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Thread: How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips

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    How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips

    How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips


    Below is the order of steps to do to your brand new car, truck or sports utility vehicle. Note that even a brand new car may need some of the below procedures because car paint becomes contaminated while it's being shipped and while it's being stored.

    Also, dealerships are notorious for putting their new cars through their own detail shop to get them ready to sell only to have their in-house detailers instill swirls and scratches at the same time they're supposed to be making the car look beautiful.

    It's sad to say, but that's how the new and used car dealerships here in the United States work.

    So after getting your brand new car, or your new-to-you used car home, here's what you do.

    1. Wash and dry.
    2. Inspect the paint with your sense of touch and visually in bright, overhead sunlight.
    3. Iron X paint and wheels - Then re-wash to remove the Iron X residues off the paint and wheels.
    4. Clay - If needed. Your inspection will tell you.
    5. Polish - If needed. Your inspection will tell you.
    6. Apply either a Car Wax or a Paint Sealant


    Note: You really only need to use one type of protection product. Some people use two types but you don't have to. Instead you could apply two coats of the same product. Protection products include,



    • Car Waxes
    • Synthetic Paint Sealants
    • Paint Coatings


    See this article for more information
    3-Categories: Waxes, Paint Sealants and Coatings

    How to inspect your car's paint after you have washed and dried it.
    Watch the below short videos. In them, I show you how to inspect your car's paint. It is by inspecting your car's paint that you determine what needs to be done.


    This is one of my better write-ups with over 100 high resolution pictures showing before, process and after shots. Here's the link to the entire thread.

    1954 Ford F-100 - Extreme Makeover - Process and products used



    Here's what you want to do to any car that you're going to detail
    First, wash and dry the car so you remove any loose dirt. This keeps you from rubbing the dirt into the paint when you feel it with your hand or a baggie for above surface bonded contaminants.

    It also removes the dirt to get it out of the way so your eyes can SEE if there are any swirls in the paint.

    So wash and dry first, then inspect with your sense of touch and visually with your eyes.



    How to feel the paint with your hand to check and see if you need to clay the paint



    How to inspect the paint using the sun to check for swirls, holograms and scratches



    Your results and what to do?


    Paints is in good shape
    If the paint feels smooth as glass and if you don't see any swirls or scratches, or if swirls and scratches don't bother you then you can keep it simple and,


    A: Apply a wax or paint sealant - Skip all other steps after washing and drying and inspecting.

    B: Use a pre-wax cleaner and then apply a wax or paint sealant. A pre-wax cleaner, also called a paint cleaner simply ensures the paint surface is squeaky clean and clear and perfectly prepared to accept a wax or paint sealant. If you opt to use a paint coating you'll want to follow the manufactures directions for prepping the paint before applying the coating as directions vary.


    Paints is in bad shape
    If you discover the paint has above surface bonded contaminants then you need to clay the paint. You have two options,

    Option 1: Wash and dry the car and then clay paint.
    This is the normal way most people started their detailing project till products like Iron-X were introduced. That is after washing, drying and inspecting, if they felt contaminants on the paint they would move onto the claying step.


    Option 2: Wash and dry the car and then use Iron-X to remove any iron particles and then re-wash the car to remove the Iron X residue and dissolved iron particles. Dry the car and then clay the paint.


    The benefit this approach offers is,

    IF there are any iron particles in your car's paint you will dissolve and remove them chemically with the Iron-X instead of abrading and pulling them out with clay and then potentially instilling swirls and scratches into the paint because now you have iron particles embedded into the clay that you're rubbing all over the paint.


    Iron X = Insurance Policy
    In my opinion, doing an Iron-X treatment to paint that you've never worked on before is a good idea, it's like an insurance policy. You buy insurance to protect ourself but you hope you never need it.

    You use Iron-X JUST IN CASE there's any iron particles in the paint but you actually hope that there's not.

    It's better to use Iron-X and NOT see the spray turn red than it is to see the spray turn read. Think about it, if it turns red that means there was iron particles in the paint, that's a bad thing. If it doesn't, it's whew... I got lucky.

