|Warren Tsang's Custom Car Detailing Process|
|Let me first start by giving a general overview of the
process & purpose of the system I came up with for detailing my car.
The way I came about my custom process was because I moved to an apartment
that didn't have a "car wash" area, which made it harder for me to wash
my car the traditional way. But then I discovered that I could keep
my car just as clean, if not cleaner, if I just followed a simple maintenance
schedule & used a few special products. Realize that my process
is geared towards keeping the car showroom clean. For those of you
who just want a way to keep your car modestly clean washing it once a month,
this is process is not what you're looking for. My process is for
people who truly take pride in the presentation of their vehicles, for
those of you, my process should save you time & effort by showing you
how to keep your car clean through the majority of the week, Thus
making the actual washing/detailing that much easier & less time consuming
because you have a cleaner car to start with.
|The key products to my system are:|
Brother's line of waxes & polishes
2) California Car Duster
3) Zaino Z-6 Quick Detailer
|The basic process:|
|(This is just the overview, I'll go into specific detail
about each step after this).
1) Thoroughly clean & wash your car the traditional way with soap & water. You should only have to do this once, from then on only if your car gets really dirty do you need to actually wash it the traditional way.
2) Fully clay & wax your car. I use, and HIGHLY reccomend the Zaino Brothers family of waxes & polishes. But you can use any other reputable line of waxes that you want. If you car is properly maintained, you shouldn't have to clay it again, and depending on how many coats of wax you put on, you shouldn't need to reapply any wax until at least 6 months later.
3) Your car is now looking beautiful, clean, and shiny. Now your goal is to maintain it. Each day after you get home from work & have parked your car in the garage, go over it with the California Car Duster. It only takes like 2 minutes and makes a world of difference. You could also do this step just before you drive your car each day, either way. This also doesn't have to be done everyday, every other day is fine. Just depends on how dusty your particular environment is.
4) The final step is to use Zaino Z-6 , or any other reputable quick detailer, to quick detail your entire car each weekend. Or sooner if conditions require. Quick detailer not only removes dirt & dust from your car, it also reconditions your wax & leaves a showcar shine. It's the finishing touch to keep your car looking freshly waxed and is taking the place of the car washes that you no longer have to bother with.
important element besides the products, is the maintenance schedule.
If you want to keep your car clean, and save yourself the extra effort
& complexity of washing your car the traditional way, you MUST
stick with a proper maintenance schedule. I clean my car every weekend,
unless I haven't really driven it, or if it for some reason has stayed
really clean (haven't been that lucky yet). If the car has gotten dirtier
than normal, then you'll need to compensate by cleaning the car sooner.
Now I'll go into detail about each step.
|1) Washing Your Car|
|Wash your vehicle thoroughly with Dawn (or comparable)
dish soap to remove any wax, grease, and oil from your paint. It's said
that' it's bad to wash your car with dish soap, and in general this is
true, it's a stronger soap, & if you use it all the time it can
be bad for your paint. But you're only gonna do it this once. We
use Dawn because it's extremely effective at removing any old wax off your
paint. After you've dried your car, it should literally be "squeaky"
clean. Now you have a clean slate to start on. There will be
times after you've finished my detailing process, that your car will get
dirty enough that using just the quick detailer to remove the grime is
not reccomended. Like after a rainy day, and you've got all the water spots
and dried road grime along the lower parts of your car. In these cases
I get a large sponge or wash mitt, dip it in a bucket of water, and gently
wipe the dirt off. If your car does get so dirty that you need to
wash it again, make sure to use a proper car wash solution, NOT Dawn. And
also remember to try to not wash your car in direct sunlight, it makes
the soap/water solution dry prematurely, leaving spots & swirls. For
more detailed car washing instructions you can goto the Mother's
site or the Meguiar's site, they
give good step by step info.
|2) Claying, Polishing, & Waxing Your Car|
|After you've washed your car, the paint surface is ready
to receive the wax. But first, I'd reccomend claying the car. For
those of you unfamiliar with the use of clay bars, this clay has a special
property so that when it's rubbed back & forth against your paint (with
quick detailer as a lubricant) it shears off any deposits stuck to the
surface of your paint. It truly does make a difference. I was
amazed the first time I clayed my car, the surface was so smooth after!
