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September '16 Winner
Congratulations to Mark Garlick for winning our September show and shine. With his first child on the way and spare time for detailing about to be cut back, Mark decided to get ahead of the game and treat his recently acquired Audi S3 to a full correction detail. Although he had no previous machine polishing experience, Mark followed the guidance and product recommendations on our website to the letter, and achieved a stellar end result. Well done Mark, you'll find the car much easier to maintain now, even on short hours!
"As someone who takes pride in the appearance and cleanliness of my car, I have wanted to enter the Polished Bliss show and shine competition for a number of years. Since my wife and I are expecting our first baby, I thought this was the perfect time to get going, as I am sure my days spent cleaning and caring for my car will be cut short when the wee one arrives!
I purchased my Audi S3 back in July. When viewing the car I noticed that the bodywork needed a fair bit of correction work, as a myriad of swirl marks and other blemishes were clearly visible. As it was, this did not sway my decision in purchasing it, and it's since been very rewarding to restore the car back the condition it should be in.
I began the correction detail in the usual way, rinsing the car off with a strong stream of water, and then applying Auto Finesse Citrus Power, which I left to dwell for approximately ten minutes before rinsing off again. I then applied a thick layer of Auto Finesse Avalanche via my PA Foam Lance, and while this was dwelling I could clearly see it working and loosening the visible grime.
After rinsing off, as a precaution, I decided to apply a second coat of snow foam to ensure it was safe to carry out a hand wash without inflicting any more marring. While this was dwelling I tackled the badges, applying Citrus Power and then gently agitating it with a selection of Raceglaze Detailing Brushes before rinsing off.
For the hand wash of the bodywork and shuts, I used a mild shampoo with a Meguiar's Lambswool Wash Mitt, and the two-bucket method. I used an open-ended hose to rinse the shampoo off afterwards. I then applied Auto Finesse Iron Out to the bodywork and wheels (I had planned on leaving the wheels until a later stage, but couldn't stand seeing them as they were) and, virtually instantly, a dark purple colour reaction appeared on the wheels. I agitated the remaining solution with one of my Raceglaze Detailing Brushes and then left it to dwell for a further five minutes before rinsing it off with a strong stream of water.
For the drying process, I used my Metro Vac Air Force Blaster. In the past the drying stage often felt laborious to me, but the Metro Vac has made this stage a pleasure. I don't normally use clay when I detail, but as it was I decided to go ahead on this occasion as I wanted the paint to be perfectly prepared for a machine polish. The clay bar worked great, with the aid of some Meguiar's Quik Detailer. I then masked off all the plastic and chrome trims with 3M High Performance Masking Tape.
After a great deal of reading on the Polished Bliss website, I decided to purchase a PB Hard Paint Polishing Kit with a Kestrel Power Plus Dual Action Machine Polisher. I was a bit nervous to start with, but all came good in the end with a fantastic result! Initially I used the Meguiar's Ultra Finishing Polish (#205) with a Lake Country Hydro-Tech Finishing Pad. After wiping down with a microfibre towel and inspecting the result with a powerful light, it was apparent that the marring had been fully corrected. However, a few minor scratches were still noticeable here and there, so I stepped up to the Meguiar's Ultra Cut Compound (#105) with a Lake Country Hydro-Tech Cutting Pad and corrected them too, before then going over these areas again with the finishing polish and pad combination.
Now it was time to protect the freshly polished paint. The decision about which wax to use took me some time to make, but I've always been impressed with the Auto Finesse range, so I decided to use their Temptation wax. As it turned out, the weather was on my side, as it was overcast and cool and thus ideal for the application process. One panel at a time I applied the wax and buffed it off by hand with a microfibre towel. After this was done, I moved the car in to my garage to allow the wax to cure. The next morning, I applied a second coat of wax, and this was clearly beneficial as it deepened the look of the finish.
With the bodywork done, it was time to get back to the wheels and spend a little more time making them look their best again. Making sure the socket was protected with tape, I removed the alloys and gave them a good dowsing with water before applying Auto Finesse Iron Out again. I left it to dwell for five minutes before agitating it with a Raceglaze Detailing Brush, and then rinsed it off with a strong stream of water. I dried the alloys using my Metro Vac Air Force Blaster, and then applied a coat of Poorboy's World Wheel Sealant. Having used this product many times previously, I still think the end result is fantastic, and I know next time I come to clean the wheels, the iron particles won't take much budging.
One of my pet hates is to see dirty arches and callipers, so before refitting the wheels I tackled them too. After an initial rinse, I applied Citrus Power, left it to dwell for a few minutes and then agitated it with a Raceglaze Detailing Brush before rinsing it off and drying everything with my Metro Vac Air Force Blaster. The result turned out perfect! I applied a coat of Carlack Plastic Renew to the plastic trim in the arches and buffed it off with a microfibre towel; to say this is a fantastic product is an understatement - the plastic had the appearance of a new part. After wiping down of the brake calipers with a microfibre towel, the final appearance of the arches was immensely satisfying.
After refitting the wheels, I applied an initial coat of Blackfire Total Eclipse Tyre Gel, allowed it to dry, and then applied a second coat. Only a couple of pea-sized drops are sufficient to complete one tyre, and the end result is brilliant! For the exhaust tips, I used Auto Finesse Mercury, applied with a Dual Applicator Pad and 0000 grade steel wool. The steel wool aided me in getting all the little dimples that seem to collect a lot of grime. For all of the plastic on the outside of the car, I applied Carlack Plastic Renew; it takes a while to apply, but the end result is fantastic.
I finished off the detail with a quick once over of the interior. It didn't need much attention, as the previous owner had taken care of it. I wiped down the trim and the seats with a microfibre towel, used a Raceglaze Detailing Brush to clean the air vents, and then used Auto Finesse Total on the trims and pedals, which delivered a great looking finish. I then applied Dr Leather Liquid Cleaner to the seats, which restored an original appearance. I wanted a product that would retain the scent of leather and I can safely say it does! Finally, I vacuumed the carpets and mats with my Dyson.
After a very long and hard four days, I was really impressed with the outcome, and it also reinforced to me what a fantastic brand Auto Finesse really is. I hope you enjoy the final result, and a special thanks to the Polished Bliss team for the much-needed advice and guidance."