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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so I have some basic knowledge of how to wash a car well which my brother taught me. I would say that I do all right, but I want to make it look brand new every time I wash it. The four products I use are: Purple Power on the wheels, Murray's Tire Shine on the tires, Stoner's Invisible glass with 2 microfiber clothes on the glass and then Rain-x to protect it (don't remember exact type, Ill add that here later). I have a dark green 2004 Honda Element EX AWD and live in Ohio, where every weather imaginable is seen.

I have a lot of questions, here's a list please don't feel obligated to answer any of them or if you only know the answer to one then please just help me out with the one.

My questions are:
Is the Rain-x necessary?
Are there any better products than what I use with a reasonable price tag?
What should I use to get the plastic panels the cleanest and nicest looking?
What's the best way to wax?
What's the best brand of clay bar and how often should I use it?
Whats the best way to clean the floors?
What's the best way to clean the seats?
What's the best way to clean the other interior surfaces such as dash and steering wheel?

Thanks for all your help that I hope you post here, I do love to take care of my car and want to keep it looking new until it's impossible.
 

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You could possibly get a ton of replies as everyone has a different approach and different preferences for the products used when cleaning their E.

I prefer Dri Wash'n Guard Ultra Ion for all external surfaces. Works great on the metal, plastic and windows. I spray it on, rub it in with a microfiber cloth and then polish with a 2nd microfiber cloth. The product says you can use it on a dirty car, but I always wash my car first.

Just waxed with Dri Wash'n Guard:




When the E is wet after being waxed about a week ago:


Exterior plastic treated with Dri Wash'n Guard as well, leaves a matte finish, which I prefer:



I do use rain-x and plan on getting the rain-x wipers as well, my dad has them on his 06 E and really likes them.

For the seats, I use the Dri Wash'n Guard Upholstery, Fabric & Carpet Treatment. For all the interior plastic, I use their All-Weather Tire & Trim Treatment. Both work as advertised, the Trim Treatment leaves the interior with a matte finish instead of a shiny finish, which I prefer.

I haven't needed to use a claybar yet.
 

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Don't forget the door seals. I like to use 303 on those.

After 7 years, the seals are the main item I pay attention to. If they are dirty they can squeak, even stick.

Another thing to clean - the seals around the skylight. At least once a year take it out, clean all rubber, and clean the drain channel. Pay attention to the drain holes in the corners.

Also, pull up the cargo floor, and clean the spare tire well. Worry if anything is wet. Check the tire pressure.

Wipers also benefit from 303 cleaning and lubrication.

In a sense these are the working parts that need to be clean; the other things are cosmetic, nice for looks, but not essential to operation or water tightness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the waxing advice Shabbis, it looks nice, I'll probably have to try for a matte finish and a shiny finish this spring and summer, see which I like. I agree that there will be a wide array of responses to this as everyone has their own preferences.

And to Paulj, I never even thought about the seals... thanks for the advice, I'll have to do that every now and then, but I do have to disagree with you on one part, that washing your car is not as operational. From winter road driving the salt kills your paint, and a new coat of wax as well as a clay bar after washing every now and then will make the paint last miles longer and prevent any surface or other rust issues. But I'll be sure to try working on those door seals, I actually am thinking about a rubber strip at the bottom of my drivers side door that I need to replace, the front hole where it attaches to the hook is I believe torn which causes it to hang and be unable to remain attached, I'll probably fix that this weekend.
 

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Honda Bike Polish..

The best all around stuff used to be Honda Bike Polish - interior, exterior - all surfaces and materials. Honda discontinued it but it is back and being marketed by the manufacturer as "Bike Spirits".

http://www.bernardiparts.com/Produc...ish---Next-Dimension__08C25-P011M-NXTGEN.aspx

"This is the same product and formula as the discontinued Honda Spray Cleaner Polish. This product, which is and was produced by Amrep (the manufacturer and patent holder) was distributed by Honda and had Honda Logos on the can. "The original Spray Cleaner & Polish has transformed into 'The New Original Bike Spirits Spray Cleaner & Polish.' Same great product with a new attitude & spirit. There's nothing like the original!"
 

