View Full Version : Car care.

Al R
31st Aug 2009, 08:17
Seeing as cars are currently being mentioned, and it is a Bank Holiday, its time for a spruce up. Does anyone clay their car paint, and what are people's preferred wpns of choice when it comes to car cleaning/detailing?


When it comes to relaxation and reward, claying is like running your hand through soft sand on a warm beach. The soiling on the underside of the lump of clay is the otherwise invisible build up of road tar, sap and other matter that I lifted from my Alfa's silver paint. Hand made Bilt Hamber products all the way for me.

Rather be Gardening
31st Aug 2009, 08:26
Al, are we talking about a face-pack for a car?


31st Aug 2009, 08:27
I've been thinking about it. On another place for owners of my car, it regularly gets raved about. Still, not sure I can be bothered spending eight hours cleaning the outside of the car. After all, it's not a Bentley.

Al R
31st Aug 2009, 08:34
Noooooooo.. its utterly fantastic, you have to do it, otherwise you will never get the full benefit of wax or polish. Your treated paintwork will feel like glass, I promise you and it won't take 8 hours. One.. maybe two at the most.


A little, yes. You lift invisible particulates from paintwork that build up over time and which dull the finish and age the look of the car.

31st Aug 2009, 08:41
what are people's preferred wpns of choice when it comes to car cleaning/detailing?

Someone else or an automatic car wash.

Standard Noise
31st Aug 2009, 09:16
Where does one get a lump of pottery then, the pimp mobile is looking somewhat dull at the mo.

Al R
31st Aug 2009, 09:22
I it from Bilt Hamber, direct - they do corrosion control products as well. Check out the shots on the site of the dug up Junkers engine parts de rusted with 'Deox'.

Bilt-Hamber Laboratories - Polish and Wax - Auto-clay (http://www.bilthamber.com/autoclay.html)

The clay (like most of their car care stuff) is made in really low volume in Essex and it still wipes the floor with imported gunk that costs 3 times as much inHalfrauds. Some clay bars require special lubricants but Hamber's clay works with water. Its an amazing product.

eta: Bilt-Hamber Laboratories - Corrosion Removal - Deox-C (http://www.bilthamber.com/deoxchowto.html) (Junkers cam)

Bruce Wayne
31st Aug 2009, 11:29
is it best used on flat colour paint or is it usable with metallic IE a lacquer finish over the paint ?

i have a feeling you may poo-poo it,but i use this..


oh and you may call me a heretic, but i bought a sythetic chamois in the US and it is a damn sight better than any of the real ones i have

Mac the Knife
31st Aug 2009, 11:34
I hose out the Landy about once a year - does that count?



31st Aug 2009, 11:36
You can use it on metallic or flat paint. It doesn't actually brighten dull paintwork as such but removes the deposits that accumulate on your paintwork and make it feel 'rough' if you run your hand over it when it has been washed and should be clean.

The clay lierally shears off from the paint surface any raised contaminant leaving it glass smooth and much easier to wax. You MUST wax the car afterwards.

What I was surprised about when I first tried it years ago was that the removed contaminants do not appear to scratch or damage the paint in any way.

Al R
31st Aug 2009, 11:45

It may be used with either. For older and more fragile paint, or for working paint more regularly, use the 'soft' formulation. For paint that hasn't been treated at all, and is particularly minging, use the 'hard'. It isn't like T Cut, it won't remove a layer of paint, it simply gets rid of invisible particulate build up. Fabulous stuff.

If you run a fingertip ever so lightly over your car bonnet, you can feel the masses of tiny bumps and lumps (put your fingertip first into the sleeve of a cellophane fag packet if you have one to hand). After use, the paint will be glass like smooth. I rate the Auto-balm too, staggering stuff. In fact, my workshop is full of Bilt Hamber gear. I need to prep the car for Winter soon too and the old Dynax is coming out.

eta: Mouse, sorry - I was too late!

Al R
31st Aug 2009, 12:12
PS: Don't forget to fill up today.

