Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Welcome to the first episode of Drive Clean. I'm Larry Kosilla from ammonyc.com, and I'm so stoked to be here, talking about my two favorite things-- driving cars, and of course, cleaning cars. Over the course of my career, I've had the honor and the privilege of maintaining some of the most priceless pieces of automotive history. I can't think of a cooler job. Now, I would imagine most of you, if not all of you, have that one special car, that car that means the world to you for me, it's the Audi R8 Blackbird. We're going to talk about the tips, the tricks, and the methods that I used to properly maintain these special cars. So without further ado, welcome to the first episode of Drive Clean, right here on the Drive network. [MUSIC PLAYING] Today I'm going to show you how to properly wash and maintain your vehicle. Now, we're going to go over a ton of information, so check out ammonyc.com for a free downloadable .PDF of all the stuff that we're going to cover. If you're driving your car properly and you're beating the heck out of it, it's going to get dirty. There's going to be bugs in the front of it and there's going to be grime all over it. That's great, but washing your car properly is the key to success here. If you do it wrong, you could actually damage your paint. So what we're going to do is we're going to walk around the car and inspect everything prior to washing it. So let's get started. Before I begin, I always walk around the car and give the vehicle a quick visual inspection. I do this for a couple of reasons. First, you want to find any dings, dents, and scratches prior to rinsing and adding soap. The water and soap will make it more difficult to see and address any issues the vehicle may have. To me, it's kind of like walking the racetrack prior to actually racing. It helps you plan your approach and avoid surprises. Secondly, I always take notice of the heavy soiled areas, such as the front bumper, the rear bumper, and the lower rocker panels behind the wheels. I want to gauge how much dirt, grease, and grime is present, and adjust my methods accordingly. Now the first thing you want to do is pull your car into the shade, a cool area. And the reason why you want to do that is because if the paint gets too hot, your products are going to evaporate before you get to actually use them. They're used as lubrication, and if that dries out, it's going to get water spots-- it's something you don't want to do. So make sure it's in a cool area. Like, today, it's relatively cold outside, so we can stay right here and there's not going to be any problem. The first thing over here is the three bucket system. I know most of you have heard about two bucket system-- that's where you have soap in the grit guard and fresh water in a grit guard. Now I know most of you heard about that. The third bucket over here is specifically designated for the wheels. All the products, all the materials, everything that I use for the wheels, is in that bucket, because you don't want to confuse it and use it on the paint. Alright, so the third bucket is full of the wheel cleaning products. Now inside here I have my dirty spoke wheel brush. Now, I've done one or two cars with it and look how dirty it gets. This gets behind the wheel to agitate everything behind the rim and pull it out. Now here I have my fender wall brush. That gets in behind the wheel into the fender and knocks all the dirt down. Now we get into the fun stuff. I have my caliper brushes-- you can see it gets used a lot. So I get in there, and I agitate the caliper to bring all the brake dust down. And you got the round cone brush. You can use that. And this is my lug nut brush. It gets into the lug nuts and agitates everything, again, and brings it out, because sometimes you can't get your finger into those tiny little holes. I have my wash mitt. Now, this wash mitt has been used two or three times on wheels, and as you can see, it gets dirty pretty quick. So unlike this one, which is a brand new wash mitt, this here is going to get dirty much quicker, but it's OK. So use this and get in there, put your hands inside the mitt, and get to those areas you can't reach with those brushes. Moving over to here, we have the foam gun, one of my favorite tools. It's very cheap, it's about $50, $60, and you can keep up with the big boys who have power washers. This is a great tool. You just hook it up to your hose right there-- boom, perfect One of the things you don't want to use is a sponge. Now, the difference between a sponge and a wash mitt is huge. So, a sponge right here, when you're cleaning the dirt off the top of your car, it actually doesn't penetrate or go inside the sponge. So what happens is if this is the surface of your paint, you're scratching the heck out of it with these things, so stay away from them. These type of sponges right here or mitts are lambswool or sheepskin and actually gets the dirt inside. So when you're washing it and you pick up the dirt, it goes inside, not to lay it down and scratch the paint. So definitely, stick to these guys right here. Another common mistake is the soaps that we use on the car. Now, I find the cheaply, brightly colored $5 soap that you find in auto parts store to be a little bit too aggressive. And of course, here we have dish soap. If you're going to use dish soap, what it does is it actually removes all the wax from the car. It can be useful, but it's definitely not good if you want to keep