Mustang MonthlyHow To Paint Body
Car Care Tips & Tricks
guide to car care and wash/detailing tips
There are few things more fulfilling than taking a dirty, muddy, grunge-covered Mustang and giving it a thorough wash and detail, turning it from an eyesore into a beautiful, shiny, show-ready Mustang that’s ready to cruise to the next show or drive-in. Breaking out the wash bucket, soap, and wash mitt, and then going to town giving your baby the love it deserves is a time-honored obsession common to anyone who calls themselves a “car person.”
We all have our own different methods and procedures to wash a car, and one is not necessarily any better than another. But when it comes to detailing, there’s a myriad of products on the market to accomplish all kinds of tasks regarding paint, to the point that staring at all of them on the parts store shelves can be mind-numbing. Do I need a polish or glaze, and what’s the difference between them anyway? Is this wax any better or worse than that one? And what the heck is a clay bar for?
We’ve been there and back and are as confused as you may be. So we went to a professional detailer in Los Angeles to get some answers and also learn his favorite methods for theoretically the most simple of the steps: washing the car. Courtland Bolin is one of the go-to detailers for the Hollywood movie and collector car industry, detailing many of the “hero cars” you’ve seen in the movies as well as the personal cars of the wealthy filmmakers, so he obviously knows his stuff when it comes to protecting and making a vehicle shine. Courtland also gave us his philosophy on the various car care products out there and what they do; it provides a common sense understanding.
Washing a Car the Courtland Bolin Way
The single most important tip that Courtland could provide when washing a car is to use the hottest water you can get, and if it comes from a pressure washer all the better. He says, “Anything that a car runs into or over is coming off of another car, and it’s not water. It’s all oil and fluids, road tar, and such, and all of that is oil-based. Anything oil-based is not coming off with cold water, which is why a lot of car washes depend on chemicals to take it off. And those chemicals will strip your car of any wax that might be on it. If you just get a really hot bucket of water and Dove or Ivory soap, non-sulfated soap, that will clean the car.”
Courtland has a high-dollar, professional-grade pressure washer and likes to keep the water temperature at 200-205 degrees F and the pressure at 1,800-2,000 psi, but for the home enthusiast, a standard pressure washer works well, especially if you can get hot water to it via a hose hooked to your house’s water heater. If you don’t have a pressure washer, just get hot water from the kitchen sink into a bucket.
Wax, Glaze, What?
Once the car is washed and all clean, then what? Should you use a wax? A glaze? A Polish? And what are the differences in them anyway? Courtland uses the analogy of women’s skin care to explain the differences:
• Washing is like an acid cleaning for the face, or a skin peel.
• A clay bar is like a loofah on the skin. It takes off dead skin and anything that falls on the surface, like a pencil eraser for your car.
• An abrasive, like a rubbing compound, is like an exfoliant for smoother skin.
• Polish is like putting on lotion. It moisturizes and brightens the skin.
• Glaze is like baby oil on top of lotion.
• After all of that, seal it with wax.
Tips & Tricks
• Hot water makes everything much easier.
• Soft Scrub for tile just does white right. It’s a mild cleaner wax almost, but don’t use it on anything but white cars.
• A clay bar is just a tool. If you have a towel or chamois, you need a clay bar. It’s a glorified eraser and takes off surface stuff. It doesn’t do anything for oxidation though.
• Simple Green works as cleaner too. It’s a citrus.
• Pam [like what you use in a frying pan] works on the front of trailers and cars. After a wash and when going on a road trip, spray some Pam on the front of the car and it’ll keep the bugs and junk off the paint.
• Any kind of citrus will remove bugs. It’s an acid to protein, like bug guts, throw-up, etc.
• Glass cleaner: Spray Away glass cleaner is alcohol-based and works really well on glass, chrome, and wheels. It takes dust buildup off of wheels a lot quicker than parts store cleaners.
• Alcohol is good cleaner for anything. It’s good for headliners with makeup spots and it won’t attack the glue used on headliners.
• Use a degreaser for grease and oil and a citrus-based cleaner for protein, like bug guts.
• No one cleaner will clean everything.
The Latest in Car Care Products
Mothers Wax Attack 2 Power-Pro Polisher paint correction system uses the safest, industry-trusted, dual-action random-orbital technology, combined with body shop–proven formulas to give you a showroom-new finish, without the guesswork. Compounding, polishing and waxing have never been easier. Recondition your paint from normal wear and tear, or improve your factory-applied paint finish, including clearcoats. Designed for the professional detailer but simple enough for anyone to use, Mothers streamlines paint correction to give your paint a smooth, flawless finish, every time. The kit comes complete with: Wax Attack 2 Buffer, Pads (x3), 12 oz. 08612 Professional Rubbing Compound, 12 oz. 08712 Professional Finishing Polish, 12 oz. 05712 California Gold Synthetic Wax, and 16x16 Microfiber Towels (x3)—all neatly and safely stored in a rigid carrying case.
