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      01-03-2007, 05:43 PM   #1
picus
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Performing your own new car prep

Maybe a mod can change the title of this post to something like "Doing your own new car prep". The only way I could post it was to have the title under 4 characters. I know, weird. Anyway, here goes.

Hey guys, some of you have asked how I recommend prep'ing a new car, here it is.

Before I start when I say "prep a new car" I mean you do everything non-mechanical to the car. Your dealer will remove the shipping blocks, program the idrive and key fobs, etc, but you're asking them to leave the shipping tape on the inside and outside of the car, and not to wash or wax it. Why are you doing this? Well, you're in the detailing forum so odds are you know, but in case you don't *in general* dealership washes tend to be rather harsh and can cause swirls. At autopia.org we like to call them "dealer installed swirl option".

Most of the stuff in this thread can be found in the detailing faq by DavidN at the top of this forum (http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9145), this is just a specific order I use.

So I know some of you may think this is nuts but remember, a lot of guys *enjoy* this stuff.

So ok, you've told your dealer not to do any washing/waxing or interior prep to the car. Your car should have the following on it (let's see if I can remember!)

- shipping tape on the hood, roof, and rear deck
- shipping tape on the front and rear fender
- Styrofoam guards on the doors
- plastic over the seats
- a plastic cover in the driver side foot well
- random tape/protective tape over the seat belt bulter (if you have it), and on some arm rests.
- tape on the kick plates, and cardboard on the door.
- A lot of stickers on windows.


Now some dealers will make you remove the outside shipping tape before you drive off. Why? Well, unfortunately in North America it is perfectly ok for shipping companies to repair damage incurred while shipping, and they don't need to disclose it, so they want to check for damage; that's good because you should too! Don't sweat the removal of the tape much, it comes right off. One quick tip though: The tape that extends up the front window to the roof, then continues on the roof - it's taped to the rubber liner around the front window. If you tear it off you'll pull a bit of this rubber off and it looks a little ghetto, so be careful with that peice.

OK, so you get in the car and drive home, time to prep it! Stuff you'll need:

An automotive car soap
One or two buckets (read up on washing in DavidN's FAQ!)
A couple sheepskin mitts
One or two good drying towels
A bar of automotive clay (this is imperative)
A bottle of quick detailer
A chemical cleaner polish (optional)
A light abrasive (optional)
A paint sealant or wax,
A trim dressing
A wheel cleaner and sealant (optional)
a tire dressing

For inside:
Aerospace 303 or equivilant (poorboys natural look, meguiars quick interior detailer, etc)
A leather conditioner
Scotchguard (optional)
A window cleaner (important, I will address this in a bit)

OK, so I do the inside first. Why? Because I don't like doing the inside when I am dirty after doing the outside. Just me. You can do either.

OK, so here it is in bullet points.

- Remove all the plastic over the seats. To do this is pretty easy, a quick tip is that the plastic is connected through the seats, so tear it from the back and just slide it through the seats, it's easy.

- Remove all the tape on the dash, doors, kick plates, etc.

- Windows, this part is a little tricky, not hard, but...well, annoying. Some of the stickers will peel right off, some of them on the front window won't. Peel them off as best you can and when they are off you'll have some glue residue. Now, take a small piece of your clay and some quick detailer, spray the quick detailer and rub the clay on the glue, flip the clay a lot. Watch it take the glue off like magic! (this will take a few minutes, just be patient) I actually clay the inside of ALL the windows. Why? They have glue bits and gunk all over them. If you shoot a 500W halogen at them you'll see what I mean, very spotty.

- Vacuum the carpets, then Scotchgard if you're using it. Scotchgard is very easy to use, just hold the can 12 inches above the mats and spray a thin even layer, it will dissolve into the mats.

- Treat the dash, doors, trim, plastic, rubber with 303 or the equivalent. There are "how to use" 303 blurbs all over the site. A few quick tips on 303 use. 303 likes to leave a "blotchy" finish, to avoid this use two microfiber cloths. Spray a small amount on the area you're treating them use one cloth ro rub it into the area. Use the next cloth to *fully* buff the 303 dry. If you leave any wet spots they will turn blotchy. If you miss any don't worry, use a lightly damp cloth over the effected panel and it will look uniform again.

- Condition your leather or leatherette (or use 303 on leatherette). I like Zaino Z9/Z10 because they smell delicious.

- Put in your matts and Scotchgard them.

- Clean the windows with either a quick detailer or your window cleaner. I like using a quick detailer or even a spray sealant; they both have silicone so both will dry streak free. Remember, the key to clean windows is to buff off your product well.

Viola! Now the outside.

- Remove all the tape, now if you did this at the dealer all you'll have is the styrofoam on the doors, so peel it off carefully.

- Wash the car *as normal*, do not scrub areas with glue or tape residue, you will scratch the car.

- Don't dry the car. I know, it sounds weird. Leave it damp. If you're outside keep it wet with the hose.

- Get your clay and cut off a small peice, then start the claying process. Again, the FAQ has a "how to clay" section. One note; you'll want to be very thorough when claying a new car for two reasons. One, there will be random bits of glue and tape residue all over it, the clay will remove those. Two, it will likely have a pretty decent amount of rail dust on it from transport, mine did.

