Alittle knowledge is a dangerous thing...
So is alot.
Due to popular request I have started this guide, it will cover the basics, and in time, if anyone really needs it I will expand on it.
Please see other guides for anything other then exterior paint washing
Part 1 The wash
What you will need.
5 gallon bucket
Multi-shot hose nozzle
meguiers liquid crystal/gold class/soft wash gel car wash
clean terry cloth
about 95 mins
The most important process in keeping your cars paint healthy is the basic wash. To begin you must note that NO car wash will ever be up to par as a hand wax, they will also inflict damage over time and general actually work dirt into the paint.
step 1, the nozzle. Most people will just use a hose, but to do things properly different settings of spray are needed. you can find a hose nozzle for 5 dollars at home depot or whatever; my personal 1 has the following settings.
now of course the very first thing your going to do is park the car in the proper lighting, this would be the shadows, or anywhere on an overcast day, you always want to do this because the heat generated by the sun will cause water to dry faster and inflict water spots, as well as causing the soap to bake to the car if left unattended. Now once you have found the spot you have to rinse off the car, this is done in 2/3 steps.
step 1 (summer only) whenever starting the car must be cool, and at most, luke warm to the touch, if the paint is hot spraying water will cause it to expand and contract, and over time can lead to paint chipping, what I do is set the nozzle to "mist" I then lay down an extremely fine mist over the entire car, you will be amazed at the amount of light steam coming off and wonder why you ever didn't mist.
step 2 (all season)
this is where you will remove most of the light dirt, what I do is set the nozzle to flat, I do this because it spreads the water out over an entire body panel at a time, now going from top to bottom rinse down entire car very well, the reason you use this setting is because its not as harsh, should you use "jet" you risk grinding dirt in and causing swirls so to speak. once you have done this then move to the jet setting. this will only be done inside the wheel wells and along the plastic bottom areas once this is complete go back to jet and rerinse the entire car on center.
Now you’re ready to wash, but wait, what soap do you choose? there are many brands to choose from, all you need to do is use a NON-wash/wax soap, and something meant for cars. I myself have 2 I use, the first is meguiers gold class liquid crystal wash, it comes in a big tub for like 10 bucks and has lasted even me over a year. this is the soap you want to use if your car is ungaraged or is not washed often. If your use is garage and not subjected to frost, 24/7 dirt, and is washed at least or less every 2 weeks, then I recommend the meguiers "soft wash gel" this is a gel type car wash with a thinner studding compounds in order to not subject cleaner cars to raw chemicals which normally would be absorbed by dirt.
after you have chosen your weapon against the environment pour in 1-2oz of soap per gallon used and fill up a bucket (about 2 gallons for a millenia, 3 for a jeep, 1 for a bike etc) Now you must choose what to wash with first. If your car isn't wash often then get an actually sponge, its harsher to the paint but is needed to get the car to an easy "maintenance clean" level If your car is washed often then you need a wash mitt of some kind. again, these are something like 2 dollars. If you use the sponge you will however need another sponge for the lower areas.For normal maintance I perfer the white cotton spun clothes.
Now, this is the method for washing which you will repeat for each body panel, below I have listed the proper order for washing most cars, and what I follow for the millenia.
First, rerinse the bodypanel on flat, then with standing water, dip the wash mitt in, and begin washing in a circular type motion covering the same area no more then twice, in general, except for the roof and hood you will need 1 dip per body panel (DO NOT) let the water drain off of the sponge or wash mitt, you want to get as much water from the bucket onto the car as possible in order to maintain a surface of water so that a dry sponge does not come into contact with the paint, after you have done this, you may proceed with an optional step, that being misting that body panel to help it sud slightly, but is almost never needed. now before placing mitt back into bucket rinse off on flat to remove any large pieces of debris such as grass blades, leaf chips etc, this will appear very clearly on the mitt.
