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Car Care & Detailing
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:49 AM   #1
jeepo23
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Exterior Cleaning & Detailing

Howdy folks, I was going to post this in the care and detailing section of the forum but once I went in there its like a flea market with nothing but the sponsors promoting their product - no useful information.

Being first day of spring and all I figured I get some input on what some of you guys do to keep your exterior looking sharp and paint so fresh. I know I could go out and spend probably $1k worth of chemicals/cleaners/devices but I'm not looking into opening a business or going to competitions. I just like my cars to look clean.

So can someone give me a low down on what would be some recommended products & procedures to do a good paint repair on a newly acquired BMW to you - car would be 9 years old, I can see swirl marks on it.

I know the typical, wash, dry and perhaps wax. But now I see online they talk about compounds, polishing etc. Something like Mothers Back to Black for exterior trim?

Just looking for some information to get my started and do a decent job in cleaning up the exterior of the vehicle.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:58 AM   #2
Knight
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Start with a thorough wash. Pull the wheels off to be washed separately and to be able to reach under the wheel arches. I use a foam cannon attached to a power washer for this step.

You can follow this up with a clay bar to really draw the contaminants in the paint out. Next up is a wax of your choice. Lastly, enjoy the result.

Detailing can become an art form and go to extremes. For a daily driver that isn't anywhere near showroom condition to begin with, I wouldn't go overboard.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:21 AM   #3
Geo31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepo23 View Post
Howdy folks, I was going to post this in the care and detailing section of the forum but once I went in there its like a flea market with nothing but the sponsors promoting their product - no useful information.
You're kidding, right? There is great information there if you're patient enough to go through some of the threads.

Read this:

http://www.detailedimage.com/Auto-Detailing-Guide/

This is by far the best document I've read to get started. I've never been into detailing, but in the last 2 years I decided it was time to get on-board. I already owned a DA sander (Porter Cable) that is the same as the buffer. I just had to change out from the sanding backing plate to the polishing backing plate. There is a good detailing page on FB where there are a number of guys using a Harbor Freight DA sander/polisher with great results (obviously with a polishing backing plate) so you don't need a mega dollar DA.

I read through the guide I've linked to as well as a variety of threads. In the end, I had to choose some materials, so I picked what I thought were the best choices for me at the time. If you read some of the threads, you'll get a good idea what is good for a newbie to start with.

Quote:
Being first day of spring and all I figured I get some input on what some of you guys do to keep your exterior looking sharp and paint so fresh. I know I could go out and spend probably $1k worth of chemicals/cleaners/devices but I'm not looking into opening a business or going to competitions. I just like my cars to look clean.

So can someone give me a low down on what would be some recommended products & procedures to do a good paint repair on a newly acquired BMW to you - car would be 9 years old, I can see swirl marks on it.

I know the typical, wash, dry and perhaps wax. But now I see online they talk about compounds, polishing etc. Something like Mothers Back to Black for exterior trim?

Just looking for some information to get my started and do a decent job in cleaning up the exterior of the vehicle.
There is no magic to it and countless options. That is the hard part initially.

From what I've been able to gather, you probably can't go wrong with:

Meguire's M105 for the initial paint correction
Meguire's M205 for polishing
From there you can use wax or a variety of sealants. I personally use Blackfire Wet Diamond

YMMV

None of these are super aggressive, so they are great for a newb. I am WAY sold on a sealant vs a wax.

Now, you can do simpler steps, but not likely to receive the results you wish for. It's not hard. Just read the guide. There are other guidelines people have written up. You should be fine. You just have to get started. I've now done all 3 cars (my touring needs to be done again, but a light touch-up (only correcting the roof and hood this time, using something a big more aggressive, but not too much so). Plan on a LONG day or two days to do it right. My workflow:

Hand wash (2 bucket system)
Iron-X
Dry
Clay
Tape off
Compound
Medium Polish
Light Polish
Sealant

My touring took me 17 hours the first time to work carefully and not too fast (I'm not being paid to do this). My M Roadster took 14 hours. My wife's Tribeca (which I did early last month) took about 17 for the outside.

Taping takes more time than you might think, but it's important and speeds up the rest of the workflow.

Others will have their own story and I'm sure I'm slow, but I'm just getting into this.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:54 AM   #4
jeepo23
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Thanks for the informative post! So been doing some reading and the 2 bucket wash system is not something I did but it makes quite a bit of sense so that will be something I start doing. Also, will pick up myself a microfibre wash mitt. As well I planned on doing a clay bar.

Now in regards to the Meguiars stuff; looking at my local store stuff I find this;
http://meguiars.ca/product/ultimate-compound/

But a lot of people rave about this;
http://www.meguiars.com/en/professio...ompound-32-oz/

Which does not seem to be as accessible locally/Canada. Can someone tell me the differences between the two?
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:24 PM   #5
Geo31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepo23 View Post
Thanks for the informative post! So been doing some reading and the 2 bucket wash system is not something I did but it makes quite a bit of sense so that will be something I start doing. Also, will pick up myself a microfibre wash mitt. As well I planned on doing a clay bar.