- Re-wash if you think you need it. I almost never re-wash, if you use enough lubricant when claying you won't need to.

- This step is only if you need it - polish any imperfections in the paint based on their severity. In most cases a light polish (Final Polish II, ZPC, etc) will do. Wipe down the car with a 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water (iso alcohol is regular 70% off the shelf rubbing alcohol). Put it in a spray bottle, spray a panel and remove. This is to remove any polish residue.

- If you're using a chemical cleaner do it now. I usually use Klasse AIO or Jetts Werkstatt Prime on a white lake country pad via PC at this point. I do this as a sealant base and to chemically clean the paint. I recommend this step, you can do it by hand too and it is very helpful. When I do a new car prep I always use either ZPC, AIO, or Prime before sealing.

- If you DID NOT use a chemical cleaner OR polish, wipe down the car with a 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water (iso alcohol is regular 70% off the shelf rubbing alcohol). Put it in a spray bottle, spray a panel and remove. This is to remove any dealer applied wax.

- Seal or wax the car. Which sealant or wax you use is up to you, you can do this by hand or by machine. Generally I use one of two sealants this time of year. 1) Zaino Z5pro on dark colors or 2) Jeffs Werkstatt Acrylic Jett (or trigger version) on light colors. Why? They both last a long time, are easy to use, and look good. I use these on all surfaces including windows. While the sealant is hazing do the following:
- Clean the wheels with either your leftover wash water, or a non-acid wheel cleaner. Then seal them with poorboys wheel sealant/wheel wax, or a paint sealant.
- Dress your wheel wells with a product of your choice. I use diluted 303 (1:1 with water)
- Dress your tires based on your "shiny bling" desired amount.
- Dress your trim (around mirrors and wiper blades)
- Polish your exhaust, and seal it with your wheel sealant.

- Buff off sealant
- Enjoy!

If I missed anything let me know. This is how I "prep" a new car. You guys have seen some of these but here are some pics of my cars prep:

All tape off (stickers still in windows)
[IMG]http://****************/pics/335122306/27.jpg[/IMG]

The clay after I finished claying (check out the rail dust)
[IMG]http://****************/pics/335122306/26.jpg[/IMG]

And of course the end result:
[img]http://****************/pics/335122306/b.jpg[/img]

Last edited by picus; 01-04-2007 at 05:16 PM.
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      01-03-2007, 06:00 PM   #2
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Kevin, as always thank you for this great info.
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      01-03-2007, 07:12 PM   #3
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Thats absoultely brilliant as usual!

thanks so much, i will be following this guide very soon
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      01-03-2007, 08:17 PM   #4
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Great instructions. After reading your post, all of a sudden I have the urges to go out and buy a new e90 335 just so I can try your new car prep.


Quote:
"dealer installed swirl option".
You forgot to add "free of charge"

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      01-04-2007, 11:03 AM   #5
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Good info! Thanks, Kevin!
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      01-04-2007, 03:12 PM   #6
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im assuming the wash then clay process gets rid of all the wax that the car comes with from the factory ?
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      01-04-2007, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokin
im assuming the wash then clay process gets rid of all the wax that the car comes with from the factory ?
I wouldn't assume that. A mild paint cleaner should be used after claying to ensure a completely clean surface prior to zainoing.
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      01-04-2007, 05:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokin
im assuming the wash then clay process gets rid of all the wax that the car comes with from the factory ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidN
I wouldn't assume that. A mild paint cleaner should be used after claying to ensure a completely clean surface prior to zainoing.
+1

Clay will remove waxes/sealants, however it's very difficult to get 100% coverage when claying.

When I do a new car prep I always use either ZPC, AIO, or Prime before sealing. If you don't have a chemical cleaner/paint cleaner wiping the car down with iso:water will do it (iso:water = 50/50 alcohol/water). I'll add that to the sticky.
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      01-04-2007, 05:18 PM   #9
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i dont have either.

is there some product name you can mention ? not zaino though.

as for the iso:water , is that something you mix yourself or something ?
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      01-04-2007, 07:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokin
i dont have either.

is there some product name you can mention ? not zaino though.

as for the iso:water , is that something you mix yourself or something ?
Yup. ISO = Ispropyl alcohol aka rubbing alcohol. Mix it in a spray bottle with half water.
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      01-04-2007, 07:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokin
i dont have either.

is there some product name you can mention ? not zaino though.

