Springtime With Your Saab

Remember the first warm day of spring, when you find yourself kneeling in your driveway, attentively cleaning your Saab’s alloys with a small toothbrush, dirt all over your clothes, Abba blaring away on your boombox… (ok, ok, the last part is probably just me 😉 )? Its here! It is time to get your beloved Saab into shape for the upcoming year! Time to wash the dirt, salt and sand off, and lather it lovingly with a nice wax. While we’re on the subject of firsts, don’t forget the other fun part of spring: the first time you get to fully put down your windows, open the moonroof, turn off the seat heaters, and drive down the road blasting some fine tunes with the biggest grin on your face! (yes, that radio of mine only plays Abba while driving too! 😉 ).

There’s absolutely nothing like these feelings of absolute bliss, when you drive a fine Swedish automobile. With everything that has happened over the past six months, those of us who love Saab have been very stressed out. We need to now take the time to let the administrators do their work finalizing the new owner for Saab, while we show our appreciation for the Saabs that we currently own. Two easy ways of doing this are to do a complete spring detail, and also to hit the open road to a fun destination, hopefully with other Saab lovers!

I want to give a brief rundown on a proper spring detail, and why we should all be doing it. I’ll start with the why. Besides the fact we love our cars and want them to look good, a good detail will prevent rust, fading, corrosion and scratching. These things detract from the beauty as well as heavily on the resale value. Taking the time out now to do a few simple things will save you a lot of money in the long run, as these problems down the road can and will lead to requiring body work and repainting. You will also get extra years out of your Saab by taking good care of it inside and out.

And here’s how you do it: I strongly recommend hand washing over conventional quickie car washes, and I recommend using warm water when you can, as it helps lower the risk of leaving scratches. I dislike quickie car washes because they use strong chemicals that can and will harm the paint and chrome/gold finishing if used for any length of time. A good hand wash with very sudsy soap will gently remove dirt and grime, and today’s soaps are very gentle on both the car and environment. A quick tip on washing- make sure you rinse off the mitt or sponge after each panel to prevent dirt from being carried and possibly scratching the paint. Once you’ve washed, use a microfiber towel or chamois to dry the car, they work better than a terry cloth and will not scratch the paint. Next step is to apply a nice polish to the paint. Polish makes the car smooth and shiny, and will also help fill in tiny scratches in the clear coat (the protectant over the regular paint). Finally, you are ready for the final step! You can either use a good carnuba wax, or a paint sealant. The difference is a paint sealant is made to last at least 6 months and can be tougher than a wax. I don’t recommend using spray waxes, they have a very short lifespan.

A big problem with our cars is the tendency for plastic mouldings and doorhandles. We also have visible rubber trim around doors, trunks and windshields. These over time with sun and heat will fade from black to grey. But there is something you can do to help protect them, and turn them back to black when faded. There are products out there for plastics and rubber, one of the most popular one is actually called Back To Black, and its made by Meguiar’s. You can either apply it with a towel and rub it into the plastic, or if you are as meticulous as me, you can apply it with a toothbrush to make sure all the crevices are covered, and then finish off with a towel. I also use this product on the rubber around the doors, trunk and windshield, it keeps things looking nice and new, and also keeps it moisturized so it won’t crack. Actually, its amazing how new the car will look by doing just this little step!

Another piece to a good detail involves keeping the wheels clean. You can either use the leftover car wash soap, or you can buy a special wheel cleaner. It is best to use either a toothbrush or a tire brush to clean both the tire and the wheel. Buildup over time will cause rust and other problems, and will harm the rubber on the tire. Wheels aren’t the cheapest to fix when the finish gets ruined on them, you will have to find replacements instead. To keep the tire looking nice, and to help any curb scuffing, there is a finishing product you can spray on to the tire to make the rubber nice, shiny and like new. Actually, this also helps keep the rubber soft and flexible, which will help prolong the life of the tire’s sidewall.

The interior is easier- it involves vacuuming every square inch, possibly going after any stains with a carpet cleaning product, and using an interior cleaner (please stay away from the Armor All!) to wipe off the dash, doors, center console, mirrors, etc. After that, use a glass cleaner and clean off the insides to all the windows as well as mirrors. Finally, if you have leather seats, you really need to apply a nice conditioner cleanser to them. This will keep the leather moisturized and soft, and help prevent from premature wear and cracking. A well treated leather seat won’t care so much about the hot glaring sun, or the occasional wet if you’re like me and forget to put up a window or close the moon roof during a rain storm.

Now that the car is clean, its time to hit the road and have some fun! Did you ever hear that clean cars drive faster? Actually its no joke, its been proven that wax reduces the drag resistance and thus makes the air flow smoother over the car. I’m not sure if that explanation will get you out of a traffic ticket, but it might help convince your significant other, or friends, that you need to go for a nice long drive in the afternoon… to see how the car’s running… or something. But really, take this time to enjoy your Saab, and get reacquainted with each other. It doesn’t matter what has happened with the parent company, for your car still runs strong, and it was made in Trollhattan. Have a great and safe spring season with your Saab!

