A few things about detailing that might help someone out.
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    A few things about detailing that might help someone out.

    Hey guys... i'm a soon to be new owner of a 2012 blue WRX that I am ordering. I LOVE detailing though... it's just something that is really a hobby for me, as well as work that I do on the side. I have come from 2 Evos (the worst paint possible) a 2010 MS3 and a 370z.

    On the 370z I was actually banned from the detailing section because I showed how to detail a car without using products that were WAYYYYY overpriced.

    I just thought I would add a few points to maybe help people out.

    First off... detailing is an art and i'm not a pro, but I feel I do it well. However, think of more ways NOT to marr your paint instead of ways to clean it up.

    What to wash with? Well there are mitts that range from 3.00 all the way to 50.00 or more. The funny part is (and feel free to visit autopia.net) using a grout sponge is what MANY top detailers are using now. Yep, a 1.30 or whatever they cost grout sponge and they work very well! The sponge that is preferred is the Prominent grout sponge.

    What kind of soap to use? That is a matter of personal preference, but the slicker the soap, the better it is for washing since it lets your sponge just glide right across your paint. I have never used it, but i've got a friend who is a pro detailer and ONLY using Griots garage car wash. Use 1oz. per gallon of water.

    2 bucket method: This is a very good idea for obvious reasons, but if you are all new to this... you can wash an old car or one that's dirty that you don't care much about and then let the water settle overnight.. you will be surprised by how much sand, grit and other things will have settled to the bottom... all of that goes into your sponge and then your paint is essentially sanded when you use the sponge on your car in the next area. I myself like to duck the sponge in the clean water (second bucket) ring it out on the ground... not back in the bucket and even then I use the hose to rinse the sponge off more before I put it back into my wash bucket.

    Power washers: Is there anything wrong with them? Not at all, but you don't need a lot of power because if you have bad paint some of them will actually peel it off the car. However, is it a good idea to pre-rinse a car with one? Well, that goes back to the whole thing about the grit on your paint... do you really want to be blasting that grit over your paint? It just causes more and more marring and will make the paint require polishing more often. I would save the power washing for the wheel wells, and the car after it's been cleaned for a final rinsing if you want.

    Pre-rinsing the car: just use a mild shower spray or something to get the car wet gently and hopefully keep dirt slowly coming down and off the paint. A foam gun isn't a bad idea, though expensive.

    Wheels: Some of the best stuff out for wheels is Sonax... it's a gentle cleaner that takes it's time... it starts out green and turns into a dark purple as it works and breaks brake dust down. Some scrubbing might be needed, so use a soft microfiber towel or something along that line with your fingers to get into the small spaces. There are boars hair brushes that are very soft and work well for wheels.

    Wheel wells: You can take your basic degreaser and use this for your wheel wells. You don't want something that will dry out the plastic though. Pretty much every company makes something for this... i'm not a big fan of using dish soap or anything, but simple green and that sort of thing diluted will help with a good undercarriage brush. Also, when they are dry, I take just regular armorall and spray all under the wheel wells, let it sit and then spray a microfiber towel down with it and wipe it off.

    Drying: It used to be the normal chamios... then microfiber, and now it's waffle weave towels or just special drying towels. The idea here is the same that no matter what you do, if you wipe the paint with anything it will SLIGHTLY marr the paint, so expect this. I have seen one question asked abou using the blower. I think it is an EXCELLENT idea and use one myself. It gets the water out of those very small stubborn areas so you can then either wipe them drying or blow them dry. Obviously a good coat of wax will make it come off easier the next time, but no matter what you use, keep it clean. If it's a chamios... get a clean bucket of clean water, dry an area, dip it and ring it out really well. You might be surprised how dirty even that water is after finishing. Make sure it's an electric blower!

    That's all for now... i'll add more as I go. Hope this helped someone out.
    Last edited by Methodical4u; 01-15-2012 at 08:46 AM.

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    Registered User Jabbathewhat's Avatar
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    Sticky this!

    Thanks for the advice!
    12/27/11 - Ordered
    01/16/12 - Received
    2012 WRX Hatch World Rally Blue

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    How to avoid marring your paint in everyday driving:
    No one here is stupid... but we all do stupid things on occasion and will always do so lol.

    Our Japanese friends that make the cars we love so dearly are the best at what they do, however, they are also inhibited by very strict rules when it comes to paint. From what I understand (this is just what I've read in a few places) the paint there is some sort of water based or something... or perhaps they are only allowed to use so much. Either way... it results in a much thinner , more soft paint that will mar if you look at it wrong. So some simple things you can do to help are as follows.

