I spent weeks obsessing over my winter wheel and tire setup, but I am happy to say that the obsessing paid off. I had the TSW's installed on Friday and I couldn't be happier. They look very aggressive and the red brake calipers just give it an extra touch of class. Here's a quick video I put together that showcases my new winter war wagon!
With all the prepping and detailing, I haven't had any time to capture quality photographs. I did manage to take a few shots with my iPhone at the parking garage the other night. They look alright. I really need my friend Geoff to do a shoot for me!
The final in my 3-part "Prepping + Detailing" series is complete. I am very happy with the results. I didn't apply a coating like I had originally planned. I simply ran out of time and energy. I used Menzerna's Power Lock so that should give me good protection until I can find the time to apply my GTechniq C1 Crystal Armour. In the meantime, here's the third and final video:
It's been almost a month since my 2018 SQ5 came into my life and here is a list of ten things I really appreciate about this new generation of SQ5:
I loved the old engine with its raspy growl and supercharged ferocity off the line, but I am really coming to love the new 3.0 litre turbocharged V6 and its silky smooth responsiveness. I am enjoying watching the digital turbo boost gauge light up when I mash the accelerator, too. I have been breaking her in gently, but the little jaunts I have been able to squeeze in indicate this engine is a fine piece of mechanical engineering. I look forward to seeing it perform in the mountains in a few weeks.
The first generation SQ5 was weak in the tech department. The second generation does a nice job of catching up to the competition. There were actually a few technology options I didn't select such as the collision avoidance and traffic sign recognition systems. The virtual cockpit is a sublime feature that finally brings the SQ5 to the next level in terms of cool tech. I can scroll between various speed/tach layouts and customize the side readout to audio, telephone, car systems, etc. Finally, Audi has made it possible to store your smart phone in the centre console instead of hiding it away in the glove box. There's even two USB ports in there! The addition of Apple Car Play means I can have the car read and send texts remotely. But, by far, my favourite innovation is the reminder the car gives me that my smart phone is still in the car. I can't count the number times this thoughtful features has saved me a walk back to the car.
I really like the diamond stitched leather seats in the SQ5. They are the perfect combination of sporty and sophisticated. I almost went for the red leather interior package, but I am very happy with the black leather with contrasting white stitching.
I had a few choices in terms of paint protection films. I ended up going the Suntek route for two reasons. The first reason was that I have heard good things about this self-healing film and the second was that I wanted the install to be done by dedicated PPF professionals. That's why I took my car to Thompson Graphics Ltd. They only do PPF and they have done three previous cars for me. They used to use 3M, but they have since shifted to using Suntek. The package was extensive and included:
If you followed along during my time with my 2014 Audi SQ5, you are undoubtedly aware of my penchant for floor mats. I just couldn't seem to find a floor mat that provided sufficient protection in the winter. Well, I'm going to give Audi's rubber all-season mats a shot. The sales department at Glenmore Audi was generous in providing me with a complete set of "SQ5" winter mats and I love the look and fitment. I am curious to see how they stand up, but I am hopeful that they will perform as great as they look. I also have a OEM cargo liner and two OEM USB cords. The SQ5 came with the base carrier bars, which I was worried wouldn't be the case, and I purchased two new roof-mounted bike carriers. Once I have my winter wheel and tire setup, I think I should be set for accessories. I plan on using the lessons I learned with my first SQ5, and not going down the "buy-every-accessory-I-see" path again. I want to keep things simple this time around.
Since I opted for the 21" summer performance wheel and tire package (again!), I am once again in search of a winter wheel and tire setup. I have decided against going the replica wheel route. While I was happy with the performance and look of the two sets of Hartmann's I had on my previous SQ5, I want to go with something a bit more unique. I have been feverishly researching all kinds of after market wheel options, and I have ultimately decided to go with 20x8.5 TSW Sprint wheels in gloss gunmetal. I am moving away from Blizzaks and going for the Nokian Hakkapelliita R2's. I'm curious to see if these Nokians live up to all the hype. Since my SQ5 came equipped with the P-Zero Pirellis, I'm worried that they will wear out prematurely like the set that came on my previous one. Whatever the future holds in store for the P-Zero's, I'm hopeful the Nokians will prove to be an effective four-season tire like they claim to be. This will mean I shouldn't feel the need to source a third set up for the unseasonable weather we can experience in these parts.
click to enlarge
I am purchasing this wheel and tire package through Tunerworks. I am looking forward to how they look, but I am really looking forward to seeing how this setup works with the Quattro system once the snow starts flying!
