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4th Gear (Wax on Wax off)
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
One of the members asked if I could put some tips together for the weekend detailing warrior ( not so much the hard core ones ). More in the line of basic tips as to what might help spiff up the car some without going too deep into it.

So here goes.


First off I’ll start with the car washing .. its not brain surgery but some simple tips can make it so much easier, quicker and more efficient.

Washing and the tools needed
1. Try and pick a shaded area if you can or do it in the morning or evening.
2. Use at least a 2.5 gallon wash pail and make a grit guard for it if you don’t want to buy one. I made mine out of a piece of fluorescent fixture lens called an egg crate. You can do the 2 bucket method but after trying it myself I determined that if the guard is used and the mitt rinsed well there isn’t that much benefit.

3. Get yourself a sheep skin mitt as the chenille ones and the M/F ones tend to mar and a sponge is just a delicate way of wet sanding. If you do have a chenille mitt save it for the wheels, I use my old sheepskin one as my wheels are clear coated and I don’t want to mar them.
4. For a hose nozzle I use what looks like a fire hose nozzle ( do a google on “Ultimate Hose Nozzle “) and I like it because you can adjust it to flood the surface to float the grit away.
5. For drying I recommend the Microfiber Waffle Weave towels as they pick up a lot of water .. make for fast drying and don’t mar. You will need a couple of them and they are 24 x 36” .. can be found on line for less than $10 each. Alternate is the plush blue drying towels found at Wal Mart for around $8.
6. Soap … well everyone will argue for cheap to boutique … I use what’s on sale .. and combined with the proper mitt have never had a problem. Soap serves 2 purposes, one is to lubricate the surface so the grit has less chance to mar and the suds help float away the grit. Keeping it off the paint.
7. This is the point where I use a tire cleaner, I prefer Whesleys Bleech Wite. I try to apply it ONLY to the rubber. Spray all 4 tires then go and give them a bit of a scrub with a brush and rinse each tire at that point. I only use the Bleech Wite every 10th wash etc or when I notice my tires loosing the blackness ( is that a word or did I just make it up?)
8. Also if you have bugs on the front one trick I learned was to place an old wool type blanket over the front of the hood/bumper etc and wet it down and tuck it in all the areas, let it set for 1/ to ½ hour or so to soften the bugs. Maybe do this while your vacuuming the car out . I’m not a fan of bug sprays as some contain Xylene and its not paint friendly. Key to bugs is get them off soon as you can because their innards can be acidic.
9. Wash the grill/bumper area first because if you have to spend time there water is drying on the rest of the car.
10. Wet the car down well and with a stronger spray try and remove as much grit as possible. Then I wash from top down starting with ½ the roof, ½ the windshield and rear window and the windows on one side. Rinse well using a spray of water not a blast. Repeat for the other side.
11. Then I do front fenders and hood etc then rinse.
12. Do 2 doors and rear fender and rinse
13. Do trunk and rear bumper and rinse. Keep the rest of the car wet while doing all this.
14. Do remaining doors and rinse.
15. At this point take the nozzle off the hose and turn the water on to a gentle stream and let it flow all over the car. This does 2 things, A) floods all the grit off the car B) it also pulls about 85% of the remaining water from the car.
16. To dry I take the first M/F WW and fold it in ½ so its 12 x 18 and I hold it by 2 corners and starting at the front edge of the hood on one side I drag it over the hood, windshield, rear window, trunk, rear window, roof on other side, windshield and finally over the other side of the hood. Then I do the same down both sides of the car and across the back bumper.
17. Then I fold the other towel in ¼s and starting with the windows I dry them first then do hood, roof, trunk then finish off the sides and bumpers. In reality I can dry my TL in just a couple minutes.
18. Once the surface is dried I use an old plush towels to dry the wheels and a cheap M/F to do the door edges, trunk edge and under the hood.
19. Now I use a dressing on the tires to make them look nice.

I have been doing this for a while and tho it sounds like a lot once your past the initial cleaning of the engine , door edges etc and in an upkeep mode the wash time is about 40 minutes.

One of the keys to short wash times is to do it often and this way it doesn’t become a daylong chore that never seems to have time to get done.



Waxing and detailing for the Weekend Warrior.

First off I’m not going to get into polishing out swirl marks and spiderwebs as that has been covered to death already. Just some of what I think are useful tips for the beginner.

Ok lets get started, your going to need the following to do even a basic job. And what I am suggesting is products I know work because I have used them. There are also other very good substitutes for each item I mentioned out there.

 Wash supplies as above.
 Clay Bar kit ( Mothers is OTC ) and works well.
 Spot scratch remover ( ScratchX etc )
 Yellow foam applicator pads
 Microfiber 16 x 16 towels ( Costco yellow ones are excellent, just cut off the tags )
 Paint cleaner or cleaner wax ( ColorX is OTC , Klasse AIO , PoliSeal. Etc )
 And a wax/sealant of choice. I’m not a Carnuba fan, not saying there is anything wrong with it but the life is too short for all your hard work. I currently use Meguiars #21 sealant. And I’m not about to get into the “Whats best “ wars.