the wax on your car in place, so be aware of that. So what I do is I use a product that's a very, very safe to the exterior of the paint, and then I also use a very specific wheel soap. So, I have one soap for the wheel and one soap for the paint. We're going to do that right now. So I've added three or four squirts of wheel soap to my designated wheel bucket. Then I fill it 3/4 full with hose water. Now I'll heavily rinse down the wheels and wheel wells to knock off most of the loose dirt. This tool here is called the spoke wheel brush. It gently cleans the backside of the rim without having to remove the wheel. Next, I use a long bristled brush to clean the calipers and release any dirt from the hard to reach areas. The reason why I have so much water in my bucket is to help rinse the heavy dirt and brake dust from all my rim cleaning tools. Think about it-- even after only one wheel, the soap water will turn black from brake dust. This is exactly why I never use the same wheel bucket or wheel tools on the paint. This black water is filled with tiny brake dust particles that are sharp and jagged and will totally scratch your paint if you used during the wash process. On most rims, the majority of the cleaning is done with my hand inside a wash mitt. I use it to reach between and behind the spokes. This step should occupy the majority of your time during the wheel cleaning process. Next, I always follow up with my lug nut brush to get into the cracks my fingers just can't get into. Then, I scrub the fender walls to flush the mud and dry dirt out. If the rims are totally trashed, what I might do is use a little bit of rim cleaner just to get me some extra cleaning power. But in this case the rims aren't that bad. So we're going to skip it, save some time and save some products, and move on to the next step. The tire sidewalls must be quickly scrubbed to release embedded road grime and to have a fresh start. But before I move to the next wheel, it's vital to rinse all the soap and rim cleaner off before it dries and sticks to the rim once again. Think of it this way-- you always start a wheel with a rinse and end a wheel with a rinse before moving on to the next one. I only rinse down the paint after all four wheels have been cleaned. This insures water does not sit on the paint any longer than is absolutely necessary. This is how water spots can occur. It's also important to rinse down the paint in a cool, shaded area or out of direct sunlight. Work from top to bottom, and give the undercarriage a quick rinse while you're down there. Now, I'm foaming the paint with a tool that can be used with any regular garden hose. I'm doing this to continue removing loose dirt in preparation for my wash mitt foam gun technique. At first, I allow the foam to grab the dirt and pull it away from the surface of the clear coat before I ever use the wash mitt Now if the car has been completely foamed, I use a clean wash mitt and the two bucket method to safely remove any remaining dirt. This technique is the safest and least aggressive way to remove dirt from the surface of your paint. The technique is pretty simple. You shoot the foam gun into the wash mitt as it glides over the surface of the paint. The foam is providing lubrication between the clear coat and the wash mitt and drastically reduces fine scratches that commonly occur during the wash process. After every few strokes, I rinse the wash mitt in clean water to release dirt that is trapped in the mitt's fiber. Then, repeat the process until the entire surface is cleaned. Much the same as the wheels, I start the paint washing process with a rinse, and end the paint washing process with a rinse. Notice that the hose is set on wide shot or shower mode. There's no need to use a hard stream of water here because all the dirt should be gone by now. The way I see it is paint is like skin. It has pores like skin, it breathes like skin, and it needs to be maintained, just like skin. Most people know that washing your car improperly can cause scratches, but what I've discovered is that drying your car improperly can be just as bad. When I'm drying a car, I like to use a much different and safer method I call hydrating your paint. The process is actually pretty simple. For this, I use a clean, damp microfiber towel folded into fours with two quick squirts of Hydrate. This liquid works with the surface water to add a layer of lubrication in between the clear coat and the microfiber towel, making it 10 times safer than conventional drying tools. For example, it's not uncommon to miss a small section of dust and dirt during the wash process. It happens all the time. But if this does happen, the microfiber towel will be there to safely pick up the dirt without causing scratches. This trick alone will save your paint from the common wash and dry swirls that slowly ruin your shine. There's nothing worse than driving away from a car wash and seeing water pour your mirrors, your lights, your wheels, and your rear bumper. It causes water spots and drip marks and it's just super annoying. So if you have access to compressed air it can be really helpful, but you need to remember a few important points. First, always check the air pressure before using it on your car. Secondly, dial the pressure at the tank for the lowest effective rate to avoid paint and badge removal. Lastly, hold the gun about eight inches away and slowly move in as more pressure is needed. This way you will avoid any dangers of using compressed air.