The only problem with having a brand spanking new front end on a 10 year old car with over 400k miles? It tends to make the rest of the car look like crap. After admiring my new front end under the halogen lights in my garage, I started to notice the rest of the car. YIKES! This is an area that I regret to admit that I have whoa-fully neglected over the last few years. The only time the TSX usually gets washed is after the dealer services it. About once a month or so. As I look the car over, I notice that it’s been so long since I’ve waxed or polished it, that I once again have “Fallout” in the clear coat.
Fallout is a term for when dirt sits on a car for so long (especially during the hot summer months) that some of it works its way into the clear coat & wont wash off. No matter how much elbow grease and soap you use. Here’s an example….this is the Lt side of the rear bumper, you can see the top of the rear mudguard on the bottom Lt of the picture.When I was a teenager I worked for the Norm Reeves Dealers in Temecula California (now known as DCH). One of my jobs was to clean up newly arrived new units after they’ve been PDI’d (Pre-Delivery Inspection). More than half the time the car had this kind of Fallout. You could easily see it on the white cars especially, but also the lighter colors and you could actually feel it on the darker colors. This was also about 20 years ago, & the only way to get rid of the fallout was an acid wash. Which needless to say was less than awesome. You had to wear thick rubber gloves (or burn your hands) it smelled bad & stung the eyes. The car also had to be in the shade, constantly wet (if the acid wash dried while on the paint or glass, well, time for new paint & glass). No pressure on a teenager washing hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in inventory, right? But I’m happy to report none of my cars ever needed anything more than my magic touch.
Battling fallout has come a long way in the last 20 years. Have you ever seen a car carrier driving along loaded with new cars, and they have this white plastic stuff all over them? That’s to protect against fallout. Audi seems to take this to the next level. They use throw away car covers complete with clear plastic windows built into the covers so the transport guys can still drive them without taking the covers off.
Car care products have also come along way. I’m sure most of you have seen Automotive Clay, or Detailers Clay in your favorite automotive store or section. It ranges in price but is usually around $10 give or take. This clay is used wet and acts as a super fine wet sanding paper that will take out this kind of damage to the clear coat. The clay itself will come in a variety colors, which I believe may be to differentiate sanding grits. Or maybe it’s just the different brands. I’ve seen blue & grey. At any rate, I’ll show you some before and after pictures so you can see what miracles these little clay bars can work. Remember, the BEFORE pics are after being washed. The discoloration is worked into the clear, starting again with the Lt side of the rear bumper…
Remember, AFTER being washed. This crud was imbedded into the clear coat.
He tore off a tiny piece of clay and worked inside the emblem for over 30 mins. Not 100%, but dang near it. The only way to get in every nook & cranny would be to remove the decklid emblems & replace with new badges & emblems after claying the upper face of the decklid. But a definite “A” for effort! You’ll notice it even cleaned up the badge as well.
I also used the clay on the rear tail lights. You should have seen the grey water coming down off the lenses. You can use a drip bottle or a spray bottle full of water while using the clay. I also add a little dish soap, automotive wash soap, or simple green in the water to help cut thru the mess a little faster. Not much, just a few drops of the soap, or an ounce of the simple green. But after the clay & polish, check out how great those tail lights look!
After all the non newly painted panels were clayed, it was time to buff with some medium duty compound. The clay will leave a slight dull finish on everything you use it on. So you will need to buff the car at the least. I personally like Meguiars stuff, as it’s some of the best out there. After I buffed the paint, it was time for a final polish. As you can see in the AFTER pics above, the shine came right back like it never left for vacation in the first place.
Once this was done, I decided it was time to tackle the exhaust tips. The last time it was in the air at the dealer I took a good look at the exhaust tips and the bolts that hold them in place almost looked like the were rotting away. so I got some new ones. I’m glad I did, as one of the bolts snapped off during removal. After soaking them in hot soapy water for a little while then using Windex and steel wool & finished off with some polish, they once again resembled something chrome. They are still pitted like crazy, but now they shine a little.
Now she was really starting to look good. It was finally time to put the sticker on that I bought to commemorate this special event. It came from Greece of all places…A small black Rising Phoenix. I thought it was a cool idea & even looked pretty good. Until of course Salesman Mike Hazel saw it for the first time & called it a “Tramp Stamp”. Way to ruin it for me Mike! Stinking Jerk… Haha.The TSX hasn’t looked this good in a very long time. I was still having problems with the AC system though & the service guys were figuring it out. So the guys at Lyle Pearson were some of the first ones to see her all cleaned up & looking just about new again. I asked the Sales Manager Royce if he’d be interested in having her on the show room floor for a week or so (seeings how good she looked), & after a few moments thought, he came back with an enthusiastic YES. In fact, he’s making it into a week long local contest. A poster is being made up along the lines of…”This 2005 Acura TSX has between 400k – 450k miles on it. The closest guess to it’s actual miles will win a free car detail courtesy of Lyle Pearson Acura!”
I haven’t posted the actual miles for quite some time now, so this works in favor of the contest. But any local readers of my blog will have a very clear advantage in this contest if they want to visit the Lyle Pearson Acura showroom and submit their guess. While you’re down there, Acura finally landed the all new TLX & is currently offering test drives in it. I had the opportunity to drive the TLX last week… & what a sweet car! It will definitely will be a contender for the TSX replacement if anything ever happens to her. I say contender because I still have hope that Acura may in the future offer a nice sport coupe once again.
So now, the Rise of the Phoenix is complete! Here she sits, in an Acura showroom floor. Just like the first time I saw her about 10 years ago! Now THAT’s coming full circle & being born again! One of the salesman walked by it 3 times before noticing it wasn’t a new Acura. His double take was pretty amusing. This is where she’ll sit until Sept 2nd when I pick her back up & she resumes her workhorse duties of taking me all over the state for my inspections. The RDX has been absolutely fantastic, but I miss my TSX.
Once again I’d like to thank everybody who has stopped by for this little adventure. I’d also like to thank once again the guys in the Service & Parts department for all their help in getting the TSX back in shape. As well as Royce & the other sales guys for taking care of her for the next week & hopefully having fun with the contest!
Everybody be safe out there! I know I’m being extra safe. If I wreck the Princess’s RDX… well, she’ll kill me! Haha.