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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
There seems to be some misinformation going around about products and techniques commonly used in detailing. I wrote this to be helpful, if you found it so, please click the +rep button!


First Section: product overview:

GLAZE: Most often a product designed to "fill" minor imperfections in paint. It will leave an unbelievable shine, but the longevity of such products leaves much to be desired and when the glaze wears off, you will be left with the same imperfections. Most detailers look on glazes as "makeup" for paint.


SEALANT: Usually a liquid synthetic product designed to seal paint before the application of a wax. These products need to cure on the paint surface before buffing off to adhere properly. The longevity of your protection will be increased if you use a sealant.


WAX: Either a natural (carnauba) or synthetic blend of oils desiged to increase the lustre and protection of your paint. Waxes are meant as a very last coat on top of all sealants and glazes. MOST waxes are not very durable and should be reapplied every few months. Can be in paste, liquid, or spray form. In general, pastes are the most durable and spray are the least.


POLISH: A product with abrasives intended to remove imperfections in paint. You must be careful which polish you use because if you go to aggressive it is possible to burn through paint. You must find the least abrasive polish that will yield the results you want.


DETAIL SPRAY: A thin liquid spray mean to maintain your finish between waxings. Easy to spray on and wipe off with a microfiber.


PLAN OF APPLICATION:
1. Wash car thoroughly to remove contaminants
2. Clay car
3. Strip off all old wax residue using either an isopropyl alcohol wipedown or a thorough wash with dish liquid
4. Apply product as follows:
Polish --> Sealant --> Wax



FAQ:

What should I use to wash my car?
NEVER USE DISH SOAP! There, I said it! Don't do it! It will strip the wax and sealant leaving your paint unprotected. Instead, use Meguires Gold Class liquid soap (can be found at Target) and a microfiber sponge.



What is the difference between a rotary polisher and a random orbital (DA) polisher?
In layman's terms a monkey could use a DA polisher and not hurt the paint and an expert could use a rotary and still murder the paint quite easily. Stick with a DA polisher like the Porter Cable 7424XP until you work in a body shop, THEN you can step up the the rotary.



Can you recommend a good sealant?
I have always had good luck using Poorboys EX-P sealant. It can be applied in full sun and is a breeze to remove with little dusting.



What about a good wax?
My favorite wax to date is AutoGlym HD wax. It is incredibly easy to apply and remove and the shine is second to none, and can be found at Wal Mart. See for yourself!




Do I use my buffer to remove wax?
In general, no, some do it, but I prefer removal by hand with a microfiber towel.



How should I wash my microfiber?
Wash in a normal washing machine using regular liquid detergent and NO fabric softener. Tumble dry, low heat.



What about this NXT 2.0 stuff...is it any good?
It is sold as a liquid wax, howver it has a lot of the properties of a sealant. It is a synthetic product. Many people swear by it. It's longevity is greatly increased if you allow the product to cure on the surface for 15 minutes before buffing it off. Personally, I've never had really great results using it, but your experience may vary.



How do I get rid of those pesky waterspots?
It depends on the type of the waterspot. Some will come off with a simple vinegar wash, other take an abrasive polish to remove. I had good luck removing them with ScratchX 2.0 applied by a random orbital buffer:




My black plastic trim is really faded. How can I restore it?
You can try Mother's Back to Black but it's not very durable. The only real solution is to re-dye it using Forever Black. This stuff really works!



How should I clean my aftermarket tinted windows?
DON'T USE WINDEX! It WILL turn your windows purple because of the ammonia. Use Stoner's Invisible Glass.



What if my buffing pad turns the color of my car when I buff?
It means one of two things; either your clear coat is gone, or it never had any to begin with. The latter is called single stage paint and is usually found on older models.


What is this "clay" I hear about?
"Claying" your car refers to the process of using a soft clay to gently lift bonded contaminants from the surface of your paint. It will remove stuff like tree sap, some paint overspray, old wax, etc. One should always use a lot of lube with clay. Usually your kit will come with a bottle, but you can make your own using car wash soap and water.


