Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wash & Wax

Here’s how to get the ultimate shine and extreme water-beading protection from Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wash & Wax 2-part system

 

BY MARK MAYNARD

Ceramic paint protection is the burgeoning new force in automotive-care products. And now, after 10 years on the market as a pricey professionally applied option, the chemistry has moved into the retail DIY market With fresh products by Meguiar’s and other renowned car-care makers. The “hybrid ceramic” derivatives are not as potent or durable for long-term protection, but they are much less expensive. And anybody can use the products to get an award-winning shine.

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wash & Wax

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wash & Wax is a two-stage system. (Meguiar’s)

The chemicals in these hybrid-ceramic products do not require an electric polisher for the best results — but a polisher could make the job go faster. And for heavier paint-damage correction, a polisher will be necessary. 

Vehicle prep

 An authentic ceramic coating requires a professional application and will cost around $1,400 for a small car. Such a ceramic coating is low maintenance and long-lasting. Most will have a guarantee for one year and up to 10 years, depending on the product.

The do-it-yourself hybrid ceramic products are a short step into the chemical technology. However, the ease of application, the water beading, and the slick shine will astound first-time users.

 To get the best results from the ceramic products, including those by Meguiar’s, will require some paint-prep work.

“If there already is a wax product on their car, it must be stripped to get the benefit of the new product,” said Mel Craig of The Detailing Pros in Huntington Beach, Calif.

To prepare a vehicle for a new wax or paint treatment, Craig recommends that the car be polished to remove old product layers and then rub down thoroughly with alcohol.

“Ninety percent of a user’s disappointment in the finish is on the user, not the product,” said Craig, who is well known as the car-care expert on the “Wheeler Dealers” on the Discovery channel. 

“Everything that is on the car [old wax products] will dilute the performance of the new product,” Craig said.

I’ve tested four of Meguiar’s hybrid-ceramic products, including the new HybridCeramic Wash & Wax.  

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wash & Wax

The Hybrid Ceramic Wash & Wax is a two-step system of two separate liquids: a Hybrid Ceramic Wash and a Hybrid CeramicSiO2 Boost. Meguiar’s explains SiO2 as a polymer matrix of silicon carbide, silicon dioxide, and silicon nitride. The SiO2 Boost additive creates instant and extreme water beading protection, Meguiar’s says. 

To use, mix the two components in a standard bucket. During washing, the foaming action of the ceramic wash works to lift dirt for gentle cleaning, Meguiar’s says. The result is a slick finish on the paint. 

Hybrid Ceramic Wash & Wax works with other Meguiar’s products, but it was formulated to be used with Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic products. The product line includes those below and the Hybrid Ceramic Quik Clay Kit, $23. 

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wash & Wax, $19.99, comes with 48 ounces of Hybrid Ceramic Wash and 8 ounces of Hybrid Ceramic SiO2 Boost. That is enough product for approximately 16 washes, Meguiar’s says. Also recommended is its specially engineered Hybrid Wash Mitt, $8.

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic products

Hybrid Ceramic Detailer — $17 for a 26-ounce bottle. The spray-and-wipe formula helps remove light contaminants on the paint. Use this detailer to maintain a finish on a previously applied ceramic coating, Meguiar’s says, or to strengthen any wax or sealant. 

For older vehicles with an unprotected paint finish, clay the paint with Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Quik Clay Kit, $30. The kit includes an 18-ounce spray bottle of detailer, a synthetic clay pad, and a Supreme Shine Microfiber Towel.

Test your vehicle’s paint with the fingertip test on the hood. Little bumps indicate airborne deposits of sap, metallic particles from industrial pollution, and bird fallout. A bumpy surface will not properly reflect a bright shine. To correct, spray a panel with the detailer and follow with the clay pad. Use circular motions and keep the area wet with the detailer. It doesn’t take too many passes for the pad to erase the bumps and buildup.

Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax — $22 for a 26-ounce bottle. As for any liquid car wax, use a clean applicator pad with a thin amount of product to treat one panel at a time. Let the wax cure for 3 to 5 minutes, and then wipe off with a microfiber towel. Meguiar’s sells a Supreme Shine Microfiber Towel three-pack of 16-by-24-inch towels for $8. Because the wax does not haze when dry, it won’t discolor rubber gaskets or plastic trim.

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax — $15 for a 26-ounce spray bottle. After washing and rinsing the vehicle, spray on the Hybrid Ceramic Wax. Follow with a second rinse to help lay down the wax. Next, dry the vehicle as you normally would with a microfiber towel. Meguiar’s recommends its waffle texture Microfiber Water Magnet Drying Towel, $9. 

