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Decent wash/wax for initial cleaning of long-neglected car?

Posted by XC92, Nov 25, 2020

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  1. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

    515
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    Joined Jul 22, 2020
    Queens, New York
    My '92 Talon's was sitting around for over 5 years as I put off fixing a number of issues that kept it from being driveable, and I haven't done much about keeping the exterior clean during that time. Prior to that, I also didn't clean or properly wax it that often. I've finally fixed most of these issues and hope to get the car back on the road this week, but I've done little about the exterior.

    Needless to say, it needs a lot of work, a new paint job in some places where it's badly cracked, dent, scratch and scuff removal, a thorough cleaning and wax, etc. I won't be able to get to most of this till next year, but in the meantime I'd like to give the car a decent initial wash and wax to hold it over till then. Nothing fancy, just enough so it's not too embarrassing to look at and complements all the work I've done under to hood and car and at least feels "restored".

    So, I'm wondering, what wash & wax products are recommended for this? I'm thinking of going with either Turtle Was or Armor All wash & wax, the kind that has carnauba wax in it. Both are on sale dirt cheap (perhaps not the most apt term) at Advance Auto, $2-$3. Again, this is as a placeholder until I can do a proper exterior restoration, wash and wax job next year with some of the fancier products and methods folks use, e.g. clay, Bondo, Meguaire's, PDR, etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020

    357  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  2. ErikTande

    ErikTande Supporting Member

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    Centennial, Colorado
    Any of those products are good, it's all just soap. Can't go wrong with turtle wax with carnauba either.

    I prefer to start with dish soap if the car has been sitting a long time. It cuts through built up and dirt fast and will strip all the old wax off the car, leaving a clean slate for new wax.
     

    Street Build 1K  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM

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    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    13.2 @ 105 · 1G DSM
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  3. 2Gjunkie

    2Gjunkie Proven Member

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    Baltimore, Maryland
    ^^ Agree. Dish soap first, then car soap, then use a spray-wax. I wouldn’t bother with a real wax or sealer until you get your paint corrections done.

    Personally I’m a big fan of Chemical Guys. I’ve used their stuff for over a decade and about 99% of their products work as advertised, in my experience.
     

    Street Build 250  3

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GST
    manual · 2G DSM
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  4. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Queens, New York
    Thanks. Will do. And, although I won't be able to get to it till next spring at the earliest, what's the preferred way to deal with cracked paint, the kind that looks like a dry lake bed? Strip it to metal or sand, prep and paint over? I'm guessing that either way, having it done professionally is the way to go, especially if I don't have an indoor space to do it, to avoid dust, wind, rain, humidity, bugs, etc. Just trying to prep myself for what's to come.
     

    357  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  5. 2Gjunkie

    2Gjunkie Proven Member

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    Baltimore, Maryland
    If you want the repaint to look good, you need to start from a smooth surface. But if you don’t have an indoor space it doesn’t really matter. It all depends on how much you want to spend—a Maaco job will probably look a lot better than a novice just learning how to spray.
     

    Street Build 250  3

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GST
    manual · 2G DSM
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  6. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Joined Jul 22, 2020
    Queens, New York
    So it can be done w/o stripping, just won't look as good?

    Do you know what a rough ballpark estimate would be, say just for the hood, and only for the paint-related work, never mind deep scratches, dents and such, both with and w/o stripping? Just trying to get a general idea of what to expect.
     

    357  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  7. blkgst97

    blkgst97 Proven Member

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    Bonney Lake, Washington
    I second the use of chemical guys products. That and a good porta cable buffer is what I use and it does great.
     

    2K  5

    1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    fwd · manual · 2G DSM
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  8. Widgmaster

    Widgmaster Supporting VIP

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    They say not to use dish soap on auto paint but it`s a hell of a lot cheaper than using wax remover.. As long as you are putting a fresh coat of wax on .what harm can it do.There are just to many company's selling wax these days it`s hard to pick a favorite .. Mothers .. Meguiar .. but after the new paint you got to get it ceramic coated.... ...
     