once this is done move the nozzle to "shower" then in even rows proceed to wash off the panel, then once you have finished the rows just spray it randomly. NOW THE KEY. once you have finished rinsing, make sure you have as much standing water on that panel as possible(this will prevent thin layers of water from drying and forming water spots as you continue with the car.
now simply move on to the other panels, as a general rule, for every 3 panels I finish I spray water again over the entire car to make sure there is plenty of standing water on the car. Below is the order from first to list of the body panels to wash.
the only exception to this is the rear bumper, because of the way the millenia is designed I have noticed that no matter what, water will pool on the bottom below the trunk lid closing, you will actually need to OPEN the trunk, and wash the entire bumper, then on the setting "soaker" you will need to rinse that 1 area, then close trunk and proceed washing the rest of the bumper.
Roof and windows, hood and windshield, trunk lid/spoiler, rear glass, bottom of trunk lid (see step 6a), rear quarter panels, rear doors, front doors, front quarter panels, front bumper.
once you have completed all of this take your sponge and wash the bumper plastic around the car where lots of road grime builds up (Millenia only) as well as the inside of the fenders where its painted (a commonly missed area, when doing this use a junk rag and not the sponge you use for the rest of the car)
Now that you've washed the entire car and made sure to keep lots of water on it its time to dry, this is BY FAR the most important step in maintaining a factory shine as well as healthy paint. Water spots ruin everything, they will discolor paint, not allow it to breath, and when washed can leave "rings" of where they were which then must be buffed out with a rotary buffer.
for drying you will need 2 things, first is a large microfiber cloth, these basically absorb the water better then towel, the 2nd thing needed are 1-2 CLEAN terry cloth towels made for car buffing (meguiers.com sells a set of 5 for like 15 dollars) Please please please use the large microfiber towels designed for drying, they are not all the same and using a different purpose or grade can ruin your paint
now for the drying, set the nozzle to "soaker" then do just that, starting from the top and working your way down (duh) apply the thick gentle stream over every inch of the car, you will notice 2 things happening, first it will remove any trace of soap which may have been spray of pushed into another panel, and it will remove the beads from the paint, this is how old skool car cleanings that got lazy used to do it, you will watch as the water simply sheets off the car. Now in an even, uninterrupted row dry off the car, (like mowing a lawn basically) I will say that this can be a slow process and you want to make sure to apply "soaker" only to the panels your drying at that time. now, once you have completed 1 panel you will notice micro fine beads (if your car is properly waxed they will be bigger), on a black car these will dry into water spots, most can't tell, but a true car lover knows every inch of his paint and it will drive them mad, on say a beige jeep, I never notice, however, once you have dried that panel with MF towel take your clean terry cloth towel and in a circular motion LIGHTLY dry the paint, you will notice the water disappear and actually improve the shine. this will also provide MUCH greater depth to the paint is it is no longer obstructed by mircospots (think of a foggy mirror)
repeat this for the entire car; again, you will need to open the trunk in order to dry the pool of water, which will form. Make sure to dry inside the door handles as water will leak down and cause spots, make sure to run the terry cloth along any tight jabs and body panels breaks to get water trapped in there, remember that for the gas tank water will also pool in there and will need to be dried.
Now your car has been cleaned by BHR standards
should you desire to clean your rims, wax the car, interior, or engine bay, see the other entitled threads
Cleaning: The Bhr Legacy
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Posted 19 April 2006 - 05:20 PM
Mazdaworld Federation - General/"Underboss"
2000 Millenia S...It's a car with stuff in it
2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee...4.7, Limited, Quadra-Drive, Loaded.
2005 Audi S4...V8, 6spd, miltek
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee...5.7 Hemi, Overland, '14 LED headlights coming soon
2005 ZX-6rr...Muzzy, power commander 3, bixenons
1987 GPZ500...Vance Hines, full led, bixenons
2013 Lamborghini LP560-4 Spyder...possible twin turbo?
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