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|04-06-2012, 10:41 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Chicago, Illinois
My Ride: 02 M3, 97 328i
Auto Finesse Product Review | Jet Black E46 M3
It has been well over a handful of years since I did any sort of thorough detail or paint correction on my car. We purchased the car brand new just about 11 years ago and I am rather guilty of not being the best at keeping the paint in it's proper condition.
With things finally slowing down a bit with my schedule, I decided it was about time I got back into the game and rebuild my arsenal to tackle the paint on this rather tired looking Jet Black E46 M3. Coincidently enough, AutoFinesse USA made their introduction to the States. I have been hearing great things about their products on DetailersWorld and it was great knowing that there is now a much more affordable means for us to get a hold of their products.
After exchanging countless emails and PMs with Martin of AutoFinesse USA on, I not only learned a lot about the process of paint correction, but also a good idea of what things I should acquire. What I really appreciated about working with Martin was that he even recommended certain products that he didn't necessarily sell or is even produced by AutoFinesse. He was very honest, humble, and informative. I got the impression that he cared more about me having the right tools to get my car in the right shape over trying to make every dollar and cent from me.
In the end, I decided to use the following products and protocol:
Wheels . Tires
Auto Finesse Imperial
Auto Finesse Gloss
Auto Finesse Mercury with MF Applicator
Adamís In & Out
Sonax Gloss Shampoo with Gilmour Foamaster II
Auto Finesse Citrus
Auto Finesse ObliTARate
Auto Finesse Lather
Uber Clay Bar with ONR
Meguiarís D300 with Meguiarís MF Cutting Pad/Porter Cable 7424
Auto Finesse Rejuvenate with Green Pad/Porter Cable 7424
Auto Finesse Tripple with Blue Pad/Porter Cable 7424
Auto Finesse Tough Coat with Wax Applicator
Auto Finesse Spirit with Wax Applicator
Auto Finesse Finale with MF Towel
Windows . Trim . Exhaust
Auto Finesse Crystal with MF Towel
Auto Finesse Revive with MF Towel
Auto Finesse Mercury with MF Applicator
Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to take photos during the whole paint correction phase. My camera was still getting serviced and cleaned, but I was able to take some snaps after everything was pretty much said and done. I did leave one quarter of the hood unfinished to show some sort of 50/50 shot. Enjoy the photos and let me know what you think!
50/50 : D300 vs. D300 + AF Rejuvenate. Notice how Rejuvenate really brings back a lot of the depth of the Jet Black!
Pretty decent clarity and depth for 11 year old soft Jet Black paint.
Pretty close to showroom clean!
The classic curves of the E46 M3 will never get old!
M3 shameless plug.
Huge rear fender flares. The one thing I miss on the E9X M3.
I personally still think this car does not look it's age!
Being catless, these tips were caked with crud and practically brown. Clearly not a problem for Auto Finesse Mercury!
Auto Finesse Imperial and Gloss make the original wheels look new!
78,000 original miles with a recently installed Evolve Automotive CF Airbox .
I wish there were more clouds to share the potential reflection. Please ignore the not very evident dent on the power bulge, haha.
Evolve Automotive carbon fiber goodness...
Evolve Automotive's creative serial plaque with build numbers!
This thing can suck up small living creatures....
Auto Finesse USA Customer ServiceWorking with Martin and AutoFinesse USA was an absolute pleasure. The communication with him was constant and very prompt. I exchanged countless PMs and emails with him asking about the difference of all the products, how to apply them, what's purpose, etc. With his great patience, he was able to provide many answers and a lot of great information. As I mentioned earlier, Martin was extremely helpful in advising me on what products to try out and purchase. After describing to him the condition of my paint, he highly recommend I pick up some good products from Phil at Detailer's Domain. This alone says a lot about a person and business. With both Auto Finesse USA and Detailer's Domain being in a competitive detailing industry, I greatly appreciated that Martin was more than willing to steer me in the right direction even if it meant he wasn't making a single dollar from me for a given product.