Claying benefits older cars more, because they're likely to have more deposits
on the paint. But even a brand new car could have deposits. After all,
it's not like car dealers park all their cars in a huge garage. For the
most part, they're left outside in the elements. So I'd reccomend claying
for all cars new or old. You should only have to clay your car once
a year at most, because if you keep your car clean, new deposits shouldn't
form. When I clayed my car I used Mother's
California Gold Clay Bar. But I think you can use the ones Zaino &
Meguiar's make with the same results.
After claying your car you can immediately follow it with either a pre wax cleaner or swirl remover. This depends on the condition of your paint, if you don't see swirls in it, then you can probably skip this step. Then you apply a sealer glaze, or if you're using Zaino, you apply the PolishLok. I've used many different brands of car wax, from Simoniz, to Mother's, to Meguiar's Gold Class & Zymol. In my opinion, none of these give results as good as Zaino Brothers. I personally have made the comparisons, and stand by Zaino all the way. Tons of other Supra owners, as well as other sports car owners swear by Zaino. Zaino doesn't cost any more than your typical Meguiar's wax, so give it a try, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
After applying the sealer glaze or PolishLok, we now move
onto the actual wax. What type of wax you choose is up to you &
the individual needs of you & your car, but as you know, I use &
reccomend Zaino. How many coats of wax you end up putting on is also up
to you, if you use Zaino it's reccomended you do at least 2 coats.
I put on 5 coats, 2 coats in the first 2 days, and an additional coat each
following weekend. Zaino goes on & comes off much easier than
typical waxes I've used, so it doesn't take all that much time to put on
additional coats. One very cool trick I learned from Zaino's Tips
& Tricks is "When applying Show Car Polish do the following; On
all Top surfaces of vehicle, use a back and forth motion (from front bumper
towards windshield). On all Side surfaces (doors, fenders, etc.) use a
vertical motion, up and down. This technique will increase the way light
attracts and reflects off of Show Car Polish. The body lines and contours
of your vehicle will seem to glow. This trick really works." For more detailed
info on how to apply waxes & polishes, goto Zaino's Tips
& Tricks page.
|3) Maintaining with the Car Duster|
|Now that you've got your car looking totally pristine,
you want to maintain it. And that's the goal of my process as well.
The first step is to keep dust from collecting on your car. You may
wonder what's the big deal, it's just a little dust. But ask yourself,
how does your car get dirty over time? Assuming you're not running
through mud puddles, it's because of the accumulation of dust.
So one of the simplest ways to keep your car looking clean is to prevent
dust buildup. That's what I use the California Car Duster for.
I'm sure there are other car duster brands out there, haven't tried them
or really know anything about them. So all I can say is that I use
the California Car Duster and it's worked wonderfully for me the whole
time. After you get back from work or whatever, & you've parked
your car in the garage for the day, go over it once with the car duster.
It only takes 2 minutes and is well worth the simple effort. Or you
can also do this before driving your each day, it's up to you. It's
also up to you to decide how often to use the duster. I'd say at
least every other day, but do it everyday if you can. It's especially
useful after long drives where dirt, tire & brake dust tend to accumulate.
