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Detailing Tips and Tricks Need some shine? Tired of swirls? Step on in!

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Old 09-01-10, 03:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Red face Confessions of an '05 NBP TL Owner

Ok Guys,

I'm going to be brutally honest here, and hopefully after all the all the "flaming", someone will have some empathy, and help a brotha out.

So here we go, I'm afraid of detailing my car myself; there, I've said it. I own an '05 NBP TL, and am kinda ashamed of how I've treated "my baby". If she were truly a child, DCFS would have taken her long ago due to her unhygienical appearance. She deserves to be "bathed" more often, and I want to make amends.

Now here's the thing. I've looked at all four parts of the infamous 2006 Acura TL in Nighthawk Black Pearl, and quite frankly, IT was what scared me. I don't know if I'm capable of doing what was done, or if the amount of detail/work is beyond my ability. The TL in the guide looks SO beautiful, I damn near cried. I don't have the money to pay someone to consistently detail my car like that, so I want to try and see what I can do.

No, I'm not looking for donations, but I am looking to have a couple questions answered. Any suggestions would also be welcome, if you could also give a reason for said suggestion. (i.e. - "Product X" because it does a great job, and leaves a nice shine, You don't need to wax, because x, y, or z, etc.)

Questions

1. To give my car that "liquid" look/shine, do I need to clay/wax it with a machine? Is this really the only way? I have never done this before, and am kind of intimidated by the process of claying/waxing with machines for that matter.

2. IF I detailed the car myself, how often is that necessary to do, and what will be necessary to do in between "detailing" in order to keep that "liquid" look/shine? How should I wash, as to not destroy the look. Would I have to re-clay/polish everytime I wash?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 09-01-10, 03:55 PM   #2
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Welcome to the detailing forum. First of all its great that you care enough about your TL to be afraid of marring it as it can be easily done without care. First thing you should probably do is look through some of the already existing threads. There are a lot of in depth posts about washing techniques, what products to use at what stage and the like. Here are some links to get you started.

My wash technique

Waxing techniques.....help!

And a demo from a professional
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Old 09-01-10, 08:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S2K2K4 View Post
Welcome to the detailing forum. First of all its great that you care enough about your TL to be afraid of marring it as it can be easily done without care. First thing you should probably do is look through some of the already existing threads. There are a lot of in depth posts about washing techniques, what products to use at what stage and the like. Here are some links to get you started.

My wash technique

Waxing techniques.....help!

And a demo from a professional
OCDetailing Detailed: Audi S6 + Klass KF400
S2K2K4,

Thanks for the links, and GREAT post! I'm ashamed to say that I've been washing my car with one bucket, no Grit Guard, have once (but no longer) used dish soap, and had always thought that polishing and waxing were the same thing.

To clarify though, after I polish the car, can I just wax next? If I choose to jewel/burnish, do I use the same polish as the polishing step, or a different polish, and do I just use a finer pad? How is this done without a polisher? Are there different hand pads?

I don't have a Porter Cable yet, but was wondering what the difference was between a "Variable-Speed Random Orbit Sander with Polishing Pad" and a "Variable-Speed Random Orbit Polisher"? I saw the two pictures, but don't really know the difference as far a function is concerned. Does the sander have sanding and polishing capabilities as opposed to just polishing? Which is better, and why? (if the main difference is what I described, then I think I know the benefit of the sander/polisher)

Thanks again for all of your help.
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Old 09-01-10, 09:09 PM   #4
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Glad to see that you are willing to step up to the plate. Keep us informed on your progress.

To be honest, your story is pretty much why I refuse to own a black car!!
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Old 09-06-10, 01:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennjr15 View Post
Questions

1. To give my car that "liquid" look/shine, do I need to clay/wax it with a machine? Is this really the only way? I have never done this before, and am kind of intimidated by the process of claying/waxing with machines for that matter.

2. IF I detailed the car myself, how often is that necessary to do, and what will be necessary to do in between "detailing" in order to keep that "liquid" look/shine? How should I wash, as to not destroy the look. Would I have to re-clay/polish everytime I wash?

Thanks in advance for your help.
I haven't seen that TL-S before, wow, I've never seen reflections like that. Unbelievable!

