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Old 04-02-2005, 07:10 PM   #1
bigjorge3g
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Detailing Routine to Perfection

If you are like me and live up North with some snowy winters, we all know how harsh the salt and grime of winter roads can bring. I figured I’d share some of my knowledge and my detailing routine I do to perfect my car!

Exterior Detailed to Perfection:

1.) Fill up 2 5-gallon wash buckets about 50% full, using one for clean water with shampoo and one as a dirty, rinse off bucket.

2.) Add 2 caps of P21S Bodywork Shampoo and fill the first wash bucket up to about 80% to suds up the water.

3.) Before I tackle the paint I like to spray P21S Wheel Gel on my wheels and let it sit as I shampoo the paint.

4.) Using a foam wash sponge scrub the entire car from top to bottom. For tougher areas such as the front bumper, behind tires, and low body panels I like to use this bug and tar removal block. It works great for removing bugs, tar, and other grime that the foam sponge won’t work off.

Work in sections while shampooing the paint and constantly keep the paint wet. Scrub an area and then spray it down. Try to consistantly keep the paint wet until it is time to dry. This will minimize soap / water marks.

5.) As the foam sponge gets dirty or loses its suds rinse it out in the 2nd wash bucket and proceed to get more shampoo suds from the first bucket. Do this until the entire car is washed.

6.) After washing the car I like to clean my tires with 303 Aerospace Cleaner then scrub them with a firm bristle tire brush

7.) Before I spray down the car for the final time I like to take a wheel brush to my wheels to loosen any debris the wheel cleaner wasn’t able to remove.

8.) When the car is rinsed off, (this is a great tip) remove the spray nozzle so water is flowing freely from the hose. Start from the top of the car and let the water sheet off. This will reduce the time you spend drying a LOT!

9.) I then proceed to dry the car with a large waffle weave microfiber. I feel this is the best drying tool available and is more than adequate to do 2 cars at once! Make sure you open your doors, hood, and trunk and get all the places water loves to seep into. If you have an air compressor this is a good time to use it to blow out mirrors, wheels, around trim, etc.

10.) I will usually make a second pass at the car with another dry waffle weave microfiber towel to ensure all moisture is off the car.

11.) Next step I break out the clay bar. I like to use Clear Kote’s Detailing Clay because it is large enough to cut into 1/3s and store in their handy plastic container.

12.) Spray the quick detailer solution onto the car and gently work the clay in a 2’ x 2’ area. You will notice the paint becoming smoother as you work. If you feel it start to skid apply more solution in that area. Once that area is complete I wipe excess detailing solution with a microfiber towel

Feel free to give your car another wash at this point to release any debris loosened up from the clay bar. Make sure it is completely dry before doing any other steps.

13.) Now your paint is ready for some real work. If your paint has swirls you are looking to remove from the winter months (or the past) then this is a great step for you. Select a polish with the proper abrasiveness your paint requires. I like to go with a light abrasive polish since my paint is relatively new. My product of choice is Poorboy’s Super Swirl Remover 1. Apply this product using moderate pressure, otherwise you will not remove the swirls and scratches. I like to spray my applicator pad with a quick detailing solution for added lubrication before applying the polish. Work in small 2’ x 2’ sections. Then buff off with a microfiber towel.

14.) Next to really bring out the gloss and shine you want I use a finishing polish. Many people are under the misconception that the wax brings out the gloss and finish when in reality it is the polish, which many beginners skip. I like to use Klasse All-In-One Polish for optimal shine. Again, apply this product using moderate pressure. I like to spray my applicator pad with a quick detailing solution for added lubrication before applying the polish. Work in small 2’ x 2’ sections. Then buff off with a microfiber towel

15.) Now its time to seal the paint in with some sealant and wax. What I like to do is layer a couple of coats of sealant for optimal protection and then follow up with a carnauba coat to give it the wet look. What I found gives the best protection is Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze. Depending on my time restraint I’ll do between 1 and 5 coats. You should wait 8-12 hrs between coats to give the wax time to cure. Apply the sealant very sparingly (2oz or less on a car!) using very little pressure. I like to spray my applicator pad with a quick detailing solution for added lubrication before applying the sealant. Work in small 2’ x 2’ sections. Then buff off with a microfiber towel.

16.) Once I’m done with the sealant I put the finishing touch on the car, a nice layer of carnauba wax. The best carnauba wax out there is P21S Concours Carnauba Wax. This will give your car additional depth and give it that “wet look”. Apply the same way you would the sealant, very sparingly using very little pressure. I like to spray my applicator pad with a quick detailing solution for added lubrication before applying the sealant. Work in small 2’ x 2’ sections. Then buff off with a microfiber towel.

17.) Paint is done! Time to tackle the wheels and tires. Depending on how good a job the wheel and tire cleaners did, these steps may not be needed. If there is tar, brake dust, etc still on the wheels I like to run a clay bar over them. This is where cutting your clay bar into 1/3s helps b/c you’ll have a fresh piece just for your wheels. Follow the same procedure as you did on the paint with your wheels to clay them.

