Tuesday, February 3, 2009

newbie to motoring (car detailing)

learnt this term '"car detailing" from forums. In layman terms, it's to beautify the exterior aspects of our rides; through many techniques such as washing (the basic that everyone does themselves or by paid car wash), claying, polishing, sealing and waxing. Sounds all the same eh?

i read up some local forums, such as Singapore Honda Club or SHC, and Singapore Civic FD Club. In the process of understanding car detailing, many other tips in servicing and accessories to get (read: poison) came along. All these nice tips are bookmarked in my delicious profile, freely accessible.

being overly enthusiastic since it's my first car, i did price surveys at 2 Carrefours, 2 Homefix-es and 1 NTUC. In conclusion, apart from price differences, i find NTUC AMK Hub to be very competitive and well equipped for everybody's needs. Homefix comes second. If you happen to shop for grocery, then visit Carrefour. There's another well known and super comprehensive Autobacs at BB, but the prices are not exactly attractive.

car detailing part II

I gathered many views and opinions, and took this path -

1. washing

there are all kinds of car wash, from popular brands such as Meguiars, Armorall, 3M, etc. I bought the Armorall initially, but prepared the Duragloss 901 for my future waxed washes, since it's pH neutral. The Armorall would be for cleaning my wheels and stripping off treated layers when required.

found myself to wash in 3 smaller steps - wetting the car while removing all dirt (1 pail), shampoo-ing (1 pail) rinsing (1 pail) and drying. All by hand, maybe shampoo-ing with a microfiber cloth, to prevent swirling and scratches.

2. claying

took the soft99 claybar. It's like plasticine or art clay, but it's designed to run over surfaces and pick up stubborn stains. Ran it over the entire car, and found it to be only quite useful for door handles, boot area and bumper where stubborn dirt lies.

the claying process can be done between shampoo and rinsing. Soap water is good enough as a lubricant.

3. sealing

actually, i should have done paintwork touch up using polishes or swirl removers, but decided this can be delayed for another time. Went on to seal up the clayed exterior using AutoGlym Extra Gloss Protection. It smelt like some alcohol when i applied it on, and i let it turn to a haze for 30 minutes. Then, the haze was rubbed off.

other accessories: Mr Clean wax on/off cloth

Haze appearing after a while

4. waxing

another extra layer of treatment over the sealed layer for (supposingly) extra gloss and protection. I got 3M's liquid wax for this, application wise similar to the AutoGlym sealant. However, the haze was harder to observe. Maybe i was already quite tired, so didn't spend much effort on this.

used the wax on/off cloths from the Mr Clean pack; it has 4 pieces, just nice for sealing and waxing.

results? Quite happy with the improved gloss, and non-grainy feel when i run my fingers over the paintwork. Plus personal satisfaction. Will probably do the sealing and waxing every 2-3 months.

uncovered some paint chips after sealing, my 2nd hand dealer's touch ups all came off. All the flaws uncovered... but it's part and parcel of buying 2nd hand stuff.

now is to do the water beading test.


self service - replacing the aircon/cabin filter.

Previously, the car didn't come with the filter, only the plastic frame.
It's not the second hand dealer's problem, but Kah Motor's.

Removal of glove compartment

Kah Motor didn't put in that paper filter into the frame! How much can it cost? Even public buses have sponges and foams over their aircon intakes!

i'm positive about self servicing my car, since it lowers down costs. Changing engine oil, brake fluid, etc would be impossible for me now, but i hope to learn them to bring down labour costs to $0.

no air freshener in my car, no plan to get it. Might be adding a carbon filter into the plastic frame to remove odours. I'm a sucker for air quality, if you read my past aircon posts.

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