Along with what Ben (Sk2) posted, I'll try to be more direct to your questions.

1.) You don't need a machine but it will be easier and will always give better results. Primarily, doing things by hand will cover up problems where doing it with a machine will solve the problem. Also, you don't clay with a machine (just fyi). Personally, I think the most important thing is to do all the steps, don't skip anything and you will get the best results. This includes clay, cleaner, swirl remover, polish, sealant, and wax.

2.) I try to wax (when I say wax, I mean all the above steps) once a month. I usually can't get it done once a month since it's a full weekend process though so if I can get it done every 3 months I am happy. In between full details you should be fine doing regular washes (always use two buckets, grit guards and clean towels), and a quick detailer for those days you want extra shine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glennjr15 View Post
S2K2K4,

Thanks for the links, and GREAT post! I'm ashamed to say that I've been washing my car with one bucket, no Grit Guard, have once (but no longer) used dish soap, and had always thought that polishing and waxing were the same thing.

To clarify though, after I polish the car, can I just wax next? If I choose to jewel/burnish, do I use the same polish as the polishing step, or a different polish, and do I just use a finer pad? How is this done without a polisher? Are there different hand pads?

I don't have a Porter Cable yet, but was wondering what the difference was between a "Variable-Speed Random Orbit Sander with Polishing Pad" and a "Variable-Speed Random Orbit Polisher"? I saw the two pictures, but don't really know the difference as far a function is concerned. Does the sander have sanding and polishing capabilities as opposed to just polishing? Which is better, and why? (if the main difference is what I described, then I think I know the benefit of the sander/polisher)

Thanks again for all of your help.
Stick with the random orbital polisher. You don't need a sander and you can do serious damage with a sander.


Here is what I've been able to achieve by hand:





Oh and as far as products go, I'm a big fan of Poor Boys. Especially their Natty's Blue Paste Wax which is made for dark colored cars, it works awesome!
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Old 09-07-10, 09:57 AM   #6
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One consideration about Kev's achievements by hand.... His right hand might as well count as a machine buffer with the workout it gets on a daily basis.

But in all seriousness, a lot depends on what you're given to start with, Kevs car was pretty well maintained if I remember correctly and hes been able to keep it in that shape with meticulous washing and paint care. Really the trick to detailing is make small changes in your process and learn from them. For example. The first time you wash it just do a wash and wax, maybe claybar, then go over the car inch by inch, make note of places where you didn't get all the wax buffed off, scratches you want to correct and the like. Then try to document that stuff (great if you have a DSLR camera) and research those issues to find solutions that have worked for other people. Using this approaches makes the learning curve a little less steep and makes it less likely that you are going to screw up your paint job.

Just be aware, getting into detailing (even just your own car) is NOT cheap. The good chemicals cost money but are worth it. The proper equipment is expensive as well. If having your ride look the best it can is worth it to you then go for it, otherwise, you won't be happy with your work ever just because of the money that you've sunk into it.
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Old 07-22-11, 01:36 AM   #7
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Zaino products FTW

Wash 1x using Dawn
Clay
Wash again to remove any clay residue
Thoroughly dry
Zaino ZAIO all in one cleaner
Then polish with several light coats of Zaino Z2 for light colors or Z5 for darker colors, or you can alternate Z2 & Z5
Use Z6 in between coats

Each coat produces a deeper, wetter looking unbelievable shine.

The process is much easier then it sounds and Zaino products are The Best in the business and the protection lasts the longest.

They are not cheap and you cannot buy in stores. Go to their site to learn more. No, I do not have any affiliation with Zaino, I am just a very satisfied customer and if you take your time and follow their directions, you will achieve unbelievable outstanding results.
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Old 08-24-11, 12:14 AM   #8
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^^^^ Sad thing is .. Zaino isn't a save all ... its a great product BUT totally relies on the prep step.


There is an old detailing saying ... You can put 5 layers of wax ( pick a brand .. doesn't matter .. including Zaino ) on dog shit and all you get is shiney dog shit.

To get the wet look the OP is looking for he is going to have to go to a pro detailer to get it done then learn how to wash/dry his car to maintain that look. OR he is going to need to invest in a PC / pads .. polishes and a decent sealant and learn how to do it himself.
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