    Then after choosing and following the steps in one of the above options you move on to the next step, which is usually doing some type of correction work to the paint using a combination of compounds and polishes, or keep it simple and use what are called pre-wax cleaners or paint cleaners.

    Both of these steps,

    Correcting with compounds and/or polishes

    OR (You don't do both, pick one or the other)

    Using a Pre-Wax cleaner


    Are done after the washing, claying steps and before the sealing step where you will apply your choice of a,

    • Car Wax
    • Synthetic Paint Sealant
    • Paint Coating



    Each of the three categories above are different types of products that do the same general thing and that is leave a layer of protection on the paint to protect it and make the paint look good.

    You only need to use one product from one of the three categories. You don't have to use products from more than one category although a lot of "Serious Car Enthusiasts" will as an option apply a synthetic paint sealant first for long lasting, durable protection and top this sealant with a coat of wax for aesthetics reasons, that is to make the paint look beautiful.

    See this article,
    Topping - Definition - How to Top also called Topping



    Maintaining your car
    After all of the above is done, you can then maintain your car's finish using a combination of spray detailers and spray waxes or spray sealants.

    A spray detailer is for removing,

    • Light dust
    • Fingerprints
    • Smudges
    • Clay Lube (when claying)


    A spray wax or a spray sealant is typically a faster, shortcut way of restoring that just waxed look without having to actually get out a traditional liquid or paste type product. Instead you mist on the spray wax or spray sealant, spread it around and wipe it off in the same way you would use a spray detailers.

    People get confused as to what the difference is between a spray detailer and a spray wax so here's the difference,

    A spray detailer is for cleaning your car, getting dust of it without scratching the paint. A spray on wax or spray-on sealant is for adding more protection to paint that is ALREADY CLEAN, for example after you wash the car or AFTER YOU USE A SPRAY DETAILER.

    Simple really, but for some reason a lot of people get confused over spray detailers and spray waxes.


    I certainly don't want to scare anyone or make washing and waxing your car any more complicated than it has to be, I'm just trying to lay out ALL the various factors to consider if the car in question is important to you as well as your time and money/investment.

    Here's how the 1954 Ford came out after doing all the necessary steps and then applying a coating of Pinnacle Signature Series II







    Evolven likes this.
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  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike.Phillips@Autogeek's Avatar
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    Re: How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips

    Here are some related articles...


    The below article answers the question of should you dry the paint and wheels after washing and rinsing and before applying the Iron X product.


    How to wash your car KISS style!

    KISS stands for Keep it Simple Simon


    Here in the forum world it's normal for people to take seemingly simple tasks that require a few steps to do a good job and turn the project into Rocket Science requiring multiple steps with sub-steps to boot.


    Here's a simple way to wash a car, do a good job and get it clean and ready for detailing.


    First things first - whose approach is better?
    I go against the grain, that is I don't follow the advice handed down for decades by others on where to start when washing a car. Most of what I've ever read or been told by anyone that's anyone in the car detailing world when it comes to washing a car goes like this,

    Traditional Recommend Approach to wash a car
    Start at the top and work your way down
    I totally disagree.

    Start at the wheels, tires and wheel wells, and after these are washed and rinsed, then start at the top and work your way down.


    Why?

    Water spots
    If you start at the top, wash and rinse all the body panels, you now have a wet car that needs to be dried off before the water dries and potentially leaves water spots on and even in the paint.

    Water Filter Systems
    If you have a water filter system like the CR Spotless Water Deionization System you don't have to worry about water spots. But if you don't have their system or something similar, then corrosive elements in the water could lead to nasty water spots on the paint and everything else unless you dry the water immediately.


    Here's the deal though, if you do what most people do when using the traditional approach, that is leave the water on the car as you move onto washing and rinsing the wheels and tires next, (without drying the car), by the time you're done washing and rinsing the wheels and tires, (and doing a great job), the water will have already dried on some areas of the car potentially leaving water spots.


