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Detailing - How To?

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

    Magellan498 guest

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    Well to reiterate what Phanley stated above, definitely check out Autopia.org for incredibly in depth detailing information.

    You'll probably end up buying the bulk of your detailing supplies at properautocare.com. (They've got fairly decent writeups on all of the products they sell.)

    So for some quick pointers, here we go.

    Washing: Definitely don't wanna have your car in the sun while washing. That's just inviting hard water spots all over your paint and glass. I try to wash my car around dusk or the best, I've found, is in the rain so the car never dries and you can take your sweet time going around the car being thorough, then just pull it in a garage to dry it off and leave it there till the rain stops and the roads dry. Now washing is argueably the most important step of detailing because it is where you'll remove all the particulate that can induce marring on your paint in any subsequent steps. Start from the top and work your way down and generally, of course, use a different mitt for the paint as you do for the wheels and undercarriage. Rinse your mitt often as you don't want to be dragging particulate across the paint and inducing more marring. The two bucket method helps with that greatly. (1 soap bucket, 1 rinse bucket with clean water to dunk your mitt when it gets dirty) You'll be fine using the cheap Meguiars car soap you find at any Autozone or where ever. For drying, a combination of the California Water Blade and synthetic chamois (The Absorber) work quite well. Now be careful with the CWB, as its the same concept; you don't want to drag particulate across the paint while drying. That's why washing thoroughly is sooooo important. (Also when washing try not to use alot of pressure with your mitt on the paint for rough spots like sap or bug spatters... you can get those problem spots later much more safely) I'm sure you can figure out drying from there.

    Now, if this is your first time detailing and the car hasn't been cared for by a professional detailer before or for quite some time, you'll want to clay your paint. You can get a clay bar at Autozone or O'Reileys and I'd suggest either Meguiars or Mothers. If you are going to clay, the easiest way would be right after you've gone over the car with your wash mitt and using the auto soap as lubricant while the car is still wet, go around the car and clay the paint till it's smooth as glass. (This is where you'll attack tree sap, bug spatters and all sorts of other embedded contaminants without marring your paint) You can also clay the glass too. Make sure to kneed the clay often to always get a clean surface on your paint. And if you at any time even once drop your clay bar on the ground, TRASH IT! For that reason it would be smart to use smaller portions of a whole clay bar just in case you drop it. After you're done claying, just rinse and dry as normal.

    Polishing: Now here's where the real art of detailing comes in. There are a rediculous number of options out there for polishes and its pretty much personal preference that wins out here. All I can say is personally I very much like the Menzerna and 1Z lines of polishes as they seem to me to work much better on our german paint and leave minimal fillers on the paint if any at all. And why are fillers bad? Well, if you're trying to remove marring from your paint completely, you don't really want polishes that cover things up. Otherwise, get a good glaze (Meguiars Mirror Shine line have excellent glazes as well as polishes/compounds) and cover that stuff up. Polishing by hand is quite the challenge if you want to really get rid of any substantial marring on paint so unless you want to go ahead and get a Porter Cable Random Orbital (the BEST noobie polisher) or a rotary polisher (Professional grade. Can do ALOT of damage if handled improperly) then I'm not going to really get into the issue.

    Protecting: Ok, so now you've polished or glazed your paint to your heart's content. Now you want to protect all that hard work. There are two basic ways of protecting your paint. Sealants and waxes. Now if you've just glazed your paint, you'll be going the carnuaba wax rout, and just applying a layer (or 5) to your paint and you're done. Carnuaba waxes generally last about 2 weeks to a month. It provides a deep wet look to your paint. Now, if you've polished the paint to a point where you're satisfied the marring is gone or minimal, I'd say seal it. The thing with sealing is that you want the paint to be as free from fillers and oils as possible so the sealant can bond to the paint. Two of the best more respected sealers out there are Klasse and Zaino. Both brands have cleaners to use before the application of the actual sealant to prep the paint for optimal bonding. Zaino boasts "99.9% optical clarity" so what that really means is any scratch or swirl that is left on your paint after polishing is going to be magnified and made extremely shiny and evident. Sealants generally will last about 6 months which is the advantage to them and they will usually provide a more clear sharp shiny finish for your paint. Alot of times, detailers will seal their paint, then apply a "topper" carnuaba wax for the depth and gloss. (S100 is my favorite)

