I am confident there is no place worse, no place more challenging, no place more frustrating to keep a clear clean than Calgary, Alberta in winter. Even with my garage converted into a detailing studio, I just can't keep up. But, I won't stop trying. Here's a video that demonstrates how I go about keeping a tidy interior despite Mother Nature's efforts to ruin me.
A concerned YouTube viewer raised some concerns over my wheel hub collar. From the video, it appeared my collar was cracked. I was pretty sure it was just the design, but the user went to the effort of capturing a screen shot from the video and highlighting the areas that raised his concerns, so I decided to pop the opposite wheel off to investigate. It appears that Audi has carved some notches into this specific part for some reason. Maybe it has to do with weight reduction, but who knows. I want to thank David for taking the time to reach out and share his concerns. It is very nice knowing that people are looking out for each other. Here are some photos that demonstrate the notched hub design I am referring to.
Hand washing a car in the garage may not be everyone's idea of an epic Saturday night, but I had been looking forward to this all week. The Flames were up against the Hawks and I had a dirty SQ5 that needed some love and attention. Here's a video that demonstrates how two or three hours in a garage can be quite enjoyable and productive. Enjoy.
For years, I contemplated the purchase of a roof box for my car. I resisted the urge to purchase one because the need wasn't strong since our family of three doesn't haul huge amounts of cargo. But, now that my son is getting bigger and we are traveling to various hockey tournaments, I decided to splurge. I picked up a Thule Convoy box at Canadian Tire back in November. I removed the crooked Thule decals and applied some "Vorsprung Durch Technik" decals down the side and a along Quattro gecko on the back. I am considering having a friend do a full vinyl wrap, but all in good time. I am enjoying the appearance and functionality of my new roof jewelry.
Storing a big roof box had always been a concern of mine. I purchased some wall mounts from Rhino Rack and they are perfect. I had to do some re-engineering of the wall, but I am happy with how things turned out.
I can handle snow. I can handle the dirt and muck that comes with snow, but I can't handle the gravel that the City feels the need to spread all over our roads. Today, an oncoming car kicked up a bunch of rocks as it passed by and my windshield suffered its first chip. I took it to Crystal Glass and they filled the chip for $40. You can still make out where the contact happened, but it's virtually gone. I tried to take a clear "after" shot from inside the car but my camera struggled to find its focus on the impact area. The final two shots do a fairly decent job of showing the outcome.
Before - inside looking out
After - inside looking out
After - outside looking in
Overall, there is so much that I absolutely love about the second generation SQ5. The exterior styling, performance and interior are all beyond reproach. That said, there are a few things that irritate me. They aren't major, but they just don't sit right with me considering the amount of money this thing cost. I have a feeling a few of these shortcomings are due to the highly expensive settlement the Volkswagen Group made with various world governments. Regardless, here is a list of five things I love and five things I don't.
Five things I love
Heated steering wheel
At first, I thought it was gimmicky, but I don't think I could own a vehicle that doesn't have one. It's such a luxury on a cold winter day.
Directional rear indicators
Overall, I am very impressed with the exterior and interior lighting packages on the SQ5. I particularly like the directional rear indicators. Watching them flash when I lock the car never seems to get old.
Heated/cooled cup holder
Another unnecessary option, but I'm amazed how many times I have used it. I mostly use the heating function since I like my travel coffee mug hot. They could have made both cup holders heated/cooled. My wife and I sometimes compete for the only heated/cooled cup holder.
Yeah, I know the Ford Escape comes with this option, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it is convenient. There have been many occasions in which I have used it. Usually when I'm loaded up with the little guy's hockey equipment.
I really enjoy the ambient lighting throughout the SQ5's cabin. It makes driving at night more visually dramatic and interesting. I keep it set on "Audi Sport" so the color scheme changes day to day. The family and I get a kick out of it and it lends the cabin a more sophisticated appeal.
Five things I don't love
Lack of flat-bottom steering wheel
When you equip your SQ5 with the winter package, which is standard on all SQ5's destined for Canada, Audi deletes the flat-bottom steering wheel. Apparently they haven't figured out how to add the heating option to the flat-bottom wheel. The round wheel is very nice and I love the way it looks and feels, but as much as I have tried to convince myself it is as cool as the flat-bottom one, it just isn't. Sad.
Cheap wheel maintenance kit
The maintenance kit that they threw in the trunk is a collection of the cheapest tools I have ever set eyes on. The plastic case they come in is even more embarrassing. The wheel anchor on the first generation SQ5 had a quality feel to it, but the new one is made out of pathetic plastic. I wish I would have kept the kit from my old one. Honestly, I would be surprised if Audi's cost on this bag of junk is more than 5 euros.
The two blank buttons on my console are a constant reminder that some other SQ5 drivers are driving around their countries with more things than me. It's an insult. I'm still trying to figure out what goes in these two spaces. I think one is the on/off button for the auto-park feature which isn't available to Canadian buyers, which takes me to my next point...
Unavailable features for Canada
Where are my front directional indicators? Where is my auto-park function? Where is my dynamic steering option? These, and a few other features, were available to buyers from other countries. Apparently, the Audi Canada brass decided we didn't need such features.
No exhaust tips
Sure, it was a chore keeping my exhaust tips clean on my previous SQ5, but is eliminating them altogether the best solution Audi designers and engineers could come up with? There's no getting around the fact that the faux exhaust idea is lame.
I recently performed a "no rinse" wash on my SQ5. The weather here has been cold and sloppy so a no-rinse wash is about all I can do to keep my car clean. Here is a video I put together demonstrating my wash process when it is too cold to use my typical 2-bucket wash system. In addition to cleaning my SQ5, this video shows how I quickly clean my garage floor ahead of performing the no-rinse wash.
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.
Who is Rick?
I'm just a guy who loves his garage, Audi, and detailing so much he blogs about them.
Geoff Wilkings Photography
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