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I took a pass on the dealer's offer of undercoating and paint treatment. That's just profit-padding poppycock. Despite the aforementioned, my Prelude has rust through the unibody hardpoints, and had to be repainted years ago because all the clearcoat and paint flaked off. Honda will take no responsibility whether you buy the treatment or not. They'll say "Hey, it's salt. Acid rain. Force of nature. Tough luck, kid." Snakes and bastards, all of 'em... What was I... Oh, yeah...

But I do believe the paint needs protection. SOOOO... Here's my procedure:
- Lexol Vinylex for the plastic visibly improves the finish, but does not make it shiny).
- Zymol for the paint makes even a new finish slicker and glossier without lots of elbow grease.
- Use a step ladder for reaching the roof, with some padding to keep it from dinging the paint. You can't really do a good job on the roof if you're free-climbing the side of the car, clinging to the door sills like an ape.
- Turn off the dome lights so you can leave the doors open without draining the battery.
- For chrissakes, don't wear belt, watch, jewelry or cellphone/PDA!

(1.) Wash the car with car soap that DOES NOT have wax in it. Don't use dish soap - it's too harsh. Use a natural fleece to pick up dirt, minimizing grinding it into the clearcoat (that's what makes the finish look scratchy in bright sun). Work from the roof downward in sections based on what can be rinsed and dried quickly. Don't splash water all over, to avoid waterspotting on other sections.

(2.) Towel dry as you go. Don't rewet an area you've already dried. Be especially quick to dry the plastic - fenders, roof gunwales, nosecone, tailgate; Waterspots show quickly and clearly on the EX's plastic finish (I don't know about the DX.).

(2a.)After drying last section, Press and poke fresh paper towels into panel seams and around trim pieces - there's a lot of water hidden up in there. You don't want it to drip out as you try to apply chemicals. Never rub a paper towel on your paint.

(3.) Apply Vinylex thoroughly to all the plastic. Keep it off the paint so it doesn't interfere with wax later. Don't worry too much about the glass. Be careful to apply Vinylex to weatherstrips around doors, windows and rear view mirrors. Take out the sunroof panel to avoid waxing it; you can stand up in the back sto do the rear roof.

(3a.) For large surfaces, I use a single-folded square of fake chamois - sort of a thin, resiliant, spongy stuff with firm, square edges. Use a thin, long bristle brush to get in in the nooks at the base of the A-pillar. Don't forget about the trays that run across the base of the windshield and inside the engine compartment.


(4.) Apply Zymol per it's instructions. Use some kind of masking to keep it off the plastic. Heavy paper works well, because you can slide it in around the panel edges and let it hang there. Don't panic if you get wax on the plastic, though; that's why you did the plastic first. Wax will scrub off the treated plastic easily without a mark.

(4a.) Use a soft toothbrush to scrub the wax out of fine cracks and seams around trim and emblems. You shouldn't have to apply much pressure - just dust it off. It's the ENDS of the bristles that do the work here.

For the interior, I clean with Murphy's oil soap spray and a very damp - not dripping - terry washcloth, rinsed out often. Then I apply Vinylex to dash, door panels, door sills, console and pillar trim. Use a brush to work it into the vent slots. Don't let it flow into control button openings. DO NOT use it on the floor panels - it gets dangerously, stupidly slick.


I'd appreciate advice on Tire treatments - I don't like shiny tires. I wonder if things like "Tire Foam" do more harm than good.

Window cleaner? Foggy, streaky glass drives me nuts. Anything that cleans well, but won't start taking the wax off?

Wheels? Any way to prevent brake dust from sticking? I'm thinking about just using Zymol on clean wheels, but what about the heat?
 

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I use stoners for my tires. its not the longest lasting by far. but its water based,doesnt sling,and gives a nice semi finish

http://www.amazon.com/Stoner-92046-More-Shine-Coating/dp/B001BY442O

zymol should work on the wheels. well they have a wheel wax but im sure any synthetic will work and last. most natural waxes will melt and wash away
i use one of these tools for my windows. inside and out with just water
 

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Great how to, Carbon. I'm not very knowledgeable about car detailing, so this is quite useful for me.

I got a swiveling pad thing from Wmart for the inside windows, similar to racerc2000's post. It's a great problem solver. The video does not exaggerate the contortions necessary for inside window cleaning.

I saw another thread here somewhere recommending Aerospace 303 for tires. I was reluctant to try it at $15 a spray bottle, but am very glad I did. It gave the tires a rich black look without being shiny, and it is protective from UV as well. Lots of that here in Florida.

I am almost through a can of Turtlewax I've had for a decade or so, and will be trying Zymol as per several recommendations on this forum.
 
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