I'm often asked by new car purchasers, "What should I buy to keep my new car looking new?". Here is what I recommend for anyone wishing to keep their car looking ship shape, but don't necessarily want to turn their garage into a detailing theatre.
I strongly recommend that car owners avoid using automated brush car washes. I suggest using their local coin-operated wand wash and then completing the process at home using these affordable and effective products:
Griot's Garage Speed Shine
Griot's Garage Spray-On Car Wash
Griot's Garage Speed Shine Micro Fibre towels (blue or green)
Griot's Garage Leather Care Kit- includes green microfibre towels
1Z Cockpit Premium - the BEST interior detail spray on the market (I use with green MF)
Stoner's Invisible Glass - simply the best aerosol glass cleaner on the market
Premium Micro Fibre towels (light blue)
Stoner's More Shine Tire Coating - easy spray-on application
My friend Derek had been contemplating a new car purchase for years. He finally pulled the trigger on a 2015 Lexus IS350. Gorgeous vehicle. The dealer offered to add a paint protection package for $800. Needless to say, applying a paint protecting sealant is NOT a $800 affair. Derek and I sealed his paint using Menzerna's "Power Lock" polymer sealant. It was easy to apply using a foam applicator pad, and it buffed off effortlessly with a plush microfibre towel. The process took less than an hour and that's mostly due to the fact that we are both perfectionists. We applied a liberal coat of Griot's Garage Glass Sealant to the exterior glass. His car is well positioned to handle the coming winter.
With the arrival of my Spring/Fall wheel setup, it was time to prepare my stock 21" wheels for storage for the coming winter. I love these wheels, but I don't know what do with regard to wrapping them with rubber. The Pirellis are already looking spent, and I don't want to shell out 2 large for another set. I am hoping someone out there releases a 255/40R21 performance all-season at some point.
The job was a long one. I picked up some tar on the highway a few weeks ago, so it took me about an hour per wheel to rid each one of that nasty stuff. I washed the wheels, decontaminated the with Iron-X, polished with Menzerna's FG400, and sealed with GTechniq's C5 Wheel Armour coating. I bagged them with Audi tire totes, now I just need someone to help me hoist them into position on the wall rack.
It was a challenge reducing 12 hours of work down to just 6 minutes and 56 seconds, but I did it. It's pretty cool. I hope you check it out.
I picked up my "shoulder season" setup from the dealer today. I installed them later in the day, and I really like the new look. I took it for a quick boot, and the Parada by Yokohama is a very well balanced tire. There is a distinct difference between these and the aging 21" Pirelli P-Zero's I took off. I was sure to use some anti-seize grease on the spacers to prevent any corrosion issues that could make them impossible to remove. All in all, I am very pleased with this set up and the stance is quite right. I'll be taking some better pics in the coming days, but until then, these will have to do:
I spent four hours performing a "light" detail on a friend's 335i this morning. I performed a major detail on it approximately one year ago, and that detail seems to have held up well, as the car was quite easy and straightforward to clean. I just realized, I didn't get a "finish shot" since I got a call from my Audi dealer that the wheels were ready to pick up. Oh well, here's a photo of the before and during stage. It turned out quite nice. You'll have to trust me on that.
My Yokohama Parada's arrived on Tuesday. I loaded up the SQ5 with the wheels and tires and took them to my local Audi dealer for mounting. I should get them tomorrow. Looking forward to installing them.
I had the week off from work, so I took a day to put my Flex 3401 and PE-8 to good use. I spent the entire day and night working on my SQ5's paint. The final result is quite spectacular if I do say so myself. Almost two years of frequent car washes had taken its toll, and tiny micro swirls could be seen under certain conditions. I am convinced you can't avoid swirls in your clear coat when you have to wash your car as often as I do. They are inevitable. Now that all the swirls and imperfections are corrected, I will be applying a coat of GTechniq's C1 followed up with a coat of EXO V2 hydrophobic coating. These two coatings will help protect against harsh elements and swirls resulting from washes. I should have a video demonstrating my polishing process up soon. In the meantime, here are some finish shots:
The wheels I ordered through RPI Equipped in BC arrived. They are in pristine condition. In fact, they sent one brand new rim because the original was scratched. I don't often feel like I got a steal of a deal, but this time I did. I gave them a thorough clean and just finished sealing them with GTechniq C5 Wheel Armour. I should be receiving the Yokohama rubber on Wednesday, so I'm hoping to have them all mounted up on Thursday or Friday of next week. They are going to look very nice on the SQ5. The 12mm and 15mm H&R spacers and new lugs arrived. They should give the wheels a proper stance. Can't wait to get them on.
I had the opportunity this past week to visit a cool little shop in the city's north east. The shop is called Carzilla and it is packed to the rafters with quality detailing products. I picked up a few things, and found the guy who runs it to be very service-oriented and highly knowledgeable. Great little place, just a bit far from where I live.
I pulled the trigger on a set Fall/Spring wheel setup. I picked up a used 20x9" set of Hartmann HTT-256-MA:M wheels from RPI Equipped in BC. The offset is +40 which is a little tucked compared to the OEM 21's the SQ5 came with, so I have opted to install H&R wheel spacers. Twelve mm in the front, and 15 mm in the rear. The spokes are finished in a matte anthracite and the edges are machine polished. I have always been a fan of these wheels, but I have yet to see this particular wheel installed on an Estoril SQ5. Here's an example of the 5-spoke rotor wheels on a black SQ5. I'm hoping they look as good on mine.
Normally, I purchase my tires through Tirerack.com, but the strong US dollar is killing me. All up, the same tires were $200 cheaper through 1010Tires.com. I'm wrapping the Hartmann's with 255/45 Yokohama Parada Spec-X's high performance all-seasons. I ordered the SQ5 without the tire pressure monitoring sensors, so I don't have to fork out a few hundred more for those useless gimmicks. I'll be sure to share some photos once they are delivered and installed.