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November '15 Winner
A big well done to Steven Pollock for winning our November show and shine. After taking delivery of a smart new Carbon Black BMW 520d M Sport, Steven contacted us for advice about removing some minor paint defects and getting it properly protected in readiness for the winter. We duly answered his questions and recommended that a full decontamination process be performed too, as dealerships rarely do this to a satisfactory standard. This advice turned out to be spot on, much to Steven's amazement!
"We ordered our BMW 520d M Sport back in April, but didn't end up taking delivery of it until September. During the long wait I read as many articles as I could on the Polished Bliss website, particularly the ones pertaining to new cars. It was a real eye opener for me to see what kind of condition new cars are often delivered in! I was expecting pristine, however, more often than not I read that they were being delivered with various paint defects present. Unfortunately, our car was no different. I hadn't had the presence of mind to ask for the car to be delivered in an unwashed state. As a result, I ended up doing a little more correction work than I previously envisaged.
As we live under a major flight path, it's likely that the car will acquire more surface contamination (airborne fallout) than normal during its life with us. With my mind focused on this and the more immediate need for decent protection for the upcoming winter months, I contacted the team at Polished Bliss to ask for recommendations on what to use on our new car to correct the minor paint defects and get the best from the paint. The team at Polished Bliss recommended a full decontamination of the bodywork before any correction work was to be started; this turned out to be excellent advice, as I will discuss in more detail below. Armed with their advice and various new products to try out, I set to as follows...
To start with I washed the car in the usual way, rinsing and snow foaming first using Auto Finesse's excellent Avalanche. This has a really high dilution ratio, which means I don't go through loads of it every time I wash the car. The foaming quality, for such little product, is fantastic too. I then hand washed the car using the two bucket method and a Meguiar's Lambswool Wash Mitt for the bodywork and a Meguiar's Microfibre Wash Mitt for the wheels. Once rinsed off, I gave the car a quick dry with a cheap leaf blower. This is a fantastic idea for those tight spots where drying towels just can't reach, i.e. intricate wheel designs. With all of the exterior surfaces now clean, it was time to perform the decontamination process.
To start with I used Auto Finesse's Oblitarate. Due to the colour of the car it was extremely difficult to see any tar spots that might have been present. Therefore, I didn't mess about and instead just used the product all over the car. After leaving it to dwell for a few minutes I rinsed it off with my pressure washer. Then came Auto Finesse Iron Out. I was excited about using this, as it can be easily seen to be working due to the colour change when contaminants are present. Honesty, I wasn't expecting to see much iron contamination, but I was shocked when I rinsed this off to see a huge purple puddle under my car! By this stage I was fairly confident that the car was now contaminant free, but I decided to clay it anyway just to be sure. For this I used a Meguiar's Quick Clay Kit. I have used this product previously with good results, but about halfway through the process I realised I was needing to use a lot more lubricant than normal, so I switched to Blackfire Midnight Sun Instant Detailer instead. I was glad I did this, as the latter is a much more slippery and makes claying more effortless.
Once the car was completely decontaminated I rinsed and dried it one more time and then set about the correction process. The team at Polished Bliss had recommended using a finishing polish to correct the minor paint defects. To this end I used Meguiar's Ultra Finishing Polish (#205) and a Lake Country Hydro-Tech Polishing Pad in conjunction with a Kestrel DAS-6 Dual Action Machine Polisher. I liked the feel of the #205 polish as it was easy to manipulate and a pleasure to buff off. Once this was completed I then used Blackfire Gloss Enhancing Polish to give the car the glossy appearance I was looking for. This came as part of the Blackfire Wet Ice over Fire Kit. The team at Polished Bliss had recommended the Blackfire products as they knew from experience that these would give the best finish on the Carbon Black bodywork. Again, the Gloss Enhancing Polish was a delight to use and really easy to buff off, revealing a great finish as I worked. At this stage the car was perfectly prepared in readiness for the protection stage.
The first step in the protection process was to tackle the alloy wheels. For this I used Auto Finesse Mint Rims. This is a fantastic product. It goes on so easily and buffs off to leave a streak free glossy shine that I just wasn't expecting; I never knew you could improve the look of standard alloy wheels. I then set about the bodywork. From the previously mentioned Blackfire kit I used the All Finish Paint Protection first. This, again, is a good product and extremely easy to use. I had read that it's important to apply synthetic protection before carnauba waxes, as if they are applied the other way round the synthetic will not take to the wax. I really liked the look of the car at this stage but decided to continue with the next stage, which was to apply the Midnight Sun Paste Wax. As I was looking for both great looks and long-term durability the second coat of protection seemed sensible. The paste wax was a delight to use and I was shocked at just how far a little of it went - less is truly more with this product! Overall, protecting the car was quite a long and intricate process but the end result definitely made the effort feel worthwhile.
Overall I'm very pleased with the outcome of the detail. It took three and a half full days to complete (including some long hours into the nights too!) and hopefully over the coming months and washes the protection will last really well and continue to make the effort feel worthwhile. Finally, I'm sure my wife will be happy now as I haven't stopped talking about detailing for the last couple of months!"