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I have a dark green 2004 Honda Element EX AWD and live in Ohio, where every weather imaginable is seen.
First off, fill out your profile completely... Then start a thread and post some pics of your E in the "Greets & Intros" section so you can get a proper EOC welcome...

I have a lot of questions... Use the "SEARCH" F-I-R-S-T and if you can't find it, THEN start a new thread...

My questions are:
Is the Rain-x necessary? Yes, IMHO it makes visibility better and thus makes it a safety issue with me... (I'm a safety 1st kind of guy)
Are there any better products than what I use with a reasonable price tag? None that I know of... Some of the folks defer to autopia.org as a good resource to vehicle-detailing...
What should I use to get the plastic panels the cleanest and nicest looking? If you want shine, I am a fan of Mother's Back-To-Black... Others 303 (more $ tho)
What's the best way to wax? Keep the vehicle out of direct sunlight, apply in small sections, use a clean cloth to remove wax, and use Meguiar's NXT 2.0 Tech Wax...
What's the best brand of clay bar and how often should I use it? I have a new vehicle but I bought a Meguiar's Clay Bar Kit... I heard to use it right away if you bought the vehicle "not new"... Then use it every time there are "rough spots" on the paint...
Whats the best way to clean the floors? Damp rag and a bucket of soapy water... Do NOT use a running water hose... It's urban legend...!!!
What's the best way to clean the seats? Ditto...
What's the best way to clean the other interior surfaces such as dash and steering wheel? Meguiar's Interior sprays... (On sale this week at Wally World/$4 a can)... STAY AWAY from ArmorAll...!!! 303 is good too...

Thanks for all your help that I hope you post here, I do love to take care of my car and want to keep it looking new until it's impossible. And when that time comes, you can trade her in for a 2nd generation model!!! Woo-hoo...! Honda's keeping the Element line alive and kickin'... It's a good day, INDEED...!!!
I hope this helps... It is completely my opinion but I'm a practical guy and I do plan on one-day using the 303 when I get a chance to find some... Congrats on your new E...! May she give you many years of service and enjoyment...!

Welcome to the EOC...!


LBD
 

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My questions are:
Is the Rain-x necessary? Like LBD said, I like it also, I've used Aquapel on the wifes car but wasn't all that impressed.
Are there any better products than what I use with a reasonable price tag? No
What should I use to get the plastic panels the cleanest and nicest looking? I'd say clean them well with whatever car shampoo your using then treat them with Poorboy's World Trim Restorer. I've tried both Mother's Back 2 Black and Meguiars Trim Restorer but didn't really like the results of those two products (smeared a lot)
What's the best way to wax? I use DP Max Wax on the wife's Volvo and love it, it's a wipe on wipe off style wax. It's a paste not a spray BTW. I've used Wolfgang Fusion on my Element, but that is probably more $$ then you want to spend so Max wax is probably your best bang for the $
What's the best brand of clay bar and how often should I use it? My understanding is all the clay bars are made by a single company and just relabeled. Use it as often as needed.
Whats the best way to clean the floors? I just sponge it out with a really diluted Simple Green mixture.
What's the best way to clean the seats? Haven't cleaned seats yet
What's the best way to clean the other interior surfaces such as dash and steering wheel? I've been using 1Z Einszett ****pit Premium Interior Plastic Cleaner with no issues at all. After cleaning with it I then spray/wipe on 303.

Not listed on your above list:

Glass: Sprayway Glass cleaner (Target)

Tires: Griot's Garage Rubber Cleaner

Wheels: BlackMagic wheel cleaner (Walmart)

All items mentioned above (minus BlackMagic and Sprayway)I've gotten from Autogeek.net, if you watch their site you can sometimes get these products as BOGO items (Buy One Get One)

/QUOTE]

Sig line has links to a good detailing forum and autogeek is a good place to order supplies from, they also have a great forum also. Stop by and say hi on both of them
 

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Purple Power on the wheels
Which Purple Power product do you use,their wheel cleaner,or De greaser? I ask because their De greaser while a great product,is a bit strong and can actually haze up a factory wheels clear coating.

My questions are:
Is the Rain-x necessary?Not necessary,but certainly a great product to use.