18.) After claying them I like to polish them up using P21S Metal Polishing Soap. P21S makes it simple by having the applicator pad handy with the product. While the metal polishing soap is out I will do my exhaust tips as well as any metal trim.

19.) To prevent more break dust and road grime from clinging to my wheels I like to seal them up with Poorboy’s Wheel Sealant. This will put a protective coating over the wheels and makes it easier to clean next time around.

20.) To finish up the tires I like to apply Poorboy’s Bold ‘N Bright Tire Dressing. This will give them a real nice finish and it is not greasy like other dressings that use silicone.

21.) Tires are done, all that’s left is the glass and trim. I love cleaning my headlight housings with Plexus Plastic Cleaner & Polish. It cleans plastic better than any other product I know of. If there is any other plastic on the car I will finish it off w/ Plexus.

22.) To finish things up on the glass and mirrors I use Diamondite’s 3 Step Glass Cleaning System. The first step is their spray clay which will remove old wax, acid rain marks, stains etc. from the glass. The second step is a glass foam cleaner which will take off all of the grime removed from the clay step. The final step is a shield that goes on the glass that helps repel rain and prevent further staining. I use a glass specific microfiber towel to make sure there is no dust or lint left behind.

23) Step back and view your masterpiece! =)

Hope you found this post useful!

The products can obviously be changed out for something similar, this is just what I choose to use.

I have been professionally detailing for years so if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Sincerely,

George @ Detailed Image
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Old 04-03-2005, 12:48 AM   #2
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I usually hose it off at the DIY carwash then speed her down the interstate the get it dry. How often do you doo all this? How much do you charge?
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Old 04-03-2005, 11:08 AM   #3
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I will usually do this full routine twice a year. Other than that I just touch things up in between, maybe another coat of the wax/sealant every so often.

To get something like this done (all depends on the number of coats and size of a vehicle) but a car runs about $325 +

This is just the exterior too, you can also do the interior from head to toe like that as well as the engine.

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Old 04-03-2005, 04:22 PM   #4
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Re: Detailing Routine to Perfection

Where can you get the products listed in your steps? I have a black blazer that needs some serious paint detailing. Also, how long does this usually take you. My normal detailing routine takes about an entire day and thats just normal wash, clean, and shine. Thanks for the info. Peace-
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Old 04-03-2005, 05:43 PM   #5
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Re: Detailing Routine to Perfection

do you have to use polish?

i read that polish is like liquid sandpaper, that it simply sands off the top layer of paint to reveal the unoxidized inner layers, giving the paint a fresh/shiny look.

now, i have a car that is less than 10 months old and since my paint is still pretty fresh, do i need to polish it to get a good shine?
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Old 04-03-2005, 08:33 PM   #6
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Re: Re: Detailing Routine to Perfection

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBking82
Where can you get the products listed in your steps? I have a black blazer that needs some serious paint detailing. Also, how long does this usually take you. My normal detailing routine takes about an entire day and thats just normal wash, clean, and shine. Thanks for the info. Peace-
Check my sig for product information. This process can be a 2 day process depending on how many coats are applied. If done with 1 coat of each it can be done in a day but expect to spend a full day at it.

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Old 04-03-2005, 08:37 PM   #7
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Re: Re: Detailing Routine to Perfection

Quote:
Originally Posted by potsdamcartel
do you have to use polish?

i read that polish is like liquid sandpaper, that it simply sands off the top layer of paint to reveal the unoxidized inner layers, giving the paint a fresh/shiny look.

now, i have a car that is less than 10 months old and since my paint is still pretty fresh, do i need to polish it to get a good shine?
Polish can have abrasives in it and some do not and use a chemical for polishing. The Klasse All-In-One would be what I suggest for a polish on a new car since it has no abrasives on it.

Polish will definately enhance the gloss on the paint though.

Feel free to contact me with any further questions.

George
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Old 04-14-2005, 10:05 PM   #8
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Re: Detailing Routine to Perfection

what's your thoughts on Mothers carnuba cleaner wax? I've always been a strong believer in it but I've always wanted a professionals opinion on it. I was also wondering if this stuff called nu-finish is worth anything or not, I figured that you could tell me these things.
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Old 04-15-2005, 10:46 AM   #9
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Re: Detailing Routine to Perfection

I appreciate you spending the time to write all that out, it seems to be a pretty good write up. I must respectfully disagree with you on only one aspect of that routine.

You state that " Using a foam wash sponge scrub the entire car from top to bottom. For tougher areas such as the front bumper, behind tires, and low body panels I like to use this bug and tar removal block. It works great for removing bugs, tar, and other grime that the foam sponge won’t work off."

In all of my detailing experience I have found that either a sheepskin wash mitt or a chenille wash mitt will cause much less chance of marring than using a foam sponge. Im not bashing your personal technique at all, as I cannot see if you are getting marring because of using a sponge or not. But i would just like to add that most detailers would agree that a mitt would lessen the possibility of any marring.

