Just scratching the surface probably isn’t the best expression to begin a tech piece describing detailing basics, but it does bring us right to the very thing one doesn’t want to do when washing or detailing their automobile. The first step is to determine whether the car needs a full-blown hose down with water or if a good dusting will suffice.
Whether you’ve just restored a vehicle with fresh paint or you’re trying to preserve the paintjob you already have and make it look its best, using the best (and correct) products you can afford is paramount. Your classic’s ability to weather the years without showing its age depends on how well one keeps the car away from the elements. This means one that is kept indoors and away from direct sunlight will not suffer from elevated temperatures and exposure to excessive amounts of ultraviolet light. Excessive heat and UV can destroy exterior finishes and interior materials, meaning faded paint and cracked dashboards, warped panels, etc. The worst of all elements whether frozen or liquid, is water—it’s a known carcinogen for steel-bodied cars and if left unchecked can prove terminal.
Super Chevy’s AMD Chevelle has come a long way since its decimated shell was dragged out of a field. Every body panel was replaced, every subsystem lovingly tended to, and the Emerald Turquoise paint is far better than anything that ever left a GM factory. Our goal is to keep it that way. That’s why we put in a call to California Car Cover for some of its Premium Line products, as well as a protective car cover.
As a magazine project, this midsize gets around quite a bit, sometimes in a trailer, other times at double the posted speed limit. This past summer the AMD Chevelle covered the entire Hot Rod Power Tour, among other adventures. The A-body has been stored inside our tech center and cleaned up after each excursion. This means three out of four times we can use a California Car Duster followed with a detail spray to remove the salt air mist and toxic airborne elements common to Southern California’s coast.
The AMD Chevelle was treated to all-new weatherstripping and leak-free hardtop windows, so a good hosing isn’t a problem. A word of warning to folks who know water is getting past the door and window seals: Spend a minimum amount of time rinsing the car, and check the drain holes located at the bottom of the doors to make sure they are clear.
The best cosmetic care one can provide their car and still be able to enjoy driving it is to keep it clean, sealed under a good polish and wax (the two are not the same), and then placed under the appropriate car cover.
01 The first step to properly washing a car with water is using a top quality, pH neutral, detergent free car wash soap that will not strip wax. Golden Shine Wash & Wax complies, plus includes gloss intensifiers.
02 Next, it’s important to use a scrub rag that will not scratch the paint. California Car Cover’s two-sided lamb’s wool mitt holds extra water, fits either hand, and is super soft.
03 The first step to washing is dissolving dirt and grime by spraying the entire car with water. Next, circular motions with the wool mitt work best.
04 Drying the car takes much less time if safely squeegeeing away water using the soft and very pliable California Jelly Blade. Notice the path it cleared. This thing really makes drying your car a lot easier.
05 Rinse off or wipe dry Original formula Golden Shine Go-To Cleaner is safe on all surfaces. Cleaning heavy grime under the hood or stubborn interior or exterior stains.
06 Thanks to an ammonia-free formula Golden Shine Clean & Clear glass cleaner dries streak free, will not harm most plastic dash bezels, and has no medicine smell.
07 Included with the clean it all kit is this ultra-soft towel. It will not scratch or leave annoying lint particles.
08 Whether after washing with water or waterless, a good instant detailer such as Golden Shine original formula Quick Shine restores gloss and helps to repel dirt and dust.
09 Cleaning wheels and tires works best with water but as shown can be accomplished waterless by spraying on Golden Shine Brilliant Wheel Cleaner immediately followed with a towel.
10 California Car Cover’s blue heavy-duty shop rags are tough enough to do the job without scratching stainless steel trim rings or chrome-plated hubcaps.
11 Vinyl tops take the brunt of all the sun and rain can deliver so it’s a good practice to maintain with a heavy-bodied dressing and protectant, such Golden Shine Tire & Trim.
12 After applying with California Car Cover’s special sponge applicator, allow Tire & Trim to soak in and then buff to an even luster with a Quick Shine detailing towel.
13 Even black vinyl interiors get dirty. Golden Shine Interior Cleaner effectively removes caked on grime without harming or dehydrating the vinyl.
14 While still wet, buff Golden Shine Interior Cleaner dry with a suitable lint-free towel. Interior Cleaner works to remove slippery protectants from the steering wheel.
15 Tiny rocks and gravel that collect in ordinary car wash buckets can stick to the wash mitt and scratch the finish. The Golden Shine wash bucket with the Grit Guard System eliminates this possibility.
16 After use, the exclusive Gamma Seal on the Golden Shine wash bucket cinches shut with an airtight, leak-proof seal, making it handy for multiple storage uses.
17 California Car Covers come with adapters to allow fitting for radio antennas and custom mirrors. Our Chevelle’s antenna unscrewed, making it easy to mark the spot where we needed to cut the hole in our cover. After we cut the hole, we placed the grommets supplied with the kit around it. This makes putting the cover on super easy, plus it keeps the cover from tearing around the hole.
18 The best way to extend the life of any vehicle’s long-term cosmetic appearance is to seal off UV light, airborne grit, and even moisture with a perfect fitting California Car Cover. We use this Dustop cover even when storing the car in our warehouse. It protects the paint from dirt, moisture, and scratches, whether indoors or out.