Engine displacement. Airplane seating. Movie popcorn. Much like everything in life, more is often better. Increased size shouldn’t always arrive at a higher price, which is why the Mothers California Gold Clay Kit Value Pack includes two 100-gram, bonus-sized clay bars, at no extra cost. The larger bars add even more value than Mothers’ original Clay Bar System.
Mothers Polishes, Waxes, Cleaners
The word “innovative” is often used but rarely in reference to a pail. With Shurhold Industries’ One Bucket System, the term is almost insufficient. Creatively designed and engineered, it stores and organizes vehicle cleaning products in one convenient, portable location and functions as a highly effective wash station. The One Bucket System starts with the World’s Best Rope Handle Bucket. Made in the USA of durable molded plastic that’s thicker than average, it has a soft ¾-inch braided nylon rope handle that’s easier to carry than a traditional wire hoop. There’s also a removable Bucket Grate that sits elevated from the bottom of the bucket. Dirt falls through its grating into the baffle system as the brush or rag is scrubbed against. This keeps wash water clean. Two handy 3-ounce measuring cups are built in for precise adding of soaps and other cleaning solutions.
This bucket is a good storage device as well. The Bucket Caddy fits on top of the Bucket Grate and eliminates the need to move everything from the bucket to the pavement just to use it. It has two compartments to store bottles and supplies, and a handle for easy removal. A perforated bottom keeps water from puddling. With the padded Bucket Seat/Lid, using the pail upside down as a place to sit is a thing of the past. Built of sturdy, high-quality plastic, it securely snaps onto the bucket rim to keep the inserts and cleaning products in place. Strong enough to stand on, it makes a convenient boarding or step stool. The optional Bucket Base keeps the World’s Best Rope Handle Bucket from tipping while working. It’s made from soft, pliable rubber to avoid slipping and scratching fine surfaces.
When private or municipal water dries, the calcium, sodium and other minerals left behind form hard water stains. Even rain, collecting dirt and dust particles as it falls, can create spots that are hard to remove. If left untreated, they can actually etch the glass, permanently disfiguring it. Often, people use common products such as window cleaner or vinegar to clean the stains. But as soon as they dry, the spots reappear. Shurhold’s combination of Buff Magic Compound and a Magic Wool Hand Pad is a sure winner. A small dab, worked gently in small, tight circles, will turn the product hazy. Then, it’s simply a matter of buffing with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. For extra-large panes of glass, a Dual Action Polisher with a Magic Wool Polisher Pad can be used, if set at its slowest speed. The result is unrivaled clarity.
Buff Magic Compound is the ultimate restoration compound that removes oxidation, staining, surface rust, and minor scratches. As it’s used, the abrasives in the proprietary formula break down, becoming ever finer. No longer are multiple grits needed to complete one job; Buff Magic goes from dull to glossy in one easy step. The Magic Wool Hand Pad and Polisher Pad are ultra-fine, pure-bronze scrub pads. Unlike steel wool, they won’t leave rust stains or disintegrate after a single use. They’re perfect for use on chrome, stainless steel, and aluminum.
Neil Chadwick was 13 years old when his father gave him three things to learn before driving his car: how to change the oil; how to change a flat tire; and how to keep the car clean. He developed the Chadwick’s Triple Play out of necessity, saying, “Water has chemicals and minerals; soap has ph and alkalinity. The combination of the two were damaging to the paint and finish. Time was also a factor. The ‘old way’ of soap and water washing, plus claying the car, then applying a protective wax or finish took at least 2-3 hours. Chadwick’s Triple Play Car Care System can be easily done in 30-45 minutes with the results of a professional detailer. Triple Play has been formulated to soften and encapsulate the dirt in our tested and proven microfiber towels so there is no risk of scratching. Soap and water is very abrasive and does damage to your finish every time you use it.” Triple Play covers three steps in one bottle, and it has taken three years to perfect. Chadwick’s Triple Play has been tested in real time and real conditions (South Florida’s sun, heat, and humidity) on over a billion dollars’ worth of cars.
There is also the MYO (Make Your Own), a concentrated version of Chadwick’s Triple Play (CTP) designed to give you maximum shelf life (1 year) and easier storage without the addition of Petrochemicals/Oils/Silicone or waxes that act as preservatives. These additives are detrimental to you and your vehicle’s paint and components. A single MYO makes four 32-ounce bottles (1 gallon).
Chadwick’s Triple Play
The “new-car scent” is known to all of us but sadly fades with use, but it can be brought back to a small degree with Meguiar’s Carpet & Cloth Re-Fresher. After you’re removed any trash that may be accumulating in door pockets, between seats, and hiding in other nooks and crannies within the interior—and brushed and vacuumed all carpet and upholstery, especially floor mats that collect dirt and debris from shoes—use Carpet & Cloth Re-Fresher Odor Eliminator to bring back that new-car feeling. Simply spray on carpet and cloth surfaces and it will permanently eliminate any unwanted odors while leaving behind a refreshing new-car scent.
