We like to start bottom up, meaning we will start we the wheels! Please do yourself a favour and start with the wheels as they are dirties part of your pride and joy. Tools you might find useful are brushed to reach the most hidden parts and a separate wash mitt and bucket , we don`t mix wheel cleaning with paint cleaning, it never ends well :)
The Way we like to do it
12 Steps Method
Do you know those hard to get off bugs on the front bumper ? If YES , welcome to the pre-cleaning process, we always use a pre cleaner to soak stubborn bugs and grime. Most of the time we us a soft brush to agitate the grime around the badges or hard to reach spots on the front grills, but be careful , you don`t want to damage the paint ! Product recommended -> Auto finesse Citrus Power Pre-cleaner works a treat !
This is where it gets interesting ! SNOW FOAM TIME !
Oh it`s probably just us, we always get excited when snow foam lance comes out! Snow foam helps with breaking down of the grime and dirt, it is very important we remove as much as possible so we don`t inflict swirl marks to the paint finish ( most of the time this is where things go wrong if not careful enough )
We`re pretty sure you are confused by now, who needs 4 stages before even starting to wash the car? OH BUT WAIT ! There`s more, always use a two-bucket wash method, i know , i know let me explain :)
Items you need: 2 buckets, good quality shampoo, good quality wash mitt.
One of the buckets will be filled with washing solution the other with fresh water. Using the wash mitt, apply washing solution to the vehicle washing from top down. Concentrate on small areas, attention to detail is key! Rinse in the water bucket, use new wash solution before re-applying on vehicle.
This method keeps contaminants out of your washing solution and gives you a higher chance of not adding scratches / swirl marks to your paint finish.
Now this stage will get interesting, you will need to spray on an iron disolver first, things will get Purple very quick, but that`s a good thing, it means it`s working! We like to use Iron Out, many companies do it, but we prefer the Auto Finesse Iron Out. This will ensure that you remove all the ferrous contamination such as fall out, rail dust, brake dust. After Iron Out has been used, find the nearest Tar Remover and spray it on, to soften all those Tar spots, you know the ones i`m talking about, those little black spots on your paint work that don`t seem they want to go away! This will make it easier for the next step , Clay Bar time !
Clay bars are very useful, i fact i could call them brilliant! Just rub the block on the paintwork using a slip or lube solution and watch it doing the hard work for you, it will swipe clean the surfaces removing the last remnants of tree sap or even over-spray alongside stubborn tar spots.
Although there shouldn`t have been much left behind from the previous Tar / Iron removal stage, the clay will make sure you are ready for the next step. Don`t forget to rinse after this step!
This one is not as interesting, so we say, but it is a good time to take impressive photos of your clean car ! Drying step, start from top to bottom using a panel by panel method, this will ensure streak free surfaces, very important to work quickly as water dries it will leave water spots ad we dont want those :) If you do encounter water spots a quick detailer should sort them out.
Polishing - there are different types of polishing, by hand
or machine polisher. You will get good results polishing by hand but your results will be far from perfect compared to machine polishing ( of course this implies you know what you`re doing). Strongly advising NOT to use a machine polisher on your car if you haven`t got the experience nor knowledge. Best tip we can offer, work a panel at a time, if you want to try machine polishing, easiest way would be to pick-up a panel from scrap yard and learn how to do it on said panel. It is always better to spend less money on a piece of scrap metal rather than a full respray on your car isn`t it ? :)
Glazing - obviously we would like our cars to be gleaming and shinning, or is it just us ? Between polishing , waxing and sealing stages , glazing is in order. Most of the time we use Ultra Glaze from Auto Finesse, which is a non-abrasive acrylic, polymer -enriched glaze, designed to enhance paintwork and reduce the appearance of fine swirls and it comes with a Top Tip from Auto Finesse " It`s particularly good for darker colours and metallic."
Wax / Seal - All of the stages are important but this is probably the most important one on the list. Why ? You ask? well, purely because you`ve spent all this time cleaning , polishing , de-taring , de-ironing your pride and joy and it would be a waste if you don`t protect it all the way ! Am I Right ? Make sure you wax / seal your paintwork !
One of the overlooked items of your vehicle are your tyres, you`ve cleaned your rims, you`ve cleaned your tyres, now it`s time to protect them. Many products out there are really good to bring all the plastics and rubbers back to their true colours, it will improve the look of the car aswell, we would recommend Satin as it doesn`t leave them greasy and it is long-lasting.
Your car is now very clean, it would be a shame to forget the streaky windows wouldn`t it ? #valet
We`re nearly there, we have mentioned this before when i was talking about water spots, well this is the best time to check around if you missed any spots which i`m sure you didn`t! Right ? oh no ! some fingerprints here and there! Don`t PANIC ! We got it covered! Use a quick detailer to finish this master-piece !