It has been just over a week since taking possession of my 2018 SQ5, and the obsession has already begun to take hold. I am infatuated with this SUV. I only have 250 km on it, but I love it more and more each time I get behind the wheel. I am very happy with my colour choice. I have polished the Daytona Grey Pearl using Jay Leno's Garage newly introduced line of polishes and I am very impressed with the quality of the finish. I have always been a fan of Audi paint, and this car is no exception. I still have some work to do in terms of coating the paint with the GTechniq system, and I am aiming at the weekend to complete that stage. After that, it will just be a matter of detailing the exterior since we have been experiencing some foul weather. I have put together two videos that demonstrate some of the processes I have been using over the past week to dial her in. Feel free to "like", "share" and comment.
The plan has changed somewhat since my last post. A buyer has come forward for my current SQ5 and that has put pressure on my original timeline. Because the new Q5 factory in Mexico is not clear on when they will be able to fill custom colour orders, I have cancelled my "Nardo Grey" order. As much as I loved the idea of having a Nardo SQ5, the timing just won't work. I contacted my dealer and they tracked down a Daytona Grey model that is currently in transit and it should be here mid-September. It is the identical spec as the one I was going to build, except it has black instead of red leather interior and it has the 21"s that I was going to avoid this time around. I still have my current SQ5 until the end of the month, when the buyer and I will finalize the deal. In the meantime, I have been watching every video I can find on the 2018 SQ5. I plan on taking delivery of the new one with as much of the factory coverings still in tact, and I will perform the "new car prep" myself.
My two weeks of holidays have come to an end. I really enjoy the vacation time we teachers get, and I was able to accomplish quite a bit in terms of the garage and SQ5. I performed an extensive detail on two friends' cars as well as a thorough detail on my own. I had the opportunity to experiment with almost all the products sent to me from Jay Leno's Garage and I have to admit, they are spectacular. I am still in the process of collecting my thoughts on their performance and I will be posting my review shortly, so stay tuned for that. I helped a friend swap over to his summer wheels using my QuickJack, and I also swapped over to my Spring/Fall setup.
The extra time allowed me to create videos that comprehensively demonstrate the extent I go to when maintaining my ride. Check them out if you have the time:
My YouTube channel has eclipsed the 1000-subscriber mark, which amazes me. I love sharing my garage escapades and enjoy the comments I get from viewers all around the world. You can check out my channel here.
I have three sets of winter liners for my SQ5, and none of them are able to prevent salty water from staining my black carpet. Using a variety of products and equipment, I am always able to restore the carpet but it is such a drag having salt residue on my floor for so many months of the year. How do ordinary people cope? I don't even want to know.
The process involves a thorough vacuum followed by a liberal dousing of Blitz all-purpose cleaner. I let that dwell and then use my Rupes iBrid to work the APC deep into the fibres. Then, I just use a microfibre cloth to dry the area. If any salt has really hardened, I use my Mytee steamer to loosen it up.
I spent an hour attending to the exhaust tips on the SQ5 this morning. I put a video together that demonstrates the products I use and the process I follow to eliminate the build up of carbon soot on the tips. This is an on-going battle with this car.
I am in total love with my '14 SQ5, but I was excited to see what the new SQ5 looked like. I have to say, I'm still on the fence. I like many of the updates, but the lack of genuine exhaust pipes just doesn't sit well with me. I am not alone in my disdain for the mock exhaust ports on the rear fascia. Hopefully, Audi will reevaluate this move and reinstate actual tips on the '19. I'm curious to see how these new Mexican-made Q5's stand up in the quality sense, too. Here's a sneak peek video:
It's been quite a while since I updated this blog. The holiday season was a whirlwind with family staying with us, and winter's tight grip on the city has been keeping me busy. After about a month of freezing temperatures, the mild weather arrived so I have been doing my best to combat the salt and mud that the nice weather generates. Keeping the exterior clean is a hopeless endeavor, but I will never let the mess infiltrate my interior!
I have two sets of all-weather interior mats. One set by Husky and the other by WeatherTech. I can't say I am in love with either of them, but they are what I have so I make the most of it. It's nice having a second set at the ready for when the other set is caked with salt residue and mud. The Husky's don't fit as well as the WT's, but they do offer more protection. The WT's have a lower profile which allows water to escape and stain the carpet. I had to remove some salt residue that had dried into the carpet. I used my Mytee Steamer and Rupes iBrid as you can see in the photos below. I used Griot Garage's Carpet Cleaner and used my steamer to open up the carpet fibres. I worked the cleaner into the carpet using my iBrid. The slideshow below should give you a good idea of the various steps I take to maintain a clean interior. I have had to perform this job numerous times in the past month or so.
Cleaning Garage Floor
I have not been able to perform a full maintenance wash of my floor this winter. Each day, my car is dragging in mud and slop and it ends up falling to the floor and seeping through the cracks in the Free Flow tiles. On particularly bad days, huge chunks of debris fall from the undercarriage and wheel wheels and compile on the tiles. I use my shopvac to clean up the mess and finish with a quick mop. It is not a particularly difficult job, it just takes a bit of time. I am waiting for some really mild weather to hit so I can actually drag the floor out to the driveway and clean the mess off the garage floor. As it is now, there is a lot of mess under the tiles, but the tiles themselves remain clean as long as I mop the floor. The slideshow below should give you a good idea of what I'm dealing with.
