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Detailing - How To?

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by az3579, Jun 3, 2008.

    • Member

    az3579

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    I've seen a few discussions on here about what products you guys use your cars. I realize that there are no actual articles on here about how to actually detail.


    To me, the extend of my paint "protection" is a car wash every now and then and a really cheap (and probably crappy) wax job at the local car wash.



    Since I'm going to start washing my own car due to the carelessness of others at the car wash, I want to at least be able to detail my own car at the same time.



    How exactly do you do it? What products are necessary? What products are not necessary but would compliment the detailing? How often should it be done? Any specific tips or suggestions, warnings, etc.?

    When it comes to asking what products, I'm not saying what specific brands, but rather what these products are and what they do. I know I'll get varied answers to what brands would be best, so I figured I'd just find out what the products are, how they work, what they do, and then research myself to see what products would be best.

    I could Google the issue, but I don't think I'd get such a tailored response as if I ask here. Besides, I feel the need to try to lighten my bank of many questions.


    Thanks.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Go to griotsgarage.com and read their catalog on the car care section, that'll be a good primer (no, you probably won't need _everything_ they sell ;)) - if you don't want to read it online, call them and have them send you a catalog. That'd be a good starting point to get edjumacated.

    niemibl guest

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    How old is your car? Does it have light scratches or swirl marks?
    I would think a basic detail job would include claying the car, polishing the car with a mechanical random orbital polisher and waxing the car.
    • Member

    az3579

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    I get their catalog regularly and haven't seen anything on how-to's... but then again, all I do with their catalog is drool over certain things I want to buy but am too cheap to spend [whatever] money I have. :D
    Is there any particular section it's usually located? I think I would have remembered seeing a section if there was one in there, but I don't recall anything like that...

    About 21.5 years old. The car was repainted just over a year ago, but there are some imperfections in the body. I don't know how the guy repainted it; he's a professional, but was done with it in a day, so I seriously doubt he took any of the usual "paint removal" steps before spraying, or he just got lazy, I don't know. There were some 'imperfections' in the paint before it was painted (there still are); the paint looked 'burned' in some areas of the hood, for example, so the outline of those 'marks' are still there but it's all painted red now. Strange.

    Either way, I don't really care about all the markings as I'm at peace with the fact that I got a free paint job, one that looks a helluva lot better than any Maaco job, so I just want to protect what I got for free. Up 'till this point, the most that was done was a car wash every month or so and in total had about two waxes, the first one being a spray-on (crap) during the summer and the second one being done about a month and a half ago (hand wax).


    I don't know anything about their techniques, such as how much to apply, how fast to do it, what to use to apply it, how many times to do it before moving on, etc. I'm looking on the Griot's page but can't find any articles...

    U

    agranner guest

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    The how-tos are in the sidebars at the beginning of each section (wash, clean, polish, wax, wheels, interior, etc.) They also sell a detailing manual (it's small, red, spiral-bound) but I think most of that information is in the sidebars.

    -- Aubrey Granner
    '93 325i

    niemibl guest

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    I don't know how serious you want to get or how much you want to spend.
    Griot offers some Car Care Kits. A good starter kit is the Machine Polish and Wax Kit for $199. Included in the kit is a "how to" DVD and a handbook which might be useful to you.

    Autohaus guest

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    This is what I do. Wash the car in the shade (no duh). Get lots of soap, especially on the front end since its spring/summer time (bugs and the like). Rinse the car like there is no tomorrow. You don't want soap left behind on the paint. I use the Cali water blade. Use a chamois (is that spelled right?) to remove any excess water. I have never tried an orbital, so I just use elbow grease and apply wax the old fashion way. I tend to shy away from wheel cleaners. I used a product on my friends 89 535i that took away the shine on one of his wheels :(. For the interior, I use a random cleaner (I should do more homework and find the best available, any ideas?) for the dash. I use a seperate leather cleaner for the seats and the door panels. I then use a brush/q-tips for the vents. The rear window is the hardest to clean. I then do a vacuum. I consider my detailing skills to be somewhat half @$$, but hey, I don't have tools to remove my seats and vacuum underneath them, nor want to steam clean my engine and do the undercarriage. That, I would pay someone to do......
    • Member

    az3579

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    For the interior, I just use a swiffer duster and some Armor-all. lol


    I'd rather the elbow grease method; it's the cheapest method by far. Luckily I have the option to remove seats as all it takes is a socket wrench and a 17mm socket. I thought about shampooing the carpet, but it's the dark gray/blackish carpet and I don't think it would look all that different than if I was to just vacuum it really well.



