Lexus IS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 77 Posts

Class III Aficionado
21,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Detailing 101

The Ultimate Guide to Show Prep and Detailing (Collaboration of Guitarman – Club Lexus and CarbonGS)

Let it be known that I did not write this whole thing! I simply took the guide that I used and made it a little better!

What sets apart a mediocre show presence from a jaw-dropping display which wows all who see it? Lighting? Trophies? What makes a car really “pop”? It is true that it is all items working together, but the quality of the detailing is imperative. Having an impeccable car is a mod in and of itself. Prepare to embark on a journey which, upon completion, will leave you exhausted yet strangely content. Your car will beam in all aspects and heads will turn in marvel as you drive down the street. Welcome to the world of detailing.

It is understood that many of the people on this site have cars in which the emphasis is on performance. Point taken! A very meticulously detailed vehicle will hold its value longer than one that is not taken care of. Brake dust, acid rain, water spots, oxidation, paint burns, and more; all of these can literally eat away at your ride and slowly kill it.

Now not everyone is going to need to take every step involved in this process but you can determine what you will need to do and what you won’t need to do. As for me, I go through this process three times a year. Once after Spring and before Summer, once after Summer and before Fall, and once after Fall before Winter. I don’t mess with Winter to Spring because the car is usually up on jack stands and is being worked on or upgraded for the next show season.

**This altogether will take quite a long time, so be sure to set apart 1 ½- 2 days for the whole job**


Zaino Z1(or ZFX) - Flash Cure Accelerator Additive

Zaino Z2 - PRO Show Car Polish for Clear Coated Car Finishes

Zaino Z3 – Show Car Polish for Regular Paints

Zaino Z5

Zaino Z6

Meguiar’s #2 Fine-cut Cleaner

Meguiar’s #1 Medium-cut Cleaner

Meguiar’s #7 Show Car Glaze

Meguiar’s Show Car Wax (liquid)

Meguiar’s Ultimate Detailer

Meguiar’s Soft-Buff Pads:




Meguiar’s Claybar Kit

Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

California Water Blade

The Absorber

Meguair’s Water Magnet

Porter Cable 7424 buffer

Step 1:

It is important to begin with a clean slate when beginning a major paint overhaul. Begin by washing the car with Dawn dishwashing soap. I know this sounds like a detailing sin, but Dawn is perfect for stripping old buildup and leaving the paint clean and ready for the rest of the process. DO NOT make a habit of washing the car with Dawn, however. After washing the car, dry thoroughly with the California Water Blade and Absorber. Be careful to keep the blade clean as any particles can scratch the paint.

Step 2:

Now that the surface is fairly clean, it is time to further remove shine-blocking surface contaminants. A clay-bar is the best way to further remove harmful particles that inhibit shine and damage paint. It isn’t necessary or advised that you use one every time you clean your car, however I recommend use every 3-4 months depending on your location and the environments car is usually in. However, for show preparation purposes a clay-bar is an excellent way to acquire an extra-deep shine. Set aside approximately 1 ½ hours for this step. It is a good idea to wear a pair of surgical gloves while using the clay-bar. They are helpful in keeping a good grip on it and blocking oils and other impurities from your hands. Fingerprints add oils to the clay and any small particles from dirty hands may cause scratches to the paint. Clay-bar kits usually come with a bottle of Quick Detailer, or a generic version of it, to use as lube. You can also use a mixture of car wash concentrate (Meguiar’s Gold Class or Zaino Z7) and water. Be sure to keep the surface wet with this while using the clay-bar. Spray a small area (1-2 sq. ft) and rub clay over paint until it feels smoother and there is less friction. You will be able to tell by touch. When the bottom of the clay begins to turn black, knead it into a ball and re-flatten. Continue like this with the rest of the car. Be careful not to drop the clay-bar as once you have anything on the surface of the clay-bar it is as good as trash. No saving it unless you tear off the parts that are dirty.

Step 3:

It is now time to re-wash the car. This time you will use a car wash concentrate. Re-washing will yet further remove contaminants loosened by the claybar and give a final squeaky-clean surface on which you will begin to repair the paint.

