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Discussion Starter #1
In the past, I've always used a single bucket, decent detergent, a single wash mitt, and a synthetic chamois for drying, which has yielded consistent results which was satisfactory for me.

My new RAV4 is the first brand new vehicle I've ever had, so when I read on a separate thread about taking extra care when washing, I was totally on board. This weekend, I went and bought a second bucket with a grit guard, and new wash mitt (the old one will become my "wheel only" mitt), and a plush microfiber towel specifically for drying. I used the two bucket method followed with the drying towel, in the shade.

Somehow, I ended up with the absolute worst car wash I have ever done. The end result is a streakfest, it's like the microfiber towel just smeared water around. I tried ringing water out but barely got any, and the towel just continued to smear water around. I reverted back to my usual chamois and ended up with tiny scratches in the small area where I used it. I feel like I can't win.

Does anyone know if I missed a step or something? I feel dumb that I can't dry my car!
 

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People swear by micorfiber cloths. Needless to say, I am not one of them. Window or eyeglasses, never can get them without a spiral effect.

Regarding car washing, I didn't change my process at all for my new RAV4. This is not my first car and the single bucket and real chamois were not new. The outcome from multiple washes were ok but not great. I chalked it up to being used to a 2009 X3 BMW paint, which was very good. The RAV4 seems to be just ok. I don't bother moving it to the shade to dry and I use a California Blade to wipe off excess water prior to using the chamois. There are a lot more areas that continue to let water out and drizzle down the side of the car waiting to be touched up.

The real great part though is the fact that the RAV4 is nice and tight, no leaks {knocking sound of knuckles on wood}. The X3 from new had both rear doors leak into the cab only during washing and required multiple trips back and forth to BMW and their body shop until they finally found fix, then the car got totaled at it's 10 year mark.

Bottom line, I would go back to your old method and disregarding others methods that work well for them only.
 

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Have you clayed your car and put on a sealant and/or wax? That's the first thing I did when I got my XSE. Bought some of this Wolfgang Sealant and it's amazing, should last for 6-months as well. I haven't had time to top it with a wax yet but it's been a week and half and still silky smooth paint. Then you can dry without worrying about streaking, and you'll have at least a layer of protection over the paint.

 

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First I wash all mfiber towels in hot water before ever using them. No softener of any kind, liquid or sheets. Dry them well. I’ve used an older car washing brush for years on my Vette and other cars and make sure to wash it off in a clean bucket of water when done. I use a California Blade also making sure it’s very clean first. Then I dry whatever is still wet with the mfiber towels and all is good. I have already used clay bar and Car Guys Hybrid sealant/polish. Works fine for me.
 

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I bet the problem was the drying process you used. Once a towel gets saturated, even a microfiber one, it just won't dry the car that well.

Instead, "dry" the car with an appropriate soft silicon squeegee with the squared-off edge (California Blade). You'll be amazed how little water is left to mop up with your microfiber towel.

I buy a large pack of microfiber towels at Costco - they work out to about $0.35 each. I use a new one to mop up after the squeegee. I rinse it off after every use but it still gets stained/grubby eventually. Once it does, I use a new towel for drying and the stained one is used for washing the door frames. When the door frame towel gets even dirtier, it is thrown out, the second drying towel becomes the door frame towel and a new towel is employed for drying. Rotating through the towels like this, a package of towels lasts years even though I wash our cars a lot more often than average.
 

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Make sure your mf towels/mitts are very clean. No fabric softener at all. Also, what type of car wash are you using?

As part of my drying process I use detailer in light spritz to lubricate the surface while I am drying. Make sure you do a four fold method and section off the panels as you dry. I use my leaf blower to get rid of most of the water and then do my drying method from there. I also have a garage so once I blow off the car I put it in the garage to do the rest of my work.

And as mentioned above you will want to make sure your surface is in good shape. Whatever my dealer put on made it look really shiny but was a joke in protection and was a nuisance to clean off.
 

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In my experience microfiber towels are terrible at drying cars. I have a stack of old but serviceable 100% cotton bath towels I use for drying or detailing the cars. Very absorbent, no streaks, no scratches. I let several used/dirty ones accumulate and then wash all of them together at the same time in their own load.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone for your advice, I think the problem was mostly the microfiber towel that I was using. It's been washed now so next time I try for a carwash hopefully I will have better luck. Good tip on the car squeegee too, I may give that a shot.

I was actually planning on claying the car and applying some sort of ceramic coating or something like that, but when I saw how streaky it was I was really discouraged. That'll be a task for the next weekend I've got free.
 

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Blueprint XSE here - After much research, I have used a combination of a iK foamer & Mr Pink Wash, microfiber towels for washing the soap off. Coin spray to rinse off. Synthetic chamois to dry. Sometimes a Ice spray wax microfiber to keep it shiny. Good luck!
Side note - this is my 4th dark vehicle!
 

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Thanks everyone for your advice, I think the problem was mostly the microfiber towel that I was using. It's been washed now so next time I try for a carwash hopefully I will have better luck. Good tip on the car squeegee too, I may give that a shot.

