Meguiar's Auto Detailing - Working At The Truck Wash

Meguiar's, Water, And Some Muscle Is The Recipe For A Clean Ride

Calin Head
Aug 1, 2008
Photographers: Calin Head
Photo 2/34   |   1989 Chevy S10 side View
Ah, summer. What a great time of year. The sun is up, the shows are in full swing, birds are out crapping, and your truck is probably in need of a little cleanup. No matter if your ride's been sitting in a garage waiting for the sun or if it's been out in the elements, it's going to need a good wash.
I'm sure you know how to wash your truck, but I'm still seeing things at shows that lead me to believe there is still some knowledge left to pass along. This is the first installment in a series of detailing articles, with swirl removal and color-sanding and buffing to follow. The remaining two stories will be a little more advanced, requiring powered machines to get results, but this one is all about the power in your arms.
No detailing story would be complete without a vehicle, and for that I'm using my S-10. The truck was painted a couple of months ago, so there isn't any oxidation to remove, but the paint needs to be protected to maintain that shine. Also, a few things have found their way onto my paintjob like minor scratches and some stains from the crap that floats in the air. At the time I wrote this story I didn't have carpet in my truck, so I used my pop's pickup for those photos.
Photo 3/34   |   1989 Chevy S10 meguiar Products
For all products used in this article, I decided to make a one-stop shopping trip to Meguiar's. The company offers great car-care products, and some of the stuff in its new line is flat-out awesome. My personal favorite is the new Ultimate Quik Detailer, which has additives to make the paint surface hydrophobic (repel water). The result: Water beads up like crazy. Also, the Smooth Surface Clay Kit is nice because instead of one big ol' piece of clay, it's packaged with two smaller pieces and a neat container to keep the clay fresh.
I think that's enough with the blah-blah-let's move on to the work.
The Products
Here is everything I picked up from Meguiar's. It's not nearly everything the company offers; it's just what I need for my truck. Notice there is no wheel cleaner. I have billets, which I wash with soap, so all I need is the polish. I've used all of these products before, and they definitely produce results anyone would be happy with.
Photo 9/34   |   Imagine rubbing leftover wheel dirt into your paint. Avoid this mistake by identifying the towels.
Part 2: Dry
When it came to drying, I used Meguiar's Water Magnet Towel. This thing holds a ton of water, and because it is microfiber material it's very gentle on the paint. It's a good idea to write on the towels with a pen where you plan on using them. That way, you won't inadvertently wipe your paint with the towel you used on something grubbier like the wheels.
For the doorjambs, I sprayed some Quik Detailer on a microfiber and wiped the area clean. Don't be scared to shove your hand in any area you can-a lot of dust accumulates around the hinges, and they look bad if you don't at least try and clean them. One last little tip for drying: Use either compressed air or your shop vacuum to get rid of standing water from areas like the mirrors or around the door handles. If you don't have an air compressor or a powerful vacuum, drive around the block and come back and dry up anything that might have dripped out.

Quick Reference for a Great ShineGeneral

*Work in the shade
*Evaluate your finish so you can choose the right product
*Read all of the directions on the product
*Never use dishwashing soap
*Wash from the top down
*Wash and rinse one section at a time
*Use a bucket with a grate at the bottom
*Wash at least once a week
*Handwashing at home is always best (you control all of the variables)
*Detailing spray is not meant to replace washing but works well for in-between cleanings
*Clay your truck first before using a liquid cleaner
*Work one section at a time (wipe on,wipe off)
*Use a microfiber towel to remove product
*Perform this step on an as-needed basis
*Apply in a circular, overlapping motion
*Work one section at a time
*Use the finger test to determine correct setup time
*For a daily driver, wax three to four times a year
*Know what kind of wheels you have (polished, clearcoated, anodized, etc.) before you choose a wheel cleaner for them
*If you're unsure, soap and water is safe for all wheels
*If you use a wheel cleaner, let the wheels cool first
*Spray cleaner from the bottom up
*Use a soft nylon brush for any scrubbing
*Dry thoroughly to prevent water spots
*Scrub with vinyl/rubber cleaner before applying protectant to remove old dressing
*Use a foam applicator to apply product evenly onto sidewall
*Use products designed for specific interior surfaces (leather, vinyl, plastic)-DO Not Cross-Apply
*Compressed air is perfect for the small areas
The Final Word
Most people in the truck scene have a great eye for seeing problems on someone else's ride. Detailing is one sure-fire way to have them see your custom style instead of the dirt. Tune in next month, because I took a trip to Meguiar's and had Mike Pennington show how to remove those stubborn swirl marks with the company's new D/A polisher. Until next month, happy polishing.


Irvine, CA 92614



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