It’s Snowing All Year Round

I have been asked a few times about snow foam when I have been to car shows. I do use it now, depending on the product and how you use it can make a nice difference or leave you bitterly disappointed. When i started out with snow foam I just didn’t get it, what was I doing wrong? Combinations of equipment and product trials I eventually managed to get results worth talking about. I decided to create a little article of my own which I hope will help and guide you through the pitfalls and hype between products, or why we even consider using it. I mean it wasn’t around fifteen years or so ago so do we need it and why?

Snow foam looks amazing from a distance and often gets a few looks when you use it. Before this step was introduced, you used to get as much car shampoo bubbles on the paint to wash it right? This cleaning process has now been separated out into two steps. The snow foam and the shampoo. We will only be dealing with the shampoo step here.

Put very simply snow foam step is there to reduce the likelihood of damage to the paint during the cleaning process, a “Pre Wash” non touch step. This snow foam process is not necessarily restricted to car detailers or professionals, but also the weekend washer.

When you wash a dirty car with a sponge or a single bucket wash, the chances are that you could introduce paint damage by microscopic particles damaging the surface of your paint as they cling to your sponge or microfibre wash mitt. The deeper the damage, the worse the paint will look. I have explained these principles in depth on another article here and how to fix them. The basics are highlighted in the picture below to show the varying degrees of damage.

Common Terminology:

  • Pre-wash: A treatment that helps to make contact washing your car easier and more effective. 
  • Non Touch: Cleaning without any physical contact with the paint.
  • Contact Wash: Any part of the washing process that touches your paint.
  • Contact time: How long your cleaning solution is in contact with the dirt on your car.
  • Dwell Time: How long the product needs to be left in order to work its magic.
  • Foam Consistency: Thick snow foam clings to cars, so it has a high contact time. Watery snow foam will dribble off your car, less contact time and won’t be as effective. 
  • Cling: The ability of the product to stick to the panels without falling off.
  • Dilution: Reduction of concentrate to make the correct mixture operate effectively without waste.
  • Canister: The container where the mixture is held.
  • Snow Foam lance: A special nozzle for your pressure washer that turns the snow foam liquid into a thick foam. Also referred to as Snow Cannon, Snow Gun etc.
  • Nozzle: The end of the lance/cannon/gun which controls the amount of product and how it applies the foam to the car.
  • pH neutral: A substance which is neither acidic nor alkaline but chemically neutral.
  • Water Spots: The marks left behind from the hard water drying out on the paint work.

We know that (contact) washing a dirty car will make it look better, but done wrong that short term cleanliness will be taken over by swirls, marring scratches etc. So before you even think about putting a wash mitt or similar cleaning item, the less debris that there is on the car, the better.

This is where ‘Snow Foam’ comes in. The snow foam is designed to cling to the paintwork, which will in turn moisten and loosen up any of the surface dirt. When you rinse and wash off the snow foam it should take the dirt and grime with it. This in theory will leave you with a much cleaner surface to clean with significantly reduced chances of damage to your car’s paint job.

The ideal scenario is a foam that will dwell on the paint for a while, then roll off the paint prior to rinsing taking the dirt with it.

How does a Snow Cannon work?

In a nut shell; the water pressure from the jet washer creates a syphon that lifts the snow foam mixture from the canister via a pipe into the pressurised water stream. The wire mesh inside the the cannon body agitates the mixture up into foam. More water the less dense the foam and will lasts longer. The nozzle is the key as to how the foam is sprayed onto the car, anything from a jet spray to a wide angle fan. These cannons can vary from £15 to £100 depending on style, fitting(s) and quality of build.

Misconceptions:

+ The thicker the foam the better.

To a degree this true, but what is the point of a great foam if it sticks to the car, but doesn’t clean it? If the snow foam is more like a bubbly water and bounces straight of the paint then again it has done no good. There is a happy medium based on the car’s requirements and is explained a little further down.

+ PH Neutral is a must.

If you start researching snow foams, at some point the chemical composition will show up. So all you really need to know is the difference between pH neutral and non-pH neutral (or alkaline) snow foams.

The pH obsession has arisen due to information propagated by self-professed experts on the internet. In actual fact, most damage to car finishes is caused by tiny particles stuck onto a road film or dirt that cause abrasive damage when being removed by washing with mitt or sponge. Thus inducing the swirls, hologram, scratching and paint wear depending on the severity of damage to the paint.