I was actually planning on claying the car and applying some sort of ceramic coating or something like that, but when I saw how streaky it was I was really discouraged. That'll be a task for the next weekend I've got free.
Let us know how that goes!
 

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I only take my RAV4 to the automatic car wash for the cheapest wash and dry. When I got the 2019 RAV4 Limited, I took it through my dealers car wash that came with my 2 year free Toyota maintenance plan since they had and automatic wash. Next I use a detailer spray wax (not available off the shelf in auto stores) on the entire car three applications over a three day period last about six months and can go through the car wash anytime and it does not affect the mirror wax shine. Paste and Liquid Waxes are a waste of time and messy if you get it on the plastic trim. The one I use is manufactured by Torque Detail called mirror shine and can be purchased from Amazon for about $39.99 or right from the manufacturer at a discounted price and if you buy three (3), it was about $80.00 and either place is free S/H with no sales taxes unless you live in their state. See below links with reviews.

Now a heads up. You do not need to remove any previous wax or polish like the instructions say, just a ploy to get more money out of you. You will need to buy an empty 32 OZ Spray bottle from Walmart (all of them have it, usually on back wall of store) since the Torque sprayers all suck rather than spray. You need to rub it in with a small microfibre pad or small microfibre cloth and I recommend not doing it in swirls but move in back and forth direction and then across from left to right. Lastly use a larger microfibre buffing towel with the thicker side first to remove the residue to a glass shine and then turn it over and use the smoother side for a final touch. If you get it on the black trim or rubber molding, it comes right off especially if you do it in the same day. You can put it on your moon roof and windows if you want and the rain will bead off just like rainx works, but I recommend the rainex on the windows and moonroof.

It has been on my car for 2-3 months and been through the free car wash every week and shines like none of my cars ever did before.

Also, if you used NuFinish or other polish containing clay and got it on your black trim and having problems getting it off, all you need is a pink block eraser to get all the white residue off, and then you can sponge this stuff on and you are back to a shiny black trim with no residue. I had the problem, did the above, and all is like ready to go back in the show room.

Lastly, I am 65 years old and have three autoimmune Neuromuscular diseases, Polymyositis, Dermatomyositis, and Secondary Sjogren's. I had no trouble waxing to the entire car in 45 minutes, but did not last doing it three times because those diseases are active so I applied all three applications over a three day period which I felt was important to do for the first time. I will only do one application six months later. I used the entire bottle for all three applications. I purchased three (3) more bottles from the manufacturer my Wife's 2002 Jeep Liberty and just put her first application yesterday and will do the other two over the weekend. It already has a mirror shine. My 83 year old father in law also purchased the 2019 RAV4 Adventurer as well as the mirror shine and putting it on his car this weekend after checking mine out and the little effort for him to do it.

If you trust me go to the manufacturer and purchase three bottles as a minimum, if you are sceptic, which I was, go to either Amazon or the Manufacturer and buy just one bottle to try it out. I hope this helps others from wasting a lot of time and effort that I wasted using NuFinish Liquid Wax that about gave me a heart attack.


 

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When I detailed for a living, and even on our cars, I used a leaf blower to get the water off. The small amount that remained was dabbed with a MF towel. No drips, no smears, no runs. It took all of 10 minutes if that.
That's the same way motorcycle owners dry their bikes. It works great and as a practical matter really is the only way to dry all the exposed engine parts and spoked wheels.
 

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When I detailed for a living, and even on our cars, I used a leaf blower to get the water off. The small amount that remained was dabbed with a MF towel. No drips, no smears, no runs. It took all of 10 minutes if that.
I do this as well. I still use detailer with a MF to wipe the surface. Using a blower helps a lot with all the nooks and crannies to remove the water with out constantly touching the paint.
 

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I agree. Get a blower with a narrow nozzle. It saves alot of time. Then use a mf for small dabs of water with your detailer spray.

I personally never use a squeege Blade.
 

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  • One plastic 5 gallon bucket.
  • Thoroughly wet vehicle with "Shower" setting on hose nozzle.
  • 4+ gallons of very warm water. If the vehicle is very dirty, greasy film from a trip into the San Francisco Bay Area, a splash of dish soap detergent . . . . . otherwise, just the very warm (almost hot) water.
  • Soft Beige Polyfiber truck wash brush on long wooden handle.
  • Costco, 100% cotton, "Hospitality Bath Towels" for drying, usually three. Windows, roof, doors, jambs, sills, tail pipe tips, wheels.
  • No streaks, no drips, no runs, no errors.
 

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  • One plastic 5 gallon bucket.
  • Thoroughly wet vehicle with "Shower" setting on hose nozzle.
  • 4+ gallons of very warm water. If the vehicle is very dirty, greasy film from a trip into the San Francisco Bay Area, a splash of dish soap detergent . . . . . otherwise, just the very warm (almost hot) water.
  • Soft Beige Polyfiber truck wash brush on long wooden handle.
  • Costco, 100% cotton, "Hospitality Bath Towels" for drying, usually three. Windows, roof, doors, jambs, sills, tail pipe tips, wheels.
  • No streaks, no drips, no runs, no errors.
Dish washer soap can strip wax.
 
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