Springtime car clean regime

It’s spring for all you northern hemispherites, at least for a few more days. That means your Saab cleanup prior to summer should already be done and dusted.

But just in case it isn’t, Tim S has alerted me to his cleaning regime.

Tim owns the Viggen I featured here a few days ago. Here’s a shot that gives you a pretty good idea about how serious he is about getting the car in tip-top shape:


Now remember, that’s a black car. I’ve listened to enough polishing/cleaning war stories from Drew B with his black 900 T16S to know that black looks brilliant but is a mongrel of a color to maintain.

That black Viggen is mirror finished, as you can see. And here’s how Tim did it, from his posting on the topic over at Saablink:

Here’s a rundown of the cleaning I put the Viggen through, for the NWSOC summer picnic. I hope you’ll find this as a review of the products I used, including how I could have done this even better.

First Wash:
– Two bucket method w/ Dawn soap. Made sure to change rinse water when dirty.
– New wash mitts. These really make the job go quicker, and with less effort in the hard to reach areas like the front spolier, and small areas.
– Hosed off and dried with synthetic chamois. I’ve used this towel quite a few times, so it went through the washing machine the night before.
Time estimate: 2 hours

Clay bar:
– I didn’t plan ahead and shop around for a clay bar. When I do this again, I will investigate into this beforehand. So I just used a kit by Mothers, which included a bar and a bottle of their detail spray to use as the clay lube.
– I swept out the garage to remove any large particles of dirt and stones.
– Managed to drop clay bar outside in said stones
– Stupid shucks only had the clay bar as a kit Bought the kit.
– In the end I used both bottles of detailer anyway, as everyone I’ve heard says to be very liberal with lube when claying. I was amazed at what came out of there! The most crude was removed from the front spoiler, hood and side skirts. I also did the front windshield and rims, as they are also a black painted finish. At this point I could already see a HUGE difference. The paint was really really smooth. But all that detailer and some wax residue was left on the car.
Time estimate: 3 hours

Second wash with dawn:
– Had to work faster and keep the car wet during wash to keep sun from drying anything up.
– Moved car back into garage to dry with synth towel.
Time Estimate: 1.5 hours

The car at this point already looked fantastic. After 2 washes and the clay bar, there was NO wax on it. The finish was significantly smoother and so damn clean. I left it to sit overnight.

Cleaner wax:
– Zymol Cleaner wax
– Synth microfiber towels
– Synth applicator pads
– In retrospect, I should have researched this product before using. Zymol is getting great reviews. And this product is great. I just didn’t know I couldn’t treat it like pure waxes. You really need to work in small areas with this product. I am used to doing anywhere from a third to half the car at a time before going back and buffing off. But this dried up into a super annoying sandstorm of blue flakes. Very time consuming to clean that all off. Grrrrr!!!
Time estimate: 4 hours

Finishing wax:
– Meguiars NXT synth paste
– Synth applicator pads
– Synth microfiber towels
– Wow, this is really the product I enjoyed the best. With the applicator pads, it goes on really smooth and is easy to control where the wax goes, like in small spaces and thin strips like door frames etc. And I could pound out half the car and it was still easy to wipe off. My car is black, and this really made the car look rich and deep.
Time Estimate: 2.5 hours

– Washed with dawn during main car phase
– Clayed
– Applied Dupont Teflon tire shine with foam applicator (no mess!)
Time Estimate: 40 minutes

I keep my interior pretty darn clean, so I just did a quick pass to the dash and drivers seat. At some point, I am going to use the Leatherique products on the leather. I’ve seen what this stuff can do. Its awesome.
Time Estimate: 20 minutes

Given that summer’s coming in the north there’s lots of car shows and other events coming up. Hopefully this might be a useful guide for some. There’s some responses at the Saablink link, above, that you might also find useful.

And of course, if you’ve got any secret tips of your own then feel free to drop them in comments and spread the knowledge.

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  1. I don’t have a saab, and, just going into college, I may not have one for many years. But I dream of the days when I will have one and get to clean it like you do yours. Hopefully, I don’t sound too creepy. I want a saab.

  2. Saab 9x, using dish soap to regularly clean a car is a no no as it’s too harsh, but when you’re doing a full detail it’s perfect to remove all the old wax, polish, grime etc. Once you’ve spent your few days giving the car a top notch polish and wax then with subsequent washes it’s best to use a dedicated neutral ph car shampoo that doesn’t take off the wax.

    I follow pretty much the same regime as Tim S has described above but with different products, eg. wash, clay, wash, polish, seal, wax. A weekly wash, monthly wax and 6 monthly the full monty all over again. I get a lot of pleasure from it and the results are excellent.

    This is the Saab after a full detail with Swissol Scuderia wax on top


    and this is the 635 CSi with Bowdens Own liquid wax on top.

    Tim, the Viggen looks superb, excellent job.

  3. My car is black but it will never, ever look as good as this Saab. If I spent 14 hours doing my car a seagull would poop on my new wax job five minutes later!

  4. Tim, That’s one amazing shine you got there m8.
    I’ll be happy if mine ends up looking 1/2 as good as that..

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