By request, I have decided to post my detailing guide below in a new thread and make it a sticky.
Hopefully this may prove useful to anyone new to detailing, to give an idea of what you might want to consider in terms of detailing process and products. I will say that I'm a wax user so my choices for paint protection are around that approach, but there are alternatives such as nano or polymer sealants too, whatever your preference should be. And of course this is just my take on it.
Firstly, here's some good detailing product websites to look at:
Below is a list of stuff I think you need to properly maintain a car well, with suggested products.
Lambswool wash mitt - e.g WoWo Lambswool mitts or DoDo Juice Tribble mitt
PH Neutral Shampoo - e.g DoDo Juice Born to be mild or DJ Supernatural shampoo
2/3 x Wash buckets with grit guards (a 3rd for wheels recommended)
Snow foam and lance, and/or Citrus pre-wash - e.g Valet Pro Advanced snow foam, ValetPro Citrus Pre-wash
Wheel mitt and/or wheel brush - e.g WoWo wheel mitt, Wheel Woolies
Wheel Cleaner - e.g. Valet Pro Bilberry used in spray bottle
Microfibre drying towels - e.g WoWo or DoDo Juice MF towels
Interior Cleaner/dressing - e.g Poorboys Natural Look Dressing; Auto Finesse Total Interior Cleaner; Gliptone Leather cleaner and conditioner (if leather)
Microfibre buffing cloths - e.g WoWo MF and glass cloth set; DJ Fantastic Fur buffing MF cloths
Glass cleaner - e.g Gtechniq G6 Perfect Glass
Metal polish for tailpipes - e.g Mother Mag and Aluminium Polish
Tyre dressing - e.g Meguiars Endurance Tyre Gel; Achem Hi Shine Longlife tyre dressing; Gtechniq T1; Gyeon Q2 Tire
Exterior Trim dressing - Auto Finesse Dressle
Wheel sealant - e.g Poorboys Wheel Sealant; Gtechniq G5 or C2v3; Gyeon Q2 RIM
Last stage protection of your choice - sealant, or wax or both (some sealants can do double/triple duty used on paintwork, wheels and glass)
Engine Bay - e.g Aerospace 303
Spray bottles - optional - generic types
Sealant/wax foam applicators - e.g WoWo foam pads
The most important thing is to start off simple and get into a good washing and drying regime first, the rest, such as DA polishing etc can follow. Don't be daunted by the stages, you can do as little or as much as you like and it's worth looking at the guides below for some good tips and techniques.
It is well known that dealerships can sometimes inflict damage to new paintwork during the preparation of a new car. They work to a tight schedule prepping dozens of cars and often don't practice the best prep methods so tgere is a risk that they may swirl or scratch the car in the process. Many people (myself included) now prefer to collect their new cars in an unprepped state and either detail the car themselves or get a pro detailer to do a new car detail. Skipping the dealership preparation ensures the paintwork is in the best possible starting condition.
If the car is being collected in an unprepped state, it may have glue residue following the removal of the transport stickers, so highly advisable to decontaminate the car to rid it of tar/glue residue and any fallout it may well have picked up sitting at the port and on its travels. This of course can be done on any car, new or otherwise, and is something you probably want to do a couple of times a year. Perhaps de-ironing the wheels more frequently, which will build up brake dust over time.
To decontaminate you'll need to use a product like IronX (iron/fallout remover) and Tardis (tar/glue remover). You might wish to think about claying too but this is usually best done only if you are going to polish afterwards and a brand new car really shouldn't need polishing unless the dealer has inflicted swirls during prep (if done by dealer). So maybe start with the decontamination, wash and protect stages, or even just wash, dry and get some protection on it.
If it is a new car, and you are not having the dealer prep it at all, and are intending to detail it yourself, my 'First Detail' thread may help to give some pointers. See posts #1 and #56:
Post #1 Initial prep, wash and decontamination -http://www.vwroc.com/forums/topic/10871-first-detail/
Post#56 Protection - http://www.vwroc.com/forums/topic/10871-first-detail/?p=179271
So a possible initial new car detail (without polishing) might look like this:
Wheels pre wash with wheel cleaner - diluted 1:10 or less as required (in a spray bottle).
Pre wash or Snow foam whole car using lance or cannon (with pressure washer). Leave to dwell for 5 mins whilst filling up buckets
Pressure wash rinse off snow foam
Wash wheels (wheel brush/wheel mitt) use separate bucket to rest of car
2 Bucket wash PH neutral shampoo (with grit guards and lambswool mitt) - wash rest of car - bodywork and glass - starting from top down - roof - upper sections of car first, lower (dirtiest) sections of car last
Pressure wash rinse
Apply iron/fallout remover e.g Iron X
Rinse and dry
Apply tar/glue remover e.g Tardis
2 bucket wash entire car again as before
Pressure wash rinse
Final rinse with open ended hose to reduce standing water to a minimum
Dry - Pat with MF towels
Protection stage - apply base and last stage protections - glaze/sealant/wax - depends on what you decide to use.
