DIY Exterior Detailing
by Pat Goss
We have some tips about maintaining the appearance of our cars and joining us is Mr. Cliff Dewey, the owner of Cliff Dewey Auto Detail in Silver Spring, Maryland. Cliff, welcome to Goss’s garage.
CLIFF DEWEY, OWNER, CLIFF DEWEY AUTO DETAIL: Thank you, Pat.
GOSS: Now people make lots of mistakes when they try to take care of the finish on their cars, even down to the things like the rags. What about this red one here?
DEWEY: Absolutely, not for your paint not for exterior at all.
GOSS: Checking oil and stuff like that?
DEWEY: Exactly, shop rag.
GOSS: The white terry towel that everyone is so enamored with, good?
DEWEY: General purpose cleaning, windows, wheels, wiping down interior trim - not the exterior, never!
GOSS: Not the paint? Okay, what do we want this one?
DEWEY: Micro fiber towel - very soft, it’s made for paint and it won’t hurt your paint. You do want to keep them clean though, you don’t want to just keep using the same rag every time. They’re going to come with a little tag and you do want to tear that off it is a little abrasive so when you go out and get them you want to rip that off.
GOSS: All right now what are the steps we’re going to follow as far as taking care of the finish?
DEWEY: The car needs to be prepped meaning prepared properly. Any contaminants tar, bugs, tree sap, all of that needs to be removed with the proper cleaners. Tree sap remover, bug remover, tar remover, which you can get products at any auto parts store.
GOSS: Then I presume we’re going to wash it.
GOSS: All right now we’ve got all the contaminants removed, we’ve washed it, what’s next?
DEWEY: There’s still one thing left, there’s microscopic contaminants on the paint surface that don’t come off when you wash it. Okay Pat and those are removed with a clay bar.
GOSS: I’ve heard horror stories about clay bars that this is an all day job and really difficult. Is it?
DEWEY: Don’t believe those stories Pat it’s easy to do.
GOSS: Okay what do we do with the clay?
DEWEY: The clay comes with a lubricant and after you’ve washed, dried, and prepped the car you’re going to spray some on - do one panel at a time, do it in the shade, never do it in the sun, and you’re going to rub the bar back and forth you don’t have to push too hard just nice and easy and it’s removing all the contaminants right now as we speak Pat. Then all you have to do is dry it off and if you feel it, it’s nice and smooth contaminant free now you can wax it, use a good quality wax. Paste wax or liquid wax routinely every six months.
GOSS: Every six months so when the sales person that sells you the car says you never have to touch the paint, that’s not true?
DEWEY: Not true in my book Pat.
GOSS: Every six months. Cliff, thank you so much.
DEWEY: You’re welcome.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.