Now is the perfect time to be cleaning up that Jeep! We spring clean our homes, so why not spring clean your ride?
With many if not all commercial car washes closed and since many states are under “Stay at Home” orders due to CoVid-19, please do your part and make responsible decisions. If you are driving or must drive, remember to disinfect your steering wheel, door handles, etc!
We all need something else to do right? Well, for the “detail particular” folks like myself, cleaning your rig can be a 10 minute or 10 day project. We all know that after some extra dirty wheeling (I dare say mud), we should find some clean water sooner rather than later. Washing things off before the dirt has a chance to “set” makes things so much easier! But I also know that it’s not sometimes possible to wash that paint off before dirt and mud hardens and begins to embed itself in that pretty paint job.
I also realize that there is a large part of the Modern Jeeper community that could care less about things like paint, clear coat, etc.. I will say that keeping dirt and mud out of things like electrical connections, filters and radiators will make your rig survive much longer…so even if you have an inch of crud attached to the outside of your rig, its a good idea to keep some of those critical components clean.
I carry an assortment of cleaning supplies, all in a plastic tote, when I travel across country to events. It’s my mini detail kit that can usually get me by when I’m on the road.
It contains a little bit of everything: Car & truck wash, tire cleaner, windshield cleaner, interior cleaner, bug off, wax, aluminum polish, microfiber towels, a clay bar, some scotchbrite pads and some gloves.
Luckily for us, there are also companies that are in the sole business of helping you keep your rig clean! Some are meant for that 10 minute cleanup job and others are meant for the professional detailer or that extreme “detail particular” jeep owner.
Griot’s Garage is one of those companies. Just browsing their website make you think your rig is “worthy” of show quality cleanliness. Sometimes their products can seem a little pricy, but in my experience they are quality items and last longer than many others. The also have package deals, sales and kit prices. Starter Package
They even have “How-to” videos discussing best practices when washing your rig:
I’ll admit that I have never owned a “show” Jeep. I have had Jeeps in shows, but none that I would consider the rigs that travel the “show” circuits. I have no chrome to shine…so I’ll just leave that right there. I know there are folks out there that take great care and pride in their show rigs and would most likely laugh at how some of us keep our Jeeps clean, but for the purpose of this article I only want to share a few of the items I use and have had good luck with.
I’ve always had good luck with Gunk brand of products. They are usually readily available, priced right and do a good job when you really want things clean. I consider them the “heavy hand” and products to use at that initial wash stage of cleaning.
Another brand that is readily available is Meguiar’s. Before I knew about Griot’s, I used Meguiar’s clay bar before I knew what a clay bar was. If you have never “clayed” your rig, you will be surprised at what kind of things come off your paint…and how smooth your finish actually is! After using a clay bar you definitely want to seal that paint back up using a wax.
Here are Griot’s Wax guidelines:
Griot’s Garage offers several advanced paint protection formulas which address the specific needs of your paint. Each product focuses on a particular paint condition and treats varying degrees of durability, clarity, longevity, and defect removal capability.
Carnauba-based formulas offer good durability and exceptional clarity and gloss. For those who enjoy waxing and are willing to do it more often to achieve a truly show-stopping appearance, Carnauba-based waxes are a great solution.
Synthetic formulas typically offer the best and longest lasting protection and are ideal for daily driven vehicles. Synthetic formulas are ideal for those who prefer to wax less often (1 or 2 times per year).
These products gently remove light defects, restore gloss and color, and add a durable layer of protection. They offer time-saving convenience during application but they do, however, need to be applied more often, typically 3 or 4 times per year for the best results.
Adding a quick pop of color and protection, these wax products feature easy spray-on or foam-on application and can be used as part of your drying ritual or as a stand-alone enhancer that extends the time between major waxings.
There should be 3 stages of washing the outside of your Jeep:
- The soap and water washing to remove most big dirt, sand and road grime
- Clay bar/ Speed Shine hand rub to remove the smaller particles and really clean your paint
- The polishing and/or waxing step to seal and protect your outside finishes.
Hopefully this will get you some ideas to get started in cleaning your ride. Of course there are many other parts that I haven’t even touched on like wheels and tires, interior and the engine bay. Maybe once it warms up outside a bit more I’ll do a second part on getting those items clean too!