Step 4:

It’s time to begin buffing. First off is buffer choice. There are many options out there, from cheap Wax-master units available at Wal-Mart to professional rotary buffers. Unless you are a professional, DO NOT buy a rotary buffer. Instead, use a random orbital unit, or a “civilian” buffer. I do not advise buying a cheap unit, they will not last and do not provide the same results. They are also more likely to CAUSE additional damage. Instead, it is better to invest in a quality unit. The best I have found is the Porter Cable 7424. Doubling as a grinder/sander, this buffer is virtually “idiot-proof” and will give results unattainable by hand. It also has variable speeds, a useful feature in a buffer. With this unit, I recommend Meguiar’s Soft-Buff foam pads. The designated pad will be mentioned for each step.

When removing scratches, you will always start with the lowest intensity products first and work your way up. In this case, you are going to begin with Meguiar’s #2 Fine-cut Cleaner (first with a normal polishing pad, then with a foam cutting pad) and, only if needed, #1 Medium-cut Cleaner (polishing pad, then foam cutting pad). Your buffer will also be set to 5000-5200 rpm during this step. Before you begin, take a look at the paint in direct sunlight. Sunlight is the best way to evaluate the extent of your paint damage or if you are indoors use fluorescent lighting. If you have a work light tripod with you this is best. You can put the light up close on the paint and any scratches should reveal themselves. Just by knowing what you are dealing with may allow you to predetermine your pad choice. As a rule of thumb, sunlight shows big swirls and scratches, and fluorescent light shows smaller ones. Thus, it is a good idea to back the car in and out of the garage periodically to check your progress. To begin, you are going to spatter a SMALL amount of the cleaner onto a reasonable fraction of the car (i.e. the hood, then door panels, then rear section, etc.). You will continue to work it into the paint until you can no longer see it. To achieve optimum results, work from front to back on flat surfaces, and vertically on side panels. This will enhance the optical quality of your paint and make all angles more vibrant when you are finished. Continue like this until you have covered the whole car. Then mist and wipe the car with Meguiar’s Ultimate Detailer. This will remove any dust that has collected and help enhance the shine. I recommend that you use quality, 100% cotton diaper rags or Meguiar’s Micro-fiber Towels to wipe the car. This step may require anywhere from one to four applications to remove all the scratches.

Step 4:

Zaino vs. Meguiars

From here you can take one of two different paths, Zaino or Meguiar’s. Both are excellent products and will yield amazing results, but I have found that Zaino polishes are optically superior to Meguiar’s. The major difference is longevity. The Zaino finish lasts longer than Meguiar’s, is easier to maintain, and isn’t greasy. The benefit of Meguiar’s, though, is price. Zaino polishes cost $12.99-$16.99 per 8oz. bottle while Meguiar’s #7 polish is $8.99 per 16oz. bottle. So you can obviously see the added expense. But, if you are after optimum results and price isn’t as much of an object, Zaino is the way to go. I will still, however, include Meguiar’s application instructions immediately under the Zaino instructions because they have always taken care of me as a sponsored car.


Zaino products work and are applied differently than Meguiar’s. The main difference is the longer curing time. Each coat of Zaino must cure for 12-24 hours. Thankfully, the makers of Zaino have developed a compound which drastically decreases curing time. ZFX, the compound in question, is mixed with Z2, Z3, or Z5 and allows multiple coats to be applied in a day. Please note that use of ZFX compound takes away the need for Z1 Polish.

You will begin by applying Z5, a scratch-masking polish. If you plan on using a ZFX enhanced version of this polish, you will add 4-5 drops of ZFX to an ounce of polish. Apply this by hand with a Zaino polish applicator once again following the front to back and vertical technique mentioned earlier. Let this dry for 30 minutes. During this time you can work on detailing another aspect of the car. After Z5 has dried, you will remove it with a large, white, 100% cotton towel. Be sure not to skip little noticed, but still necessary areas such as door sills, trunk and hood lines, and the fuel door. After all, this is detailing. Don’t skip details! After completely removing the polish, mist and wipe the car with Z6 Gloss Enhancer. Although seemingly unnecessary, it really does help to deepen the overall shine. Depending on how many small scratches are left, you may want to repeat this process a few more times. With each application you will notice the scratches and swirls beginning to lessen, however there shouldn’t be many left after use of the paint cleaner.

