New Car Prep

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Last Changed
04/23/2011 04:45 PM


Before Getting Your Car

  1. Demand do not ask that the dealer does not put any dealership stickers on your car.  Many dealers put a vinyl dealer ad on the rear of cars that applies directly to the paint.  If they want to pay you to advertise their business fine, but don't let them plaster their names on something you are paying for.
  2. In states where you do not need a front tag, tell the dealer to not put on the front license bracket with their dealership plate.  Few if any cars look good with a front license bracket and most upscale cars actually require drilling the front to put the plate on. 
  3. Tell the dealer not to wash, wax or scotchguard your car.  Most dealerships do a poor job and use crap products to do it.  Often they even charge a couple hundred or more bucks for the "prep" service.  Read the "After Getting Your Car" section below for tips on keeping your car beautiful.
  4. When taking delivery of your car bring a friend or family member to help you check the car for paint, glass and interior defects.  Once you drive off the lot it is unlikely the dealership will fix these items.  Any serious defects in the paint demand that they repaint the section rather than use touch up paint to cover it.  

After Getting Your Car

  1. On the way home from the dealer, stop by an automotive shop or hardware store and pick up a can of 3M Scotchguard for carpet.  Should cost about 7 bucks and one can will likely coat the entire car if you have leather seats.  Grab two cans if you have cloth seats or a large vehicle.  Once home, take out the floor mats and make sure everything is clean.  Then spray all the interior cloth and carpet areas including the floor mats and trunk.  Let it sit overnight and you can now feel confident that a spill in your car won't ruin any fabrics.
  2. You should order this stuff before you buy the car so it arrives before or near pickup of the car.  This does assume you have access to a water source.  Here is the list that I use:
    bulletZaino Brothers Z-2 Polish for Clear Coats
    bulletZaino Brothers ZFX Flash Cure accelerator
    bulletZaino Brothers Z-7 Show Car Wash
    bulletZaino Brothers Z-12 Glass Polish
    bulletZaino Brothers Z-14 Plastic Cleaner
    bulletZaino Brothers Z-16 Tire Gloss
    bulletZaino Brothers Z-18 Clay Bar
    bulletPoorboy's World Microfiber Starter Kit (get two or more)
    bulletPoorboy's World PVA Sponge (get two or more)
    bulletToro Blower - Rake and Vac
    bulletCouple of 1 gallon buckets
    bulletDawn Dishwashing Soap  

    If you have leather interior, pick up the following:

    bulletZaino Brothers Z-9 Leather Cleaner
    bulletZaino Brothers Z-10 Leather in a Bottle
  3. Now that you have your car and the products above you will need a full day to finish your new car prep.  You will want to find a spot out of the sun and reasonably cool.  My suggestion is to start in the morning or late afternoon when their is plenty of shade and it is cooler.

    First, you need to mix a couple squirts of Dawn into a gallon bucket and fill the bucket full of water.  Wet the entire vehicle, but do not use a high force sprayer.  With the microfiber mit gently wash the car noting any spots that appear rough or discolored.  Your movements should be straight lines and not circles.  Once the paint is done wash the wheels.  You should be thorough and cover all the areas, but don't over do it.  Afterwards, spray off the entire car rinse out the bucket and mit.  Put the mit away for later machine washing.  

    Second, use the Z-7 and mix according to directions.  You should wash the car exactly as you did above.  Make sure you use a different microfiber mit and do not clean out the bucket when you are done (we will be using it in the next step).

    Third, take the blower and knock off all the water on the vehicle.  It won't take long and is a huge time saver.  Finish up by using one of the microfiber absorbent towels.

    Fourth, now you should go around the car and clay bar any rough or discolored areas you noted when cleaning.  Take a Poorboy PVA Sponge and soak it in the Z-7 wash that you saved from the second step.  Wet the area thoroughly and then use the clay bar following the directions provided from Zaino Brothers.  

    Fifth, now you are ready to wax.  Follow the ZFX instructions for mixing with Z-2 Polish.  Mix a full 2oz bottle.  Apply following the directions and cover all areas of the car.  When done you should have a bit of the polish left.  Keep in mind how much you used since you will be applying a second coat of wax shortly.  Wait about thirty minutes and wipe off the wax.  Do one more coat of polish, wait 30 minutes and remove.

    Sixth, use the Z-16 Tire Gloss with a PVA Sponge and go over all rubber exteriors (tires, trim, etc).  Before doing each tire, I use a polishing wrag and remove all the brake dust and particles that the washing may have missed.

    Last step... whew.  Not really the last step, but the easy stuff all rolled into one.  Vacuum out the interior (I use a handheld dirt devil, but a shop vac works great as well).  Apply the glass polish on the interior/exterior glass, instrument glass and cover all the mirrors.  Next clean and soften the leather seats if you have them following the Zaino Z-9 and Z-10 instructions.  Wipe up the dash and plastic bits in the car the Z-14 plastic cleaner.  The Z-12 Glass Polish should now be dry and ready to remove.  Grab a polishing microfiber cloth and finish up. 

    Your done and if you managed your time wisely you should have finished the same day you started.  You won't have to go through this again for another six months or so.  Periodically you will want to clean the interior and wash the dirt from the exterior, but the exterior is now well protected.

  4. Now that everything is clean it is time to take the car into the shop for some window tint.  Window tint can really add life into a cars interior especially in the sunnier states.  Most things don't do well when exposed to the suns not-so-loving touch day after day especially leather.  Each state has different window tint laws and you should check them before having anything done.
  5. After a few weeks (or months) the new car smell is probably gone.  Stop by an automotive store and pick up some California Scents in the can.  It sits under the seat and easily lasts 1-2 months and smells great.  There are a variety of scents available.

Copyright 2003 Cameron Scott Cole. All rights reserved