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Body Care, Page 5 of 5

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Three-hour detailing: Step-by-step guide
See Figures 18 through 22

Automotive purists may spend 20 hours or more over a couple of weekends detailing their cars, inside and out. If you don't have 20 hours or two weekends to spend and are satisfied with a "good," but not "super best," detail job, you can do the required detailing in about 3 hours' time.

To detail your car inside and out and under the hood in so short a time assumes that:

  1. Your car's finish is in average shape, and not excessively oxidized or faded.
  2. You don't have a convertible or vinyl top, which adds 30 minutes to the total time.
  3. You're willing to skip such niceties as repainting underhood components.
  4. You prepare for the quickie detailing by having in hand, before you start, all the products and tools you'll need for the job.
  5. You have average car care skills and are willing to apply them efficiently and stick steadfastly to the job once begun.
  6. You're willing to take necessary shortcuts-for example, taking the car to a self service car wash to do the dirty work, and applying one-step products rather than the more professional two-step products-to "beat the clock" and finish in the allotted 3 hours.

WARNING!!!
Never attempt to detail your car's exterior finish in sunlight. That's our advice, as well as virtually every detailing product label. The reason is simple: direct sunlight dries solutions before you have a chance to properly use them, causing spots and streaking.


Figure 18 Start with the wheels and tires, probably the dirtiest part of your car...
Start with the wheels and tires, probably the dirtiest part of your car...

Figure 19 ...Next move on to the engine compartment. Be careful not to get engine degreaser on the car's painted surface.
...Next move on to the engine compartment. Be careful not to get engine degreaser on the cars painted surface.

Figure 20 Washing your car at a self-service coin-op saves time.
Washing your car at a self-service coin-op saves time.

Figure 21 Don't forget to pressure wash rubber mats.
Don't forget to pressure wash rubber mats.

Figure 22 Drying the car after a quick wash at a self-service bay is a 5- to 10-minute chore with a chamois.
Drying the car after a quick wash at a self-service bay is a 5-to 10-minute chore with a chamois.

Procedures and time allotments for 3-hour detailing

Steps 1, 2, and 3 are done at a self-service coin-op car wash.

  1. Exterior: Wash and dry including wheels/tires and wheel wells (30 minutes)- Wash the exterior yourself at a self-service wash bay. (A commercial car wash could save you time and energy in this initial step, but a self-service place has added quick-detail advantages, outlined below.)
  2. Underhood: Degrease and wash (20 minutes). Detail underhood areas at an engine detailing bay of a self-service car wash. (You save time here because most self-service coin-op places have everything on the premises: washing and engine degreasing bays, and vacuum machines for vacuuming the interior.)

WARNING!!!
Do not direct water spray toward electrical components. Protect electrical components from water by using plastic bags and spraying terminals with silicone spray.

  1. Interior: Vacuum carpets, upholstery, and floor mats (10 minutes)- While you're at the self-service place, vacuum the interior, including carpets, fabric upholstery, and floor mats. If mats are vinyl or rubber, wash them.

Steps 4 through 9 can be done at your home or at any other suitable place.

  1. Exterior Finish: Clean, wax, and buff (45 minutes)- Now that the car is washed, clean it (to rid paint/clearcoat of oxidation) and wax it with a hand-applied one-step cleaner/wax. Hand-buff to a brilliant shine.
  2. Exterior Chrome: Clean, wax, and polish trim, bumpers, etc. (15 minutes)- Clean and brighten exterior chrome with any good chrome/metal polish; then wax and polish trim and bumpers. If bumpers are painted, or plastic, clean and wax.
  3. Upholstery: Clean and condition fabric, vinyl, leather, velour, etc. (30 minutes)- Shampoo fabric upholstery; clean and condition vinyl or leather. Upholstery vacuuming was done previously, at self-service vacuum bay.
  4. Interior Trim: Clean and brighten dashboard, instrument panels, door/window/windshield moldings, etc. (10 minutes)- Clean; then apply protectant to dashboard, instrument panels, shift console, window/windshield molding, in-car electronics, etc. Most interior trim can be cleaned/renewed with a rub-on/rub-off protectant.
  5. Interior Glass: Clean windows, windshield, and other interior glass (10 minutes)- Clean windows and windshield with any good household/automotive glass cleaner or with weak ammonia/water solution.
  6. Carpets and Seat Belts: Shampoo carpeting; wash seat belting (10 minutes)- Shampoo, rinse carpeting; wash seat belting. Use any good carpet shampoo or neutral soap and water.
Windshield and Fixed Glass

Removal and installation

If your windshield, or other fixed window, is cracked or chipped, you may decide to replace it with a new one yourself. However, there are two main reasons why replacement windshields and other window glass should be installed only by a professional automotive glass technician: safety and cost.

