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View Full Version : It's all so confusing.........(long)

06-27-2002, 07:48 AM
I have read on various car detailing web sites "the best" techniques and products to give my paint a flawless finish. The problem is that there is so much contradictory information. On one site I read that I should use a glaze (3M Imperial)to remove all but the most severe scratches and swirls. I can run my hands over parts of my car and feel bumps which I think is overspray from some minor body work that was done to the car a few years ago. But then I hear that the Glaze just fills in the scratches and doesn't remove them. It was then suggested to me to try Meguiar's Medium Cut if the Glaze doesn't work. It did smooth most of the bumps but I can see that it created mega-scratches (I applied it by hand). So then I read "use a clay bar" but also read, "don't use a clay bar" I also see what almost looks like small patches of blistering of the clearcoat on the trunk. Can someone suggest what I sould do for:

1) Smoothing the rough areas I can feel but not see (overspray)?
2) The least aggressive way to "Remove" the scratches and swirls not just filling them.
3) Help with the tiny blisters on the clearcoat

(PHEW!!)Thanks in advance

97 540i/6
30,000 miles and garaged

06-27-2002, 11:04 AM
Here's my $.02:
For the rough areas, just leave them be. Aside from wet sanding the areas (which if you can do well, go for it) the majority of things you can try are going to make it worse, not better. I have some feelable blemishes and my constant maintenance is chipping away at it. Hence, my answer to question 2: Pre cleaners have the least amount of abrasives to remove scratches, but are still there and WORK. I have used Liquid Glass pre cleaner with the most impressive results. P21S is also top notch at smoothing paint over.
One thing to keep in mind, though. The pre cleaners actually add smaller scratches to dissipate the reflected light from big scratches. This is how they all work, aside from the fillers. After that, I use P21S wax and a lot of elbow grease for the final wax coat. I don't use machines anymore because they only hurt the paint in the hands of people like me. The third: I have no idea, never had any blisters...
Two out of three isn't bad, though....


06-27-2002, 02:21 PM
i am a member of the E30 and E28 forum and just noticed this one, whoever told you to use the 3m products knows his stuff, although for the rough stuff you will be able to get it off, be it heavy oxidation or overspray ... 3m makes a superduty compound for the rough stuff, then 3m perfect-it III rubbing compound to take out the microscratches left by the superduty compound, then as a final step before waxing use 3m perfect-it III machine glaze ...

i do alot of detailing and paintwork, these items i have on my shelf now, by the gallon, they work well

if you have any further questions feel free to e-mail me.

note: i am not a 3m representative, i have used many products, ranging from over the counter stuff(avoid these) to pro car care products (distributor only) to now 3m .. i am extremely pleased with the 3m products<br>Brian
<img src=""> 86 325
<img src=""> 87 535is

06-28-2002, 09:44 PM
You're completely correct when you say that there is a ton of conflicting information out there - it's one of the main reasons that we started Guru Reports -- to cut through the B.S.

As a bit of background, I've been detailing cars since 1986, and have tried almost every product there is. I've detailed several concours winning cars, including a 1946 Lincoln V12 Convertible & a 1972 Hurst/Olds 442 Indy Pace Car. I also detail "daily drivers" and offer these suggestions:

1) Get yourself a high-quality clay bar. I prefer Clay Magic bars - they're gentle, yet clean extremely well. The clay will do a good job of safely removing the bumps that you feel on your car. For info on how to use clay, check out our website: We have a little side-bar that talks about clay.

2) Scratches/swirls: the best way to describe what needs to be done is to compare your car's finish to a vintage 12" LP (record - think Beatles Albums, circa 1965).

If the finish on your car was perfect, it would look like a solid piece of vinyl - there would be no grooves, no pits/valleys (like a typical record). That said, there are only two ways to make the record smooth again - (a) add more vinyl (not practical), or (b) remove enough vinyl so that the record is smooth, but not too much vinyl so that there are holes.

The obvious choice is (b), which is what happens when you use an abrasive on your vehicle. You'll want to use the mildest abrasive you can use, because you have a pretty finite amount of clear coat. My very favorite swirl mark remover product is Meguiar's Dual Action Cleaner Polish, which is a part of their Bodyshop Professional Series. 3M makes excellent products as well, but I've found that some of the products leave streaking/hazing/marring (all of which is easily resolved if you exert a little extra effort).

Finally, when you're done claying and "cleaning", you'll want to polish. The polish will give your vehicle that "glow" & will give it added shine. My favorite polish right now is the P21S Gloss Enhancing Paintwork Lotion. It has a little bit of cleaner product mixed with some wonderful polishes. It really looks great!

Follow-up with a coat of your favorite wax, and you're all set!

Regarding the blisters in the clear coat, there's not much you're going to be able to do, other than to try and buff them down a bit (see #2 above). The clear coat is just like any other layer of paint, except that it doesn't have any pigments in it. So, if it's damaged, you're going to have to treat it accordingly; but, don't get too "rough" with it - a few blisters is better than no clear coat at all. :-)

Hope this helps; we have information just like this in our Special Report: Guru Reports - The Wax Test 2002. Happy detailing!

06-29-2002, 05:30 PM
I would go with clay and then swirl remover

06-29-2002, 06:52 PM

First, there are lots of products available today. People use what works for them and thus will offer information that may cross product lines not to mention differ from others.

Now, I find that Meguiar's and 3M are excellent paint correction products. So, when you want to remove scratches, swirls and scuffs then use these products. Stick with one product line. These product lines are similar and you will overlap. The products you choose to use depend on the severity of the scratch, swirl and/or scuff. So, not all information you read will pertain to you, but there are steps to follow first.

You always need to try the least aggressive product first. If the scratch can not be removed, then use the next aggressive product. You can only go so far before you need to use a machine (orbital polisher or even a buffer) with these products. If you use these products by hand, you are putting more scratches in the paint.

So, let's say I am starting out for the first time. I've decided to use the Meguiar's line. First, start with Meguiar's Swirl Remover. If this does not remove the swirls, scratches and/or scuffs then use Meguiar's Fine Cut Cleaner. Any other products, like Meguiar's Medium Cut and Heavy Cut need to be used with a machine. So, if you fine this to be the case and you need more aggressive products, you can buy an orbital buffer or use a professional detailer to get your car back in shape. Then you can keep it looking good.

Now, you mention overspray and clay. Clay should only be used after you wash when your car is still wet. Take a soapy washmitt and a small piece of clay. Start with a 2 feet x 2 feet area and gently slide the clay over the paint. Rinse well. When you are all done, then you work on scratches, scuffs and swirls.

I know this gets long and tedious not to mention time consuming. Please give me a call at 1-800-964-8711 or email me with the color and year of your car, products you have used and what you are trying to fix. I can chat with you and come up with an appropriate game plan.


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