Minor Detail

Bug Abatement on the Fly

By “Rotten” Rodney Bauman – Photography by the Author

For some, the repetitious task of car washing is doggone drudgery, like a mindless, mundane, monotonous chore. Others may take the very same task to higher levels as serious business. Either way, this’ll be about a wash.

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No matter which car-caring category you might fall into, the safety tips we’ll offer here could take the sting out of road trip cleanups, as well as higher-level detailing procedures. At any rate, the little work party to follow must be thrown.

To ensure a dramatic effect, we’ve chosen a colorful test vehicle. With its rather bright yellow frontend, “Guardrail” Willie Martin’s flammable ’55 Chevy is a moving target for a multitude of suicidal flying insect types—including things that sting.

So, how’s this for an insect collection? Just below the bug-splattered hood, a Danchuk stainless steel grille has bugs in its teeth—as expected.

At the time of this typewriting, two Arizona hot rodders are making the trek to Montana for our area’s premiere event, “The Big Shindig!” By the time Martin and friend Jim Sheridan arrived at our shop, the frontend of the old ’55 should be quite a mess. We’d imagine that sunshine, heat, and wind will’ve hardened splattered bug bodies, too.

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Lately we’ve heard some positive reviews for Mothers-brand Bug & Tar Remover. Here in our area, however, parts stores don’t seem to stock it. Summit does. In fact, they carry the entire Mothers product line. Known for quick, dependable deliveries as well as unbeatable prices, Summit has become our Plan A source for the parts and materials we routinely require.

Along the road from Arizona, through Utah, Idaho, and Montana, the old ’55 has accumulated a vast variety of bugs.

The minor detail job at hand will be a team effort. Among four team members there are no professional detailers, but the creator of our test vehicle’s 20-year-old finish is onboard, so we’ve pretty much got this.

A good number of them made it through the grille. A few more actually got by the core support to the hood’s underside.

Now before we actually begin, let’s be aware of certain detailing dangers. It’s a proven fact that bees and the like don’t need to be alive to sting. In this instance a Danchuk reproduction stainless steel grille makes a great hideout for them. On that note, the technical portion of our story is largely for anyone who must cautiously clean a bug-splattered grille. With the right products we’ll have the advantage. This might not be such doggone drudgery after all.

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Since there’s no need to wet the engine down we’ll stretch out a section of static-cling plastic sheeting.
Here are some Mothers products that we’re pretty sure we’ll use. At the lower right is an ordinary garden sprayer. Except for the sprayer, it’s all available through Summit.
As a first step, Martin applies Mothers Bug & Tar Remover to the affected expanse. It’ll foam up and stay where it’s needed as bug bodies are loosened in about 30 seconds.
This might be a good time for toothbrushing. For this, a Mothers-brand upholstery brush keeps fingers safe from stingers, as well as the grille’s own sharp edges.
According to instructions, this product must be rinsed before it can dry on the car. Here in cool shade, soft water from the garden sprayer floats loosened bug bodies away.
We like to keep a good supply of microfiber towels on hand at all times. This new one is Mothers brand as well. It’s best to remove tags before use—and it’s easily done.
Since we can’t see hidden stingers we’ll use protective latex gloves for this. With a microfiber towel a few stubborn stragglers are gently persuaded to let go.
For the hood’s underside, again with Mothers Bug & Tar Remover, the steps are about the same: spray product and allow 30-or-so seconds’ worth of foaming action.
Next, as before, Martin rinses the area with soft water from the garden sprayer. For such in-the-shop cleanups the sprayer helps to minimize the mess.
Without so much as moistening this car’s engine, the hood’s underside is cleaning up nicely. Here a fresh microfiber towel is all that’s needed to dry the area.
Moving onto the car-color core support, Martin knows the drill. As we’ll attempt to illustrate a little later, he’s beginning to enjoy himself.
Yes, this is actually pretty easy. With the last of our bugs successfully rinsed away, we can dry this area, close the hood, and refocus on the car’s exterior.
Since this debugging session is going so well, Martin can’t resist using his newfound advantage for bug-splattered mirrors and the upper windshield area.
Here on the car’s cowl, as before, rinsing floats the majority of splattered bug bodies away.
For the cowl’s stubborn stragglers, a moistened microfiber towel, again, is all that’s needed. At this stage our debugging is just about complete.
Next up, the old ’55 will receive an overall cleansing. Again we’re using softened water, but with Mothers Carnauba Wash & Wax it’s not absolutely necessary.
As usual, Martin begins on the roof. Working and rinsing his way down, he’s taking a liking to this brand-new Mothers Microfiber Chenille Wash Mitt. He’ll take it home.
After the bath the old ’55 is dried with a synthetic chamois that we’ve had. That’s boring, so let’s skip to the next step for a squirt-application of a wax we’ve not yet tried.
It’s Mothers California Gold Spray Wax. For the results we’re achieving, this is too easy. Lightly hand-buffed with microfiber, this 20-year-old finish is about as vivid as ever.
For some, car washing remains a dull subject. Safe, easy bug abatement, however, seems newsworthy. From here, Martin and Sheridan are off to “The Big Shindig!”
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