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My GTO is my first black car and the first I've actually cared about, but I don't know how to properly clean and protect it. I have a lot a questions and I'd appreciate help with any of them.

1. Whenever I washed my former cars, I just used dish soap and normal towels. What SHOULD I be doing?

2. I've heard of clay bars but never used them. What brands should I try and when should I use them?

3. What wax should I use? I've searched the forum a little bit but I couldn't decided what was best for me. I would like a wax that isn't too time consuming to apply (maybe a liquid wax).

4. What kind of towel should I use for washing/drying the car?

5. Is dusting the car a bad idea? For example would using a Swiffer brush or something similar scratch the car?

6. What are the real world benefits of using a clear bra and should I get one, if so what brand?

7. I just got my first (very tiny) scratch on my car. What is the best way to repair small scratches?

Thanks.
 

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Some answers to your question...

1. Repeat after me " I swear to neva eva eva eva use dish soap and NORMAl towels on my GTO" Only use dish soap, very little, if you need to remove old wax build up becuase you need to prep the paint for polish and wax. Other than that go buy CAR Soap to wash your car. They are milder and will not remove the wax that is on your car.

2. I've use Mothers clay bars in the past. You would use it AFTER you've use VERY LITTLE dish soap to remove old wax from your paint. Then go over it with the clay bar to remove deposits, i.e rail dust, then wash again, dry, then apply polish and wax.

3. Zainos is great from what i've read on the net and results that i've seen first hand. However i'm a lazy bastard at times and I forget to order them from the net. So i use Meguiares. I've had fantastic results with their products. I use their new nxt generation waxes are pretty good.

4. For washing I use a mit.. for drying I use a california water blade and then an absorber for areas that the water blade can't get to.

5. Dusting isn't bad I dust mine every day after i get home from work. I use a california duster fro the car.

6. Have no clue, some people swear buy it.

7. I've use scratch-X in the past and wax and viola... no more scratch.
 

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Good question.

First of all, the best things you can do to keep your GTO looking good is KEEP IT OUT OF THE SUN. Got a garage? Use it. Drive your car to school? Get it in a parking garage. And don't eat or drink anything in interior -- except water. My wife (in her car) files her nails in traffic, will occasionally eat something like toffee with nuts on it which goes all over the place, and plops a full cup of Starbucks in the cupholder -- which sloshes all around because she's Italian and drives like a lunatic.

The three basics premises of keep your GTO's paint looking good are strip, polish and protect. As far as a schedule is concerned, I've picked out four national holidays and use them to keep my car and the little woman's in good working order: President's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. More on that later -- after I've answered your questions.

Clay Bars: These are great to STRIP all the wax, dust and other crap that bonds to the clearcoat finish of your car. Run your hand over most people's cars. They feel sandy. That's because there's a bunch of junk stuck to the paint -- which is then waxed over. A car that has been clayed is downright slippery to the touch.

As far as a brand is concerned, the ones made by Mother's are ok. Whatever you do -- buy a LOT of them and keep them wet as you don't want to be sanding your car with a dirty clay bar. Since your car is new -- do it now as the factory and dealers do a pretty crappy job of taking car of the paint. As far as future clay jobs -- check it on an annual basis. Usually every two years is more than enough if you're taking care of your car properly.

Wax: OK. Before you wax, you need to POLISH. To do this, use Klasse All In One. It's a synthetic that comes in a little red jug. The stuff is awesome. It's technically a protectant, too -- but I like to put a top coat of Meguiar's #7 Show Glaze over it to PROTECT. Seriously? Just use a BUNCH of pure cotton cloths to apply. Nothing drives me nuts more than seeing someone wax and entire car with one sock -- then wax it with another. Get no fewer than 6 cloths for polishing and 6 for protecting -- that way you're not putting spider webs into the car you're trying to make look good. And when you're washing those suckers -- make sure the water is hot and you fill the washer all the way up so there's plenty of water to rinse everything out.

