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Old 08-22-2007
mhuffake mhuffake is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 11
Default Dirt roads

Like everyone here I like to keep it clean. Unfortunately I can't park it inside at home, so its parked on the street. The kicker is where I work I have to park in a gravel lot and travel on gravel (crushed concrete) roads to get there. One trip to work and a wash is needed.

I try to wash weekly to every other week, rinse out the wheel wells, windows. Vacum and do the interior montly. Wax 2-3 times a year. I don't use a spray wax detailer or anything like that.

Here's the questions:

1: I don't use any tire shine or protectant since I'm on gravel roads. This first time I go to work after washing everything is covered in dust. Should I use a tire shine/protectant?

2: I don't use a special wheel cleaner, just soapy water, which seems to work great on the chrome wheels. Is there something that will provide a better protection?

3: Are the detailers necessary? Do they really make the wax base last longer?

4: And how can I take the wax off the trim from previous owners waxing endeavors? Back to black?

I currently have a 2000 Ford Ranger XLT 2WD in Forest Green. The paint is in really good shape for being seven years old. No oxidation, but a couple spots on the hood that look like bird sh#t that baked in and the clay bar didn't work to get rid of it. Something a little stronger may be necessary. Chrome wheels were pretty nasty when I first got it, simply spent some time with a brush and rag and car wash soap, and they turned out beutifully.
  #2  
Old 08-22-2007
mhuffake mhuffake is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 11
Default Re: Dirt roads

Obviously this isn't a show vehicle, its a daily driver I just want to keep it looking sharp (or get it looking a little sharper)

Colorado uses a lot of mag chloride and salts in the winter so a better protectant would be better for the wheels and tires now that I think of it.
  #3  
Old 08-22-2007
TonyfromOz's Avatar
TonyfromOz TonyfromOz is offline
 
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Location: Beenleigh, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,136
Default Re: Dirt roads

mhuffake
Welcome.
Sounds like you have specific things to address, and I'll attempt to make a start, but, as is always the case, there is never an easy simple answer.
Everything requires some work on your part, and that work always seems to be a lot, but the thing is, it's actually enjoyable because the end result actually shows you something that is a vast improvement.
So for openers, here's something I've found, and it's something that surprised me.
Before actually starting that first time, you feel like you're caught between a rock and a hard place. You want your car to look good, and you know it's going to take a lot of work, so that part of you that wants to take things easy says 'Man, if I have to do this much work every time I do the car, then the time and effort is just not worth it.'

That very first time takes the longest, and seeing the worthwhile end result is the spur to make you want to do it, but the time and effort taken weighs against that, thinking that it will take this much time every time I do the car.

Now, here's the surprise.
That very first huge job you do IS the longest time, and the most effort.
Every subsequent time takes less time and less effort because it's just upkeep maintenance. Good time management will see you spending so little time on your car for startling results. Not just for you, but for all of us who actually start on something like this. It actually comes back to make you smile. People see your sparkling car and think it takes a huge time outlay to get it looking like that, but you know how little it does take. It's going to take you to test that out, but believe me, it's true.
Get that technique sorted out and the time taken will be a lot less than you might imagine.
It's hard that first time because nothing has been done, and the seeming rough surface means that it's harder to clean, but with a clean, smooth, and shiny surface, the dirt is removed more easily, for less work.
Okay, your specifics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhuffake
I try to wash weekly to every other week, rinse out the wheel wells, windows. Vacum and do the interior montly. Wax 2-3 times a year. I don't use a spray wax detailer or anything like that.

Standard response I know, but have a look at the 'detail guide' on the menu at left of screen. Download it print it whatever. It's a good guide, and has not been designed to coerce you into buying more 'stuff'. It's there as a good guide on how best to look after your car. Different conditions mean that guide times might change, but that's something for you to work out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhuffake
1: I don't use any tire shine or protectant since I'm on gravel roads. This first time I go to work after washing everything is covered in dust. Should I use a tire shine/protectant?

