November 19, 2003So you want to Detail your rig and make it nice and shiney? No problem ... in this thread many people will post some killer ideas on how they do theirs. There are correct ways and INcorrect ways to clean your ride. I will start off with my detailing routine of a FULL DETAIL that I use on clients vehicles.
There are MANY products out there on the market and all of them are very good. Most of it is the person doing to work as how it will turn out. I can make a car paint look sweet with Turtle Wax ... why? Because of the PREP work done.
Prep work :
Prepping your paint is the MOST important part of detailing. Your final results will not look very good if you do not take the time to properly prep your paint. This part will be the most time consuming as well. If the final stage ( waxing or sealant application ) takes longer, then you may find you will have to do it again or still see many flaws in the paint. Remember, its not the wax that makes it nice and shiny .. its the polishing stage.
Here is where you can use your favorite products and items. Grab yourself a bucket ( I use the 5 gallon Home Depot bucket ... 4 bucks ), some car soap ( I use Dawn if I am starting from ground zero, as it will take most of the wax off the paint ), wash mit or sponge x2 ( reason for 2 is because you really dont want to clean the upper part of the paint with just one. The rocker section has more crap and gunk on it that you shouldnt put on your paint. Use this same mitt/sponge for the front end of you truck as well. I use a bug sponge for the front end and mirrors. Grab a drying towel ... microfiber is a great way to dry your paint, and good chamois (sp), or the synthetic type like the Absorber. Also grab a good stiff brush for your tires and wheel wells, and a softer brush for the rims ... or just use the mitt/sponge that was used for the lower rocker.
Let's get started
Wash: Wash your truck in a shaded area. Do NOT start putting water on paint that has been sitting in the sun as that will cause paint problems. Also, do NOT spray a HOT windshield with cold water because it may crack. Rinse from the top to bottom. For bugs, tar, or anything else stuck to the paint you can take some bug & tar soap and apply little dabs to those area and let them sit. Then rinse while wetting the paint ... that should soften them up enough. Now pour only a couple ounces of soap on the mitt/sponge and add water .... once you have enough water start from the top and wash. There is really no need to apply lots of pressure because you may scratch the paint by pressing too hard. Some areas might require you to add pressure though.
Once done, rinse paint.
This is what I personally do next ... you can go to drying
While paint is still wet I take my clay lube ( soap and water mixture ), and start claying the hood. Once paint is clayed, I rinse and then I go to the next section.
Dry : Taking your drying towel start from the top and work your way down. Try to get the glass first if using hard water so it doesnt spot so fast. Once all nice a dry I blow out and crevices to get the rest of the water out. Nothing more annoying when you are trying to apply or take off wax/sealant and water leaks out
Claying the paint: Now take your QD or Quick Detailer and clay. I would say cut your clay in half or into thirds. If you drop a piece of clay you might as well throw it in the trash. Do small sections at a time by spraying some QD on the paint and then some on the clay bar itself. Now begin to rub the clay on the paint in each section until it just glides. Now feel the paint ... if it is silky smooth move on until the entire truck is done. Also, after each section is done you can wipe off the residue. I normally wouldnt because the polishing stage will take care of it. For some great Clay bar info check out this thread: http://ftw.truckmoxie.com/forums/topic.ten?id=118746
Polishing : To continue our prep work we need to bring the paint back to life and get rid of some of those scratches and swirls. I use a Porter Cable 7424 with Griots Orange pad for this. I just bought some Meguiar's pads and soon The Edge pads. Apply your polish to the pad in the shape of a trianlge. You should get 3 lines about 2" long. I have the speed set to 5-6 for getting out paint blemishes. One thing though, in order to get out these paint blemishes you may need a heavier type polish that is meant for this. Then follow it up with a gentle polish. I have dedicated pads for each of my products I use. You never want to mix pads as that may take away from how well it performs. Because of the polish I use, I can do the entire truck before wiping off. This makes it so much easier for me. Do sections at a time and really work the product in so it breaks down and works. If you do not, you are going to have one hell of a time getting the product off. What can happen is the polish seems "gummy", "gluey", "sticky", you get the picture. That is because the product was NOT worked into the paint enough or you are using too much product. With the PC, each section will be worked for at least 2 minutes or until product is about gone. Once complete, buff off the polish and look at the paint in many different angles. Do you still see lots of scratches and swirls? If so, you may need another coat or have someone experianced with a rotary buffer help.
Wax / Sealant : Now that the hard parts are over its time to do the easy stuff. Again, I use my Porter Cable and a Griots Red finishing pad to apply my sealant. Some prefer to apply by hand, others by machine. Of course if you are using a paste wax you will be doing this by hand. Grab your favorite wax / sealant and just like the polish put the product on the pad in a triangle form. Spritz the pad with a little water and start on the top. Do NOT use any pressure at all when applying your wax / sealant. There is no need to. You are just trying to get a nice thin layer of product down for protection. I do the entire vehicle and let it sit until Im ready to buff it off. Some products have to be take off almost right away. I prefer to let it sit for a while so I can do other things
While waiting for the product to cure I do the following:
*I start by vacuuming the interior
*Then I dust with my home made duster that I call FiFi Its a duster with a vent brush taped to the other end While dusting I have the vac close enough to suck up any dust floating around.
*Wipe down door panels, jams, center console, dash, etc ... This cleans the dirt and grime off the surfaces prepping them for the treatment.
*Spot clean the carpets
*Treat the dash, panels, anything leather or vinyl with a protectant that has UV blockers in it.
Now the wax / sealant should be good to go. Buff it all off. Make sure that you rotate your cloth often so you dont smear the product. I use only microfiber on my paint. I use the 16x16 microfiber cloths and fold them into 4s. I rotate alot so I go through alot of microfiber. Before I hand the keys back I take one last glance over to make sure I got all the wax / sealant off.
Trim: Now dress the trim. I use foam that I cut from packing materials. Just a little tiny square to get the window trim, a bigger piece for the bumper.
Tires: Apply your favorite tire dressing and try not to get it on t