A car is never completely detailed unless the wheels and tires are done too. Meguiar’s Ultimate Waterless Wheel & Tire is a ground-breaking concept that allows you to clean your wheels without water and dress your tires in one easy step. Meguiar’s Ultimate Waterless Wheel & Tire lets you quickly and easily clean your wheels while premium gloss enhancers leave tires with a moderately glossy appearance. Simply spray your wheels and your tires. Then, follow with a clean microfiber, like Meguiar’s Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels, to wipe wheels clean. Simply leave your tires alone and you’re left with a dark, rich shine. That’s it. Advanced cleaners power through brake dust, road grime, and dirt that accumulates from daily usage. The best part of it all is it’s a quick and convenient way to maintain wheels and tires with no need for water. This premium formula also contains UV blockers that work to help protect your wheels and tires from the elements. Clean wheels, dress tires and protect both in one convenient step, and in just a matter of minutes!
Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax is a departure from traditional waxes. With Hybrid Ceramic Wax you get more protection and durability than conventional wax by simply spraying on, rinsing off, and then drying. It’s that easy! With all-new, advanced Si02 hybrid technology, you get hybrid ceramic protection that’s so easy to use you can actually wax your paint as you rinse off your car. After washing your paint and rinsing off the soap, simply spray on the Hybrid Ceramic Wax and then follow with a second rinse using a strong stream of water. This final rinse helps to spread and lay down the wax for you. Dry your car like you normally would with a premium microfiber drying towel, like Meguiar’s Microfiber Water Magnet Drying Towel. There’s no rubbing or buffing, and there’s no curing time. When done, you’re left with ceramic protection and durability that lasts well beyond conventional wax and provides extreme water-beading protection.
Everyone knows Jay Leno as the former host of The Tonight Show, but car guys know him for his amazing collection of cars hidden in several buildings in Burbank, California. With well over 200 cars and motorcycles in the collection, Jay has created a line of car care products designed just for him. We headed over to his shop to see what interesting products are in the line, and used a few of them on a new GT350.
The MTM Hydro Foam Cannon Snub Gun Foam Kit is a soap that attaches to a hose end and works with Jay Leno’s Vehicle Wash to quickly coat the car in a haze of nice, soapy water. This easy-to-use kit has adjustable fan blades that are perfect for use on cars, trucks, boats, RVs, and much, much more. The air intake knob on top adjusts to preferences for more or less soap to be drawn through the internal chamber, increasing or decreasing the foam output. When you use our Vehicle Wash, the foam Cannon will produce dense foam, maximizing the amount of time the soap is on the surface, adding lubrication and powerful cleaning suds.
Leno’s Garage has a full line of washes, waxes, polishes, and more for inside and outside the car.
Once you have your Mustang cleaned and detailed, don’t let it get all messed up again while it’s sitting in the garage or out in the weather, negating most of the tender loving care you put into it. Cover your baby up with the best car cover you can afford. For our Week To Wicked 1966 hardtop (shown here) and also our 1967 fastback, we went to Covercraft for their state-of-the-art Custom WeatherShield HP car covers.
Because our project cars sometimes have to be parked outdoors in the elements (such as when we take them to shows and cruises, like the Hot Rod Power Tour or Mustang Week), we ordered the WeatherShield HP covers for the cars, complete with printed logos of our Week To Wicked projects!
Over 25 years ago Covercraft partnered with Nextec Applications, Inc., a technology leader that pioneered a new process for creating performance fabrics mostly for the outdoor clothing industry. As their website says, “By using precise polymer placement and special chemistries, they were able to place protective finishes inside the fabric, encapsulating the actual woven fibers to transform ordinary fabric into extra-ordinary! The encapsulation processes, methods and equipment are protected by more than 51 patents issued or pending in the U.S. and internationally.”
That’s a fancy way of saying that the cover protects your precious Mustang even when it has to sit outdoors for a few days or more. Here are the cover’s benefits:
• Exclusive High-Performance Fabric
• Durable, lightweight outdoor protection
• Outdoor or indoor Use
• Choose from 8 colors
• Dramatic rain dispersion: fabric sheds water as soon as it hits the cover
• Superior dry time: just shake the cover and it dries in minutes
• Breathable fabric allows heat, moisture, or condensation under the cover to easily escape
• Superior paint finish protection thanks to silicone polymers used in the encapsulation formula (less abrasive than flannel)
• Cover packs into roughly 1/3 the volume of multi-layer fabric covers
• Easy care: wash and dry at home
• Durable, fade resistant automotive grade dyes hold their color longer
Covercraft Industries, LLC
Courtland’s Auto Detail
642 Sonora Ave.
Glendale, CA 91301
Photography by Rob Kinnan