|4) Weekly Cleaning with Quick Detailer|
|Each weekend I quick detail my entire car. This
is the primary reason you don't need to wash your car, so by all means
don't be lazy and skip it. For those serious about keeping their
car's spotless, you're all familiar with the long hours we spend washing,
drying, waxing, detailing our cars. A big reason that we spend so
much time on the actual washing & stuff is because the car is pretty
dirty. But since you've been using the car duster, the car should
be much much cleaner than usual by the weekend. As a result you shouldn't
need to wash your car the typical way. By the typical way I mean:
1) Rinsing the car
2) Applying soap
3) Rinsing again
5) Quick detailing the whole car to recondition the wax & leave that extra shine
With my system, you go over the car with the car duster, & then all you do is step 5. You can imagine how much time it will save. I reccomend using Zaino Z-6 because I've tried many other quick detailers, from Mother's to Meguiar's to Armor All & Eagle One, and they all gave fairly similar results, though the Motherís left residue that was much harder to remove. The Armor All stuff smells funky, and the Eagle One has Teflon or was it Silicone in it? Which I heard is not good for paint. In the end I decided to just use Zaino because if Iím using the wax & stuff already, might as well use the same brand quick detailer which was made to work with the wax, just to be safe. Use a terry cloth towel or applicator pad to apply the quick detailer in 1' x 1' areas, immediately wipe off & buff until slick. Don't over do it though, you don't need that much quick detailer, so don't go spraying the stuff like it's water. One light spray should be enough for a 1' x 1' area. After you've done the whole car, your paint should be in excellent condition & ready for another week.
Although my actual system focuses just on the paint,
below I'll talk briefly about the processes I use to keep the other parts
of my car clean.
|Cleaning the Engine Bay|
|I've had a few people ask me how I keep my engine bay
so clean. And to be honest, I didn't realize my engine bay was considered
that clean. I only clean it about once a month & don't use any
special techniques. I use Armor All to dress all the rubber &
plastic parts & Mother's Aluminum Polish on the shiny metal parts
and on the exhaust tip too. Any other parts I just wipe with a damp rag,
|Cleaning the Interior, Windows, & Headlights|
|I just use Lexol leather conditioner for the interior.
Wipe on, buff off. I Armor All the dash, but I use a rag to buff
it off a little. I do this because you don't want your dash to be too reflective,
it can cause "veiling glare", especially if your windshield is steeply
raked like the Supra's. Veiling glare is when your dash is refelcted
onto your windshield & impairs your vision out the windshield.
Keeping your dash clean, but not glossy, helps reduce this type of glare.
For the windows I use good ol' Windex. Spray it
on, wipe it off, flip the towel, wipe again, and use a separate towel for
the final wipedown.
I used to put RainX on all the windows, it really does make a difference in the rain. But I found that RainX immediately strips wax off any area it touches. And as rain goes over your windows it unavoidably will wash off some RainX with it & deposit it all over your car, mainly over your roof. After applying a fresh coat of RainX at the start of a rainy day, when I came home I was upset to find my entire roof had lost all it's slickness. So DON'T USE RAINX!
To keep my lights in good condition I will intermittently
use a plastic cleaner & polish on the headlights & tailights.
|Cleaning the Wheels & Dressing the Tires|
|I used to use Meguiar's Endurance Tire Gel, and it was
pretty decent in keeping the tire looking nice over a longer period of
time. The way it works is by leaving a kinda sticky coating over
your tire. The bad thing is, the coating collects all the brake &
road dust it comes in contact with. It ends up getting your tires
coated with an icky muck that you have to scrub to take off. And
if it gets a little wet, the gel tends to splatter off the tire and onto
the surrounding paint, leaving ugly black blotches, quite annoying.
I've switched back to good old fashioned Armor All. No it doesn't really
last weeks like the Endurance gel, but it doesn't have all the annoying
downsides either. And if I'm cleaning my car every weekend anyway,
it only takes 5 minutes to put some on each tire.
To clean the wheels I just use a damp rag & dry rag. My wheels have bolts all along the circumference, and these can be really tough to clean. This may sound funny, but I found that one of those Oral B cordless, electric toothbrushes will do the trick. They only cost like $15 anyways & you don't even have to brush because it does it for you. They have a circle shaped brush head, and it fits perfectly into the niches that the bolts sit in. I just wet the brush head & let it do its thing.
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