    Dry the car before washing the wheels and tires
    If you dry the car after washing it and then tackle the wheels and tires, it's pretty much impossible to not get the car wet again when washing and rinsing the wheels and tires so you end up drying the car a second time.

    I'm not lazy, but I hate doing a job twice.


    Here's my approach,

    Wheels and tires first, then start at the top and work your way down.

    Now lets put a little twist to the age-old traditional approach and instead of starting at the top and working your way down, lets start at the bottom and then move to the top.

    Wash and rinse one wheel at a time. After washing and rinsing one wheel, move onto the next wheel and tire and occasionally re-rinse the previous wheel and tire because soap suds and wheel and tire cleaning chemicals have a way of re-appearing and pooling in voids due to gravity.

    Continue washing, rinsing and re-rinsing until you've washed all four wheels and tires.


    Now move to the top or highest point
    Now that the wheels and tires are clean and rinsed, grab your wash mitt and gather some car wash suds and start at the roof and begin working your way down as you wash.

    Divide the car you're washing up into sections or work panel by panel.

    After washing a section or a panel, immediately rinse that section or panel to remove loosened dirt and other abrasive particles and to prevent any soap suds from drying on the car.

    Continue this until you've worked your way from the top of the car to the bottom of the car washing the lowest body panels last as that's where the majority of the major dirt and road grime will accumulate.

    By washing the lowest panels last, you prevent cross-contamination and by this I mean removing abrasive dirt particles off the lower portions of the car and moving them in your wash mitt to the higher portions of the car where you could possibly instill heavier swirls and scratches.

    While you were washing and rinsing the car from top to bottom, you can occasionally give the wheels and tires a repeated blast of water to ensure any soapy water, wheel and tire cleaners, or even dirt particles that have flowed downward and pooled are continually rinsed clean.

    At the very end of the process, give the car a final rinse and then you're ready to dry the car, wheels and tires and at no point will there ever have been the potential for water to dry on anything and thus no risk of water spotting on any portion of the car.

    Plus, you won't have to repeat any steps.

    That's how I wash a car.


    But wait there's more...

    If you're the type that REALLY wants to be careful so as to not induce any swirls and scratches into the paint, then here's a tweaked version of the above just for you.


    Wash wheels and tires, then lowest body panels and then move to the top
    A twist on my approach outlined above for the most anal retentive people would be to,

    1. Wash wheels and tires first
    2. Wash lowest, dirtiest body panels
    3. Change out water and wash mitt and start at the top and work your way down



    By doing step #2 after washing and rinsing the wheels and tires, you've removed and reduced the potential to instill swirls and scratches into the upper body panels with gritty particles from the lower body panels BECAUSE you've removed the gritty dirt particles first.

    This is an extra step that will take more time so use this technique if appeals to you and time is not an issue. It's also a good technique for washing a car with a flawless, show car finish to start with.

    It is important however that after washing the lower panels that you do in fact change out the car wash solution in your bucket and switch to a clean, non-contaminated wash mitt.


    Here's some pictures to show you how to wash a car starting with the wheels and tires first and then moving to the top and working your way down...



    Tools Needed

    GTechniq Gwash Car Wash Soap

    CarPro Wool Wash Mitt

    Detailer's Wheel Cleaner

    CarPro's Iron X Iron Remover

    Dual Bucket Wash System

    Grit Guard Inserts

    Short Handle Tire Brush

    8" Boar's Hair Wheel Brush

    Carrand Lug Nut Brush - Not pictured below


    Optional

    Wash & Rinse Bucket Labels
    Quickly in a visually way, ensures you don't mix up your wash solution with your rinse solution



    Here's my victim car, it's a 2004, low mileage Silver Metallic Honda Accord, probably the only one like it in the world.




    Premium quality car wash soap, GTechniq GWash with a 100% Merino Wool Wash Mitt




    Mixing two cupful of GWash with about 3+ gallons of water. The GWash Car Wash Soap has a pleasant cherry scent, it makes washing your car enjoyable.




