Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Zen and the Art of Daily Driver Detailing

          
  1. #1
    Registered Member Top Gear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Carolinas
    Posts
    842
    Rep Power
    13

    Lightbulb Zen and the Art of Daily Driver Detailing

    If you're like me, you are not a professional detailer working on many and various cars every day, but you're just doing your own car in the yard or driveway, and this is a hobby/therapy. Any of us can have a near enough to show car look on a daily basis - moderate and temperate weather permitting, of course. Here's some things I've learned from this forum, mixed with my own experiences in keeping a black daily driver clean and fresh in the hot-n-humid Southern US...

    Don't Drive in the Rain
    This is a biggie given the amount of rainfall the South now gets, and sometimes you have no choice, but if you do have the choice, don't. You'll be more Zen-like if you just wait until the roads are dry enough so as the grease, grime, mud, and other refuse from the environment and other vehicles is not sloshed up all over your otherwise clean machine and its surprisingly clean undercarriage. If you are so unlucky as to be caught driving on rain-soaked filthy roads, especially interstates, you will then do a full, sudsy, therapeutic two-bucket wash-n-wax and undercarriage cleaning as soon as humanly possible to recover from the violation.

    Don't Drive Off-Road
    But, you ask, what about parks, short gravel driveways, and so forth?? Drive slow so you do not create a cloud, stay on the dry parts, and clean up later if needed, say with an undercarriage rinse to get off all the dust from the sand, gravel or whatever. This should all be fairly obvious to many of us, but don't drive on anything that would allow rocks and such to fly up and hit your car, which only makes for dents, rust spots, etc, which also goes for your undercarriage. If you drive a truck/SUV or something and love to go mud-riding, this does not apply to you, Dude. In such cases, you're into a whole other Zen: "Zen and the Art of Not Caring About Having an Immaculately Clean Show Car".

    Don't Wash the Car "Just Because it's Saturday"
    What? That's right, achieving detailing Zen means avoiding wasted effort, water, supplies, and time, when the car isn't really dirty and nobody is going to marvel at the difference anyway. Sometimes, a car just needs a dust off. Maybe you only need some QD to touch up a spot or two, or maybe a 5 minute re-wax using QW, or maybe all those steps in 10 minutes. Many times, you only need to rinse aggressively and then blow dry, then you can do some QD/QW work. You can go months like this, staying Zen-like and flexible. This will reduce the potential ill-effects of washing too much, extending your DA correction's life. Others will think you "wax your car" every day. Let them.

    When you do Wash or Rinse: Filter, Flood, and Blow
    After you have worn your back out washing your vehicle thoroughly using two buckets and a mild wash-n-wax product, do not add insult to injury by spending the next hour(s) drying by hand while dripping sweat. You might add to your swirls and spiderwebs with an un-lubed rag, and there are just better and faster ways to get the car dry. (a) Get a water filter if your water supply has hard deposits making spots. (b) Use a flooding trick as best you can to reduce the number of small splatter beads on your surfaces. Lastly, (c) you'll immediately start blowing dry with an electric leaf blower, working from the top down. You'll have a perfectly dry car with no spotting, and all in minutes. If you need to, you can then enjoy, rather than toil, in doing some QD/QW touch-ups.

    Dump your Driver's Floor Mat Often
    The catch-all under your feet has a huge impact on how you and others perceive your interior (and you). Just by dumping the visible dirt and tiny rocks off your driver's mat, giving it a rap your hand or a slap across a tree, then putting it back, can give the whole interior an almost fully clean look, especially a black interior. You can dust and clean the rest later, of course, or do the interior in stages over weeks, as you handle the exterior.

    Keep Detailing Merch in the Car
    Keep a bag in your trunk with MF rags, QD and QW, and any other merch you might be expected to whip out either daily or for a particular cruise. Say you get a bird dropping or tree sap. Say you hit a muddy pothole. Say you just went through a cloud of dust or pollen. Say your wheels and tires are covered in brake dust and don't shine as brightly as they should. Just pull over into a parking lot, and minutes later you're back out cruising.

    Remember that Nobody Cares
    This is the hardest part, I know. Nobody really cares that you have some dust or pollen on your otherwise perfectly detailed and immaculately clean machine. They don't really see the dust or pollen, but what is underneath, which is still an otherwise perfectly detailed and immaculately clean machine. Nobody cares that you spent hours posting on MOL, hours or days doing a DA correction as good as a pro, that you have something called spray wax in your trunk, or that you get huffy over the difference between Ultimate and Gold Class. Other people (with other hobbies and therapies) only see the effect of your Zen-like approach to detailing, which is to say that your car is cleaner and shinier than 99% of the all other cars in your Burg, and that alone is very impressive to them. The Zen here is that you don't care that they don't care, and yet you do this anyway, because it is a great hobby/therapy you love to do. Otherwise, what's the point??
    Non-Garaged Daily Driver, DAMF System + M101, Carnauba Finish Enthusiast
    4-Step | Zen Detailing | Undercarriage | DAMF Upgrade |
    First Correction | Gallery

  2. #2
    Registered Member benbjam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    42
    Rep Power
    5
    I definitely needed to read the last paragraph...so true! Lol

  3. #3
    Registered Member Top Gear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Carolinas
    Posts
    842
    Rep Power
    13

    Re: Zen and the Art of Daily Driver Detailing

    Yup. It's hard to let go. I'll even go out on a limb and say that, sometimes, an otherwise detailed car looks kinda cool with some pollen or dust on it
    Non-Garaged Daily Driver, DAMF System + M101, Carnauba Finish Enthusiast
    4-Step | Zen Detailing | Undercarriage | DAMF Upgrade |
    First Correction | Gallery

  4. #4
    Registered Member billddrummer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Reno NV
    Age
    64
    Posts
    205
    Rep Power
    6

    Re: Zen and the Art of Daily Driver Detailing

    Top Gear, thanks for the tips, and particularly the last paragraph. Most of the people I work with just aren't that meticulous about their vehicles because they have other things going on in their lives. For example, a coworker who purchased her car just two weeks before I did, and doesn't drive but one tenth my mileage, has run it into the ground to the point that it looks 5 years old. She is a single mother with limited resources, and it's understandable. Others are off road types, campers, hikers and the like--I will join them at some point in the future, but not with this vehicle.