Motorists suffer 2p rise in fuel duty as first of five tax increases - Times Online (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article6815398.ece)

cockney steve
31st Aug 2009, 13:58
A couple of buckets under the leaky gutter-corner, an old, soft, nylon-bristled floor broom and a squirt of washing-up liquid.

wait until it stops raining.....nip out with broom and washup liquid, grab a bucket, a quick soojie (sp?) and then grab another bucket to rinse....all done in 10 minutes.....tough stuff, this 2-pack :}

If I'm feeling really energetic, some cream bathroom cleaner costs under a quid , removes all the invisible stuff,makes the glass , stainless and chrome sparkle, the bucket of rainwater rinses it after.

I really couldn't be bothered with all that "detailing" fetish, on something that's typically going to revert to Ferrous Oxide within 20 years.

Cars are for driving :\

31st Aug 2009, 14:04
Back in 1964/5 I had a lovely old Rover 14 Sedan. About once a month I gave it a very thorough wipe down with a rag saturated in engine oil and paraffin. Not a spot of rust anywhere!

(Key in ignition, press little button just above key, car bursts into life with a beautiful rumble).

31st Aug 2009, 14:43
oh and you may call me a heretic, but i bought a sythetic chamois in the US and it is a damn sight better than any of the real ones i have

I suppose the complete purist would insist on a realmois, not one of those cham things.

Hat, coat...

Al R
31st Aug 2009, 15:25
Guys.. guys, micro fibres are the way to go these days!

Microfiber - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microfiber)

31st Aug 2009, 17:19
Easiest way to have a nice shiny car is to buy a new one
every couple of years I find.
Get the wife to wash it occasionally. Or you don't let her
drive it. Works well that system.

1st Sep 2009, 00:52
I've never heard of claying your car before so please permit me a numpty question ...

.. Why MUST you wax your car immediately after using this wonderous stuff??

Is it for vanity purposes or does the claying leave something exposed to the elements that can only be safeguarded with waxing?


wots confused and intrigued in equal measure by this claying 'thingy'

Capt. Inop
1st Sep 2009, 02:45
I use a tar removal fluid purchased on a Shell station, and a good car shampoo.

Thereafter i use a 3 component Autoglym cure.

First clean, then polish, and at last seal it all.

My car is a BMW 540 from 1996 and it still looks new. :cool:

1st Sep 2009, 03:21
Go here

Car Care Specialties, Inc. - Your Source For Quality Car Care Products, How-To Articles and Product Evaluations. (http://carcareonline.com/viewarticle.aspx?art=0)

for a negative view of clays. The guy who wrote this seriously knows what he's talking about, and his company, Car Care on Line, is highly regarded among serious concours people in the U.S. It's completely honest, in that he sells a lot of different stuff but will frankly tell you which of it is crap (Zymol, among others) even though he'll be happy to sell it to you if you insist. He was the first Zymol distributor in the U.S. but now has no more to do with it than he has to.

Clay not only removes paint but must be used in a manner that few people outside high-end bodyshops understand. I wouldn't touch the stuff even though I paint my own cars (modified 1983 Porsche 911SC coupe currently).

Al R
1st Sep 2009, 05:32
I've never heard of claying your car before so please permit me a numpty question ...

.. Why MUST you wax your car immediately after using this wonderous stuff??

Is it for vanity purposes or does the claying leave something exposed to the elements that can only be safeguarded with waxing?


wots confused and intrigued in equal measure by this claying 'thingy'

This is a thread on the subject.. its American, but stick with it.

Detailing Clay & Pre-wax Cleaning - Autopia.org (http://www.autopia.org/forum/guide-detailing/80231-detailing-clay-pre-wax-cleaning.html)

Clay was first used in the 20s and 30s to remove overspray from sloppy car painting. It has evolved since then, and today's clay bars are mostly, pretty non abrasive. Don't do it too often - perhaps every couple of months if you use the car a lot and if you're pretty obsessive. I do mine every 5 or 6 months, it helps to remove the build up of wax and other polishes that build up. I last did the Alfa (opening shot in this thread) in early Spring so you can see what levels of invisible crud build up. That isn't oxidised paint on the clay, its grime.

I dip into a messageboard for help where people will spend £2,000 a year on detailing gear, and they reckon that waxing should always be done afterwards because a) it has been removed and impaired by the claying process and b) wax should be put on anyway. I use the Bilt Hamber bar because its soft and gentle although I always follow up with a good wax or final top coat of something. I know I'm going to sound anal and obsessive (I'm not!) but I always pre Wash with the Karcher and then use a wax free, totally active specialist Wash.