    For upkeep, you might want to get a good Quick Detailer (QD). This will prolong the protection of which ever product you chose to protect with. It's pretty simple, if you used a wax, use a carnuaba QD. If you used a sealant, use a sealant QD. (For Zaino, the QD would be Z6). Never use this as a wash substitute. It basically is for removing smudges, light dusting or the like. Make sure you're using a very good plush Microfiber towel.

    So that's pretty much a quick run down of some basic detailing knowlege with the products intersperced throughout that I've come to trust over my years of detailing.

    Oh and for interiors (vinyl and rubber surfaces) 303 Aerospace protectant is the best product I've found. (You can actually use it on any plastic/rubber surface on your car. Tires, trim... you name it) I'm not sure what the current favorite is for leather care honestly, but I'm sure a quick search on Autopia will reveal enough reveiws and opinions to keep you reading for a few hours.

    Well... home some of that helps.
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    az3579

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    Every time I wash my car, the next day there's a fine layer of dust on it, and it usually rains afterwards, so the result is a muddy coat of water on my paint. I want to keep it as shiny as possible as it loses its shine from the wash after the 2nd day. I wash my car by hand. Would waxing/claying/anything else at the time of washing help this? I know it's time to wax because it has been a few months since I had it done last and would like to try my hand at it this time. Can't I do it by hand? I am really too cheap to throw out money on any machines for buffing and whatever else you need one for...

    Magellan498 guest

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    Waxing and sealing are best done by hand. You'll rarely if ever use a machine to apply those products.

    My personal favorite wax is S100. You can usually find it at local motorcycle shops as its marketed as a motorcycle wax. The automotive counterpart is P21S, but they're both identical, just different packaging. You'll also want to apply wax in the shade on a cool surface just to make buffing it off easier. Sealants you will apply in the shade, but then once you buff them, you'll want to let them sit in the sun to cure.

    As for those wax while you wash products... Its like everything else in the world. A product dedicated to a single process will always be better than a product that tries to accomplish 3 different things at the same time.

    And for when there is dust, the QD I talked about in my first post is the answer to that. Just mist on and wipe off with a good MF. (microfiber)
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    az3579

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    So there's no actual solution to that problem of dust? Nothing that's dust repellant?
    I'd have to detail the car every day, which can get tiresome after a while if that was the only way to take care of that. But if that's how it has to be, I guess that's how it'll be.



    My current routine is to wash the car with this bucketless car wash spray I have. I like it, but I've never used anything else, so I don't know how to compare it to anything. Afterwards, I quickly detail it with the Meguiar's QD and these cheap towels I bought at the local store. They say they're safe to use on paint, but I don't like the feel of it because many times you have to fold it and it just sucks to use when it's folded up. Plus, the tags are on them and they might scratch the paint.

    If I was to wax, I would have to wax after I've washed and detailed the car? Any particular way of applying it? How much? How long does it all take?

    Magellan498 guest

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    No, I can't really say there's anything that's going to repell dust. No matter how slick your paint is. You could get the car duster and that's pretty safe to use as long as you use pretty much no pressure and keep that thing very clean (like clean it each week or so).

    The waterless wash is a fairly new concept and yes it does work pretty well and is relatively safe, but really only if your car is lightly dirty. Washing with a bucket of soap and a mitt will always be the safer bet. You always want to be careful with the wash/dry process because that's usually where the bulk of your marring will come from if you do it improperly. As for the cheap towels.... You're just askin for trouble. I will almost guarantee you that your QDing with those towels is introducing more marring into your paint especially if the tag is still attached... A good test is to take a blank CD and rub the towel across it. Does it scratch the CD? Then very good chance it's scratching your finish. Of course pressure and dirt also factor in when you're actually QDing your car as well.

