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  1. #1
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    Getting Into the Little Areas

    I'm not sure if this is the proper place to ask, but here goes.

    I've had two cars lately that have been neglected and had lots of crud on them and I've had a very tough time getting into the little nooks and crannies to get them clean. For example, the area above the mid-trim on the doors collects a bunch of gunk, as well as around and in the emblems. I've used the power washer, auto shampoo with a small detailing brush, and even tried jamming a MF towel edge into the area to clean it. I want to clean it without damaging the paint, but it's not budging. I've used Optimum Power Clean and even tried CarPro Eraser without having much luck. I think I might try a small piece of yellow clay but thought I'd ask the experts here before I get in over my head. I also plan to polish the paint and it'll look terrible if I can't get those areas taken care of as well.

    Any ideas how to clean (and correct) those areas without damage?

    Thank you!

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  3. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Into the Little Areas

    Can you share a picture of these areas?

    Easy way too add a picture

    The easy way to share a picture on a forum - Tapatalk App for your cell phone


    But the simple answer- use a Qtip and a cleaner/wax.

    There are large Qtips in the S100 line on the AG store here,

    Perfect for motorcycle and auto detailing! S100 Detailing Swabs go between spokes, seams, crevices, panels and more! car detailing tools, cotton detal


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    Re: Getting Into the Little Areas

    Mike-
    Thank you for the quick reply!
    Here is a picture of the areas of a similar FJ (but the one I'm working on is silver) with the area's outlined. The area around the rear corner window is particular tough to clean because it wraps behind the glass a bit. The paint is heavily contaminated there as well as the area under the rear bumper that you can see but really can't get to (without removing the bumper). Also, the area above the wheel and the body that dips in quite a bit.

    How would you get into those areas to perfect them (and without damaging them)?

    Thanks so much for the assistance!

    Getting Into the Little Areas-fj-jpg

  5. #4
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Into the Little Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Saibot View Post

    Mike-
    Thank you for the quick reply!
    Sometimes just typing on-the-fly while multi-tasking... I saw your post while typing out e-mails and did my best to chime in.




    Quote Originally Posted by Saibot View Post

    Here is a picture of the areas of a similar FJ (but the one I'm working on is silver) with the area's outlined. The area around the rear corner window is particular tough to clean because it wraps behind the glass a bit. The paint is heavily contaminated there as well as the area under the rear bumper that you can see but really can't get to (without removing the bumper). Also, the area above the wheel and the body that dips in quite a bit.

    How would you get into those areas to perfect them (and without damaging them)?

    Thanks so much for the assistance!


    Here's the full size image





    What I normally do is machine buff every vehicle I work on. I only work by hand if I have to. What this means is via the machine buffing process I end up with whatever I'm using, (compound/polish/AIO), in these areas, that is enough splatter or reside gets into these area that there's enough to "work".

    Then I take a thin, microfiber towel, scrunch it into the tight area and rub the splatter residue out.

    Whatever I get - I get.

    Whatever I don't get - I usually move on.

    I don't major on the minors. I major on the majors. By this I mean, if I were to buff out your FJ, when you stand back about 5-10 feet and look at it in full sun, the panels are going to look GREAT.

    I call this Big Picture Detailing.

    I would go nuts trying to do what I call Perfectionist Detailing. I'll leave that for the AR guys and there are plenty of them.


    Hope I don't disappoint you but I'm a realist and pragmatist, not the OCD type that others are afflicted with.



    Mike Phillips
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  7. #5
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Into the Little Areas

    I have 2 articles on what I call perfectionist detailing....

    Perfectionist Detailing #1 - Compounding & Polishing right up to an edge

    Perfectionist Detailing #2 - Sanding right up to an edge


    I usually share the titles of the above two articles in my detailing classes because this type of topic comes up, that is how to get into tight places.

    I tell my students, if it's your car and you have all the time in the world - go for it.

    If you're doing this for money, you end up making 10 cents an hour trying to do perfectionist detailing, that's why I practice and preach Big Picture detailing.

