Please watch the full video to see all the steps and procedures discussed below.In this chapter, we are going to walk through the actual cleaning steps while referring back to our 1-page master guide. Have it in front of you for the next few minutes so you can hand scribble in notes as you see fit.
Before we can start cleaning, remember to always to prepare your 3 buckets before any water ever touches the car. You do this to avoid water drying on the paint, as you hurry to fill your buckets with water and soap...(As you can see the in the RULES, #1 is to fill up Wheels, Wash, Rinse for each section, so you might as well get them done now).With your 3 buckets and 3 grit guards, make sure the bottom of each bucket is relatively clean before you add any soap. When the grit guards do their job, you will see trapped dirt from the previous wash, IF you’ve forgotten to wash it out after your last use. Quickly rinse out the bucket with water and replace the grit guards. Then repeat the process quickly for any mitts, brushes, or woolies that may have not been cleaned after the last wash. If they were already clean, then start filling the buckets with the appropriate soap and or water. The Wheel bucket gets AMMO Brute wheel soap. Roughly 3-4 squirts, and fill up about half to full. Remember, the wheel mitt in this bucket may never ever be used on the paint or placed in the wash bucket. This was principle #4 Cross-contamination in chapter 102.
Next, fill your Wash bucket with 3-4 squirts of AMMO Foam, 2 on the bottom of the bucket, 1 on the mitt and 1 on the inside of the mitt. Fill it up to 3/4.Lastly fill your rinse bucket with only water to 3/4, and leave it to the side for now.
The first step in the Cleaning sequence is the engine. You can choose to do the engine or not, or perhaps do it every other wash or every other, other wash...it doesn’t matter, but if you choose to clean it as part of the system, then doing it first is important. So for the sake of continuity, lets assume you are going to give the engine a maintenance clean, not a full-blown engine detail.Before you get started with any section, take a look down to the RULES to make sure to adhere to the directions prior to possibly damaging the car or hurting yourself. In this case, make sure the engine is at most warm to the touch, but never hot. Avoid soaking any part of the engine with water, especially the alternator or any electrical units. Make sure to wear protective gloves and glasses.After opening the hood, step 1 is to quickly remove any leaves or debris stuck in the HVAC vents or hood jambs by hand. If you have an older engine, or are very concerned about water, you can cover any sensitive parts in a plastic bag, tin foil, or saran wrap, but most modern engines can handle a light spray of water with no issue.In a modern plastic filled engine, adding protection from light water spraying may be unnecessary. However, older engines should be protected from water sprays, including alternators, wires, fuses, or anything electric, just for piece of mind.Remember our methods. Pre-rinse, Wash, Rinse and Dry. First, pre-rinse the engine with a wide nozzle sprayer to lightly coat the plastics. Next, spray AMMO Plum wheel cleaner to help cut through the grime, or use a heavy degreaser if you are working on an older leaking engine.Quickly agitate the crevices with your wheel brush and your wheel woolie for the hard to reach areas. Do not allow the product or soapy lather to dry! Remember, the warmer the engine, the faster it will dry. And if it does, the lifted dirt will only relocate itself to a new area on your engine without being washed away. You are, in essence, just moving the dirt around the engine bay, which is useless. Then, lightly rinse the cleaner away with a wide-angle nozzle using the least amount of water necessary to remove the suds. Next, use a terry towel to dry the surface and jambs. If you have access to a compressor or master blaster, use it here with your towel to work even faster, but they’re NOT essential, so don’t worry if you don’t have them. Keep in mind that this is not a long process, maybe 4-5 minutes at the most. You are simply maintaining the engines appearance and this should not be an all day project. Finally, close the hood until the first latch catches, but not all the way. You will need to get back under the hood at the end of the wash process so don’t make more work for yourself.