I haven't yet summoned up the courage to then use a pre paint cleanser before using the clay. Try and avoid Washes or shampoos that are coloured, thickened or perfumed and always use a Wash that is wax free. Its far better to use a pre-Wash or Wash that simply exists to foam as much as possuble in order to move heavier particulates away from the paintwork, rather than one that smells nice.

Bilt-Hamber Laboratories - Degreasing - Cleaning - Auto-foam (http://www.bilthamber.com/autofoam.html)

Bilt-Hamber Laboratories - Degreasing - Cleaning - Auto-wash (http://www.bilthamber.com/autowash.html)

I usually look after whatever I'm driving and I find detailing cars relaxing. Nothing better than doing it and listening to the footy. I don't mind spending, but this is just well.. daft?

Zymol Royale Glaze (1412g) 12001 (http://www.vertar.com/zymol/zymol-royale-glaze/)

13th Sep 2009, 18:00
Well, Al-R, I took your advice & bought some Bilt Hamber clay. Just finished doing a number on the motor & weeeeell, it feels nice & smooth & the clay certainly picked up a load of crap, but does it look any better? Not really.

Seeing as I had to wax the beast anyway, seems nice & clean. It is smooth though, I'll give you that.:ok:

Art E. Fischler-Reisen
13th Sep 2009, 18:25
Clay the paint?

Like this, you mean?

Liegecars - Clee Hills Trial (http://liegecar.multiply.com/photos/album/70/Clee_Hills_Trial#photo=1)

Al R
13th Sep 2009, 18:29
My god, thats what I call 'grass roots' motorsport. :ok:


Ah, ok. The clay is only one part of the process don't forget.. it preps and conditions the paint before applying the wax or the final product. Its that which gives it the lustre. I don't work for Bilt Hamber, but I use shedloads of their rust, welding and preservative products for my resto projects and the detailing stuff is just as top drawer. The Auto-balm is utterly amazing.

An old boy in the village was selling his 15 year old Rover. He thought it was worth about £3-400, so we went to town on and in the end, he got £750. It looked awful beforehand. I'm not as anal as I might appear, I find car detailing relaxing and rewarding.


13th Sep 2009, 18:40
I'm not as anal as I might appear, I find car detailing relaxing and rewarding.

Could this be a contradiction in terms?

Al R
13th Sep 2009, 18:42
Well, possibly. I'm not obsessive about it, or get withdrawl symptoms or feel shame if the car is muddy, but I find it a great chance to dump my brain and think without constant intrusion.

Listening to the footy at the same time.. and my happiness is complete. :{

13th Sep 2009, 19:00
I couldn't be a slave to a car. I've has 26 of them and covered close to 2,000,000 miles and never polished one of them. They are tin boxes used to get from A to B.

Mine go through the car wash every few months and look as good as new when the next person gets it. Often been commented on how good they look.

13th Sep 2009, 20:17
For some reason, red cars fade or lose their shine more than other colours.

Oh - just to add:- I had a car - washed it once - it went rusty . . .

13th Sep 2009, 20:23
You're missing the point. Claying, polishing, waxing. It's not just for the benefit of the car, it's a way of relaxing. I can switch off as easily doing this as gardening and each time you do it the car becomes easier to clean. A well waxed car doesn't allow bugs and stuff to stick to it plus there's the satisfaction of a job well done.


You wants obsessive car cleaning? Try this lot A world for detailers... (http://www.detailingworld.co.uk/)

13th Sep 2009, 21:52
For some reason, red cars fade or lose their shine more than other colours.

That used to be true but is less so with two pack paint.

13th Sep 2009, 21:57
I can find easier ways to relax than polishing a tin can.

Modern paints don't seem to need cleaning, just a wash once in a while, but it does make lots of money for the polish manufacturers. Car makers have spent millions over the past 10 years to make life easier for you.

I remember seeing a demo at the Earls Court Motor Show, in the 1960s, where they had a car that was on a non-stop car wash to prove that they didn't harm the paintwork. And to prove it they ran it without the water on for 10 hours a day for 10 days.

As for bugs on the car, if they are really bad I drench the car with the garden hose before going to the car wash to facilitate their easy removal by softening them.

