations.


    So here's my plan (followed by questions) :


    ASAP after delivery
    Have a professional detailer perform:
    1. Remove any residuals, including wax and oils.
    2. Wash with Glare Ultra Wash and clay bar, polish to remove factory swirls and scratches.
    3. Apply two coats of Glare Professional Finish (first as a polish, then as a wax).


    This all sounds great. Not sure about the leaf blower but many on here have positions that vary.


    -------


    -
    Yes, somewhat in my experience. The car really collects dust in the back. The Glare helps a little. YMMV.


    Absolutely. I keep enough for two full details and generally wash the used ones right after I use them.


    I'd be a little careful. The idea is not to move dirt across the surface and create micro scratches. You WILL get them. The Glare Pro application helps. Your detailer can do swirl corrections at the 18 month interval.


    Certainly should be in my opinion.


    I don't think this is great. The soap (and hence dirt) is probably not meant to be buffed off.


    They should be fine. The Sahara is very easy to use. I do it once a week though it probably isn't necessary. I'm often amazed at how good the car looks afterward. I'm really a beginner and the car looks stunning. You'll be amazed at howmuch faster you go once you know the routine.

    I've been using Invisible Glass with a microfiber cloth. Seems to work well and it's pretty quick. I've gotten a little bratty about the windshields being perfect when I leave the garage, Seems as though the car drives better!:smile:
     
  18. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    Sounds like a good plan. I know a lot of people on this forum are excited about Glare. I've never had a good time dealing with anyone trying to shill Glare (not saying anyone here is that way -- definitely not). But dealing with their customer service was a night mare for me. Much prefer Gtechniq or C.Quartz. They've been helpful over email with my questions in the past without trying to sell me anything.

    As much as I admire Tesla for their service, when they wash the car, the people they have outsourced this to have done a crummy job -- swirls, superficial scratches, water spots. So, I highly recommend you take it to someone immediately, have them detail it and apply your coating du jour.

    If you have someone professionally do your car and apply a coating, you shouldn't need to clay. You can wax, of course.

    Griot's Spray-On Car Wash is fine; I have now adopted Ultima Waterless Wash concentrate. You have to be careful with waterless washes. These are really for the well-maintained car. You need to be generous with the spray and use microfibers that have a deep nap (530-600), and you need to basically use each one briefly and not reused (during the session; you can wash them of course). Apply little to no pressure when doing your wipe. Let the microfibers and the lubricity of the spray do the work.

    Sounds fine. Either the Gilmour Foamaster or the foam lance is fine. I have a pressure washer, so I use the foam lance, but the Gilmour accomplishes the same thing. My choice of shampoo is really just what I use. There are a lot out there, and many of them are very good. The 2 bucket method is very important to avoid reintroducing dirt, scratches and swirls.

    Lots of people use the leaf blower. I hesitate to, because I use it for blowing...leaves. I have a concern that I'm going to kick up dust in the garage or old grass/leaf particles/dust/dirt and hit the car with them. However, a lot of people use a leaf blower...

    Pick up a bottle of Poorboy's Bird Sh#t Remover (that's actually what it's called!). For quick detailing, I recommend either Poorboy's Spray and Gloss or Meguiars Quick Detailer. The Griot's Garage is OK, but I have found it leaves streaks if not properly buffed afterwards. The other two are less "streaky." I do, however, love the Griot's Garage speed shine microfibers.

    GG is fine.

    As Al Sherman said, don't let this stuff dry on your car. It creates extra work. You can certainly rinse/wash a panel at a time or side at a time.


    Have fun! I've found car washing to be a great stress reliever and when polishing or waxing to be somewhat of a workout! :)
     
  19. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    +1 to Kevin here!

    Also you won't need to clay bar a new finish. My guys did (3 weeks later) to make sure, but really found nothing on the car. Of course that might also depend on how your Model S arrives.

    Our local TM service center has a 3rd party detailer, and is advising this step is unnecessary for brand new cars.
     
  20. Colasec

    Colasec Member

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    I decided to go with OptiCoat Pro (aka OptiGuard). I have a decent quote from one of the two official SoCal providers and am waiting to hear back from the second (anyone with feedback about either Show Car or Rhino, please PM me).

    A revised after-care plan:

    - When needed, wash carefully with the two-bucket method as previously described.
    - When pressed for time, instead wash with Optimum No Rinse (<--- product link has a nice instructional video).
    - Every 3 months or so, apply Optimum Instant Detailer and Gloss Enhancer.
    - Once a year or so, have a professional detailer claybar to remove contaminants and do a light repair of the OC with Poli-Seal.

    I'm ordering all my products tonight so I can be ready! Might need to pick up a few buckets at Home Depot too.
     

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