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November '17 Winner
Well done to Christopher Reed for winning our November show and shine. After his partner acquired a used Vauxhall Corsa in the Limited Edition specification, Christopher immediately set to work detailing it. After correcting the bodywork it was time to add protection, and Christopher decided to use a traditional paint sealant for the bodywork, and a modern silica-based coating for the alloy wheels and exterior trims. The final result not only looks great, but will also last the winter too. Top work!
"This is my partner's car that is new to her, she having previously sold her Nissan Micra K12. It is a 15 plate Vauxhall Corsa in the Limited Edition specification, which offers a decent equipment level throughout. We purchased it from a local independent garage with just 6,000 miles on the clock. The car was prepared and handed over as well as you can reasonably expect a used car to be. As soon as we got it home we detailed it as follows...
The car was blanketed in snow foam using a PA Foam Lance, and the foam was left to dwell for 5 minutes before being rinsed off at pressure. The car was then washed with Bilt Hamber auto-wash using a Microfiber Madness Incredipad and two buckets. After a further rinse the car was dried off using a MetroVac Air Force Blaster, in preparation for the decontamination steps. Bilt Hamber korrosol was then applied initially, to remove iron fallout, and was rinsed off after several minutes. After drying the car off again I could see plenty of tar spots scattered all over the bodywork, so I used a spirit-based tar remover to gently dissolve them. I tend to use small sections of a microfibre towel to wipe the tar spots off, and I always discard the towel afterwards. The bodywork was then clayed to remove any lingering contaminants, using Bilt Hamber auto-clay and a constant mist of water via a hose. The car was then washed, rinsed and dried off again before being moved into our garage.
Once inside, I inspected the bodywork as best as possible (the lighting in our garage is not ideal). There were quite a lot of swirls present, and several bush/branch marks along the nearside. It did look like there were some previous polishing marks present too. Paint readings were taken, showing nothing untoward (average value of around 130 microns). The roof readings were higher, probably due to the car having a metallic black roof. I started off the paint correction work using a RUPES LHR 12E Duetto BigFoot Polisher, RUPES Fine BigFoot Polishing Pads and RUPES Keramik Gloss (Fine Gel Compound). While this combination removed a lot of the lighter marring, a step up was required to remove the deeper swirls and bush/branch marks, so I switched to RUPES Medium BigFoot Polishing Pads and RUPES Quarz Gloss (Medium Gel Compound) where necessary. The paint was definitely harder than that on my Spirit Blue Ford Fiesta ST.
After completing the correction work, it was time to add some protection to the freshly polished bodywork. For the last step product, I decided to go with Auto Finesse Tough Coat. I had only used this once before, on my partner’s father’s car, and I was looking forward to seeing how well it would hold up (my partner’s father doesn’t live locally, so I never got to see how well it lasted on his car). In readiness for the Tough Coat, I prepared the paint with Auto Finesse Tough Prep using a microfibre applicator pad and a plush microfibre towel. The Tough Coat was then applied using a foam applicator pad, and I left each coat to cure for about 15 mins before buffing it off with another plush microfibre towel. In total, I applied 3 coats, which should hopefully last for a decent length of time.
With the bodywork done I turned my attention to the wheels, which were in need of a thorough clean and seal (there appeared to be underseal on the inside of each alloy drum, which looked a state). I jacked the car up and removed each of the wheels in turn. The process for cleaning each wheel started with a good mist of Bilt Hamber auto-wheel. After being left to dwell for a few minutes, the auto-wheel was agitated with an Auto Finesse Hog Hair Detailing Brush before being rinsed off. After being blown dry, the remaining tar spots were removed using a spirit-based tar remover. Upon close inspection, the alloys were quite swirled and scratched. I used a RUPES LHR 75E Mini BigFoot Polisher to polish up the faces and spokes, using RUPES Fine BigFoot Polishing Pads and Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound. I used this combination because I wanted a softer pad that would shape around the spokes easily, but still required a decent level of cut for the worst of the scratches.
While the alloys were off, the front calipers were cleaned and coated with red caliper paint to improve their appearance. At this stage I prepared each wheel to receive a coating. The wheel was wiped down using a degreasing agent and cotton applicator pads. The coating was also applied using cotton applicator pads, as they make it easy to get into all the nooks and crannies. Although I was working in the garage the temperature was quite low, so I left the coating to cure for 10 minutes before I buffed it off. I buffed it off using a combination of suede microfibre towels and plush microfibre towels, and double checked for any smears before moving on. At no point was the residue hard to remove. The versatility of this coating also allowed it to be used on the exterior trims and light clusters. Again, I prepared these with a degreasing agent first, to make sure the coating had squeaky clean surfaces to stick to. This will hopefully maximise the durability of the resulting finish.
The exterior glass was then treated with a glass coating. In readiness for this, the windscreen was polished with a dedicated glass polish, while the other windows were just cleaned thoroughly with Auto Finesse Crystal. The glass coating was applied with cotton applicator pads, as per the instructions. I applied 3 coats to the windscreen and 1 coat to the other windows. Between each coat, I allowed the coating to cure for about 10 minutes before removing the residue. I also cleaned the wiper blades thoroughly with some degreasing agent to prevent any juddering, although I have never personally suffered this issue. To finish off, I wiped down the interior trims with an interior cleaner, and then treated them with Auto Finesse Spritz using a plush microfibre towel. The carpets and seats were then vacuumed, and a new set of floor mats were installed to complete the detail. I’m hoping that all the hard work will make the car easy to maintain over the coming winter."