Buy Meguiar’s products at auto stores, online merchants and Meguiars.com

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Spring brings Yokohama Tire’s annual rebate promo

Yokohama Tire’s annual rebate promotion

2 offers will run through May 2, 2021, for $60 or $80 prepaid cards or virtual accounts

 

BY MARK MAYNARD

Yokohama Tire’s annual spring rebate promotion will run through May 2, 2021, and provides tire shoppers with a $60 or $80 Yokohama Visa Prepaid card or a Visa Virtual Account after purchasing a set of four select Yokohama tires.

The list of available tires for the rebate promotion include (Pricing estimates are from TireRack.com:

For the $80 Visa prepaid card or Visa Virtual Account:

ADVAN Apex V601: Yokohama’s ultra-high performance street tire with a Y-rating for speeds up to 186 mph. The grippy rubber formula has a low 280 treadwear rating (UTQG) and it is warranted for up to 25,000 miles or 12,500 miles on staggered fitments. Available in wheel sizes of 17-20 inches. Depending on size and other dimensions, pricing ranges from about $150 to $350 per tire. Yokohama also has a 30-day trial satisfaction guarantee.

GEOLANDAR X-CV: An all-season performance tire for luxury sport crossovers and SUVs. It has a reasonably firm treadwear rating of 520 with a limited treadwear rating up to 50,000 miles. The rubber is formulated for a balance of good handling and ride comfort, with all-season capability, even in light snow. Depending on size and other dimensions, pricing ranges from about $200- to $300 per tire.

For the $60 Visa prepaid card or Visa Virtual Account:

ADVAN Sport A/S+: An ultra-high-performance all-season tire for sports cars, sporty coupes and luxury sedans. Depending on size and other dimensions, pricing ranges from about $150 to $300 per tire.

AVID Ascend GT: A grand touring all-season tire for passenger cars, crossovers and minivans. The rubber recipe is formulated for refined ride and noise comfort with long life and all-season traction, even in light snow. These tires are part of Yokohama’s BluEarth branding, to provide environmentally, human and socially friendly solutions. Depending on size and other dimensions, pricing ranges from about $90 to $215 per tire.

AVID Ascend LX: Another choice in Yokohama’s BluEarth line for a standard touring all-season tire, intended for passenger cars, crossovers and minivans. This tire has a very high (hard) 800 treadwear rating (UTQG) and has a warrantee for up to 5 years or 85,000 miles. Depending on size and other dimensions, pricing ranges from about $93 to $170 per tire.

GEOLANDAR CV G058: An all-season touring tire for small- and medium-sized crossover SUVs and minivans. Also in the eco-friendly BluEarth line, these tires have a high 740 treadwear rating and a warrantee of for 5 years or up to 65,000 miles. Depending on size and other dimensions, pricing ranges from about $133 to $210 per tire.

GEOLANDAR H/T G056: This is an all-season highway tire for trucks, SUVs and full-size vans. It is formulated for on-road, year-round use with all-weather handling and all-season traction, even in light snow. It has a warranty of 5 years or 70,000 miles for P-metric sizes or 5-years/50,000-miles for LT sizes; Half mileage for rear if different size than front. Depending on size and other dimensions, pricing ranges from about $120 to $280 per tire.

The rebates are available at participating Yokohama dealers nationwide and select authorized online dealers. Details of the promotion can be found here.

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5 maintenance tips from Hankook Tire for National Car Care Month

With vaccinations increasing and COVID-19 cases declining, Americans are getting back on the road. The latest Gauge Index by Hankook Tire found some interesting statistics (All photos courtesy of  NewsUSA)

 

BY MARK MAYNARD

You aren’t alone if it seems the daily commute is back to its pre-pandemic crush. With vaccinations increasing and COVID-19 cases declining, Americans are getting back on the road. And with April as National Car Care Month, the latest Gauge Index by Hankook Tire found some interesting statistics.

Among the tiremaker’s survey, it found that 66 percent of Americans are now driving at least a few times per week, which is more than double the 31 percent that drove regularly in April 2020. But despite more drivers on the road, the survey also found that in the last 30 days, 70 percent of Americans haven’t checked their tire pressure, 73 percent haven’t topped up their vehicle fluids and 22 percent haven’t done any car maintenance at all.

