First off, everything you need you can buy at your local Pep boys, Kragen, etc. We here at Mustangworld have tried 87 different washes, waxes and protectants including: Zymol, Nu Finish, Autofom, Turtle wax, Meguires, First Brands, Wax Shop, 3M, Super Glaze (inc.), Dura Shine, Auri, Simoniz, Magic Clay, Ducky, Eagle One, Specialty (Detailer Only) Products and many many many more. What we wrote about here is what we think works best for us.

 NOTE: Our recommendations and reviews here are intended for maintaining brand new Mustangs 3 years or younger. After your Mustang passes the 3-4 year mark it's a whole different ball game. An older Mustang may need to be re-buffed with special compounds, glazed, etc. We did not get into detailed car care for older Mustangs here. If you are interested in this information, search for "car wash" on your favorite search engine. We found 62578 articles pertaining to washing a waxing older cars. You can also visit your local car detailer.

 Our reviews of the car care products took into consideration price. There are waxes that perform only slightly better than others for more than double the price. If you wash your Mustang all the time you don't need to be buying $40 waxing "systems". Would you use a tooth paste that claimed "you only have to brush your teeth once a year.." and brush only once a year? We wash and wax our Mustangs very frequently, sometimes every day, depending on how dirty they get. There is nothing to be ashamed of, people with large families, large gardens or swimming pools waste more water than a dude washing his Mustang every day.

These are the products that work well for us:

Kit Car Wash w/carnuba. Price: $4.99

 If you wash your Mustang more than 2 times a week and don't have time to wax it, this stuff works great. It does a good job of washing away dirt. It also includes a small amount of carnuba mixed in which serves as a good protectant for dust. It only leaves a small amount of carnuba wax protection so bird crap and tree sap will still get through. It offers great night time shine. During the day, lighter colored cars appear less shiny because of this thin carnuba coating. Another good wash n' wax is Blue Coral's carnuba wash n' wax. It comes in a bottle similar to this one and has an amber color.

 Zip Wax Car Wash. Price $3.99

 This is another wash n' wax type product. This stuff works like the wash above but leaves a much thinner layer of wax. The advantage here is that the car looks much more shiny during the day than when using carnuba based wash n' waxes. The downside is that there is next to no protection. This stuff is good if you wash your Mustang every day.

 Son of a Gun Protectant or Armor All. Price $4.99

Works on everything, it's non-toxic and has great shine. We use it on tires, plastic trim and in the engine compartment. It lasts a long time also and holds up to water well. Armor All also works very well, and we found it works better than Son of a Gun or 2001 for tire protection.

Nu Finish Car Polish. Price $5.99

 If you really need to give your Mustang a good wax coating this stuff works great. It will remove mild oxidation and leave a great long lasting shine. We use this stuff all the time for removing bug and tar stains as well. It also works well at removing carbon buildup on you Mustang's rear bumper. It compares very well to waxes costing $40 or more.

Wax Shop's Super Glaze. Price $6.99

If you need to wax your car quickly this stuff works great. You can do the whole car at once then wipe it down all at once and you have a Mustang ready for a night of "ultra shiny" crusin'. It also works well for removing bug and tar stains.

  Simoniz One Step Car Wax. Price $5.99

 This is one of the best waxes we've seen out there. There should be an infomercial about this one because it really works easy. Just put this stuff on and wipe to a shine. No waiting for "drying to haze" or anything. It leaves a really slick and shiny surface. You will see water run off your Mustang like water off a ducks back.

 "The Absorber" Car drying device. Price $6.99

  This will save you from using 5 towels to dry your Mustang.  It's not a leather chamois, it's not a lame thin piece of foam, it's is micro porous ultra absorbent material. It feels like a piece of cheese or something. It takes a while to get used to but once you do, it's all you'll ever use. Just wring it out and keep using. It's very durable and does not scratch your car. Comes with a neat plastic storage tube.

