Detailing Guide

Discussion in 'Mustang Sound & Shine All' started by NastyStang113, Jan 16, 2009.


  1. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    I'd like to begin by saying that detailing is a very subjective and opinionated subject. This following guide is only my opinion, nothing more and nothing less. So with that said, enjoy.
     
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  2. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    Interior Cleaning:

    Interior cleaning should be done once a week while you are washing your paint, depending on how dirty it is. The main things to be focusing on is vacuuming and/or spot removal on carpets, cleaning windows, treating all plastic and vinyl, and finally treating the leather.

    The first step would be to vacuum all carpets and shampoo them if needed. I use a small 5.5hp Shop-Vac and get good results. As for shampooing, I use a Bissell Little Green Machine. The fluid that comes with the Bissell does pretty good but if you need something else that is stronger, give Meguiars All Purpose Cleaner+ a try. The + stands for the ability to use it on carpets so don’t just get the standard APC (All Purpose Cleaner).

    Now you are onto cleaning and treating your plastic and vinyl. Wipe everything down with a damp micro fiber or use a interior cleaner with a micro fiber towel. I’d like to make a little note that you should always stay away from silicone based dressings and/or protectants. The silicone will leave a nasty oily residue and attract a lot of dust. The main issue with silicone based products is that it will cause the dash to turn yellow over a course of time. So with that said, stay away from them. My personal favorite interior dressing and protectant is “Poorboy’s Natural Look Dressing”.

    Now you are onto the windows. Windows are pretty self explanatory but you will want to do them always after the previous step. The reason for this is more times than not you will get your plastic/vinyl dressing on your windows. My favorite glass cleaner is “Stoner’s Invisible Glass” in the aerosol version. Just apply to the window, wipe and buff off with a clean micro fiber towel.

    It’s time for your seats now. I’m going to cover this as in dealing with leather seats. Leather seats will need to be cleaned before treating them. There are a lot of products out there for this. “Leatherique” makes just about the best products out there when dealing with leather but you pay for it. So with that said, “Lexol’s” leather cleaner works well for the price. Most cleaners will want you to use a warm damp micro fiber and the product. Once you have cleaned your seats, it is important that you make sure all of the stitching is dry. Wet stitching can cause problems and lead to leather failure. Now you are onto treating the leather. Like I had mentioned before, “Leatherique” makes the best products in this sense but you’ll pay for it. Another good and affordable product is “Meguiar’s Cleaner & Conditioner” from their “Detailer’s Line”. It’s a two step product but if your seats are very dirty, I recommend you clean them prior to using it. Just apply liberally and evenly to the seats and let the product soak in and dry.

    Finally, there are a few more things to do. Detailing is all about the details so take the time to go the extra step with anything you think should be done. This includes cleaning the nooks and crannies like the air vents with a small brush. Not to mention, wipe those door jambs down. Now you have just finished detailing your interior.
     
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  3. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    Washing:

    Washing your car is a step that is often overlooked and it’s one of the most important steps to take care of your vehicle. A lot of people wash their vehicle every week and think they are taking care of it but more often than not they are actually hurting their finish by washing improperly so it’s important to know the correct steps when washing your vehicle.

    First things first … Always use a car wash, do not use any other type of soap. I see a lot of people using Dawn and they think they are doing good. Do not use anything but a car soap. Dawn will strip wax and oils from the finish. A few good soaps includes DP’s Xtreme Foam Formula Auto Shampoo which is meant for a foam gun but works well without it as well, other great soaps are Meguiar’s Gold Class, Meguiar’s Super Soap, Poorboy’s Super Slick & Suds, etc. Car washing should always be done at dusk or in low sun light settings. The paint should also always be cool. Both of these will prevent water etching and water spots. Next, always use a quality mitt. Do not use micro fiber mitts as they do not have enough “knap” and will trap dirt and it cause micro marring to your paint’s finish. My personal recommendation is the SM Arnold Lambs Wool mitt, it’s one of the best mitts out there.

