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BMW M3 in Jerez Black – Major Paint Correction Detail

by

This 2009 BMW M3 in Jerez Black with only 18k miles on the clock was just purchased by the third owner, and it was obvious that while the previous owners did a nice job of adding modifications to the car, they failed at proper care and maintenance of the paint. The new owner brought the car to the Esoteric Auto Detail studio in New Albany, Ohio and wanted to go with the highest level of detail to bring the finish back to as good as we could…all while keeping paint preservation in mind.

When we spoke on the phone, he told me that the paint looked pretty bad, and in my experience, when the customer says it’s bad…that means that it’s what we in the business like to refer to it as “hammered”.

So when he brought the car over to me, it was just as I had expected. When viewing out in the sunshine, I could quickly spot heavy holograms from previous (poor) rotary buffer / wool pad work, and it also looked like it had been cleaned regularly with a dirty sponge, and then dried off with an abrasive bath towel (and the occasional trip through the local automatic car wash). For those who haven’t followed the instructions on proper washing and drying techniques, the photos below are what you get as a result.

As you can see, this car looked like it had been through a few fights, and lost!

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Now that I had an idea of what I was working with, I fully prepped the car for polishing by doing a strong prep wash with Chemical Guys Citrus Wash to remove any wax, then decontaminated the paint with IronX, and finally clayed it to remove any other contaminants that may have been stuck to the surface. Once all of this was complete, I could take a closer look at the true condition.

When dealing with paint inspection, you’ll notice different types and severity of paint defects depending on the light source. While the sunshine is good for giving you an overall picture and showing off holograms / buffer trails, I find that a combination of my T-5 HO fluorescent lights in the shop and the Brinkmann LED lights show an even clearer picture of the true condition. As you can see below when viewing inside, this paint is truly hammered!

The hood was the absolute worst. While this photo looks bad, it doesn’t show just how bad it was when you looked at it up close. There were a lot of deep scratches mixed in with all of the holograms, swirls, and haze. It actually looked dull.

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And on the side of the car, the condition was pretty ugly as well…

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If you’ve followed along with our articles here on the DI Blog over the years, you’ve learned that not only will you find same models / colors of cars to react differently from one another, but also that you may find yourself changing up your methods, techniques, and products as you go along on one car. You can’t always rely on your experience with a particular car as a guideline to your process, because one will come along that simply wishes to be stubborn. When this happens, you need to rely on your detailing experience overall with a variety of products and tools as well as your ability to read and react to the changing needs of the paint. This was one of those cars that simply wasn’t going to follow the rules, and wanted to test the abilities (and patience) of the detailer…me in this case.

We’ve always said that you need to start with a test section or two in order to establish the process and product selection that will work most efficiently for the car. If you just start with a compounding process and work the entire car without testing, you may end up with 2 more finishing steps to refine it. But if you work the process a bit during testing / evaluation, you should (in most cases) find a good 2-step process that will give you the same results, but with less time.

As I started with my testing process, I had a few combinations that I figured would work given my experience with BMW paint. As the trial and error proceeded however, I ended up with a huge pile of machines, pads, compounds, and polishes as I tried to get the cut I wanted on the compounding end that also finished up well enough to allow just one finish polishing stage. Since I wasn’t necessarily finding the “magic” combination, I worked with a few different panels just to see if things would react differently. And that’s what I found…they were reacting differently which made the read and react process more challenging. I knew that the aftermarket carbon fiber trunk lid would be different since it didn’t have OEM paint on it…it was very soft. The sides of the car were more traditional hard BMW paint, in that they would clear up pretty well with heavy compounding, but the deeper stuff remained quite stubborn. The hood didn’t seem to be repainted, but it was a granite-like paint that was extremely hard and challenging to correct.

