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2006 Acura TL in Nighthawk Black Pearl (part 3)

by

Quick Jump

This is part 3 of a 4 part series (read part 1, part 2, part 4)

Dressing your wheel wells and tires (Return to Top)

A highly polished car without properly dressed wheels and wheel wells is like wearing worn-out shoes with a nice suit. Take a few moments to complete the look.

The front wheel wells get dressed with Chemical Guys Fade 2 Black. It provides a rich, dark look and dries to the touch.

Applying Chemical Guys Fade 2 Black to wheel wells to give a dark black finish

For the tires, I prefer a little bit of shine so I’ll typically reach for Blackfire’s Long Lasting Tire Gel. It provides a nice look without being too shiny, it doesn’t fling off, and it has good durability as well. For this step I always use rubber gloves because it can get messy when applying tire dressings with a heavily used applicator. If the customer wants a more matte finish, I’ll use Optimum Opti-Bond.

Applying Blackfire Long Lasting Tire Gel to an Acura TL after an Esoteric Auto Detail

Blackfire Long Lasting Tire Gel applied on an Acura TL after an Esoteric Auto Detail

A sneak peek at the final finish:

A 2006 Acura TL in Nighthawk Black Pearl after an Esoteric Auto Detail

The exterior is finally finished, and it’s time to move on to the interior.

Interior Detailing

Start your interior by dusting (Return to Top)

You’re typically going to find dust and debris in all of the little cracks around the console area, and in the vents. If you’ve got access to compressed air, then I would recommend using that method. If not, then get yourself a soft bristled detailing brush to clean all of these areas.

Cleaning tight areas of an interior of a 2006 Acura TL with a soft bristle brush

Cleaning tight areas of an interior of a 2006 Acura TL with a soft bristle brush

Cleaning tight areas of an interior of a 2006 Acura TL with a soft bristle brush

Dressing and protecting the dash (Return to Top)

The TL has a combination of different types of leather, vinyl, and plastic throughout the cabin and some are easier to work with than others. Most of the material on the dashboard area has a tendency of getting a chalky finish to it if left untreated. You have a few good product choices to treat this, and it all comes down to the kind of finish you’re looking for. More on that in a moment…

Here you can see the chalky residue, particularly on the right side of this photo. Most of the dashboard looked like this and it was an area of concern for the owner of this TL.

Chalky look to interior pieces of an Acura TL prior to detailing

Because the owner wanted it to look as natural as possible, I chose Optimum’s Protectant Plus. I like using this when a natural matte finish is desired. It comes out thick from the bottle, so the best way to use it is to spray it directly onto your microfiber towel, and then wipe it into the surface.

Applying Optimum Protectant Plus with a microfiber towel on an Acura TL interior

This is after treatment with Optimum Protectant Plus.

Optimum Protectant Plus applied to the interior of an Acura TL

And on the dash as well. What I really like about Optimum Protectant Plus is that it leaves the finish looking new, not “dressed”. I used it on all of the plastic, vinyl, and non-seating leather areas in the TL. It also has a nice scent too.

When applying a product like this, you’ll want to do this step first, and then clean your windshield afterwards. When accessing the front of the dashboard, chances are you’ll either get your hands or protectant on the glass.

Optimum Protectant Plus applied to the interior dash of an Acura TL

Comparing Optimum Protectant Plus to 303 Aerospace Protectant (Return to Top)

For further discussion of product choices, I did a quick test on my TL-S to show the look that a few different products provide. Different people have different tastes, so I figured that I would show you a few options that you have and you can choose depending on your personal tastes.

I taped off 3 sections on my door panel. It currently has no product on it, so the middle section will serve as the “natural” look. This is before any products were applied.

Interior trim of an Acura TL taped off prior to testing 303 Aerospace Protectant and Optimum Protectant Plus

Interior trim of an Acura TL taped off prior to testing 303 Aerospace Protectant and Optimum Protectant Plus

On the left side I applied Optimum Protectant Plus. The middle remained un-treated, and the right side was treated with another great product that I use regularly…303 Aerospace Protectant.

