There is no better way to get to know your car than to give it a thorough detail. We can already hear you saying ‘uncle’ but bear with us, while we explain why. Firstly, nobody can do a better detailing job than yourself. Why? Well, we’re talking about your pride and joy here. At Foreign Affairs Motorwerks (your favorite auto repair shop), we are passionate petrol heads, and we know what it is to own a vehicle.
While canary yellow Miatas aren’t everyone’s taste, your car is an expression of yourself. You chose it. Perhaps you’ve modified it to suit your taste, but ultimately you care about it, or else you wouldn’t be reading this. Have no idea how to detail? No stress, here are some tips from your favorite local auto repair shop.
The real estate honchos always say, location, location, location… Where you decide to wash your car is quite important. Not everyone has options, but if you can find a shaded, level place that has easy access to water and electricity, you’ve got it made.
The end result is only as good as your products, so make sure that you have the following as a bare minimum:
- Wax free, pH neutral, bio-degradable auto shampoo. (Sound like a real mouthful? Pop into your local auto repair shop and they should help you out.)
- Two washing mitts, or if you have one, a pressure washer with a foam cannon.
- A microfiber towel or an air drier.
- Plenty of soft rags or microfiber cloths
2. Well Begun Is Half Done
There’s nothing really to washing a car, right? Just grab a bucket, add the shampoo and fetch in… Uhm, no.
Automotive paint has come a long way since the era of the Datsun rust buckets. In addition to the primer, we now have a basecoat and a clear coat layer protecting the metal. Painting is also much more carefully controlled, meaning finer coats. This also means it is easier to scratch the paint. We have to be careful how we go about washing, as debris and grit make an ideal sandpaper to give your sportscar that charming, scuffed appearance that everyone in the enthusiast community is wild about.
There are two main methods any good auto repair shop will recommend. The zero touch and the two buckets. No, this isn’t some kind of baseball strategy, allow us to elaborate.
Zero Touch Carwash
Zero Touch. Exactly what it says. Keep your hands off the vehicle, you have the right to remain silent… We digress. Basically, perform your rinse using the pressure washer and then take out the canon. No, not the one from the Independence Day Parade, the one that that you fill with shampoo. Kinky enough? Sweet. Now give your pride and joy a thorough coating of foam. Let it set for 5-10 minutes, then rinse off carefully with the pressure washer.
Pro tip: For stubborn dirt or tar spots (ugh) you may have to repeat the process.
The Two-Bucket Car Washing Method
While this might sound like a Laurel and Hardy skit, it really depends on how you carry it off. Just kidding. So one bucket filled with clear mountain water, the other with, erm clear mountain water. And shampoo. We just had to get that shampoo in there somehow. Ready to grab two microfiber mitts and pull some Mr. Miyagi moves? Dip your mitt in the shampoo bucket, then apply to the… body. Of the car that is (at your favorite auto repair shop we like to keep our hands clean). Then rinse it thoroughly in the water bucket before repeating the process. Once you’ve done the whole auto, rinse off the shampoo with the hose or pressure washer.
Now that the hard part is over, towel dry the vehicle, or if you’re not the intimate type (with over 30 years of experience we’ve seen it all) use an air drier. Congratulations! You’ve just started a mean detailing job. Follow up your good work by moving on to giving your pride and joy a clay bar treatment, then a polish and a coat of wax.
Like what you see? Follow us, at Foreign Affairs Motorwerks for more tips and the low-down on getting it right.