The most important reason a professional should install automotive glass is for safety. The glass in the car, especially the windshield, is designed with safety in mind in case of a collision. The windshield is specially manufactured from two panes of specially-tempered glass with a thin layer of transparent plastic between them. This construction allows the glass to "give" in the event that a part of your body hits the windshield during the collision, and prevents the glass from shattering, which could cause lacerations, blinding and other harm to passengers of the car. The other fixed windows are designed to be tempered so that if they break during a collision, they shatter in such a way that there are no large pointed glass pieces. The professional automotive glass technician knows how to install the glass in a car so that it will function optimally during a collision. Without the proper experience, knowledge and tools, installing a piece of automotive glass yourself could lead to additional harm if an accident should ever occur.

Cost is also a factor when deciding to install automotive glass yourself. Performing this could cost you much more than a professional may charge for the same service. Since the windshield is designed to break under stress, an often life saving characteristic, windshields tend to break VERY easily when an inexperienced person attempts to install one. Do-it-yourselfers buying two, three or even four windshields from a salvage yard because they have broken them during installation are common stories. Also, since the automotive glass is designed to prevent the outside elements from entering your car, improper installation can lead to water and air leaks. Annoying whining noises at highway speeds from air leaks or inside body panel rusting from water leaks can add to your stress level and subtract from your wallet. After buying two or three windshields, installing them and ending up with a leak that produces a noise while driving and water damage during rainstorms, the cost of having a professional do it correctly the first time may be much more alluring. We here at Chilton, therefore, advise that you have a professional automotive glass technician service any broken glass on your car.

Windshield chip repair
See Figures 23 through 37

Check with your state and local authorities on the laws for state safety inspection. Some states or municipalities may not allow chip repair as a viable option for correcting stone damage to your windshield.

Although severely cracked or damaged windshields must be replaced, there is something that you can do to prolong or even prevent the need for replacement of a chipped windshield. There are many companies which offer windshield chip repair products, such as Loctite's Bullseye windshield repair kit. These kits usually consist of a syringe, pedestal and a sealing adhesive. The syringe is mounted on the pedestal and is used to create a vacuum which pulls the plastic layer against the glass. This helps make the chip transparent. The adhesive is then injected which seals the chip and helps to prevent further stress cracks from developing. Refer to the sequence of photos to get a general idea of what windshield chip repair involves.

Always follow the specific manufacturer's instructions.

Figure 23 Small chips on your windshield can be fixed with an aftermarket repair kit, such as the one from Loctite.
Small chips on your windshield can be fixed with an aftermarket repair kit, such as the one from Loctite.

Figure 24 To repair a chip, clean the windshield with glass cleaner and dry completely.
To repair a chip, clean the windshield with glass cleaner and dry it completely.

Figure 25 Remove the center from the adhesive disc and peel off the backing from one side of the disc...
Remove the center from the adhesive disc and peel off the backing from one side of the disc . . .

Figure 26 ...then press it on the windshield so that the chip is centered in the hole.
. . . then press it on the windshield so that the chip is centered in the hole.

Figure 27 Be sure that the tab points upward on the windshield.
Be sure that the tab points upward on the windshield.

Figure 28 Peel the backing off the exposed side of the adhesive disc...
Peel the backing off the exposed side of the adhesive disc . . .

Figure 29 ...then position the plastic pedestal on the adhesive disc, ensuring that the tabs are aligned.
. . . then position the plastic pedestal on the adhesive disc, ensuring that the tabs are aligned.

Figure 30 Press the pedestal firmly on the adhesive disc to create an adequate seal...
Press the pedestal firmly on the adhesive disc to create an adequate seal . . .

Figure 31 ...then install the applicator syringe nipple in the pedestal's hole.
. . . then install the applicator syringe nipple in the pedestal's hole.

Figure 32Hold the syringe with one hand while pulling the plunger back with the other hand.
Hold the syringe with one hand while pulling the plunger back with the other hand.

