After investing in restoring your car, it only makes sense to prevent future damage to it’s condition. The main priority is to minimize things touching the paint. Scratches, scuffs, swirl marks, and other damage comes from either chemicals (in sprinkler water, bird droppings, acid rain) or movement (dirt/dust/pollen being scratched across the surface, improper washing.).
Wheels and Tires
Always begin by washing the wheels and tires. Having the right cleaners and brushes makes it much easier. If you’ve chosen to have your wheels ceramic coated, maintenance will be a breeze.
The Meguiar’s Super Degreaser has been discontinued, so I’ve now switched to Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam. This is good for heavy grease buildup.
TufShine Tire Cleaner (not pictured - great for removing built-up tire dressing)
Gyeon Iron - removes iron deposits (brake pads are a consistent offender). Beware, it smells like liquid death. DO NOT use inside your garage.
Gyeon Tar - tar remover, also works great for removing adhesives.
EZ Detail Brush - very versatile, works well for scrubbing the wheel wells too.
EZ Detail Brush Mini - also good for getting between spokes.
Atlasta Detail Brush - great brush. Good for getting around lugs and into small areas. I have a second one for interior use too.
Boar’s Hair Brush - it’s expensive, but trust me, you want this brush. It’s safe on the wheels and can clean most any style.
Tuf Shine Tire Brush - best brush I’ve found for tires. Perfect balance of soft but stiff bristles.
Two Bucket Method
If you enjoy spending time on your weekend washing your car, this is the way to go. It will remove road grime and dirt that a touchless wash won’t, and it won’t destroy your paint like a brush car wash will.
The key is using the two bucket method. Your first bucket is clear water and used as a rinse. Your second bucket is full of soapy water (use a quality car soap, never dish soap - it will dry out rubber/plastic).
Rinse off the vehicle with a strong stream of water from your hose or pressure washer to rinse off as much loose dirt as possible (if you have a pressure washer, a foam cannon is a great investment)
Using gentle, straight line pressure start from the top and work your way down
Rinse your wash media frequently, using either your hose or the rinse bucket
After rinsing, load up with soap again
Rinse the soap off the car frequently, you don’t want it to dry
Dry using a leaf blower if car is ceramic coated, or a quality drying towel if not
My favorite option, this works very well for cars that aren’t very dirty. If there’s a lot of road grime/dirt buildup, you should go with the two bucket method above.
Rinseless wash can be used several ways, but the idea is the same - minimal water use and a soap with high lubricity (slipperyness, basically).
First Method - Bucket
Step 1: Add Rinseless Wash at correct ratio to a bucket of water
Step 2: Soak a microfiber towel in the wash
Step 3: Wring out towel
Step 4: Fold towel in half, then half again
Step 5: Using gentle side to side motion from top to bottom, wipe off panel
Step 6: Switch to a clean side of the towel after two or three swipes
Step 7: Repeat steps 2 to 6 until complete
Second Method - Sprayer
Add Rinseless Wash at correct ratio to a spray bottle
Lightly spray one panel of the vehicle
Use steps 4 to 7 from above Bucket method
Automatic Car Wash
Life is busy - if you don’t have time to do it by hand, your next best bet is a touchfree car wash. Key word is TOUCHFREE. The car washes with brushes/foam ribbons simply take the dirt from every vehicle that went ahead of you and scrub it all over your car. This is what causes the swirl marks and scratches that ruin the gloss of your paint. If you had your vehicle ceramic coated, skip the waxes - they’ll inhibit the self-cleaning and hydrophobic properties of your coating.
Sprinkler water: the minerals in sprinkler water will quickly etch into your clearcoat - and if left long enough, they’ll etch through to the point were it can’t be polished out. A good water spot remover can remove the minerals if it hasn’t etched into the clearcoat. If it has, polishing is the only way to correct/minimize the damage.
Acid rain/industrial fallout: Hard to avoid if you have to store the vehicle outside, frequent careful washing can help minimize.
Bird droppings: The acidic foods (berries particularly) that birds eat will cut into your clearcoat quickly. Remove bird droppings as soon as possible. First soak them in a liquid (spray detailer, water and car shampoo, etc.) for a few minutes, and then gently remove it using a quality microfiber towel.
Tar: Soak the area in a quality tar remover, and then gently use a microfiber towel to remove it.
Last Step Products (LSP)
The LSP you should use for paint depends on what you had installed by us. Using the right product will boost and enhance the qualities of your chosen protectant.
If sealant: Chemical Guys Hybrid V7 High Gloss Spray Sealant
If ceramic coating: Gyeon Wet Coat
Avoid silicone-based tire dressings at all costs. They cause the rubber to deteriorate, and attract dirt and road grime. They’re very difficult to remove, and they’re often exceedingly glossy. We recommend:
Do NOT apply the product heavily - this is what leads to tire sling (the black junk that sticks to the paint behind the tires).