Saturday, December 31, 2005

Daily Driver

This is another 5 years old car which I maintain the least. It's a daily driver and it brings my family to everywhere. Maintenance is quite simple: weekly wash, monthly waxing and complete detailing once every 3-4 months. Basically due to the color, it's very easy to maintain it to a 99% swirl-free finish.

Complete (Simple) Detailing:

Step 1: Wash
Step 2: Clay
Step 3: M83/W-8006/RB
Step 4: M80/W-8006/RB
Step 5: M21/W-9006/DA
Step 6: M21/W-9006/DA (After 12 hours)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Tips #1: How to choose a detailer?

In Malaysia, wherever you go, you'll be able to see "Car Wash", "Polish & Wax", "18 months Shine Warranty", etc...signboards. What do you think about them? Of course some of them are good, some of them are bad. Most car owners are amazed by the "18 months Shine Warranty" marketing hype. In fact, there's no such product in the market. Any sealant or wax applied on the surface will wear off as soon as you start to use and wash the car. The best quality sealant can only slow down the process of bird dropping etching, it will not completely prevent etching.
Also, to most people, "convenience" is the keyword. They want the car to be cleaned and shined within a short period, preferably during their shopping time. This explains why the so-called-car-detailing-shop in most shopping complex car parks have good business, especially during the weekends, and this explains why they produce poorer quality during the weekend. Unfortunately, car detailing is a process which requires both time and passion to be done correctly. Any fast job will not bring any good outcome. I know that those "carpark detailing centers" completing their so-called "polish & wax" process within 3 hours. How do they do it? Firstly, they'll spend very short time to wash the car, then they will simply rub the polish by hand and finally apply wax by hand. There'll be lots of fluorescent light tubes above the detailing bay to give plenty of light. This could also blind the owners with the amount of light, so that the paint defects can't really be spotted out. However, once the owner drove the car back, they'll be very frustrated with the detailing job under different lighting conditions. Some owners even complain that the swirls are back just after one car wash. Worst is, they pay over RM1000 per year to get this kind of low quality detailing job. Most of the time, those shops are doing more harm than good.
So, how do you choose a proper detailer? Firstly, you have to set a budget in mind. Quality detailers will put in the amount of effort according to the price you pay. However, if you just wish to get the best result from them, you have to let them quote you a price. It might sound expensive, but the end result is always satisfying.
Secondly, you have to survey their detailing facilities. They must have a close environment, not those under the trees please. Usually the washing bay is separated from the detailing bay. Detailing bay must be spacious enough to reduce the chances of doing mistakes.
Thirdly, the detailer must be knowledgeable. They need to have good knowledge on automotive paint. They also need to know how to spot defects, because they can only know the defect is there when they know how to spot it. They should know what kind of defects can be removed, what can only be reduced. Working too much on the finish will end up burning the paint.
Forthly, the detailer should have good skills on handling rotary buffers. I had seen some "detailers" have very bad rotary buffer handling skill. Basically they're just fooling around, trying to let customers feel that they can do quality jobs just because they're using a rotary buffer. They can burn your paint anytime. A skilled detailer will produce the finest finish, which only rotary buffer can produce, and at the same time being swirl-free.
Fifthly, there are certain steps which a detailer should never skip, for instance, claying, trim masking, polishing residue removing, etc...These are the important steps which can help you to determine whether the detailer is detail enough. A good detailing job shouldn't include wax stains on rubber/plastic trims, door jambs, cracks and crevices.
Sixthly, the detailer should have passion on what he is doing. He should adapt the mindset that every car they detail is their own car. This will always help them to produce the highest quality detailing job.
There are alot more factors to be considered, above mentioned are just a few simple ones. Maybe I'll add-in more when I feel it's needed.

Tips tips tips...

From now onwards, I'm going to post some detailing tips from my own experience. Hopefully these tips can help car owners to clear some doubts, myths and questions. Enjoy reading, by the way, it's a free blog, so don't expect much. =)


Yes! Finally I get this 500W halogen work lamp. Total light output is roughly 5000lm, very bright and certainly very hot. After switching on for about 15 minutes, the whole aluminium casing went ultra hot with abit of smoke coming out from it. I suspect the heated rubber gasket produced the smoke.

This work lamp will be mainly used for illuminating the vertical panels while I'm working on the car, such as doors, trunk lid, rear bumper and front bumper. With it, I can know when to stop buffing, i.e. To make sure the diminishing abrasives are fully broken down; but also at the same time making sure that I didn't buff too long until the polishing oil dries up.

