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Detailing tips and tricks Need some shine? Tired of swirls? Step on in!

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Old 10-26-07, 09:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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DIY: How to Wash Your Car (56K, go away)

How to Wash Your Car (Car Wash DIY)
I. Intro
II. Getting Started
III. Washing/Rinsing/Drying
IV. Dusting/Between Washes
V. Conclusion/Results


Section I: Intro
Surprisingly simple right? I thought so too, but I've seen one too many dirty Legends on the forum and it gives me the shudders to think that some of my fellow Legend owners might be neglecting their cars not out of laziness, but because they lack the knowhow fret not, I've compiled a handy and full-of-pictures DIY!

I loosely follow the car wash how-to provided by Autopia, but with some very (2nd gen) Legend-specific tips. Feel free to adapt my DIY as you see fit.

My little guide was made on 10/26/2007 in the afternoon, a day or two after the Harris Fire burned the edge of my neighborhood in Chula Vista. I figured a dirty, dusty, ash-covered car would make a good DIY test subject:

Nasty tires, dusty wheels, encrusted wheel wells:


Stains from dirty, acidic water:


Thin layer of ash (was much worse but I've driven it around a bit so most of the ash came off):


Splattered bugs from road trips to Monterey/LA:


So let's get started!
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-Type II brakes/some weight reduction/new tires every 4-6 months
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-[Mugen/Showa] suspension with remote-adjustable dampers
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Old 10-26-07, 09:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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II: Getting Started

Before you even pull out the hose, do yourself a favor and do a couple things:
-check the weather (personally I don't care but it bothers some people if it rains just a few days after they washed their car).
-close all your windows. Make sure they're all the way up.
-while you're at it, close all your doors too. Water gets into half-closed doors.
-and close your moonroof. If you modded your moonroof to tilt, make sure you've got a tight seal.

Next, take off anything you're wearing that might scratch your car. This sounds like a no-brainer but I've got a big-belt-buckle-wearing neighbor with this gorgeous BMW he loves to wash and his car has a nice scratch all the way around as if someone keyed his poor doors.

Keys, metal belts, etc. Put 'em in your pockets or take them off:


Different people use different car wash products. You can be partially crazy like me and have buckets of washes and towels and dressings and polishes:


Or you can just keep it simple. What you need at the minimum is two buckets, a sponge, car wash, and towels. Make sure that nothing you use will scratch your car.

I use a microfiber fuzzy wash thing along with several microfiber towels. For wash I generally use Meguiar's Gold Class car wash. Do NOT use dishwashing soap unless you're trying to remove tar or oily residue on your car. Dishwashing soap strips any wax off your car so you always need to wax afterwards.

You need two buckets: one for holding your soapy water, one for rinsing your sponge. Some people are clever and can use just one bucket; I'm not one of those people:


Here, my blue bucket holds my soapy water (put a couple capfuls in the bucket and spray water into it for the best suds). This is what I dip my sponge into for soap to wash onto my car.

The gray bucket is regular water. I never put the dirty sponge from my car back into the blue bucket ~ I dunk it into the gray bucket instead to rinse off the dust and crap. Only when it's rinsed will I dip it back into the blue bucket for more soap.

Alright, time to actually wash the car now.
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-8000K HID low-beams/PIAA Spark 8000 high-beams/PIAA Plasma GT-X corners
-Type II brakes/some weight reduction/new tires every 4-6 months
-NA1 NSX wheels: Kumho Ecsta SPT 225/50V-16R in front, Kumho Ecsta ASX 205/60V-15R in rear
-Custom built six-puck kevlar clutch/Lightened (aluminum) pulleys
-[Mugen/Showa] suspension with remote-adjustable dampers
-C35A1/C32A1 hybrid swap; smog legal (by GreenLight Auto)

Last edited by FF Drifter; 10-27-07 at 03:03 AM.
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Old 10-26-07, 09:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Section III: Washing/Rinsing/Drying