To help drivers keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down, Hankook Tire USA offer these five basic maintenance tips:

Check the tires

Because tire pressure can change significantly as the outside temperature fluctuates, it’s important to check the tire pressure at least once a month to ensure it meets your vehicle’s recommended PSI. Low tire pressure can lead to poor performance, premature and irregular wear, and higher rolling resistance which can impact fuel efficiency. If the tires show any signs of damage, excessive wear or aging, it’s important to have them checked by a reputable service facility to ensure their safety and best performance. It might also be time for tire balancing and wheel alignment.

Spring cleaning

Get a head start on the car-show season by giving your ride a thorough cleaning, inside and out. In colder climates or for those who have driven to the ski slopes, it’s important to wash off damaging chemicals like road salt that can corrode critical underbody components. A thorough wash, with either a waterless cleaner or a sudsy wash, will benefit the paint, but don’t overlook the wheels and wheel wells to clear away road grime. Interior cleaning will help keep debris from staining carpets and getting into seat adjustment mechanisms, floor vents, cup holders, console storage and window switches.

Under the hood

Check that your vehicle’s fluids are at the proper levels, such as oil, washer fluid, brake fluid and coolant. And also do an around-vehicle check that all lights are in working order. If unsure about checking or adding fluid, or how to change any lamp bulbs, your local shop can usually administer these services at little expense.

Weekly shake-out

Take your vehicle out for a weekly drive to keep the battery charged, fluids circulated and to prevent tires from flat-spotting in the garage on the driveway. This is also a good opportunity to spot mechanical issues that may need further professional attention. Today’s highly electrified vehicles, with battery-sapping computer sensors, can drain a 12-volt cranking battery in two to three weeks if the vehicle is not driven regularly.

Prepare for potholes

Roads take a beating after a season of inclement weather and with springtime blooms there also will be substantial potholes. The correct driving technique can help prevent damage when encountering potholes: keep plenty of distance between you and the car ahead so as to easily spot potholes. If a pothole impact is inevitable, don’t swerve, but instead safely decrease your speed, take it head-on and slowly roll over the pothole. It is always advisable to check your tires after any measurable pothole impact as it may damage the tire structure and could require replacement.

The Hankook Tire Gauge Index is a survey of American’s attitudes and opinions about driving. The latest survey, conducted Feb. 22-24, 2021, polled 2,732 randomly selected motorists age 18 and older who have a valid U.S. driver’s license.

The latest data from the Hankook Tire Gauge Index can be found at TechAndTread.com.

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WD-40 renews partnership with Habitat for Humanity

BY MARK MAYNARD

Lift a hammer, lift a life with WD-40 as it partners with Habitat for Humanity International. For every 12-ounce can of WD-40 Smart Straw sold at participating Lowe’s Home Improvement stores, the San Diego-based maker of multi-purpose lubricants will donate 50 cents to the grassroots Christian housing organization.

The effort marks the second year in which WD-40 Brand is supporting Habitat for Humanity.

Through April 30, 2021, WD-40 will donate up to $50,000 to assist the global nonprofit housing group in creating safe and affordable housing.

Having a place to call home means more now than ever — and WD-40 Brand is helping to make that happen for families across the globe, Erin Bala, director of brand management and innovation at WD-40 Co., said in a statement.

“WD-40 Company values making things better than they are today with its products and through partnerships with organizations like Habitat for Humanity,” said Bala. “Throughout the pandemic, Habitat for Humanity has continued to advocate for housing solutions that will allow more people to gain access to affordable housing and we’re proud to help the organization achieve its goals.”

The need for affordable housing has never been greater and the continued support of WD-40 Co. will help communities become stronger and more resilient, said Julie Laird Davis, VP of corporate and cause marketing partnerships at Habitat for Humanity International.

“In 2021, we will continue to support communities around the world by helping families build and improve their homes,” she said.

Lowe’s also has been a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity, including the Women Build initiative and other program and advocacy work. As a continuation of the partnership, 100 percent of all donations made through the Lowe’s “Be the Change” campaign from January 2021 to March 31, 2021, will be donated to Habitat for Humanity International.

About WD-40 Brand

For nearly 70 years, WD-40 Multi-Use Product, America’s No. 1 multi-purpose lubricant, has helped users stop squeaks, remove grease and grime, penetrate stuck parts and displace moisture. And a line of specialist products consists of lubricants, penetrants, greases, cleaners and degreasers and rust-management solutions.

The WD-40 brand is also well-known for such products as 3-IN-ONE, X-14, 2000 Flushes, Carpet Fresh, Spot Shot and Lava soap.

Learn more about WD-40 Brand at wd40.com  and Habitat for Humanity at Habitat.org.