I would suggest that your gravel road situation might be best addressed with the Protectant. It would make cleaning the walls of the tyres a little easier. Easy test might be just hose the tyres off when you get home and closely check the result. Then clean the tyres and apply the protectant. Next time you get home, hose the tyres off again and closely check the result this time. I might suspect the tyres will look cleaner this time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhuffake
2: I don't use a special wheel cleaner, just soapy water, which seems to work great on the chrome wheels. Is there something that will provide a better protection?

Sorry to answer a question with a question, but are the wheels chrome or clear coated Chrome? Check first.
Short answer is yes. Soapy water to clean them and then the wheel cleaner for the correct finish. Then each time you clean, it's easier. don't leave it too long though. How long will it take to hose the wheels when you get home and wipe them dry. Better than leaving it for that dirt to get attached, so that cleaning becomes more difficult when the time comes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhuffake
3: Are the detailers necessary? Do they really make the wax base last longer?

It'll help, seriously. Get that first big job done, and then each wash, use one of the spray wax products to top up. It's a routine that might add some time to the car wash, but the result will be that you have more protection.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhuffake
4: And how can I take the wax off the trim from previous owners waxing endeavors? Back to black?

There are methods for this, and the one I use employs an eraser. If you're interested, use the search facility or call back here and I'll find the link for you.
Then, after that, an application of Back to Black, and the older the car might be, then you might need more than one application, but the end result will also look great.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhuffake
I currently have a 2000 Ford Ranger XLT 2WD in Forest Green. The paint is in really good shape for being seven years old.

The very first thing you need is the clay bar. The smoothness you feel when you finish is impressive enough, but the main thing is that it gives you a great baseline to start from. Remember, dirt adheres better to a rough surface. If it's smooth, the dirt is easily removed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhuffake
No oxidation, but a couple spots on the hood that look like bird sh#t that baked in and the clay bar didn't work to get rid of it. Something a little stronger may be necessary.

This sounds like the clear coat might have been breached by the acidic nature of the bird crap. There's not much you can easily do to remedy this, depending on just how bad it might be. Scratch Remover might help, and again you'll need to go searching to see how best to use this product.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhuffake
Chrome wheels were pretty nasty when I first got it, simply spent some time with a brush and rag and car wash soap, and they turned out beutifully.

Good start. Proves you're willing to spend some time to achieve what you want.
Draw up a plan of attack find out how to work your specific problems, take the time to do that first big workup, and then see how easy it becomes to maintain that finish.
There's no magic wand. Get the technique right and half that battle is won.
These fora have all the answers you need, and have no qualms asking any question guys here have heard (nearly) all of them, and those ones we haven't heard, there's guys who'll go looking for you.
Long long reply I know, and if you've struggled this far, then you'll get the idea, that there is no short answer with a magic wand.
We'll work hard to provide you with a detailed response. You're the guy who then has to put it to practice.
Regarding the magnesium chloride salts in Winter, they'll most probably eat the wax that might be on your car, but look at it this way.
Eat the wax or slowly destroy the paint. You choose.

We expect more questions, so don't worry on that front.
The more you learn, the more there is to learn.

Tony
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  #4  
Old 08-23-2007
mhuffake mhuffake is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 11
Post Re: Dirt roads

Tony,

Thanks for the info, I'll have to stop and get some tire protectant. How do I tell if the wheels have a clear coated chrome?

I used the clay bar before I waxed for the first time and was amazed by the results! Even without waxing the finish was incredibly smooth.

Here's the routine I've held for years:

1. Rinse vehicle top to bottom, spending extra time on tires, wheels, wheel wells, and rocker panels.
2. Was tires and wheels with extra soapy watter using a brush for the tires and a terry cloth rag for the wheels.
3. Wash roof down, front to back, one panel at a time rinsing each panel upon completion.
4. Rinse with a easy stream to "sheet" water off leaving fewer spots.
5. Dry using old clean towells.
6. Wipe down door jams.
7. Clean windows inside and out.
8. Clean floor mats as needed (typically using Comet, this seems a little harsh though)
9. Vaccum when needed. Spot clean carpetting and upholstery.

