We were contacted by an owner who feared his beloved BMW was damaged beyond repair by another detailer. Although this other detailing service was highly recommended to the owner of this 740iL, their lack of experience and know-how led to horrible results. With this article, AutoLavish Fine Automobile Care will show the difference competent professionals bring to your vehicle, and how we brought this stately 7-series back to life after a butchered polish job.
Upon arrival, we could tell the vehicle didn’t seem right.
Inspecting the finish with our Brinkmann Dual LED, we could see a LOT of evidence that things didn’t go right with the other guy.
One of the first things we spotted that raised concern was the loose grill on the hood. It was missing the clips that hold it in place, all of them. We don’t know how this happened or when it happened, but we did know it needed to be addressed. We made a call to our local BMW Dealer and the new OEM parts were on their way.
A horribly cloudy finish and a free floating grill? Unacceptable.
Being easily removed with one hand, I have no idea how this piece wasn’t lost on the way over.
The sad state of the hood:
Because the vehicle was driven to us, we wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t begin work until all parts we properly cooled off. The engine and brakes were the biggest concern for heat, and you can make out in the picture below that the highest temperature reading we got was 176 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once cool enough, cleaning began the usual way; wheels, tires, arches, and engine bay first.
While I handled the wheels, Jacob began with using Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner Plus on the tires, wheel wells, and the engine bay.
Rinsing with the pressure washer:
Certain areas of the vehicle were pre-treated with Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner Plus and gently agitated with a boar’s hair brush such as the hood (where the grill was removed), and on rear end (where the license plate had been covering). License plates should always be removed to allow for complete cleaning, polishing, and sealing.
The next step was to give the 7 series a foam bath to pre-soak the car’s surface with car wash shampoo that would help to loosen grime while providing lubricity to float away some of the grime on the surface.
Allowed to dwell for 5-10 minutes, the remaining foam was rinsed off. Whatever wax or sealant was used must not have been very strong, as the initial foaming and rinse left no evidence of beading. The water was laying flat on the car, showing there was no protection left from the “detail” work that was just a few weeks prior.
The BMW was then re-foamed…
And washed in a safe manner: notice I am not going over the lower portions of the body yet. I will leave these dirtiest-of-areas for last, reducing the risk of any entrapped debris causing swirls or scratches during the wash.
We use our two-man system to our advantage as much as possible to make our work more efficient. While Jacob began with the rinse, I began claying.
After claying most of the hood, this was the contamination that was removed from that section of the vehicle. Not the standard we’d hold ourselves to if this was a car we detailed less than a month ago.
Re-rinsed and dried with the combination of an electric blower and waffle-weave microfiber towels.
Pulled into the garage, we carefully taped off trim and other things that could potentially be damaged by a buffer. Notice the lower right side of the hood taped off and ready for a test section to begin. Jacob continued taping around the passenger side of the vehicle while I got started on trying to find the right polishing combination for this Jet Black BMW.
While the difference was already huge, we still weren’t satisfied with our results. In turn, we taped off more of the front of the hood to compare pad+polish combinations. Once we felt we had the right combination, we began taking the painter’s tape off to document the difference in the finish.
Now the real test… can you tell which sections have been fixed? 😉
Under the Brinkmann Dual LED the results are even more dramatic. The slight speckles are what naturally happens to the front ends of vehicles over time; rock chips /debris marks that don’t go all the way through the clear-coat or paint, but rather cause pitting.
The fender (bottom) and hood (top) under normal lighting. This shows the HUGE difference that is made to the naked eye. The difference in clarity is impossible to not see.
A quality professional earns their keep, but allow me to remind readers of a quote I like to tell others who think cheap service could somehow be near equal in result:
“If you think the professionals are expensive, you should see what the amateurs can cost you.”
Coming along and finished for the night…
The next day we continued, and after further polishing, pulled the car out in the sun to take a look at how things were progressing…
…just as we expected: she needed one more polishing step. After further refining with an additional polishing step, we washed the vehicle to rid the finish of any oils and dust.
Jacob applied Blackfire Wet Diamond Paint Sealant to the entire exterior of the vehicle, to include the windows (dramatically helps to increase visibility out the flanks during raining), while I applied Aquapel to the windshield.
Blackfire still setting on the finish (just take a look at the driver’s side fender), the engine bay is wiped down with Chemical Guy’s Bare Bones to help protect from the coming Michigan Winter.
Wiping the set sealant off, the finish is now slick, protected, and deep.
Installing new clips from BMW to properly secure the grill.
The driver’s side C-pillar before:
The driver’s side C-pillar after:
I really like this following picture: which section is the glass sun roof, and which section is the black paint?
You can help avoid such an ordeal by using the AutoLavish Tips to choosing a professional detailer article.
Thanks for taking a look and happy detailing!
-Marc and Jacob of AutoLavish