    NEVER take your car to a car wash... they will really do a number on your paint as they never really rinse all of the grit and such from their brushes and the water is recycled so that might be ok and it might not.. I don't recommend it.

    Don't lean on your car.. if anyone else does... tell them to GET OFF jeans and clothes were not made to clean car paint so leave those on your body.

    Quick wax job? You're going to need a good wash job. Waxing without washing just rubs grit into your paint. I don't EVER wax my car without washing it first.

    Mud... if you're the kind of guy who likes the rally type driving that's great... but you should expect to have to polish more often or use a very hard protective coating or 3m clear bra. Its not cheap... but cheaper than a repaint.

    Every company out there has this towel and that towel promising that wont scratch your paint. Many of these are very nice if you have 15.00 or so dollars to get one or 2the towels. I go to walmart or sams club and buy the big bag of them for I don't know 8 or 10the dollars and using a halogen light I have NEVER seen any marring from using them. If you are using the towel and you drop it... THROW IT AWAY!! They will trap small rocks, pieces of leaves etc. Just look for tags and make sure to get them off. Some people even cut the stitching off to further reduce slight paint imperfections.

    DON'T USE TERRY CLOTHS!!! they WILL scratch your paint!

    Be creative and think about what might scratch your paint. Careful reaching over your car if are wearing a belt or have jeans on with buttons.

    Don't touch the paint with your skin. Your skin is full of oils and dead skin cells that can be abrasive ... want to check how slick the paint feels? Use a microfiber towel instead.

    How to deal with those little annoying things on your paint...

    We all make the mistake of parking under a tree, or getting pooed on by birds, etc. All of these things should be minor, but can turn into real damage if not tended to as quickly.

    Bird droppings are acidic and will damage your paint... if you get them on there and don't have time to wash the car, wet the section, let it sit for a few minutes and then up the pressure until the spot is gone.

    Sap is one of those things that if it gets on your paint and then sits there it's going to bake in and become something that will need attention with a buffing wheel. It's easy enough to get it off of there with a bug and tar remover or something along that line. I would be cautious and not go to harsh with chemicals though, you may do more harm than good.

    WATER SPOTS!!! Oh how we all HATE these things. What can we do about them? Well not much, when I moved in with my wife I found they had town water... the worst thing I have EVER seen, and no matter how fast I dried the car, water spots would show up. Glass obviously is the worst part of it, but if you have a darker car that dries faster in the sun, then you will know what I mean as well. I did a lot of looking and for the price this place http://www.purewaterproducts.com/gardenhosefilters.htm has some very nice products. The shipping is reasonable and it does help, though I cannot say that it will totally get rid of your problem. Stay away from any sort of farm water or town sprinklers, as they are straight unfiltered water.

    Let's say that you do get some spotting, what can you do about it? Sometimes on your glass, just normal windex will do the job. Other times, more extreme measures must be taken. Probably the top choice of most detailers is distilled white vinegar and water mixed... though i'm sure straight isn't going to hurt anything. I don't know anything about chemistry, but the vinegar somehow reacts with the minerals left on your car and in many cases it will get them off. You can also use a clean microfiber towel and go over your paint with this if need be.

    Tar is another issue, but it is like the others above and should be removed as soon as you can get to it. fresh tar really isn't to bad to get rid off the majority of the time.

    Scratches!!! The thing that ANY car lover hates to see more than anything aside from a dent is a scratch. The minor ones can be buffed out by yourself with just a little knowledge and the correct compound and pad combo, but if you can feel the scratch with your fingernail then it's not as likely going to come out with just buffing though it is worth a shot sometimes.
    Don't fret though, there is a way to fix this to the point of only you noticing. (Rock chips also will apply here).
    1. Get yourself some matching paint from paintscratch.com or Subaru or wherever.
    2. Get some dawn dish detergent, rubbing alcohol, a few microfiber towels, a few toothpicks, some rubber cement, a pencil with a full eraser, and some 2000 grit sandpaper.

    The first thing to do with scratches that aren't to long or rock chips is to clean the area. Get some dawn and some hot water... mix it up and wash the area 2 or 3 times, rinsing inbetween. This will remove most if not all of the wax or any oils that may keep the paint from sticking. Dry the area well. Get your rubbing alcohol and towel, put a little on the towel.. doesn't have to be to much, and wipe the area over several times. It will dry quickly, just make sure there are no small pieces of towel or anything left.
    Once the area is cleaned, it goes like this.

