Every one of the write-ups that we've done here at Automotive Aesthetic all start the same way; with a maintenance wash.
But what is a maintenance wash? This is a question that anyone can answer, but a question rarely met with the same response. Since the existence of the automobile, people have been working to keep them clean, each with his or her own unique ritual.
Here at Automotive Aesthetic, we break down the simple car wash into a science. Every step in our process has a rhyme and reason as to why and where we incorporate it.
For this mundane writeup we chose an exceptional car: a 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RS that came to us to have the bumper paint protection film replaced.
Before getting our feet wet (pun intended), it is important to get everything prepared for the maintenance wash. At our shop, we utilize a 3 bucket method. One 5 gallon bucket filled with water, and one 5 gallon bucket filled with a mixture of water and Adam's Car Wash Shampoo. Both of these buckets contain grit guards.
We utilize Adam's Car Wash Shampoo because it is pH neutral and contains no wax or sealing chemicals, making it safe for use on cars coated with Modesta products.
The two buckets above are fairly common in most wash routines. The final bucket is a bit more unorthodox: a wheel cleaning bucket.
Disgusting, right? That's precisely why we have an independent bucket solely for wheels. Imagine some of that grime floating in your buckets used for paint, waiting to stray onto your wash mitt. While grit guards do a great job of reducing this possibility, we prefer not to leave things to chance. This particular bucket keeps a multitude of cleaning agents and devices, each one dedicated to a different part of the wheel and wheel well.
We begin our wash with the wheels and wheel wells. We start here solely because wheels are cleaned with the most aggressive cleaning agents, as the finish on wheels is often stronger than paint itself due to the abuse they see. If this aggressive cleaner were to find itself somewhere it shouldn't be, the rest of the wash process will remove it before it does any damage.
One of our detail techs, Bryan, goes corner by corner, applying all purpose cleaner to the fender wells. He then takes a soft bristle brush specifically designed to use in wheel wheels, and thoroughly scrubs the inner fender well.
Once the wheel well is squeaky clean, he applies Adam's Tire and Rubber Cleaner on the tires. Bryan then takes a slightly more aggressive brush and gives the tires a scrub.
With this completed, Bryan then moves onto the wheel itself. Normally, he would utilize wheel cleaners, but wheel cleaner is generally a risky product to use with the carbon ceramic brakes on this GT3 RS. Despite the manufacturer insisting that cleaner is safe for the brakes, he decided to err on the side of caution.
Once the barrels are spotless, Bryan moves onto the face of the wheel. He agitates the all purpose cleaner using an Adam's Trim and Lug Brush. This agitation is used to lift any brake dust or dirt that requires additional "persuasion."
With every bit of this corner cleaned of the car, he rinses away all of the trapped dirt and grime.
For the next three corners it's lather, rinse, repeat.
Once the wheels are sparkling, it is time to start working on the paint. Bryan begins by loading up a foam cannon with a mixture of Adam's Ultra Foam Shampoo and water. With a good shake, it's ready to attach to the pressure washer.
Bryan goes through and lays a thick coating of foam onto the car. He then goes through and thoroughly agitates the cracks and crevices, as well as any badging with a boar's hair brush.
He then rinses the foam off. We lay one coat of foam and rinse before utilizing wash mitts on the car to remove any large particles of dirt or debris that may get stuck in the mitt and scratch the car.
With the car partially decontaminated, Bryan lays a second coat of foam onto the car. This second coat is there to lift what contamination is missed from the first coat so that it may be safely extracted from the paint without leaving any scratches.
Then begins the process of applying the wash mitt to the car. The process here is specific with little room for deviation.
We begin by dunking the mitt into the water bucket and cleansing the mitt of any contaminants it may have accrued. Once it is sufficiently clean, it is introduced to the wash bucket. With a generous amount of car wash applied to both sides of the mitt, it is ready to make contact with the paint.
When wiping the car down with the wash mitt, Bryan uses ONLY vertical strokes. This precaution works as a failsafe of sorts. If there are any contaminants that have managed to make their way onto the wash mitt and into contact with the paint (which is highly unlikely given this process), it will only create vertical micro-scratches that will only be shown when the sun (or light source) is at the perfect angle.
Each side of the mitt is used for one body panel only. Once both sides have been utilized, the process is repeated.
After Bryan touches every part of the body with the wash mitt, it is time to rinse the car once again.
Most car washes proceed with drying the car as the next step, however, we like to take things one step further.
When drying the car we like to use a drying aid to help with lubricity. Our drying aid of choice is Adam's H2O Guard & Gloss. This sealant reduces the possibility of marring induced by the drying process. It also leaves behind a layer of short term protection.
With the Adam's H2O Guard & Gloss applied, it is finally time to use the Master Blaster to blow water from all the nooks and crannies.
Once Bryan makes a thorough pass with the Master Blaster, he looks over the car for any amount of water still on the paint and dries these spots with a fresh and ultra-soft microfiber towel.
After the car is dried, the car gets an extensive once-over to ensure that every part of the car is squeaky clean.
And there you have it, everything that goes into our maintenance wash process. If you are interested in purchasing the products utilized in this process, you can find them at the link below!