Figure 33 After applying the solution, allow the entire assembly to sit until it has set completely.
After applying the solution, allow the entire assembly to sit until it has set completely.

Figure 34 After the solution has set, remove the syringe from the pedestal...
After the solution has set, remove the syringe from the pedestal . . .

Figure 35 ...then peel the pedestal off of the adhesive disc...
. . . then peel the pedestal off of the adhesive disc . . .

Figure 36 ...and peel the adhesive disc off of the windshield.
. . . and peel the adhesive disc off of the windshield.

Figure 37 The chip will still be slightly visible, but it should be filled with the hardened solution.
The chip will still be slightly visible, but it should be filled with the hardened solution.

Rust

About the only technical information the average car owner needs to know about rust is that it is an electrochemical process that works from the inside out. It works on ferrous metals (iron and steel) from the inside out due to exposure of unprotected surfaces to air and moisture. The possibility of rust exists practically nationwide-anywhere humidity, industrial pollution or chemical salts are present, rust can form. In coastal areas, the problem is high humidity and salt air; in snowy areas, the problem is chemical salt (de-icer) used to keep the roads clear; and in industrial areas, sulfur dioxide is present in the air from industrial pollution and is changed to sulfuric acid when it rains. The rusting process is accelerated by high temperatures, especially in snowy areas, when cars are driven over slushy roads and then left overnight in a heated garage.

Automotive styling also can be a contributor to rust formation. Spot welding of panels creates small pockets that trap moisture and form environments for rust formation. Fortunately, auto manufacturers have been working hard to increase the corrosion protection of their products. Galvanized sheet metal enjoys much wider use, along with the increased use of plastic and various rust-retardant coatings. Manufacturers are also changing designs to eliminate areas in the body where rust-forming moisture can collect.

Rustproofing

Current trends in metal preparation and new car corrosion warranties, (typically up to 100,000 miles) have eliminated aftermarket rustproofing. In fact adding rustproofing to your new car may void its corrosion warranty. However, there are a few steps that you can take to help assure a rust free body.

First, keep a garden hose handy for your car in winter. Use it a few times on nice days during the winter for underneath areas, and it will pay big dividends when spring arrives. Spraying under the fenders and other areas which even carwashes don't reach will help remove road salt, dirt and other buildups that help breed rust. Adjust the nozzle to a high-force spray. An old brush will help break up residue, permitting it to be washed away more easily.

It's a somewhat messy job, but it will be worth it in the end because a car's rust often starts in those hidden areas.

At the same time, wash grime off the doorsills and, more importantly, the under portions of the doors and the tailgate if you have a station wagon or truck. Applying a coat of wax to those areas at least once before and once during winter will help fend off rust.

When applying the wax to the under parts of the doors, you will note small drain holes. These holes often are plugged with undercoating or dirt. Make sure they are cleaned out to prevent water build-up inside the doors. A small punch or penknife will do the job.

Water from the high-pressure sprays in carwashes sometimes can get into the housings for parking and taillights, so take a close look, and if they contain water merely loosen the retaining screws and the water should run out.

Undercoating

Undercoating should not be mistaken for rustproofing. Undercoating is a black, tar-like substance that is applied to the underside of the car.

Contrary to what most people think, the primary purpose of undercoating is not to prevent rust, but to deaden noise that might, otherwise be transmitted to the car's interior. Undercoating simply cannot get into the crevices and seams where moisture tends to collect, and in fact may clog up drainage holes and ventilation passages.

Since cars are quiet these days anyway, dealers are very willing to promote undercoating as a rust preventative. Undercoating will of course, prevent some rust, but only if applied when the car is brand-new. In any case, undercoating doesn't provide the protection that a good rustproofing does. If you do decide to undercoat your car and it's not brand-new, you have a big clean-up job ahead of you. It's a good idea to have the underside of the car professionally steam-cleaned and save yourself a lot of work. Spraying undercoat on dirty or rusty parts is only going to make things worse, since the undercoat will trap any rust-causing agents.

Drain holes

Rusty rocker panels are a common problem on nearly every car, but they can be prevented by simply drilling some holes in your rocker panels to let the water out, or by keeping the ones that are already there clean and unclogged. Most cars these days have a series of holes in the rocker panels to prevent moisture collection there, but they frequently become clogged. Just use a small screwdriver or penknife to keep them clean.

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©1998 W. G. Nichols - Chilton's Easy Car Care