Overall, amazing customer service from Martin and everyone else at Auto Finesse USA and UK! The two packages I got from them were incredibly packed and even included nice personalized post cards, simply showing their own appreciation for my business.
I would never hesitate to work with Auto Finesse USA again in the future and can only recommend them to everyone I know. It's hard now a days to find businesses who generally care about us enthusiasts. It's rather a relief that Martin takes the time out of his day and schedule to answer my endless questions, comments, and concerns.
Auto Finesse LatherFirst off, AF Lather smells absolutely amazing! There was a point where I thought about bathing myself in it! On a more serious note, I used this wash in two methods, foam gun and two bucket method. In the foam gun, I used a very small amount of the soap itself, then diluted it with some water. Although it worked well and foamed very well through the gun, I found that it was a bit excessive to use AF Lather in this fashion. I realize that it would more sense to use a significantly more affordable soap to dedicate for foam gun usage.
Using the two bucket method with AF Later was quite enjoyable. It has decent suds within the bucket and on the paint. What I believe this soap should be praised for though is absolutely how slick it feels on the paint! It made my, at the time un-waxed, paint feel absolutely slick through the Uber Sponge. It was rather reassuring because I felt like it did a great job of lifting off the dirt.
The advised instructions of using 2-4 capfuls for a full standard bucket I think was pretty appropriate. A little does go a rather long way.
Auto Finesse Citrus
This is the one product where I really wish I had before/after shots. My E46 M3 has slowly been collecting a lot of bugs and grime in it's front bumper for far too long. I chose to use AF Citrus Power as the first step of my decontamination phase of the overall detail. I sprayed pretty much majority of the car very liberally since I had some sort of bug or grime built up randomly throughout the car. I may have gotten carried away with it's application but it was well worth it. I purchased a Swissvax Detail Brush for the sole purpose of agitating some of the built up contamination on the paint, but it really wasn't necessary. After letting Citrus Power dwell and work for about 5 minutes, it did everything on it's own! I blasted it with a pretty strong spray of water and tons of dirt just drifted off the paint. I was extremely impressed!
My only regret was that I didn't purchase the bigger 1L size. I highly recommend this for anyone who frequently gets a lot of bug build up on their front bumpers. Auto Finesse claims that it won't strip previously applied wax and sealants, so it will be curious to put that to the test the next time around.
Auto Finesse ObliTARatePowerful! To say the very least, this product is powerful! I had some light tar build up on my rear bumper. A simple spray of ObliTARate, 5+ minute wait, and a quick strong blast of water. The tar literally dripped off the car. Surprisingly, none of the tar required much agitation, but I imagine others having to do so.
Application was very similar to AF Citrus Power. Very user friendly, although not as pleasantly smelling as the others. I just wish AF ObliTARate came with a spray trigger. Fortunately, I had a couple sitting around that fit perfectly.
Auto Finesse ImperialAuto Finesse Imperial is a fairly light and pH neutral wheel cleaner. I noticed that it wasn't as strong as some of the wheel cleaners I've used in the past, but I believe that to be more so an advantage. Sadly, I have come across wheel cleaners that actually did more harm than good. AF Imperial did a nice job of breaking down most of the surface dirt and brake dust that really didn't require much extra work. A lot of the more settled and caked build up necessitated the need for different kinds of wheel brushes and agitation. To say the least, it helped me bring back a lot of the shine from the original finish on my OE wheels.
I see the Auto Finesse Imperial being a great maintenance type of product to keep your wheels looking fresh. Auto Finesse does offer a concentrate variant that gives the end user the ability to dilute to different ratios. I think this would be worth spending the extra dollars since it may prove to be versatile and customizable. As soon as I finish up this bottle of Imperial, I will be springing for the bigger concentrate and proportioning things accordingly.