Towels: Let's talk about washing your car here. 1. If you use tire dressing, put it on the night before. That way, the stuff penetrates into your tires instead of flying all over your car when you drive off. 2. Wash your car IN THE SHADE. Even if that means shagging your butt outta the rack at 7AM like I will be tomorrow morning. 3. Use Meguiar's Car Wash soap -- not Dawn, Joy, Palmolive or any other stuff made to wash dishes as it's too hard on the surface of your car. Meguiar's pink is perfect as it doesn't contain any half-baked waxes which will build up on your nice wax job. 4. Spray your car down with water. 5. Use a chenille mitt to break the dust or crud loose for the surface of your car. And whatever you do, keep rinsing it so you don't scratch the surface of your car with a dirty mitt. 6. Use an extremely soft long bristle brush to clean the wheels. 7. Rinse everything off. 8. Drive your car around the block so 99% of the water blows off. 9. Park in the shade and dry with a BUNCH of hand and body towels. Open the hood, doors, trunk and fuel door -- and wipe those out with hand towels. Use more of them to wipe the painted surfaces of the car under the nose, along the side and under the back bumper. Use the body towels to dry the rest of the car. Really focus on the glass -- as that's what you'll be looking through all week. How do you know when you need to change towels? When you move it across the surface -- and it isn't dry when you wipe. 10. Interior: Seriously? Just vacuum regularly and wipe the dash and all plastic surfaces down with a microfiber towel sprayed with distilled water. If you keep your car in the shade, you won't have to smear those protectants all over the place -- which make your car look like a greasy mess. 11. Windows: Windex, microfiber cloths and muscle. Nothing beats it.

Dusting: Yes, a very bad idea as you're dragging dirt across the surface of your car. Hose it off.

Bras: Look, it's a car. You're going to get rock chips whatever you do. The only time I ever saw a car bra do anything was back in the 80's when some kid mashed up the front end of the 280ZX turbo Mums and Dads bought him. He smacks a guard rail -- and stops at Pep Boys and buys a bra on the way home. The car had the lumpiest freakin' nose you ever saw -- but, OMG, the scheme worked. Suppose you could have a couple of pieces of 3M protective film put on the front -- but, seriously, something's going to eventually make your perfect car less than perfect.

Scratch Repair: Meguiar's Scratch-X or Rubbing Compound. I'm old school and like DuPont Rubbing Compound.

Car Care Schedule:

President's Day: Vaccum interior, wipe it down and do all the windows. Get all the dust and stuff out of the seams of the seats. Energize the finish with a hit of #7.

Memorial Day: Vaccum interior, wipe it down and do all the windows. Since summer's coming, see if the surface needs to be clayed. If not, Klasse All In One and finishing coat of #7.

Labor Day. Vaccum interior, wipe it down and do all the windows and #7.

Thanksgiving Day: Well, the Lions are on TV. Winter's coming. Nothing else to do so Klasse All In One and finishing coat of #7. And, yes, vaccum interior, wipe it down and do all the windows.

Think that's it. PM if you need anything. Will be in SD on Monday on my way to Mexico for a business meeting -- but that day is packed. Good luck.

OK: Few extra notes after washing the cars this morning... 1. To remove bug guts, spray them with water and let sit for a while while you're doing something else -- like cleaning the wheels. That way they come right off when you get to them with your mitt. 2. Definitely work from the top down as another mentioned by SS. 3. Got road tar? Use P&S Remove All solvent before washing. Wash, then hit the area with a little #7 and you'll be good. 4. The exterior mirrors, trim below the side windows, gap between the body and rocker panel and sometimes the doors can hold a lot of water. If you drive your car after washing -- take a hand towel with you to dab up anything that runs down the side of your car.
 

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When you wash your car, rule #1 was already mentioned, NO dishsoap, use car soap. Rule #2 start from the TOP and work your way down. I prefer to keep multiple wash mits, 3 to be exact, different brands make it easier to tell them apart. 1 for the body, 1 for the tires, cause you don't want the washed off tire dressing on your paint, and 1 for the engine compartment, again because of the different cleaners used there. When doing the windows on the inside, for the best results, keep an extra absorber (other than the one used to dry your car) and you soak it in glass cleaner and use that to wash and dry the windows. An easy wax system you could use to keep your GTO looking good would be the Mothers 3 stage. #1-Pre-wax cleaner, cleans of all the old wax and crap like that, #2-Sealer and glaze, turns your paint into bling-bling:cool . Now here is where you have a choice, #3 is a Carnuba paste wax, this is where I prefer to use a synthetic liquid wax, just makes it easier. And like mentioned above, wash and wax in the SHADE. That sytem usually takes about 6 hours, but #1 and #2 are only needed a few times a year, you just throw on another coat of wax when needed. And now for the wheels, as mentioned above, use a bristled brush, nothing expensive, i use a cheap flexible one from wal-mart beacause you can push it above those huge front brakes and it gets the job done, and for a cleaner, I swear by the DuPont wheel cleaner. Just spray it on, let stand for 30 seconds, take to it with the brush and your wheels will stay looking like new. Do the same thing for your exhuast tips, inside and out. The Dupont wheel cleaner has no acids so it is safe for aluminum, chrome, and painted surfaces.
 
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