Thursday, August 22, 2013

Zen and the Art of Car Washing

I am not a great iPhone photographer...
August has been a blur. Between work and life I have barely been home. I've had little time for fun, much less carsor car blogs. The fleet is dirty and neglected. This afternoon I finally had a chance to get the red car out for some much needed scrubbing.

As I went through my car wash routine it occurred to me that I have a car wash routine. It's not rocket science: I start with a good rinse, use decent soap, wash from top to bottom, and have a different sponge/mitt for the lower panels. A thorough rinsing, a little water blading for the flat surfaces, the small leaf blower to get water from the nooks and crannies, and then a good soft toweling and I'm done. A routine.

Friends have been influential in the routine's evolution. From my army buddy Eddie I got the two different sponge strategy. From Jerry I got the leaf blower (my neighbors love that part - cements their opinion of my insanity). Tom at EP recently convinced me of the importance of good soap. In my case these days it is P21S. I tend to stick to Griots' products, along with a few other solutions that seem to work well (If you don't use Griot's Speed Shine there is no hope for you). I moved pass the mass-market/parts store crap years ago, but I'm not willing to spend big money in search of that perfect shine.

Embarrassingly I am not a big waxer. Sure, I do a thorough clay bar and decent paste wax every few months. But that's it. Not even the red car has seen a proper buffer in years. Actually, buffers kinda scare me.

Some of my car friends are far more fanatical. I've watched them disassemble Corvette dashboards in search of dust, wash their Porsches in the garage to avoid drought restrictions, and commit various other acts of car care obsession. Their cars do usually look better than mine.

I find that there is something about handwashing a car that appeals to some primal need. I enjoy it, even in the wonderful humidity of a Southern evening. Like just now. I think my blood pressure actually went down as I used polishing compound to get a slight abrasion off a bumper. Or maybe it was the beera car washing staple that I do not skimp on.

What are your car washing tricks or obsessions? What beer goes well with a clay bar?

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