It's usually easiest to wash your car in the shade when your car is cool. You can wash your car in the sun too if you're really fast or have help, but keep in mind as you wash you car: always keep your car wet. Never let water, especially soapy water, dry on your car. Some people like to use a spray nozzle fitting on their hose to help keep the car wet ~ I personally just use the hose itself:


When washing your car, use both buckets. Remember to use your soapy water bucket only to get soap onto your sponge. Do NOT use it to rinse your sponge. That's what your regular water bucket is for. I like to dunk my sponge deep in the soapy water, but only near the top of the rinse water. I figure most of the dirt settles to the bottom of the rinse water, so I rinse my sponge only in the water near the top of the bucket.

Wash from top to bottom. You want to clean the cleanest parts of your car first, saving the dirtiest and muddiest parts of your car for last. Depending on how much shade you have to wash your car in, you might want to wash one side of your car first so it's easier to keep the shaded part of your car wet as you wash the other side. If you've got plenty of shade, just wash from top to bottom.

Some parts of the Legend that require extra attention:


Your bumper. I've got a Type I bumper which is relatively simpler than the Type II bumper, but stuff gets stuck in there either way. Lots of dust and mud can collect in the cracks. Scrub well.


If you've got a spoiler or something, it can be a little tough to wash in between the car and spoiler. Either squeeze your sponge flat or use a microfiber towel.


Body moldings and the lowermost part of your car. I wash all the way down and a bit under the car. Make sure your mudguards are on snugly (or be gentle as you wash them) or else you'll knock 'em right off your car. I've actually done this before


Pay special attention to your hood and front fenders. When people look at your Legend, it's almost certainly the surface that will catch their eye the most. The rest of my car might be pretty dusty but if they see a reflective hood they'll think it's clean.


Time to rinse! A spray just spreads soap and water drops all over your Legend so I recommend removing any spray fittings you might have on your hose and just running the water gently over your car. Your goal is to get the water to sheet off your car.

Funny enough, nothing dries your car better than water:


This might seem like it uses more water but if you're quick, you'll find you might actually be using LESS water than you would with a spray nose fitting (yeah SoCal has a big drought too, just like your southeast states).

Here's a quick video showing you how quickly sheeted water can dry your car:



Depending on how well waxed your car was to begin with, your car might just dry itself with no water spots if you rinsed your car well. I usually have to still dry my car with microfiber towels. Before you do that though, you might want to drive your car around the block or something to shake some of the water of the car (body moldings, door jambs, etc). I'd do that but today that would just get more ash on my car.


Here is my drying duo: two microfiber towels. The yellow one on on the left is a waffle weave microfiber. I didn't think much of these at first but they're incredible. Nothing I've tried dries as well as a waffle weave microfiber.

The orange one on the right I use for things like door jambs, my exhaust, my rims, etc. It's a nice big orange drying towel but it's gotten pretty dirty so I only use it on surfaces that I wouldn't touch my precious waffle weave to.

Make sure to dry your car completely. Many people miss the door jambs:


After I've dried the entire car I also pop the gas cap, trunk, and hood. I'm thorough. Lots of extra water (or untouched dirt!) often collects in these places too:


Now, some tips to keep your car clean between washes.
__________________


-8000K HID low-beams/PIAA Spark 8000 high-beams/PIAA Plasma GT-X corners
-Type II brakes/some weight reduction/new tires every 4-6 months
-NA1 NSX wheels: Kumho Ecsta SPT 225/50V-16R in front, Kumho Ecsta ASX 205/60V-15R in rear
-Custom built six-puck kevlar clutch/Lightened (aluminum) pulleys
-[Mugen/Showa] suspension with remote-adjustable dampers
-C35A1/C32A1 hybrid swap; smog legal (by GreenLight Auto)

Last edited by FF Drifter; 10-27-07 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 10-26-07, 09:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Section IV: Dusting/Between Washes

Simply put; the easiest way to keep your car clean is to keep it garaged.