Now in regards to the Meguiars stuff; looking at my local store stuff I find this;
http://meguiars.ca/product/ultimate-compound/

But a lot of people rave about this;
http://www.meguiars.com/en/professio...ompound-32-oz/

Which does not seem to be as accessible locally/Canada. Can someone tell me the differences between the two?
I don't know anything about the first one. The second one is one of my recommendations. The M105 is technically considered a polish. For compound, I use Meguiar's DA Microfiber Compound.

If you want to conserve cash, but still get into a dual-action polisher, I believe this is the one that the folks on the FB detailing page I'm on have said good things about***********:

http://www.harborfreight.com/power-t...her-69924.html

Can't beat the price. Even if you use it for a few years and it conks out, once you have the other stuff you need, then you can get a better DA polisher.

Again, I highly recommend the Detailed Image guide. Be patient. Realize you'll have to make some choices with some uncertainty, but the M105 and M205 are almost universally liked.

If you want to go the quick and easy way:

Wash
Dry
Clay Bar
Cleaner Wax (cleaner wax has abrasives in it)

But, if you really want the look of well detailed paint, you really need to give it the full deal. Once you do it and realize how easy it is, you'll be glad you did. My first time I skipped the compound, thus I have to go back on my touring. Always best to be less aggressive if you're not sure about things. Whether you start with a compound or the cutting polish like the M105 is up to you and the level of correction you think your paint needs. The things I've recommended, if you don't over do, are good starter materials. There are more aggressive materials for people with experience and even devices that can measure paint thickness.

One thing, for anyone that does not have a lot of experience, stick with the dual-action ONLY. The rotary buffers can burn through your paint in no time if you don't know what you're doing.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:48 PM   #6
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If you go for the harbor freight polisher make sure you grab one of the 20% of coupons...they are really easy to find.

GEO, I looked and didnt see the facebook page you mentioned (not a fan of facebook)...do you have a link?
Thanks
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:52 PM   #7
Geo31
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Originally Posted by dan4081 View Post
If you go for the harbor freight polisher make sure you grab one of the 20% of coupons...they are really easy to find.

GEO, I looked and didnt see the facebook page you mentioned (not a fan of facebook)...do you have a link?
Thanks
It's Detailing for Dummies.
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Geo31 View Post
It's Detailing for Dummies.
Thanks
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:45 PM   #9
jeepo23
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Great info, I think I'll order the two meguiars products online. Grab myself a claybar and wash mitt and call that a start.

Now for this polisher, I actually have a 8" Orbital Polisher/Buffer that was handed to me but I never used it really. Any idea on the quality of this and hopefully it's sufficient to get me started? Also it has a bunch of pads to which I'm unsure what's what lol!




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Old 03-20-2017, 10:45 PM   #10
Geo31
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You are going to need something that has replaceable pads. Please read the guide from Detailed Image. You use different pads for different compounds/polishes.

It's not cheap to get started, but once you have the basics, it's not bad. I debated for almost a year before I finally pulled the trigger. So glad I did. The one thing I've found you can't have enough of is the various pads. Well, and microfiber towels.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:27 PM   #11
jeepo23
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What a shame.. so this machine isn't really usable?

Well I guess for now I'll have to apply the Meguiars by hand lol.

Been reading a bit so I'll start of;

Rinse with Pressure washer
Apply soap with Pressure washer
Use a Microfibre Mitt w/ Two bucket was system
Spray off any excess using pressure washer
Dry with one of those leather towels
Clay Bar
Meguiars 105
Meguairs 205
Then wax, unsure yet on exact one.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:52 PM   #12
Geo31
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Well....

You can do whatever you want. But if you want really good results that are worth your time, I wouldn't use it if it cannot accommodate interchangeable pads.

If you mean dry with a chamois, I personally wouldn't. I stick with a nice, large microfiber towel. Always be gentle with the paint.

I would start with the M205. If you don't get he results you like, you may have to go back with a more aggressive compound. That's what I did/am doing on my touring (hood and roof).

Wax is OK. I'll tell you, after using a sealant, I'd never go back to wax.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:56 PM   #13
Geo31
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OK, I looked up the buffer. I would absolutely not waste my time with it. I don't mean to be harsh, but it will waste your time if you use it IMHO.

If you don't have Harbor Freight in Canada, you probably have something similar. Canadian Tire may have a similar DA buffer to the one I posted.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:59 PM   #14
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I had started on the two-bucket path, but early on discovered Optimum No Rinse, which does not have much use for the second bucket. It does require some good microfiber towels for washing, and a good waffle drying towel. I am using products from the Rag Company, their edgeless rags are pretty awesome. Also, skip the leather drying towel, a.k.a. chamois. You will have much better results drying with waffle towel like "Dry Me A River", with much less risk of scratching your paint.

