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Rookies guide to auto detailing

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by goaliemanshark, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. goaliemanshark

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    162
    My blue Model S is totally gorgeous. I love it. But as my first expensive car I have no idea how to take car of its paint job.

    I have been taking it to the car wash which Tesla suggests in my area (waterless Eco Green Auto Clean). But I still want to learn more!

    How do i get rid of the spider webs in the paint job? How are these formed? Are they from the car wash?

    What's a hologram? How are they formed?

    Should I wax the car myself? Is it better to have a pro do it? How do I tell if the guy does a good job? I guess my eyes aren't trained yet. :crying:

    My car is a total dust magnet, any idea how to limit this?

    As you can see I basically have no idea what i'm doing or talking about. I'd love an education! I know there are a lot of people in my situation (going from Prius to Model S) that would love some help also.

    Thanks!
     
  2. carrerascott

    carrerascott FUEL FTR

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    Thanks for starting this thread. I've been washing and waxing cars for many years but the last few I haven't been doing much of anything. What is a waterless car wash by the way? I'd think the more water the better...

    But for my coming black S, I have ordered some stuff (most of my wax and wash is old so figured the chemicals probably have changed, so for a new black car I better buy new!)

    This stuff gets great reviews on Amazon and makes super suds, and $26 for a full gallon (shipped) is pretty cheap compared to the big brands:
    31NXobgXkaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003TPW5YM/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

    And the really get some serious suds going:
    41xHkev4GdL._SX355_.jpg http://www.amazon.com/Gilmour-95QGFMR-Foamaster-Cleaning-Sprayer/dp/B000Y190WE/ref=pd_bxgy_auto_text_y

    Probably the best reviewed of the Carnauba waxes:
    51eWjoa3G8L._SL500_AA300_.jpg http://www.amazon.com/Mothers-California-Brazilian-Carnauba-Cleaner/dp/B0002U1TVW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359918964&sr=8-2&keywords=mother%27s+wax

    I haven't gotten (should be here soon) or tried this yet, but again very highly reviewed to make your tires shine: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007VJ2K9M/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00

    And then you want the softest lint-free towels you can get. Make sure you use as many towels as you need per wash, and then wash and dry the towels -- but don't use softeners or dryer sheets when you wash them (I can't remember why this is...). I get mine at Sams Club, very soft, no lint and cheap enough that you can toss them or use them as rags after a few uses.

    Anyway, like I said, I just ordered most of the above in preparation of my car arriving. I'm no expert, but the softer the touch, the less micro scratches and spider webs you'll get. A good wax should help with the shine and to fill in and hide a lot of the scratches.

    Of course, everyone will have different methods and products -- it's an incredibly huge industry, and everyone claims theirs is the best. ;)
     
  3. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    5,793
    Location:
    Skaneateles, NY
    I don't know squat about washing cars. I've always gone to the self-service car washes and power washed. Is that considered bad for the paint?

    I've also always used wheel cleaners, with a brush, and black tire aerosol spray. I'd love to hear feedback from the detail pros regarding the do's and do not's, etc, and what we should actually be doing. I also plan on putting XPEL Ultimate aftermarket paint protection on , so I'd like advice on how to wash a car that has that on it too...
    Fyi these are typically the things I'd use:

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Magic-5075174-Titanium-Aerosol/dp/B001S873Q2

    http://www.amazon.com/Mothers-05924-Foaming-Wheel-Cleaner/dp/B0007RDVH0

    http://www.amazon.com/MOTHERS-155700-Mothers-Wheel-Brush/dp/B001GJ3DZS
     
  4. gsxrex

    gsxrex Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    Messages:
    140
    Location:
    NorCal
    Spider webs and swirls are basically small scratches in the clear coat of the paint. They can come from a lot of sources, but typically they come from dirt stuck in a wash mit or the automatic car wash itself (those dancing wash things aren't exactly the cleanest equipment on Earth). In order to remove the spider webs, you'll need to polish the paint with a high quality polish and a pad that has enough cutting power to remove the swirl.

    As for dust, dark cars are all dust magnets. Other than spending some time with a quick detailer every night, I've never been able to keep all the dust off. Having said that, I've only owned dark cars (blue, multiple black, and red), as they look the best when they are clean. It just takes a lot of effort to keep them clean. :)

    Autogeek has a lot of informative how-to guides and videos. Here's a couple links for you. Whether you buy their products is of no consequence. The links and videos are just good to watch to understand what's going on:

    Car Wash Guide, Car Wash how to - easy steps to shampoo and dry your vehicle using paint-safe mitts and towels, plus sponges, the Grit Guard and
    Auto Detailing Facts, auto detailing Tips, How to detailing Guides, how to polish, how to wax, DIY detailing, do it yourself guides

    Nowadays, most people that detail cars on their own will use a dual action polisher. It's much faster than doing it by hand (unless you are either a masochist or have lots of time on your hands, but for me, with 2 kids, a DA polisher is the only way to go), and the results are almost as good as a professional using a true rotary polisher.

    I find that car washing is a religious thing. People like what they like and stick with it. So I find it's good to do some research and then experiment for yourself with what you like best. There isn't a definitive end all, be all product, or at least I haven't found it yet.
     
  5. shokunin

    shokunin P85 & S40

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
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    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    +1. Find a method you enjoy that is inline with your goals. Some people like to spend hours polishing and waxing their cars every week, others care less but just want it clean and as scratch free as possible. Depending on which camp you fall into, could dictate the methods and products you prefer to use.

    There are sooo many products, brands, and methods out there. There's no magic bullet or best of the best, just what you prefer. I just started another wash method (Garry Dean wash method) that I'm liking over my two bucket method I've been doing for years. Trying a new drying method as well (using a Metro Blaster similar to a leaf blower).
     
  6. Babylonfive

    Babylonfive Power12

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    Location:
    Cedar Park (Austin), Texas
    Check out YouTube - there are dozens of good detailing/polishing videos.
     
  7. MTGMAN

    MTGMAN Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
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    Location:
    Greenville SC
    How about The liquid Glass you mentioned before do you have any new pics?
    Thanks
     
  8. Keystone S

    Keystone S Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
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    Location:
    Greater Philadelphia
    If you learn one thing on this thread about detailing your car, let it be this: Use the two-bucket system (with grit guards in each bucket) to wash your car. It will minimize the microscratches that we all see. As mentioned above by gsxrex, autogeek has a lot of good advice and products.
     
  9. aaronw

    aaronw Member

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    Look for a series of videos by Junkman on Youtube... he takes car washing seriously.
     
  10. carrerascott

    carrerascott FUEL FTR

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    Charlottesville, Virginia
    Found this older thread on the same topic: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/11726-Car-washing-a-Model-S-by-hand

    - - - Updated - - -

    I got the Gilmour 95QGFMR Foamaster II Cleaning Sprayer from Amazon today and thought I'd try it out on my "beater" FJ Cruiser (normally lives outside but is in the future Tesla's space for now). Very cool to be able to wash without a bucket, I think it did a nice job. (Spray on all nice and foamy, let it side for a few minutes, wipe with clean towel(s), rinse off, dry with clean towels).

    Unfortunately I forgot to take a "before" dirty pic. ;)


    20130205_214431.jpg
    20130205_213626.jpg
    20130205_220744.jpg
     
  11. rlpm

    rlpm S P85 | Sig X _P90D_

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    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Ooh, shiny!
     
  12. goaliemanshark

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    162
    Thanks for all the advice.

    I'm considering treating one part of the car, and attempting to get rid of the swirling marks. Then get it car washed to see if they are scratching my paint!
     

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