Even some manufacturers of ‘ceramics’, last stage products and waxes insist on a pH7 (neutral) shampoo or cleaners.

This intrigued me, so after a quick bit of Google research it showed me that the normal range for rain water is pH 5-6. (Look it up if you don’t believe me! ‘pH balance of rain water’.) This is one of the main reasons that your car wax/sealants tend to loose their effectiveness over time and need reapplication.

+ pH Differences

A pH neutral snow foam is generally gentler on your car’s paintwork, so it’s worth getting if your car is valuable or needs to look its best for a special occasion. This comes at a cost as heavy debris is still there.

A normal or regular alkaline snow foam isn’t quite as good for your paintwork, but it is more effective at removing dirt. However, you can easily mitigate some of the effects on your paintwork by giving your car a proper wash and wax, though, which will put a new layer of protective wax onto your car. If you have the protection on the car, the alkaline snow foam won’t remove the wax protection or touch the paint anyway. It’s certainly not a caustic mixture for your car.

The damage from a heavy alkaline product is; caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). This can dull and leave paint finishes matt and lifeless when used on a long-term basis.

Perhaps you may need two types of snow foam, regular maintenance wash for light soil using pH neutral product, and a stronger alkaline for the heavier soiling when needed.

+ You need a jet wash or pressure washer

Nope. The jet wash is not the be all and end all of the snow application to the car. Some snow foams are quite happy to be applied by a hand held pressure pumped bottle. As long as the foam product is the correct dilution, is applied to the paint and allowed to dwell before its removal – then its job is done.

+ All Snow Foam lances are the same

Nope. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some brass body, some made of cheaper metals or plastic. You get what you pay for.

Honestly, I had a Karcher cannon that could barely muster a lather no matter the product. The Autbrite snow cannon with the same mixture was an incredible difference. My only advise here is to make your choice wisely.

+ You must use Snow Foam

Well sort of. You could use some good quality shampoos at a push. But their pre-wash cleaning ability is not as good as the snow foams. Most car shampoos tend to have additives to allow slick washing and glide the cleaning applicator (mitt of sponge) over the paint and a level of protection. It’s best to get a product designed as a snow foam.

Types of Snow Foam:

Apart from the pH values as we have discussed above most snow foams are pH neutral. The main differences are the cost per litre when mixing for the dilution ratio. The cling properties which varies a great deal, their proclaimed cleaning properties, colour and the scent. Some of these scents are sublime; water melon, lemon, citrus fruits, strawberries, cherry, beer etc. Or nothing if just want a no gimmick product that does the job. I have used a few in my time:

Some have been worse than useless, some have been better than others and one is my now go to product.

Application:

Mix your snow foam as per the manufacturers recommendations. This is usually a ratio of around 1:10 or 1:20 etc. some are even 1:100.

Next attach the snow lance to the jet wash, adjust the mixtures and apply (if needed). This will take a little tweaking for the ideal balance between dilution ratio, the water pressure, size of the nozzle and the product you are using.

Different products on the same foam cannon will be very different and need further adjusting to suit.

Most of the products advise not to allow the product to dry out. The product can be affected by the Sun, warm paint, wind rain etc. Most manufacturers go on to say apply ‘in the shade’ and ‘apply to cool paint’ etc in order to mitigate the drying out process of the product.

Always start from the bottom and work up. The huge majority of debris and soiling is on the bottom half of the car. As you get to the top less show foam is needed.

Types of application.

A snow foam application will solidify into nothing eventually and slide off the car. If the snow is to thick it will fall of the car (no clinging properties) in clumps before it has had a chance to work. So, thicker is not always better. But it does look good below.

After a few minutes of dwell time it will look less impressive.

Some of the poorer week applications look half dead before they are applied and very watery. These products tend to run off and dry out very quickly.

If the product starts to dry out, there is no harm in reapplying more.

Some of the better quality products have ‘wetting’ agents in them to aid in keeping the product wet on the paint to avoid it drying out. This product application is a little thin now, but was taken after a few minutes. Although below looks less, it has in fact been doing it’s job well and was staying like this without additional applications.

Once the dwell time has elapsed, rinse of with a medium force jet wash. You can then wash the car as normal to avoid any water spots.

Results:

The results vary considerably by product. I have some before and after pics to show what it was before the application and what was there after rinsing.

Here is a very well known market leader product that has a very good cling and thick foam. But, it left a film of dirt and didn’t wash off the dirt.

