Monday, April 30, 2012

Interior Cleaning

I got my 1Z order today from, including the Blitz cleaner. I bought it for the interior, but it claims to be all purpose, usable on virtually anything. I put it in a spray bottle and followed the instructions, using a 1:20 ratio of product to water. This stuff is going to last forever.

I vacuumed the interior, just like you would if you were cleaning carpets, and took a before photo of the driver side door. Why this door? It looked the dirtiest.

I even took a photo of the towel for a true before and after test. That's not included and I'll get to that in a minute. The Blitz did a great job in removing the dusty schmutz from the armrest. It smelled like nasty carpet cleaner, so I made a point of getting it all off. Here's the after photo:

What was surprising about this was how little dirt was on the towel. Where I really saw dirt was in cleaning the rest of the car, where the passengers sat. My center armrest, door armrest and seat were relatively clean, probably from me constantly interacting with it. It was the rest of the cloth interior that was dirty, probably more dust than anything else.

Also, the two minor stains that my wife's organic herbs and spices cleaner couldn't remove were completely erased, almost before wiping it off. I think eating organic is fantastic, but if you want something cleaned or a toilet unstopped, go with the nastiest stuff you can find. Then go wash your towels in a capful of the stuff.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gas Mileage

I love to drive, and when I say that, it means I love driving with some ... alacrity. I want to feel how the car transitions its weight in the corners. I want the apex to matter. Most of my driving is my commute, a four-lane divided highway known more for its scenery than anything else, Interstate 4 (I've been told not to call it "The Four," like a SoCal dweeb). It can be frustrating driving this rode as a commute, especially during retailer hours (what I do), as it tends to get clogged up by those looking at the scenery. It's a fantastic road to drive with lots of curves, a steep grade, rolling hills and plenty of livestock to gaze out at.

Last week I was one of those people looking at the scenery, as I was recovering from the flu. My mileage to work was a stunning 32 MPG, compared to my usual 29 MPG. That differential, 3MPG is the damage I do driving in my usual manner (it's actually a little worse on the way home due to traffic). So how bad could it be?

Let's do the math:
46.2 mile round trip commute
$4.50/gallon for premium fuel (because it is Geerrrman)
12,012 miles per year

373.38 gallons driving Miss Daisy = $1,681.21
414.20 gallons driving like I stole it = $1,863.90
Difference: $182.69 or $15/month

Besides the environmental impact of spewing 40 gallons worth of hydrocarbons into the air each year (I imagine lighting fire to a 50 gallon drum in my back yard), there is also the cost of the car itself. If I drove like Miss Daisy a standard Volkswagen Golf would have done the trick, which would have saved me another $120/month. And there's my vice, right there.

On the plus side, I've been moving my consumption down over the years, from thirsty V8's (540i, Dodge Magnum) to smooth 6's (330i, Mazda 6), even a horrible, buzzy 5-cylinder (Acura TL), and now the GTI turbo 4. I get just as much enjoyment out of that little 4 as I did the bigger engines (although that E39 540i was a dream car), while doing what little I can not to destroy the world (you can thank me later).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring Detailing

Spent $100 today on auto detailing products, a small price to pay, I suppose, considering I do all my washing by hand. I figure I save about $20/month (2, $10 washes/month) this way, compared to my last car, so that's already $200 for the 10 months I've had the car. Plus, I get exercise and my car is pretty much scratch free compared to even the best automatic car wash.

So what got me on the detailing tangent? I just got back from vacation with a car covered in Spring bugs. The Zaino polymer is wearing off and the finish is in need of a 6-month clay bar treatment. The bugs have really taken their toll. A lot of the car care products I've been using are about to run out at the same time, plus I need a good cloth interior cleaner, since my passengers are slobs, apparently. They weren't eating in the car, but they apparently exude stain causing fluids.

The driver for this particular order are several products I've fallen in love with from 1Z Einszett. The first is their Kristall Klar Windshield Washer Fluid. It's insanely powerful, yet safe for paint. It's the kind of German fluid that used to come standard in new VW's, but you could never get again when it ran out because of government restrictions. Since the Einszett website was out of this stuff, the entire order ended up going to I should mention that almost all the high end stuff like this isn't available in auto parts stores. Also, in case you think this is a crazy product, this $9 bottle will likely end up lasting me a full year, and I'm one of those guys who cleans the windows constantly.

The second "must have" product has been the Einszett Anti-Insekt Pre-Cleaner. This is a product I spray on the front bumper, hood and side mirrors and then go fill my wash bucket. When I come back out, the Anti-Instekt cleaner has loosened up the bug debris without damaging the paint or polish, making it easy to clean them off without scrubbing (which damages the paint).

The other product I use in this pre-cleaning phase is a wheel cleaner. I've been using off the shelf Meguiars Hot Rims Wheel Cleaner for the wheels and exhaust tips. The stuff is nasty if you get even a whiff of it, but it works well. I figured I would give Einszett some more business with their Einszett Wheel Cleaner Feigen Reiniger.Who doesn't need their figs cleaned (I Google translated it)?

What else? My off the shelf Meguiars Gold Glass car wash soap smells like horrible 80's cologne and made me feel like a self conscious douche bag whenever I washed my car (I might be one, but don't want to feel like one). I went with a bottle of Einszett Perls Shampoo Premium Car Wash, even though I've got a quarter of the Brute-smelling Mequiars left. I don't know much about the Perls, but I'm in the mode of trusting Einszett right now.

Next I picked up Einszett Blitz All-Purpose Cleaner, for cleaning my cloth interior, and if you believe the instructions, it's also a suitable washing detergent for your microfiber towels. Love it! Lets close the loop entirely and sell me a car detailing washer/dryer. In any case, it's hard to find a good cloth stain remover for the car that doesn't smell like something horrible. My wife has some organic crap that smells like herbs and spices that does a fine job, but come on.

Finally, got a Grit Guard for my wash bucket. The concept being that it sits in the bottom of your bucket, the grit falls to the bottom, and your water remains mostly clean. This helps prevent scratches being introduced into your paint from your wash mitt. Most scratches come from detailing, so for $10, not a bad deal (can't fathom spending $20 for a bucket combo though).

All this stuff, plus a case for my clay bar ($4) that's currently stuck to the bottom of my detailing caddy, a clay bar applicator ($10) because I always drop it on the ground and swear in front of my young son, and shipping (minus a quickly Googled $8 coupon). The total was $90. A large bucket and squeegee from OSH for removing Spring bugs between washes brought the total to $100.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Pioneer Problems

While on one of the Orange County toll roads, I stalled out the car while fishing for change. When i started it again, the satellite radio receiver reported No Device Found.

I took the car into Best Buy once again and the tech, who is very good, I think, diagnosed it immediately as needing a "hard reset." This means he pulls the system out, disconnects power and plugs it all back in again. That solved the problem. This is the second time this had to be done and it occurred to me that I could accomplish the same task by disconnecting the battery. Cost to me: $54.

I'm hoping the issues with the Pioneer will calm down over time, but I doubt it. I may just need to be happy disconnecting my battery every six months or so.

Slicing my throat on the cutting edge of technology.....

Mileage: 16,540