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Maybe we should have called this the Zaino forum

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 #154866  by velobard
 February 7th, 2008, 11:27 am
Our cars have to live outside 24/7, so it's pretty well hopeless to keep them decent looking in the winter and they're exposed to everything. I've never been satisfied with the results of a touchless car wash and I'm not about to take our cars through a "slap and swirl" place, so I always do them by hand, outside since I don't have a garage. I've developed a little routine that's going pretty well for me and thought I'd share it.

I started the winter with a few layers of a durable wax on each car. I used Collinite 476 on the 300M, and I think I used Finish Kare 2180 on the LHS. There's lots of good options out there, just make sure you pick one for the winter that's known for durability. I picked up some Zaino Z2Pro from someone on Autopia to try on the 300M this spring.

I start with a bucket of warm water mixed with a few capfuls of Optimum No Rinse Wash. If you haven't tried this stuff, it's great. I use it exclusively year-round now. I do my whole car with about 2-3 gallons of water, total.

I use either a wool wash mitt or a grout sponge you can get at Home Depot to wash, and a waffle weave microfiber towel to dry. I also have a bottle of spray wax. I usually use Finish Kare FX-100, but Duragloss Aquawax is easier to find locally (Carquest) and does a great job, too. I apply the wash solution one panel at a time, immediately hit it with the spray wax, then wipe it down with the waffle weave. Going one panel at a time, if I'm in a rush it's not hard to get the whole car done in 20 minutes. The spray wax offers a few weeks of obviously increased performance with better beading and such.

Admittedly, I get a little slack about the tires, wheels, and wheelwells in the winter. Sometimes I'll give the wheels a quick once-over with what's left in the wash bucket, then use a spray dressing on the tires.

By using warm water and working quickly, it's not that bad to sneak in a wash even if the temps are a little below freezing.

 #154869  by 85merk
 February 7th, 2008, 12:10 pm
Props to you for taking the time to hand wash.
I only do that in the summer time, maybe once.
The rest of the time i have a small powerwasher i'll use instead, then it's a matter of just double wiping.
The first wipe is for grime/dirt.
The second wipe using another set of microfiber cloths is for finish, whatever water spots are left etc...
In the winter i just powerwash and let it be.
Car picks up roadgrime/spray by the time i roll out of the driveway to the end of the street anyway :(
 #209342  by avene1984
 November 15th, 2009, 1:01 pm
I do agree with you on doing it by hand. I took my car to the drive threw a few weeks back, got out to dry her off and the cloth got nothing but dirt on it. I was so pissed, but I could not really say anything becuase the wash was not paid for by me. I had gotten some free tokens from the place and I was useing the last one.

Car washes are for lazy dont care about there car kind of people.
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 #210134  by JMak
 November 25th, 2009, 8:55 pm
My routine for winter is same as the rest of the year. Never thought to change it let alone do multiple layers of wax.

I use Meguire's three-step Paint Cleaner, Polish, Wax and I love the results. Car looks fantastic and the wax appears fairly durable. I like the three-step because it forces me to pay attention to the car. Take me several hours but I'm hitting panel three times and I find everything, especially with the paint cleaner...