    After adding the car wash solution to my water I agitate the water with my fingers spread apart to create piles of rich suds....




    Agitating... see the volume getting higher...




    TTT or To The Top!





    GWash car wash solution and clean rinse water are ready to go...




    I'm washing in the early morning, before the sun gets too hot or the wind kicks up...






    I start with the wheels and tires first...





    I coated these wheels with Meguiar's Hot Rims Brake Dust Barrier back in January and it seems to be doing a good job of preventing brake dust and road grime from accumulating on the wheel.






    These are the factory clear coated rims, likely very rare and hard to find. For this reason I'm going to use a 8" Boars Hair Wheel Brush to ensure I don't scratch the clear coat finish. The green tire brush is for the tires and the wheel wells.






    Wheels and tires are agitated after spraying with the Detailer's Wheel Cleaner, which is non-acid and safe for both wheels and tires. After agitating the rims and tires, rinse well with water.





    Tip from BobbyG
    A while back there was a discussion on the best way to use Iron X there were three camps...

    Camp 1 - Spray Iron X directly onto dry, dirty wheel.
    Camp 2 - Wash wheel and tire, then rinse then spray Iron X onto clean, rinsed wheel.
    Camp 3 - Wash wheel and tire, then rinse, then DRY off water and then spray on Iron X
    I was in Camp 2 because I believed that by removing the road grime, (an oily coating), and the brake dust first, you enable the Iron X to do it's job more effectively to get the most bang for your buck.

    The people in Camp 1 thought the Iron X was too costly to allow to possibly drip off the wheel with the excess water after washing and rinsing first.

    Camp 3
    BobbyG's technique was to simply wash the wheel and tire first, thus removing the oily road grime and brake dust but then pat the wheel dry using a clean utility towel so there would be no excess water to flush the freshly sprayed-on Iron X off the wheel and onto the ground where it's not doing anything for you.

    I agree with BobbyG and wanted to share his tip and give him credit for an incredibly easy tweak to my technique so I can get the best performance out of Iron X and get the most bang for your Iron X bucks...






    Now spray the Iron X onto the wheel to remove any Iron Particles (if any).




    Everyone wants to see the red bleeding effect from the Iron particles being dissolved and in the process turning the water red. Actually, seeing no red water bleeding off the wheel is a good sign because it means your wheels are not contaminated.

    If the wheels are contaminated and they have a clear layer of paint on them, this would mean iron particles had embedded onto and into the clear layer of paint causing corrosion to some degree.

    No color, no corrosion = longer lasting finish on the wheel.





    Continue washing and rinsing the wheels and tires until all four wheels and tires are washed clean and rinsed free from any residual chemicals and dirt.





    Now it's time to wash the car starting at the top and then working your way down...




    Washing the roof and sun roof first...




    Moving quickly,

    • I washed all the horizontal surfaces and the side windows too and then rinsed these sections of paint.
    • Next I washed one side of the car tackling the vertical sides of the fenders and doors. After the sides, I hit the front grill and bumper then rinsed
    • Next I washed the vertical panels on the back of the car including the trunk lid, license plate and bumper.
    • Lastly, I washed the very lowest portions of the vertical panels.






    As you're working around the car, you should be rinsing your mitt in the RINSE bucket to remove dirt particles gathered onto the wash mitt. When you do this suds build up in the RINSE bucket and it can be difficult to tell which bucket is the WASH solution bucket and which bucket is the RINSE bucket. The simple stickers shown on the buckets make it easy to quickly tell which bucket is which.





    Next I gave the car a final rinse and wa la... a squeaky, clean Honda Accord.





    As a good habit, I set my wash buckets on their side and rinse them and any dirt that has built up under the Grit Guard inserts out so the buckets will be clean and ready to use for the next detailing session.







    And there you go... how to do a great job of washing your car, truck, suv intelligently, using the KISS method and at the same time avoiding water spots.




    Mike Phillips
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    Re: How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips

    Another great article Mike.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post
    Iron X = Insurance Policy
    In my opinion, doing an Iron-X treatment to paint that you've never worked on before is a good idea, it's like an insurance policy. You buy insurance to protect ourself but you hope you never need it.

