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03-01-2003, 02:47 AM
hcat7’s post to the excellent product article and my recent post about vinyl care got me to thinking - and since I’m not used to thinking it made my head hurt!

As detailers it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in deciding which product is the “best” product to use. For the professional detailer this is important; cost, availability, speed of application, and initial results figure heavily into bottom line.

While there are some products that fall below the line of acceptability, for us hobbyist detailers technique and method are much more important than which product to use.

We’re dealing with a multi-thousand dollar car and the price difference between brand X and brand Y shouldn’t be much of a factor except in the cost/value sense. It would be hard to convince me that a $300 jar of was has a better cost/value ratio than a $15 dollar jar. It may be better, but is it twenty times better?

Durability isn’t much of a factor for the detailer who plays with his/her car for fun and satisfaction, although it is a factor for the person who only washes and waxes their car to protect it’s value or to look passably good.

Final appearance is very subjective and we all have different tastes and likes/dislikes. My wife takes her company Mercedes SUV through any available car wash every week or so - who knows what products they use or whether or not their system is really clean - the result is a clean and shiny vehicle that meets her requirements.

The real key to an outstanding final appearance lies in the strategy and tactics used. Proper paint preparation is far more important that what is used as a final protectant! Washing, claying, polishing, and filling are all necessary to get that outstanding final presentation. During all of these steps cleanliness and a light touch are essential; whether you use brand A or brand B is not an essential factor.

My current personal preferences are Dawn for wax striping, Z-7 for regular washing, Clay Magic for claying, 3M Swirl Mark Remover (SMR) and P21S Gloss Enhancing Paintwork Cleanser (GEPC) for polishing, and 3M Imperial Hand Glaze (IHG) for filling. Are these the “best” products available? Who knows (or really cares)? They do the job, meet my needs, and may very well be replaced six months or a year from now.

There is a substantial difference in paint protection, but only in choosing between carnauba and polymer! If the choice is carnauba there are many good waxes available that give excellent results if used with care. How much real difference is there between, say, Vanilla Moose or P21S carnauba? My answer: not a great deal. If the choice is polymer there a fewer products to choose from, but there is the same question; how much real difference is there between Blackfire, Zaino, Klasse, or Platinum. My answer remains the same: not a great deal.

The professional who has been prepping show cars for umpteen years, detailing exotics for the rich folks, and keeps his own daily drive in tip-top condition may be able to look at your car as say, “Hmmm, looks to my like you’ve been using Zaino.” But, most of us hobbyist detailers when taking a close look at your car can only say, “Wow, it really looks good, but the paint prep could have been better.”

Remember the primary factors, cleanliness and light touch. Then start learning how to refine your techniques as you gain experience; vertical strokes on vertical surfaces and longitudinal strokes on horizontal surfaces for example. Experiment with different products and different combinations of products. Find out if an occasional layer of Z-5 on top of your Z-2 really makes a difference. Find out if you can top your polymer with a carnauba. Find out if you really need that expensive dedicated clay lubricant of if a QD spray or even some car wash solution is okay. If you use a light touch and clean materials you won’t do any irreversible damage to your car. Learn from your mistakes and from your successes - and share them with others.
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03-01-2003, 03:04 AM
Beware of manufacturers’/vendors’ statements and claims. If nothing else they are very biased and often are intentionally misleading!

For example: Lexar’s Vinylex prominently displays, “DH-60 UV SCREEN’ in all caps on the bottle and on their web site. A deliberate attempt to make the consumer <I>assume</I> that this means it is the same as an SPF rating of 60. <B>It is not!</B> I have spent several hours talking and emailing with several levels of Vinylex’s management and have gotten nothing but evasive or empty answers. The closest they have come to being straight forward and honest is to say, “We add some UV blocking to our products.” Biased product reviews are also common; consider the source of the “unbiased” reports that you may read.<br><BR>
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03-01-2003, 10:44 AM

<a href = "" target = "_blank"><font face = "verdan"a color = "red" size = "2"><b>GURU REPORTS:</b></font></a> <i>Unbiased, imparital, practical testing and evaluation of car care products.</i>

03-01-2003, 11:16 AM
as i am always willing to learn..., or relearn as the case may be. i am always having to remember to use light pressure when applying sealers, etc.
old school of thought was always "rub hard to rub it in" from years ago.
it is always refreshing to read a well thought out post and get a "kick in the pants" for using too much pressure:)

03-01-2003, 06:13 PM
another astonishing post - makes me realise how it should be done..

in the old days here was wash and wax

now theres

wash (dawn)
wash (proprietary potion)
Swirl mark remove

have i missed any?

what are the key ones in the 80-20 rule?

03-01-2003, 06:27 PM
My dear Mr. Bod, or if I may call you by your given name, hi Odd,

The most important step is missing at several points in your list of steps, and that is to pause frequently for a cold (not warm like in the U.K.) beer! If you can get Chinese or Mexican beer, then Tsing Tao or Corona are the best for detailing!
It would also help if you would convert to Buddhism (at least for the time spent detailing) since at it best, detailing is an Zen experience!

Your spiritual advisor,
Nick T.

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03-02-2003, 06:29 PM
I'd be pissed (wasted) just before I mixed the Zaino..

Re Zen I agree but much as buddism appeals, the missis appeals (and then some) a lot more :-(

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