Now that your paint is close to perfect it is time to develop the shine. At this time your paint is looking pretty good and you may be tempted to stop, however your shine has only begun to show itself. It is time to begin with Z2 or Z3. If your paint is clear coated, you will continue with Z2, if not you will use Z3. Once again, if you are using ZFX enhanced versions of these products you will add 4-5 drops per ounce of polish. This polish will be applied exactly like Z5, following the front to back and vertical pattern. Let this too dry for 30 minutes before removing. Remove this too with a large, soft, 100% cotton towel. Also mist and wipe the car with Z6 Gloss Enhancer between coats. With each additional coat you will notice the shine becoming deeper and clearer. If you have a rich, darker color (like black or red) this step is a must and you may want to apply as many as four coats. Lighter colors (like white or silver) can usually get away with one to two coats. Z2 has a high quality sealer and needs not be topped with anything else.

**Note: You can switch off between coats of Z2/Z3 and Z5, however you should always have Z2/Z3 as a final quote as they have higher optical quality.**


If you decide to go the Meguiar’s route you will continue now with Meguiar’s #7 Show Car Glaze. This product isn’t actually a glaze, but rather a pure polish. Polishes have been known to be the real “character-builders” in the paint preparation process. Polishes bring out the deep, clear shine in your paint by feeding it with the oils it so desperately needs. Please note that you CAN use pure polish on new paint. It is non-abrasive and 100% safe. When using #7, take care not to apply too much at a time. When it comes to polish, less is always more. It is far better to apply several thin coats than gobbing on one thick coat. If you notice little specks starting to develop, don’t worry. You need only to keep working them out with your buffer. To begin application, you will spatter a few small dots of polish onto a fraction of the car as you did with the paint cleaner. With your buffer set to 5000-5200 rpm and using a polishing pad, work the polish into the paint until you can no longer see it. Then wipe down the excess with a clean, 100% cotton diaper rag. You will then mist and wipe the car with Quick Detailer. You will continue in this manner for a total of 2-3 coats. You will notice the shine becoming deeper and clearer with each application.

**Note: Due to the greasy nature of the Meguiar’s products, you may wish to let the polish cure for an hour or more before continuing. If you are short on time, it is okay to continue immediately**

Now that your paint is blemish-free (or pretty close), it is time to seal in all the oils you have just fed your paint. Wax is the sealer. Although there are many supporters of carnauba waxes, I prefer Meguiar’s NXT Generation Tech liquid wax. It is easier to apply and is more reflective. This is applied in the same manner as the paint cleaner and polish were, following the front to back and vertical pattern. With your buffer set to 5000-5200 rpm, you will use a polishing pad for this step. As before, work wax into paint until almost unnoticeable. Then, remove with a clean, 100% cotton diaper rag or Meguiar’s Micro-fiber Towels. Be sure to mist and wipe the car with Ultimate Detailer in between coats. I do not condone multiple coats of wax in rapid succession. This will actually KILL a little of your difficultly-earned shine. Instead, allow each coat of wax to cure for a few hours before apply additional coats.

You will now go over the car with the finishing pad. This pad is good for removing any remaining wax residue and developing that little extra shine. Simply work your way around the car quickly with your buffer set to around 5800rpm.

Congratulations! You have now finished bringing your paint up to “Spiffy” specifications. But don’t start resting yet. There is still the interior and other detailing Necessities that are left to be done

Interior -


Meguiar’s #39 Heavy-Duty Vinyl Cleaner

Meguiar’s #40 Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner/Conditioner

Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Carpet Cleaner

Meguiar’s Gold Class Leather Conditioner

Armorall Leather Care

Rain X Anti-Fog Wipes

Can Vacuum w/ hose and 2 attachments

Many people overlook the interior of their vehicle. After all, no one else see the inside. Why bother? You should bother because YOU spend your time inside the vehicle. The interior is your connection to the car and thus to the world you drive in. It is also a determining factor in the show arena, especially if interior modifications are part of your presentation. This being said, let’s begin.

Step 1:

You should always start by “dejunking” the car. By this I mean removing everything that isn’t part of the car. It is far easier to detail the interior when there are no McDonald’s cups or Taco Bell wrappers in the way.

Step 2:

You now need to vacuum the interior thoroughly. I recommend a small, but powerful vacuum with a flexible hose and a slash-cut wand and a fuzzy attachment. While vacuuming, be sure to pay attention to details. Don’t overlook areas such as: under the seats, door handles, door pockets, glove boxes, cup holders, crevices in seats, and the trunk. It is the little things like this that set a detailed car apart.