    The scratch or chip has to be filled... to do this takes some patience, so shake up your paint and get it ready. Take your toothpick and get just a LITTLE paint on the tip and just touch the area and fill it. One touch. If it looks higher, don't worry because when it dries paint shrinks up and it will sink down into the area you are repairing. Once your touch it LEAVE IT ALONE! unless your drip it, don't worry about it, if you do, quickly use the alcohol to clean off the excess.

    This will have to dry for 24 hours, so just go inside or about your day and wait.
    After the 24 hours has passed... inspect your work. The idea here is to keep filling the area until it is just slightly raised above the rest of the paint. Your last few coats should be your clear to make sure it matches, unless you aren't that worried, in which case don't worry about it.

    Now you have gotten your paint built up.. now you pretend you're back in first grade craft time lol. We will need to take the 2000 grit sand paper and cut out little circles that we will trace to fit the eraser on the pencil. If they are a little big that's ok, but try to get them about the same size. Get your rubber cement and stick those little cut outs on your eraser and let them dry for a few hours. Once dry again inspect your work and make sure that everything looks good and has had plenty of time to dry.

    This part is going to be a little scary, BUT just remember to be VERY gentle and it will be fine. Take your eraser and make sure that it is flat against your slightly raised area. Sand VERY lightly just a little at a time. Look at it every few seconds ... it won't take long to cut it down. Keep it flat, the paint will turn white as you sand... just wipe it off and sand a little more. Stay flat with it... once the surrounding paint starts to get a little bit sanded STOP. You have now filled and sanded down the area.

    At this point you have a few options, one is either letting a pro buff the area (which would take literally 30 seconds or so) or go to your local auto parts store and buy some polish. Meguiars 105 polish is a good one to use IMO and even using it by hand won't take long, though you may leave some marring because the buffer will do a much more uniform job.

    Remember not to wax that area for 3 months time. Paint cures that long and expells gasses as it cures so wax or sealant over it doesn't allow it to breathe. If it doesn't match perfectly... give the sun some time to help blend it, or a full polishing a few weeks later will also help to blend it in.
    Last edited by Methodical4u; 01-15-2012 at 10:23 PM.

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    Registered User Eric05mx's Avatar
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    Are you trading the Z or did you sell it?

    Nice write up on detailing. I personally can't stand it anymore. After spending an entire weekend last summer on a full detail, wash, clay, cleaner wax, polish, wax my car looked like crap within 2 days (black sucks) so I just do the basic 2 bucket wash and dry the car.
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    I use the 2 bucket method with grit guards.I use a microfiber mitt to wipe clean & a microfiber towel to dry.

    Have only washed with ONR.And I have never taken the car to a car wash.
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    Very good advice, agreed on the fact that this should be sticky'd. On a side note, I was gonna ask the OP how on earth he loves detailing...and then I realized I love physics, and that's not exactly much better. Touche` life, touche`.

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    I agree with most of the write up - great info.
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    I myself will be using Zaino at the beginning of summer when washing it actually makes sense
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric05mx View Post
    Are you trading the Z or did you sell it?

    Nice write up on detailing. I personally can't stand it anymore. After spending an entire weekend last summer on a full detail, wash, clay, cleaner wax, polish, wax my car looked like crap within 2 days (black sucks) so I just do the basic 2 bucket wash and dry the car.
    Hey man... i'm actually trading it. I got a pretty good deal and it did lower my payments. After much debate about either this car or the GTI, I decided that I want to go back to AWD. I had it for so long that I don't like FWD and I feel unsure with RWD. I started to adjust, but would just rather go back to what I know the best.

    Black is a VERY hard color to keep clean, I would recommend trying either Cquartz or Opti-coat. They are ULTRA hard sealants that do quite a nice job of protecting the paint. They both have mixed reviews... but I think the Opti-coat is a little more used and liked by pro-detailers. I myself have never used it though.

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    I can't stand seeing the swirls. I need to get them out
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    Thumbs up

    Waxes and Sealants... which one do I choose?

    First off, let's just get down to the basics. Either a wax or a sealant is going to make your paint look good. There isn't a right or wrong choice, only what YOU like... keep that in mind.