Results of test: Optimum Protectant Plus (left), untreated (middle), 303 Aerospace Protectant (right)

Results of test: Optimum Protectant Plus (left), untreated (middle), 303 Aerospace Protectant (right)

Results of test: Optimum Protectant Plus (left), untreated (middle), 303 Aerospace Protectant (right)

As you can see, they provide completely different looks. If you want a more subdued and natural look, then go with Optimum Protectant Plus. If you want a more rich and deep finish, then go with 303 Aerospace Protect. They’re both exceptional products, so select either way depending on your preferences.

Now back to the detail…

The arm rests had some issues as well:

Arm rest of a 2006 Acura TL prior to detailing

After Optimum Protectant Plus:

Door panel protected with Optimum Protectant Plus

Remember the door seals we were taping up earlier in the article? In order to keep them soft and supple, they need to be treated every now and then as well. By doing this it will help them retain a good seal, and to keep wind noise at bay. For this I recommend using Leatherique Prestine Clean, but Optimum Protectant Plus works well here too.

Treating the door seals with Leatherique Prestine Clean to keep them soft and supple and maintain maximum seal

Caring for your leather (Return to Top)

Let’s move on to the leather now. When leather is new, it has a nice matte finish. This TL provided a great example of when leather is clogged with dirt, sweat, salt and then gets a shiny, polished finish to it. Here is the driver’s seat.

2006 Acura TL driver seat leather clogged with dirt, sweat, salt and other contaminates

Now look at the passenger seat that rarely gets used. There’s a big difference in the finish, and this one looks more as it should.

2006 Acura TL passenger seat prior to a Leatherique leather treatment

Although it wasn’t on the menu for this job, a full Leatherique treatment is in order to clean and condition, and fully restore it to its original condition.

Leather starts to dry in as little as 6 months after it is manufactured, and to keep it looking and feeling its best, you should treat it with Leatherique at least once per year (twice is better). For maintenance cleaning, even a wipe down with a damp microfiber towel will help prevent a heavy buildup that will cause it to get shiny like it is in this TL.

Since we weren’t performing the full-blown leather treatment this time around, I figured that the next best process would be to give it a good one-step cleaning/conditioning with Leatherique Prestine Clean (half of the full Leatherique system). It’s a very good all-in-one leather product (cleaner, conditioner, protectant), and is simple to use.

Simply spray it directly on to the leather surfaces, and then work it in with your hands. Let it set for 10-15 minutes, and then come back with a damp microfiber towel and wipe the surface down. After that, take a clean, dry microfiber and lightly buff the surface.

Applying Leatherique Prestine Clean to Acura TL leather seats

Streak free glass (Return to Top)

All the surfaces are treated so it’s time to clean the glass. For this step you’ll definitely want to use a tool like the DI Easy Reach Mini Mop because both the front and rear windows are sloped heavily and hard to reach at the lower end. Here you can see where this handy tool makes easy work of glass cleaning. For glass cleaner I like to use Stoner’s Invisible Glass. Don’t forget the rearview mirror as well as the vanity mirrors, too.

DI Easy Reach Mop used to clean the corners of windshield with Stoner Invisible Glass

The rear window on the TL can be a real pain to get to. The key here is to remove the headrests! There’s a small tab on the bottom right side underneath the headrest (actually on the top of the seat). Just depress the tab and pull up to remove the headrest to give you easy access to the window.

Remove the head rests prior to cleaning the rear windshield

Don’t forget the sunroof (Return to Top)

Here’s another area that gets overlooked…the under side of the sunroof. As you can see from this photo, it’s in desperate need of cleaning!

Dirty underside of the sunroof prior to cleaning

After cleaning both sides of the glass:

Sunroof streak and spot free after cleaning with Stoner Invisible Glass

You’re not done with the sunroof though. First tilt the back of it up so that you can clean/treat the seal.

