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The "less obsessed" Adam's System


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The 'less obsessed' Adam's Approach.


First off, I am not a writer, and I'm sure there are PLENTY of errors. I'm also not a detailer to the level of Mr. Wolf, Pitale, Tyger, or MANY MANY other here's. If you see something that you feel might need to tweaked, shoot me a PM.


Let's face it. Some folks just aren't wired like the rest of us. Some come here just looking for quick, easy, and visible results to car care. Not everyone is going to the lengths of strip washing, claying, paint correcting, and what not. Some come here looking for quality products because they want a complete system of quality products Wal-Mart or the local auto parts store can't provide. But they still have the mentality of quick and easy. 


My goal is here to simplify the system, and help you build you're first shopping cart.


For starters, you'll want:


1- Adam's Daily Driver Detailing Kit. (Link)


1 - Visco Clay Bar

1 - 16oz Detail Spray

1 - 16oz All Purpose Cleaner

1 - 16oz Car Shampoo

1 - 16oz H2O Guard & Gloss 

2 - Borderless Gray Towel (for H2O Guard & Gloss Application)

1 - Fender Brush

1 - Wheel Brush

2 - 10" Wash Pad

1 - Bucket w/ Grit Guard & Gamma Seal Lid


I would add the following:

1 - Adam's New Spray Nozzle or Fire Nozzle (Not required if you spring for the Foam gun)


1 - Tire & Trim Combo (Link)


      1 - 16oz All Purpose Cleaner

      1 - 16oz VRT 

      2 - Foam Block Applicators

1 - 16oz Wheel Cleaner (Link)

1 - 16oz Tire Shine (Link)

4 - Single Soft Microfiber Towels (Link)

2 - Great White Drying Towels (Link)

1 - Deep Clean Tire Scrub Brush (Link)


OPTIONAL (For fun...)

Adam's Foam Gun


Wash Process:


FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS & WARNINGS AS PRINTED ON THE BOTTLE. The instructions in this write up are not all inclusive. Watch Adam's Daily Driver Detailing Video. It's full of great instructions is a great overview of the process.


Before you start, have a plan and be prepared. Have everything staged and ready to go! Don't start the step until you've got everything ready to go.

Edited by stripesace
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Step One - Wheel and Tire Cleaning:

DO NOT work on wheels and tires that are hot, and avoid direct sunlight as best as you can.
Liberally spray your tires and fender wells down with All Purpose Cleaner.
Spray your wheels down with Wheel Cleaner - Allow to dwell.
Use the Fender Brush to scrub your wheel wells.
Use the Tire Brush to scrub your tires.
By now Wheel Cleaner has started to really work. Using your Wheel Brush, agitate all of the Wheel Cleaner around the wheel. Cover the entire the wheel with your wheel brush. 
Allow Wheel Cleaner to finish working.
Rinse wheel wells, tires and wheels completely. You want to make sure all product is rinsed from the areas.
Rinse all of your brushes out well and move on to the next wheel, until all wheels are washed.
Step Two - Rinsing and Washing Your Car
This process works best if you are in the shade, and have shade to go to go. Avoid direct sunlight washing the best you can. Sometimes its just un-avoidable. When putting water on your car, always start with the shady/cool side first. 
Apply about 2oz of Car Shampoo to your wash pad and place it in the bottom of your bucket on top of your grit guard. 
Fill the bucket up with water by first spraying water into your wash pad creating a nice sudsy lather in the bucket. Once you have the shampoo activated in the wash pad, drop your nozzle below the suds and finish filling the bucket with water to about 3.5-4 gallons.
With your soap bucket ready, make sure you have your next steps ready. If this is your first time washing/detailing the car, have your Visco Clay and Detail Spray ready to go.
Start rinsing your car down. Work from the top down. Giving your car a good rinse down will knock all the loose dirt and grime off. Getting as much off as you can helps ensure a safe wash. Remember, start with the shade/cool side of your car, working towards the sunlight.
Once your car is rinsed, take your wash pad out of the bucket, allowing the water to run off back into your bucket. Once most of the water has run off the pad, lightly work your wash pad across the roof of your car. Most times, I hold onto the edge of the wash pad and let the lubrication of the soap do its thing and just move the pad around front of car to back of car in straight lines. 
I typically only use one side of the wash pad for the roof of the car. If your car is REALLY dirty, you might want to switch sides for half of the roof.
Once the roof is done, I like to switch sides of the pad and wash the windshield and rear glass with the clean side. If the car is not super dirty, I will go ahead and finish the "greenhouse" of the car, starting with the sunny side/hot first, then moving to the shade/cool side. The greenhouse (a NASCAR term) is the top of the door to the top of the roof, A, B, C pillars. 
By this point your wash pad is probably very dirty. Move the fresh wash pad in your bucket out of the way and drop your dirty wash pad into the bucket. Agitate the wash pad against the grit guard to pull all of the dirtiness off of your wash pad. Inspect the wash pad to make sure it's clean. This is where you have a choice. You can continue to use this wash pad to complete the top portions of your car (from the top of the door down to half-way down the door) or rotate to the new pad.
With the wash pad, I like to move to the hood. Flip to the clean side of the wash pad and then start working my way to the back of the car on the sunny/hot side. I typically split my door panels to the halfway mark. Keep an eye on your pad. If it's getting dirty, go back to the bucket, agitate it on the girt guard, cleaning it off and getting fresh soap in the pad.
Now that your car is covered in PH neutral shampoo, its time to get ready for the next steps. Detail Spray ready? Shaded spot ready? Garage ready for you to pull into?  
RINSE you're car, again from the top down, shaded side first, making sure all of the soap is being washed off and out of cracks and crevices. Once your entire car is rinsed down, move the car to the shaded spot or garage.
Edited by stripesace
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Step Three - You want me to rub clay on my car? 


