Page 14 - PCA Metro NY Region POST
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 Concours Corner by Joseph Tunkel
Many people ask me how I manage to get my car so clean. Granted, there is a lot of work that goes into getting and keeping it clean. Doing things that anybody outside the Concours com- munity would think (OK, it is) obsessive. But before all the special product and chemicals come out; before I get out the different detailing tools and Q-Tips, there is one basic that it all builds from - that is washing the car. And that is what I would like to write about today.
I would like to take a minute to mention com- mercial car washes – DON’T DO IT. Unless the car wash you use is a complete hand wash and they change out all their sponges, brushes and rags between washes, they will inevitably mess up your paint. Not on purpose, but the meth- ods they use will leave fine scratches in your paint that you will have to correct later. Besides, washing your own car will give you the opportu- nity to find those little dings and flaws that you will want to address and correct.
First, about car wash soap. Use a regular com- mercial brand of car wash. All are good, but I would recommend that when picking products for your car, stick to the same brand. The rea- son for this is they will chemically complement each other. This means they might just give your car that final little bit that makes it look bet- ter than the next guys. Next, unless you are go- ing to wax the car, do not use dish soap. Many of us grew up just grabbing moms dish soap from the kitchen sink and washing our cars with
that. Don’t do it, it will get your car clean alright, but it will strip all the wax off it as well. So, un- less this wash is in preparation of waxing the car, use regular car wash. It is formulated to get your car clean without stripping waxes and sealers.
So, back to washing the car. How tough can this be? Well, it’s not hard, but you have to be careful that you do more good than harm. To start with (and here is one of those obsessive Concours things) use three buckets to wash your car. Yes, three. One for the wheels, one for your wash water and one for your rinse wa- ter. And in the bottom of each, you should put a bucket grate (available at many car stores or on- line). Why three buckets? Believe it or not, this could be one of the simplest ways of preventing scratches in your paint. And buckets are cheap, as compared to your cars paint, so don’t even go there. As I mentioned, one bucket for the wheels. The dirt on wheels is especially nasty. It contains brake dust, metal particles from the brake discs and all sorts of other junk that sticks to this residue. This junk is especially good at scratching paint. So a separate bucket that the sponges and brushes you wash your car with will never see is really important here. If those particles should get on your cleaning tools, they will scratch your paint.
Then the two to wash the car. The wash bucket is just what you would think. Your car wash soap goes in here along with water and you use this to wash the car. The rinse bucket is also self- explanatory, this bucket contains plain water and is where you rinse your cleaning tools after washing the car. Now let me explain about the bucket grate. This little grate sits in the bottom of the bucket and any dirt particles that were on your cleaning tools will sink down below it to the bottom of the bucket. Your cleaning tools will sit on top of the grate, away from the bot- tom. The grate actually keeps your tools from sitting in that dirt and getting contaminated with it. If they did, when you pulled them out and put them back on your car, you will scratch the paint. Not a good thing.
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