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Passion for a Detailed Car

04 May Posted by in SWC News | 2 comments
Passion for a Detailed Car

At Suburban Wheel Cover we strive for perfection. A car that is missing a hubcap or a center cap just does not look right and perfection can’t exist in that state. Another key element of perfection is how clean a vehicle is. I recently undertook the task of detailing my personal car. The idea is to show what can be done if you put your mind to it. It takes a lot of commitment, time and money to get these results but when you view the pictures I think you will agree it was worth it. Most people simply take their car to a local car wash and get the $5.00 special and it is fine for most people. But for the discriminating car enthusiast who loves perfection that would not suffice. This blog post will briefly outline the steps to completely detail a car from top to bottom. I will also post links where many professional detailing products can be ordered from.

Step 1: The car must be completely detail washed. This includes the door jambs, wheel wells, undercarriage, engine as well as every square inch of the outside. A pressure washer helps in this process immensely. The products I recommend are any professional car wash soap (never use dish soap), Sonax “Full Effect” wheel cleaner and P21S Total Auto Wash. The Sonax and P21S are from the UK and are incredible. They are well worth the money. You will need a professional sponge and I recommend the 2 bucket method (Google it) with a “Grit Guard” in the bottom of the bucket.

Step 2: After the car has been completely washed I recommend using a high quality tar remover on the paint. Then the car’s paint must be clayed by hand (Google it) to remove any contaminants and get the surface ready for buffing. I recommend the Meguair’s Professional Mild Clay with the Meguiar’s “Quik Detailer” for lubrication. An even faster way to do this job is with the Nanoskin Fine Autoscrub 6 with a Velcro hand strap and Glide lubricant. When completed the paint condition needs to be assessed. If your car’s paint is in very good condition you can most likely get away with a good one step polish such as Meguiar’s DA Microfiber Finishing Wax or Shine Supply Classic Polish. The Meguiar’s is nice because it has wax built in and you technically could skip hand waxing when finished. These products are applied with a DA (Dual Action) Polisher and a polishing pad. For the polisher I recommend an Italian made Rupes polisher. But you should also consider these brands: Meguair’s, Porter Cable, Flex or Griot’s. All work nicely. If the car’s paint has typical scratches it will probably need a Cutting product and a Cutting pad. I recommend Shine Supply’s “Classic Cut” and the Meguiar’s DA Microfiber Cutting Pad. After the car has been “Cut” you can then follow with the polish of your choice. When buffing it is advised to mask off any black rubber or plastic parts because you do not want the buffer to touch them. Also you need to be careful not to hit protruding parts with the edge of the buffer because you could possibly scar the paint if used improperly. When finished buffing you should re-wash the car with a sheepskin or a microfiber wash mitt to clean up any product sling from buffing. You will also want to dry the car with a Microfiber Drying Towel so you don’t hurt the cars paint. You will be amazed at how far your car’s  paint has progressed.

Step 3: Now that the exterior is well underway you should switch your focus to the interior which also includes the trunk area. Remove floor mats and all personal items from the car. Completely vacuum the interior and trunk. There are many ways to clean the inside of your car but I personally use a professional interior soap specifically designed for interiors. I like to spray a mild cleaner on the carpet and seats to loosen the dirt. Then I shampoo all surfaces so there is a nice layer of soap suds visible (tip: squeeze out excess water from sponge so your interior does not get saturated). I then use a good quality upholstery brush and sponge to scrub everything clean. I follow that up with a wet/dry vac to vacuum out as much soap and water as possible. For the dash I use the damp sponge to go over every surface. I also recommend a Boar’s Hair detailing brush to get into the vents – it really helps to get the dust out. If you use a Microfiber Drying Towel one section at a time it will make the job much easier. Remember – you do not want to get too much moisture on the interior – a little is ok but a lot can cause problems. When everything is done I suggest rolling the windows down and put a good fan inside the car. Let the fan run for a few hours and change the fans direction several times so you completely dry the interior.

Step 4: This is where you can really see the condition of the paint and take care of any rock chips, scratches etc. I suggest using touch up paint purchased directly from your local car dealership for late model cars. For older cars you may need to go to an auto parts store or an auto body paint store. Once you have touched up the paint and it has dried you have some choices. On my car I used the “CarPro Cquartz UK Edition” coating which adds a clear protective layer plus more shine to the paint and lasts for a few years. Most people do not use a coating such as this which is fine – it is not required. So if you don’t apply a coating it is now time to apply a good coat of wax. I really like the Meguiar’s NXT wax which I applied by hand. You need to make sure that you don’t get any wax on the black plastic or rubber parts – just the painted surfaces. For a little added protection I will eventually add a coat of Pinnacle Souveran Paste Wax which is a high grade carnauba wax specifically for dark colored cars. The result is a very high gloss finish that looks fantastic!

Step 5: The finishing touches. This is where you can go around the car and finish it completely. You will want to dress all rubber, vinyl and leather surfaces. Use only professional products from the sites listed below. Clean the windows inside and out with 2 microfiber towels. Look for any spots that may not have reached perfection and then fix those areas by whatever means are necessary. Now you can show the car to the world and take pride in your accomplishment!

For motivation I recommend visiting Williams Auto Detail website or their Facebook page.

For professional supplies I recommend: Detailed ImageShine Supply and Chemical Guys.

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  1. John Conenna05-07-14

    Mark, fantastic looking and great tips and advice. Your car looks amazing it’s detailed to perfection. Thanks again for the tires on the Vette they are awesome. Without question you guys are the best and you are certainly a class act….Thanks again JOHN CONENNA PRESIDENT VENUS TRAVEL INC…..CHICAGO ILLINOIS

  2. Jeremy05-16-14

    Hey Mark,

    Very impressed with your operation. I can see why so many people choose your company over others. I love dealing with perfectionists. Very helpful article.

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