External glass clean
â€‹Seal Glass - if desired
Seal wheels - apply wheel sealant
Metal polish tailpipes
Dress exterior trim / engine bay if required
Interior glass clean
The above sounds like a lot of work but this is breaking it down into it's component parts if you like. And you will only really need to do the decontamination phase every few months or when you do a full detail, so the regular routine will become more streamlined. If you get into a good regime/routine it soon becomes second nature and in reality should only take couple hours once you are well practiced.
â€‹Now onto the actual "stuff"........
Everyone has their own favourites but here is a (long, lol) list of stuff I have used. My go-to favourites, products I most use regularly and would happily recommend. Most used products listed in red, with link to websites:
Snow Foam/lance, citrus pre-wash
Valet Pro advanced PH neutral http://www.cleanyour.../prod_1087.html
Snow foam lance http://www.cleanyour...s/prod_371.html
Valet Pro Citrus Pre-wash
DoDo Juice Supernatural shampoo http://www.cleanyour...o/prod_620.html
DoDo Juice Born to be Mild shampoo http://www.cleanyour...o/prod_490.html
Wash mitts and Microfibre cloths and Drying towels :
WoWo lambswool mitts https://wo-wo.myshopify.com/collections/wo-wo-car-detailing-products
WoWo micro fibre and glass cloth set https://wo-wo.myshopify.com/collections/wo-wo-car-detailing-products
DoDo Juice Fantastic Fur buffing cloths http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=948
Auto Finesse wax applicators http://www.cleanyour.../prod_1082.html
WoWo foam applicator pads https://wo-wo.myshopify.com/collections/wo-wo-car-detailing-products
WoWo micro fibre drying towels https://wo-wo.myshopify.com/collections/wo-wo-car-detailing-products
WoWo Wheel drying towel https://wo-wo.myshopify.com/collections/wo-wo-car-detailing-products
DoDo Juice drying towels http://www.cleanyour...l/prod_947.html
Chemical Guys Woolly Mammoth drying towels http://www.cleanyour.../prod_1003.html
Purple Monster edgeless drying towel http://www.cleanyour.../prod_1297.html
Valet Pro Bilberry Wheel cleaner http://www.cleanyour...r/prod_499.html
Hi Shine Long Life Tyre Dressing http://www.achem.co....ls.php?prdID=62
Gtechniq C5 Wheel Armour http://www.cleanyour...r/prod_878.html
Poorboys Wheel Sealant http://www.cleanyour...rod&productId=9
Meguiars Endurance tyre gel http://www.cleanyour...l/prod_103.html
Wheel Woolies http://www.cleanyour...&productId=1037
WoWo Wheel Mitt https://wo-wo.myshopify.com/collections/wo-wo-car-detailing-products
Tardis glue & tar remover http://www.ebay.co.u...ps=true&ff13=80 or Amazon
IronX iron and fallout remover http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=726
WoWo Clay mitt https://wo-wo.myshopify.com/collections/wo-wo-car-detailing-products
Bilt Hamber medium clay http://www.cleanyour...&productId=1163
DJ Born Slippy clay lube http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=594
Gtechniq G6 Perfect Glass http://www.cleanyour.../prod_1295.html
Autoglym Fast Glass (and interior) http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=747
Mothers Mag & aluminium polish for tail pipes http://www.amazon.co...z/dp/B00068GEJM
Chemical Guys Speed Wipe Quick Detailer http://www.cleanyour...e/prod_180.html
Gtechniq panel wipe (for after polishing) http://www.cleanyour...&productId=1260
Auto Finesse Citrus Power bug remover
Spray bottles and spray heads
Aerospace 303 http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=366
Auto Finesse Dressle http://www.cleanyour...&productId=1336
Some of the waxes listed are specifcally suited to a dark car (mine is black), but usually they are also good for red cars. DoDo Juice colour charged waxes are great and there are many available for specific car colours, i.e. Diamond White for light coloured cars; Orange Crush for red cars.
