I performed my first ever detail at the end of July this year. I had planned on posting pics up way earlier but there has been so much going on that I just haven't had the time. Plus I wanted to complete all the sealing/waxing to show the final finish. I understand this isn't exactly a full detail, as I didn't do the interior and engine bay. I also didn't apply stuff like snow foam, iron x etc. Maybe next time I will. The wheels and tyres I just washed with a Meguiars wheel cleaner and tyre shine, Anyways here it is.
I want to offer my sincere gratitude to Greg @ Detailed Image for his constant guidance on techniques and products, whenever I asked him. He was very thorough in his recommendations and always left me trusting him 100%. Also, it's not as though he was gaining any sales as he couldn't ship anything to the UK. So I really appreciate his advice and suggest anyone who is not sure about detailing to go to him, he really knows his stuff!
Ok so the first step was to decide what exactly I would be doing and what products I would need. After some research I decided that a machine polisher is a must, as no matter how big my arms were, I couldn't match a random orbital machine. Then I got recommendations from Greg on polishes, sealants etc. This is a full list of things I had to buy:
Clay Magic Perfect Finish (100g)
DAS-6 PRO Dual Action Polisher
(I wanted the PC but it was hard to source here in the UK, plus this came with good recommendations from members on here)
Lake County Constant Pressure Pads x 2 (White)
Lake County Constant Pressure Pads x 2 (Blue)
Lake County Constant Pressure Pads x 2 (Orange).
This was for any areas where I didn't get the best results with the white/blue combination.
Menzerna Power Finish PO203S
Menzerna Final Finish PO85RD
Menzerna Power Lock Sealant
3M 3434 Masking tape
Meguiars Lambswool wash mitt
Meguiars Â Water magnet drying towel
Eurow Â Shag Pile double density towels
(these towels are soooo
soft. Even softer than the towels I use on myself!)
Hand Foam applicator pads
Meguiars QD Spray
Here is the list of stages that I went through:
1. Wash and Dry (2 bucket method)
3. Wash and Dry (2 bucket method)
4. Machine Polish with Menzerna Power Finish PO203S
5. Wash and Dry (2 bucket method)
6. Machine Polish with Menzerna Final Finsh PO85RD
7. Wash and Dry (2 bucket method)
8. Seal with 4 coats of Menzerna Power Lock Sealant
9. Wax with 2 coats of Dodo Juice Purple Haze
I also decided that I wanted to buy a tent/marquee, as the weather here is unpredictable and I didnÂt want it to start raining or the sun coming out halfway through. So I bought a 6 x 3 marquee from Mr Singh. This was perfect for this job.
I stupidly thought that I would get all of the above done in one day! Maybe some people can but it took me waaaay longer than I thought. This day all I did was steps 1-3. This took me around 6-7 hours believe it or not. The QD that came with the clay was not enough for me, and I used the Meguiars QD to finish. I was very impressed with the claying; it really did make all the surfaces feel like glass, like it just came out of the showroom. Even when it was dark, I could notice that car had an extra shine to it. I even thought thatÂs it I should just stop now, but that was never going to happen!
Ok so today I thought iÂm going to get everything else done. Stupid assumption again! All I did on this day was step 4, the polishing. I taped the window trims, lights, handles and badges with the masking tape, went over the whole car with a QD, as a little dust had gathered overnight. I then used the white pad with some PO203S and started at the bonnet. I followed the same method on GregÂs excellent guide. For some areas, I used the slightly more abrasive orange pad.
This was quite harder than I thought it would be. At times I felt like giving up but I got motivation from random people walking by. A lot of people commented that it looked nice and one even asked if I was a professional!! So i ploughed on and managed to do the whole car in about 9 hours. But this was from when I stepped out of my house at midday until I finished clearing up for the day at 9. I took regular breaks every 3 hours which I would definitely recommend.
I started at 7am on this day as I wanted to finish the final polishing and at least one layer sealant as I had to pick up someone from the airport. Today I managed to do steps 5-7 + one layer of sealant! I was very happy to finish as I didnÂt want to waste it all by driving on the motorway with no sealant.
This time polishing did go slightly quicker. I used the blue pads and the PO85RD. This really gave the car a nice glossy shine. I applied the sealant by hand with an applicator pad. This was much faster than using a machine. I was a bit concerned that it looked quite faint, but Greg assured me thatÂs normal. I think the key is to apply it as thin as possible.
The following 6 weeks up until yesterday
I washed my car around once a week, and after each time I applied a layer of sealant. In total I applied 4 layers of sealant, and one layer of wax which I did yesterday. I did want to wait until I added the second coat of wax before posting pics, but I have waited long enough.
This was a mammoth effort, and made me realise why professional detailers charge so much. After the 3rd day I was knackered and just glad it was over. I did enjoy myself as well though. I would recommend anyone doing this to invest in a marquee and plan 2-3 days for it. I would also recommend not
leaving masking tape on overnight. I left mine on for 2 nights and there was some residue left behind.
The car has improved considerably from before. Unfortunately I didnÂt take any before pics, I guess I was too excited to start. Around 80% of the swirl marks have disappeared, 100% of water marks, 100% of the rough areas around the front bumper, door mirrors, low areas on the front fenders have gone completely smooth. The detailing has really brought the deep blue colour to life
Even when itÂs raining the car looks shiny! I really like the way the water beads and flows right off.
However there are some areas that are still not perfect. But I wasnÂt really expecting to get rid of these completely anyway. ThereÂs a small scratch on the bonnet, which I can feel with my finger nail, the usual bonnet chip marks and a little amount of swirl marks around the car. The remaining swirl marks, which there isnÂt really much left iÂm just being really fussy, will be sorted out by a more abrasive combination next time round. Having said that, the scratch does look better than before, itÂs less visible, and you can tell by the pics that there arenÂt really that many swirl marks. Before there were loads, from when I used to take it to car washes and didn't know the correct techniques. Also the pictures don't really do the car justice. I think with all car pics, the actual car looks better in person.
Now you can see the final pictures. The first picture was taken during the first day, the rest were taken today.