18 Essential Summer Skills for Guys
Degree of Difficulty: Summer God
Prep and wax your car the right way and you'll turn heads on every drive. Follow these tips from Steve Carpenter, a detailing specialist at Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, California.
WASH AND DRY
Park in the shade and hose off any loose dirt. Then remove stubborn grime using warm water, a microfiber wash mitt, and a pH-balanced car shampoo like Mothers California Gold Car Wash ($5, mothers.com). Rinse and dry with a leather chamois—try the Jumbo Wales Chamois ($50, autogeek.net). Now go for a quick drive to blow out any excess water in the car's crevices. Otherwise it'll drip out later and screw up your wax application.
SMOOTH THE SURFACE
Ready to wax? No, you're not. First go over your car with a clay bar kit, such as Smartwax's SmartClay Kit ($35, smartwax-usa.com). Doing one small area at a time, spray on the clay lubricant and glide the bar over those sections. This removes embedded surface dirt and old wax, allowing your new wax to adhere better and last longer. Easy on the elbow grease—if you rub too hard, you can strip sealant and paint.
APPLY THE WAX
Use a carnauba-based high-gloss wax. We like Autoglym High Definition Wax ($40, amazon.com), which protects against UV damage and acid rain. Use a back-and-forth motion as you apply it. (Mr. Miyagi was wrong—a circular motion can create swirls in the finish.) Then remove the wax with a fresh cloth, using the same linear motion. Use a soft brush to remove dried wax from around trim pieces. Now dig that shine.