I don't have this option =/ my car sits outside, day and night, often in the blazing SoCal sun with construction area dust and car exhaust crap flying all over the place. I used to use an instant detailing spray/microfiber but recently I've found a quicker, handier way to keep my car clean:

The California Car Duster!


If you live in a dusty area (or are stupid enough to make a car wash DIY when ash is falling from the sky), then you need one of these. Use it only when your car is cool and in the shade. Just hold the duster barely over the surface of your car and move it in big sweeping motions. It'll suck the dust off your car (static something).


Afterwards, just shake it out. Ta da! Clean car again.
__________________


-8000K HID low-beams/PIAA Spark 8000 high-beams/PIAA Plasma GT-X corners
-Type II brakes/some weight reduction/new tires every 4-6 months
-NA1 NSX wheels: Kumho Ecsta SPT 225/50V-16R in front, Kumho Ecsta ASX 205/60V-15R in rear
-Custom built six-puck kevlar clutch/Lightened (aluminum) pulleys
-[Mugen/Showa] suspension with remote-adjustable dampers
-C35A1/C32A1 hybrid swap; smog legal (by GreenLight Auto)
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Old 10-26-07, 09:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Section V: Conclusion/Results

The finished product:


My safe but ash-covered neighborhood:


Another angle:


Reflection:


When drying my car, I like to dust under the hood as well. Might as well do my mechanic a favor. It's easy to make your engine look relatively clean just by dusting a few components: fuel rail covers, strut bar, intake, throttle body cover, shock tower area, brake booster, etc. :


I use a canned air duster (for computers) to reach tight crevices where my towels don't reach (note to self, go to Office Depot for more canned air):


Thanks guys!


Next DIY I'll clean my rims or clay my car. One of those two.
__________________


-8000K HID low-beams/PIAA Spark 8000 high-beams/PIAA Plasma GT-X corners
-Type II brakes/some weight reduction/new tires every 4-6 months
-NA1 NSX wheels: Kumho Ecsta SPT 225/50V-16R in front, Kumho Ecsta ASX 205/60V-15R in rear
-Custom built six-puck kevlar clutch/Lightened (aluminum) pulleys
-[Mugen/Showa] suspension with remote-adjustable dampers
-C35A1/C32A1 hybrid swap; smog legal (by GreenLight Auto)

Last edited by FF Drifter; 10-27-07 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 10-26-07, 10:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just a few things to add to this, hose off the car first, making sure you remove loose contamination. When it comes to wheels, you might want a whole different arsenal for that, only because you are going to be working with metallic dust that can be hard to remove from a wash mitt which could make for potential swirls. Also, when going from the top down, I split the car into different sections then rinse after each section : Ill do pass. side greenhouse (pass roof, windows, and front and rear windshields), rinse, then do the pass. body panels between the greenhouse and the door moldings from headlight to tail light, rinse, then move to the hood and wash the hood, rinse, drivers side greenhouse, rinse, drivers side body panels, rinse, trunk, rinse, below moldings, rinse, then do wheels/exhaust anything else.

There is something else you may want to invest in is a grit guard.
http://autodetailingsolutions.com/grit-guard.htm


But otherwise very thorough and great DIY!
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Old 10-27-07, 12:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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thats a clean car but i got a lil something for u,ive found something soo great u will want to pay me for it. well do u know how most acura's now and days are soo dirty in the inside that what ever u do,wat ever u use or watever you apply ur seats or E-break (you know) major things we u use. (MR. CLEANS MAGIC ERASIER) like i said u would want to pay me..and it works on everything i did my whole car top to bottom........but u would have to buy at FEW of them..trust me it works OR UR MONEY BACK
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Old 10-27-07, 08:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac4u2die4 View Post
thats a clean car but i got a lil something for u,ive found something soo great u will want to pay me for it. well do u know how most acura's now and days are soo dirty in the inside that what ever u do,wat ever u use or watever you apply ur seats or E-break (you know) major things we u use. (MR. CLEANS MAGIC ERASIER) like i said u would want to pay me..and it works on everything i did my whole car top to bottom........but u would have to buy at FEW of them..trust me it works OR UR MONEY BACK
unfortunately that trick was discovered a couple of years ago But some people still never have used it, search for it on the forum, even the detail kind himself uses them (91lsman)
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Old 10-27-07, 12:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thumbs up awesome DIY