Step 3:

As it is always advised to do your dirty work before your beautifying, it is now time to remove any stains that may be present in your carpets. Up until now I have attained good results using a Bissel Little Green, however, due to constant problems with the quality of Bissel’s machines I am currently looking for a new brand of machine.

Stain removal is fairly straightforward. When using a deep cleaning machine, you will follow the same instructions as you would use in home. Pre-soak the surface with the cleaning solution and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Now that the stain has had time to be released from the surface, you will now vacuum it out using your deep cleaning machine. It may be necessary to repeat this process with stubborn stains.
In addition to the use of machinery, there are also several hand-applied stain removers that are designed especially for automotive use. Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Carpet & Interior Cleaner is a good product. I would recommend trying this before buying a deep cleaning machine. Also, a quick misting of Fabreeze can also help to remove any trapped smells.

Step 4:

**Note: This step is only necessary if you have stains or discoloration on your interior plastics.**

To remove grime and thoroughly clean interior plastics, I recommend Meguiar’s #39 Heavy-duty Vinyl Cleaner. It will remove tough stains in plastics. Simply spray surface and wipe/scrub lightly with a double-sided sponge. Then dry as you go with a clean cloth or towel. Follow this with Meguiar’s #40 Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner/Conditioner applying as before. Be sure not to skip ash trays, cup holders, storage bins, or any little nook that your car may have. There is no excuse not to pay attention to detail!

Step 5:

You can’t forget the windows. The reason you are doing these next is that any of the products before would have messed them up, and cleaning the windows may mess up the following steps if they came first. For interior glass, I actually recommend Rain X Anti-Fog wipes. They are ammonia-free, and thus safe on interior tinting. They also do help prevent fogging. One wipe is good for all interior glass on an average car. You will first wipe down the glass thoroughly, being careful to get in deep cracks. Also, don’t forget to get the top portion of the window which often gets overlooked when the window is completely closed. Details! Next, buff out window with a clean, 100% cotton cloth or towel until glass is perfectly clear and the haze is gone.

Step 6:

. Now that all the ““ugly”” work is done, it is time to start beautifying your now sterile interior. Another common myth about car cleaning is that Armorall is a miracle liquid. It is actually one of the worst products to use on your interior, especially the dashboard. I recommend that you use Armorall only on wheel well plastics and on plastics in the engine bay. This being said, I would suggest that instead you would use a leather conditioner. Leather conditioners are also good for use on vinyl. The two products that I prefer and recommend most are Meguiar’s Gold Class Leather Conditioner and Armorall Leather Care. They both result in similar suppleness, with the exception that the Armorall product provides a slightly shinier appearance, which is why some prefer to use it on dark-colored leather. The Meguiar’s conditioner, however, provides slightly better moisturizing. Choose a product based upon the criteria of your needs. Apply either of these products with a soft cloth, a little at a time, and rub into the surface until fully absorbed.

Step 7:
Now that all steps have been completed, do a look-through of the car, taking notice of anything you might have missed. Then, re-vacuum the carpet to remove any particles of cloth that might have come off during the leather conditioning process.

Engine Bay:

Simple Green

Meguiar’s Extra All-purpose Cleaner/Degreaser

Several plastic bags

Meguiars Gold Class Vinyl/Rubber Protectant

A medium-sized paint brush

2-3 toothbrushes

One of the most often forgotten and ignored aspects of detailing is the engine bay. It is, for most people, the least seen and of last importance. However, being key in the show arena, having a clean engine bay is essential. It is also great too if you have a high performance engine and are constantly having to “pop” the hood to show admiring spectators and friends. It gives you that extra DAYUM factor!

**Note: If your engine is exceptionably dirty, it may be necessary to take it to have it professionally steam cleaned to remove caked and burnt-on grime.**

Step 1:

Before any true detailing can be done, the metals of your engine may need to be degreased. For this, I recommend either Meguiar’s Extra All-purpose Cleaner or a high concentration of Simple Green. Both products do a great job of cutting grease. First, cover the alternator, ECU, battery, and ignition with plastic bags. Then, with a warm engine (not hot) spray on the degreaser and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Scrub, if necessary, with a medium-sized paint brush or toothbrushes. Then, rinse with a slow stream of water. You may need to repeat this step. A paintbrush can actually be a helpful tool in cleaning the engine. Dry the engine bay with a few old rags.