Another very well known brand but is a cheaper product. Thin application, not very good cling and failed to wash of dirt. the dirt was still on their without being moistened.

A Premium brand, clings well, but failed to wash the dirt off completely. The dirt was moistened and was easier wipe off with a finger. So it did help.

This is well know brand to those in the detailing world. The foaming qualities not great and are to be desired. But when this runs of the paint it takes the dirt with it.

This is the result you want. The dirt and film is gone ready for a proper contact wash. It even cleaned some brake dust off!

Summary:

Don’t believe all the hype. The snow foam step is not a magical ‘foam the the car and it’s clean’ process. This foam step is to pre wash the car and should be treated as such. You need to manage your own snow foam expectations depending on the product. I have done a number of snow foam reviews on this website now.

I have been sceptical of the snow foam step even critical to a point. I saw it as the latest fad with no benefit to be honest. I have learned the hard way by working up the ladder. I tried the weaker brands which put a bit of foam on the car and emptied my wallet for no reason. I tried the big name brands which gave a great clinging foam but not much else. I tried premium brands which gave a good enough foam and decent moistening to the dirt. I tried the in the know ‘detailers’ brands. These later ‘detailer’ brands were by far the best performing of all the brands I have used so far.

Some brands are so much better than others to the point I haven’t even reviewed some of them, I used them up as a patio cleaner. After application of some brands, the dirt was not loosened and was still difficult to remove with a finger even after rinsing, like you shouldn’t do by the way. If the dirt is difficult to remove after the snow foam step then you are potentially going to washing a little harder to get the debris off the paint, in turn potentially introducing damage that you are trying to avoid in the first place.

If you are careful and use top quality shampoos with a two bucket method, then you can do away with this step as we have done for decades way before all this snow foam malarkey.

This snow foam step is trial and error which works for you. I have tried at least six products before I found something came close to something i could review or even partially liked. You may need to do the same, or look out for fellow detailer’s product reviews.

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A Big Milestone….

Eight and a half years ago, way back on October 28th 2012 I wrote my first post on my little ol’ blog. I had nothing planned other than to share with a few friends what I was getting up to and how I was getting along with my Mustang restoration. Ultimately I could look back in a few years time and take a trip down memory lane with the photos I had taken a certain points of the restoration.

Delivery of my project car 17th September 2011, before it went to Mustang Maniac where I had professional help & guidance on my restoration over the years. Those guys have become some of my best mates of mine as a result.

When I attend car shows or via my blog and emails etc. I often get asked how I clean and detail my cars;

Some of the Car Shows and photo opportunities;

I get asked how I fitted things, how I upgraded this or that, I even get asked for advice on their own restoration projects.

That got me to thinking about adding extra sections like the tools (a selection of them here), that I used on project and since use, considering that I’m just a weekend warrior with a spanner.

Products that I used to keep our daily cars clean and the Mustang fully detailed.

My merchandise I bought over the years or have been given since I started my journey with the Mustang.

I even get requests to review items, all of which I buy if I think I could use them myself. As a result of all these things, my blog has evolved into an entity of it’s own.

Fast forward a number of years to 2021 where I my little ol’ blog has reached a massive milestone. This is not intended as some bragging rights by the way, but more like myself being proud of the result. Somebody within the USA this morning 15th May 2021 made my day:

My blog has just passed 1,000,000 hits!

I am absolutely amazed to think this could ever happen, I remember getting excited about getting ten hits in one day!

I value every single one of you that has followed me or just pops in for a quick read, like or even the odd comment. I would like to say a massive “Thank You” from the very bottom of my heart.

I don’t actually get anything from my blog/website on WordPress, other than some add money that goes straight to the hosting and my domain fees. It’s sort of self sufficient in a way. If anything I’m out of pocket, but reading the comments and seeing the views more than make up for it. Hopefully I can help somebody, somewhere with something.

My first follower was Debbie Nuessle (click here for her latest venture), from across the pond. We both started blogs within a few days of each other, both revolving around our love of American Muscle cars, especially Ford Mustangs of course. We keep in touch outside of the Blog circle and have become good friends.