Auto Finesse GlossAs simple as a tire gloss can be, there are so many faults a product can have. Fortunately for Auto Finesse, they did an incredible job with Gloss! The two biggest things I noticed with AF Gloss was that it doesn't sling on to my paint after I let it settle for a bit of time! This is huge for me because every other type of gloss I've used whether it be foam, spray, or gel, has ALWAYS slung onto my paint which drove me crazy. Another huge advantage this has over the others I've used is it's durability. Believe it or not, but the photos I posted of my car above was actually after 1 quick wash and a hundred miles of driving. Notice how the tires still carry a nice subtle gloss to it! Durability of this product is truly astounding.
Like many products, a little goes a long way. I applied AF Gloss with a foam tire applicator. I noticed that you can vary the amount of pop you want from the tires depending on how you layer the product. If you prefer a more subtle finish, I'd recommend applying just one coat and letting it dry. If you want more pop and bling, after applying one coat, let it dry, then apply another. I think the more layers you apply, the deeper and blacker the tires become. If this was the intention of Auto Finesse, I'm not sure, but it seems to work beautifully.
Auto Finesse RejuvenateAuto Finesse Rejuvenate works just as well as it's advertised. I chose to use AF Rejuvenate as a follow up polish to Meguiar's D300. I applied AF Rejuvenate with my Porter Cable 7424 and Uber Green Polish Pad. AF Rejuvenate seems to have a nice mild cut to it. What I noticed after applying Meguiar's D300 was that it made my paint look a little dull, albeit also removed a ton of swirls. You'll notice that AF Rejuvenate does an incredible job of pulling back the life of your paint. I was a bit discouraged after doing my first stage polish with D300, but after applying AF Rejuvenate, that's when I started to notice deep Jet Black can really be! Please take note of the 50/50 photo I posted above to really see the drastic difference with the application of AF Rejuvenate.
Applying the product was incredibly easy! No dust. No slinging of product with the buffer. It did not take much effort to really break down the product. Most of all, it was effortless to wipe off after application. It felt like I was wiping off a light mist of quick detailer. Very impressed with this product!
Auto Finesse TrippleI used Auto Finesse Tripple as a follow up to AF Rejuvenate. With it's polishing, glazing, and protectant characteristics, I think it fulfilled it's purpose with cleaning up some of the more minute scratches and imperfections that I didn't catch in prior passes. I found it had a small amount of bite to it, especially when paired with the Uber Blue Final Polish Pad.
What I found most enjoyable about using AF Tripple with the buffer was simply how quick it broke down and how easy it was to wipe off with a MF towel. There was an incredible minute amount of dusting. After applying AF Tripple, I decided to follow with a quick wash and I found that it already added a nice protection layer of wax. The water easily beaded and sheeted off the paint.
No doubt a very fast, quick, and easy product to use! I can now see why a lot of people will turn to AF Tripple as the great all-in-one product.
Auto Finesse Tough CoatAuto Finesse Tough Coat is one of my favorite products from the line! There is nothing I could ever imagine them improving on with this sealant. The product was actually a lot less viscous then I imagined. With a few quick sprays onto a wax applicator, it was enough to cover a good amount of various panels on the car. What I found slightly tricky was figuring out the cure time. I found a few minutes was suitable for it properly cure and still be easy to wipe off.
Despite covering the whole car with Tough Coat, I found that I actually didn't use much product as well. After spending many hours working on the car at this point, it was rather relieving that the application of Tough Coat really took no time at all. What I was most impressed by was the amount of beading Tough Coat resulted in. I really wanted to test how well it does so I did a spray of water from the hose onto the hose and beaded fairly prominently. I then wanted to see how well I could sheet water off the hood with a slow and steady stream of water. Absolutely effortless and perfect! It really didn't have to be dried that much. This seems to be a great last step for protection, especially for those looking for a quick process!