Step 2:

It is now time to begin detailing the engine. Believe it or not, glass cleaner works well for shining up engine metals. If you have polished engine parts, Meguiar’s Gold Class All Metal Restorer is a good product. If you have chrome parts, you will want to clean them with Mothers Chrome Polish. Painted parts need only be misted and wiped with Quick Detailer. As for plastics and rubber hoses, either Armorall or Meguiar’s Gold Class Vinyl/ Rubber Protectant (Meguiar’s obviously being the superior product, but Armorall still get’s the job done).

When working in the engine bay, be sure not to overlook details such as hoses, wiring, and turbo piping or intercoolers (if applicable). Also, look up. The underside of the hood is another commonly forgotten thing. Clean the lip of the hood with Quick Detailer, being careful to clean inside the hood latch and hinges. Once again, details!

Wheels, Tires, and Other Details:


Meguiar’s #36 Professional Wheel Cleaner

Meguiar’s Gold Class All Metal Restorer

Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel

Meguiar’s Gold Class Vinyl/Rubber Protectant

Armorall Rubber Protectant

Meguiar’s PlastX

Meguiar’s #18 Clear Plastic Detailer (you can also use this on old CDs or DVDs that have been scratched or dulled. This will bring them back!

Mothers Chrome Polish

Rain X Windshield Treatment



Wheels are fairly easy to care for once you know a little more about them. Before beginning, try to learn whether or not your wheels are clear coated, polished, chrome, painted, etc... Knowing this will help in product selection. You will begin by spraying them with Meguiar’s #36 Professional Wheel Cleaner. It is a non-acidic product which quickly loosens road grime and brake dust. Be sure to get the brake rotors and calipers while you’re at it. After letting it sit for about 2 minutes, you will rinse the rim surface with a steady stream of water. A second application may be necessary. Now, if your wheels are polished or chrome you will polish them with Meguiar’s Gold Class All Metal Restorer or Mothers Chrome Polish. respectively. For either product, apply with a soft, 100% cotton cloth or towel and allow to dry to a haze. Then, with a clean cloth or towel, wipe away residue to discover a highly reflective shine. If your wheels are clear coated or painted, you need only to dry them after use of #36.


Provided that tires have already been washed (done while initially washing the car), you need only to dress them. I highly recommend Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss. It is virtually waterproof, lasts longer than any other product I have used, and looks great. Simply apply a small dab to a sponge and wipe on.


Wheel Wells:

Wheel wells are entirely important. They are usually a way to tell if the person who cleaned the car cared about what he was doing. To clean them, first spray inside the wheel well liberally with Meguiar’s Extra or the aforementioned mixture of Simple Green. Allow to penetrate for a few minutes and rinse with a stream of water. Then dress with either Armorall or Meguiar’s Gold Class Vinyl/Rubber Protectant. This will leave the inside of the wheel well looking clean and dark black.

Exterior Glass:

Exterior glass is another easy, but still essential part of detailing. Begin by misting with Windex. Then buff away the haze with a clean cloth or towel. If you like, you can treat your windshield with Rain X. Doing this will cause water to bead up and keep your windshield looking good longer. Simply apply with a cloth or towel and allow hazing. When white, buff out with a new, clean cloth or towel.

Headlight/ Taillight Lenses:

It may also be a necessary to polish the lenses of the headlights and taillights. For this, I recommend Meguiar’s PlastX. It cleans and polishes clear plastic and acrylic surfaces and removes oxidation and road grime. To use, wipe lens with a clean cloth or towel and a small dab of product. Wipe for 30 seconds and leave to haze. Then, wipe clear with another part of the cloth. Follow this with Meguiar’s Clear Plastic Detailer. Apply this similarly, letting dry to a haze and buffing out with a clean cloth. This process will make your lenses shine resiliently.

Mufflers/Intercoolers/Turbo Piping/Exhaust Tips:

Mufflers, intercoolers, turbo piping, and exhaust tips are all fairly easy and similar to clean. The only exception being that turbo piping and intercoolers are harder to reach. Cleaning them is only a matter of applying Meguiar’s Gold Class All Metal Restorer and allowing to dry to a haze. Then remove with a clean cloth or towel to achieve a highly-reflective shine.