Quote:
Originally Posted by ac4u2die4 View Post
thats a clean car but i got a lil something for u,ive found something soo great u will want to pay me for it. well do u know how most acura's now and days are soo dirty in the inside that what ever u do,wat ever u use or watever you apply ur seats or E-break (you know) major things we u use. (MR. CLEANS MAGIC ERASIER) like i said u would want to pay me..and it works on everything i did my whole car top to bottom........but u would have to buy at FEW of them..trust me it works OR UR MONEY BACK

I've been using Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers for so long, cleaning up just about everything...so have a bunch of my friends. It is no secret.


I'm definitely in agreement with ya on a lot of things here, especially like washing from top to bottom and sheeting water.

I don't use the Cali duster on the outside of the car, but I do use it a lot for the interior dash and a few other things...just a little paranoid about those micro-swirls. (which was explained very well by 91LSMAN)

I really enjoyed this write-up, you and me use almost the same exact methods...definitely some of the same products such as...

-The Meguiar's yellow waffle-weaved water magnet towel is an amazing product, I have a few of them that I use to dry car now instead of the long lived Absorber and other chamois. They now offer a blue waffle-weaved water magnet towel used for boats and is almost twice the size of that one.

-Meguiar's Gold Class Wash (big bottle) FTW

-Two Buckets FTW

-Quality washing mit/glove is very important, and can make all the difference.
(I use Meguiar's Deluxe...which looks just like your white one & sometimes a sheepskin mit)

-Grit Guard FTMFW!

Ps- Those NSX wheels look goooood, your Legend is so fresh and so clean now.

Last edited by Blingting; 10-27-07 at 12:34 PM. Reason: punctuation, added a sentence
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Old 10-27-07, 12:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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does it hurt to hose under the hood? saw this guy doin it at a carwash with one of the high pressure washers. just wonderin.
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Old 10-27-07, 05:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I wouldn't shoot any water under my hood, no. If you wrap parts of your engine well (ignition coils, especially) then you can use a steam blast under the hood to degrease and get rid of dust. A safer and more thorough alternative though would be a long afternoon under the hood with rags, Simple Green, and some brushes.
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-8000K HID low-beams/PIAA Spark 8000 high-beams/PIAA Plasma GT-X corners
-Type II brakes/some weight reduction/new tires every 4-6 months
-NA1 NSX wheels: Kumho Ecsta SPT 225/50V-16R in front, Kumho Ecsta ASX 205/60V-15R in rear
-Custom built six-puck kevlar clutch/Lightened (aluminum) pulleys
-[Mugen/Showa] suspension with remote-adjustable dampers
-C35A1/C32A1 hybrid swap; smog legal (by GreenLight Auto)
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Old 10-27-07, 06:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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...here's my weapon of choice when faced with this task

The results... well, you be the judge ...the Mrs daily commute car!





After it's done, all she noticed was my very smooth silky hands

And these two are in line next


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Old 10-27-07, 06:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Nice Job. The dirty cars on this forum always pissed me off. LOL



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Old 10-27-07, 07:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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After 5 long days of rain, it finally cleared up this afternoon and I washed my car this evening. I adapted your "drying with water" method. We'll see how it turned out come morning. I really need to use the two bucket system. Right now I have a hose that can shoot water or soapy water. Its great, but its also broken so washing my car means getting drenched.
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Old 10-29-07, 03:36 PM   #15 (permalink)
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fred, you should have gone to the meguairs clinic. . .

the water thing they refer to is "flooding the car" and your towel is a water magnet (if someone want to buy one)

and i need to wash my car.
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