as for the iso:water , is that something you mix yourself or something ?
Klasse AIO is a chemical paint cleaner and is available just about anywhere. It's a must have for any detail regiment, imo. If you use it you can skip the iso:water wipedown. It also makes a great base for any sealant.
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      01-05-2007, 09:43 PM   #12
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Thanks for the info.
One question, How would you forego when you take off the plastic from outside of the car and you see that you're car is damaged? The dealer can't take responsibility since you left the plastics on. Wouldn't it be better if you let the dealer take the plastics from outside of the car?
It's only tape that they need to remove from outside of the car right? So would it be ok if you let the dealer take the tape off.
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      01-05-2007, 09:54 PM   #13
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Zomg...this could be a new type of service. New car prep program...$$$!!!
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      01-06-2007, 01:33 AM   #14
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exellent write up PICUS!!! Glad to see you took the time to show how much dirt clay can really pull off your paint!!! NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the clay!
I did my own prep procedure for my car a bit excessive probably IYO! but im an anal nut..
I obviusly requested No wash on delivery and that i got. thing was dirty as hell.. i just went a bit different route with the products..
I used the megs all purpose cleaner (citris cleaner) to strip the paint of all sticker residue and what not!
followed with some klausse AIO,
then the KLAUSSE SG.
and topped with the pinnacle souveran!!!!
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      01-07-2007, 12:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trekster
Thanks for the info.
One question, How would you forego when you take off the plastic from outside of the car and you see that you're car is damaged? The dealer can't take responsibility since you left the plastics on. Wouldn't it be better if you let the dealer take the plastics from outside of the car?
It's only tape that they need to remove from outside of the car right? So would it be ok if you let the dealer take the tape off.
Ya, when I was at the dealership they asked me to take the tape off there so we could both inspect the car, which we did. Taking the tape off is very easy and I would suggest you do it yourself, but at the dealership in case there is any damage that needs to be addressed. I only mention taking it off yourself because there are a couple spots up on the top of the tape that attach to the rubber around the window that will peel away the rubber if it is torn off, which the dealers will often do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADHD
exellent write up PICUS!!! Glad to see you took the time to show how much dirt clay can really pull off your paint!!! NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the clay!
I did my own prep procedure for my car a bit excessive probably IYO! but im an anal nut..
I obviusly requested No wash on delivery and that i got. thing was dirty as hell.. i just went a bit different route with the products..
I used the megs all purpose cleaner (citris cleaner) to strip the paint of all sticker residue and what not!
followed with some klausse AIO,
then the KLAUSSE SG.
and topped with the pinnacle souveran!!!!
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      01-07-2007, 12:34 AM   #16
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So just in that rubber area, take the tape off real slow?
Sweet

I was searching through the autopia forum and apparently this: http://www.autoint.com/ works better than clay when It comes down to remove the wrappers residue. Apparently, it's not a pain in the ass like clay. Any intial thoughts about this product?
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      01-16-2007, 05:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trekster
So just in that rubber area, take the tape off real slow?
Sweet

I was searching through the autopia forum and apparently this: http://www.autoint.com/ works better than clay when It comes down to remove the wrappers residue. Apparently, it's not a pain in the ass like clay. Any intial thoughts about this product?
Sorry, just saw this. Yes, take the tape off slow in the rubber area and it is no problem. The only time you have a problem is if you tear it off, it distorts the rubber.

The clay is fine on the exterior tape residue, very easy - it's on the inside windows that it can take awhile. I didn't see the specific product from autoint that you meant? It just linked me to their main page.
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      01-16-2007, 08:23 PM   #18
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picus,

Great writeup! I've learnt a lot since I've joined, thanks for being so willing to share your knowledge!

In your new car thread you mentioned that you had buffed off the Z5 with AJT, and thus you were able to skip a step. Does this skip a step method also work with:
  1. JW Prime + AJT?
  2. Z5/Z2 + Z6/Z8?

Thanks!
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      01-17-2007, 09:49 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninjaneer
picus,

Great writeup! I've learnt a lot since I've joined, thanks for being so willing to share your knowledge!

In your new car thread you mentioned that you had buffed off the Z5 with AJT, and thus you were able to skip a step. Does this skip a step method also work with:
  1. JW Prime + AJT?
  2. Z5/Z2 + Z6/Z8?

Thanks!
They both work. With the Zaino the only issue you might run into is it streaky, that's just a result of too much product on the car at once. If you run into that just give the panel a squirt with some distilled water and wipe away, and you're good to go.

FWIW, Prime buffed off with AJT is something I do a lot, it works really well.
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      01-17-2007, 02:08 PM   #20
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Most people are probably too excited or ignorant to go through the planning and this process. Maybe my experience will change their minds.

I was ignorant, took delivery in Europe, and drove it 1750 miles. Took redelivery in Oregon, drove down the coast (it was a blast) and arrived in Phoenix Sunday night in Early December. It rained most of the way through California so my white car was almost black. Set up work lights and went through my usual car washing routine. Imagine my surprise when I saw all the swirls under the work light when I was done. My first wash and the finish already looked a year old.

The light bulb sort of went on when I started reading this detailing section of the forum. I was a poster child for opposite day. I wasn't following any of the good practices and I had collected all the bad habits.

Salvation came in the form of a private message to Picus. He became my personal consultant over the next two weeks, edited my list of supplies to buy, hooked me up with a supplier, walked me through all the steps necessary and even examined the after pictures and gave me a passing grade.

Eternally grateful,

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      01-19-2007, 04:02 PM   #21
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Shawn is giving me too much credit - he should post the pictures he took of his car; he did an incredible job and it was his first time to boot. Very thorough and the car looks great because of it.
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      02-09-2007, 12:21 AM   #22
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good info
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