Thus ends our detailing journey. By now, you have probably discovered that there is a lot more work involved in detailing than you may have originally thought. Personal detailing is also quite an investment. Some of you may not be ready, willing, or just don’t have the time to take up such a time-intensive endeavor. For you, finding a detailer may a more logical choice. Fortunately for you, you now have to tools to interview and decide on a detailer. Always talk to him/her first. Get to know their methods and techniques. Become familiar with their products. In doing so, you have a better idea of how your vehicle, one of your major investments in life, is being cared for.

So, I hope you are now equipped to take the show scene by storm and look good doing it. And if not, you will at least look good. Congratulations, you are now “Spiffy”!

Jeron Kerridge Edited and Refined by Tony Nguyen


This is a VERY basic list of detailing product/tool definitions. I will add more to it on a regular basis
The amount of products and tools on the retail shelves can be intimidating and confusing for some, so let’s see if we can sort them out. I purposely decided to keep these definitions short and sweet, so as not to further complicate things. First, some DEFINITIONS;

CLAY BARS; Clay removes “bonded contaminants”, the microscopic debris such as sap, paint overspray, bug remains, rail dust etc. that collects and sticks to your finish that washing can’t remove. If your paint feels rough to touch or ‘bumpy’ and not smooth as glass, you need to clay.

PAINT CLEANERS. Paint cleaners are polishes with a high solvent content, as well as fine abrasives. The solvents in them do a good job of CHEMICALLY cleaning the paint. These are essentially an alternative to strict abrasive polishes.

POLISH;Technically, a polish is any abrasive intended to solve a particular paint issue. Polishes fall into many varying grits, from very fine to heavy. Polishes (in the true sense ) contain NO wax or sealant.

Here are some polish types;

Glazes; A very fine polish with oils and fillers designed to heighten gloss and hide swirls. Water will rinse these away fast, so you’ll need to reapply after heavy rain or washing the car.

Swirl Removers; Fine abrasives intended to level swirls . Every brand is of a slightly different, varying abrasiveness.Some swirl removers contain fillers, which hide swirls.

Scratch Remover; Just another name for a medium to heavy grit abrasive polish that will “cut” paint enough to remove the scratch (if possible).

Rubbing Compounds: A heavier grit polish with a larger particle size abrasive. Their goal is to quickly remove paint, but in doing so they often leave a haze (from the heavy particle size) which must be removed by a finer polish. Whenever you use a rubbing compound, you must follow it with a finer polish to achieve ultimate clarity in the paint.

WET SANDPAPER. This is something generally used by professionals and takes a bit of practice. By using wet sandpaper, you can remove scratches, excessive orange peel or runs from a repaint, overspray, acid etchings etc. Sold in grits from extra fine (2000 and +) to coarse (180 grit). A "sanding block" is used in conjunction with wetsandpaper, sold in rubber or foam. They allow the paper to cut evenly while giving even pressure across the paper's surface.

Automotive WAX is a combination of natural and synthetic ingredients, even if it says “100 % carnauba”. They just mean that they wax in it is all carnauba, not that carnauba is the only thing in the product. There are many synthetic chemicals that allow the carnauba to stay soft, allow it to “skin”, make it spreadable etc. Some products that are labeled “wax” also contain some polymer content. These are referred to as “hybrids” or a combination of natural and synthetic waxes. Wax bonds to the paint PHYSICALLY and that bond is easily broken with anything of a highly alkaline or acid base, as well as abrasives.


In essence-synthetic wax. No natural wax in the product. Polymers bond to the paint CHEMICALLY and are tougher to remove than wax based products, which is one reason they're more durable vs wax based. Abrasives will also remove polymer sealants, as will isopropyl alcohol.


Rotary Buffer: Machine that spins in a strict circular motion, focusing friction and thus heat on one point. The heat focused on a central point allows to paint to be softened and the polish/compound to be broken down easy, resulting in fast paint removal. The choice of professionals, it can result in paint damage if used improperly.

Random Orbit Polisher; This tool rotates in a concentric orbit, much like a sped up version of the human hand, and thus doesn’t generate enough heat on one point to damage paint. Ideal for applying liquid wax and fine abrasives, but not effective on severe paint issues.