    A correct wash includes using the “two bucket method”. All this means is that you’ll use two buckets, one contains your soap and water and the other is plain water as a rinse bucket for your mitt. It’s also highly recommended to buy “Grit Guards” which sit at the bottom of the buckets to trap all of the dirt at the bottom of the bucket, instead of floating around to get into your mitt. Now dilution is very important when using soap. More is definitely not better in this sense. More soap than needed will strip your wax off of your finish. Most soaps will be able to use the 1 oz per 1 gallon of water rule. A foam gun is a great tool to use as well. I wouldn’t go without mine. I still use the two bucket wash method with the foam gun though so don’t think you can skip out there.

    Now onto the washing process. There are two different ways that I believe are correct. If you are someone who believes in using a wheel cleaner than you’ll want to wash the wheels first. If you do get some cleaner on your paint, you can simply wash it off. If you do this, you will want to have a dedicated bucket for your wheels, tires, fenders, exhaust tips, etc. However, I do the wheels and tires after my washing my paint. I don’t use any cleaners though. I only use soap and water for my wheels. It’s the safest way to clean wheels and if you are cleaning your vehicle often as you should you’ll be fine. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do there than you’re onto the next step.

    Now it’s time to wash the paint. Rinse the vehicle thoroughly with a lot of water, more is better here. Hopefully you already have both your buckets ready (and your foam gun, if you’re going to use one). Now the best way to wash is always from the top to the bottom. Wash in sections, rinse and keep water on the paint the whole time you’re washing this will help prevent water spots. The two bucket method is used as follows. Dip the mitt into the soap bucket, wash your section, put the mitt into the rinse bucket, rinse the paint, and than wash the mitt out in the bucket, running the mitt against the grit guard and than back into the soap bucket. As far as bugs go on your vehicle, including glass and/or paint. I usually just use a yellow Honeycomb bug sponge that has been soaking in soap and water. There are a lot of products out on the market to remove bugs but I find that they will remove wax as well as the bugs. So, with that said I like to keep it simple and use soap and water. Keep repeating this process until you have finished the whole vehicle.

    Once you have finished washing the paint, your wheels, tires, exhaust tips, etc it’s time to dry. Take the nozzle off of your hose and run the water on your vehicle from the top to the bottom. This is called the sheeting method and this will remove a lot of water. Drying is a key step in keeping your paint’s finish swirl free. I use a backpack leaf blower to get the majority of the water off. Once, I’ve removed nearly all of it, I’ll go back with a drying micro fiber like Meguiar’s Water Magnet or Pak Shaks Waffle Weave towel, etc. Water Blade types of tools are very sketchy, they have been known to induce straight line scratches. If you don’t have access to a leaf blower, than my recommendation is to use a couple of drying micro fibers. Go over the vehicle once with one, ringing it out when needed, and than follow up with one or two more to completely dry the vehicle to get a streak free shine.

    Clay Bars:

    Using a clay bar should be the first step to a full detail after washing your car. A clay bar is used to remove containments that have bonded to your paints surface which include tree sap, bird droppings, railroad and fallout dust, etc. Using a clay bar is very easy. Once the vehicle is washed you’ll want to use a Quick Detail spray to lubricate the surface and than take the clay bar and knead it. Now you can go onto ‘rubbing’ the paint with the clay bar. I like to use back and forth motions. Make sure you keep kneading the clay bar because containments will be picked up and you want to reduce the chance of micro marring and scratches. I’d recommend not going in circles. Once you have done a section you’ll want to remove the lubricant with a clean micro fiber. Make sure you keep kneading the clay bar because containments will be picked up and you want to reduce the chance of micro marring and scratches. Continue this process until the whole vehicle is done. Another good tip is to start at the top and work your way down to the dirtier surfaces. I prefer Poorboy’s World and Meguiars clay bar with Meguiars #34 “Final Inspection” as a lubricant.
     