I had a “plan” down on how I would work with the car based on my findings, but I knew that based on what I found on the hood, I would be in for a challenge because it simply didn’t want to cooperate. I started on it first because I wanted to get the hardest part out of the way. Well…4 hours later I finally finished…just the hood! There were a few deeper scratches that I had to settle for “better” because they were too deep to safely remove without the fear of future clear coat / UV issues if I went too far, but for the most part it had a near-perfect finish to it. Fortunately, I had some insanely aggressive pads on-hand  from another part of the world (not available here in the U.S.) that are designed for orange peel removal. I had done some testing with these, and found that they are capable of major correction with a very nice finish in a short period of time…but they can heat up the surface quickly, and are not recommended for the average user. After this step, I just needed 2 more polishing steps to fully refine it to a 98% defect-free finish with a very high gloss. It was a huge investment in time just for this one small section of the car, but the hood is the main part of the car that people typically look at…so despite the fact that it started out in the worst shape, and was as hard as stone, I had to make it right.

Here’s a shot of what the hood looked like in the sunshine after it was fully corrected. What you see going from left to right in the sun reflection isn’t a hologram…it was the remains of a trail left behind in the sky by an airplane!

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Now that I’d gotten the hood behind me, it was time to work my way around the rest of the car. Based on how the paint was reacting, I continually changed and adapted by techniques, tools, and products accordingly to keep with the same level of cut and finish, and to minimize time as much as I could. The carbon fiber roof is softer, and required a different process from the sides of the car, which required a difference process from the trunk lid.

And the left side of the car seemed to have deeper defects than the right side of the car, so I had to change up my process accordingly. On the right side I could get by with Meguiar’s M105 compound and a Microfiber Cutting Disc on the DA to cut through it all (some places required 2 applications of this). On the left side however, neither this nor Surbuf / 105 were strong enough. I tried a wool pad on the rotary, but it was marring the finish entirely too much and required heavy refinement afterwards (3 additional steps). So I tried something a little different and used a Scholl’s wool pad on the DA with 105…bingo! It cut out the heavy defects, and required just a quick pass with MF and D300 to clear up the light marring that it left behind…then a final polishing step. Sometimes you have to try unconventional combinations to achieve conventional results!

Here I am doing the heavy cutting with the wool pad on the DA.

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To show just how severe the defects were and how big of a transformation that this car was going through, I taped the driver’s door down the middle, and completed the two compounding steps just to show the difference. Now you can imagine how the haze and scratches on the left side prevent you from seeing the beauty in the color that now shows on the right. Once all of that is removed from the entire car, it will transform the appearance of the vehicle completely. Keep in mind that this is even before any finish polishing.

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Here’s a close-up / cropped version of the exact same photo. Pretty insane difference, right?

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When you look up “paint correction detailing”, it should show the above picture as the reference image…this is what proper and full paint correction is all about!

I also wanted to take a moment to share a tip. Normally you want to use a backing plate and pad combo that’s made for one another…size-wise. Your backing plate should come close to the edge of the mounting area of the pad so that you’re able to apply force to the entire pad. But when dealing with curved areas like the trunk lid below, you’re better off using a smaller backing plate so that the pad can flex more to fit the curvature of the area you’re working on. You can see that as I work into the curved area, the edges of the pad are able to conform to the surface and allow the buffing action to work more effectively.

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When all was said and done, and after about 18 hours worth of work, this Jerez Black BMW M3 once again looked like the beautiful work of art that it was intended to be. With all but the deepest of imperfections removed, you could now see a much greater level of clarity in the finish, and the multitude of color flakes that are in the paint could finally show through. The owner of the car was absolutely thrilled with the outcome, and immediately invested in proper detailing equipment and supplies to handle the regular maintenance himself. By following my guidelines, the car will just need to come back to me for the occasional light polish.

I didn’t go into a lot of details on specific products used because there were a lot of items that were either in the developmental process, or items that I am currently testing and evaluating. Some of the pads, compounds, polishes, and wax just aren’t available yet…at least here in the U.S. in some cases.

