Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Preparing for a Roadtrip

We've all gone on roadtrips and plan out other ones, whether that a day trip or a vacation spent cruising around your country of choice.  But there in lies the question, how do I take care of my car?  First is accepting that regardless of what you do your car will get dirty, it will get wet, bugs will manage to at full force aim for those hard to reach spots in your grill with that certain splat sound.  Or the fact that no matter how many cars are in a parking lot yours will be chosen to have a bird bomb land right on it.

But how do we effectively remove bugs and bird bombs that can cause serious etching or eat away at your paint if left untreated without having access to a garage and full detailing arsenal.  Easy, we take our effective and travel friendly products with us and since we all have too many microfiber towels we can easily spare a few of different kinds.

Personally here is what I like to bring on a regular day trip.  Now I will I preface this with saying the most important thing to protect your car during a roadtrip isn't what done during it but before it.  Having a properly protected car with a solid cleaning regimen and layer of wax/sealant/etc... will be the best way to protect your car during a road trip.  Now I'm not saying you need to fully 2-step polish it before a trip, but if it's been 4 months since you last waxed it it may be time for a booster.

Now on to my personal favorites


Starting off with the interior, 1z Einszett Cockpit Premium, it's effective, has a neutral slightly citrus smell.  And works on almost any interior.  Remember we're on a roadtrip so space is limited and we don't need 10 options for a single job, even though looking in the background you can see multiple waxes, cleaners, car soaps, etc...    Microfiber of choice: ProForce 300gsm (or so) towel, it's cost effective, it works, and they're great for interior work and dirty jobs.

Next is a glass cleaner, arguably the most important thing when driving, a clean windshield, windows, and rear window are essential to being safe, especially when you get in stuck in that torrential downpour or dust storm.  For this I use Meguiar's D120 Glass Cleaner, it's great, safe for tinted windows and has an awesome grape smell.  Now personally I like CarPro Fast Glass towels better overall, but since it requires water to clean and the towel gets soaked after every use it's just not effective on a roadtrip because that towel has to go somewhere and I'd rather not have a soaking wet towel in the car.  Microfiber of choice: Microfiber Madness Cloudbuster, hands down one of the best glass towels I've found.  It cuts through heavy dirt and dust with no problem and a simple flip to a clean side ensures no streaks, residue, or light distortion occurs which can happen when leftover residue is left on a windshield and is downright dangerous.

Lastly, detail spray.  For all of those bug splats and bird droppings.  Here is a toss-up between Optimum No Rinse and Ultima Waterless Wash, either one wins.  Microfiber of choice: 360gsm standard dual nap towel.  They have both sides for heavy detail spray and a buff to remove any leftover product.  Remember we're just trying to remove the effected area, not a full car wash while stopped for gas.

To set this up I'll bring a couple plastic bags and two of each towel, one bag for clean towels, and one for dirty.  That way there is no cross-contamination between towels and they're cheap and found everywhere, we all have that drawer.  For the bottles ensure they are fully closed so there is no leakage and store them in your trunk or in the backseat to your preference.

There ya go a simple how-to setup for any road trips you may encounter.  Safe travels and thanks for reading!

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