I have never discriminated when it comes to the makes or models of cars I have detailed. I have attacked 15-year-old Toyota Corolla's with Cheerios stuffed in every fold of the back seat and I have slogged away in minivans covered with dog hair. You never heard me complain. But, now I want to treat myself. If you, or someone you know, has an Audi R8, let it be known I am offering a free exterior wash and detail. I would need the car for a weekend during the summer.
I am experimenting with a new logo, but I am not completely sold on it. It was a collaborative effort between me and a Belgian designer I hooked up with through Fiverr. Currently, I have commissioned another designer to see what they can come up with, so hopefully they can come up with something even better. In the meantime, this is the new one:
I am in the process of planning out an exciting detailing project that will culminate with a Gyeon coating using their new "Syncro" system. I have no experience using products from the South Korean company, but I have only heard great things. The Syncro system is a two stage process that combines two base coats of their durable Mohs ceramic coating with a durable and flexible top coat of Skin.
I want to thank the owner of Carzilla for suggesting this coating and I look forward to applying it to the Daytona Grey paint on my SQ5. In addition to the Syncro system, Carzilla also supplied me with 1000 ml bottles of Prep, Iron and Wet Coat to ensure I enjoy optimal performance from the Mohs and Skin coatings.
It is no secret to anyone following my work that I have grown quite fond of Leno's Garage products. Recently, a sizeable shipment arrived just in time for summer. I have a number of exciting projects lined up for my summer break, and these products will play instrumental roles in all of them.
I had the opportunity to speak with Troy, the owner of Auto Obsessed in Edmonton recently. Our conversation was focused on the line up of OBSSSSD premium detailing products. I was overjoyed when a sampling of these products arrived on my doorstep a few days later. I am eagerly anticipating putting these products through the motions in the coming weeks and months.
- Paint Finish
- Leather Cleaner
- Leather Conditioner
- Auto Wash Shampoo
- Touch Up
- Wheel Cleaner
- Tire Satin Finish
Here's a little teaser video I shot starring the new OBSSSSD arrivals. I look forward to sharing my impressions of each of these products once I have had some time to experiment with them.
The team at Leno's Garage has created a discount code and I am hoping my fellow automotive and detailing enthusiast friends will use it. You will save 10% off your order by using "RADGARAGE" at checkout at www.lenosgarage.com. I want to thank the team at Jay Leno's Garage and I hope this code will drive some business their way because they have been very supportive of me and my detailing obsession.
I am constantly impressed by the quality of the Leno's Garage line of detailing products and I feel confident their products offer people an effective and affordable way to maintain an immaculate vehicle. In most parts of Canada, maintaining a clean car isn't easy. Intelligent Canadian car lovers avoid automated car washes and opt to wash their cars at their local coin-operated facility, but often times vehicles require further steps in order to be truly spotless. I have compiled a list of Leno's Garage products that I recommend for people who wish to complete the job. Each of the products in this "kit" effectively serves a purpose and I am confident in their performance because I have extensively used them all.
* prices in US dollars
* spray bottle prices are for 16 oz size (gallon sizes are available for most products)
* delivery to Canada is $20 US
* Leather Cleaner can be substituted for Fabric Clean for cars with upholstered interiors
* various Microfibre towel kits are available
* order at lenosgarage.com
* be sure to apply "RADGARAGE" discount code for 10% off your order
Since it was getting tricky keeping up with my son and his mountain bike, I picked up a Trek Marlin 4 last month. It's a nice bike and very reasonably priced. I look forward to some epic summer rides with my main man! I was extremely pleased with the courteous and knowledgeable staff at Calgary Cycle on Bow Trail. I really enjoyed the Hub Cafe next door, as well.