    Waxes came out a LONNNNG time ago. These days and for many years actually now, there are all these claims of 100% pure caranuba wax! BS. Wax in it's most pure form is literally as hard as a brick! It comes from trees in hot climates such as brazil.. hence the whole brazilian wax craze. Some of it is yellow, some white. What is it's purpose? Well... to protect. So we have applied that to cars. The problem is that any liquid wax that makes these claims to be pure is a flat out lie. Wax is taken in it's pure form and then broken down using chemicals to soften it... so it might have been 100% pure before it was broken down to about 5-10% real wax. Does that mean they don't work? No it doesn't.

    Very special forms of wax can run 1,000.00 or higher for a single can of wax for the simple reason that it is rare. Anything hard to come buy costs more, but that means NOTHING if the car hasn't been prepped correctly.

    As a very pure for wax, I myself really like Collinite 915. It's very durable and looks very good, IMO especially on lighter colors. I warn you though... any wax in a can that is hard can be a real pain to remove. I have actually gotten the time to leave it on at 8 minutes (obviously in the shade). It seems to come off pretty easy at that time and is slick and shows it has left it's coating on your paint.

    Most waxes have a life of at best 8 weeks. Collinite makes claims of 9 months... which under ideal conditions ALL the time that might be possible, but here in the real world 12 weeks out of a pure wax is a pretty good lifespan.

    Sealants:
    Sealants are newer and there's A TON of them out there. Some that I have used that I feel are the best are Blackfire, Klasse, Duragloss 105, Werkstatt, etc etc etc. All of them have their good and bad points, but they are usually IMO more suited for real world issues, like the bird bombs, acid rain, bugs, etc.

    A sealant is just a man made version of wax, but using things such as acrylics, polymers and other stuff that I have no idea about. Good sealants can give you 6 months of solid protection, but you might not want to expect that if your car is out in the hot sun or weather everyday with no garage time or break from the heat and all the elements.

    Expect a more candy coated look with a sealant, which I myself love, but some like the warm sort of glow that a wax gives them. All a matter of personal preference here again.

    Layering: This is a debated subject, and i've done a lot of reading on it and trying it myself. Layering is just putting down a coat of wax or sealant and then waiting 24 hours to do it again. There are detailers out there who have applied over 50 layers!
    My theory is this... because many waxes and sealants have cleaners in them, all you are doing is removing the layer underneath, some argue that there must be at least a little bit that gets left as one layers and they may be correct. When using a sealant or wax with any cleaner... 2 is the most I go. If i'm using a wax or sealant that has no cleaners... sometimes i'll do 3,5 or more layers.

    NOTE: A wax can be applied over a sealant, a sealant should not be applied over a wax.

    AIOs (All in ones) All in ones are the mequiars cleaner waxes, the Klasse AIO and some others out there. I like them for just washing my car, putting a light pad on my buffer and cleaning the paint on occasion. Keep in mind it will remove whatever wax or sealant you already have on your car, but it will leave you with protection, though i've never been impressed by the amount of time. The best thing to do is apply one of these and then apply your favorite wax over it (most waxes or sealants need 24 hours to cure first).

    Opti-coat, CQuartz: These came out a few years ago and I have yet to try them. Some people swear by it. Opti-coat is a product that is applied to the paint and once cured, it acts as almost another layer of clearcoat. The claims of it are for I believe 2 years that no protection is needed. It's about 50.00 and for thin or soft paint, it might be worth looking into if you have a top local detailer in your area.

    Best places to get your supplies:
    Chances are your local autozone is not going to stock any more top notch waxes or sealants, but most places online are VERY expensive with their shipping. I highly recommend looking on Amazon or ebay... if you like the Collinite products, many boat stores stock them as well as other boat waxes which are extremely durable. The Blackfire or those type of products will almost certainly be ordered though. Good stuff takes time though

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    Waxes and Sealants... which one do I choose?

    First off, let's just get down to the basics. Either a wax or a sealant is going to make your paint look good. There isn't a right or wrong choice, only what YOU like... keep that in mind.

    Waxes came out a LONNNNG time ago. These days and for many years actually now, there are all these claims of 100% pure caranuba wax! BS. Wax in it's most pure form is literally as hard as a brick! It comes from trees in hot climates such as brazil.. hence the whole brazilian wax craze. Some of it is yellow, some white. What is it's purpose? Well... to protect. So we have applied that to cars. The problem is that any liquid wax that makes these claims to be pure is a flat out lie. Wax is taken in it's pure form and then broken down using chemicals to soften it... so it might have been 100% pure before it was broken down to about 5-10% real wax. Does that mean they don't work? No it doesn't.

    Very special forms of wax can run 1,000.00 or higher for a single can of wax for the simple reason that it is rare. Anything hard to come buy costs more, but that means NOTHING if the car hasn't been prepped correctly.