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    1969 Volkswagen Electric Cart
    rwd · automatic · Misc Vehicles

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    1977 Glastron Aqua Lift
    awd · automatic · Misc Vehicles

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    2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GT
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  9. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Queens, New York
    Either car wash soap makers are saying that because they want you to buy their products, or there's truth to it, because it strips wax, but like you said it doesn't matter in the instance if you're going to wax afterwards. Or, as in my situation, there's no wax and the paint is in terrible shape, so it's hard to see how Dawn would make it worse. But, I'll do as suggested and use Dawn first then a real car wash and wax product. And in any case this is a stopgap till I can do a proper job next spring.
     

    357  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  10. Dreams Realized

    Dreams Realized Proven Member

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    Seattle, Washington
    Dish soap isn't recommended because it causes microabrasions in the paint and is generally hard on clear coats. Which who cares if you are going to repaint anyway.

    If you repaint just pieces it's going to look even worse as the new paint will show just how faded your old paint actually is.

    When you do decide to invest in real soaps for the car I like using Meguiar's or Ammo NYC. Ammo is expensive but it supports a good auto detailer and his microsoap makes my car look fresh off the dealer floor. Also go to a craft store and pick up a clay bar. Can get one for like $5. They pick up tiny particles and dirt REALLY well.

    I am a nut when it comes to detailing spend probably around 8 hours on it
     

    Street Build 1K  4

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
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  11. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Queens, New York
    At this point more microscratches in the paint won't make it any worse. I'm more interested in getting years of dirt off to buy some time before doing a proper restoration job. And is clay the hard kind, or more akin to thick play-doh or artist's clay, which is malleable?

    As for being obsessive, I'm a bit of a nut in restoring rusted parts. I really go at it with brush and abrasive wheels, scrapers, picks, rotary tools, chemicals, etc. Then I prime and paint them to make them look like new. Well worth it IMO, not just for the looks but future rust-proofing.
     

    357  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  12. Dreams Realized

    Dreams Realized Proven Member

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    Seattle, Washington
    There is a youtube channel with millions of views who restores things in a similar fashion. I assume you are not the only one :)

    And it's malleable sculptor's clay. The undyed stuff. White or beige works fine. It's a PITA to take a clay bar to your entire car but it's all in the name of people offering to buy your car at gas stations
     

    Street Build 1K  4

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
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  13. TK's9d2TSi

    TK's9d2TSi Supporting Member

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    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Clay bar it after a good wash. You’d be amazed at what it pulls from the paint. Doesn’t take that long either, especially the 1gs. Then apply wax after that.
     

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    2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport - Classic
    awd · automatic · Misc Vehicles

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    93 Civic 4 Door -sold-
    fwd · manual · Misc Vehicles

    Street Build 3K  5

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    12.2 @ 120 · 1G DSM
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  14. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Queens, New York
    Thanks all.

    Btw, different but related topic, but I recently cleaned, derusted and painted a whole bunch of suspension and subframe parts, control arms, trailing arms, stabilizer bar, crossmembers, etc. They looked really nasty before and now they look much, much, much better. Thing is, the paint scratches off really easily. Maybe I didn't prep it properly, or use the right primer, or it was just cheap primer and paint (Rustoleum all the way). But it's not very durable, and I might have to redo it eventually.

    I don't regret doing it this way as it's still a huge improvement over what was there before, and I didn't have time or funds to do it "right" given all the others things I needed to do to get the car in shape. But if I were to do it the "right" way someday, does that mean using a better brand of primer and paint, or a different method entirely, e.g. POR-15, powdercoating or epoxy? I realize that nothing can ever be completely scratch-proof, but this stuff is way too easy to remove.
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  15. JosephSMendez

    JosephSMendez Probationary Member

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    Lyndhurst, New Jersey
    My go to favorite local product is the Turtle Wax Ceramic Line but on the go I like to use Miracle Wash by AMSOIL its just spray and wipe and leaves a nice quick clean shine.
     

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