Your car is covered in all kinds of things that shampoo and a wash pad won't get off. The only way to do this, decontaminate, your paint is to clay the surface of your car.


Spritz your car with detail spray, about 2-3 sprays per panel to help neutralize PH of the water on your car. Pick a panel to start with. For me it is usually my hood or roof. 


Take the Visco Clay that you prepared early and begin rubbing it on your wet lubricated with Detail Spray surface. I usually make 1 1/2' sweeps front to back over the paint working in rows front to back of the panel. I usually check my clay at the completion of each row. Follow the instructions on the Visco Clay for use of your clay. 


BE CAREFUL to not drop your clay on the ground. If so, consider it dead and throw it in the general direction of your trash can and order a Visco Clay replacement.


Step Four - Lets lay some protection on your car... 


Now that you've clayed your car, you need something to protect the bare clear coat you now have exposed to the world. 


Grab two borderless gray towels, wet one. Lighting wet down your car. Grab your bottle of H2O Guard and Gloss and spray 2 to 3 sprays per panel, working 1 to 2 panels at a time. 


Take the wet borderless gray towel and wipe on/rub in/buff on the panel that has been sprayed with Guard and Gloss. You will notice water running away from your paint. Once the panel has been wiped down with Guard and Gloss, follow up with the dry towel to buff the residue off, and swipe any remaining water. Work your way around the car until every panel has been treated.


Once your done with the body of your car, and want to make your wheel cleaning easier next time, apply it to your wheels in the same fashion you did your paint.

Edited by stripesace
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Step Five - Treat your Trim & Tires


If you have plastic trim around your vehicle, it needs protecting too. Guard and Gloss will give you one level of protect, but I like to keep it topped off. Grab yourself a foam block and the bottle of VRT. Apply a small amount (nickel to quarter size) to the foam block, and apply it to your trim. Its ok if you get some on your windows and paint. Its water based and will easily wipe off.


Your tires should be dry by now. Take a second foam applicator block and your bottle of Tire Shine. I like the stream spray pattern for tire shine. Spray the tread blocks of your tires being careful to not get any on your clean wheels.  An alternative method is to spray the product directly into the foam block. 


Using the foam block play "ring around the tire" spreading Tire Shine evenly to the entire tire. Take care to work it into lettering and grooves. I like to take the corner of the foam block and get right up along the wheel or wheel cover. 


Step Six - Touch up and Walk Around


Now that you're done grab a bottle of Detail spray and a single soft microfiber. This is my favorite part of the wash process. Walk around and admire your work. If you see something, give it a spray of detail spray and a soft swipe with your microfiber. Once I finish one walk around, I usually go back the opposite direction.




So now that we're done lets review the steps.


1)Tires and Wheels

2)Rinse and Wash



5)Tires and Trim

6)Walk around and enjoy... 


If you're a casual washer, and your likely to only wash your car once a month, these same steps will apply, with the exception of claying. You should only need to clay once or twice a year. 


If you're a more frequent washer then you'll only need to worry about Tires and Wheels, Rinse and Washing, and Tires and Trim. You'll want to redo your protection once every 2 months or so. 


When you're not doing H2O Guard and Gloss, you'll want use Detail Spray and the Great White Drying Towel to dry your car. Detail Spray will neutralize the water to reduce spotting, provide lubrication for the towel to not mar or scratch your paint, and provide a REALLY sharp shine! 
Edited by stripesace
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This is simple?  Took me so long to read all that, I could have had my car washed AND waxed.  :lolsmack:

Just kidding with you. Nice write up!


Was trying to cover technique too. Length was almost unavoidable. Ive contemplated a video to pair with the write up. Ive the resources available to me... Its the time that is tight right now.

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  • 8 months later...

Nice write up. I'm always trying to judge how much effort new customers want to put into making their cars look great. I don't want to overwhelm them at first, but can't skip important steps. It can seem overwhelming when putting the process into words, either spoker or written. In fact, it is easier than it can sound. But for truly flawless, or even 95% it is a dedication.


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  • 2 years later...
20 hours ago, Furyan said:

Thanks for the write up,this will come in very handy for me for my first serious detailing. 


And the best part is that the original post was three  years ago. All of the products have been improved since then!  You'll get even better results.

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