I have a number of followers who ‘like’ the posts I put up after even after all these years, thank you all, it means a lot to me. I have such a range of followers; a very talented and well-known Soprano opera singer; Charlotte Hoather (click here for her blog), mechanics, engineers, oil rig mover, artists, photographers, builders, wildlife photographers, fellow classic car owners, writers, product manufacturers, shops, brands, a few younger bloggers, students, world travellers, petrol heads, gear heads, car clubs, writers, novelists, journalists, teachers, photojournalists, professional bloggers, social influencers, religious followers, the list just goes on. (There is even ‘ahem’ some adult orientated content following me!) The full list makes for some amazing reading.

Just in case anybody is interested in some of the more selective stats;

I have a total of 2,700 followers, of which 871 are on WordPress, 2,300 on social media, just over 2000 on Facebook, which is not my favourite of all the platforms I must admit.

I have been visited by 199 countries and the top ten countries in order are; USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, China, France, Netherlands, Finland and New Zealand.

There are stunning islands that have visited me, Mauritius, Seychelles & Maldives. Some of those Islands are so small they wouldn’t be able to fit a Mustang on them! My bucket list is to spend a few days on these islands to chill and take in some sun.

The more obscure countries with a single visit are: Burkina Faso, Falkland Islands, Kosovo, Tonga, Northern Mariana Islands.

To date I have posted 340 blogs including this one over the eight and half years I have been posting on this blog.

These figures are quite low compared to some of you mega stars out, there with you super popular blogs I know that. But for me, like I said earlier, I’m honestly humbled and grateful to every single one of you who wants to look at a blog all about one man and his Mustang!

A huge “Thank You” to you all.

Here’s to the next one million!

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School Boy Error

As virtually all the car shows have cancelled or postponed this year due to the Covid-19 running riot there is a slight chance that two are still going ahead. Pre-booking has been essential and due to obvious reasons they have been over subscribed with people wanting to show their cars, or just get out for the day to look at cars. With this in mind I decided to give my little lady a check over as I always, tyres, levels, leaks etc. When I opened the hood there was a strange and a rather ‘funky’ smell. After each car show season has finished I take out my water washer bag, or colostomy bag as they are often referred to and empty it out and put it back to stop the water going bad. The reason being this is a breeding ground for bacteria, the engine bay gets hot, then cold, then hot again. The end of last year I forgot to empty it out and clean it. So, when I opened the lid on the bag it wasn’t good news.

I disconnected the bottom pipe from the bag, quickly put my finger over the drain hole and took out the bag to the drain where it was emptied out. There was some black algae in there, which needed lots of rinsing, some citrus cleaner and more rinsing in order to clean it out properly. It took a while, but in the end it ran clean and smelt a whole lot better.

The back of the bag also showed some signs of being dirty. I started to clean it and thought I would share it with you, so this is sort of a third of the way through it. I started then general wipe down with some Meguiar’s multi purpose cleaner. Spray on let it dwell, then with a brush work it into the bag. Rinse and repeat a few times.

After a few applications it came back to white again after being dried out.

The bag is now empty and waiting for a refill before the next show. I do add screen wash to the bag which stabilises the water a bit. If I have to use the screen jets I don’t want any of the mixture running onto the paint and leaving a stain which I would have to buff back out again. After all the screenwash has a mixture of chemicals in the product to cut through the dirt and grime. Also in order to help avoid water spots or marking I only use de-ionised water, it’s cheap enough and the de-ionised water is also much better for your car’s cooling as well. I always keep a litre of de-ionised water in the trunk, just in case.

While I was waiting for the cleaners to dwell on the washer bag, I decided that my valve caps were also dirty. I didn’t realise just how bad they were. Only one of the caps here has been cleaned and waxed. Yes, I do indeed wax my valve caps too.

With the hood up I thought that the underside looked a little dull, so I waxed that as well, just because I can. I also think it’s quite a cool picture too.

What turned out to be an hour or so quick check up turned into a few hours of cleaning. Not that I mind really, just a bit disappointed with myself that I forgot to do it. It must be my age 🙁

Will I get to a car show this year? Will mother nature be cruel and rain on the day that one of the only car shows is due to take place next Sunday? Watch this space and find out!

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Big Name Wax vs Luxury Hand Blended Wax

During this lockdown I have been asked a number of questions about car detailing, which surprised me a little as everything I know is self taught, trial and error, research with an empty wallet as a result. I love detailing the Mustang so the questions are a pleasure if i know the answer. These questions are probably being asked because like me they can’t get to car shows, so they clean their cherished vehicles instead. I had been working on a little something a while ago and decided to finish it off for todays little article.