Unfortunately Bayco work lamp is not available in Malaysia, so I have to bear with this Made in China work lamp.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Poppings Gone

If you could recall my 2 months ago post, I encountered bubblings/pimples on the Accord's boot. Funny thing is, they're all gone! I'm not too sure what happened, but all these while I had been giving it a weekly wash and monthly waxing. Maybe the paint is able to breathe properly now? Nah, it doesn't matter, now I feel more relief...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

So Far So Good

After a week of the complete makeover, I've been washing the car for 3 times and laid 2nd layer of M21 on it. Checkout the photos I captured just now after a wash...

I've debadged the car for easier trunk lid detailing. =D

Overall Job:
M21/MF Pad/DA X 2

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Complete Makeover

I spend about 13 hours on the complete makeover of my car. Whatever acid rain pitting or pimples or water mark etching or deep scratches are all gone. The following steps were taken:
I even debadged my car for easier polishing and waxing in future, but it took me very long to remove the double-sided tape residue.
However, one bad thing happened. After I finished wiping off polishing residue on the roof, while I get down from the stool, my knee knocked the door and dented the panel slightly. What a miserable moment and it's my first time to dent a car, furthermore is my own car. I should blame Hyundai for having such a soft metal sheet.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My First Compound

It's the first time I compound my car. The result is excellent as most of the acid rain pitting, mosquito-fogging-oil-pimples, scratches, etc...are all gone. To be on the safe side, I ran my rotary buffer at 900rpm with M85 and wool pad. Just two quick passes left me a brilliant ultra smooth flawless finish. My happiness can't be described...

Notice the DOI...

There were some swirls/holograms installed after compounding. I buffed it out using M82 and W-9006 pad to a super clear finish. FYI, the flash was too strong, hence the light distortion you observe on the photo below...

Compound Ready

Finally forced myself to get M85 Diamond Cut Compound and a 5" wool pad. Ready to compound!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Polishing Trial

On last Saturday, I washed down the car and gave it a try to remove the ugly pimples. On the bonnet, I applied M83 with rotary buffer using W-8006 polishing pad at speed 600~900rpm. After EIGHT applications, yes, it's EIGHT, I managed to remove about 90% of the pimples on a particular spot. Each application takes about 10 seconds. I can imagine alot less effort needed if I start to compound using M85 and wool pad. Certainly there is cure for my paintwork, BUT at the clearcoat expense - Catch22.

This is another photo capture of the bonnet before polishing...

After 8 applications of M83, 1 application of M82 and 1 application of M21 on the bonnet, amazing isn't it?!

Top part of the door before polishing, notice mild hairline scratches and pimples are not so dense...

After 3 applications of M83 on the door...

Ketchup or Chili?

The long awaited Meguiar's Dispenser bottle (M-9912) had arrived Malaysia last week. It was out-of-stock for almost 3 months. I filled them up with product once I got them and can't wait to enjoy laying a thin strip of product on the paintwork or pad. This will reduce the chances of splattering and save more product. Also, it is more convenient to grab it with one hand while another hand holding the buffer.

Here goes the list of products:
  1. M21 - Synthetic Sealant
  2. M80 - Speed Glaze
  3. M82 - Swirl Free Polish
  4. M83 - Dual Action Cleaner/Polish
  5. M85 - Diamond Cut Compound

Just in case you wonder why the M85 dispenser bottle is empty, that's because I haven't got the product. Will be getting that very soon together with a wool pad. Desperate to compound the whole car...

Friday, December 02, 2005


It's my first time not washing my car for 2 weeks. Parked under the shade and it did not get wet and it sounds safe for the paintwork. However, to my surprise, I found massive paint damage all over my car upon my return from East Malaysia - billions of pimples.

What could have caused that? The car was untouched for 2 weeks. The only possibility is the local town council performed ULV mosquito fogging exercise. The chemical (Malathion) must have landed on the paint finish and caused this sort of damage. It wouldn't be that bad if it was washed immediately. Really pissed off with such situation.

Next action plan is to get M85 Diamond Cut Compound and wool cutting pad. Every inch of the paint needs to be carefully buffed out to remove these ugly pimples. Moral of story is, no matter what wax or sealant you use, it's useless if you don't wash your car frequently.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Away from Home

After away from home to East Malaysia for 11 days, I haven't been able to detail any of the cars at home. Back in Peninsular, the weather had been very bad - raining daily. It's going to be tough once I'm back by tomorrow.