Automotive detailing is my happy place... I know it's weird, but its calming for me... Put on the some music, get out all the supplies, and start cleaning. At the end you are tired and sore, but the results make it worth it. That said, I'm been putting this off because the previous owner did a terrible job and left dried polish/wax in hard to reach corners like between the door handles and body of the car, and in-between the letters in the emblem. Rather than taking the time to tape off areas you don't want to get polish/wax on, some people just go crazy every where. Oh well, looking way way better now.
Up next, looking for a SQ5 flat bottom steering wheel, 034 Motorsports lowering springs, and the RSQ5 front grill. I'm always looking for new wheels, but at the same time, I'm going to loose that comfort you get with the 19's if you go bigger. Don't think I would do anything bigger than 20's as I like that meaty look vs the super low profile tire.
My wash method:
Stage 1, key step is to find and park your car in the shade. Next I get out my pressure washer which is a Sun Joe SPX3001. I swapped out the gun and hose for something better, but zero issues. I use a foam cannon to pre-soak the entire car in a nice thick layer of soapy foam. The soap I use is CarPro Reset, it's expensive, but does the job. While that is soaking I clean the wheels and tires with a detailers brush and brush stick for the inside of the wheel. Depending on how dirty the wheels I do that again and with a second foam cannon use P&S Wheel Cleaner to really get everything off. While the body of the car is still soaking, I go over seams like the edges of the windows, doors, bumpers, and grill with another detailers brush as it will reach areas the wash mitt can't. Once that is all done, rinse the Q5 with the pressure washer..
Stage 2, I fill up a single bucket and add some soap into the bucket. Then drop in about 6 wash mitts as each mitt is for specific areas of the car. Never does a dirty mitt go back into the wash bucket. I use 4 of these mitts for any glass or painted portion of the Q5. And then I use two of these mitts for trim, exhaust, and if needed tire/wheels. Now back to the foam cannon again I lay down another layer of foam this time using Turtle Wax Extreme Foaming Car Wash. This soap really hold on to the car and is very slick so its perfect for washing the car with out scratching it. Again one mitt for each side of the car, and washing from top down to the bottom. The bottom of your car is always has the most dirty so you want to wash the portion of each side at the the end so you don't bring the dirt to the top of the car. Use side to side or up and down motions... never washing in a circular pattern (unless you like swirl marks on your car). Throw each mitt into a second bucket for collecting anything dirty. Lastly rinse off the car. I still use the pressure washer so it forces water in areas where soap likes to hide. Rinse top down so all dirt is pulled down with the water.
Stage 3, time to dry. As my theme is to try and avoid touch the car as much as possible, I use a electric Leaf blower to blow of 90% off the water. On a car that is has a sealant or ceramic coat, you can dry the car with the leaf blower in no time. I also dry off the wheels and tires to avoid any water spots there. I will lightly go over any area that water still exist using these drying towels. The key for drying towels working good is that you only ever use them for drying and no chemicals or anything get on them. That said, go over just the areas on the car that need extra attention to dry.
Stage 4, decontamination. Before I polish I do a decontamination treatment to really clean the car of all the hidden crap on the paint. I use CarPro Trix which is a tar and iron remover. This stuff does not smell good, and if you get it on your grass, it will kill it... anyway you basically just spray it all over your car (minus wheels), and them come back with towel or clean wash mitt to wipe around further wipe it down to break off any contaminates. Metal specs on your paint surface will turn purple so you know it is working. I leave it on as long as I can without it drying, maybe 5-8mins and then rinse it off with the pressure washer. If there is any step where being in the shade is critical, this is the one. I typically will repeat that process again until the surface feel smooth and less like sand paper. After the last rinse, any areas that are really bad I use a synthetic clay bar pad to rub out whatever is on the paint. The same Turtle wax soap with some water in a spray bottle works great as a lubricant. I typically do not clay bar the entire car as it is not need. A clay bar is abrasive so I try to avoid adding more damage to the clear coat. Lastly rinse again, and one more dry.
Stage 5, polish time. Prep is key here so I tape off any area of plastic or rubber trim that I do not want polish to get on. When polish dries on those surfaces it can be a pain to get off. As for the polish itself, I use 3D One as it is both a cutting compound and polish at the same time. Meaning I don't have to go over my car multiple times. I use a Torq X polisher that I've had for over 4 years. Came with all the pads I could need and is a great starter kit. While I know the clear coat Audi uses typically requires a "hard" cut pad, I went with a "medium" cut just to play it safe. As this was going to be more of a cleaning polish then a show room look. I work 3 by 3 foot areas for about 3-4 mins, wipe off, and move onto the next section. Going slow give better results so this portion for most cars with a 6in pad will take many many hours. Once everything is polished, you need to clean the surface up to make sure all the polish is removed. Most people use what is called "panel prep cleaner", I use use some water down 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and it works just fine. I just make sure to take the time to clean the entire car of polish or it will dry on your car and become a pain to remove.
Stage 6, wax/sealant. Typically at this stage I will add a true ceramic multi-year coating like CarPro Cquartz, but this time of the year we get rain randomly and the week curing time of no water is not possible. I'm more interested in just getting the paint corrected and coated for a temporary solution so the car is easier to wash. For now I went with a Turtle Wax Graphene sealant. Using a soft application pad on the polisher, I added a very thin layer over the entire car, and wiped it off at the very end.
Stage 7, tire shine. I use Turtle Wash Graphene Coating for the tires. Unlike other stuff you spray on, this will last a few months. You do have to treat it more like a wax or sealant where you apply, let it set for a few mins, and then wipe it away with a microfiber towel. If you skip the secondary wipe, it will make the wheel like spotty. If you want the tires super shine (I'm not a fan) you just add another layer once the first one dries.
And done.... I hope early summer when the weather is both good and the car will not be used as much, I can do this again and add a layer of CarPro Cquartz. For now, I just wanted something on the car. In all I think I spend 6hr from wash to finished product. Obviously I can't remove any deep scratches, but Q5 looks new from 10ft away. I'll take it.
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