Buffing pads; Pads can be made of 1) natural lamb's wool 2). A combination of natural wool and synthetic materials, or 3). Synthetic foam. The natural wool and synthetic combination pads are called "blended" pads. Foam pads are made in various densities, with cellular "pores" and density defining how they cut paint. Wool pads don't generate as much heat as foam pads, but they are prone to swirling paint. Foam pads run hotter at a given RPM, but they are less prone to swirling.marrring, and come in densities to meet every need, i.e. Cutting, polishing, finishing etc.

Spur; A spur is a metal tool that is used to remove compound and polish build up on a pad, Once the pad becomes loaded up with polish, it becomes less and less effective, so "spurring" the pad is necessary a few times during buffing. To do this, you hold the machine against your knee or lap, pad side down, and trigger the throttle button on and off while holding the spurring tool against the pad and moving the tool back and forth over the pad. This dislodges the caked up compound from the pad. This only works on wool type pads, not foam. A Phillips head screwdriver will substitute for a pad spurring tool in a pinch. On foam, you spur the pad by using a stiff nylon brush (a toothbrush will work) in the same way.

Some common detailing issues

TIRE BROWNING; Tire browning" is a normal condition engineered into tires. Tires contain compounds called "antiozonants" that are like micro-wax, and they are engineered to migrate out to the sidewall of the tire when flexing occurs. When they hit the air and moisture (humid climates see more browning for this reason), the compounds turn a brownish color. This is actually normal, but the degree of it will vary from tire manufacturer to manufacturer. It's better to cover it up with a product that makes the tires black than to strip it all off. You also shouldn't use a tire dressing with dimethyl silicone oils (like the old version of Armor-All) because they eat away the antiozoanants, resulting in graying tires and cracking.

This whole process is referred to as "blooming", and if you clean the tire with a harsh cleaner, it can essentially force the tire additives to the surface, and the chemical reaction is shown by the brownish foam that forms on the tires when they're wet.
It cleans so well it that when you repeat this cleaning scenario over and over, it depletes the antiozonants (there's only so much in there) and you wind up having none left, which in turn leads to the graying from the eventual depletion of the carbon black (called "competitive absorbers" ) that all manufacturers use to color their tires and protect from UV. Not to mention the good possibility of dried out rubber. Which is why you should use a protectant that contains anti-ozonants in it, to put back in what you take out from using harsh cleaners.

In a nutshell, browning is ugly yes, but normal. Better to cover it with a quality tire dressing (preferably one that contains anti-ozonants) that makes the tire look blacker. You just but don't want to strip it with cleaners that contain hydroflouric or phosphoric acids (aka Bleech White) or strong alkaline cleaners like Simple Green etc. A good car wash soap and brush, plus a high end rubber protectant are the get the longest life (and best appearance) from the tire. .

Good Luck and Happy Cleaning!

1,142 Posts
what # setting is the 5000-5200 rpm on the PC 7424?

5,207 Posts
great find, very interesting read.


2,183 Posts
The absorber slightly takes off wax (i only use it if im about to detail like in this thread) but if I were to just wash my car I use a guzzler. It leaves no water AT ALL and you never have to squeeze it out. It can be found here
The Ultimate Guzzler Waffle Weave Microfiber Drying Towel by Cobra is a large drying towel for big SUVs, trucks and vans! Towel-dry your vehicle with

Also when washing the car there should always be 2 buckets.
1 with the soap & a grit if you can
and 1 with a grit at the bottom (use this after wiping the car down everytime and rub the sponge/mitt in the bottom of the bucket to take off residue from the car.

The Grit GuardRed, Black, Yellow,Blue
but good tutorial!


665 Posts
das good shit there!!!

good job +rep

10,782 Posts
I was about to ask this, but I decided to SEARCH first. ;)
Thanks. Just what I was looking for. You said Armorall is bad, then why are you using it?
+reppage for bringing it to the MY.IS forum :p

Class III Aficionado
21,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
The leather care they offer is fine. Its the other crap they carry that isnt.

5,684 Posts
This is a great thread Allen. I am gonna go ahead and park it for future reference of all.

Anyone that has their own products and techniques they like to use please feel free to add to this content.


5,207 Posts
added to the FAQ as well.
1 - 20 of 77 Posts