Cleaner car shortcuts

Your ride rolls out clean and shiny, as the sun shines onto the paint job drying what’s left of the moisture. Clean chrome bits glimmer to a sparkly shine and mirrors reflect at its very best. As you pull away, you imagine bystanders whispering to others – is this a new car? How does he do it? If the car’s that clean, what’s the owner like? You revel in those self-fantasies and drive yourself to a cendol outlet to cool off all that steam. Car is parked, locked and you coolly walk across the street to relish your dessert.

You slurp the cendol to the last green noodle, relieved of thirst and head back to your car – from afar, you notice something is amiss. There appears to be something which isn’t the color of your paint, and it’s on your shiny, newly washed ride. You haphazardly sprint over, dodging cars and bikes, to find out those birds are at it again – leaving white drippy splotches on the surface. You cringe, and swear vengeance to those winged critters who wronged you; there will be no rest, for they will pay the price, blood for blood.

Exempting the vengeance part, the above situation pretty much applies to each Malaysian who owns a car. Most drivers give up at the thought of an uphill battle; there’s so much that can get a car dirty and the effort of getting a car decently clean never seems to be worth it. As for myself, my car is personally washed, cleaned and maintained to my own standards, and while it is certainly difficult to uphold those standards it is at times necessary for some shortcuts to be made. Below are my top 5 quick and simple tips I’ve learnt throughout the journey.

 

#1 Tissues are handy for cars too

Tissue rolls can do more than just those emergency trips to the public toilet – it can be used to clean up bird poo as well. If the poo is still moist, dampen the tissue with your sprayer and wipe off the mess. If it has dried, lay two or more layers of tissue covering the dropping and saturate the tissue with water. Allow 2-3 minutes to moisten the droppings, then finally wipe it away with more tissue.

#2 Avoid using the wipers

This might be tricky, risky even but how the problem begins is that dirt accumulates at the blades when your wipers are set at their horizontal positions. Dirt, bits of tree and bird are swept across your windscreen, scratching and smearing the glass surface as you flick the wiper switch without a second thought. I would suggest not to use them during light drizzles or rain unless your vision of the road is severely impaired. However, it is fine to use them while being in a heavy downpour as the rainwater will have dislodged the dirt (and you will probably need to use them in such a situation).

#3 In the middle of it all

After a 3 hour cleaning ritual you set out to drive off to fetch your date but before you do so, the skies cackle and rain starts to pour. What do you do? Just wait. Rain, as it first begins is much more dirtier than the rain after a period of time as it initially gets into contact with dust and particles in the air. However, after an extended downpour the rain is much cleaner after a while due to – yes you guessed right – cleaner air. So when it happens, run back in and wait it out for bit to not waste that 3 hour effort – and be sure to give your date a good excuse.

#4. Let it flow

You hurriedly drive back home, to bring your vehicle to the safety of your roofed car porch as the dark grey clouds start to roll in. Alas, some other driver who doesn’t care about their car impedes your way and you get caught in the dirtiest of rain. To avoid those dust rings and watermarks, simply get a 1.5 liter bottle filled with clean water and pour it over the car to let the rainwater (and dirt contained in it) flow off the paint. After all, less watermarks are better than more watermarks.

#5 Hit the gas, slam the brakes

This tip has some science backing to it – if you have just turned into an mall’s parking lot to escape the storm, take advantage of Newton’s First Law for your own benefit and do some rapid acceleration and braking to ‘shake’ off the rainwater still clinging on to your car. Be absolutely sure that the coast is clear and do not scare or harm any pedestrians in the process!

Cheers to a clean ride!

Car detailing, my way – an introduction

So recently I’ve been into car detailing as well – not exactly detailing as I’ve only learned on how to maintain one but not how to restore on to its former glory, but it’s a step towards the right direction. Efficiency has always been a part of me, so most of my works are in the ‘good enough’ category; some may raise eyebrows at this point because detailing is well, detailing so every aspect has to be top notch, right? Right?

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mah ride

So this is my first car, a Perodua Myvi second generation model with a 1.5 liter 3SZ-VE engine mated to a stick shifter. It’s in solid white, and she’s (she?) about a year plus old. She’s been given the coating treatment on day two, and I have been taking care of her exterior and interior looks ever since. My parents initially scoffed that the car would be clean for not more than half a year but she’s still as shiny as day one.

Now while I am certainly proud that a few friends do mention how clean my car is, I’m rather ashamed that my maintenance skills has not been put to the test yet since I had been given the opportunity to work from my own home for more than a year. Driven back and forth in KL’s traffic jams along with the lack of time would put a serious dent into my efforts in keeping her in tip-top shape.

To keep her tidy, there’s gotta be more than just car shampoo and water. I’m still a novice and I can’t really comment on what’s the best out there for the best price, but I stick to my ideology – speed and efficiency. So far, Optimum’s line of products fit the bill nicely as they emphasize cutting-edge technology, ease of use, and product amount in almost every aspect. Optimum Car Wax (or OCW for short) is their only, I repeat, only item in their range for protection in the form of wax and it’s a spray. Too good to be true but it’s so much easier to apply than the conventional apply-flash-buff waxes which you have to thoroughly work with. Optimum No Rinse so far is also a really versatile product which can be used for several purposes, yet it’s not an AIO product which I loathe.

For the shampoo it’s something you use almost all the time so a cheap-and-good solution would fit the bill. Enter Osren and their line of products, I use their Bubble and Wax often and I must say it is absolutely splendid for its price per wash and does its purpose really well – maybe it’s time to make a visit to the HQ in Jalan Ipoh to see what other goodies they have for sale!

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if you see beads, it’s a clear sign protection is still present

I have a fair share of using off-the-shelf products for miscellaneous tasks, such as a water-based tyre shine which I’ve found out, doubles brilliantly as a exterior plastic trim protectant. If it’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the journey, not all the specialized brands work well – the brands which detailers would shun such as Turtle Wax, Kit and the like works great too.

If you’re a budding person who just got a new ride, and would want to take care of it with a budget, here are my recommendations on the basic items you will need, and in brackets is what I’m using:

1. Car shampoo (Osren’s Bubble and Wax, or something that doesn’t strip wax)
2. Wax (Optimum Car Wax, Duragloss Aquawax, these are spray waxes)
3. APC/Degreaser (Optimum Power Clean, you can dilute it to different strengths for each purpose)
4. Wash Tool (Gold Plush Micro-Chenille Mitt, but your preferences may vary)
5. Detailing brush (a baking brush for yolks, it’s almost the same thing but make sure the bristles aren’t plastic)
6. Wheel brush (gardening brush)
7. Tyre shine (Tupps, affordable and serves more than one purpose)
8. Black plastic trim (again, Tupps)
9. Clear plastic and glass protectant (ONR in QD ratio)
10. Clay (Permaglass’ Wonder Clay, ONR in QD ratio as lube)
11. Interior (ONR in wash ratio for cleaning, and QD ratio for protection)

Remember, a minimum weekly wash is the way to keep your car clean!