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  4. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    Polishing:

    Polishing is the process of removing scratches, micro marring, and swirls. I recommend using a dual action polisher like the Meguiars G100, G110, or Flex. These machines are more than sufficient and are much safer than using a rotary especially for a beginner. A rotary should not be used unless you have experience. I always recommend if you want to try it out that you buy a body panel from a junk yard to practice on before you think about doing your own vehicle.

    Polishing will be done from the most aggressive polish to the least aggressive polish. Polishing will remove a miniscule amount of clear coat to remove the imperfections. The amount is so small that a micrometer would need to be used to see the difference. Now polishing is going to be different with a lot of products on the market, some polishes will need to be broken down a lot and some won’t. I recommend doing a 2’x2’ section at a time and than removing the excess with a clean micro fiber. Start with the most aggressive polish that is required, polish the entire vehicle in sections, and remove the excess. Now move onto the next polish, if required, and repeat the process. There are tons of great products out on the market so just try things out and find what suits your needs. Merzena, Meguiars, Poorboy’s, etc all make amazing polishes.

    Glaze:

    A glaze is applied after polishing and before a sealant and/or wax. The glaze adds oils and enhances the finishes clarity, depth, and shine. Glazes are optional though. I prefer to use glazes but your mileage may very. A glaze will be applied on a low speed setting on a DA (Dual Action Polisher) until the product breaks down. Remove the excess with a clean micro fiber towel.

    Sealant:

    A sealant is applied after polishing and/or a glaze. A sealant simply seals the surface. A sealant can be used in conjunction or as a replacement for a synthetic or carnuba wax. Sealants typically last from 4-8 months depending on the vehicle’s environment and product used. A sealant is applied by hand or with a DA (Dual Action Polisher) on a low speed setting. Break down the product and remove the excess with a clean micro fiber towel. A general rule with sealants is that they need to sit on the surface a little bit longer before removing. I usually do the whole vehicle before removing any excess depending on product, conditions, and the vehicle’s size, etc.

    Waxes:

    There are two different waxes, carnuba and synthetic. Carnuba is typically less durable but provides a better shine and clarity. Synthetic waxes typically last longer but generally do not look as good. Some synthetic waxes can also produce an effect on certain colors that resembles the look of saran wrap. Both waxes have their place and are a good choice depending on your vehicle’s environment, etc. Both are applied the same way though. Waxes can be applied by hand or by using a DA (Dual Action Polisher) on a low speed setting. Break down the product and remove the excess with a clean micro fiber towel. There are a lot of products out on the market and they all behave differently. Some waxes need to adhere to the surface before they can be removed and some can be removed quickly. I’d recommend you trying different methods and finding out what works for you. A good rule of thumb is that you’ll want to wait 12 hours before applying a wax over a sealant or a second coat of wax.
     
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  5. xtweakerx

    xtweakerx New Member

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    damn dude want to detail my car? i buy you 1 beer!
     
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  6. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    I'd need a lot more than one beer !! :lol:
     
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  7. isjoining

    isjoining New Member

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    great guide, hopefully people will follow this. One thing though I have to disagree on is I use a microfiber/chenille mitt for awhile and haven't seen any micro-marring or swirls from using it.
     
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  8. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    Microfiber and Chenille are different. Which mitt do you use?

    The ones I've got a problem with primarily are the Meguiars Microfiber Wash Mitts.
     
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  9. isjoining

    isjoining New Member

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  10. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    The most important thing to do is what works for you. :nice:
     
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  11. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    I forgot to copy and paste the section on clay bars. Can a moderator add it in after the "Washing" section?

