Audi S5 Major Paint Correction Detail

December 10th, 2009

We were recently contacted by a local customer who was experiencing difficulties with the condition of the bodywork on his six week old Audi S5. He advised us that the car had been handed over from new with wash marring evident in the finish. After he complained, the dealership took the car back in and had their bodyshop machine polish it. Unfortunately, this made matters far worse, to the point where ultimately more than 28 hours of additional polishing work by ourselves was required in order to restore the finish to perfect condition. In the above images the severity of the defects we faced can clearly be seen (wash stage images were not taken because it was raining hard on day one of the detail). Such swirling and hologramming is typically caused by either: (i) the use of an overly robust abrasive compound that does not break down properly; (ii) the use of a contaminated pad on the polishing machine; (iii) the use of an inappropriate method when using the polishing machine (usually speed related). Fixing such defects simply requires that these points are addressed, i.e. that a suitable cutting polish and a clean set of pads are used, and that a carefully controlled polishing method is employed. In this case a two stage process was employed, and this is described in full in the rest of this article.

After being washed and decontaminated, the car was dried off and taped up in preparation for machine polishing. As is often the case with German cars, the paint turned out to be rock hard. This necessitated the use of Gloss It Knitted Wool Pads and Meguiar’s Ultra Cut Compound (#105) for the initial correction work. The zenith speed control method was employed, in order to minimise fresh hologramming, and a maximum working speed of 2200 rpm was observed. In total, an average of 3-4 microns of the clearcoat was removed during this process (approximately 2% of the total paint thickness). With a correction level of >99% achieved, we then switched to Gloss It Polishing Pads and Menzerna 203S to refine the finish (normally a finer finishing polish would have been used, but in this case we wanted to be certain that all fresh hologramming from the wool pads was fully removed). Once refined and wiped down with Isopropyl Alcohol (to double check the level of correction), the bodywork was protected with Raceglaze Signature Series ‘55’, which is a premium quality carnauba wax that delivers an eye popping level of richness and gloss on solid red paint. Finally, all of the remaining details were attended to and the car was then photographed for the customer. The total work time was 44 hours, which is pretty mad for a brand new car!

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