Are there any better products than what I use with a reasonable price tag?Your product choice is pretty decent,if you're happy with the results you're getting,then I see no reason not to use them.

What should I use to get the plastic panels the cleanest and nicest looking?To get them the cleanest,most of the higher end/boutique products usually recommend washing the plastic with Dawn dish detergent,or to wipe the plastics down with a 50/50 mix of water and rubbing alcohol.I've used both techniques and they work great at cleaning/removing older dressings/products from the panels.As for getting them to look the nicest,that can vary from one owners opinion to the next,but being a person who has tried mostly all of the known brand products and even boutique products on my E,I've found that my most favorite product to use is Ultima Tire & Trim Guard Plus.It can be considered expensive to most,but it's an excellent product and I love the durability and the look it gives.

What's the best way to wax?Well I'm sure you know to start of with an extremely clean vehicle and follow up with claying the vehicles finish.Then polish,wax and follow up with a paint sealant.Personally after claying I use a variable speed,rotary buffer for cutting/polishing and I prefer to follow up my wax and paint sealant applications with a random orbital buffer.I get to all the other areas of the vehicles finish that can't be reached by using an applicator by hand.

What's the best brand of clay bar and how often should I use it?Actually most clay bars are extremely similar in quality and if I recall there's only three,or four companies that actually produce the clay products.Most are just the same product,just re branded.Another factor is determining which clay bar is right for your particular finish as there are various grades of clay bars.Agressive,medium and fine.As for how often,that can vary,most say once/twice a year with a medium grade clay.If you like to clay more often there are clay products that are designed specifically for that,such as Pinnacle Ultra Poly Clay.
http://www.autogeek.net/ultra-fine-poly-clay.html


Whats the best way to clean the floors?Vacuum thoroughly and fill a bucket with warm water and add some all purpose cleaner then dip a sponge,or terry cloth in the bucket/ring it out and have at it.Some areas you may want to go over with a medium to stiff scrub brush.Follow up with a clean cloth wipe down.

What's the best way to clean the seats?I like to use a spray bottle with a mix of Woolite and water.Then I simply mist it onto the fabric and wipe it down with a clean terry cloth.

What's the best way to clean the other interior surfaces such as dash and steering wheel?A spray bottle with some Simple Green mixed with the appropriate amount of water works great.Oh and for those tougher areas add a bit more Simple Green and less water to your spray bottle.

Thanks for all your help that I hope you post here, I do love to take care of my car and want to keep it looking new until it's impossible.
Hope this was of some help and remember that info. I posted was just what I like and what works for me,I'm sure what others post will work great too.:)

You could possibly get a ton of replies as everyone has a different approach and different preferences for the products used when cleaning their E.
^^Agreed.:)


I haven't needed to use a claybar yet.
^^Really? Even brand new vehicles can certainly benefit from use of a Clay bar.;-)
The best all around stuff used to be Honda Bike Polish - interior, exterior - all surfaces and materials. Honda discontinued it but it is back and being marketed by the manufacturer as "Bike Spirits".



^^That's good stuff.8) I actually use that on my E' sometimes,but I use the Honda labeled version sold at HandA I believe they still actually sell it.
 

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Good googley-moogley those are some massive posts...!!! LMBELBO...!

LBD
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the responses, I have been using the damp rag with soapy water to get the interior clean, just wanted to know if there was anything to protect that out there. The other tips are great, and I appreciate them.

A side note: this is not a brand new E, I have had it for around a year, but have been washing it with my brothers products, who has been nice enough to share. I have found, however, that not all of them give me the best results, though most do the job well. I have done an introduction a while ago (just haven't taken the time to fill out my profile) and just haven't posted much I believe.
 

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... (just haven't taken the time to fill out my profile) and just haven't posted much I believe.
It would be nice...!

Don't worry though... This is a great online community and as long as you aren't "too mean", you'll be just fine... Remember to "SEARCH" FIRST and when you can't find it, post... Other than that, get some pictures up and go to the "Greets and Intros" section for your proper "official welcomes"...

LBD
 

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Great info here. Thanks all.

Albrutvan now take the time to fill in your profile:roll: I think you will find most of us are not to bad:grin:
 
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