I hope this doesn't make me sound like a shill for the Rag Company, and you could probably pick up similar products at your local Walmart. I am often wary of "new and improved" ways that companies try to bamboozle you into buying new product, and to ditch the old-school, tried-and-true methods. Optimum No Rinse (ONR) and microfeber towels are definitely the kinds of products that make me appreciate living in the 21st century.
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:06 PM   #15
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I start with a call to the Diamond Detailers and they send a van out. Then I grab a coffee and do some work from home while the detailers do their thing. I put car cleaning up there with window cleaning and bicycle maintenance. Huge time suck and doesn't accomplish much. A clean car is important however, and that's why I have somebody else do it. Hate that sh*t.
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:43 PM   #16
jeepo23
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Originally Posted by Geo31 View Post
Well....

You can do whatever you want. But if you want really good results that are worth your time, I wouldn't use it if it cannot accommodate interchangeable pads.

If you mean dry with a chamois, I personally wouldn't. I stick with a nice, large microfiber towel. Always be gentle with the paint.

I would start with the M205. If you don't get he results you like, you may have to go back with a more aggressive compound. That's what I did/am doing on my touring (hood and roof).

Wax is OK. I'll tell you, after using a sealant, I'd never go back to wax.
Isn't the 205 a polish so to finish of after compounding with 105

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo31 View Post
OK, I looked up the buffer. I would absolutely not waste my time with it. I don't mean to be harsh, but it will waste your time if you use it IMHO.

If you don't have Harbor Freight in Canada, you probably have something similar. Canadian Tire may have a similar DA buffer to the one I posted.
Yah this is a crappy tire product. Closest to Harbour Freight would be Princess Auto which I will have to look and see what they got.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:48 PM   #17
Geo31
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Actually M105 and M205 are both technically polishes. But you're right, I think I wrote that backwards. I don't use them so I'm not intimately familiar, but I do know that a LOT of people use this, including some pro detailers.

The price of entry is going to be higher than you think, but in the long run it's worth it. I could never keep my cars looking nice before. Always swirl marks and such and never the nice finish my cars have today.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:59 PM   #18
jeepo23
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Originally Posted by Geo31 View Post
Actually M105 and M205 are both technically polishes. But you're right, I think I wrote that backwards. I don't use them so I'm not intimately familiar, but I do know that a LOT of people use this, including some pro detailers.

The price of entry is going to be higher than you think, but in the long run it's worth it. I could never keep my cars looking nice before. Always swirl marks and such and never the nice finish my cars have today.


Thanks for your tips. Yah googling it and everyone uses both products combined, one after the other to get the best result.

So let's see some pics of your clean rides as you've inspired me lol


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Old 03-21-2017, 06:19 PM   #19
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Here's what I do twice a year:
First I use a little bit of dawn dishwashing liquid in a bucket of water. I wash one panel at a time. This takes off all the old grease and oil from the prior waxing. Wash off the panel then I clay bar the panel. After clay barring is done, I apply a sealant; let it dry, then rub it off. Once that's done, I apply the wax on top of the sealant. Doing it this way if I start on Monday and do two panels a day which takes about an hour, I'm done by the weekend.

Yup, it's time consuming, but I like doing it since I only do it twice a year. I wash the car every weekend and wax it once a month. I use Zimol for wax and chemical guys for the sealant. In between washes I use a detailing spray every other week after washing her. I don't use any soap since having the wax on makes all the dirt come off with just water and a clean microfiber rag. Also since my car is white, it doesn't show swirls so much.

Now for our black Mercedes C230, that's annoying coz it gets dirty so quickly. Swirl marks show and I haven't really thought about using a buffer and a polisher that will cut through the clear coat and take away the swirls. That part scares me.
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Old 03-21-2017, 06:20 PM   #20
DreamnZ
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Here's what I do twice a year:
First I use a little bit of dawn dishwashing liquid in a bucket of water. I wash one panel at a time. This takes off all the old grease and oil from the prior waxing. Wash off the panel then I clay bar the panel. After clay barring is done, I apply a sealant; let it dry, then rub it off. Once that's done, I apply the wax on top of the sealant. Doing it this way if I start on Monday and do two panels a day which takes about an hour, I'm done by the weekend.

Yup, it's time consuming, but I like doing it since I only do it twice a year. I wash the car every weekend and wax it once a month. I use Zimol for wax and chemical guys for the sealant. In between washes I use a detailing spray every other week after washing her. I don't use any soap since having the wax on makes all the dirt come off with just water and a clean microfiber rag. Also since my car is white, it doesn't show swirls so much.

Now for our black Mercedes C230, that's annoying coz it gets dirty so quickly. Swirl marks show and I haven't really thought about using a buffer and a polisher that will cut through the clear coat and take away the swirls. That part scares me.
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