Can you recommend a good polish?
I did the hood of my MazdaSpeed3 today with M105 today and I would say I got 90% correction with one application. It leaves behind an almost wx ready surface. I plan to follow up with M205 polish to take out what little marring the M105 left, then I will follow with several coats of EXP sealant and AutoGlym HD wax.

In conclusion:
Detailing is an incredibly rewarding hobby! Once you start, you can't stop waxing, sealing, applying, improving... I hope this quick 'n dirty guide will help get you started down the right path and help you avoid costly mistakes and unnecessary frustration that can be caused by lack of knowledge. Ultimately, you will figure our which products work best for your particular situation. The products suggested in this guide are just that; suggestions. they are by no means the only products that will work, they are simply the one I personally have found to be the best. Different colors sometimes require different products to properly car for the finish. Because I can't write a seperate guide for every available color, this rough guide should get you started towards perfection.

Happy detailing!
Once again, if you found this to be helpful to you, click the +rep button!
[ffrocks]
 

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The Librarian
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Nice write up!
Added to the "Read First" thread at the top.

I will add:
How do I get rid of those pesky waterspots?
Mother's Detailer Spray and a microfiber cloth takes them right off my car.
^^^Full credit goes to Geezer for that tip. [;)]
http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showpost.php?p=3302425&postcount=7
^^^Just tried that last weekend, and it worked like a charm. [thumb]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice write up!
Added to the "Read First" thread at the top.

I will add:
How do I get rid of those pesky waterspots?
Mother's Detailer Spray and a microfiber cloth takes them right off my car.
^^^Full credit goes to Geezer for that tip. [;)]
http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showpost.php?p=3302425&postcount=7
^^^Just tried that last weekend, and it worked like a charm. [thumb]
Thanks. [:I]

The waterspots I had were baked it. They were more like little spots of oxidation. The only than that would touch them was an abrasive like scratchx.
 

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First of all, great info and thank you for taking the time. Here are a few of my recommendations

When washing try to foam car first (if foam gun available), let sit and rinse then proceed to wash preferably 2 bucket method. bucket 1 with clean water, bucket 2 with soap...When reusing sponge, mitt ,etc, rinse first in bucket 1 then proceed to bucket 2 and move onto the next panel (the idea behind is that the mitt or sponge becomes clean again minimizing the amount of scratching or marring of the paint)
I recommend dawn dish soap but only if you want to start from scratch once detailed then maintain with Optimum No rinse (ONR) or as mentioned above

You should also clean with a 50/50 mix of iso alcohol and water after polishing just to make sure you truly removed all imperfections and not just filled them

You can actually study (autopia.org or autogeek.net great places with lots of information/ no need to work in a body shop, trial and error) how to use a rotary and practice with panels from the junk yard until you are comfortable working with. I prefer my Flex DA instead of the porter cable XP (a little bit pricier but worth it IMO). Definitely go with a DA, shorter learning curve, forgiving, excellent for anybody.

Sealant
Optimum Opti-Seal very easy too apply, you spray onto an applicator and let it flash (remove excess if too much applied with a microfiber towel) goes on anything from wheels to windows (you can actually apply it to plastic molding without damage)

Wax
It all depends on several factors (availability, budget, ease of use, durability, etc), OTC I'll say duragloss is a good brand haven't try autoglym but guess what now I'm gonna have too.
I prefer Optimum for durability, souveran by pinnacle for black cars and my favorite Fuzion by wolfgang expensive but worth it. Poor boys blue nattys is really good as well as Dodo good durability and by far the best durability collinite paste wax

Black Wow for plastic trim, pricier but lasts way longer
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
^Thanks for the additional info.

I have never used ONR for washing, however I have heard mixed reviews about it. Seems to me it really would be good only to "wash" an already mostly clean car. I have doubts about it removing leaves and dirt in mass quantities.

The part about the machine buffing: I wanted to make it clear that a rotary, despite being cheaper than a DA, has a VERY steep learning curve. You can do a lot of damage really quick with one of those things.

Waxes are really a matter of opinion. I have a tub of Natty's red that I used maybe twice. I wasn't really impressed with it. It seemed really oily. Souveran, Fuzion, and Dodo juice are what I like to call "boutique" waxes. They cost a lot (hence why I don't use them) and I'm not really convinced of the difference in quality.

