Introduction to Detailing

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Eddie.
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Introduction to Detailing

Post by Eddie. »

I was asked the other day to give a little bit of a guide to detailing.

First off, I'm no expert. I'm an avid home detailer, but no more than that :)

I'm going to give a bit of a brief insight to a normal detail for me, so normally this wouldn't include any paint correction stages, although I will give a quick run through of that. A lot of the photos are from details on my old RS Clio.

A "detail" is nothing more than an in depth clean, in all honesty, but it has some very basic stages that should be adhered to:

Decontamination
Correction
Protection


These stages can be further broken down, which you will see below:

Decontamination

First up, the car needs to be rinsed with a hose. Generally avoid jetwashing at this stage, as this can drive dirt into the clearcoat.

Once this is done, it's time to get the general grime off the car. To do this I usually use the 2BM or "2 bucket method". This is essentially what it says on the tin, you use one bucket for shampoo (my choice of shampoo is Zaino Show Car Wash), then when you have cleaned a panel, you use a second bucket, which has just water in it, to rinse the wash mitt. This means the dirt removed from the car, goes into the rinse bucket and not into the shampoo, where it will simply be picked up and transferred back onto the paint. I use a "washmitt" to clean the car, as a sponge can cause unwanted 'marring' or 'swirling' (thousands of tiny, scratches a few microns deep). Good technique is key; wash in straight lines (never circular motions) and one panel at a time.

Zaino Z7 Show Car Wash:

Image

If the car is especially dirty, products like Autosmart G101 or Auto Finesse Citrus Power can be used to soften the dirt. G101 (my personal choice) is nothing more than an All Purpose Cleaner (APC) and is usally diluted depending on the job in question. G101 generally removes organic fallout, like bird droppings, dust & general grime.

Now the car needs to be rinsed and more in depth decontamination can take place.

Car Pro Iron-X is a product used to remove metal based fallout. Often around the lower arches/sills and around exhaust exits you'll find very high levels of metal fallout. Iron-X safely breaks these particles down so they can simply be rinsed off.

Iron-X in action:

Image

Autosmart Tardis is designed to remove tar, this is usually found behind wheels, and on the front end of the car. Tar is picked up from the road and can be seen by eye as little tiny black/brown spots. As per Iron-X the product and broken down fallout should be rinsed off.

The final stage of decontamination is 'claying'. This is done with a clay bar, and some lube. The lube can be anything from QD (quick detailer) or water with some shampoo in it. I usually use the latter of the two, some warm water and a touch of shampoo. Working your way around the car, wet the panel and rub the clay over it. The surface of the clay will become contaminated with any particles left behind after the chemical stages. Keep turning/folding the clay bar to keep the cleaning surface fresh. Never use a clay bar if you drop it on the floor. If the clay bar is grabbing or sticking to the panel, it needs more lube.

Once this is all done, the car needs another rinse, or preferably, another wash with 2BM.

Once this is all one, the car must be thoroughly dried. An air blower is handy for removing water in tight areas. I use a "Woolly Mammoth" drying towel, which has a very deep pile and is excellent at picking up large quantities of water. "Pat" the car down as opposed to rubbing the car.

Woolly Mammoth:

Image

Correction

I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but correction is exactly that. You're correcting imperfections in the paint. Usually this is done with polishes via a DA/rotary polisher. Stunning results can be achieved if done correctly, as swirls, holograms and RDS (random deep scratches) can really detract from the overall finish of a car.

Sometimes simply going round and hand polishing the car will provide nice results, Autoglym Super Resin Polish (SRP) is good for this, but does produce a lot of dust.

Another method of "correction" is filling. As the name suggests, this isn't true correction, and will eventually need redoing. Glazes are a way of getting a truly glossy, deep finish to paint. They do this by filling the scratches and swirls, some more than others. They also act as an excellent preparation for the protection stage. Prima Amigo is my choice of glaze, but Poorboys Blackhole is stunning on darker cars.

Once any correction is done, the car needs to be wiped down with IPA (sometimes called eraser) to remove any polishing oils. This doesn't apply if you have used a glaze, as the IPA will remove the filling.

Protection

This is the final stage and in some respects, one of the most important.