No way would I spend £40,000 on a car and then spend hours every year cleaning it.

13th Sep 2009, 22:04
Yeah, you said already.:hmm:

Al R
13th Sep 2009, 22:19
If I was going to spend £400 on a decent pair of shoes or £400,000 on a home, I'd keep each in good order and take pride in how they looked. There's a stigma about cleaning cars, that, perhaps, it is something only done by the Sunday morning middle classes. It seems to me though, that if I spent £40,000 on a car, I'd be daft not to look after it (properly).

Horses for courses though. :ok:

13th Sep 2009, 22:31
Well, interesting reading. I can't remember the last time I washed any of my cars. I live on a farm, so even if I did they'd be filthy before I got out onto the public road. Can't say I feel any the worse for it!

(Actually, I do remember jetwashing my 1975 Mini Clubman Estate when I was 17. Made memorable by the fact that I blew off about 50% of the paint on the offside front wing).

13th Sep 2009, 22:37
I've had my current car for just over two years.

Never washed it, just cleaned the glass (at least twice) and removed the moss from the base of the windows.

13th Sep 2009, 22:44
The old van gets washed once a year............on its way to the MOT station.:) Works for me.

13th Sep 2009, 22:46
The garage that does the MOT washes the car before they return it (maybe before they test it - I don't know).

13th Sep 2009, 22:50
"It seems to me though, that if I spent £40,000 on a car, I'd be daft not to look after it (properly)."

Depends on what you call properly. Wash it once in a while - that's all that it needs. Get it serviced properly - more impoortant, but don't over do it.

13th Sep 2009, 22:57
The clear coat of paint is peeling off the top of my 1999 Mitsubishi Magna exposing the main coloured dark green beneath. Looks terrible. Is there a solvent which will remove the clear coat so that I can replace only the clear?

13th Sep 2009, 23:08
Doubt it Milt. I think that whatever will remove the lacquer will do the same to the paint. Sounds like a respray job to me. Happened to a car of mine in Darwin. Fruit bat shit will ruin the lacquer if you don't get it off quickly.

So there are those of us who relax by cleaning our cars and those who seem offended by the idea and possibly need the relaxation themselves. Wasn't the OP asking about the former? If you don't want to discuss it there's the third option ;)

Al R. Two buckets and a microfibre mitt? Tried using wheel wax to stop the brake dust eating your wheels? Carnauba or synthetic?

Al R
14th Sep 2009, 06:52
"It seems to me though, that if I spent £40,000 on a car, I'd be daft not to look after it (properly)." Depends on what you call properly. Wash it once in a while - that's all that it needs. Get it serviced properly - more impoortant, but don't over do it.

Manufacturers offer a body perforation guarantee but they know that so many cars get sold on, and so quickly, that by the time it might kick in, the car is so cheap no one cares anyway. The industry has gone to incredible lengths to improve the quality and appearance of top coat and to inhibite rust, but beauty is only skin deep. But like I said, horses for courses. The latest mix of road molasses and salt sunstitute which will shortly be plastered all over the roads are designed to stick to the roads, and any which gets flung up onto your paintwork, or underneath and into your wheel arches is going to stick there too. You can play a hose on it all you like, but you won't properly remove it. Worse still, it'll decant into the rear of those nice wheel arch liners that the Germans, especially, use to make us forget our cars have mechanical components, and the cocktail will fester there, with the rest of the road silt and your car will be starting to be destroyed from within.

We like to fool ourselves that rust has been eradicated from cars, but it hasn't. Galvanized sheet is used for parts or for the entire car body in most cars but there are huge differences in the quality of the galvanizing process. Most carmakers apply some form of anti-corrosion media in the car factory and rust protection in the form of wax or oil forces its way into and protects spot-welded joints and other crevices in cavities. PVC or bitumen is applied as wear protection on the understructure, but most makes of cars have inadequate anti-corrosion treatment from the car factory too. It will have passed the British test of longevity, but that salt spray test is limited because it is a constant. In the real world, cars are subjected to a huge degree of varying changes in humidity and temperatures - if you go out on the roads this winter, and drive your car into a warm concrete garage at night, the underbody sealant will start to crack and fester. Plasticised rust protection which has started to come adrift is worse than useless, because like those spiffy wheel arch liners, it only harbours and hides rust, and again, the car is destroyed from within.