So what is the question that is often asked, but never really answered; is there a difference between big name brands and the much more expensive luxury hand poured waxes?

Just quickly before I answer the questions; a little while ago I had done a comparison test of ten products from the top manufacturers to find out what is the best. The results were not quite what I expected to be honest. You can read my comparison test here.

Top Branded Waxes Side by Side Showdown

Or watch the full video review here.

This article will not be a repeat of that testing, but more of an explanation why some waxes cost more than others due to their ingredients, performance, processes and of course that all important name on the tin, bottle, spray pot or what ever you bought. There’s even an amount of snobbery if should be so bold to say that.

I must state that trying to find out exactly what’s inside the products from anybody is a closely guarded secret, for obvious reasons. Although I will not be mentioning brand names, as in who has what in which product, the following information is from various sources that I have managed to find out about and collate myself with phone calls and research. I may not be 100% accurate, but it all makes perfect sense in a bigger picture.

Firstly a little about the main product used for car waxes; Carnauba.

Most car products contain some sort of carnauba percentage within their products, unless it’s fully synthetic of course.

Carnauba is also known as Brazilian wax and palm wax. Carnauba is a wax from the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and only grown in the north eastern Brazilian states of Piauí, Ceará, Maranhão, Bahia, and Rio Grande do Norte.

Carnauba is also known as the “queen of waxes” when in its pure state it usually comes in the form of hard yellow-brown flakes.

See the source image

The wax is obtained from the leaves of the carnauba palm by collecting and drying them, beating them to loosen the wax, then refining and bleaching the wax. It’s also used as a food additive, its ‘E’ number is E903.

Fact 1: Did you know that raw Carnauba can be harder than concreate.

Fact 2: Carnauba is used in many other products such as; candy (yes you can eat it, but the body can’t digest it), medication coatings to aid swallowing, dental floss, hair crème, leather to aid in waterproofness and is also used in explosives like TNT. For the ladies carnauba is used in many cosmetics formulas where it is used in eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow, foundation, deodorant, soap, to thicken lipstick, various skin care preparations, sun care preparations, etc. It is also used to make cutler’s resin and adhesive.

Fact 3: Carnauba wax is sold in several grades, labelled as; T1, T3, and T4, depending on the purity level. Purification is accomplished by filtration, centrifugation, and bleaching or not as the case may be.

Fact 4: It is practically insoluble in water, soluble by heating in ethyl acetate and in xylene, and practically insoluble in ethyl alcohol. (More on this as a percentage in the base carrier notes later.)

Fact 5: Carnauba’s Melting point is 82–86 °C (180–187 °F), among the highest of the natural waxes, considerably higher than beeswax which is 62–64 °C.

Fact 6: There is no synthetic equivalent for carnauba.

So to have a product based on say half carnauba, it would be incredibly hard to apply. Carnauba needs to be reapplied due to the natural product. The synthetic wax products have a longevity advantage and will adhere to the surface better, due to the chemicals designed just for that job. In fact it would be virtually impossible to have 100% carnauba product.

Big Brand Shop Wax.

Most of these products are price based and to keep the cost down there is one main ‘base’ ingredient. This carrier (base) is petroleum based usually Kerosene or paraffin or a combination of both. (I will just call it kerosene from now on). Other chemicals are added to the ‘base carrier’ in order to make it pliable, UV protecting agents, spreadable and even maintain a shelf life. Ever noticed that old wax tend to dry out and crack? The quickest way to tell the product is kerosene based is the smell. Some have that quite distinctive petroleum based smell, but most of the time that potent smell of paraffin, kerosene or aviation fuel or heating oils, an additive is used to disguise that base smell and make the fragrance much more appealing to the user, such as vanilla, apples, mint, roses, coffee or chocolate etc. What ever works best for various manufacturers. Often the fragrances are used to sell the product, but in actual fact the artificial fragrance is a disguise. How’s that for marketing?

Percentages of the product;

Most of the time base carrier tends to be around 70% (maybe more maybe less), and the rest made up with the actual performing ingredients for the product. For the majority of time the remaining 30% can be made up of Carnauba, beeswax, silicon, acrylic additives, cleaners etc. Now this is where things go a little bit fuzzy and grey areas appear should we say. The remaining 30% could be made up of 50% carnauba. Now that carnauba 50% is of the remaining 30% which will leave a remaining 15% for other additives which I will get to in a moment. The label stating that it has 50% or 54% Carnauba and so on for the carnauba content is not necessarily 50% of the total product by volume! In other words a 200g tin of product is not necessarily 100g of carnauba. But, this is open to interpretation should we say. What is the “50%” actually of within the product? Is that 50% of the total of waxes used with the other 50% being beeswax for example?