There are a few ways to protect your paintwork, in the form of a few different types of LSP (Last Stage Protection).

- Traditional waxes
- Sealants
- Ceramic Sealants

Waxes:

I personally use a wax called Zymöl Glasur. When choosing a wax, the percentage of white carnauba is the most important thing. A lot of waxes are sold as "100% carnauba" but often they will be 95% yellow carnauba and 5% white.

The white carnauba is what provides the deep, sharp clarity and warmth to a colour. The higher the percentage of white carnauba, the more expensive the wax.

Waxing technique should be apply in tight, concentric circles, left to cure for the right time (varies by wax) and then buffed off with a good buffing cloth. I usually work panel by panel.

There are other more basic waxes like Collinite, and FK100p. These are longer lasting waxes, and in the case of FK100p, they have a higher temperature resistance, so are ideal for engine bays/arches.

Zymöl Glasur with water beading:

Image

Sealants

Sealants are man made, easy to apply, long lasting ways of protecting a car. I use Zaino Z2, which provides a crisp, sharp finish. They are usually wiped on and wiped off. Very easy to apply, and last good lengths of time, but for me they lack a certain "soul" in comparison to a nice wax.

Ceramic Sealants

These are very similar to sealants, except they are a lot, lot harder and last for a long time, ('C-Quartz Finest' - 2 years, 'GTechniq C1+' - 18 months). They can be tricky to apply, and if done wrong, they require a 3 stage correction to remove them. They contain ceramics and crystals and by nature, are rock hard.

All of the above will provide a tight protective layer over the clearcoat, protecting the car from dirt and other nasties on the road. Waxes need topping up, and can be done with carnauba sprays. Your LSP is what gives you the lovely tight water beading seen on well protected cars.

As I say, all of that is a very very brief, things like wheels/tyres, interior, and glass all have just as much that needs doing on them. If anyone wants to know anything more specific, just ask and I'll be happy to advise :)

That lovely, glossy finish:

Image


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Jeroen
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Re: Introduction to Detailing

Post by Jeroen »

Nice, thanks for that! Not sure we get all the same brands here but the basis will be useful for everyone, wherever!

I'll make a sticky of this, if anyone has something to add (experiences or advice that goes beyond applying turtle please haha), feel free to contribute!
Regards/groeten, Jeroen
cobbler2u
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Re: Introduction to Detailing

Post by cobbler2u »

Very good info.
Can you pls direct us to the right people to buy from

:thumbsup
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Eddie.
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Re: Introduction to Detailing

Post by Eddie. »

Certainly:

I4Detailing: http://www.i4detailing.co.uk/

Polished Bliss: http://www.polishedbliss.co.uk/

Elite Car Care: http://www.elitecarcare.co.uk/

Clean Your Car: http://www.cleanyourcar.co.uk/

All very good sites, between them you can get pretty much anything.
cobbler2u
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Re: Introduction to Detailing

Post by cobbler2u »

Thanks
Sorry one last question as there is a few freshly painted cars are these products ok for them
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e21-Mark
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Re: Introduction to Detailing

Post by e21-Mark »

That Clio does have some serious shine going on.
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Eddie.
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Re: Introduction to Detailing

Post by Eddie. »

cobbler2u wrote:Thanks
Sorry one last question as there is a few freshly painted cars are these products ok for them
Fresh paint is fine to work with, but only once fully cured.

Even if they're baked, as far as I know, clearcoat can stay soft for a few weeks.
louca21
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Re: Introduction to Detailing

Post by louca21 »

Eddie. wrote:
cobbler2u wrote:Thanks
Sorry one last question as there is a few freshly painted cars are these products ok for them
Fresh paint is fine to work with, but only once fully cured.

Even if they're baked, as far as I know, clearcoat can stay soft for a few weeks.
Its not necessarily that they stay soft, but it could take upto 6-12 months for solvent to completely evaporate from clear coats. The clear could feel hard but may not be cured throughout.

Its fine to polish and most clears have been flatted and polished prior to leaving a shop, but by waxing you seal the solvents in the clear. If you're desperate to protect your paintwork, some bodyshops offer infa red baking, which cures the paint from inside out, Or just let time pass :roll:
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