DoDo Juice Blue Velvet Pro wax http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=736
DoDo Juice Purple Haze Pro wax http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=618
â€‹Collinite 915 http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=281
Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=141
DJ Supernatural hybrid http://www.cleanyour...t/prod_887.html
Swissvax Onyx sample pot http://www.theultima...e-pot-50ml.aspx
Swissvax Best of Show sample pot http://www.theultima...e-pot-50ml.aspx
Sealants, Coatings and Glazes:
Nano and polymer sealants/coatings such as Gtechniq, Sonax http://www.cleanyourcar.co.uk/sealants/cat_3.html
Poorboys Ex-P sealant http://www.cleanyour...od&productId=26
Poorboys Black Hole Glaze http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=494
Poorboys White Diamond Glaze http://www.cleanyourcar.co.uk/glazes/poorboys-white-diamond/prod_551.html
DJ Red Mist Tropical Quick Detailer/spray sealant http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=540
Poorboys Natural Look Dressing http://www.cleanyour...d&productId=328
Auto Finesse Total interior cleaner http://www.cleanyour...&productId=1120
Gliptone Leather cleaner + Gliptone Leather conditioner http://www.ebay.co.u...sd=251444414981
Gtechniq L1 leather guard http://www.cleanyour...&productId=1093
In time as you go along you may want to add to your routine. If you want an overview of a complete full-on detailing process, that would include full decontamination and polishing then it would look something like the list below. As said earlier, you shouldnâ€™t need to polish a brand new car, so start with just what is necessary and take it from there. But if your interested in the whole caboodle here it is FYI:
Complete detailing process:
Optional initial light pressure wash (always at a distance and 45° angle to the car)
Wheels pre wash spray with wheel cleaner (and tailpipes)
Pre wash or Snow foam using lance or cannon, can be onto dry car, or lightly moistened car
Snow foam/pre wash dwell for 5-10 mins
Pressure wash rinse
Wash wheels with a dedicated shampoo bucket / wheel mitt / wheel woolies/brush
2 Bucket bodywork wash (with grit guards and wash mitt - no sponges!) work from top down, upper panels, lower panels
Pressure wash rinse
Open ended hose rinse
Dry - MF drying towels to blot dry or air dryer
Decontamination 1 - Iron remover e.g. IronX as per instructions
Pressure wash rinse and dry
Decontamination 2 - Tar remover e.g. Tardis as per instructions
Pressure wash rinse
Decontamination 3 - Clay bar/clay cloth or clay pad + clay lube
Bucket wash again, rinse (final open ended hose rinse) and fully dry
Polish (DA or hand) with cutting/polishing and refining/finishing compounds and pads
IPA/Panel Wipe to remove all polish residue, buff off
Apply protection - glaze/sealant/wax - can be all or just some of these, OR nano/polymer sealant
Apply wheel sealant
External glass clean
Seal Glass - if desired
Metal polish tailpipes
Dress exterior trim if required
Interior clean + vacuum
Interior glass clean
Finally, here's some useful links to methods and techniques
So that's it for starters. When I get time I will add some more tips and guides on things such as washing and drying, decontamination and DA polishing, so this thread is a work in progress....
Here are a few tips I've noted down that I think are useful to those starting out with DA polishing.
Ideally get some practice in on a lesser car or an old panel if you can.
Assess the condition of the paintwork first in good light, so you know what level of correction/swirl removal is required
Prepare the paintwork prior to polishing - tar remover, iron remover, claying etc, to ensure it's free of all bonded contaminants.
Only polish on a perfectly clean car.
Tape up all trim with low tack masking tape.
Polish in good light.
Start with the least abrasive pad and polish combo and step up as necessary. Choose your polish first. Then the lease abrasive pad, if more cut is required step up to the next pad. If a more abrasive polish is required use that again starting with the least abrasive pad.....and so on.
Start with the correction/swirl removal polishing stage first using a cutting/polishing pad then follow with the refining stage using a finishing pad.
Handy tip is to mark the back of the backing plate with a visible felt pen so you can see if it rotating during polishing. Draw a straight line from centre to edge. Some backing plates come pre-marked for convenience.
Moisten the pad before applying the polish
Apply a few dots of polish around the perimeter of the pad and a dot in the middle. Do not saturate the pad with polish. Similarly do not use too little.
Once you've primed the pad with polish make sure you place it on the paintwork before switching on DA, otherwise the polish will fling off everywhere.
Always sling the DA cable over your shoulder otherwise it can drag/trail across the paintwork causing marks (just as you are trying to get rid of them!).
Do a test spot first to see what is required to remove swirls etc.
Take it slowly and work a small area at a time. Split larger panels up into smaller manageable areas, say 1.5' x 1.5' areas.
Correcting stage: Go over each section up to 6 times (passes) with cutting pad, moderate pressure, med speed 4-5, move machine slowly and overlap. Change direction with every pass. After completing a section, wipe down with MF. Move onto the next panel/section.
Move the DA slowly over the area to be polished. Moving it too fast won't be effective. Move the DA across the work area horizontally back and forth, slightly overlapping as do, then move it vertically up/down, again slightly overlapping movements.
Important to use moderate arm pressure - too light and it will have little effect, too much and the pad may stop rotating, you could build up too much heat and may damage your pads and possibly the backing plate.
Important to have sufficient speed, 4-5 on the dial - too low a speed won't achieve anything. Many people start off on too low a speed out of fear.
Refining Stage: Use a finishing compound on a finishing pad. Again, up to 6 passes over each section lower speed and med pressure. Wipe each section/ panel with IPA or panel wipe to remove all polish residue.
At each stage, stop, remove polish residue and inspect at regular intervals to see how you are progressing and what further action is required.
Use a good LED light source to check your progress close up
Clean your pads on the fly. Do not add fresh polish onto a pad with built up polish residue.
Have regular cups of tea, to give your arms a break.
After polishing use a good IPA or Panel Wipe to remove all polish residue before going on to seal/wax the car.
Here's Dave KG's great guide to DA polishing http://www.detailingworld.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=63859
Some great Mike Phillips (formerly of Meguiars) tips and vids here http://www.autogeek.net/dual-action-polisher.html
Cleaning your pads on the fly http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/how-articles/20135-how-clean-your-foam-pad-fly.html