The remaining percentages can be beeswax, or silicon or microscopic aluminium particles for cleaner pastes, colourings, fragrances etc. Messing around with the mixture’s formula will obviously give different properties and products. The remaining percentage apart from the ‘base’ could then be made into a synthetic formula if no carnauba is used, replaced with the silicon content which could be increased, dyes for the wax, maybe fillers to hide minor swirl marks.

To make the liquid version of the product (see ‘Fact 4’ above), the base needs to be blended with other chemicals to make it pourable as you would expect. The original 70% may now be 40% / 30% mix of kerosene / ethyl acetate for example, or what ever the formula mixture requires. However, the carnauba content will still be the same as in the paste equivalent to keep the product performance the same. In fact Meguiar’s told me there is “no difference between their wax paste and liquid variation of the same product”. By pure definition there may not be a difference with the product ingredients formula as such, but the base carrier has to be different as one is a paste and the other is a liquid or crème as they prefer to call it.

Application;

The application from a tin is fine application to spread thinly. The main reason being the chance for the base to evaporate and leave the product behind on the paint to do its job. This evaporation is also known as the “flash point”. The flash point could be speeded up or slowed down depending on the requirements of the product. The haze or white misting of the product is what is left after the evaporation or flash point. In order to check the product has ‘cured’, or ready for buffing is the wipe of a finger across the product technique. If nothing is left behind then the product can be buffed to a shine removing the haze which in turn leaves the carnauba behind, which will leave behind the gloss shine you want.

Have you noticed that if you apply heavy layers of wax onto the paint it becomes a nightmare to remove it? This is due to the fact the base is unable to evaporate properly and you end up pushing around the base kerosene with the buffing cloth which will cause drag on the cloth. The principle is simple; the smoother and even layer the product can be applied, the better light will reflect from the paint surface, giving a better finish, impression of depth and overall clean look.

Synthetic blends.

These are predominantly more silicon based still using the carrier base which also gives a great shine and various additives to make the product bond to the paint. There is also a growing trend to use ceramic hybrids which provide exceptional hydrophobic properties and some nice gloss. The principles are the same for the base carrier, but obviously the formulas are heavily altered to make sure the ceramic, silicones and base carriers all stick together. Notice how you have to shake the product as they separate out when left standing?

Price;

The cost of the base carrier is much more affordable than the high end products (which I will get into later). The variations of the remaining product such as scent, carnauba content, colourings, fillers, cleaning agents, gloss enhancers, silicon etc. will all determine the cost of the raw materials. I am not including the marketing or the R & D in this, just the basic ingredient costs.

The better the quality of carnauba T1 or T3 etc. has the overall bearing on the costs.

Premium Waxes

These products can vary in costs wildly, from a reasonable £50 to £1,000 and more. The main difference here is that these products are naturally occurring oils base. The carrier base oil maybe something like melon oil or a coconut oil, maybe a mixture of both. Here is a view of natural Kalahari melon oil in the top picture and raw coconut oil in the picture below.

See the source image
Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad for You? - The New York Times

The remaining ingredients are then mixed into the base oil product for its desired results, gloss, filler, longevity etc. The most basic of base blend carrier of a premium ‘wax’ can be made from three base oils. The more complex blends having a formula of around twenty to thirty five ingredients.

To find out what’s in these products is very difficult due to the secrecy involved. However, I have it on good authority that these premium hand blended car waxes also have a lot in common with the beauty industry as well.

Carnauba has a naturally sweet smell, and it can be said that candy and carnauba smell similar.

Application:

You will notice immediately when you open these products that they feel very different. The wax feels greasy as you would expect from an oil and they smell very different. Very little fragrance is used unless a particular oil doesn’t smell to good, but could be great for reflection or a filler for example. Some oils when blended can thicken the formula and add shelf life or natural UV filters.