Cool Reader tip

 I always used a sponge to wash my Stang but small grains of sand are almost impossible to get out of the sponge unless you take a great deal of time to do so. A cool Mustangworld reader (Bill) sent in a cool tip. Use a soft hog's hair brush for washing your Stang. It won't scratch the paint and it's easier to get completely clean. This brush is available from Griot's Garage along with some other nice stuff. The brush costs way more than a sponge, but it's way cheaper than a new paint job.

Griot's Garage, 800-345-5789. 12" long brush from #66073 Boar's Hair Brush $69.95
16" long x 8" wide bucket $37.95
#11108 Haze Free Window Cleaner $5.85
#14910 Lint Free Towels (150) $19.50

So in our instructions here you can substitute this hog's hair brush in for the sponge if you want.

How to wash your Mustang's Exterior, Interior and Engine.
(Everything we say here you can do at your own risk)

How to wash your Mustang's Exterior .

Materials Needed for Exterior Wash:

1) "The Absorber" (See picture above) for drying your car. You won't need 50 towels if you have this.

2) Bucket w/handle. For the water and car wash mixture.

3) Large Drying Towel. For wiping door sills, trunk sill, hood sill and getting spots "The Absorber" missed.

4) Soft sponge. For cleaning.

5) Small & large towel. For applying and buffing wax (if needed).

6) Another small towel for applying tire dressing and protectant.

Directions for Washing Exterior :

1) Hose it off with water. Blast it using your thumb or nozzle. Watch out when pulling the hose around, you don't want to ding your car. Make sure your car's disc brakes and exhaust pipes are cold before hosing off . Start from the roof on down the sides.

2) Put car wash mixture into clean bucket and "foam it up" by blasting water into it. Take your clean sponge and put it in the bucket also.

3) With very light pressure wash the all the painted surfaces of your car, then wash the windows, followed by the wheel wells, then the rims and exhaust pipes (chrome tips), and then wash the rubber tires. In that order! Always re-dip the sponge. If the sponge falls on the ground or wipes up some dirt DO NOT put it back in the wash bucket. Rinse it off in another bucket or with the hose completely.

4) Quickly rinse off your Mustang with running water, without your thumb or spray nozzle on the end of the hose.

5) Take out "The Absorber" and one towel or a bunch of regular clean towels, and with very light pressure glide it over the painted surfaces of your Mustang to dry it, then dry the windows, followed by the door sills, trunk sill, engine sill, the rims and finally the rubber tires. Yes, the black rubber tires. NOTE: Use "The Absorber" for painted surfaces and windows only, you don't want to get it dirty. The same rule for the wash sponge applies here, if a towel falls to the ground or drags on the ground don't continue to use it. If "The Absorber" touches the ground or wipes up dirt then rinse it off completely, wring it out, then continue.

6) Don't forget to slide "the Absorber" or a towel under the rear brake lights to dry that "hidden" water in there. Don't forget to dry the top side of the "pony emblem" in the front of your Stang. Water spots easily form on top of the emblem. Don't forget to open the trunk all the way to drain water from the rear wing location and to dry the tops of the brake lights. Don't forget to pop the hood and dry the 1" wide painted sides of the engine compartment. Open and shut the doors to shake out water from the mirrors. Dry the underside of the hood as well.

7) Wait 15 minutes. Then spray some "Son of a Gun" protectant onto a small towel and apply to the black plastic mirrors, plastic radio antenna base and black plastic underneath the windshield wipers. If you want, you can also apply it to the black metal wipers. Do not apply it to the black plastic molding inside or outside the side the windows. Now buff all the areas you applied "Son of a Gun" to with the clean side of the towel. Make sure the surfaces are shiny and dry.

8) When your tires are completely dry take a small towel and apply "Son of a Gun" to the towel and then wipe it on the tires. Put a light coat on. Less is more. Excessive application will "fling" off your tires onto your sides of your Mustang at high wheel rpm's. Apply to all 4 tires. You can also wash your  windows with Windex or any good glass cleaner at this time.

