Detailing Your Vehicle

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Tideland Prius, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

    Oct 17, 2010
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    2010 Prius
    Yeah but he's the President of Canada.
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  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    2018 Prius Prime
    lol. No. I had to earn my badge :)
    bisco likes this.
  3. ih8spm

    ih8spm Junior Member

    Jul 27, 2017
    New York
    2006 Prius
    Before and after. I used regular car wash soap with a hose hook up and a light duty electric power washer. Scrubbed a few area with medium stiffness brush and rinsed. Used my wet vac to remove some water and into the open sun to dry. The backing insulation was also rinsed with the soap but not with power washer. Vacuumed off the excess water and let dry as I rotated it every two hours.

    On a side note this was a junkyard pull as the one in the car was.......... No words can describe it.
    SM-G935P ?
  4. ih8spm

    ih8spm Junior Member

    Jul 27, 2017
    New York
    2006 Prius
    Just realized I didnt post the after pictures.. [​IMG][​IMG]

    SM-G935P ?
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  5. Coopers ST

    Coopers ST Junior Member

    Aug 21, 2017
    2009 Prius
    As a detailer I must say, this thread is getting out dated. Products have come very far in the last even year. From spray on stuff you put on a clean wet car then dry, to sealants and coatings.

    I don't have my Prius yet, (it was a family members car) but am anxious to do a wheels off detail. (The car will go on jack stands all four wheels come off and detail everything).

    The use of dish soap is a no no. It doesn't actually remove any or very little wax. It does however remove good moisture and oils from the paint. The likelihood is, the old wax is all gone already when you go to re wax. What is left will be removed during the clay and polish step.
    I read a couple posts people asking if their new car needs clayed? Yep, it sure does. Put your hand in a baggie and on a wet car lightly rub the paint. If it isn't 100% smooth you need to clay.
    So claying, on my cars I use real clay mainly because I have it. On customer cars I use a clay alternative or towels and sponges that have a special rubber like surface. They do 95% as good in a 1/4 the time. You also don't need detail spray with them, but just water is good. Also unlike clay, if you drop it you just rinse it off and your good again. Yes if I drop a piece of clay it is garbage.

