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Home > Technical Articles > Detailing

Guest Technical Article


Difficulty Level 2

Difficulty scale:
Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a 911 Motor is level ten

Bob Tindel


     Along with the beautiful curves of the newer (as well as older) Porsches, comes some vulnerability to damage from the elements, and the need for some extra attention to maintenance to ensure that your car stays beautiful. You have probably read other items on how to keep your Porsche in top shape, so this article will just be a brief review, and will cover some new developments in car care.

     Washing the car is the first basic step. It is best to work in the shade, or at least not in the middle of a sunny day in direct sunlight. The paint should not be uncomfortably hot to the touch. To wash the car, use lots of water in a large, clean bucket, along with just a capful of so of good quality carwash liquid (unless the car is really dirty—then you will need to use a bit more carwash).

     I start with the wheels, using a “Wheel Wooley” (Pep Boys). This is a nice-sized little wheel cleaner, that will fit through the opening of most Porsche wheels, allowing you to clean most of the inside of each wheel without taking them off or getting under the car. Also, the Wheel Wooley doesn’t have the twisted wire center of most wheel brushes, so it won’t scratch your wheels. Scrub each wheel gently with carwash solution, and rinse. If the wheels are very dirty, or it has been too long since you cleaned them, you may need to use some wheel cleaner. Just be careful to choose one that is gentle, and is compatible with the finish on your wheels. Some popular wheel cleaners contain acids to help “clean” your wheels!

     Next, wash the car with the carwash suds, using a good quality wash mitt or small all-cotton terry towel. After washing it, rinse off the car with cool water. If the car is a convertible, you may not want to wash the top every time you wash the car. Washing is hard on a convertible top, and may not be necessary unless the top is dirty.

     To dry the car, I use a couple of new products that work very well. First, I squeegee most of the water off the car using a “California Water Blade”, (Costco has them) and then blot/wipe off the remainder with a “dimpled synthetic chamois” (Griot’s Garage, I have never been a fan of chamois, but this is a different product. It really soaks up the water and doesn’t leave little droplets of water on the paint the way a cotton towel does, and there is no lint. Also, it doesn’t seem to pull the wax off the paint like a traditional chamois. These two items do an excellent job of drying the car, and they do it very quickly. If you do use cotton towels, and you have a convertible, you know by now not to use towels on the top—it leaves a tremendous amount of lint.

     While we are on the topic of lint, the best thing I’ve found to remove lint is the “lint brush” available at Wal-Mart. It is a double-sided, unidirectional brush, a bit like the “hook” component of Velcro. You just brush any visible lint spot on the top, and the lint sticks to the brush. To clean the brush, simply wipe it on a cloth or your hand in the opposite direction.

     Dry the wheels with cotton towels. This is not a good place to use your expensive synthetic chamois, because it will quickly become stained.

     The next step is to protect the paint with a good coat of wax. If the paint has minor scratches, or it has dulled a bit, you may want to apply a glaze first. My favorite is 3M Imperial Hand Glaze. It goes on without a lot of rubbing, prepares the paint for waxing, and fills in minor scratches. I put it on with a small cotton towel, and then wipe it off with the same, changing the towels frequently. I don’t use an electric buffer on my Porsche. IMHO, it is too easy to damage the paint with a buffer, and they tend to spatter product residue all over the car.

     When it comes to wax, I like One Grand Blitz wax best. It goes on very easily with a cotton-covered sponge wax applicator. Follow by buffing it of f with cotton towels. For the glazing and waxing, use a back-and-forth motion, following the way air flows over the car. That way, if you induce any tiny scratches with a piece of grit caught in your towel, it will be less obvious.

     Give the wheels a good coat of wax also, and wipe the tires with a thin application of your favorite tire protectant (mine is Vinylex) to restore that like-new look. Follow the tire protectant with a wipe-down to remove any excess.

     For detailing the interior, and cleaning the glass, my new favorite product is microfiber towels (Costco again). They are incredibly soft, leave no lint, and pick up dust like a magnet. To clean the interior glass, Porsche Interior Glass Cleaner (very imaginative name) is excellent.

     For exterior glass, the best cleaner I have ever used is homemade, using the recipe from Consumer’s Reports: to an empty gallon jug, add 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, cup of sudsy household ammonia, and 1 teaspoon dish soap. Fill the remainder of the jug with water, and you have a lifetime supply of excellent glass cleaner for pennies.

     When using glass cleaner, vinyl/rubber protectant, or any other spray product, I don’t recommend spraying them on the car. Spray them on your cleaning cloth or applicator, and then use them on the car. The manufacturer’s directions usually instruct you to spray the product directly on the car—it’s easy and it uses more product, but it gets in places where you don’t want it.

Happy detailing, and enjoy your Porsche!


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