Saturday, March 29, 2014

New Car Prep: Subaru BR-Z

It finally came in!

And boy was the paint thrashed from some rain storms and being on a hauler for a couple of days.  Unfortunately I had to pick up this beauty on the way to work so no room to clean it or really do anything but get the license plate on and hit the road.

So with this car being transported by ship, rail, truck it was bound to see some less than perfect environmental conditions so I gave it a thorough decon that I'll outline below.

Here's a few pictures of the situation at hand.

First off, started with the wheels and wheel wells, these were actually in pretty great shape and I used some diluted Adam's APC with assorted brushes.

Then I moved on to the usual foam gun wash to get rid of loose dirt and grime, as well as start to break down remaining surface dirt.  For added effect I threw in car shampoo and some all-purpose cleaner to give it some extra kick. 

Followed by that since the foam wash got it quite a bit cleaner than I had expected, I moved on to a rinseless wash.  Standard ONRWW (Optimum No Rinse Wash and Wax) and 700gsm towels per the standard.  This went over pretty easily and didn't find anything out of the ordinary.  Overall the paint was in pretty great shape.

And finally the glass.  My Fast Glass towel before and after.

Then I moved on to a step I usually skip, IronX treatment.  And does this stuff is not pleasant to say the least.  It gets stuck in the air and clings to clothing, but with white paint (Satin White Pearl to be exact) IronX really showed it's form.  The iron bled right out.

My car is bleeding!!!

Following the iron decon step I moved on to claying the vehicle.  Using the Nanoskin Fine Grade towel.  The lube of choice was regular Optimum No Rinse and for the towel a Cobra Guzzler HD.

Well now we are all set to polish.  First to do a thorough check of RIDS (random isolated deep scratches) and areas to hit heavier.  Now whether you consider this fortunate or unfortunate white paint hides scratches extremely well.  Overall pretty impressed, there were a few areas where the paint needed special attention.  But for the most part a finishing polish and light-medium cutting pad did the job.

Here's a few shots of the RIDS we were dealing with.

Nothing too crazy minor scratches.  Bu then again I picked this car up with 6 miles on it.

The heavier scratches I used HD Adapt paired with an Uber Green (medium cut) 5.5" pad.  I tried out HD Polish and Menzerna SF4000 on a Blue Uber pad, and decided on Menzerna SF4000.

Here's a quick before and after

Next I moved on to touching up the hidden areas.  So door sills, trunk area, and nooks and crannies.  Quite a bit of grim that required some special brushes and ingenuity to get into.

And now the engine bay.  Just a simple wipedown then moving on with a Sonus Trim and Motor Kote spraydown.

Now to seal everything up.  For the glass Sonax Polymer Net Shield.

And the wax of choice.  Bouncer's Sherbet Fizz.

When waxing especially around trim and areas that are hard to reach.  Wipe away from trim and rubber weatherstripping where you dont want wax to go.  And for areas that you can't reach with a machine, push the wax that way so you ensure proper coverage.  For wiping off I use two towels, one initial one that I'll use for 2-3 panels, then a second towel to ensure it's wiped clean and buffed to a nice shine.

And the sun shots and final product!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to post up any questions or comments!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

An Easy Info-Graphic Courtesy of Autogeek

Here's an easy to read info-graphic courtesy of Autogeek.  Outlining the basic process dependent on vehicle condition.  Enjoy!

 photo flowchart.jpg

Brand New Car Prep

So you have that brand new car that just came home from the dealer.  Now what? Unfortunately most dealerships are time based when it comes to auto detailing, that means more cars in and out means more money.  Well with detailing patience and attention to detail is key, so you can see the issue here.  What this leads to is sub-par products being used, towels being re-used that aren't effective in the first place and would strike horror to anyone who takes a look at the paint under a high power light.  More often than not when you sign those papers you're getting an unintended option, the dealer installed swirl option, or DISO.  Now I don't blame most dealers for this because I believe they just don't know the damage they are doing, but I implore you when taking delivery or having your car serviced that you request your car not be washed.  You can even download and print out placards for your rear-view mirror in big bold print.

Moving on though, what do you do with your new car?!  Well I've outlined steps on what to do and also provide you with options on different ways of protecting your new car.  Now like any regular car wash start with the wheels.  Now overall barring extreme environmental factors a simple rinse, gentle agitation with brushes like Wheel Woolies (which are fantastic), if you need a dedicated wheel cleaner congratulations because there are numerous but for simplicity's sake I recommend 1z Einszett Colourtec.  I would next move on with a solid foam gun pre-wash such as Chemical Guys Honeydew.  This will allow all of the extra and loose dirt to wash off reducing any chances of marring, scratching, etc...  Next is a simple car wash dependent on the condition of the vehicle will determine if a 2-bucket wash or rinseless wash is required.

(Optional) Now this is where we go more in-depth because the car has been transported across large distances, more often than not it is done by rail.  What traveling by rail allows is iron particles to embed in the paint that won't be removed by regular washing.  Here is where we can use a product called CarPro Iron-X just spray it on, you can also work it in with a sponge if you desire, and watch it do magic.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes (I recommend making sure it is cool out when doing this to avoid spotting), and then rinse off, you will see red/purplish marks as you rinse it off where the product has bonded with iron particles and removed them from your paint.

After using Iron-X we can move on to claying, pretty standard, ensure you cover each area until it feels smooth (use the baggie test for reference).  Check the link down below or post a comment below if you absolutely have any questions.

 Polishing is the next step.  Unfortunately this is where it gets murky.  Why?  Because every car is different, paint reacts slightly different between cars and wildly difference between makes and colors.  This is where the least aggressive mindset comes in to play.  You don't need or want to jump straight to wet sanding when a light finishing polish will do.  So using common sense and having a few variety of products allows us to effectively do this.  What this means if you're car is absolutely scratched and swirled like it was ran through a car wash a dozen times, using a light finishing polish and light cutting pad probably isn't the best idea and you likely want to start off with something mid range. So since paint varies here are a variety of options, here's this handy chart I made.

Cutting Pad
Aggressive Compound
Medium Polish
Finishing Polish
Meg’s M101
Meg’s M205
Menzerna SF4000
Meg’s M105
Menzerna PF2500
Menzerna SF4500
Menzerna FG400
HD Adapt
Sonax 3/6
Wolfgang Uber Compound
Meg’s D300
HD Polish
Optimum Hyper Compound
Optimum Hyper Polish
CarPro Reflect

Sonax 5/4

Now I realize this can still be confusing, specifically with pads and which polishes to choose.  All manufacturers use different color schemes with pads so it's not easy to say X pad will be Y color.  Personally I find a microfiber cutting pad from Meguiar's followed by a light pad from Uber either green or blue gives great results on most paint.  With polishes you don't need to have an entire collection of the above, more often than not you can adjust your pad choice to make a specific polish to work.  The internet is also a great resource because you can likely find a paint correction thread on your specific car and color combo and read on what previous detailers have used effectively.

After polishing is compete a simple CarPro Eraser or IPA wipedown ensures the paint is bare, you can also go with a simple wash if you desire as well.  Followed by a thorough inspection under sunlight and artificial light source of your choosing.

Lastly protection.  How do we protect this piece of work we just spent hours and hours over.  Well what are your options?  Do you prefer to protect it and forget it?  Or do you enjoy heading out to the garage every month or two and washing and waxing your car?  If it's the first, go with a long-term coating such as Opti-Coat or CQuartz.  If you enjoy waxing and sealing your car, choose a viable wax or sealant like Chemical Guys Pete's 53, Sonax Net Shield, Menzerna Power Lock, Blackfire Midnight Sun, Blackfire Black Ice, etc...

Well that's all for now! I'm sure as I go through this I'll remember more and edit this as well as add pictures once I get my car in.

Once again thanks for reading post any comments and questions below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

How-To's used in this post for reference.

Rinseless Washing

Wheel Cleaning


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Preparing for a Roadtrip

We've all gone on roadtrips and plan out other ones, whether that a day trip or a vacation spent cruising around your country of choice.  But there in lies the question, how do I take care of my car?  First is accepting that regardless of what you do your car will get dirty, it will get wet, bugs will manage to at full force aim for those hard to reach spots in your grill with that certain splat sound.  Or the fact that no matter how many cars are in a parking lot yours will be chosen to have a bird bomb land right on it.

But how do we effectively remove bugs and bird bombs that can cause serious etching or eat away at your paint if left untreated without having access to a garage and full detailing arsenal.  Easy, we take our effective and travel friendly products with us and since we all have too many microfiber towels we can easily spare a few of different kinds.

Personally here is what I like to bring on a regular day trip.  Now I will I preface this with saying the most important thing to protect your car during a roadtrip isn't what done during it but before it.  Having a properly protected car with a solid cleaning regimen and layer of wax/sealant/etc... will be the best way to protect your car during a road trip.  Now I'm not saying you need to fully 2-step polish it before a trip, but if it's been 4 months since you last waxed it it may be time for a booster.

Now on to my personal favorites


Starting off with the interior, 1z Einszett Cockpit Premium, it's effective, has a neutral slightly citrus smell.  And works on almost any interior.  Remember we're on a roadtrip so space is limited and we don't need 10 options for a single job, even though looking in the background you can see multiple waxes, cleaners, car soaps, etc...    Microfiber of choice: ProForce 300gsm (or so) towel, it's cost effective, it works, and they're great for interior work and dirty jobs.

Next is a glass cleaner, arguably the most important thing when driving, a clean windshield, windows, and rear window are essential to being safe, especially when you get in stuck in that torrential downpour or dust storm.  For this I use Meguiar's D120 Glass Cleaner, it's great, safe for tinted windows and has an awesome grape smell.  Now personally I like CarPro Fast Glass towels better overall, but since it requires water to clean and the towel gets soaked after every use it's just not effective on a roadtrip because that towel has to go somewhere and I'd rather not have a soaking wet towel in the car.  Microfiber of choice: Microfiber Madness Cloudbuster, hands down one of the best glass towels I've found.  It cuts through heavy dirt and dust with no problem and a simple flip to a clean side ensures no streaks, residue, or light distortion occurs which can happen when leftover residue is left on a windshield and is downright dangerous.

Lastly, detail spray.  For all of those bug splats and bird droppings.  Here is a toss-up between Optimum No Rinse and Ultima Waterless Wash, either one wins.  Microfiber of choice: 360gsm standard dual nap towel.  They have both sides for heavy detail spray and a buff to remove any leftover product.  Remember we're just trying to remove the effected area, not a full car wash while stopped for gas.

To set this up I'll bring a couple plastic bags and two of each towel, one bag for clean towels, and one for dirty.  That way there is no cross-contamination between towels and they're cheap and found everywhere, we all have that drawer.  For the bottles ensure they are fully closed so there is no leakage and store them in your trunk or in the backseat to your preference.

There ya go a simple how-to setup for any road trips you may encounter.  Safe travels and thanks for reading!