    So my process:
    Wash with a real carwash soap, preferably without wax if you are going to detail the vehicle, those are fine for maintenance washes. Use two buckets, one with soapy water, one with clean rinse water. Both buckets should have grit guards in the bottom, a grid that lets contaminates fall to the bottom and not back up to be re spread on the car. I don't use foam guns or cannons. A gun attaches to a hose, Cannon to pressure washer. The bad part is I can't take those cool pictures, but I use less soap. When you foam the car you still do a regular two bucket wash, you just use more soap. If you need a presoak ONR is good for that.
    Once clean with the car wet I will spray a iron removing wheel cleaner. My cars get Sonax because I have it, but it's expensive too costly for customer cars. Customer cars get Adams wheel cleaner cut 1:1. (Get it on sale, never pay full price as a sale is just around the corner with them). This step is called chemical decontamination. It will help remove iron deposits on the paint. On white cars they show up as small orange specs. That is rail dust fall out that kind of thing rusting.
    Next clay. Real clay will need a detail spray. I use Optimum No Rinse diluted to QD specs. ONR is very inexpensive and has many uses.
    Now the car is clean, decontaminated, it's time to determine if you need compound or polish. The only way to know that is test spots, you will do a few with different pad combos. Normally a car doesn't need much compound unless the paint is really faded and oxidized. A more aggressive pad and polish will do 90% of the jobs I do.
    I use a DA or Duel Action polisher. Mine is a Griots Garage 6" so the backing plate is 6" across and pads would be 6.5", however I upgraded to a 5" plate and 5.5" pads. Less rotational mass, so the machine is more powerful. Why pick that one over a Porter Cable? The GG machine has a lifetime warranty, and is more powerful.
    Work the polish till the swirls are gone and the paint is shiny. Shinny paint comes from clean defect free paint, getting rid of the swirls and contaminates will shine that surface. You will need a few pads, 1 pad for every 1-2 panels. I do one panel, then swap pads and do another panel, then go back to the first pad. Heat build up here is bad for work time and effectiveness. Once it's used twice it goes into the wash tub.
    Now you need a protection layer. I don't use wax at all, and for most daily drivers it isn't recommended. Wax on a daily driver that is kept inside at night may last 4-6 weeks of giving good uv protection. Sealants are the way to go. They last 6-9 months.
    Coatings are another animal, my cars aren't coated, but I enjoy all of this. Coatings last between 1 year and many years depending on who and how it was applied, and how it is maintained. Some require you to have the certified installer wash the car byweekly. To be completely honest, my wheels are coated, and my trim is coated. I redo them every other year.
    So sealants, pick a package you feel comfortable using from polish to sealant. I recommend Meguiars Ultimate line. Yes the bottle says wax, it isn't wax as there isn't any carnuba in it, it's all polymers so a sealant. I like it based on how easy it is to find, price, and ease of use.
    My cars get Wolfgang stuff, like before because I have it. It came with my polisher. I am very happy with them and probably will repurchase them unless some new groundbreaking product comes out.
    Talking a about groundbreaker, all in ones. I use a AIO on 95% of all customer cars. One product will remove swirls, polish, and protect depending on how long you work the paint.
    For a detailer if I can save an hour claying and two on the polish/protectant step I can get another car in that day.
    Like most things that multitask something is compromised. That's longevity. I use HD Speed and get 4-6 months of good water beeding and protection.
    Want to get a bit longer of protection from your work, from now on when you wash on a clean wet car, spray a spray sealant or spray wax, now dry like normal. You won't get long from that, but could get a week each time, now it isn't unheard of to get close to a year from a sealant. Really fall and spring is when you should reapply anyway so your good. The other thing doing that does is adds a bit of lube to help against installing swirls back into your swirl free paint.
    Glass, clay and polish like paint, and apply a glass sealant. Rain X is a older product, I use Griots glass sealant. For glass cleaner windex is not good. It contains ammonia and that dries out plastic and rubber. You want a car glass cleaner. I use Meguiars D120, dilute it to something like 1:64, I also sometimes use Stoners Invisible Glass. It is also a nice product.
    Trim clean with an all purpose cleaner. Then a trim dressing. The APC will remove the new wax you just put on so bump that part up in the rotation. Also you don't want trim dressing on your freshly sealaed paint. Sealant won't stain your plastic and rubber trim like wax so there isn't as big of issue there. For apc I use use Meguiars D101 just all purpose cleaner. I have three different dilutions I use depending on how dirty or set in the contaminant is. For trim dressing my cars get Adams Super VRT, it is cost prohibitive for customer cars, they get Carpro PERL. Diluted 4:1. Carpro is also good on tires, and I put it in a garden sprayer for wheel wells.
    A good bug spray is a must, it will help break up dead bugs, loosen up road tar and tree sap. Again lots work, I use Poor Boys Bug Squash. dillutable and works great.
    For door jambs I use ONR, I keep 4 gallons in a bucket again with grit guard and a gamma seal lid. With the lid I keep it till dirty, a few uses, even a few full washes. I have a few micromfiber towels and the Optimum Big Red Sponge always in the bucket. It allows mess free door jambs and quick touch ups, or a complete wash with less than a gallon of water.
    That about sums up the outside, now the inside.
    I will do a quick vacuum, but not complete, just get the big stuff.
    All hard surfaces get cleaned, depending on how dirty they are either APC again, or a AIO cleaner and uv protectant. If APC I use the same from the outside, the AIO I use Meguiars Quik Interior Detailer (it may be cleaner). It does a great job of cleaning and applying a dressing without being shinny or glossy. What is nice about that product is it's safe on everything. It won't hurt any surface on the inside including touch screens. Yes there are better products for some tasks but it is worry free. If you go the APC route you now need a protectant, either follow up with Quik Interior Detailer or another product, I follow up with 303 Aerospace Protectant. It's a great product that is safe on everything again.
    Leather...leather is a step that products are misused. Modern automotive leather is coated in most vehicles, some like the King Ranch are not. If your leather is coated clean and protect is the game. Conditioners are not going to get through the coating to the leather so it just comes off on your pants the next time you get in the car. Mild soap and water, or light APC cleans well and is safe on coated leather. Now uv protectant, I use either 303, or Optima Leather Protectant really what is closer.
    Carpet and upholstery that needs spot cleaned Folex available at Home Depot back in the kitchen cabinet area is a great product. When it dries it dries oil and grease free so it doesn't attract dirt again. It's dillutable, but I use it full strength.
    Glass, there is no need to polish or clay, but same glass cleaner. Pro tip when you do the final wipe do outside left to right inside up and down, if you have streaks you know where they are.
    Now vacuum. Floor mats out use crevices tools to get under seats and behind places. Why vacuum last? Well when you knock junk out of cup holders, dirt off the dash you now get it cleaned up.