The people over at QuickJack put a video together demonstrating how their lift can withstand soap and water. They included some footage from a video I shot in the early summer. Worth a look:
It is amazing how long it takes to prepare four wheels for storage. The entire process of putting my third wheel setup right was an onerous one, but they look great. I made a video that highlights the various stages of the process. I hope you enjoy.
If you follow my YouTube channel, you will have seen that I posted a video demonstrating my wheel swap process. The weather has been extraordinarily mild this year, but I don't like getting caught off guard, so I installed my winter setup which consists of Blizzak LM-60's on 20" Hartmann wheels. This was the first time I swapped wheels on the SQ5 without having to use my floor jack at each corner. My QuickJack BL-5000 SLX made quick work of lifting the SQ off the ground. If you want to see a guy having a lot of fun playing with his car, check out the video below:
A good friend of mine is an acclaimed photographer. She is well known for her remarkable shots of Aurora Borealis. Through chatting with her, we got the crazy idea for her to come and take some shots of my garage. She was by last weekend and she snapped some very cool shots. There's more to come, but here's a little taste of what Christy is working on. I eagerly await more of these since she is a master of HDR and other cool editing techniques.
My son and I recently attended a Calgary Flames game and he was the lucky winner of a "craziest fan" moment during a break in the play. His face was displayed on the scoreboard and he took home a $200 gift card for a local sports store. The next day, I entered a photo in a Facebook contest sponsored by the local Audi dealership, and I won. I received a $100 gift card for a local restaurant and a hand written congratulations card from the dealership's marketing manager. I should probably head down to the local shop and grab a lottery ticket before this luck runs out.
I am impressed that my local Audi dealer has a few S3's as loaner vehicles. I had my SQ5 in for a 55k service and received a virtually brand new silver S3 for the day. What a fun car. Apart from some slight turbo lag at launch, the car is a rocket. I prefer the SQ5, but if the time ever comes to pick up a second car, I'd have to take a long hard look at the S3.
It took me the better part of two full days, but the polish and coat of the SQ5 is complete. I spent all of Tuesday this week polishing it with my various polishers. I found my new Rupes iBrid to be an amazingly helpful little tool. It was effective in getting into the little spots that are too small for my Mini Rupes. My Bigfoot Mini was amazing as well. I did ruin a few pads with it, though. Not sure what happened, but a few pads simply gave out. I may have to conduct some research into the issue. I used Menzerna's Medium Cut 2500 polish and the results are terrific. No need for any follow up in my opinion. Once all the paint was looking pristine, I spent a few hours on Wednesday coating the paint with GTecnhiq's C1 Crystal Lacquer nanocoating followed by a coat of EXO V2. The paint glistens and should be well protected as we head into winter. I had plans on doing a video, but I just didn't have the time given how labour-intensive this job was. Here are a few photos of the project.
Since purchasing my BL-5000SLX QuickJack lift, I have been putting it to the test quite regularly. I have taken the wheels off a number of times to gain access to the wheel wells and I have been able to perform some touch ups on the paint around the rotor hats. It has been a helpful tool as well as a cool one. My friend, Geoff popped by a little while ago with his camera gear to snap some shots of the QuickJack in action and here's a little slideshow that demonstrates how it has helped me raise my detailing game. The photos give you an idea of how I have the system set up. Like I have said before, it works great for my needs and it is a purchase I am very happy with.
My raised aluminum TREK sign arrived and I got it perfectly placed on my big grey wall. The logo was in a shiny red and the letters have the brushed aluminum look to them. The red of the logo clashed with the red of my stripe below so I pained the logo the same grey as my TV wall. I think it looks much better, plus I didn't want the TREK sign to be the focal point of that wall. If you are looking for a sign such as this, I suggest you hit up Joe at Enthusi-works. He is great to work with and can just about make anything your mind can conjure up. You may even see some photos of my garage in his various listings. Here's how things turned out.
Monday marks my return to work after six weeks of summer vacation time. I have enjoyed every minute of my holiday, but now I must focus my efforts on educating the youth of our world. This summer saw a number of small, yet significant improvements to the garage. Most notably, the newly stained cedar carriage door. I love how the stain brought out the unique grain of the cedar. I added tile to the boring space above the car door and dialed in my organization. I was able to complete a number of intricate details on the SQ5 and was able to produce a few videos that depict the processes I follow. I will end of the summer with two "night shots" of the garage. Farewell, summer.
Who is Rick?
I'm just a guy who loves his garage, Audi, and detailing so much he blogs about them.
Geoff Wilkings Photography
RaceDeck Garage Floors
Jay Leno's Garage Advanced Vehicle Care
Thompson Graphics Ltd.
My Flickr Page