Next in our CLEAN sequence are the wheels. Take a quick glance down to remember the rules. Always start and finish 1 wheel from beginning to end. Do not spray cleaners and let them sit on the other 3 wheels as you work on the fourth. This will allow the cleaner to dry and potentially damage your wheel. Likewise, the wheel should not be hot. Do not spray cleaners on the rotors, especially if they are carbon ceramic.First, rinse the rim, tire, and wheel-well with H20. The goal here is to knock off the majority of heavy brake dust and dirt. Then, reach into your previously filled wheel bucket and use the long wheel woolie. Starting at top-dead-center or 12 o’clock, work half-way around to the right, and then top down to the left. We do this to avoid bringing brake dust from the bottom up to the top because the flow of water will carry away most of the brake dust. No sense it working over-yourself. Dunk the tool in the water as it becomes full of brake dust. If you have big or painted calipers, you can clean them with the woolie, brush or mitt depending on the space available on your particular car. Before you put the woolie away, quickly clean the wheel wells if they are dirty. Next, use your lug nut brush to agitate the lug holes, value stem, and tight spots on the rim and lightly clean the tire as well. If the tire is extremely dirty, you may need a stiff bristle brush or to scrub by hand with your wheel wash mitt. Otherwise, a quick wipe with your brush should be sufficient.Then, use your designated wheel mitt to clean the rear of the rim spokes by curling your hand in the mitt, then quickly reach and wipe behind the spoke. Finally, clean the face of the rim with your wheel mitt, and immediately rinse the wheel tire and wheel well. Leave them wet for now and move to the next wheel and start this process over.
In the Master Guide, I added the Exhaust in this cleaning section. After the 2nd wheel is done, you obviously have to move to the other side of the car to start cleaning wheel 3 and 4. On the way there, you will pass by the exhaust. Use the wheel bucket and tools to quickly clean the exhaust tips as well. Although the carbon build up is considered contamination, its far less damaging then the shards of brake dust, so the principle of cross-contamination does not apply here. As always, use your judgment based on your particular exhaust material, size, and shape.Be sure to finish wheels 3 and 4 after the exhaust and leave them rinsed or wet for now. We will dry them after washing and drying the paint. The wheel cleaning process should not take more than 5-10 minutes, depending on the intricacy of your rim design and how much fun you are having.With the wheels and exhaust cleaned and still wet, take a quick look at our rules to make sure the paint is cool and that we are out of direct sunlight. Never let products dry on paint and always work from top to bottom, but leave the nose, trunk, and lower rockers for the last wipe. Step 1 is to rinse the paint from top to bottom. I’m using a hose and rubber nozzle because this is what 99% of car owners have, if you have access to water. If you have a pressure washer or foam cannon set –up for cars, then feel free to use it. Pressure washers are extremely helpful, but NOT essential, as part of the requirements for this beginner series, so keep that in mind.There are 2 purposes when rinsing the paint:1. To knock off the heavy dirt so your cleaning soaps and tools have less work to do.2. To add lubrication to the paint in anticipation of the wiping or agitation required. So focus on pre-rinsing the lower areas of the car, as they tend to be dirtier. Keep in mind, the same methods in our master guide apply for paint. Pre-rinse, wash, rinse, and dry.
With the paint pre-rinsed, and before it dries, use wash mitt #1 on the top of the car, working your way down. However, the traditional top-down method we’ve all heard about is not the most effective technique to SAFELY cleaning the paint to minimize the fine scratches that I call LOVE MARKS. Instead, think of the direction as down and around, starting at the roof and working around the glass and down the hood and top part of the doors. Leaving the front bumper, lower rockers, and trunk as the very last areas to clean as these are typically more dirty than the top parts of the car.At no time should you be scrubbing or putting heavy downward pressure. Keep in mind, if your paint is protected properly, cleaning becomes easier...but not unnecessary, as we mentioned in our magic pill discussion earlier. For heavy areas that need a bit more agitation, be sure to use an active flow of hose-water if you feel adding pressure or multiple wipes is required in a particular spot.Although this process sounds a bit complex, in reality it’s not. If you want perfect paint, then perfect steps need to be taken. It’s just a logical progression if our concern is removing dirt from the surface of your paint safely.Quickly rinse the soap off the paint, and then the wheels. Do not let the paint dry. If you need to get out of direct sunlight and you have a garage or can borrow shelter for a few minutes, moving the car is a good idea.
The drying method is by far the most over-looked process that is usually just an after thought. “Just get the water off the car...what’s the big deal?” Well, a few things:1. No car wash is perfect. Always missed spots, dust, etc.... I don’t care who you are or how many steps you take...it’s just a fact.2. Traditional drying tools: Chamois and beach towels, water blades and squeegees are designed to either absorb water or to push water. Both of these methods are just as dangerous as washing your