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Discussion Starter #1
So just got my '13 outback 2.5i. It's my first new car ever (only my 2nd vehicle), but i got a good 13 years out of my 1996 F-150, and figure with a little TLC i can get that out of my outback. So after only having the car for a few days of constant rain, i've realized it's gonna take some work to keep it looking like new.

I've tried reading a bunch on different waxes and polishes, and clay bars and all that stuff, but i'm at a loss of what do do to prep this thing so it can shrug off winter her in NJ (usually not too bad, but salt can be used a little heavily, and therefore lots and lots of salty slush on the roads.

So what do I do? We've got a few days of expected good weather tuesday and wednesday, so i'd like to get things nice and cleaned up those days after work. Here's what i'm thinking:
1. wash&dry
2. clay bar
3. wax or sealer

Not sure on what product to use for #3. For the winter i don't need a super wax that will give that wet look and have to be reapplied in 2 or 3 weeks. I guess i want a nice shine/look, but more importantly i want a good protective layer so a quick clean will get rid of the road grime/salt spray when possible during the winter. No idea on waxes/sealants, etc. So any help would be appreciated. Also I basically want a coating that will keep the paint safe for 3-4 months. Once springtime rolls around, maybe i'll switch to something a little more high end for that wet look/shine that isn't as durable, but for now protection and durability are at a premium.

Also since i'd like to do this in the next few days i need something that's pretty available at a place like pep boys or something like that as i don't have time to order something and get it delivered.

Thanks in advance guys.
 

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that list looks good and will treat you well. the minor details of which to use won't add much...if any...long term value to your ownership, so i wouldn't fret about what they have or don't have in stock.

picture attached of how dish soap 3 times a year on a good year has held up on our snow machine for going on 12 years and 200,000+ miles now. another 100,000 here we come and I have spent no time thinking about washing or waxing or doing the later.
 

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For step# 3 I think Collinite 845 would suit your needs perfectly. It will look great, but more importantly, protection will be second to none. It' s priced reasonably for high end sealants and I've seen it OTC as well (autobarn).
 

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I've had success with Meguiar's NXT Tech Wax, which you should be able to find at Pep Boys or the like. It's easy and forgiving to apply and lasts a reasonable amount of time. Very tight beading and a smooth finish.
 
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