Mike from Ohio writes:
"How do you train your "psyche" to overcome a sense of "giving up". This is hard to put into words, so my apologies. Best I describe what I'm referring to. I don't have your talent, skill and know-how to do what you do...but if magically all of a sudden I did have that capacity, I would get discouraged after spending so many hours/days on a car...I would get severely "bummed out" when I take the car out on the road (in the rain) and my perfectly cleaned/detailed car gets dirty again. Hope that makes sense. I'm afraid that is how I'd feel. You have obviously overcome that "problem". How do you compartmentalize your sense of satisfaction when time after time..car after car...dirt, road grime and pollen spoil what you've just spent an enormous amount of time and energy cleaning? Is there a mental trick to it?"
This is a great question, and I have had to reconcile a few things in my own mind to maintain my dedication to car care. The environment in my city is very challenging. The winters are long and messy, and the rest of the year is dusty with a real mix of weather. There are a few ways I deal with the stress and most of them are visible in the way I have designed my garage. Combating the relentless challenges of maintaining a clean car has been made easier by the fact that my garage is a full-service detail facility. I can pull my car in on any day and everything I need to keep it clean is close at hand. My vacuums are easily accessible and I have a wide array of products that work in all kinds of different seasonal situations. By having all the tools and supplies I need at the ready, it allows me to use my energy efficiently.
Also, I just love the process of returning a dirty car to pristine shape. Yes, it may be dirty within seconds after leaving the garage, but that doesn't negate the fact that I had fun making it look brand new again. It is also rewarding to know that the car is still in excellent condition, free or scratches and defects, under the dirt and grime. I am really paranoid about the salt and salt residue embedding in my paint and causing corrosion, so every time I get the paint clean, it gives me hope that rust and corrosion will never claim my current vehicle liked it claimed a few in my earlier years! So, in conclusion, I can keep going no matter the challenges because I have the proper facility and supplies, I like the process, and I enjoy knowing that my car's condition is still flawless under the dirt, salt, pollen, or whatever other menace the world is throwing at me.
Now, if I had a black truck that I had to park outside like my friend, Bryan...that would be whole other story. He gets all my respect!
Spring is off to an exciting start. The weather has been great and I have been able to complete a few projects already. Recently, I detailed a YouTube viewer's SQ5 and I have performed a number of details on my own SQ5. I think it is going to be a great season and I plan to put more content on my YouTube channel this summer. Here are a few videos I produced in the last little while.
As far as the garage is concerned, I have performed a few minor fixes. I repainted the lower porting of the inner car door since it took a beating from "winter garage hockey" and I sanded the rust off the garage door rail system and repainted. I don't have any big plans for the summer in the garage, just minor tweaks here and there. At some point I want to do something cool with the ceiling. I was thinking of wood, but I have to think about it more. A lot more.
The SQ5 has been brilliant. It is due for its first service in 1300 kms, and it has provided me with non-stop fun. I couldn't be happier with this car and the Daytona Grey paint is amazing to play with. The sun dances off this car's surface. I am very happy with the colour. I plan on doing a coating with CQuartz UK here in the next while, but timing is crucial. When you only have one car, you have to carefully plan these things!
I've been pretty active on Instagram, so be sure to follow for more updates from my garage.
If you click, on "Automotive and Tires" on the main page of the Costco website, you will see a large advertisement for the QuickJack portable lift featuring a stunning photo of my old SQ5 in my garage. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have formed some wonderful relationships with some of my favorite retailers. The team at QuickJack and I have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship since I first added a QuickJack to my garage back in the Spring of 2016 and I am pleased to see these amazing shots getting some good press.
I am confident there is no place worse, no place more challenging, no place more frustrating to keep a clear clean than Calgary, Alberta in winter. Even with my garage converted into a detailing studio, I just can't keep up. But, I won't stop trying. Here's a video that demonstrates how I go about keeping a tidy interior despite Mother Nature's efforts to ruin me.
A concerned YouTube viewer raised some concerns over my wheel hub collar. From the video, it appeared my collar was cracked. I was pretty sure it was just the design, but the user went to the effort of capturing a screen shot from the video and highlighting the areas that raised his concerns, so I decided to pop the opposite wheel off to investigate. It appears that Audi has carved some notches into this specific part for some reason. Maybe it has to do with weight reduction, but who knows. I want to thank David for taking the time to reach out and share his concerns. It is very nice knowing that people are looking out for each other. Here are some photos that demonstrate the notched hub design I am referring to.