So now it’s time for some juicy “after” photos for you to enjoy…

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A little wax residue showing up in the light reflections…a final wipe down after sunshine inspection cures this.

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Thanks for taking the time to read through this M3 article, and please feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Also don’t hesitate to share this article on your favorite automotive forum or social media!

Todd Cooperider Esoteric Auto Detail
Todd Cooperider
Esoteric Auto Detail
Columbus, Ohio
EsotericDetail.com
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38 comments on BMW M3 in Jerez Black – Major Paint Correction Detail

  1. Mitt Romney says:

    Nice ride GFORCE!

  2. Exceptional work as always Todd! That thing was hammered!

    I feel you pain on the “granite-like paint” too! the Genesis Sedan I did a couple weeks ago resulted in a very similar situation. ;)

    Rasky

  3. Joel summers(treetop) says:

    what a great story car look great from 1-10 man i would give it a 20.my comment is we have a M-benz 2006 amg55 black what a good wax or polish to keep my show room shine we live in calif.if we live in ohio i would be the first to bring our car for a nice detailing .the car look great but i would like to get that showroom shine there are so many product on the market and i don’t need the wax build up on black so i need your heeeeeeeeeeeeep thank treeop&lulu

  4. Chris says:

    I am the owner of the vehicle and I couldn’t be more happy. Todd is truly a Miracle Worker! I knew when I purchased the vehicle it needed a good detail. After much research, I realized it was going to require a bit more work than that. How lucky am I to have someone like Todd in my city. Paint correction is definitely the way to go when you want to return a car that was not properly cared for to showroom status. Car looks truly amazing!!!

    Thanks again Todd!

    • Thanks for bringing the car to me Chris! It was a major transformation for sure, and I’m sure you’ll do a great job of taking care of it now that it’s been brought back to life. Enjoy!

  5. Richard says:

    Simply awesome write up with even better results.
    I am a fan of your work.

  6. Shawn Sullivan says:

    Impressive Todd, as always! Any good recommendations on overhead lighting for my garage? You know almost any paint correction looks great in the right light…I should know as my GT2 looks 100% perfect in a dim garage and 85% in the sun!

  7. Diego Coppola says:

    Excellent work, write up, and pictures! I noticed you’re using your Flex Rotary now :)

  8. Peter says:

    Stunning…

    I have an 08 M3 in the same color, just the first model year for this new body style. Should I expect the paint for the 08 M3 (Jerez Black, which looks more blue to me ) to be equally challenging to correct?

    I am tryign to get an idea what I am in store for.

    Again, it looks stunning. Great Job.

    • Thank you.

      I would expect it to be on the hard side…yes. With the Megs MF Cutting Disc and Megs 105 (on the DA), you should be able to get rid of 80%+ of the defects, and then follow it up with a finishing polish.

  9. Patrick says:

    HAMMER TIME

    Looks great Todd!

  10. Tomato says:

    Absolutely Amazing before/after results. As Always!! Thank you again for going into such detail in explaining your work and by adding pics to go along. I’m studying your work, writing down notes in hopes to one day achieve similar results. Oh yes one day…

    Keep up the Excellent Work

    Tomato
    DFW Tx

  11. cordell says:

    beautiful, beautiful job…ive been following a lot of you”re advice from this sight, and it has made a major difference in the looks of my cars…i just wanted to ask what do you use on the black trim on the outside of the windows to get them looking new again? and thanks for all the tips you and the other detailers give on this sight….

  12. Dave says:

    Todd: There are very few people in this world who have both the talent at what they do and the ability to express themselves very well. You clearly have both. Congrats on another outstanding job and write-up. Makes me want to run out and detail my LeMans blue 135i right now!

  13. Yves Fotsch says:

    … once again … at a loss of words! or maybe: astonishing, extraordinary, inconceivable … well done

    without “hijacking” the tread … todd, any chance you could kindly give a “noob” like me a hint on how to produce a like experience on alpine white … please :)

    • Thank you Yves. Are you currently using a machine to do polishing? If not, you’ll need to invest in at least a D/A polisher, pads, and polishes. There are so many guides and reviews here on the site that will help you to achieve great results on your car…regardless of the color. The guys at DI would be happy to help you put a package together!