MarkMaynard@cox.net

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New tires provide a rewarding new-car feel on a budget

The new tire centers at JBA Speed Shop are a Tire Rack top five-star installer. (Photos by Mark Maynard) 

 

JBA Speed Shop now provides full tire services and front-end alignment, including for high-performance vehicles

 

By MARK MAYNARD

New tires are one of the simplest and least expensive ways to give your old ride that new-car feel. Even if the tread does not appear to be unevenly worn or down to the wear-bar indicators, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and new-vehicle manufacturers suggest a tire is only 100 percent safe to use until it turns 5 to 6 years old. Of course, a tire can be operable up to 10 years if you check it for issues annually after the fifth year.

In 2013, I had re-tired my 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid (bought in 2012) with four new Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max all-season touring tires. They were promoted as an affordable choice with low-rolling resistance to stretch fuel mileage. They have a tread-life warranty of 6-years or 65,000-miles, which put my set of Goodyears at the end of their life cycle, even though they had substantial tread remaining.

The 7-year-old Goodyear Assurance tires appeared to have good tread remaining, but the cracks of old age were apparent on closer examination.

They did not appear worn out, but upon closer examination, there were visible surface cracks from age — and the tires now rode like hard, black checkers. On the highway I could average 30 mpg and 17-24 around town.

During a suspension check-up for shock absorbers and other suspension elements, the technician advised that the tires were old and should be replaced. They also were out of balance and a front-end alignment was needed.

All of those necessary service points had crept up over the last few years and I had accepted that the tires were just hard and noisy. And I had also accepted that the choppy ride at highway speeds was just how the compact, front-drive SUV handled. I never pushed it for cornering maneuvers, so how it handled was just fine as a daily driver.

But after replacing the front struts and rear shock absorbers, the handling and ride quality improved dramatically. And then I knew that new tires would really improve the ride.

But not just any new tires.

The MeltdownTires center specializes in high-performance applications.

There are many brands of tires for a compact SUV, but it is difficult to choose a winner when the user reviews contradict each other. I was shopping a premium all-season tire and had written a short story on Pirelli’s Scorpion Verde All Season Plus II tires.

Checking various tire sites, the Scorpion Verde had many positive reviews. So I started shopping prices at Tirebuyer.com, which often has the lowest pricing, especially when shipped directly to an installer.

JBA owner J. Bittle bought the best equipment money can buy, he says, including the state-of-the-art Hunter machines.

A set of Scorpion Verdes, size 235/70R16, would cost $590 or $147.50, with free shipping to a tire shop of my choice. And at the time there was a $40 discount if I ordered by a deadline.

For a comparison, I called the JBA Speed Shop in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego. Owner J. Bittle had recently opened a tire facility in an annex building at his compound. Among the speed shop’s specialties are dynamometer testing for chassis and engine, machine-shop services for custom engine builds and the blueprinting of an engine and a “plumbing” center for braided steel lines, military-spec fuel lines, oil lines and brake lines.

His tire center includes an online tire-shopping link that populates all the major brands and their common pricing. The link listed the same pricing as at Tirebuyer.com. And JBA is a Tire Rack top five-star installer; tires can be purchased online and shipped to JBA for installation.

JBA stocks top brand names in wheels and tires.

I liked the idea of supporting the home-grown business and had JBA order the tires, which were shipped to the shop in about five days.

Bittle has added two levels of tire service. His JBA Tire Center offers basic tires and wheels, “for the best service for the best price,” he says. And the MeltdownTires Performance Center specializes in high-performance tires, including race rubber and custom wheels, whether for a new car or a full custom hot rod.

“A standard alignment center does not understand what occurs when you lower vehicles, so we brought it in-house because we couldn’t outsource anymore,” he said. “It’s becoming more and more difficult to find trusted vendors,” he said, “especially for balancing Plus-1 or Plus-2 tire fitments [adding larger and wider wheels by 1, 2 or 3 inches].

“There are only a couple of facilities in town that have the facilities that we do,” he said. “Our Hunter machines are state of the art and we bought the best equipment money can buy.”

I made an appointment to have the tires installed and an alignment. The tires, mounting and balancing ($20 each) and other fees (tire disposal and recycling) came to a no-regrets $738.34 plus $98 for the alignment.

Premium tire upgrade

Unless you are putting tires on a junker to sell, upgrading to more premium tire brings rewards you will appreciate and value every time you drive. And I also noted a significant boost in fuel economy.

The Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires I replaced were good for about 30 mpg on the highway and 17 to 24 mpg around town. While making a recent 80-mile highway run last week on the new Pirellis, I was quite surprised to see that the Escape’s mileage counter had hit 33.3 mpg and it might have gone higher with more highway driving. Around town, the tires are helping to deliver an average of 24-27 mpg. When new, my Escape had factory mileage ratings of 34/30/32 mpg city/hwy combined.

What Pirelli says

I found the Scorpion Verde tires to be quiet rolling and supple, and very responsive in cornering.

The Scorpion Verde tires are quiet rolling and supple. A side benefit has been improved fuel economy.

Pirelli says its Scorpion Verde All Season Plus II tires are an extremely well-balanced choice for SUVs and crossovers. The eco-friendly tire (verde meaning “green” in Italian) delivers high performance, low noise and excellent handling, the company says.

The all-season touring tire was updated in mid-2019 with a new tread compound and a larger footprint for improved wet and dry handling and wet braking. The second-gen formula maintains the mileage, comfort, noise and winter performance of the previous generation, Pirelli says.

Sold in 40 sizes, from 16 to 22 inches, the Scorpion Verde All Season Plus II is covered by a 65,000-mile limited tread wear warranty. Depending on the size, pricing can range from $140 to $255 each. And Pirelli offers a 30-day trial offer, called Confidence Plus Plan. If a buyer is not satisfied with a set of four new tires, they can be exchanged for a new set of four Pirelli tires at the original place of purchase, within 30 days from the original date of purchase.

Older vehicles run great, until they don’t — and then it can be a major expense to get them back to what we had before, which might not feel like the cost was worth it. New tires, however, are like a halo of good feelings and give reassurance of safety in foul weather.

With good tires, you will know exactly where your money went — and you’ll remind yourself to do it sooner next time.

MarkMaynard@cox.net

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Disinfecting your vehicle: Do’s and don’ts

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, keeping your vehicle sanitized is as important as frequent handwashing.

Nissan offers tips on how to sanitize your vehicle without damaging its interior

Frequent hand washing as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a crucial part of staying healthy, but so is disinfecting surfaces, including those in your car, whether it’s new, newer or a classic.

“Most people are still using their vehicles, whether they are essential employees commuting to work or someone running to the grocery store while in quarantine,” said Ryan Fulkerson, director, New Model Engineering, Nissan North America. “We want to make sure they’re informed on how to best keep their vehicle disinfected.”

How to begin
The CDC recommends wearing disposable gloves for cleaning and then disinfecting surfaces. If a surface appears dirty, it should be wiped down with soap and water prior to disinfection. For vehicle interiors, a soft cloth or microfiber towel dampened with soap and water can be used to wipe down hard surfaces.

Avoid these chemical cleaners
While most common household disinfectants are effective, some are not ideal for use on a vehicle including bleach, hydrogen peroxide, benzene, thinners or other harsh and abrasive cleaners. Chemical products such as these can damage vehicle upholstery and interior surfaces. Instead, alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against the coronavirus, according to the CDC, and can be safely used in your vehicle.

Screen cleaning
The infotainment screen is tricky because it is a high-touch area that should not come in contact with aggressive cleaners. Use screen wipes or a soft cloth dampened with soap and water to clean the screen surface. Wipe dry with a clean, soft cloth. Ammonia-based cleaners should not be used on infotainment screens, as they can damage the anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings. If the vehicle is equipped, using voice commands can help avoid touching the center screen altogether.

Regularly disinfect these surfaces

  • Steering wheel
  • Key and remote fob
  • Exterior door handles, both sides
  • Trunk lid or lift gate grab areas
  • Interior door pulls, both sides and interior door panels
  • Ignition button, if equipped
  • Rearview mirror, back and edges
  • HVAC vents
  • Gear selector
  • Turn signal lever
  • Windshield wiper controls
  • Center stack knobs
  • Center console and arm rest
  • Seat belt and buckle. Avoid harsh cleaners on the belt itself, they can degrade the fibers and the belt’s strength
  • Parking brake handle, parking brake or release lever
  • Seat-adjustment controls

Call for help
If a vehicle requires more attention, remember that automotive dealerships and their service departments are deemed essential services while many businesses around the country are closed in response to government mandates aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. As a result, many Nissan service departments remain open and are available to assist with vehicle service and repairs. Many are offering no-contact drop off or at-home pick-up and delivery.

To locate a Nissan dealership, visit nissanusa.com/dealer-locator.

MarkMaynard@cox.net

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