Ok once the car is washed do take the time to Clay Bar the paint surface. This pulls the contaminants out of the paint and leaves a smooth surface to start from. If you have tar of any amount on the car wipe it off using mineral spirits after washing but prior to claying . You will have to rewash before you clay. Clay will remove tar but a lot of tar has imbedded grit and your just asking to have it mar your paint if the clay bar pickes up too much. There is a link in the drop down menu in my web page on clay baring your car. Give it a read. http://www3.telus.net/jesstzn/

As your claying the car take a roll of masking tape and put a small spot of tape on any scratches you see for future reference cuz your not going to remember them all.

Once claying is done there is no need to rewash as long as you used the QD spray supplied for the lube.

Next step is take your ScratchX ( or sub ) and address the scratches you marked with tape. There is a link in the dropdowns on my web page for this too.

When done clean up the paint with the ColorX etc. ColorX is very forgiving and you can apply it to the whole front of the car before removing. ColorX also lays down a sealant for a little protection and is a good base for most sealants. Another reason for it is it will help remove some of the oxidized clear coar and along with it some of the minor swirling that is in the oxidized clear.

Then finally apply your LSP ( Last Step Product .. your selected wax or sealant ) . No need to apply the sealant the same day if your tired. Do it Sunday or next weekend. Just wash the car before you do.

Interior cleaning.

My routine is pretty simple be it my cars or customers.
1. I use a M/F towel misted with a Woolite solution ( see the Wonders Of Woolite button on my web page .. saves me typing ) to clean the dash and all the interior plastic. For the tight spots I put the towel around a Popsicle stick. ( vents etc )
2. I never dress customers interior panels. For my own I use either Meguiars #40 rubber & vinyl dressing or occasionally 303 )
3. Shop vac to vacuum and the Woolite solution for spot carpet staining.
4. Bissel Lil Green Machine if I have to shampoo.
5. Windows I use Stoners Invisible Glass ( Pump not aerosol ) misted lightly on a low nap M/F towel that I have dampened with tap water and rung out. I wipe the window down and immediately wipe/polish it with a 16 x 24 WW M/F towel I have dedicated for windows.

Have fun

Added Notes as I think of them
Any time your claying, using a scratch removal product or any abrasive always to it in a back and forth motion not circular and preferably in the direction the wind blows over your car. Any subsequent marring is a lot hard to see than if done in a circular pattern. I do apply waxes/selants by hand in a circular motion for coverage but I always remove in a back and forth motion. Waxes and sealants when wet have enough lubrication to allow this.

Always use a new yellow foam applicator when applying waxes/sealants or at least one that was washed immediatly after the last use. Dried waxes/sealants in the pad can mar.
 

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4th Gear (Wax on Wax off)
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks..
great tips..
lots of work tho. How often do you do this??
The washing I do at least weekly spring/summer/fall weather permitting. Winter is another story and I'll go into that another time.

I'm 63 and can wash mine per above in less than 40 min minus the vacuuming so I'm sure you youngins can survive. The other thing is the cleaner its kept the easier it is to keep clean. You just have to get off the couch.

If you don't throw junk all over the inside of your car or track crap into it the interior cleaning doesn't always have to include vacuuming. Gram the front mats occasionally and pull them out and give them a shake. I have a small dog that is trained to remain in the back seat. I have a blanket covering the back seat that I just remove and shake out periodically.

The detail with the claying I do in the spring when its a warm day. If you use a sealant you can layer it and the life is a lot longer and the looks better.

In the fall I do it again less the clay step.

The detailing part might seem like a lot of work but if you ever wonder why the guys car next to you looks better than yours .. thats why.

It also doesn't need to be done all in the same day .. You can eash and clay bar one day, wash and ColorX the next weekend wash and add the sealant the next. Contrary to popular belief having no wax/sealant on your car for a week or 2 isn't going to make the paint leap off.
 

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Great tips.

One thing though as far as hose nozzle goes... I had an uncle many years ago who was in the paint manufacturing business and took fanatical care of his cars from the 1940's to the 80's, and he said to never hit the car with any pressure at all, nothing but an open hose. The reason he said was that it lifted the wax off the paint. It can even lift paint off the car. He had this one 25 year old black Cadillac from the early 60's that was absolutely pristine, like it came out of a time capsule.

I have also heard that the open hose should be used to drench the car for several minutes in order to flush away as much dirt as possible AND allow the greasy dirt that remains time to soak in some moisture which lowers it's abrasiveness to the paint when you finally start swirling it around.

At least this is the way I try to do it and have had good results, YMMV. This is about the extent of my car detailing knowledge however, well that and nothing messes up the paint job like bending it around a telephone pole. :icon_eek: :D
 

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4th Gear (Wax on Wax off)
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great tips.

One thing though as far as hose nozzle goes... I had an uncle many years ago who was in the paint manufacturing business and took fanatical care of his cars from the 1940's to the 80's, and he said to never hit the car with any pressure at all, nothing but an open hose. The reason he said was that it lifted the wax off the paint. It can even lift paint off the car. He had this one 25 year old black Cadillac from the early 60's that was absolutely pristine, like it came out of a time capsule.