    You use Iron-X JUST IN CASE there's any iron particles in the paint but you actually hope that there's not.

    It's better to use Iron-X and NOT see the spray turn red than it is to see the spray turn read. Think about it, if it turns red that means there was iron particles in the paint, that's a bad thing. If it doesn't, it's whew... I got lucky.
    This makes me feel a little better about the detail I did on my car last week. It hadn't been clayed in over six months and I'd never used an iron decontamination product on it before so I figured I'd use one to get it "extra" clean.

    Well I applied Iron Cut (which is basically the same as Iron-X) according to the directions but I only saw a few purple specks appear at the rear of the car. Since my car is white I was expecting to see a lot more red. At first I though maybe I applied it wrong but I guess it was probably just because my car is well maintained.
    - Len

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    Re: How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips

    After you have washed and dried your car, then inspected it for above surface bonded contaminants and swirls. If your inspection shows that you need to clay the paint and then remove swirls, here are some resources that go through the entire process of detailing your car including how to clay the paint and how to machine polish to remove swirls, create a high gloss and even machine apply the wax.

    My how-to book covers all of this,



    Paperback version or E-book version





    These three DVD's cover every step for detailing your car from top to bottom and inside out.


    Wolfgang Concours Series Instructional How-To DVD



    Pinnacle Complete Car Care System Instructional How-to DVD






    Or watch them online,


    Bruno Massel & Mike Phillips - How to detail your car with Wolfgang Concours-Series



    Matt Steele & Mike Phillips - How To Detail Your Car with Pinnacle Natural Brilliance



    Matt Steele & Mike Phillips - How To Detail Your Car with Pinnacle XMT




    Topical Articles
    And for just about any question you might have, chances are very good I have an article for the topic in my article list.


    Articles by Mike Phillips



    Mike Phillips
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    Re: How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips

    Where can I get that rolling stand with tray!!!! I so need one of those!

  6. #6
    Director of Training Mike.Phillips@Autogeek's Avatar
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    Re: How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by LDM View Post

    Another great article Mike.
    This makes me feel a little better about the detail I did on my car last week. It hadn't been clayed in over six months and I'd never used an iron decontamination product on it before so I figured I'd use one to get it "extra" clean.
    And this is what I meant when I wrote this,

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phillips

    I certainly don't want to scare anyone or make washing and waxing your car any more complicated than it has to be, I'm just trying to lay out ALL the various factors to consider if the car in question is important to you as well as your time and money/investment.

    And the reason I included the above is because for some people their car or one of their cars is they toy or baby if you will in that it's special to them. Maybe it's brand new, maybe it's a restored classic or maybe it cost a lot of money.


    Quote Originally Posted by LDM View Post
    Well I applied Iron Cut (which is basically the same as Iron-X) according to the directions but I only saw a few purple specks appear at the rear of the car. Since my car is white I was expecting to see a lot more red.

    At first I though maybe I applied it wrong but I guess it was probably just because my car is well maintained.

    Exactly my point.

    If you see a lot of red bleeding on the surface the Iron-X was applied to that's actually a bad sign because it means the surface is highly contaminated. It's good of course to remove the contamination but what's better is to see zero or little contamination.


    Glad you enjoyed the article...



    Mike Phillips
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  7. #7
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    Re: How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by 2011Mustang5.0 View Post
    Where can I get that rolling stand with tray!!!! I so need one of those!

    I have an article on that...

    The Cool Detailing Cart in Autogeek's Show Car Garage!


    Blown 1934 Ford Pick-up - Show Car Makeover - Modeled by Kristin




    Mike Phillips
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    Re: How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips


    Awesome! Thanks, Mike!

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    Mike Phillips
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  10. #10
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    Re: How To Detail Your Brand New Car by Mike Phillips

    Great article Mike and appropriate given the number of new car requests I've seen lately....

    BobbyG - 2004 Millennium Yellow Z06 Corvette

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