• What point in the detail should you clean the exhaust tips and why you should clean them

• Which chemicals and accessory tools work best for cleaning exhaust tips

• How often do you clean exhaust tips to avoid heavy carbon or soot buildup and how do you maintain them once they are clean

• How to add more shine with metal polishing, and which towels and applicators work best for this process

• What is the difference between Adam's Metal Polish #1 and Metal Polish #2

Additional tricks - what pressure washer nozzle works best, how should you spray water onto the exhaust tips, #0000 Steel Wool, and more  


The last specialty area that you should clean before moving onto washing the whole outside of the car is the exhaust tips. Exhaust tips can stand out in one of two ways - either they look shiny and awesome or they're dirty and covered with carbon and soot. Your eyes are drawn to the exhaust tips no matter what condition they're in, but you will show more pride in your vehicle and others will respect it more when the exhaust tips are looking just right. In this video, Joe demonstrates how clean and polish exhaust tips in just a few minutes, using some of the same tools that were already used to clean the wheels, tires, and engine bay.

As with wheels,tires, and the engine bay, using a pressure washer to clean the exhaust tips will produce excellent results, and just like there were a few precautions with those other areas of the vehicle, there are a few things to take special care of here as well. Make sure that the exhaust tips have had time to cool off - exhaust tips reach very hot temperatures during driving, so you do not want to burn your hands while cleaning them. Joe uses the 25-degree green pressure washer tip in this instance to keep the pressurized water stream more focused in a smaller fan pattern to avoid hitting painted areas around the exhaust tips. Rinse the tips thoroughly with water, being very attentive to not spray the water directly into the exhaust pipe - spray into the tip at an angle so that most of the water then drips back out.  

Next, spray our All Purpose Cleaner generously onto the exhaust tip, making sure to cover all around the outside, and also the inside if it is a double-wall polished tip like on this Yukon. Our Wheel Spoke Brush works excellent to agitate the cleaner, since it has soft synthetic bristles that will not scratch. The Wheel Spoke Brush is just the right size to clean all around the exhaust tip, especially if the vehicle has dual exhaust tips that are close to each other, but our Angled Wheel Brush is another suitable brush for cleaning them. If both of those brushes are still too large, then use the Adam's Rubberized Trim & Lug Nut Brush to effectively clean smaller areas, and make sure to spray some All Purpose Cleaner directly into the bristles of the brush for more scrubbing power. Rinse with a strong stream from the pressure washer to remove all exhaust residue and carbon buildup, then allow the exhaust tips to air dry or use the Air Cannon to dry them before moving onto the  

Once the exhaust tips are dry, if they have been fairly neglected, there may still be some traces of soot and carbon buildup on the inside of the tip, and at this point they most likely look clean but slightly dull. This is when you will want to hand polish them to make them stand out and look factory-new. This can be the messy part, so rubber gloves are an optional item at this point if you do not want to get your fingers and hands dirty with soot and exhuast residue. Pour a few drops of Adam's Metal Polish #1 onto a Grey Microfiber Applicator Pad, then work it around the exhaust tip evenly. Use light pressure - multiple passes back and forth will give better results than using heavy pressure and less passes. You should see any remaining soot begin to disappear as your hand applicator becomes more and more black. Before you wipe away the metal polish residue, to give even more shine, pour a few drops of Metal Polish #2 onto the applicator, and polish right over the Metal Polish #1 residue. Then take a plush microfiber towel like our Borderless Grey Towel to wipe away the polish residue and reveal an awesome shine and better overall color, looking much more like shiny chrome than a tarnished yellow color.

Metal Polish #1 does the heavier polishing, whereas Metal Polish #2 brings out more refinement and shine, so Metal Polish #2 works great as a maintenace product every few washes to keep the exhaust tips looking perfect all of the time. It's very important to clean the exhaust tips every wash so that you do not have heavy carbon buildup that is more difficult to remove. If the exhaust tips have been very heavily neglected, and the polishing above doesn't seem to get them looking nice enough, you can pick up some Ultra Fine #0000 Steel Wool at a hardware store to use along with the Metal Polish #1 to remove very heavy carbon, but keep in mind that even the Ultra Fine Steel Wool may leave very fine scratching into certain metal materials on exhaust tips, so you will need to do extra metal polishing afterward to remove that haziness. Lastly, you can use the Adam's Swirl Killer Micro 2.0 with the Rotary Attachment Kit and cone tips to machine polish the exhaust tips, but make sure to tape off surrounding areas first, as the metal polish will sling and splatter a bit when you do this.

So there you have it, just a few hand tools, three chemicals, and a few minutes of your time and you can take away thousands of miles of exhaust grime in just a few minutes. Once you have the exhaust tips clean, consider applying a layer of the Graphene Ceramic Coating Advanced on them to make follow-up cleanings even easier. The Graphene Ceramic Coating may not hold up as long as it does on the painted areas of the vehicle, but it will make your wash process faster since the carbon and soot will stick to the metal less than on an uncoated exhaust tip.


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