Auto Finesse SpiritOriginally, I had the intention of going with Auto Finesse Desire based upon all the great reviews I had. One of the concerns I had was the application and ease of use of Desire. Base upon Martin's recommendation, he really encouraged me to try out Spirit. Well I am glad I decided to pocket that extra cash and go for the Spirit instead! Application was incredibly easy. Short cure time. Easy to wipe off. Low dust. What more could you ask for in a wax? Oh it smells amazing!!
What I am most excited to see is how durable AF Spirit lasts. I have only heard great things about the strength of the wax, but for me, only time can tell. After applying AF Spirit, I once again decided to see it's beading and sheeting effects. I was once again impressed by how much easier it is to wash the car.
Auto Finesse CrystalOne of my biggest pet peeves on a car is just having dirty windows. Whether it be water spots, streaks, dirty, etc. Auto Finesse Crystal made it incredible simple to just spray on, wipe off, and have a clean window. I recommend using a thinner and less plush MF Towel though. I made the mistake of using a very thick and plush MF Towel which purpose was to remove wax. It led to a ton of lint sticking to the windows all over the place. I followed up with a thinner and more course MF towel and it removed everything quite well.
As simple as cleaning a window is, if you want a streak free and spotless window, AF Crystal is a great option to invest in.
Auto Finesse ReviveWhen I was in the planning stage of doing my detail, I actually almost purchased a lot of new plastic trims for the E46 M3. Having been exposed to the sun for over a decade, the black plastic started to show extreme fade and dullness. When I saw the Auto Finesse Revive product description, I decided to just give it a shot. Well low and behold, it really did end up reviving the life of all the black trimmings on the car. It worked great within the engine bay too!
It was a simple as putting a few dabs on a MF towel, and swiping across the trim. It rained a few times already and I was pleased to see that it AF Revive holds up to a wash and rain with no problem! I realized that in detailing, it's the small things that count. Bring back vibrance to the trim really helps achieve that "brand new" look of the car!
Auto Finesse MercuryThis product is a game changer for me! My exhaust tips have been exposed to countless dirt, track days, soot from catless headers for thousands and thousands of miles. After countless washes over the many years, I could never remove the built up grim and crud on the tips. My once polished tips started to look brown and stained. When I saw a lot of the reviews of AF Mercury, I decided to take the plunge on my very first metal polisher.
It was absolutely mind boggling what a difference this product has made on the different metal portions of the car! I literally started chuckling in the garage when I saw how such a little amount of polish can completely make an exhaust tip look brand new. My girlfriend said that it actually looks like I bought a new exhaust!
Although I'm sure most people will be applying this to their exhaust tips, I decided to use it within the engine bay. I have seen people post pics of their VANOS unit completely spotless and clean and it really accents the engine bay nicely. I decided to give it a shot on my own car and it truly does add some bling! With the tight constraints of space, I didn't get a chance to thoroughly go through the whole VANOS unit. Check out the photos below of what literally a small MF towel, a bit of AF Mercury, and literally less than 10 minutes of elbow grease can do...pretty impressive!
Thank you for taking the time read my own thoughts and process behind using all of these products. It has been quite a lengthy and redundant read, I'm sure. That's simply because all the products just really surpassed my expectations in all realms. If you are looking for the one stop shop to get your car in good shape, Auto Finesse is a great source to take advantage of.
Once again, I wanted to take Martin and the rest at Auto Finesse for all the help, advice, and of course amazing products. I must extend my thanks to Phil at Detailer's Domain as well for helping me acquire the big tools to get this job done! His countless threads have been a great educational source for me to find products that simply work!
Stay tuned for further thoughts and reviews as time and my experience progresses!
2002 E46 M3 6MT | Jet Black . Black Nappa | My Build Thread
Evolve Automotive CF Airbox & AlphaN . Supersprint V1 Stepped Headers & V1 SPipe . KW V2 . Volk Racing TE37
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