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Discussion Starter #1
I've always had super old cars that typically had non-metallic paint.

I didn't really keep up with interior or exterior maintenance to make it look pretty.

I just bought Invisible Glass for interior glass use, and got a California Duster for the exterior.

With my new Focus, what should I do/buy in order to keep the car looking good?

We have landscaping that happens 1-2x a week, and when they're blowing leaves around (or I'm parked under a tree at work), there's lots of dust, etc, that land on the car. Car will NOT be garaged, unfortunately, but will be parked under a carport at home.

HOA doesn't really want us washing the car at home, and having to pay $X/week seems unreasonable.

What inexpensive tricks/tips would you guys recommend to keep the car looking good from the inside and out? I'm not adverse to spending a bit of money on the products, but wouldn't want to pay someone else (or a machine) to be cleaning too often.

And how do people keep their exterior glass (windows) looking so clean all the time?! Mine get dirty so often and when I use the gas station squeegee to clean, there's always streaks that remain (and leave dry water marks)

So far:

* acquire some sort of wax product (Meguire's, Turtle Wax?)
* Weathertech or Husky Liners for mats
* Invisible Glass

No idea what else to do/buy.
 

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My car stays outside all the time, no car port either:( I am very OCD on keeping mine clean! As far as glass youre doing it right, invisible glass rocks, and beads water when it rains just like wax. I keep a can and a few microfibers in my trunk to keep the windows clean. I also have the husky liner mats and I haven't had to clean my carpet once since I got them, theyre amazing and usually cheaper than weathertech! As far as wax goes mothers, meguiars are both what I use. Just throw a coat on every couple months, and if you are waxed DO NOT use the foam bristle brush at do it yourself car washes, it will rip the wax right off. I also try to avoid car washes that aren't no touch. I just bring a bucket and some mothers wash to the car wash and paid $1.25 for the water. Hope this helps man! Quick detailer helps shine it up if its not caked in dirt quickly as well!
 

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"HOA doesn't really want us washing the car at home..."

Right....nothing will cause property values to plummet faster. [neener]
 

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I've always had super old cars that typically had non-metallic paint.

I didn't really keep up with interior or exterior maintenance to make it look pretty.

I just bought Invisible Glass for interior glass use, and got a California Duster for the exterior.

With my new Focus, what should I do/buy in order to keep the car looking good?

We have landscaping that happens 1-2x a week, and when they're blowing leaves around (or I'm parked under a tree at work), there's lots of dust, etc, that land on the car. Car will NOT be garaged, unfortunately, but will be parked under a carport at home.

HOA doesn't really want us washing the car at home, and having to pay $X/week seems unreasonable.

What inexpensive tricks/tips would you guys recommend to keep the car looking good from the inside and out? I'm not adverse to spending a bit of money on the products, but wouldn't want to pay someone else (or a machine) to be cleaning too often.

And how do people keep their exterior glass (windows) looking so clean all the time?! Mine get dirty so often and when I use the gas station squeegee to clean, there's always streaks that remain (and leave dry water marks)

So far:

* acquire some sort of wax product (Meguire's, Turtle Wax?)
* Weathertech or Husky Liners for mats
* Invisible Glass

No idea what else to do/buy.
On wax products I like Duragloss then topped with a coat of Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax #845.

As for the Windows I use on the outside only Duragloss 111 (Is a paint sealant) But works great on glass, Invisible Glass on the inside only.

With Duragloss on the outside of the windows it is like looking out the car with no glass in it. Nothing sticks to it including bird poop. Just wipes right off.


My Car with Duragloss 111 then topped with Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax #845.
Does not turn plastic white, That was leftover when I tried Nu-Finish on it. Didn't like the Nu-Finish it dulled the paint.

 

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Wash at least once a month
Wax at least twice a year
Clay/polish once a year
Use a leaf blower to dry the car (no abrasive properties)
Use a windshield screen when the car is parked in sun to protect from UV damage

Go easy with that car duster. You're essentially dragging tiny debris particles across the surface of your paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wash at least once a month
Wax at least twice a year
Clay/polish once a year
Use a leaf blower to dry the car (no abrasive properties)
Use a windshield screen when the car is parked in sun to protect from UV damage

Go easy with that car duster. You're essentially dragging tiny debris particles across the surface of your paint.
Definitely don't have a leaf blower to dry the car. Is microfiber not good enough?