Hand washing a car in the garage may not be everyone's idea of an epic Saturday night, but I had been looking forward to this all week. The Flames were up against the Hawks and I had a dirty SQ5 that needed some love and attention. Here's a video that demonstrates how two or three hours in a garage can be quite enjoyable and productive. Enjoy.
Back in 2010 or 2011, I can't remember, I saw a commercial for the newly introduced Kia Optima SX. That commercial kickstarted my appreciation for the new design language of the company. I ended up purchasing a 2011 Optima SX and drove it for a year and a half before we became a one-car family. I just saw a new commercial for the Stinger GT starring Steven Tyler and I have to give Kia kudos. They definitely know how to design and market cars. Check it out:
For years, I contemplated the purchase of a roof box for my car. I resisted the urge to purchase one because the need wasn't strong since our family of three doesn't haul huge amounts of cargo. But, now that my son is getting bigger and we are traveling to various hockey tournaments, I decided to splurge. I picked up a Thule Convoy box at Canadian Tire back in November. I removed the crooked Thule decals and applied some "Vorsprung Durch Technik" decals down the side and a along Quattro gecko on the back. I am considering having a friend do a full vinyl wrap, but all in good time. I am enjoying the appearance and functionality of my new roof jewelry.
Storing a big roof box had always been a concern of mine. I purchased some wall mounts from Rhino Rack and they are perfect. I had to do some re-engineering of the wall, but I am happy with how things turned out.
I can handle snow. I can handle the dirt and muck that comes with snow, but I can't handle the gravel that the City feels the need to spread all over our roads. Today, an oncoming car kicked up a bunch of rocks as it passed by and my windshield suffered its first chip. I took it to Crystal Glass and they filled the chip for $40. You can still make out where the contact happened, but it's virtually gone. I tried to take a clear "after" shot from inside the car but my camera struggled to find its focus on the impact area. The final two shots do a fairly decent job of showing the outcome.
Before - inside looking out
After - inside looking out
After - outside looking in
Overall, there is so much that I absolutely love about the second generation SQ5. The exterior styling, performance and interior are all beyond reproach. That said, there are a few things that irritate me. They aren't major, but they just don't sit right with me considering the amount of money this thing cost. I have a feeling a few of these shortcomings are due to the highly expensive settlement the Volkswagen Group made with various world governments. Regardless, here is a list of five things I love and five things I don't.
Five things I love
Heated steering wheel
At first, I thought it was gimmicky, but I don't think I could own a vehicle that doesn't have one. It's such a luxury on a cold winter day.
Directional rear indicators
Overall, I am very impressed with the exterior and interior lighting packages on the SQ5. I particularly like the directional rear indicators. Watching them flash when I lock the car never seems to get old.
Heated/cooled cup holder
Another unnecessary option, but I'm amazed how many times I have used it. I mostly use the heating function since I like my travel coffee mug hot. They could have made both cup holders heated/cooled. My wife and I sometimes compete for the only heated/cooled cup holder.
Yeah, I know the Ford Escape comes with this option, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it is convenient. There have been many occasions in which I have used it. Usually when I'm loaded up with the little guy's hockey equipment.
I really enjoy the ambient lighting throughout the SQ5's cabin. It makes driving at night more visually dramatic and interesting. I keep it set on "Audi Sport" so the color scheme changes day to day. The family and I get a kick out of it and it lends the cabin a more sophisticated appeal.
Five things I don't love
Lack of flat-bottom steering wheel
When you equip your SQ5 with the winter package, which is standard on all SQ5's destined for Canada, Audi deletes the flat-bottom steering wheel. Apparently they haven't figured out how to add the heating option to the flat-bottom wheel. The round wheel is very nice and I love the way it looks and feels, but as much as I have tried to convince myself it is as cool as the flat-bottom one, it just isn't. Sad.