9) You're done washing, but if you want to put on a light coat of wax for crusin' around you can put on Wax Shop's Superglaze to the painted surfaces only or Siminoz One Step wax. Both of these waxes are cheap ($), offer great shine and they are easy to apply. Neither wax lasts very long but who cares, you're washing and waxing your Mustang next week anyway right? Siminoz one step wax actually goes on in one step with no buffing. Wax Shop's wax has a little more shine but takes just a bit longer to apply. To apply the wax follow the directions printed on the container.

How to wash your Mustang's Interior .

Materials Needed for Interior Wash :

1) Clean Towel

2) Vacuum Cleaner or Dust Buster

3) Water

Directions for Washing Interior :

1) Take out floor mats (if needed) and shake.

2) Vacuum interior carpets

3) With a damp towel wipe down all interior surfaces. Using only water. If you have a stain on any hard plastic surface you can use a little hand soap to clean it. Don't use soap on the whole interior dash. You don't have to use any protectants at all just dry everything after wiping down with damp towel. If you really want to use a protectant "Son of a Gun" protectant works very well for this. Don't put this on your dash, it could give you a nasty glare in your windshield at certain times of the day (because the dash is shiny).

4) To remove hard stains from carpet use a "carpet stain remover" from Pep Boys.

How to wash your Mustang's Engine .

Again, this is what works for us. If you follow these directions you do so at your own risk.

Materials Needed for Engine Wash :

1) 2 Small towels

2) Water

3) Son of Gun protectant

Optional: Air compressor with blower attachment.

Directions for Washing Engine :

 Before starting MAKE SURE your engine is cold. If you wash a hot engine you could crack the engine block or in the 4.6L you can crack the plastic upper intake runners. We WILL NOT be hosing the engine off with a water hose or a fire extinguisher. This procedure could easily be done on older "carb" based engines, but if you don't know what you are doing you can damage your modern EFI engine. It is possible to cover up all the electrical connections and do this but we DO NOT recommend it. Wait 8 hours before driving the car after cleaning the engine as described below. This will give time for the Son of a Gun protectant to completely dry, if you don't wait , your engine will stink like burning oil or in this case, burning Son of a Gun protectant.

1) Take a small dry towel and wipe down any oil residue. Wipe down the master brake cylinder, battery terminals etc.

2) Blow the engine clean with an air compressor, particularly the areas above each valve cover. This area is flat and dirt and dust build up easy here. This is also a great place for rats and mice to eat their meals on a cold night, so don't be surprised if you have to manually remove snail shells, rat terds, candy wrappers, etc. If you don't have an air compressor just do a real good job of wiping this area down with a damp towel. Watch out not to cut your hands or pull any wires loose.

3) Wipe down the rest of the engine parts with the damp cloth, the upper strut tower brace, all the plastic pieces above the radiator, hoses, wiring harness, air intake assembly, etc. If your cloth get's dirty then use another or keep rotating it.

4) Dry all the areas you wiped with the damp cloth. Wait 10 minutes to make sure the engine is completely dry.

5) Spray Son of a Gun protectant on all black plastic parts and hoses. Avoid spraying onto aluminum or metal parts! If a little bit gets onto a metal part it's no big deal but avoid it if you can.Wipe off all excess and buff to a shine. Careful not to get too much on the plastic upper intake runners (4.6L SOHC). Make sure you wipe up ALL the excess.

6) WAIT 8 HOURS before driving. If it's a real emergency you can drive, but your engine will stink like burning Son of a Gun protectant. It's best to let the protectant completely dry off first before driving.

 After doing this your engine will look showroom new. Dust will have a harder time adhering to plastic surfaces because of Son of a Gun's anti-static formula and slick surfaces.

Until next time....See you on the street!