Do you really take care of your car's paint? I always have, but only kinda. I was quite happy for years only using one bucket and bath towels for washing and drying, even for the first couple of years after getting my LEAF. But seeing how fast the LEAF's paint lost it's luster, I decided to be more diligent in it's care (and in the care of all my cars, especially important now we have a black car!).
So I made the following changes:
Two buckets - one for clean soapy water and one to rinse the dirty washcloth clean. The second bucket only has to be partially filled with clean water (and a grit guard is recommended, though I don't use one myself but am careful that the washcloth doesn't touch the bottom).
Washcloth - I ditched the bath towels for this chore and went to a mitt with long microfiber tentacles.
Drying towels - I still use a bath towel for drying, but ONLY for dabbing off excess water. I never, ever pull the towel over the paintwork or rub the paintwork dry. Actually, I recently discovered that microfiber cloths are an excellent way to thoroughly dry the paint once most of the moisture has been removed - they don't scratch the paint the way ordinary toweling does. Though you have to know your microfiber towels - some do not wick moisture very effectively, and out of my selection of towels I've found the Meguiars Ultimate Wipe detailing cloths work the best.
Machine polishing - it's inevitable that you'll pick up some light scratches in your paint, even if you're careful, so once a year I like to machine polish my paint before applying wax, and I try to make this a pre-winter ritual so my car is protected from the elements. I use the Harbor Freight 6" Variable Speed DA Polisher with the HF 6" Finishing Foam Pad (the black one) along with Meguiars Ultimate Polish. Cheap but good! The pads are only good for a couple of uses before they start to shed foam, but they are cheap enough to be considered disposable. Set to a medium speed, you'll find if very difficult to overdo it and damage your paint with the polisher. For any stubborn spots, like those from small bird poops, I first use Meguiars Ultimate Compound (which isn't too aggressive) by hand on a microfiber cloth until the spot is all but gone. I don't know yet how many years I'll be able to get away with this without wearing through the clear coat, but there is definitely no sign of it happening anytime soon.
Waxing - Meguiars Ultimate wax by hand on a Meguiars black foam pad, with removal using a Meguiars microfiber cloth. There used to be a waxing kit that conveniently included all these items, but I'm not sure about it's current availability.
All this (plus an application of protectant on exterior trim and tire dressing) will leave the outside of your car looking beautiful.
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Last edited by mwalsh
on Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
2011 Blue Ocean SL with 72,000 miles.
2015 pack under warranty 12/30/15.
Michelin MXV4 tires.
L1 EVSE upgrade.
Superbright LED lighting.
2013 sun visors.
GT-R map lamp lenses.
AV L2 EVSE.