TonymacUK
Member
4 years 6 months ago

I have used Back to Black and, yes, it`s very good. But in the UK a product which was recommended by SAAB is Safeguard – wheel cleaners, tyre spray (excellent) and shampoos – I use them always.

sab
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Good article but it is actually Autumn. March through May is Autumn here so you are 6 months out. 😉

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Spring break for the kids, so it works

GerritN
Member
4 years 6 months ago
You forgot the most important part of washing; hose down the car with a lot of water before you start with the sudsy stuff, you want to get all the sand and loose abrasive off before you start the mechanical scrubbing. I agree about the commercial car washes, the chemical are incredibly harsh on everything on your car. The worst are the brush-less car washes, to get the dirt off they are using extremely aggressive chemicals. Also, that little bit of spray-on wax that they are using doesn’t last for more than 2 weeks. Polishing is great but you should… Read more »
rune
Member
4 years 6 months ago

wax <> polish, no? (and I believe there are different grades of polish — from wax to rubbing?)

Kimberly
Member
4 years 6 months ago
> A big problem with our cars is the tendency for plastic mouldings and doorhandles. We also have visible rubber trim around doors, trunks and windshields. These over time with sun and heat will fade from black to grey. But there is something you can do to help protect them, and turn them back to black when faded. There are products out there for plastics and rubber, one of the most popular one is actually called Back To Black, and its made by Meguiar’s. Both products suck – they are basically mineral oil, aka “baby oil” and you need to… Read more »
Dan P
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Just bought myself some “Black Wow”, which I’ve heard good stuff about.

Kimberly
Member
4 years 6 months ago
I just read the description for black wow – it does not contain dye and is a dressing,. Forever Black lasts, well, seemingly forever, I did reapply it after 14 months because I used denatured alcohol to remove road tar from the skirt (and made a stain), and decided to see what a second application of Forever Black would do as far as evening it out. The trim looks brand new four months later. There wasn’t much difference between the second application on that skirt and the rest of the trim that was coated 14 months prior. If you want… Read more »
Dan P
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Gah! That’s disappointing. Great tip on the forever black – will see if I can adjust my order..

GerritN
Member
4 years 6 months ago

So what if your trim is not black, but grey or red or whatever. The trim on my Viggen is grey. Mother’s back to black makes it look OKish, unfortunately wax on it makes it worse again. My good old Citroen BX is in storage in The Netherlands for 11 months a year. The bumpers are suppose to be red, but after storage look almost white in spots. How to get them nice and red again?

StephenJ
Member
4 years 6 months ago
+1 on Forever Black. That stuff is great, but you may want to consider removing smaller parts from your car first before using it. The dye sets quickly and is difficult to get off of paint. For this reason, I also use latex gloves when handling the stuff. I used it last night on my third tailight. The interior housing for the light had become gray and discolored. I popped it off, gave it two coats (letting it dry between each coat), and reinstalled it. Now instead of being a washed out gray when looking through the rear window, it… Read more »
StephenJ
Member
4 years 6 months ago

…in the *back*.

New member – no edit function?

Dmain
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Its not spring until I can remove the Blizzacks in favor of the 18 inch PZero Neros. It will still be a few weeks for that here in Cananda, but I am looking forward to it.

dezzer
Member
4 years 6 months ago

every time I wash my car…. I polish it and have done so for many years…..using ”woods ‘carnuba wax….best wax ever, try it just punch it into internet. also for alloy wheel cleaner ” VIROSOL” an orange based degreaser….. absolutely brilliant..a car valet er gave me the heads up on this stuff, amazing. Your SAAB deserves it !!

David-SAAB
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Although it is the beginning of autumn here in Australia, I am planning to clean my car tomorrow! (public holiday here tomorrow too)

Turbo9000
Member
4 years 6 months ago
Abba in your Saab? Absolutely ! together with all the other great swedish music, like Ace of Base, Ainbusk, Anna Bergendahl, Anna Ternheim, Anne Sofie von Otter, Frida, BAO, CajsaStina Åkerström, Calaisa, Carola, Charlotte Perrelli, Elin Ruth Sigvardsson, Eva Dahlgren, Jette Torp (Denmark), Jill Johnson, Josefin Nilsson, Kari Bremnes (Norway), Lena Philipsson, Lene Marlin (Norway), Lisa Miskovsky, Marie Fredriksson, Nanne, Peter Jöback, Roxette, Sanna Nielsen, Sara Varga, Secret Garden (Norway), Sofia Karlsson, Timoteij and West of Eden! Country Music is also great to play while driving, although it also sounds great in my Saab, it sounds even better in our… Read more »
hilmar
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Thanks – I was looking for this kind of music. I am a great fan of Roxette and also like the more quiet ones like Anna Ternheim, Sophie Zelmani, … 🙂

Turbo9000
Member
4 years 6 months ago

You’re welcome!