      • Yves Fotsch says:

        … thank you for your response Todd :)
        I do own a PC and an array of the LC 4″ & 5.5″ pads (orange,green, white, black & blue) – Menzerna SI1500, SF4000 & SF4500 – Megs 105 & 205 … Greg at DI gave me a few helpful hints already … Just like to get your opinion also what combination I should try on a 7 month alpine white paint with very little swirls (been reading and following all of your “write-ups” to the letter :) )

        • I’d probably first try out 106FA teamed with a white pad to see how it does…you might be surprised at just how much cut you can get out of that for a finishing polish!

  14. Stelian says:

    Unbelievable Todd! Speechless.

  15. Ron Ayotte says:

    Todd, that was a “Lazarus” project… you brought that BMW back from the dead!

  16. Haroon says:

    One of my favorite colors out there!!! Superb job as always.

  17. Steve says:

    Man, that is AMAZING, Todd! What a FREAKIN’ DIFFERENCE!!! I have an ’07 Accord with NBP and it is in HORRIBLE condition. I wish you were closer so you could do my car. I am not nearly as adept at ‘detailing’- yet. Even still, I would much rather let a true professional (who is of your caliber) do what they do. I would rather YOU do it… lol, but I am in Houston, TX.

  18. Blane says:

    Incredible job on the paint. I’m curious if you’ve had any experience with BMW Jet Black? I’ve been having trouble getting a haze-free finish. Also who makes those metal racks with the colored bins and the red covers?

    • Thank you. Yes, Jet Black is a challenging one for sure to get right. One of the biggest challenges for any detailer is being able to get super-soft paint to finish down perfectly. Having the right skills, tools, and polishes is a must.

  19. Sean Woodward says:

    Todd, That looks excellent. Considering the poor shape and low miles, it’s amazing how a Jerez can be so difficult to maintain in the first place. I think it’s called a cold butter clearcoat !

  20. Amazing work Todd! The DA is still only just up and coming in the pro world of detailers in the UK, with rotary still being the go-to tool, but having recently relied on the DA i am loving the finish that can be achieved and not seeing holograms is bliss!!!

  21. Matt H. says:

    Hi, Todd. We found your tutorials on this site to be inspiring and took our own shot at correcting the paint of a 2009 Audi A4. The difference is dramatic, but we have been unable to completely remove all holograms caused by the buffing process. We expected holograms from the use of stronger compounds, but are unable to remove the holograms with a polishing compound and softer buffer pad. The holograms lighten up and multiply but never disappear. Any tips on polishing technique or ideas on what might be causing the finer holograms? Thanks so much for your help.

  22. Sadiq Ansari says:

    Awesome! I have a jerez black M3 myself, and I do my own detailing with Zaino, but would definitely appreciate the help of a pro now and then. Know anyone in northern VA who has your attention to detail?

  23. Steve says:

    I also have a Jerez Black M3. The paint was neglected by the previous owner, then the used car dealer “detailed” it and now it looks very similar to the “before” state of the car you detailed — bad swirls and holograms on most panels. This post inspired me to get off my ass get my car professionally detailed. Thanks!

  24. tyjacks says:

    Great work, I have a 2008 BMW 650i that I used a bad towel on. I dont have quite the swirl marks as the M3, but enough to tell I screwed up. Have you ever used Optimum polishing products? I’m considereing trying my own detailing, and needed a little advice. Purchased some high quality microfibre towels/waffle weave/plush towels and car washing accessories. I’m to start with a good wash, clay, then polish w/Meguiars 205. The MG105 may not be a liitle to much cut, wanted to start with the least aggressive. Also purchased a Porter Cable 7424XP DA

  25. how much for e46? says:

    wondering how much for e46

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