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Well campers this is going to be a real treat this time. We're going to be talking about a subject some of you guys know nothing about, and that is "getting your hands dirty" (or wet, for that matter).

I understand BMW owners have people for this, but being a Volvo owner I have done this nasty unspeakable job myself actually, and I am also a "self parker" and never use the valet parking if I can avoid it.

Over the years I've tried "mechanic in a can", all kinds of spray applications, brushes, etc., and guite honestly there is nothing that beats the old fashioned washing mit. Now there are various kinds of mits out there, and some are very expensive like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology type or even the double-t Mitt version, but in this case it is a glove that has a soft plastic "astroturf" or "wool" texture that will not scratch paint or clear coat. In the absense of one of these, just go get a few socks that you never want to see again, and put them on your washing hand one at a time and make up a washing mit, and you are ready to go.

With a variety of mag, spoke, and custom castings to clean on a regular basis, I have tried it all. Brushes work for some things, but on smooth surface wheels like the XC90 or XC70 wheels, the washing mit is superior. For whires or for the very intricate close castings

I use a rather strong degreaser actually but the issue is contact, and this can not be done with spray along. The ONLY way to get clean wheels is to physically touch all surfaces with a wipe of the mit, and using a brush alone (for those of you who don't want to get those hands wet) just simply not work as well.

I use a brush for final clean up to get all the tight little corners that the mit misses.

When the wheel dries, I like to spray on a "no-touch" wheel dressing which is a mild silicone and water base, and do the wheel too. Once applied then I will wipe the wheel dry to avoid spotting.

I know how many people have been thirsting for this knowledge and I am pleased to be able to share it here. After all, what are friends for?

best,

P
 

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Makes my day! I find spray-Windex handy for wheel cleaning ... but you are correct, wiping is very necessary.
 

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I just found that a pressure washer will do a nice Job on the XC70's wheels. I was at my Dad's for dinner and he just bought a new el-cheapo from Lowes and it worked quite well. I was amazed. I have been using a washing mit for quite a while, I was hopping that you had found something to break up the surface tension/ adhesion, other than elbow grease. The reason BMW owners do not wash there wheels has little to do with getting hands wet and a lot to do with the wheel design, Basket Weaves SUCK!
 

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I am also a "self parker" and never use the valet parking if I can avoid it.
A man after my own heart.

We recently spent a weekend at the Homestead Resort in Virginia. Upon arrival, I drove to the front door, unloaded my wife and bags, and told the valet I would prefer to park it. I think he was quite taken aback. I just dont trust those guys, and prefer to stash it in a spot myself where I know it wont get dinged.

My wife still shakes her head to this day. :p
 

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I only valet park when I do not want to spend a half hour looking for parking myself. In my small city most restaurants pay for Valets and all you have to do is tip them. $5 tip v. 30min hunting for a spot, they get my $5. I only valet once in my BMW and that was on our wedding day. The funny thing is I am more comfortable handing the keys over to the XC90 than the E38. No one thinks the XC is a race car, while every valet thinks any BMW is.
 

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I use to hate valet parking passionately. I would avoid restaurants that did not avail me self-parking.

But in today's Bush-Barack economy, I have mellowed and have more understanding of the young persons' plight.
 

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I'll spend all the time necessary to find parking myself... A valet has never touched any car that I owned, and that won't change (even if valet parking is free).

Every single valet-related article I have read anywhere has current/former valets admitting all the crazy stuff they do to just about every car (sporty or not). Also, they all recommending that nobody who cares even slightly about their car should allow a valet to get within ten feet of it. That's enough of a red flag on its own...

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For washing the wheels, I use a set of wheel detailer's brushes (small and large), along with a microfiber cloth and car shampoo. It gets everything but the caked-on tar off - for the tar, there are those spray-on non-harmful tar removers that get the rest clean.
 
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