    Clay Bars:

    Using a clay bar should be the first step to a full detail after washing your car. A clay bar is used to remove containments that have bonded to your paints surface which include tree sap, bird droppings, railroad and fallout dust, etc. Using a clay bar is very easy. Once the vehicle is washed you’ll want to use a Quick Detail spray to lubricate the surface and than take the clay bar and knead it. Now you can go onto ‘rubbing’ the paint with the clay bar. I like to use back and forth motions. Make sure you keep kneading the clay bar because containments will be picked up and you want to reduce the chance of micro marring and scratches. I’d recommend not going in circles. Once you have done a section you’ll want to remove the lubricant with a clean micro fiber. Make sure you keep kneading the clay bar because containments will be picked up and you want to reduce the chance of micro marring and scratches. Continue this process until the whole vehicle is done. Another good tip is to start at the top and work your way down to the dirtier surfaces. I prefer Poorboy’s World and Meguiars clay bar with Meguiars #34 “Final Inspection” as a lubricant.
     
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  12. dbrufus1234

    dbrufus1234 Member

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    dang man, i was readin it lookin to find something worng, and the one thing i was gonna correct you on, you said it in the last sentence. i was gonna tell you that sealents need to set for 24 hours before you put wax on it. but you said it in the last sentence haha
     
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  13. timeless2

    timeless2 Vi Veri Veni Versum Vicus Vici
    Admin Dude

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    Done.
     
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  14. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    Thanks a bunch !! :nice::nice:
     
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  15. Art161

    Art161 Member

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    Very good info. Thanks.

    I have found that if you don't like the way a particular product works for you, try something else. I love Meguiar's Synthetic Spray Detailer 135 (just don't use it as a lubricant for a clay bar--too much lubricity according to Meguiar's) and their edgeless M9910 microfiber cloths, but I don't like their clay bar at all. I only tried the consumer grade one; they have a whole bunch of professional grade bars. I use the clay bar from Griot's Garage; it doesn't have a tendency to stick to the surface the way the Meguiar's does--at least for me.

    So many products, not enough time to try 'em all!
     
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  16. NastyStang113

    NastyStang113 New Member

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    I hear you because for a while I thought I could try them all. It ended up costing me more money than I would of ever imagined.
     
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  17. Davis83

    Davis83 New Member

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    Jaxwax.com....amazing stuff! I've tried so many products to keep my car lookin great and i got to the point that i no longer use store bought products because they are junk, even the expensive stuff i used to buy. Store bought detailing stuff are not as good cuz they are all mass produced and are not in good quality as you think. You need a professional product, a product used on cars made for shows, because show winners wouldn't be show winners with a bad paint job so they know what's necessary to keep their cars in showroom condition.*

    I started using jaxwax on my 2000 stang and the paint looks as good as new. No hard work at all! You can apply in the sun and let sit for hours and come back with a micro fiber rag and it comes off with very Lil force and it doesn't leave behind residue.*

    Jaxwax carries several other products as well including a purple polish that i used to completely polish my alt, fuel lines, dpfe and throttlebody, *and they make many other products that can make a old pos look good again with very Lil work, it's all very affordable. *I use their products, my roommate uses them, *and a couple other friends and we are all very satisfied that we don't have to spend the whole day in hot Florida hell detailing our black cars for 8 hours like it normally would take us. *So try it out, I'm sure you guys will like their products.*
     
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  18. Mustanglvr2006

    Mustanglvr2006 New Member

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    This is an excellent guide. I greatly appreciate the time you took to prepare this for us.
     
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  19. StangSims39

    StangSims39 Member

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    Well said, i have been detailing since i got my first car, the tbird in my sig. other than a few differences you are def spot on with how to really take care of your car. for a while i was actually charging 100 a car and would go to your house to do it, would take me about an hour and a half, i have a friend who works for Simoniz so i get most of my stuff from him, i have a correction creme and polish im going to use in a few weeks but still debating on the final wax coat. I will prolly go with 3M my step dad swears by it. Nice write up!
     
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  20. whitey09

    whitey09 New Member

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    Great thread! I've been following your exact process for a while and i wouldn't change anything. Too many people overlook the importance of a good cleaning procedure and regular maintenance. A good site i use for advice and info is autogeek.net. Those guys are meticulous about cleaning their cars.

    Keep up the good work!:nice:
     
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