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Car Cleaning Products - Garage Talk

Powerful Potions

Tom Benford Feb 1, 2008

There are some chemicals you'll undoubtedly need at one time or another when working on, maintaining, or cleaning your Corvette, and that's the topic for this month. And I'm not talking about namby-pamby stuff here, no siree! I'm talking about stuff that really gets the job done in short order with minimal elbow grease-very powerful potions.

Corp_0802_01_z Car_cleaning_products Hog_ring_pliers 2/10

Quick Tip
If you've ever reupholstered the seats in your Corvette, then you know what a chore it is to stretch the seat cover fabric, and while keeping it taut, load a hog ring into your hog-ring pliers. At times like these a third hand would certainly come in handy. Well, how about the next best thing? Simply pre-load the hog ring into your pliers and use a rubber band around the handles to put pressure on them to keep the hog ring from falling out. Stretch the fabric, grab the pliers, and squeeze the ring on with no fumbling. Simple but effective.

Due to their powerful nature, I highly recommend wearing some protective gloves when using them. I'm a fan of disposable nitrile gloves since they are inexpensive, more chemical resistant, and last longer than latex gloves. And while I'm on the caution bandwagon, let me also mention that some of these powerful potions contain corrosive chemicals that may damage your nice painted garage floor or even the tarmac of your driveway (particularly if you've used blacktop driveway coating). I know from experience that some of them will wreak havoc with your lawn, so use caution and common sense when using them. And be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

That being said, let's talk about what's available to do what and how well it does it.

Grease and grime build up on your engine, transmission, and other mechanical parts, especially if you put lots of miles on your Corvette. I've found that Spray Nine does a really good job of removing light-to-moderate surface grease. You just spray it on, let it set for a few minutes, and then hose it off. Don't let it set for more than a few minutes before rinsing it off since this stuff is really powerful. If you've got a huge accumulation of gunk on your engine, bellhousing, around the oil pan, or other areas of your motor and drivetrain, then you'll probably want to use something that's industrial strength for grease removal, and STP Engine Degreaser does a super job. Again, since it's an aerosol, you simply spray it on, let it do its thing, and then hose it off.

Solvents are very handy potions to have on hand for all sorts of tasks, from removing light grease and oil from surfaces to dissolving sticky adhesive residues, and general cleaning and surface prep chores. Denatured wood alcohol is an old standby that I always have on hand; it has myriad uses in the garage and workshop. Another good thing to have is rubber cement solvent and thinner, which works well and evaporates quickly, too. Both of these liquids are highly flammable, so use them responsibly, keep their containers tightly capped when not in use, and, by all means, be sure you have adequate ventilation when using them.

I came across products from Busch Enterprises ( at a swap meet/flea market a while back, most notably the company's Aluminum Wash and Chrome Wash. I've used a lot of different products over the years, but these, bar none, are the best for cleaning their respective metals in short order with literally no effort-just spray on, rinse off, that's it. The Aluminum Wash comes in two strengths: regular and heavy-duty. The latter is for uncoated aluminum surfaces that are severely oxidized; the Chrome Wash is for chrome-plated steel surfaces, while the Wire Hubcap Wash is for chrome and stainless wheels or hubcaps. The Chrome Wash dissolves brake dust, road tar, grime, rust, and just about every other kind of crud that can get on your chrome wheels, and-get this-no rubbing or scouring is required. None. Zip. Nada. What's not to love?

While I'm not averse to putting in some effort when the task at hand requires it, I'm also a great believer in working smarter rather than working harder. And using the right powerful potions in your garage is all part of working smarter.



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