The black trim resoration: I cannot recommend enough the Forever Black. It redyes the black pieces so it will last WAY longer than any topical product will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm going to open it up to questions now.

If you have a question, post it here and I will try to answer it!
 

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Thanks!
I use ONR all the time unless I need to do a full detail with really great results, it also has to do with the washing method...I have those waxes because I do detailing as a side job or weekends...I hear you on the rotary. I still don't feel ready enough to try it on customers cars. I hear you on the Natty's, too finicky to work with. I ended up using it on wheels until I ran out..I'll have to try Forever Black then I didn't know that...Thanks for the tip.
 

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I'm going to open it up to questions now.
OK...
What about dark grey plastic cladding, like what comes on Escapes for example?
You can see the cladding in this pic: (bumpers, rocker panels, etc)


I've used Mother's Back to Black, which looks great...for about 2 days, and then it wears out.
It's also completely gone after a single washing.

I'd be afraid to use the Forever Black, since I don't want to change the color by dyeing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK...
What about dark grey plastic cladding, like what comes on Escapes for example?
You can see the cladding in this pic: (bumpers, rocker panels, etc)


I've used Mother's Back to Black, which looks great...for about 2 days, and then it wears out.
It's also completely gone after a single washing.

I'd be afraid to use the Forever Black, since I don't want to change the color by dyeing it.
It is faded? Or you just want it to look shiny?

A lot of people use a sealant on their trim. Klasse All-In-One works really good and lasts quite a bit longer than Back to Black. It is kind of pricey though.


As weird as it sounds, people swear by peanut butter or peanut oil too.

Back to Black works better if you kind of let it absorb before wiping off too.
 

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It is faded? Or you just want it to look shiny?
Faded, and spotted/streaked from 107,000 miles of road debris abuse.

Back to Black works better if you kind of let it absorb before wiping off too.
Done that to the tune of using a whole 8oz bottle and letting it soak in real good.
Same as always though...it just doesn't last long enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is faded? Or you just want it to look shiny?
Faded, and spotted/streaked from 107,000 miles of road debris abuse.

Back to Black works better if you kind of let it absorb before wiping off too.
Done that to the tune of using a whole 8oz bottle and letting it soak in real good.
Same as always though...it just doesn't last long enough.
In that case I'm not sure anything is going to work. Is it easy to remove? You could respray it...

Kinda drastic though.

You could try something like tire shine.
[???:)]
 

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How well do the Griot's products work. ive been wanting to try them but just waiting for the products i have to finish and a little pricey. im really interested in their Random Orbital.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
How well do the Griot's products work. ive been wanting to try them but just waiting for the products i have to finish and a little pricey. im really interested in their Random Orbital.
I personally have never used Griot's products. I have heard very good things about them though.

I have heard really good things about their buffers in particular. A lot of detailers actually prefer the Griot's D/A over the Porter Cable. They are similar in price as well.

http://www.griotsgarage.com/product...ishing+tools/griot's+garage+random+orbital.do
 

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Great thread!
I always appreciate when other detailers share their tips/ideas/general knowledge.
I worked in a body shop for a few years and the rotary buffer was the tool of the trade. I had to use one on a daily basis and you can never guarantee that you aren't going to burn the paint whether it is old, new or factory.
Thanks for taking the time to write up this info. [thumb]
 

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It is faded? Or you just want it to look shiny?
Faded, and spotted/streaked from 107,000 miles of road debris abuse.

Back to Black works better if you kind of let it absorb before wiping off too.
Done that to the tune of using a whole 8oz bottle and letting it soak in real good.
Same as always though...it just doesn't last long enough.

You can check out this website http://www.wizardsproducts.com/
and look into their product called Black renew. http://www.wizardsproducts.com/store/catalog/Black-Renew-8-oz-p-30.html
I have used that on my mother's Ford Escape plastic clad bumper with pretty good results. It cleans and protects and gives the plastic it's original color back. Which yes, is grey, but it is a clean grey, not streaky and faded looking.
Good luck!
 

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Thanks, ill be using this guide when I detail my car right before winter.

Do you have any tips for cleaning the engine bay?
 
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