    As a very pure for wax, I myself really like Collinite 915. It's very durable and looks very good, IMO especially on lighter colors. I warn you though... any wax in a can that is hard can be a real pain to remove. I have actually gotten the time to leave it on at 8 minutes (obviously in the shade). It seems to come off pretty easy at that time and is slick and shows it has left it's coating on your paint.

    Most waxes have a life of at best 8 weeks. Collinite makes claims of 9 months... which under ideal conditions ALL the time that might be possible, but here in the real world 12 weeks out of a pure wax is a pretty good lifespan.

    Sealants:
    Sealants are newer and there's A TON of them out there. Some that I have used that I feel are the best are Blackfire, Klasse, Duragloss 105, Werkstatt, etc etc etc. All of them have their good and bad points, but they are usually IMO more suited for real world issues, like the bird bombs, acid rain, bugs, etc.

    A sealant is just a man made version of wax, but using things such as acrylics, polymers and other stuff that I have no idea about. Good sealants can give you 6 months of solid protection, but you might not want to expect that if your car is out in the hot sun or weather everyday with no garage time or break from the heat and all the elements.

    Expect a more candy coated look with a sealant, which I myself love, but some like the warm sort of glow that a wax gives them. All a matter of personal preference here again.

    Layering: This is a debated subject, and i've done a lot of reading on it and trying it myself. Layering is just putting down a coat of wax or sealant and then waiting 24 hours to do it again. There are detailers out there who have applied over 50 layers!
    My theory is this... because many waxes and sealants have cleaners in them, all you are doing is removing the layer underneath, some argue that there must be at least a little bit that gets left as one layers and they may be correct. When using a sealant or wax with any cleaner... 2 is the most I go. If i'm using a wax or sealant that has no cleaners... sometimes i'll do 3,5 or more layers.

    NOTE: A wax can be applied over a sealant, a sealant should not be applied over a wax.

    AIOs (All in ones) All in ones are the mequiars cleaner waxes, the Klasse AIO and some others out there. I like them for just washing my car, putting a light pad on my buffer and cleaning the paint on occasion. Keep in mind it will remove whatever wax or sealant you already have on your car, but it will leave you with protection, though i've never been impressed by the amount of time. The best thing to do is apply one of these and then apply your favorite wax over it (most waxes or sealants need 24 hours to cure first).

    Opti-coat, CQuartz: These came out a few years ago and I have yet to try them. Some people swear by it. Opti-coat is a product that is applied to the paint and once cured, it acts as almost another layer of clearcoat. The claims of it are for I believe 2 years that no protection is needed. It's about 50.00 and for thin or soft paint, it might be worth looking into if you have a top local detailer in your area.

    Best places to get your supplies:
    Chances are your local autozone is not going to stock any more top notch waxes or sealants, but most places online are VERY expensive with their shipping. I highly recommend looking on Amazon or ebay... if you like the Collinite products, many boat stores stock them as well as other boat waxes which are extremely durable. The Blackfire or those type of products will almost certainly be ordered though. Good stuff takes time though

  14. #13
    Registered User AYSE's Avatar
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    I love detailing my car. I am "new" to the world of detailing. I have learned through countless hours of videos and reading on forums that my old methods were definitely not right. Now that I own a "Nice car" that hasn't been thrashed and is still in relatively great condition(minus a few scratches that were there when I bought her); I am trying to learn the proper way to care for my paint and overall appearance of the car.

    Quote Originally Posted by Methodical4u View Post
    Now you have gotten your paint built up.. now you pretend you're back in first grade craft time lol. We will need to take the 2000 grit sand paper and cut out little circles that we will trace to fit the eraser on the pencil. If they are a little big that's ok, but try to get them about the same size. Get your rubber cement and stick those little cut outs on your eraser and let them dry for a few hours. Once dry again inspect your work and make sure that everything looks good and has had plenty of time to dry.
    I have seen this method on a youtube video and I figured I would add this tidbit of information for you. instead of cutting out the circles by hand. Go to walmart or the dollar store and find the school supplies section and get yourself a hand held hole-punch. The circle is a perfect fit for a standard eraser and will save you a lot of time and headache. I also figured this would be something that would be worth doing before you even start washing down the car, to allow the rubber cement time to dry.


    Just my $.02 and I figured I would share. I understand this is an old post and I am unsure if this is still an active member of these forums. I just wanted to add that little bit of info for those of you who may read this!

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