I have also heard that the open hose should be used to drench the car for several minutes in order to flush away as much dirt as possible AND allow the greasy dirt that remains time to soak in some moisture which lowers it's abrasiveness to the paint when you finally start swirling it around.

At least this is the way I try to do it and have had good results, YMMV. This is about the extent of my car detailing knowledge however, well that and nothing messes up the paint job like bending it around a telephone pole. :icon_eek: :D

Good points .. years ago the paint was single stage and the products used to adhere the paint / primer weren't like today.

I guess I should have been a little more clear. The strong spray shouldn't be 3" from the paint surface but back aways and always after the car was wetted to loosen and flush abrasives.

Using a sheepskin mitt helps here too... as it doesn't grind the grit into the surface like the ols wash rags or sponges did.

Waxes today can't be blasted off with a stream of house water.


TY for the input.
 

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Lefties have rights, too!
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I have heard many people suggest using a cloth towel instead of a sponge or sheep skin mitt. The reason is that sand and grit can more easily get caught in these versus a towel.

Any thoughts?
 

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Just thought I would add another tip. Do not spray the sidewalls od your tires with a pressure washer, as this can damadge your tires, even though you may not be able to see the damadge.
 

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Punches Dubs. True Story
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I have been doing this for a while and tho it sounds like a lot once your past the initial cleaning of the engine , door edges etc and in an upkeep mode the wash time is about 40 minutes.
I just wanted to say that I followed most of the steps here (didn't have a lot of bugs, so I skipped the wool blanket bit ;)) last weekend and I knocked out a reasonably clean car in 45 minutes. Thanks for the tips.

Oh, I found the plush blue towels at my local WalMart - finally. They were on sale for like $6.49 each, so I bought a pair. Those do work exceptionally well. Thanks for that tip, too.

No pics until after the GTG this weekend.
 

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hey i have a black passat. apparently the previous owner machine waxed the car and the paint has the swirls of the wax machine. it looks embarrassing when the light hits it because you can see it. is there a way of fixing this or do i have to send the car to get painted. its all over the car. help?? pls
 

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hey i have a black passat. apparently the previous owner machine waxed the car and the paint has the swirls of the wax machine. it looks embarrassing when the light hits it because you can see it. is there a way of fixing this or do i have to send the car to get painted. its all over the car. help?? pls
I have a used black passat as well. I spent a good portion of my Saturday doing detailing with my uncle. Scratch x, clay bar, wax etc. It looks BRAND SPANKIN NEW after it all...but after i washed it again next weekend...it went back to normal. I only use a tiny drop of soap as to not take the wax away. But u can see all the swirls and scratches and dings again. So yeah I kind of have same issue. How do i keep that sleek black shine.
 

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4th Gear (Wax on Wax off)
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
hey i have a black passat. apparently the previous owner machine waxed the car and the paint has the swirls of the wax machine. it looks embarrassing when the light hits it because you can see it. is there a way of fixing this or do i have to send the car to get painted. its all over the car. help?? pls

What needs to be done is have the swirling polished out and a good sealant applied .. its something your not going to do by hand. I suggest you look up a good detailer in your area and ask him for a quote and his proceedure & products used.
 

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4th Gear (Wax on Wax off)
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have a used black passat as well. I spent a good portion of my Saturday doing detailing with my uncle. Scratch x, clay bar, wax etc. It looks BRAND SPANKIN NEW after it all...but after i washed it again next weekend...it went back to normal. I only use a tiny drop of soap as to not take the wax away. But u can see all the swirls and scratches and dings again. So yeah I kind of have same issue. How do i keep that sleek black shine.
The trouble is what you did just covered up the swirling not remove it .. see the last post above.

Also post your washing proceedure and what yo uused to wash / dry.
 

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The trouble is what you did just covered up the swirling not remove it .. see the last post above.

Also post your washing proceedure and what yo uused to wash / dry.
I use two pales...one clean water...the other with water and soap (Meguiars gold shine car soap - literally use the small cap full thats it) Wash from top down. Hood, Roof, top of trunk....then sides half way down...then all bottom body. I dry with 100% cotton towels (i use microfiber if im detailing). Then i use auto windex for windows. I use separate mit for rims. Thats just my simple 1-2 a week car washing.
 

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You're not using nearly enough soap so you're grinding all the dirt back into the paint. I don't know why this theory still get passed around but car soaps will NOT remove wax. Dawn or any other dish soap WILL remove wax.

The cotton towels could also be doing it, especially if you're using a fabric softener on them.
 

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Yeah...no more swirls showing up...just cant get rid of the old ones. And yeah, at first i wasnt sure about the cotton towels, but my uncle has a nice car and he uses them all the time (he's a car guy so im learning from him). Thanks for the heads up though.

Also, yeah the dish soap thing, I dont even know why people started using that on their cars.:crazy:
 

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Because when you're doing a complete detail from scratch it's easier than removing the old wax after you've washed. it's just a time saver.
 

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Same issue

I have the exact same issue going on with my 1998 Passat. Did you find a fix. If so, what was it and how much did it costs.
 
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