Random text and photo adventure ramblings of my experiences detailing my '01 Acura CL Type S. Pics at the bottom.
As terrible as it sounds, I hadn't washed my car since the beginning of spring. It had been rained on pretty heavily all through May and June, which brought hard water and rain dirt (what else do you call it?) to be embedded in the paint. I started off by taking her through a touchless wash to remove most of the larger bits of dirt. Then came the hand wash (two buckets, yo). I chose Meguiars Gold Class to do my bidding.
After two washes there was a serious layer of dirt still in the paint. You could see the marks where I had run my fingers across the paint months ago. You could also really hear the dirt on the surface when you rubbed your hand over it Larry Kosilla style. I decided a good claying was in order, so I went to town on the whole car. I've never used clay before, so I went out and bought a Mother's clay kit. It seemed to do ok, but it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It definitely removed a lot of contaminants from the surface of the paint, especially bits of sap, tar, and other road grime. However, the visible layer of dirt was still there.
So it was time for a polish. I have a really old bottle of Number 7 Clearcoat Polishing Compound that I've used for years which seems to do great for light to medium polishing jobs. It's not a highly abrasive compound; instead it's made for light oxidation and bringing the showroom shine back to your paint. Keeping in mind that my clearcoat is nonexistant now after 14 years (rubbing my hand over the paint when it hasn't been waxed produces a nice fine white dust on your fingers - thanks for cheaping out on paint jobs, Honda/Acura!) I went to work on the whole car. This took a long time, but was well worth it. Finally the awful layer of grime was gone. A thorough wipedown later and it was time to wax.
Consumer Reports rated Black Magic Wet Shine Liquid Wax as the longest lasting carnuba wax, so I chose that. I'm not looking for months of protection here. I'll use a sealant and wax over that before the winter starts for that kind of protection. The Black Magic wax goes on easy enough. It doesn't seem to spread that great, especially because a lot of it soaks up into my microfiber applicator. Removal isn't the easiest either. It takes a lot of wiping down to remove and buff away all the residue, but the results are pretty good. It's not the shinest shine possible but it's good enough for my purposes and budget.
I don't have any before pics, sadly. Also a note of warning: Yes, my wheels are awful, but I will finally be getting new ones and relegating these to winter tire duty in the fall. I don't even bother washing them anymore, as there's no point.
I went out to a small park by a lake today after the storms finally cleared up:
And the centerpiece of the story:
Dat wheel gap, brah.
Even the windows got the full treatment. Clay bar, and Rain-X (that stuff is really hard to buff off, btw).
And now for my favorite side of the car - the rear:
I loves me some spoilery goodness:
I also did some light cleaning of the interior today, but I had to do it in my garage where it was dark (storms outside) so I missed a few areas in haste and frustration.
My driver's seat is really bad:
No, seriously, it's really bad:
But my door panel is really clean and simple:
Arguably my favorite part of the interior - that instrument cluster is just so classy and easy to read:
Anyone else miss simple, easy to use buttons on a clean dash? Yeah? Well, I don't :)
It's not like I can just press every function by feel and memory alone. Nope, I'd so much rather have a complicated and fiddly touchscreen system for sure! #sarcasm, brah
Even my rear view mirror got the full clean treatment.
My OTHER favorite part of the interior - the shift knob. Yes, it's an autotragic, but I've got a functioning autostick so it helps.
One of the parts I forgot to clean:
Dat dust. But look at that. For an autotragic, it's a pretty good setup. I can force the car into first and second, limit it up to third and fourth, or leave it in D5 for full autotragic mode.
I pulled my back seat so I could adjust my rear struts (Koni Yellows).
You can see my hastily stowed cleaning supplies and some used up targets from my recent trip to the gun range.
These are the tops of my strut towers. The little flat prong on the very top turns with a tool to tighten or loosen the ride and handling.
Because I am a wimp I have them on their lowest (smoothest) setting right now. Handling is still better than OEM.
One last shot as the sun was setting after I arrived home:
There are still some things left to do. I need to finish cleaning my interior and condition the leather seats. Then I've got to do something about my fog lamp and driver's side head lamp covers.