What products does this newbie need ?


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As I mentioned in my New Members posting, I'm basically an occasional wash and sometimes wax kinda guy, doing all by hand, using OTC products. I want to up my game a bit with better products and maybe a more regular car care routine. I have a new SUV coming and 2 older cars.


For the new SUV, I want to protect it and do things properly right from the start, so that I can avoid problems like swirls and minor scratches as much as possible. This SUV will not be garaged so it will suffer through the extremes of Boston weather with salt on the roads during the winter.


For the older cars, which have swirls and minor scratches, I care more about protection than making corrections at this point, though if I can make corrections without a machine polisher/buffer and not too much effort, I would give that a try. (I may consider a buffer/polisher somewhere down the line, but I don't think it's necessary for right now).


Let me concentrate on the process I should follow for the older cars right now. I'm guessing the process for the new SUV will be fairly similar.


From what I've read on various forums, it seems the process I should follow is:


1) Wash

- some say with Dawn to get the old wax or whatever protectant off. What shampoo would you recommend for the 1st wash ? Will it get whatever's left of the old protectant off ? Is it important to get the old protectant off ?


2) Clay

- I've never used clay. From what I've seen, it doesn't appear difficult to do, although it may be time-consuming. I believe I read in this forum that Optimum sells a clay product for outside-the-US-only, because of legal issues. From what I've read, Clay Magic (I think that's their name) has a patent on the automotive clay (or something to that effect) and that their blue clay is considered a good product. And it's OTC. Would that be a good clay to use ? Or would you recommend some other clay ? I also read that ONR is an excellent clay lube.


3) Wash again.

- Does the shampoo for the 2nd washing need to be different than the first wash shampoo ? If Dawn is the 1st shampoo, I would guess that I wouldn't want to ever use it again. Sort of related to this... I've got to admit that the concept of the ONR shampoo is very hard for me to easily take in. I'm old school and the whole sudsy water washing followed by the clean water rinsing ritual is very ingrained in my mind. However, I've seen numerous ONR videos now and read numerous positive testimonials from people with tons more knowledge than me, so I'm ready to try it, if that's what's recommened. I also think ONR will make washing much easier during the winter time here in the Boston area. But I digress...


I think I'll stop here and get this section of the process sorted out before moving on to the next steps.


I'm also interested in what accessories I should use for this washing/cleaning section, such as the bucket system (one or two) and what to use for the wash instrument (probably not the right word, but should I used a lamb's wool wash mitt or a MF washer or a sponge or what ?) And also exactly what towel or towels should I use. It seems the MF towels are the way to go nowadays, but which size and brand ?


I definitely want a method and materials that will help me avoid scratches and swirls. What I currently use is one bucket with a good sized sponge made for car washing. (I have used a lamb's wool mitt in the past, but I think I like the sponge better.) For drying I've used both terry and MF towels. My guess is that my current method is a recipe for scratches and swirls !


Thanks for any help !


- AveJoe

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Ave Joe,


You mentioned that you signed up on a few forums. There is a wealth of knowledge out there, the trick is sorting through all the opinion and BS. Most of the look achieved from detailing is very subjective, but you can never go wrong by keeping your car washed every week and spray waxed monthly. If you ONR every week and use Optimum Car Wax every month you will have great results with very little effort.



Thanks for great info and advice Chris. Your last points are very clear and concise. Much appreciated. (I actually didn't signup for any other detailing forums, but I did do a ton of reading on them !)


So after the washing and possibly claying, I then plan to use Poli-Seal. Without a buffer I'm not going to expect much correction, if any. If I'm ambitious next spring, maybe I'll consider a polisher/buffer and the other Optimum polishes.


I have a couple of questions about the Hyper Polish spray. In the beginning of the AutoGeek video with Dr G, it was mentioned that the Hyper Polish spray could be used by hand, althought the emphasis is clearly for it to be used with a machine polisher. My question is, can it be used by hand to remove minor swirls ? If so, is it even worth the effort to do it by hand ? And if so, are there any smaller sample sizes available to purchase ?


After the Poli-Seal, I'm thinking of skipping the Opti-Seal and go straight to the Optimum Car Wax.


What's your opinion on using the Opti-Seal as an intermediate step after the PS and before the OCW ? Will it add longer protection ? If so, I might use the OS.


In addition to the ONR, the Optimum spray wax was a big factor in my choosing to go with Optimum. I really like the time-saving, ease of use of spray products on the exterior. I'd love to see Poli-Seal in a spray form.


For the interior, I plan to use the Optimum Protection Plus. I really prefer wipes over sprays for the interior, so I'm really hoping that OPP wipes are in the works !


Other Optimum products I'll likely use are Power Clean, Tire Shine and Instant Detailer.


I think that's about it !

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Hope this is useful,

Chris :groupwave[1]:

Thanks Chris. Very useful.


I've been reading more about buffer/polishers and will likely buy one in the spring.


The weather here in the Boston area is turning colder. Highs around 60 with lows around 45. I think by the time my new SUV arrives in late Nov/early Dec, it'll be too cold for any work on the exterior, other than maybe an occasional wash. :-(

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