Once again, thanks for posting the quide, it is a very good one.
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Old 04-20-2005, 11:15 PM   #10
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Re: Detailing Routine to Perfection

Your right I should have written a natural seafoam sponge which is what I like to use, I personally am not a fan of washmits.
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Old 04-22-2005, 07:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
To get something like this done (all depends on the number of coats and size of a vehicle) but a car runs about $325 +
This seems just a TAD too high. I detail cars on the side and 325 is a LOT more than what I charge. For a car (exterior only) I charge 125-150 depending on how bad it is. I wash,clay,polish(I use the PB line also), use an all in one product(I happen to use AIO), sealant(sometimes x2),carnauba wax(sometimes x2). I checked out your website and your optional services prices seem rediculous. (Ex.) For one coat of carnauba wax (applied by hand) you charge $70 for a car and $90 for a truck. Jesus Christ man. I have no idea why someone would pay that much for just 1 coat of wax. The people that call you wanting a detail must be totally clueless and frankly I feel as though you are ripping them off. Also Depending on what wax you use the avg. life of the wax will be around 2 months at the most with avg. washing(about once a week). So $70-$90. Also do you use a rotary or pc when you polish? With those prices I would expect you do(cause there is only so much you can do with your hands) but from what I have read so far, who knows. Maybe you are a hands only kind of guy. By the way, how much business do you actually get? You also stated that you use a "natural seafoam sponge". If you are speaking of the sponge as in the thing that use to be in the ocean. BIG detailing no no. If you want to use a sponge, synthetics are the way to go. As robb01 wash mitts are the best since they minimize the chance of marring.
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Old 04-24-2005, 04:58 PM   #12
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Re: Detailing Routine to Perfection

Quote:
Originally Posted by topdawg516
This seems just a TAD too high. I detail cars on the side and 325 is a LOT more than what I charge. For a car (exterior only) I charge 125-150 depending on how bad it is. I wash,clay,polish(I use the PB line also), use an all in one product(I happen to use AIO), sealant(sometimes x2),carnauba wax(sometimes x2).
I don't know what to tell you but it sounds like you are happy making $10-15 / hour. You do it on the side for cash, I do it professionally. We specialize in high end cars and show cars. Its the little things that matter, you can write as many steps as you want in a write up but when it comes to doing it and the small things you don't write about make the big difference. I take pride in my work and our customers feel its worth every penny and have not had 1 person complain about our prices. You are screwing yourself if you're doing all that work for 125 - 150.

Quote:
Originally Posted by topdawg516
I checked out your website and your optional services prices seem rediculous. (Ex.) For one coat of carnauba wax (applied by hand) you charge $70 for a car and $90 for a truck. Jesus Christ man. I have no idea why someone would pay that much for just 1 coat of wax. The people that call you wanting a detail must be totally clueless and frankly I feel as though you are ripping them off. Also Depending on what wax you use the avg. life of the wax will be around 2 months at the most with avg. washing(about once a week). So $70-$90.
Our carnauba that we use is for show prep primarily and retails for $70 / bottle and we usually apply two coats for our customers. Our site is a typo and should have said 2 coats so I'll be sure to fix that. I appreciate you taking the time to check out our site and the feedback you gave us, it only makes us better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by topdawg516
Also do you use a rotary or pc when you polish? With those prices I would expect you do(cause there is only so much you can do with your hands) but from what I have read so far, who knows. Maybe you are a hands only kind of guy.
Carnauba coats and some glazes are all we do by hand every thing else is done by rotary or random orbital.

Quote:
Originally Posted by topdawg516
By the way, how much business do you actually get?
We get enough business to keep us booked 3-4 weeks in advance. We are the only high end detailing shop around and we generally fix the work of other "detailers" in the area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by topdawg516
You also stated that you use a "natural seafoam sponge". If you are speaking of the sponge as in the thing that use to be in the ocean. BIG detailing no no. If you want to use a sponge, synthetics are the way to go. As robb01 wash mitts are the best since they minimize the chance of marring.
We do have wash mitts that we use, I just happened to post I used the seafoam sponge for my own car in the post. I personally don't like the feel of the mitt. That post was intended to show what I did for my own personal car not what goes into our clients.

I appreciate the constructive criticism and pointers.

Sincerely,

George
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Old 04-25-2005, 06:44 PM   #13
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Re: Detailing Routine to Perfection

Nice and thorough man keep up the good work.
What you do is what I do pretty much but I do it about once a month. The only thing I dont do is polish/wax or seal the paint cus it simply doesnt need it. Its been over 3 years since Ive waxed my GA and it still gleams nicely.
Cool job man not too many detailers pay that much attention to even there own machines. Plexus is the best plastic polish cleaner that I have found so far too.

I wont even pick up a power polisher unless a customer is willing to pay $300+ just for the polish job. Thats not my fault tho the dealership charges the customers not me.
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