    If you were to wax, it would be after you've washed, polished and sealed (if you are going to seal) the car. Wax is a LSP (last step product). Basically you'll apply it with a microfiber applicator (usually available at Autozone or elsewhere) which is either round or square in shape and filled with foam. You'll apply liberally in up and down motions just so you barely see the haze of the wax on the paint. Then you just buff off and voi-la!

    Now depending on the intensity and aims of your detailing session... a full detail for the first time on a car that's never been professionally detailed could take anywhere from 8-12 hours for one person. And you'll have a near concourse ready vehicle. Just your average wash, qd (and maybe even wax) shouldn't take more than maybe an hour or two.
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    az3579

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    Magellan498 guest

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    I haven't personally used it and just from looking at the claims their marketing makes... I'm rather incredulous already. Apparently it is a fairly good sealant though, as per some of the things I've read about it.

    http://www.autopia.org/forum/search.php?searchid=2487306

    I'd still go with Zaino or Klasse. Much more cost effective and you'd probably get better results...

    bradley01 guest

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    az
    try a california car duster. They work pretty well. Use it in combination with a QD every once in a while.

    Magellan498 guest

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    Did my reply get deleted?

    bradley01 guest

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    No, it did not. I just realized mine was a repeat of what you wrote. Beat me to it. But, consider mine as reinforcement! LOL
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    MGarrison

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    AZ, I would think it would theoretically be possible (assuming the science & technology behind the idea of ionization is functional in the first place) to bathe your car in ionized air at all times, with the ionization to be of the type that would repel dusty air particles. However, as a practical matter, I would think that the apparatus it would take to completely ionize the incoming airflow at speeds you might encounter (for the heck of it, say up to 100 mph) would have to extend some hundreds of feet in front of and around the car on all sides, take the power of a transformer station, and would probably really make the car rather ungainly, particularly as the only place you could drive it with the apparatus installed would be..... the Bonneville Salt Flats..... and the extra weight would probably insure you couldn't get to 100 mph.

    You could, however, probably rig up a substantially gimballed platform so your car could simulate being driven, with a moving road image projected on your windscreen, like those simulator rides that are supposed to be like riding a rollercoaster, but they just tilt you forwards, backwards, sideways, and usually vibrate some. Then the ionization apparatus could be far more compact, but probably a lot more effective, and when you were done "driving", the car might potentially be able to stay a lot more dustfree!

    :D ;)
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    joepizz

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    Other products

    Anyone ever use the Wolfgang products from Autogeek.net?

    I've had very good success with their products...nice durable shine...better than new.

    JP

    Lori330ci2005 guest

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    Is the carnubs QD what I needto get rid of dust?And where do I get the microfiber towel?Thankyou for all yr info...
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    phanley

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    autogeek.net is my go-to for supplies. They're a big operation, and have always shipped promptly for me. Other online sites are autopia.org and and griotsgarage.com. All of these sites have comprehensive instructions on detailing.
    You can buy microfiber and quick detailing products at your local Autozone and Pep Boys, but there is better stuff online, especially for microfiber. You really want to use the best quality microfiber on your paint. The generic microfiber doesn't work nearly as well for polishing, buffing, or drying. It works just fine for anything on the interior, and for the times your best cloth isn't required.

    For dust and pollen, the California Car Duster works great for me. Careful though-you can damage your paint if you don't use it properly. I use mine in during the heavy pollen season in MD, where your car accumulates pollen in an hour. It works great at this. If you're removing dirt, sand, or salt, they get scraped across the car. If you don't have a duster, you could lightly drag a microfiber towel. I hold the towel vertically, with maybe 1" or so toutching the car, and shake the towel often. Usually, I dust only if the car has not been driven since being washed, or has been driven a short (10-15 miles) distance since washing.

    I'm a big fan of just washing the car when its dusty/dirty. It is the best non-invasive way to get a clean car and only takes an hour, including drying.

    Also, a lot of what I said was mentioned earlier in this thread. I repeated it for the benefit of those who immediately joined us on page 4.

    Autohaus guest

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    Exactly what I do. Too bad my better 1/2 doesn't always agree :rolleyes:.

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