    Now onto the important stuff, tools and towels.
    There is still a place for cotton terry towels, that's with the steamer. The heat will melt the microfiber (mf) fibers. I will also use them to get up stains with Folex so I don't ruin nice mf towels. That's the only place a bath towel will touch a car of mine or customer car while in my care.
    Interior mf towels I use a less expensive one, the Kirkland yellows at Costco are great for this task. When they start to get soiled they become wheel and engine bay towels. Those don't get washed, they get tossed away. These towels are not paint safe in my opinion though lots do they say without harm. The rest of my towels have all come from the rag company unless they came in a package deal of stuff I got.
    Drying towels I use Dry Me A River, though they sent me a Pluffle to try with a order and I must admit I like it. Some people complain of linting with them but I don't have that problem. It takes two per car to really get it dry.
    Wax, sealant, compound, polish spay sealant/wax all that fun stuff removal eagle edgeless is all I use. Again I admit it's all I have tried it was a recommendation to me I liked it and never tried anything else. You could get away with one per step. Fold the towel in 1/4's and keep flipping sides then upside down you get lots of uses, and more even pressure distribution.
    I am not sure the name but they have green glass towels they are fantastic and polish glass down till it almost glows.
    With mf towels, if they touch the ground they are no longer paint safe. They just pick up too much stuff to trust they are containment free.
    Mf towel care, I wash in the washing machine, only mf towels and my polisher pads. I use a free and clear detergent. Softener will get into the fiber and change how the towel absorbs and repels dust. They have some static charge almost so lint sticks to them, lint can scratch, so no cotton with them. Wash in warm with an extra rinse. Dry again only mf towels and on the lowest dryer setting. Too much heat can melt them.
    Brushes, brushes are not paint safe no matter what the package says. Tires get a stiff bristle brush, wheels get a very soft "wheel" brush for the face. The barrels and behind the spokes I use wheel woolies. They are soft and on a long handle to get into the back of the wheel.
    Interior I use horse hair when cleaning leather. Carpet and upholstery brush for carpet, I have one that attaches to a drill for easier and quicker spot removal.
    Different sizes of almost like makeup brushes long handles short ones.
    Qtips for in vents dipped in APC and in the part the seatbelt goes into.
    Once the vent is clean Stoners makes a nice aerosol spray to dress down into them.

    A few things to remember, you don't need to purchase everything at once. It is expensive, very expensive. For a normal person small bottles of most of these products will last years. You don't need to do everything at once. Break it up over a couple hours a weekend. In a month you will be done and now set for quick maintenance washes.
    You don't need the best, technique is 99% of this game. A good detailer can do a better job with junk products than someone who is just learning with the best.
    The cheapest shelf price isn't always the cheapest. Some products are dilatable, some just take more to work. I use what I do because cost vs amount used vs time. I make money off my stuff, so I look at it differently than most. For most who cares if the interior takes 25 minutes longer on a Saturday afternoon.
    If you are going to order products online wait till a sale, all the stores have sales all the time, never pay regular price.

    Hope this helps some and if anyone has any questions ask I will do my best to answer.

    I should mention I don't have any interest in any company or product I use.
    #85 Coopers ST, Aug 26, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
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  6. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

    Mar 15, 2004
    Silicon Valley, CA
    2005 Prius
    I haven't posted on this topic in years, but maybe it's due because as noted in the previous post, things have changed a lot since I bought my first Prius and joined this forum in 2004. Plus I plan to do some work on the Prius over the upcoming three-day weekend.

    I switched over to coatings exclusively several years ago. The last few applications have been CarPro CQuartz UK and 22ple, though Gtechniq has made some improvements in their latest versions so I want to try out their Crystal Serum Light and EXOv3. EXOv3 is supposed to address some weaknesses in EXOv2 with respect to water spotting.

    As with most things, prep is the most important. I still stick with Menzerna polishes (SI1500, PF2500, and SF4500 were the old names, they all have new names now) mostly, despite some dusting issues. I do have some Meguiar's M105 and their microfiber correction system with D300 for coping with heavy swirling. I have some water spotting on the roof and hood of my Prius, so it will likely get the D300 and microfiber pad on those surfaces, and then I'll follow up with some CarPro Essence Extreme and then CQuartz UK over the entire vehicle.

    Contaminant removal has changed over the past few years, spray-on iron removers and claying mitts are seeing a lot of use. The claying mitt generally leaves some marring though, so it isn't recommended if you weren't planning on doing some paint correction afterwards.

    Other products I currently use and can recommend:

    Sonax wheel cleaners
    Sonax Brilliant Shine Instant Detailer - I regularly use this after a wash
    Optimum Opti-Bond Tire Gel
    Einzett (has a new mfgr with similar sounding name after company founder died) Cockpit Premium for matte finish interior
    Optimum Protectant Plus for satin finish interior
    Optimum Powerclean for an APC
    Leather Masters Strong Cleaner and Protection Cream - use this a couple times a year, otherwise seats get Optimum Protectant Plus or 303 Aerospace
    Gtechniq C4 plastic restorer - good for 2+ years of restoration on sun faded exterior plastics. I have an unopened bottle of CQuartz DLUX which is a similar type of product which I plan to start testing.
    22ple VS1 Final Coat - sacrificial protection that extends the life of a paint coating
    CarPro Hydro2 - an interesting product, especially for wheels

    There are other products I use which less frequently - there must be, as two whole shelves of a long cabinet in my garage are dedicated to detailing products.
  7. drew935

    drew935 Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    Nor Cal
    2008 Prius
    If you need to clean the carpet or cloth or headliner, use Folex. You can purchase it at Home Depot or Bed Bath and Beyond ;)

    My website if you need some inspiration for detailing for rides :D