Again application is very much ‘little and often’, the more purest of waxes are almost clear on application and can only really be seen when the light catches the applied product on the surface of the panel. It’s sometimes recommended to use these waxes when they are warmed up slightly in the sun for a little while, which will allow softening of the wax and oils to aid in ease of application. These premium waxes can feel like spreading a soft butter with very little effort. The main difference between these natural products and petroleum based product is the ‘flash point’. The premium waxes and oils as such don’t tend to evaporate leaving the product behind in a haze. In fact the applied product is the majority of the product you buff to a shine. Again carnauba can be treated, reduced, added to or thinned out maybe, whatever the specification for the product needs to do in order to achieve the consistency and required formulas. I have been told (from my very reliable source), that there are better oil combinations for gloss than just carnauba alone. The down side is they are extremely difficult to harvest and cultivate and a single fluid ounce can be extremely expensive, much more than any precious metal comparison.

The flash point of the premium waxes could by design be a little carrier evaporation. So in theory, the longer these premium waxes are left on the car to ‘cure’ and bond to the paint, the more time they have to settle into the microscopic pits and troughs to form a smooth even barrier. It’s recommended to leave these premium waxes to cure for at least an hour. If you can apply in the morning and remove in the evening that would be ideal, or even overnight. However this may not be ideal depending on atmospheric conditions with dust and pollen flying around.

Percentages:

The carnauba used for the hand blended product tends to be the top percentage of the T1 classification for raw carnauba. filtering and decontamination is the highest priority as is the quality control. As I mentioned above the product you apply is the product that is applied to the paint, as there is very little if any flash point. So if for argument sake it is noted that the carnauba content is 30%, that is still potentially double that of the shop brands by volume in the example I gave above. Other ingredients could be added to make the oils last longer on the paintwork, hydrophobic properties, gloss, wetness, warmth of colour, or the other way around to make the exceptional gloss for car shows, but it may not last very long. So a balance is often dialled into the mix for the blend depending on the market it’s aimed at.

Some small fragrances like Jasmin can be used, just for the user’s experience or perhaps just to add a bespoke brand product fragrance.

For something extra during a hand blend there is the option to add some random ingredients such as gold or silver particles to give that glittery look. Some additives are used which can enhance the metallic fleck in paintwork.

Price:

The raw materials being a natural product, and only found or created in very small quantities drive the cost of these products. Some of the ingredients are very rare and sometimes unavailable for what ever reason maybe seasonal etc. The oils used tend to be super filtered and again the best of the best purest oils used.

Due to the availability and quantities of a number of the ingredients, some hand blenders make extremely limited batches or bespoke “pours” to order. In fact some of these top branded waxes are only made in a single 200g batch per year.

Additional points for waxes:

No mater what you choose the waxes are better when they are layered. This is especially true for the premium hand blended waxes, but the whole process of layering a premium wax and curing can take a long time for the reasons I mentioned above.

If you have a great quality paint job, and use the cheaper market brands the wax could in fact reduce the gloss refraction of your paint. Just as you can’t make rubbish paintwork glow with premium wax, but you will protect it.

So the fact of the matter is that most of the time, off the shelf or big name brand products are more than capable of doing their intended job. A great shine and longevity to protect the paint finish and there isn’t much to choose between them as I found out.

However, if you want to use the best of the best it’s all in the prep work. Cleaning, decontamination, correction, sealer and then the wax, then a couple more wax layers to get the very best results. Big name products tend to do most of the hard work for you, especially the cleaner waxes or the all in one products from multiple suppliers.

When paying big money for a top quality hand blended product, you may be disappointed if you don’t put in the prep work and blame the wax, it about the time and effort to get the rewards.

Is there a difference apart form the obvious price banding? Well yes, I have noticed the difference after a single application of a hand blend. The cost is the downside, but the results are visible and from my point of view, the money is worth it. I enjoy the whole car detailing thing so I want results from my products I use.

Conclusion:

For a daily run around, then big name products are perfectly acceptable. Even some hand blends made with predominantly silicon can be used for a daily. But if you have a show car, classic car or something you cherish, then perhaps treat yourself to some quality hand blended products. Work out what you want from your wax, gloss, beading, protection etc. before making your purchase.

I hope that answers some of the questions, and I learnt a bit from the research as well.