Rolf Hägg
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Isn’t Sweden the home of death metal???

Khrisdk
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Depends..
Death was from Florida..USA and most of the pioners was from US too
But yes, a lot of the other guys comes from Sweden..Entombed are my favourites
But I think most of the Swedes are Melodeath..which is also great for cruising..fast cruising..

Peter, Sweden
Member
4 years 6 months ago

The real spring-makeover-day is not until when you’re allowed to put on the gorgeous 19″ Turbine-rims 🙂 A couple more weeks to go!

E
Member
4 years 6 months ago

+1

Rolf Hägg
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Can’t find those in the states 🙁

zippy
Member
4 years 6 months ago
Sadly I sold my Saab back in October as we changed continents and they are very expensive to insure here in the UK (next year I will get a used 9-3SS). For those of you in North America I always found that Turtle Wax Ice car polish did a great job on black plastic bits of the car. Oddly enough peanut butter (smooth works best 🙂 ) did a great job as well when used sparingly. I TOTALLY miss my Saab and am driving around in a crappy Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 until my insurance premiums get to an acceptable level.… Read more »
Turbo9000
Member
4 years 6 months ago

+1
(would an older Saab also be too expensive to insure?)

zippy
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Yes. Oddly enough the same as a newer one. 🙁

Paul Torr
Member
4 years 6 months ago

you have my sympathy try a classic car insurance with limited mileage might bring the price down

TonymacUK
Member
4 years 6 months ago

I found “Quote me Happy” (an online version of Aviva) the cheapest. My 1.9TTid SE SC costs £290 Fully Comp – but that`s with full NCB. Check it out, you might still be able to go SAAB!

zippy
Member
4 years 6 months ago

My biggest issue with car insurance…..I live in Manchester. My 15 year old Corsa costs me £512 a year fully comp with 6yrs NCD.

spacy
Guest
4 years 6 months ago
Try living in London then..!! Just tried to get a qoute from qoutemehappy & it won’t even state a price for a MY98 9K… Car insurance in the UK has gone mad in the last few years. My 9K used to [just 3-4 years ago] cost around £300 with full NCB, but I was lucky to get a price of £598, when my previous year’s insurer wanted over £900. The price I got was on moneysupermarket.co.uk Insurance co name; LV and cover provided by Bationwide. Strangely several prices for LV were much higher. My 9K cost £698 this year &… Read more »
spacy
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Typos:

Bationwide = Nationwide
&
cost £698 this year = £598

paulsaero
Member
4 years 6 months ago

2007 9-3 2.8 Anniversary Aero Sportwagon, 20000miles/year, business use £270/year with Direct Line. LV wouldn’t insure as the car has optional darkened windows behind the B pillar and wouldn’t listen hat it’s a factory option!

spacy
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

What area of UK though??

But optional is factory fitted, hence no modifications, surely??

E
Member
4 years 6 months ago

@Zippy … is the price high because of your speeding tickets in your previous Saab 😉

zippy
Member
4 years 6 months ago

No points on my license so I just think its the insurance companies are robbing [email protected] 🙁

RS
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Zippy, I urge you to get something safer (a sport sedan). Saving on insurance is not the smartest thing to do IMHO.
Here’s an old crash video. Speed only 50 km/h.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujEA0S9QxGI

TJNies
Member
4 years 6 months ago
These are all good ideas, but I am surprised no one so far has mentioned how effective a clay bar is. In my neck of the woods – Pennsylvania – we get a LOT of gunk on our cars from the road salting, which no amount of soap is going to remove. Wash as described, use a clean clay bar with a bit of lubricant (a couple of drops of car wash in a spray bottle of water), rub lightly until you feel all of the grime lifted. move onto the next section. Wash the car again, then apply your… Read more »
spacy
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Lucky me =

Hand car wash including all door stops & leather off afterwards @ £2.99 a car ( € 3.30 or $4.50).

Getting lazy in my old age….

paulsaero
Member
4 years 6 months ago
My cleaning method is a foam soak for about 10minutes, cold jet wash then a handwash rinsing the mitt at least once/panel but more likely twice or three times rinse with a hose then dry with microfibre towels. I add a coat of wax about once a month. If the car has embeded grime I use a clay bar. When this has been used I polish the areas that I’ve used the bar on then apply an acrylic sealant then wax. My car is Jet Black so looks bad when dirty but stunning when clean! I found this website useful… Read more »
JM Gaitan
Member
4 years 6 months ago

I like Poorboys Trim Restorer, much better than Back to Black. Also use Collinite 845# on wheels to protect from road muck and brake dust, lasts about a year. I use Collinte’s Super Double Coat on the paint followed by P21S 100% Nuba.

wpDiscuz