To clean the seals of your sunroof, raise it up

Even cleaning with a damp microfiber would be good, but you should also dress it from time to time with Leatherique Prestine Clean or Optimum Protectant Plus.

Sunroof seal dressed and protected

Now fully open the sunroof to expose plenty of dirt and debris.

Fully open the sunroof to expose new areas to clean and dress

While you’re cleaning in here, don’t forget to clean and dress the seal on the front side of the glass as well.

Acura TL sunroof area properly cleaned and dressed

Obviously you also want to remove the floor mats and do a full vacuum job, but I figured you knew how to do that part.

This is part 3 of a 4 part series (read part 1, part 2, part 4)

If you have any additional comments or questions, please submit your reply in the comment box below.

Todd Cooperider Esoteric Auto Detail
Todd Cooperider
Esoteric Auto Detail
Columbus, Ohio
EsotericDetail.com

16 comments on 2006 Acura TL in Nighthawk Black Pearl (part 3)

  1. Joel says:

    Todd,

    Nice write up. Very detailed, just like your work. Which I can not get enough of. My question is, how often do you apply interior dressing to your vehicle? I try to make it a point to wipe the dash and panels with a MF towel at least every/every other week to clean up the dust. What do you recommend? The product I’m currently using is Megs Natural Shine Interior spray.

    Thanks,
    Joel.

    • Joel,

      On my personal vehicles, I don’t use an interior dressing (303 Aerospace or Optimum Protectant Plus for instance) very often…perhaps once per month. If I need just a simple “dusting” so to speak, I’ll give a light spray of either Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer or 1Z Cockpit Premium onto the towel before wiping it down.

  2. [...] thicker with a new scent. I think a little more research always helps. For example, check the link here, clearly shows how 303 would have compared to optimum protectant plus. At the time I was also [...]

  3. Rev says:

    Todd, quick question,

    i have a 2011 subaru sti with alcantara appted seats, any suggestions on how to clean and protect them?

    • The manufacturer of Alcantara simply suggests a damp cloth for cleaning as necessary. I will typically blow them out with compressed air, and lightly wipe with a damp cloth when they show any signs of dirt.

  4. jose gutierrez says:

    how to clean the ceiling,it looks and feels like cloth,can u help me? what product to use?

  5. jose gutierrez says:

    Thank you Todd, besides prestine to clean the leather seats,what else can i use and how often should i do it to clean my leather seats?

  6. Vikesh pareddy says:

    I have a nbp tls and after a couple of years the paint does have scuffs minor imperfections some major imperfections, if I brought the car to you could I have it detailed? Just talkin about the outside aproximate how much it will cost

  7. mike says:

    Hi todd,

    I noticed you started with a regular TL but in the interior pictures I see S-type seats?

    mike

  8. mike says:

    Ohhhhh! you were testing on your car. nevermind.

  9. Sean says:

    i used alcohol wipes on small area of my dash.. it was discolored.. i sprayed 303, no effect, used meguiars leather cleaner on it .. made it go away than when it dries.. you can tell where the affected areas are.. any suggestion on what to do?

  10. Marco says:

    Hey Todd, in your write up you talk about using a soft brush and compressed air to clean the interior surfaces. I find that using soft bristle small and large dusting brushes that attach to your vacuum do an amazing job of eliminating dust in all those little nooks and crannies. When I was using compressed air I felt like all I was doing was blowing dust around the interior of the car that later would just get trapped somewhere else. Have you ever used this method for interior cleaning?

  11. joe says:

    Does Todd, or anyone, know the best way to vacuum between the rear window and below? Mine is very narrow and it’s hard to get anything in there like a Dirt Devil. It’s dusty. i tried compressed air and that didn’t work either. Any ideas?

    Thanks

  12. tony says:

    Hi Todd.
    This site has been very informative, and your work looks amazing. I own a civic si that is nhbp and can’t wait to start correcting once I get the proper tools and supplies. Saving to get some quality material from DI. Quick question- any advice on how to remove scuffs/light scratches from interior panels such as the glove box, kick panels, sill covers, etc? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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