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mwalsh
Posts: 9465
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:10 am
Delivery Date: 05 Jan 2011
Leaf Number: 0213
Location: Garden Grove, CA

Care and feeding of your car's paint

Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:23 am

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 70,000 miles.
2015 pack under warranty 12/30/15.
Tinted windows.
Michelin MXV4 tires.
L1 EVSE upgrade.
FIAMM horns.
Superbright LED lighting.
2013 sun visors.
LED shifter.
Heated seats.
GT-R map lamp lenses.
AV L2 EVSE.

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mwalsh
Posts: 9465
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:10 am
Delivery Date: 05 Jan 2011
Leaf Number: 0213
Location: Garden Grove, CA

Re: Care and feeding of your car's paint

Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:44 am

Last edited by mwalsh on Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2011 Blue Ocean SL with 70,000 miles.
2015 pack under warranty 12/30/15.
Tinted windows.
Michelin MXV4 tires.
L1 EVSE upgrade.
FIAMM horns.
Superbright LED lighting.
2013 sun visors.
LED shifter.
Heated seats.
GT-R map lamp lenses.
AV L2 EVSE.

downeykp
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Posts: 582
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:11 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2011
Leaf Number: 1931
Location: Keaau, HI

Re: Care and feeding of your car's paint

Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:56 am

Nice post Michael. I was never comfortable using electric buffer so I do it the old fashioned way, by hand.
Having a black model, it really pays to do all that you said. Scratches really show easily. I washed 3 cars here
in the PNW last weekend. They had all kinds of crap around and behind the wheel wells that really would not come off with a garden hose. Using sponge or washing mitt would only rub into the paint the stuff the hose would not take off.

For years now, I have used my pressure washer to do wheel wells and areas of grime that hose will not remove. It does a wonderful job then washing mitt is not rubbing crap into paint.

When I am done with the three cars I can pressure wash the driveway to make cars and driveway pretty.
2011 Black Leaf SL+QC Vin. 1931
Res. 6-14-10 Order 1-25-11
EVSE: Mod'd Ver. 2 Nissan L1
Delivered 5-31-11

67 Months 25600mi. 10 bars

39 Suniva panels 10.3kw with Enphase micro inverters my electricity cost $21.87 a month.

User avatar
mwalsh
Posts: 9465
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:10 am
Delivery Date: 05 Jan 2011
Leaf Number: 0213
Location: Garden Grove, CA

Re: Care and feeding of your car's paint

Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:03 am

downeykp wrote:Nice post Michael. I was never comfortable using electric buffer so I do it the old fashioned way, by hand.


I was a bit hesitant too, trust me. But I've found that the combination of the medium speed on the polisher, using the the finishing pad vs. the polishing pad I probably should use for polishing, plus the relatively mild Meguiars products are really the key. I've successfully used the same methods on our black Volt with equal satisfaction.

I'm not saying that you couldn't damage your paint, but I think it would be hard to do.
2011 Blue Ocean SL with 70,000 miles.
2015 pack under warranty 12/30/15.
Tinted windows.
Michelin MXV4 tires.
L1 EVSE upgrade.
FIAMM horns.
Superbright LED lighting.
2013 sun visors.
LED shifter.
Heated seats.
GT-R map lamp lenses.
AV L2 EVSE.

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Stanton
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Posts: 1931
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:56 am
Delivery Date: 01 Sep 2011
Leaf Number: 7458
Location: Plano, TX
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Re: Care and feeding of your car's paint

Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:15 am

The dealer I bought my Leaf from gives me a "free" Zak Tek external detail every year (basically a fancy wax job) that I've been pretty impressed with. I occasionally give EV presentations and show my Leaf, so it's sort of a promotion for them as well.
2011 Blue Ocean SV w/floor mats & window tint
12v LiFePO4 battery & FIAMM 74100 horns
Wet Okole seat covers (front)
Tor's low-power heater mod
2013 sun visor
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Battery Pack replaced (Rev E) @51 months and 41k miles

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Nubo
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Delivery Date: 31 Oct 2014
Location: Vallejo, CA

Re: Care and feeding of your car's paint

Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:55 am

Looks nice. Would you say it helped at all with any orange-peel issues?
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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mwalsh
Posts: 9465
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:10 am
Delivery Date: 05 Jan 2011
Leaf Number: 0213
Location: Garden Grove, CA

Re: Care and feeding of your car's paint

Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:59 am

Nubo wrote:Looks nice. Would you say it helped at all with any orange-peel issues?


Not really. You're not really taking that much material when you polish.

I would say you'd need to compound for that, and I'd be very reluctant to do it when the paint is known to be very thin to begin with.
2011 Blue Ocean SL with 70,000 miles.
2015 pack under warranty 12/30/15.
Tinted windows.
Michelin MXV4 tires.
L1 EVSE upgrade.
FIAMM horns.
Superbright LED lighting.
2013 sun visors.
LED shifter.
Heated seats.
GT-R map lamp lenses.
AV L2 EVSE.

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ksnogas2112
Posts: 1215
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:56 pm
Delivery Date: 23 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 021881
Location: Lenexa KS (Kansas City)
Contact: Website

Re: Care and feeding of your car's paint

Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:13 am

I was washing by hand and really liked the results. I added Turtle Wax spray for waxing while drying and found it works quite well.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/16888957?wmls ... 52&veh=sem


I've been using zymol
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Zymol-Natural ... z/19864190
to wash and have been very pleased with the results.
Tom in KS
100 Mile Club-#57
http://ksnogas.blogspot.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Try reading a book, it's a novel experience
MY 2012 - Cayenne Red-45,000+ miles

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Wennfred
Posts: 380
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:47 am
Delivery Date: 24 Mar 2011
Leaf Number: 000660
Location: San Diego, CA (Imperial Beach)

Re: Care and feeding of your car's paint

Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:17 pm

I've tried all of them but the one wax I always return too is Amway's Silicone Glaze Wax. Love this stuff.

Silicone Glaze Car Polish is not a conventional wax, but a custom blend of cleaning and polishing agents which gently lifts soil and old polish without harming the car's finish

Easily applied, it combines the shine of wax and the recognised protective qualities of silicone
Resists grime, tar and water spotting

Creates a high gloss that lasts for months

http://www.amway.com.au/Product/Detail/36?c=EN-AU


Fred
MFG: FEB 2011, Red Recd 08/10/13 @ 19600 Miles
"Eco Mode" only. 06/24/15 - 9 CB @ 43,000mi 100% charge: GIDS=199, S=95.37, C=46.76, H=50.51 Lost 1st CB at 26300, 2nd CB 34274 3rd CB 43000 miles

LeftieBiker
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Re: Care and feeding of your car's paint

Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:27 am

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'd be reluctant to polish a Nissan more than once total - the paint is too thin, and you are removing material uniformly rather than as-needed, making problems later in the car's "life" more likely.
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

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