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Crossing the Finish Line

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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It's finally over – I mean, I finished the project!

On this, the 12th day of Cleaning the Cobalt, I put in a final seven hours for a total of 61.

On a positive note, I completed all but two tasks I had hoped to achieve. The two I failed to do were to polish the glass with Mothers' Chrome Polish and to clean the carpets with GreaseMaster. I had to settle for just cleaning the windows and windshield with Sprayway Glass Cleaner and vacuuming the carpets and floormats with my trusty Shop-Vac. FYI, if you have hard to reach glass like the Cobalt's, give the Invisible Glass Cleaning Tool by Stoner a try. It's almost a necessity in my Cobalt SS and I don't think I'll try cleaning a modern car's recessed glass again without it. It makes it so much easier.

Otherwise, I was able to clean and dress the door jams, clean and dress the interior, finish cleaning up the wheels and tires, and cleaned and installed the license plates.

To deal with the door jams I first hit them with Mothers' Professional Instant Detailer to remove the heavy dusting/light dirt they picked up after I washed the car, then I began cleaning and conditioning the seals. Of course, I got some of the Meguiar's M40 Mirror Glaze Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner & Conditioner on the paint, and I was going to use Meguiar's M39 Mirror Glaze Heavy Duty Vinyl Cleaner to get it off, but I liked what I saw so I wiped it on the rest of the jams and it looked fantastic. It would have taken longer to clean the spots off than to wipe the whole jam down with it. I don't know whether it does or doesn't have silicone in it, but I was running out of time and time saving was critical today.

To clean the interior I first vacuumed everything off, then dusted with a Swiffer 360 (I like them better than car dusters), before hitting all the plastic surfaces with the Meguiar's M39 Heavy Duty Vinyl Cleaner on a Scott's Shop Towel. A microfiber or terry cloth towel would have been better for dealing with the grain in the interior plastics, but I ran out, so I had to make do and they worked. I did have to use a Mothers Detail Brush in several places, though.

After I cleaned everything, I used Mothers' All-in-One Leather Care on the seats, which cleaned them, conditioned them, and made them look nice all at once. Again, I had to use the Mothers Detail Brush to clean off a few minor stains out of the leather grain and get some stuck on stuff to get un-stuck.

After that I hemmed and I hawed about taking the time to dress the interior plastic parts, but I liked the way the jams turned out so much, I did it anyway. At first I tried the Mothers Professional Silicone-Free Dressing, but I didn't like the way it looked on the plastic – it definitely didn't turn out as shiny and nice as it did in the engine compartment, which may have been because I was trying to carefully apply it with a Scott's Shop Towel instead of the nappy towel or spraying it on and brushing it in, but I didn't want to get it everywhere. I made another snap decision and used the Meguiar's Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner & Conditioner and it knocked it out of the park. I will say that it was a little spotty, but I think that was because it wasn't reliably getting into the grain of the textured plastic. It may have been more uniform had I worked it in with a brush but I just didn't have the time. It still looks fantastic, though.

As the sun was going down on day twelve, I finished up the wheels with Mothers' Professional Instant Detailer on a microfiber towel to remove the dust, and got the polishing/glazing/waxing smear I got on the tires with some GreaseMaster on a shop towel.

I just scrubbed the dirty, buggy license plates with GreaseMaster, a brush, and bug and tar remover pad, then washed them with some dish soap in the sink, before tossing them back on.

And the car was done.

Now it's time for a little reward. My Speed Demon has been bugging me for a road trip and I'm going to go play.

After I go sleep.

Much sleep.

Ryan

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