Cheap wheel maintenance kit
The maintenance kit that they threw in the trunk is a collection of the cheapest tools I have ever set eyes on. The plastic case they come in is even more embarrassing. The wheel anchor on the first generation SQ5 had a quality feel to it, but the new one is made out of pathetic plastic. I wish I would have kept the kit from my old one. Honestly, I would be surprised if Audi's cost on this bag of junk is more than 5 euros.
The two blank buttons on my console are a constant reminder that some other SQ5 drivers are driving around their countries with more things than me. It's an insult. I'm still trying to figure out what goes in these two spaces. I think one is the on/off button for the auto-park feature which isn't available to Canadian buyers, which takes me to my next point...
Unavailable features for Canada
Where are my front directional indicators? Where is my auto-park function? Where is my dynamic steering option? These, and a few other features, were available to buyers from other countries. Apparently, the Audi Canada brass decided we didn't need such features.
No exhaust tips
Sure, it was a chore keeping my exhaust tips clean on my previous SQ5, but is eliminating them altogether the best solution Audi designers and engineers could come up with? There's no getting around the fact that the faux exhaust idea is lame.
I recently performed a "no rinse" wash on my SQ5. The weather here has been cold and sloppy so a no-rinse wash is about all I can do to keep my car clean. Here is a video I put together demonstrating my wash process when it is too cold to use my typical 2-bucket wash system. In addition to cleaning my SQ5, this video shows how I quickly clean my garage floor ahead of performing the no-rinse wash.
I spent weeks obsessing over my winter wheel and tire setup, but I am happy to say that the obsessing paid off. I had the TSW's installed on Friday and I couldn't be happier. They look very aggressive and the red brake calipers just give it an extra touch of class. Here's a quick video I put together that showcases my new winter war wagon!
With all the prepping and detailing, I haven't had any time to capture quality photographs. I did manage to take a few shots with my iPhone at the parking garage the other night. They look alright. I really need my friend Geoff to do a shoot for me!
The final in my 3-part "Prepping + Detailing" series is complete. I am very happy with the results. I didn't apply a coating like I had originally planned. I simply ran out of time and energy. I used Menzerna's Power Lock so that should give me good protection until I can find the time to apply my GTechniq C1 Crystal Armour. In the meantime, here's the third and final video:
It's been almost a month since my 2018 SQ5 came into my life and here is a list of ten things I really appreciate about this new generation of SQ5:
I loved the old engine with its raspy growl and supercharged ferocity off the line, but I am really coming to love the new 3.0 litre turbocharged V6 and its silky smooth responsiveness. I am enjoying watching the digital turbo boost gauge light up when I mash the accelerator, too. I have been breaking her in gently, but the little jaunts I have been able to squeeze in indicate this engine is a fine piece of mechanical engineering. I look forward to seeing it perform in the mountains in a few weeks.
The first generation SQ5 was weak in the tech department. The second generation does a nice job of catching up to the competition. There were actually a few technology options I didn't select such as the collision avoidance and traffic sign recognition systems. The virtual cockpit is a sublime feature that finally brings the SQ5 to the next level in terms of cool tech. I can scroll between various speed/tach layouts and customize the side readout to audio, telephone, car systems, etc. Finally, Audi has made it possible to store your smart phone in the centre console instead of hiding it away in the glove box. There's even two USB ports in there! The addition of Apple Car Play means I can have the car read and send texts remotely. But, by far, my favourite innovation is the reminder the car gives me that my smart phone is still in the car. I can't count the number times this thoughtful features has saved me a walk back to the car.
I really like the diamond stitched leather seats in the SQ5. They are the perfect combination of sporty and sophisticated. I almost went for the red leather interior package, but I am very happy with the black leather with contrasting white stitching.
Who is Rick?
I'm just a guy who loves his garage, Audi, and detailing so much he blogs about them.
Geoff Wilkings Photography
RaceDeck Garage Floors
Jay Leno's Garage Advanced Vehicle Care
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Thompson Graphics Ltd.
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