    Now if someone wants to pay be by the hour a $100.00 per hour to do perfectionist detailing - I'm all in. I hope it's a School Bus.


    Consider getting the swabs I shared or using Qtips from around your house and see if that gets it.


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    Re: Getting Into the Little Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phillips View Post



    Now if someone wants to pay be by the hour a $100.00 per hour to do perfectionist detailing - I'm all in. I hope it's a School Bus.





    It is no coincidence that man's best friend cannot talk.

  10. #7
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    Re: Getting Into the Little Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Saibot View Post
    Mike-
    Thank you for the quick reply!
    Here is a picture of the areas of a similar FJ (but the one I'm working on is silver) with the area's outlined. The area around the rear corner window is particular tough to clean because it wraps behind the glass a bit. The paint is heavily contaminated there as well as the area under the rear bumper that you can see but really can't get to (without removing the bumper). Also, the area above the wheel and the body that dips in quite a bit.

    How would you get into those areas to perfect them (and without damaging them)?

    Thanks so much for the assistance!

    Getting Into the Little Areas-fj-jpg
    If mean to clean these areas before you are polishing?

    Famous Detailing Brush and a good APC and a thorough rinse will usually get it good. If you are gentle and let the brush do it's work it's also safe. If you have a PW you can get the most dirt off these places if you pretreat with a APC or a degreaser for paint. Just find a safe distance from the nozzle tip to the crevices and you get a lot of the heavy cleaning done. Then go in with more APC and brushes. You can finish with trying to get in there with a mf towel soaked in car soap solution or just get the car soap solution in there and rinse thoroughly.

    Famous Detailing Brush

    A quality brush with a great length of the bristles is the Wheel Woolies Boar's Hair Detailing Brush. Little expensive but it's a very high quality and safe on the paint.

    Wheel Woolies Boar?s Hair Detail Brush 1 inch

    / Tony

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    Re: Getting Into the Little Areas

    I do a combination of what Mike and SWETM have suggested. For the area around the windows I'll spray some QD or a WW on a MF towel and then jam it in the edge to clean out those areas, but I don't spend a lot of time on them. For the Toyota logos, which are not easy to clean, I'll use a detailing brush I've soaked in my wash bucket. There is nothing worse than a clean car with obvious grime inside the voids of a manufacturer logo.
    Drop by to see the latest at The Car Geek Blog

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  14. #9
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Getting Into the Little Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by SWETM View Post

    If mean to clean these areas before you are polishing?

    Famous Detailing Brush and a good APC and a thorough rinse will usually get it good.
    .

    Famous Detailing Brush

    A quality brush with a great length of the bristles is the Wheel Woolies Boar's Hair Detailing Brush. Little expensive but it's a very high quality and safe on the paint.

    Wheel Woolies Boar?s Hair Detail Brush 1 inch

    / Tony

    While I don't do this type of cleaning when I wash cars, I do agree with Tony that it is a safe approach. You need to take your time and let the APC do it's thing and also take your time agitating with the brush.

    This is also the technique recognized by the IDA as the correct way to remove stubborn dirt and road grime out of hard to reach areas.

    When I give the Skill Validation Test to detailers, most miss this question. I missed it to when I took the test because it's not my normal practice or "style" but that's because in part I'm lazy and as described above, I'm a Big Picture Detailer, not a person that focuses on the minutia.


    And - those two brushes are worth their weight in gold.

    I posted this to my FB last weekend.

    Mike Phillips - In case you haven’t had your fill of... | Facebook







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  16. #10
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    Re: Getting Into the Little Areas

    Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my question!
    For what it's worth, when I washed the FJ, I did use that exact brush (The Wheel Woolies 1" Detail Brush). I love that thing! It was the only way to get the roof through the rack and the small areas in rocker panels.
    Unfortunately, the grime around/in the emblem and in those tight areas didn't budge. After reading all of the great responses to my question, I think I likely needed to use a stronger APC in those areas and let it dwell longer. I'm likely too skittish that I'll damage the paint and not working it aggressively enough. The soapy MF towel jammed in the areas around the window is a great idea as well!

    Thanks again for the great advice and links!

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