Some carmakers have altogether stopped anti-corrosion treatment of cavities. Either way, most of it is beyond useless by the time a car is 3 or 4 years old anyway. So, when you say that the occasional wash is fine, with respect, it isn't and you're wrong. It you use a jet washer, fine - but you'll remove the top layer of sealant or whatever it is you use to finish your paint, and your car is left exposed and if you have a nick or a chip, then watch out. But, if thats all the time you have, if thats the level of priority you place on your tin box compared to doing other stuff, thats cool. I'm not being judgmental, if that suits you and if you're happy with how your car is, then thats great.


I steer clear of Carnauba.. in fact, I steer clear of wax as much as I can, certainly in washes and shampoos. Autoglym, Meguiars etc might spend a fortune on advertising, but that doesn't make it the best.. in fact, thinking about it, I do like Mothers. Carnauba seems to be an excuse these days, to simply add a few quid to the cost of something. I like Race Glaze though, but this tiny pot is £65 and although its good, I won't spend that much. Race Glaze is another example of a small British company beating the multinationals in terms of quality and price.. but they don't have the market penertration. Based in Stamford, Lincs incidentally.

42 and 55 crem New Signature Series Waxes carnauba wax polish, car shampoo, clay bar, car wax - Race Glaze Ltd (http://www.raceglaze.co.uk/signature-wax.html)

I wax (arf) lyrical about Bilt-Hamber boutique products, but this stuff is beyond belief. It fills in swirls, adds gloss and protects like you wouldn't believe. I've used it on classic cars and it protects bare metal. I was rebuilding a Rover V8 and left various parts out over winter and quickly coated them with this stuff, and there was no rust. People possibly haven't heard of it, and you won't find it in Halfrauds because its hand-made in small quantities in deepest Essex, as much as anything by an enthusiast who services industry and who just enjoys simply making the 'best'.. but by god, its good.


This is how it has addressed the fading and discolouring on the rear flank. As someone has pointed out, the pigments in red paint made in more prone to fading.


For the wheels, I have tried wheel wax, but it must be me, it doesn't seem to hit the spot. I use Bilberry Safe wheel cleaner and this sucker. I don't go to the extremes that those guys on Detailing World might go to, but it works very well and this is handy. I tend to chuck on Auto-balm on top and that does the job. I do confess to using 2 buckets.. :{


I use this as a Wash. It has no waxes, gloopy thickeners, colourants, perfumes or any of that rubbish.. but it works so well. Another example of a small British company, being innovative and quietly making something that is, frankly, far better and cheaper than anything else available - certainly better than anything stacked high in Halfords. That I suppose, is their strength. They are niche providers to a niche market.


14th Sep 2009, 09:58
AI R, so how long do you keep your cars, 20 years? Most people change every two to three years, at least I did when working. I'm now retired and have to dive into my wad of cash savings to buy a new car.

My current car is now 5 years old, and from doing well over 1,000 miles a week, I've dropped to doing 31,000 in the five years. The paint work equals that of a new car without ever having had polish on it. It is metallic silver with a lacquer topcoat. No car of mine has been garaged in the past 50 years and they stand in the drive for three months over winter whilst I'm in Western Australia. Neighbours delight in sending me photos of the foot of snow covering it each year.

I value my time, as in my 70s, I don't know how much longer I have left. Keep polishing your car if it gives you pleasure but I find other things to do. Each to his own.

Incidentally, have you noticed that when you go to buy a new car the salesman doesn’t leave his comfortable desk to look at your car, he merely looks at his little book.

Al R
14th Sep 2009, 10:32
I keep bikes longer than I keep my cars. I still have an Yamaha RD350 bought new 25 years ago, and a Honda VFR 750FT bought new, 13 years ago. I have some cars that I bought a few years ago, but I tend to shift them about a bit. I have some classics tucked about the country that I have had for 6, 7 or 8 years but only because I can't be bothered to do anything with them. I guess I'm a lazy hoarder. You're right about the salesmen nowadays.. cars are so cheap, I don't think I'd ever buy new again, I quite fancy the idea of an Alfa Brera at the moment.

SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1