Any ideas or suggestions?
  #5  
Old 08-24-2007
TonyfromOz's Avatar
TonyfromOz TonyfromOz is offline
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Beenleigh, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,136
Default Re: Dirt roads

Aha!
Just shows me up as being no expert when it comes to wheels, and I might have been caught out here.
I might hazard a guess that magnesium alloy wheels are the ones that are either bare metal or clear coated over alloy.
You say chrome, so I'll go with that. I should be reading a little more carefully
Clean them as you already are, but to make them really shine, use Mothers Chrome Polish.
The added advantage of this product is that as well as shining up Chrome wheels, you can also use it to polish glass, and it does an excellent job on this application also.
There is an excellent example shown in this thread. Go part way down and you'll see a photograph from kbshadow showing the shine on his wheels. He used a Power Ball but you can do the job by hand.
All chrome wheels should look this good.

Click here for link to Mothers Thread

As to your car washing routine, it seems you have a good plan already. Some added tips might be picked up if you carefully read the 'Car Wash' sticky thread at the top of this forum.
Use a quality mitt, preferably a woollen one, two buckets and care, because this is where the most damage can be caused by you to your paint.
Also, remember to lay the towel on the panel pat it and lift it off.
It's all laid out in that thread, and any changes to your routine here don't add much time to the wash, and the extra care taken will be well worth it.

I'd be doing the inside first.
Wash the car.
Dress the trim. (Always this middle step, so that the 'white stuff' doesn't get time to attach itself to the trim and is easier to remove when it does, and it will.)
Polish and Wax.
Glass. Be careful with the glass and only use automotive glass cleaner products as some household glass cleaners have ammonia in them and this will eat your tint film if you have it.
Plastics, like the headlight and taillight lenses if they're not glass.

Get plenty of quality microfibre polishing cloths. Cheap ones are okay, but the good ones don't cost all that much extra.
Glass microfibre is different than polishing cloth microfibre, and one cloth per product means you don't have to wash and dry them between product applications, just clean them all at the end.

The more you read here, the more things you pick up, and like I mentioned, once you start implementing them, you'll find it's less work than you might expect.

Tony.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2007
Forrest T.'s Avatar
Forrest T. Forrest T. is offline
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Location: St. Louis, MO
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Default Re: Dirt roads

Tony - the magnesium he was referring to was the magnesium chloride. It's a chemical put on roads to melt snow/ice at extremely low temperatures. I wrote an article for a magazine a few years ago that discussed the different ways roads are deiced in winter, and MgCL was one of the best, and very effective below 0ºF.

He has chrome wheels, I believe. THe chrome plated OE rims on a Ford Explorer were not clear coated over the chrome. Chrome Polish is the appropriate product for them.

Last edited by Forrest T.; 08-24-2007 at 05:28 AM.
  #7  
Old 08-24-2007
TonyfromOz's Avatar
TonyfromOz TonyfromOz is offline
 
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Default Re: Dirt roads

Thanks Forrest.
Man, that must make slush that is murder on the underside of cars, let alone on wax.

Tony.
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  #8  
Old 08-25-2007
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Default Re: Dirt roads

The unfortunate challenge with people in adverse climates is that in winter the vehicle finishes take a beating. That's one reason why older cars that have lived their lives in the sunbelt can reap a higher resale.

Even if you can't wax your car during the winter, at least hose it down and remove any surface dirt and road salts as frequently as you can so they're not allowed to sit and cause damage.

For polished or coated alloy wheels in the Northern states, road salts are devastating on them. It's of utmost importance to keep them clean.
  #9  
Old 08-27-2007
mhuffake mhuffake is offline
 
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Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 11
Default Re: Dirt roads

The cool thing here in the winter is its olny below freezing of nights, and olny a couple days a week. Even if the temp is below freezing you can still rinse stuff off since the sun is so intense here it will dry realitively quickly, just wipe down the door frames to keep them from freezing shut. Gotta pay a lot of attention to the wheels, wheel wells and rocker panels, thats what seems to take the brunt of the salts.

Just used Mothers Showtime after I washed this morning. I was really impressed with how slick it left the finish, and how cleanly it wiped off the glass. I think I may pick up one of those mini balls and chrome cleaner to do the wheels. The mag chloride has left some pitting. Along with some protectant for the dash and tires....... Maybe some tire shine......
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