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Lockdown

So here I am under government instructions to stay at home to stem the spread of the Covid19, as is the rest of the country. Some are taking this enforced lockdown more seriously than others I might add. All the car shows I had lined up to go to and have been looking forward to have been cancelled, I can accept that if it’s short term, as long as I can at least get a few in before the end of the year. But what can you do in the mean time? To while away the time I have just finished my mini project which I was going to make last when I have a little time over the weekends. Now I have more time than I actually planned for. So not only have I completed my project, I have written about it too. You will be pleased to know that it’s Mustang related of course, but in the form of Lego. So if you were wondering is it worth it and what’s involved let me explain;

The Sales Pitch from : Lego

Discover the magic of an iconic 1960s American muscle car with the LEGO® Creator Ford Mustang, featuring dark-blue bodywork with white racing stripes, bonnet scoop, printed mustang grille badge, GT emblems and 5-spoke rims with road-gripping tires. Developed with input from Ford, this authentic replica comes with optional add-ons for customization, including a selection of license plates, supercharger, rear ducktail spoiler, beefy exhaust pipes, front chin spoiler and a nitrous oxide tank. You can even adjust the lift of the rear axle for an extra-mean look! Remove the roof panel or open the doors and you have access to the detailed interior with handsome seats, radio, working steering and a mid-console gearshift. Store items in the trunk or lift the hood to reveal a detailed big block 390 V8 engine with battery, hoses and air filter detailing. This advanced building set has been designed to provide a challenging and rewarding building experience full of nostalgia and makes a great centerpiece for the home or office.

– Authentic replica of a 1960s Ford Mustang featuring dark-blue bodywork with white racing stripes, air scoop, 5-spoke rims with road-gripping tires, and a selection customization add-ons.

– Open the doors or remove the roof panel to access the detailed interior with handsome seats, radio, mid-console gearshift and working steering.

– Open the trunk to store items and lift the hood to reveal a detailed Ford Mustang V8 engine with battery, hoses and air filter.

– Includes a printed mustang grille badge and 2 GT emblems.

– Customize the Ford Mustang with the included supercharger, rear ducktail spoiler, beefy exhaust pipes, front chin spoiler and a nitrous oxide tank.

– Choose from a selection of license plates.

– Lift the hood to check out the realistic engine detailing.

– Adjust the lift of the rear axle for a real mean look!

– New-for-March-2019 special elements include 5-spoke rims, 2×8 brick with bow, 1×3 mustang logo tile, 2×4 bow with ‘GT’ Emblem.

Measures over 3” (10cm) high, 13” (34cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide.

Source:  https://www.lego.com/en-gb/product/ford-mustang-10265

What You Get:

You get a big box and a lot of smaller plastic bags inside, an instruction manual and a sticker sheet.

What’s In The Box?

You get eleven plastic bags of parts although they are labelled as one to six with all but bag five having a smaller bag with the same number. A total of 1471 parts for you to try and sort out.

TIP:

Don’t open all the bags at once, only open what you need!

Instructions:

The instruction book starts with a brief background to Ford and the Mustang with time lines. A nice little addition it must be said.

The start of the instructions tells you which packets to use for which section build.

The instructions are all diagram based with the parts you need counted out and shown to you before assembly. Where the similar looking parts and colours are used the instructions has a 1:1 check to make sure you get the correct part. Some of the differences are very subtle.

Building the Model

This is the first time I have touched Lego in about forty five years or so. Oh how it’s moved on. The tolerances are still perfect, things fit together and don’t fall apart. A huge leap forward to building cars and houses when I first played with it and stood on the bricks!

The hours just rush by when building this. I challenge anybody to spend only what they think is an hour doing a build without anything to tell you the time. When you think it’s been an hour it’s a lot more than that. I found it addictive to do a page, then think ‘I will quickly do that bit as well’, it draws you in.

You start at the back of the car building the suspension, lots of little cogs seem to be placed for no apparent reason, then a few pages later it suddenly comes together. The sense of achievement is well thought out and makes you want to come back for more.

I found it easier to get all the parts I would be using for that little build located into an area to save looking for the parts as I went along, which I found could delay my build of that little section. Find it, collate it, then build it and repeat. No matter how you do it, the whole process is enjoyable. It actually started to upset my OCD in the end and I had to line the bits up I was about to use and separate into little bub piles of parts.

Next you move to the middle of the car for the transmission tunnel, adding the gear shift, radio and dials to the bricks. Parts seem to be built modular style then applied to the overall model itself.

Steering and engine next, considering the level of detail in this model I found my first grump. The engine only has four spark plug leads. They could of made it eight and just gave it that little bit extra detail.

Nice detail touches on the engine due to the name and the oil cap etc.

Building the body work is interesting how it comes together.