TECH TIP Technical Index

Cleaning and Detailing Your VW

With all the shows that go on throughout the year, most of us are fairly involved in keeping our VWís clean so they can put their best tire forward. I will stress that the number one reason you put your VW in a show is to have fun. Winning a trophy is icing on the cake and should always take a back seat to the desire to go to the shows, but it is nice once in awhile!!! Folks, there are classes for original, untouched VWís, and daily drivers that have occasional rock chips and minor dings or if the paint is somewhat less than perfect. This gives everyone a chance to show what they brought and get rewarded for their efforts. What Iím saying is, have fun and bring your VW to the shows we go to throughout the year. Showing everyone that we are VW fanatics, no matter what we drive, will make them want to join our club more than any other method or reason. Anyway, back to the original subject at handÖ

Cleanliness is next to godliness, as they say. Clean does make a big difference in how you feel about your car and what show judges put on the score sheets. Chances are, if you feel good about your VW, that will radiate to everyone else. Even the judges will sense that and may give you a higher score for it!

Letís start by cleaning out the interior. Face it, if you have to constantly crawl over paper wads, cola cans, old shoes, books from the last three years of school and move stuff so someone can ride with you, or peel your feet off the floor every time you get out, you need to clean up! Besides, itís a safety hazard if you have to make a sudden move in traffic.

  1. Remove anything that is not bolted or tied down and then vacuum the car out. Get all the rocks and sand out of every crack and crevice.
  2. If you think your carpet has seen better days and are thinking about replacing it, hold up. If the carpet isnít torn to shreds already, chances are that it will stay in one piece when you take it out. Thatís right Ė remove all the carpet and attempt to wash it in cold water in your washing machine. Iíve done it before to 25 year-old original carpet and it will look like a million bucks when you get through. You may have to run it through the cycles a few times to get out the ground-in dirt, but it will work. If it shreds up and goes down the drain, you need new carpet anyhow! An added plus is that the carpet will smell fresh and clean when you put it back in.
  3. Now turn to the windows. Window cleanliness makes or breaks the "feel" of the car, at least in my opinion. Clean windows are much safer, anyhow. Use Windex to get the big dirt off and follow up with Nu Finish polish or some kind of glass polish (donít use a wax on the inside of the glass, just on the outside only). Youíll wonder why you didnít do this before. Spit-clean windows will not fog up as easily, believe it or not.
  4. Now get some Tuff Stuff, a bristle brush, and some rags you donít mind dirtying up and scrub the seats down. That dirt builds up before you know it! Armor All? If you like, but I tend to stay away from using the stuff on seats or most trim. The reason, dust will stick to it like flies on flypaper, and I have not personally experienced much difference in the life of components whether or not I use it. Seats get slippery with Armor All. Iíll leave it up to you, as it does look good, but donít go overboard, as most judges will not give extra points for shiny seats and dashboards. A slight sheen is all thatís needed. Clean is the key here.

Iíll stop here for now, since this subject will obviously take more space than the newsletter will allow. Next article I will discuss detailing the outside of the car. Iíll also get more in-depth with the actual detailing. Itís time for an all-you-can-eat bratwurst bar.

Your VW maniac and tech specialist,

Mike C.