Good call on the duster. I didn't even think that it'd be dragging particles across the paint and might ruin it.
 

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Go easy with that car duster. You're essentially dragging tiny debris particles across the surface of your paint.
Exactly. That device is used for show cars only. Cars that are never driven and sit inside their entire life. For dusting off carpet lint. lol

Like everyone said, wash at least once a month or whenever you feel it needs it. Use only microfiber or similar towels/mitts. Use a grit guard in your wash bucket. Don't obsess so much over exactly which products you use. There's TONS of great stuff out there and you'll never find two people that agree on what's best. Wax as often as possible. Wax is something that frequently gets shoved to the wayside due to the effort and time involved. 3 times a year would be minimum IMO. But again, watch what you're using for application. REAL easy to get swirly scratches in your paint during a wax.

Golden rule of any paint care, rinse/fold/change your applicator often. If it falls on the ground.... it's probably garbage depending on where you dropped it. You'll never get every grain of grit out of it.
 

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"HOA doesn't really want us washing the car at home..."

Right....nothing will cause property values to plummet faster. [neener]
They don't have a spot to wash your car? wow.
 

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I would strongly suggest this process if you want your car to stay clean with minimal effort. It'll be a bit time consuming, but once you're done, you will not have to do it again for a long long time if you maintain atleast a biweekly cleansing.

-Wash you car with a mitt.
-Wash it again, but this time use a clay bar instead of a mitt. You'll know when you've done enough claybarring as your claybar will glide effortlessly once all contaminants are removed.
-Rinse and dry it thoroughly.
-With either a DA Polisher or an Orbital polisher and a finishing pad (or a few hand application pads if you don't have a polisher) apply a paint sealant. Buff it out with a polishing or microfiber cloth after each panel. Don't forget door jams.
-With either a paste wax or spray wax (preferably carnauba) apply atleast a layer. I like to apply atleast two. Buff it out witha polishing or microfiber cloth after each panel. Don't forget door jams. Clean any residue from gaps between fenders, bumpers, etc.
-(OPTIONAL) Apply a spray wax.
-Buff and polish you car one last time with a polishing or microfiber cloth.

It's a lengthy process, but I can guarantee it will be almost effortless to keep your car clean and spotless. All it will take from now on (if properly maintained) will be a rinse and wipe. I also recommend applying a spray wax atleast once every two weeks. Most people don't like spray waxes, but once your car's paint is already sealed it's an easy application and provides the perfect barrier that won't degrade the sealant. Not to mention it's not as time consuming as a paste wax. Just a simple spray and wipe.

Hope this helps and isn't too much of a hassle for you!

And I realize it seems a bit excessive to apply that many coats of wax. I just like to have more barriers for my paint. Plus the more they build up, the smoother your paint appears, and what's better than mirror finish?[grinking]
 

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Discussion Starter #11
They don't have a spot to wash your car? wow.
No, we do not. We're in a heavy drought in my state so the HOA has restricted water use for the past several years and has tightened up this past year.

The only few cars that are allowed to wash using the HOA's water sources are those that park without a carport (only handful of cars). Everyone that parks under a carport (myself included) cannot wash on premises.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would strongly suggest this process if you want your car to stay clean with minimal effort. It'll be a bit time consuming, but once you're done, you will not have to do it again for a long long time if you maintain atleast a biweekly cleansing.
Thanks, dude! That was really helpful! I'll try to stick to a similar schedule, but we'll see how far I get! :)
 

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No, we do not. We're in a heavy drought in my state so the HOA has restricted water use for the past several years and has tightened up this past year.

The only few cars that are allowed to wash using the HOA's water sources are those that park without a carport (only handful of cars). Everyone that parks under a carport (myself included) cannot wash on premises.
I wonder if you can wash your car with something like Optimum No Rinse (one or two bucket method). Though, those HOAs can be merciless.
 
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