    Of the few times I did wash my car by hand, most of the time I had no choice but to wash it in the sun. To keep the car from drying up before I got to a section, I rinsed one section (like the front), washed it, rinsed it again, and went on to the next section. I use this bucketless spray thing I found at Advance Auto (I think it's awesome that I don't need a bucket) and this furry glove thing I bought with it to wash. For cleaning, I have a bunch of these towels I bought with the rest of the stuff, but I really don't like it. I was thumbing through the Griot's Garage brochure I got about a month ago and saw this awesome little doo-dad that was essentially a squeegee. I'd much rather use that, wipe it off every time and use it again than to use up a thousand towels trying to dry the car. Any opinions on this product? Anyone tried it?

    niemibl guest

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    You might like the squeegee, also known as a California Dry Blade. You can get most of the water off your car quickly with it, which will help you if you wash your car in the sun. You can buy those at your local auto parts store.

    desertVert guest

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    I'd keep away from Armor-all on the interior. From what I've heard in the other E30 forums, the chemicals in AA do more to dry it out and make it dependent on the product than to actually help protect it. Our interiors are old, so it's probably worth it to go with something a little more expensive to protect them.

    I bought a box from Meguiar's that has an interior cleaning and leather moisturizing spray, and a clay bar for the exterior. It took several hours to do the wash, wax & clay bar, but the car looked fantastic afterward. I've decided that I'll be doing that once a year now. So worth it...
    • Member

    az3579

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    What do you recommend for the interior then?
    I never liked the ArmorAll but I thought it prevented the dash from cracking further. I'm going to do a full outside wash and probably detailing as well this weekend if the humidity and heat isn't so bad. I also want to do the interior, so if you can recommend a particular product for the dash and console(s), I'd be more than happy to try it out, unless it costs as much as a liver transplant.

    Autohaus guest

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    I picked up a bottle of "BMW interior cleaner" (don't have it in front of me so it may be called something else) and it works great. Smells much better than AA. Cost should be south of $10.

    desertVert guest

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    I use the Meguiar's leather treatment on the dash, as well as the full interior. Any place there's vinyl or leather I wipe it down with that stuff. Never given me any problems.
    • Member

    330indy1

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    Zymol Vinyl is the best product for interiors, on God's green earth. AAA+++++

    IMHO;)

    jbelfi76 guest

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    Hey guys, along the same line of conversation, does anyone have recommendations on what to use for touching up your paint. I have lots of little chips on my front hood and have been to Bav autosports and griots. I see the syringes, the whole road rash repair kit, the touch up paint with it's own brushes, etc. I don't want to buy something, have it not work, and be screwed. Has anyone used any of these products with success? Thanks guys.
    • Member

    330indy1

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    get the BMW touch up OEM paint color from your dealer, and doctor it with the kits from Bav Auto.
    it works well in my experience.

    jbelfi76 guest

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    thank you. But what has been the best application tool in your experience? The syringe, brush, etc?

    M3Driver guest

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    In my case, neither. I use a wooden toothpick; helps 'fill' the nick. Some old school guys use the torn end of a paper match. Tried that once and it worked well on a larger spot.

    Cheers.
    • Member

    phanley

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    For detailing info, go to www.autopia.org or www.autogeek.net
    Both sites have good "how to" detailing sections. I got into detailing about a year ago, and have found that if you want quality products you will have to purchase most of them online.

    The best product reccomendation I can give you would be for Klasse All In One Polish. It does a great job of cleansing and restoring shine to your paint and also is a good glass polish and trim detailer.

    Interior: Meguiar's Interior Quick Detail (available at autozone/pep boys) leaves a non-glossy finish and almost no odor. It's cheap too. 1Z Cockpit Detail is a little better at cleaning and leaves a matte finsh. They are great for weekly maintenance of your interior.

    Badbee guest

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    Leather Cleaner/conditioner

    I have tried at least a half dozen products and my favorite by a long shot is
    Lexol cleaner conditioner. It does not leave a shiny or slippery finish. Leather looks like it did from the factory on my 96 Z3.

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