    My DD is to present a good impression when meeting with real estate clients. They have more money than I do but expect a certain level of cleanliness from their real estate agent. I am sure that the time I invest in keeping up the vehicle will pay career dividends in the future.

    In the meantime, approaching the process with a peaceful attitude is super important. Thanks for putting it into perspective.
    2016 red Hyundai Azera, acquired with 21 miles. Drive 600+ miles/week. Commercial RE agent in CA focusing on properties in the Truckee/Lake Tahoe basin.

  5. #5
    Registered Member Top Gear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Carolinas
    Posts
    842
    Rep Power
    13

    Re: Zen and the Art of Daily Driver Detailing

    Thanks It's hard to remember that perspective sometimes, but also, detailing is its own reward.
    Non-Garaged Daily Driver, DAMF System + M101, Carnauba Finish Enthusiast
    4-Step | Zen Detailing | Undercarriage | DAMF Upgrade |
    First Correction | Gallery

  6. #6
    Registered Member billddrummer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Reno NV
    Age
    64
    Posts
    205
    Rep Power
    6

    Re: Zen and the Art of Daily Driver Detailing

    Quote Originally Posted by Top Gear View Post
    Thanks It's hard to remember that perspective sometimes, but also, detailing is its own reward.
    Absolutely true. I was planning on doing some work on the car today (noticed some swirl marks and other flaws), but then I had this random thought that I may have put those swirl marks on myself because my foam pad wasn't pristine when I was applying UP. And if I used the same pad, could potentially add more swirls which would create more work for me at my next scheduled correction (right now at the end of July).

    Decided that it was better to just leave it, do a quick pass with UQD, and let it be.

    Giving up? Perhaps. But better than creating more work down the road.

    As Mike Stoops says, this is supposed to be therapy, not the reason you need therapy.
    2016 red Hyundai Azera, acquired with 21 miles. Drive 600+ miles/week. Commercial RE agent in CA focusing on properties in the Truckee/Lake Tahoe basin.

  7. #7
    Registered Member Top Gear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Carolinas
    Posts
    842
    Rep Power
    13

    Re: Zen and the Art of Daily Driver Detailing

    It depends on the actual "marks and other flaws". Sure, there are real scuffs, scratches, etc, but I suspect, like me, you're just seeing the reality that there's no such thing as 100% swirl-free (for long) for the daily driver? I've learned to live with, and even ignore a few seeming vagaries, virtual lines of "imperfection", micro-filaments of brightness against a dark background, because I know I've done the due diligence via Meguiar's, and there's no friggin' way that finish is swirled for real. What often look like swirls or spiderwebs in a well-corrected finish, I've found can be just temporary, very superficial lines in the polish/wax layers, literal spider's strings, sand grain trails, but not swirls or scratches in the actual paint/clear - and even if they were, there's little point in spending the next 5 hours trying to remove that one line which is only visible across the hood in full sunlight on a particular day at 4:30pm from a particular angle. All anyone else sees is the best detailed car in the lot

    I'm not sure I've ever caught such lines on camera, but I know everyone here knows what I'm talking about. Mostly what we're comparing our OCD work to is professional product photography, not real-world daily drivers. Every time I go to a show, I take care to look at the most swirl-free-looking cars very carefully. Up close, I always see more swirls than I'd assume would be there. I sometimes ask the show-winning owner what they do, and invariably, it's something like Turtle Wax Ice or some such by hand, with no compound or polish, etc. I then laugh at myself for being so worked up over a few temporary lines that will be gone after the next QW or bucket-wash.

    There is no perfection. It's all part of the Zen thing
    Non-Garaged Daily Driver, DAMF System + M101, Carnauba Finish Enthusiast
    4-Step | Zen Detailing | Undercarriage | DAMF Upgrade |
    First Correction | Gallery

  8. #8
    Registered Member Paladin3248's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    McKenzie,Tennessee
    Posts
    3
    Rep Power
    2

    Re: Zen and the Art of Daily Driver Detailing

    Great post Top Gear. As another Southerner that deals with tree sap daily I appreciate your post.

  9. #9
    Registered Member Top Gear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Carolinas
    Posts
    842
    Rep Power
    13

    Re: Zen and the Art of Daily Driver Detailing

    Thanks
    Non-Garaged Daily Driver, DAMF System + M101, Carnauba Finish Enthusiast
    4-Step | Zen Detailing | Undercarriage | DAMF Upgrade |
    First Correction | Gallery

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Daily driver
    By Fallz in forum Professional Line - Mirror Glaze & Detailer Line Product Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Sep 2nd, 2012, 10:37 PM
  2. Replies: 3
    Last Post: Aug 9th, 2011, 07:14 PM
  3. My daily driver
    By paulcr39 in forum Show Off Your Latest Detail Work
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: Nov 12th, 2009, 08:05 PM
  4. Replies: 10
    Last Post: Sep 11th, 2009, 06:03 AM
  5. '98 S-10 Daily Driver
    By g15389 in forum Show Off Your Latest Detail Work
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Jun 7th, 2005, 06:57 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •