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View Full Version : New Detailing Process & Product Suggestions


Xtopher84
05-31-2011, 10:18 AM
I'm interested in feedback on my current detailing methods (which I consider to be basic and beginner at best) and suggestions on additional steps and products that I should consider.

I'm currently using:

Armor All soap, with a lambswool mitt- use this for entire exterior and wheels
Meguire's tire shine
BMW Interior Cleaner for the dash and leatherette seats

I wax with Meguire's wax in the spring, mid-summer, and then the latest date in the fall as I can before winter temps.

I'm particularly interested in getting a recommendation for a product that cleans and protects the interior (vinyl- not leather), with a matte finish. I don't know if the BMW Interior Cleaner provides UV protection.

Many thanks!

Ilovemycar
05-31-2011, 01:22 PM
Hi. Check out Optimum protectant plus. While I am quite a fan of their products, this one might irk me the most because of what I find to be a strong smell, even if I really do like the matte finish. Here is the Optimum on the left, untreated middle, 303 on the right. 303 protectant is probably the most popular, and I do like its effect on older interiors. I have both.

http://www.detailedimage.com/photos/esoteric/NBP06AcuraTL/IMG_5141.JPG

Lambswool mitt is good, but I would definitely use extra wheel and tire brushes, in case you were using the same mitt on the wheels too.

Assuming no pressure washer in possession, look up the Gilmour foam guns for about $40.

Look up two bucket method with grit guard. Second bucket, $5, grit guard maybe $10.

Leaf blower, $20.

So for $70 or so, you've gone from a regular wash, to a very good wash with utterly minimal chances to introduce fresh swirl marks from abrading dirt.


I use a lot of Meg products too, but I do prefer Optimum tire gel over the megs. The gel won't overspray, and has more of a matte finish. But tire dressings are pretty far down the list of things to consider I suppose.

Assuming we will leave claying and/or paint correction to a pro, that every once in a while, and you are looking for best maintenance, you might consider trying a sealant (aka synthetic wax). If your wax is a carnauba, you can still use it over the sealant, but the sealant lasts much longer. Just remember to let it cure for a day before applying carnauba.

hope that helps.

Xtopher84
06-01-2011, 05:26 AM
Thanks! I'll check out the optimum plus. Regarding the 303, do you mean the 303 Aerospace Protectant or the 303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner? I've never used a clay bar; is it difficult to do? Anything to pay special attention to when using it?

Ilovemycar
06-01-2011, 02:17 PM
Thanks! I'll check out the optimum plus. Regarding the 303, do you mean the 303 Aerospace Protectant or the 303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner? I've never used a clay bar; is it difficult to do? Anything to pay special attention to when using it?

I meant the Protectant, a very popular product. It says something like "SPF 40 for your stuff" on the bottle. I believe it's more of a maintenance product than the vinyl/fabric stuff, but I'm not positive.

Clay is extremely easy, at least with a car that isn't contaminated to all hell. (Even then it's easy if you're ok with imperfection.)

I can explain the technique, but it's honestly been explained probably hundreds if not thousands of times on the net. Clues: drop = trash (so break off workable pieces), always choose mild clay for now. I like Optimum No Rinse wash as a clay lube, and the more I read about detailing, the more popular ONR seems to become for all sorts of apps. edit: also look up plastic baggie test to diagnose if clay is needed. There are plenty of vids too.

However, some people will say that a clay requires polish due to micro marring. I'm not quite that nuts where I always* will polish, and I do choose Pinnacle Ultra Poly for my BMW because it's the very softest I know of (to a fault), but it's about twice as expensive, IIRC.

Good luck to you.

Xtopher84
06-20-2011, 10:09 AM
Does the 303 feel greasy after applied? does it look shiny, or is it matte looking?

Ilovemycar
06-21-2011, 05:14 PM
Does the 303 feel greasy after applied? does it look shiny, or is it matte looking?

IMO, it doesn't feel greasy. It may be just a tad shiny, but more than anything it "darkens" the color. In this way it reminds me a tad bit of the Meguiar's Ultimate Protectant, but it's not as blatant as with the Meg's IMO. I like to use 303 on rubber seals, as I don't want to spend so much money for the really good stuff for that, like Krytox (though if I drove a vert, I might think about it more).

Munich77
06-24-2011, 08:48 AM
IMO, it doesn't feel greasy. It may be just a tad shiny, but more than anything it "darkens" the color. In this way it reminds me a tad bit of the Meguiar's Ultimate Protectant, but it's not as blatant as with the Meg's IMO. I like to use 303 on rubber seals, as I don't want to spend so much money for the really good stuff for that, like Krytox (though if I drove a vert, I might think about it more).

I have noticed the same with 303 - it does darken the color. I also use it for seals when I don't have time to use my 1Z Gummipflege.

Searaven98
06-25-2011, 07:47 PM
Tires/Wheels: Car shampoo, Simple Green for the tires and Mothers wheel and tire cleaner only if they are way to dirty, soft bristle brush for the wheels and a microfiber rag to reach between spokes (in the mail Daytona EZ brush), also a tire brush. I use Black Magic Titanium Matte Finish tire dressing, Wheelwax every 6 months and Meguiar's Quick detailer or wax to prevent excesive brake dust build up, and to make it easier to clean next time around.

Body: I use Meguiar's Gold class shampoo for my black car and NTX or Gold Class for my 328i, reason being that the NTX shampoo didnt gave me that deep black, then again I won't just dump the NTX so I will use it till expended on my 328i (Silver) where it makes no difference. 2 microfiber wash bones (1 for the areas above the mid section of the doors, the second for the lowere parts), a small boar bristle brush to clean rubber seals and wiper blades/arms. Microfiber towel or absorber for drying. Stoner invisible glass cleaner for the inside and Stoner invisible glass cleaner with water repealant for the outside. For waxes I use, for now, Gold Class, Ultimate quick wax and ultimate quick detailer.

Interior: Meguiar's quick interior cleaner, natural shine, a horse hair brush to clean the seats (I'm cheap, a Kiwi shoe shine brush works awesome) and the BMW leather cleaner/protectant, I tried the Meguiar's leather products but they leave too much shine for my taste, from them I like the foam product. If the car interior is barely dusty I use the BMW interior cleaner, IMO it is very mild, but smells so good.

Engine: Soft bristle brush, microfiber rags, car shampoo, general cleaner, degreaser (ONLY when absolutetly necesary), WD-40, drying towels, ultimate quick wax, and natural shine for the plastics.

I use the two bucket method, and a foam gun too.

Tried:

Armor-all shampoo, didn't like it
Armor-all protectant, didn't like it, attracs dust
Meguiar's wheel cleaner, didn't like it, it is an alkaline cleaner, if used follow directions 100%, I made the mistake of using it on warm (not hot) wheels, it eveporated fast and etching spot..
Meguiar's NTX shamppo, very good for other than black vehicles ("blackness" was not as deep as with Gold Class)
Eagle One Wheel & Tire Cleaner, works well a little more forgiving that Meguiar's (IMO) but I rather use car shampoo and be safe
BMW Shampoo... meh
BMW Wheel cleaning gel, I like it, because is a gel, it won't just run down fast like foams do, but it takes a while. So I Just use car shampoo.
Armor-all window cleaner... only product that went to the trash can right away, leaves to many streaks.

Also I have make up brushes to clean those hard to reach or delicate surfaces like cluster panels, air vents and displays. From CVS or Walgreens.

Darn that was a long reply.

PS Stay away from the automatic carwash