Sunday, September 4, 2011


This is my last time doing a standard wash of the car before I strip off the wax and start using Zaino polish. No, I haven't gone total car fetish nut, I'm actually trying to reduce the detailing work, as much as I enjoy the exercise. While wax needs to be re-applied constantly (I'm on round two now in month three), the polymer polishes only need to be applied every 3-6 months.

Carnauba wax has a warm look that many appreciate over the reflective look of polymer polishes. Here's my car today after a wash. I like how it looks, but the wax just wears off too quickly, despite being a "carnauba plus" with some polymer in it.

Polymer provides superior protection, but gives a blinding mirror finish. I would gladly take the carnauba look if wax lasted for 3-6 months. But it doesn't, and therein lies the ass pain.

Here's an example of a MKV GTI with Zaino polish:

A GTI with Zaino

On the positive side, Zaino has advanced a bit since I last used the stuff (my left overs have gone bad after 7 years). Rather than doing multiple coats of bonder and then polish, you instead mix their ZFX bonder with the polish and apply a single coat.  You do however, need an awful lot of prep work. First, I'll be stripping off all the wax with Dawn, followed by a clay bar, another wash, and then the work begins with the polish. In between there will likely be some additional work to remove blemishes and water marks that I've been putting off fixing.
I do this to save time. If I keep telling myself this, it must eventually come true, right?

  • VAG-COM. No problems or changes in several days, so I may be reaching that point of contentment where I can eBay it. I do want to keep it now.
  • Pioneer. I have the album artwork problem, in which adding new songs doesn't allow the Pioneer unit to see the new artwork. Pioneer really is a shoddy company, if you ask me. On the positive side, I've managed to master their confusing interface.
  • Broken VW Head Unit. VW wouldn't honor the warranty and I got tired of fighting them. I'll take it out on my local dealer by never letting them service the car. They could have been helpful, but they decided it wasn't worth it for them. I'll find an independent shop to do some of the work I have planned. I'll likely buy some electronics safe spray to see if I can fix the sticky button and eBay it.
  • PAC Problem. The East LA installer blew me off when I tried to get them to address the PAC problem. PAC never got back to me when I emailed them. The PAC unit hasn't locked up again, which is good. I need to call PAC and get a replacement.
  Average Fuel Economy: 26.9
Miles: 3976


    1. Or, you could wash your car once a year, and never wax, like me ;-)

    2. That's not a bad look for a 4x4.

      I ran my Mazda through car washes for the six years I owned it and never cared one way or another about the paint (other than it be relatively clean). When I had trouble seeing through the windows, it was time to wash it.

      At the same time, I do appreciate a good looking car that's been properly detailed. It's a nice substitute for spending money on it (time vs. money) and pretty good exercise. The money part is only partially true though, as I justify my detailing product purchases by claiming it's deferred car wash money. A "real" car wash around here is about $20.

      I'm seeing a parallel between detailing and miniature painting. Both have similar start up costs, both are likely to hit me in spurts, and both are mostly about personal satisfaction with just a hint of showing off.

      1. "I'm seeing a parallel between detailing and miniature painting."

        So. God. damn. true.

      2. And both are almost entirely about good materials and prep. Especially the prep. Prep, prep, prep. If the surface is truly clean and scratch free and ready for polish, even crap wax or polish will make it look great.

    3. Heh, I can totally understand the link between detailing the car and painting miniatures.

      In addition to my annual "hose and soap," we actually did get the car detailed a few months ago so that my wife could use it in her driving test. The interior was excessively "doggy" before then.