Normally my articles cover the latest and greatest products out there, I’m putting together tutorials on specific detailing techniques, or I’m writing a comprehensive piece on a marathon detailing session complete with a hundred or so of my best photos.
As I sat down with my coffee this morning however and started to think about what my writing subject would be, I simply decided to talk about what I did this past week. This is a blog right? Isn’t that what blogs are for…giving more details on what you’re up to? Sure there’s Facebook and Twitter, but I wanted to provide more than a couple of sentences (otherwise you’d just go to my Facebook or Twitter pages!).
As detailers, we have some weeks when we have so much work to do that we need to bring in help AND we still work 60+ hours to get it all done (that’s when I call DJ Mayo), and then we have some when we can get caught up on paperwork, marketing, and even a bit of product testing. Since I just got about a year’s worth of marketing done with the recent release of the Autoblog.com article about me, I decided to catch up on some product testing that has been backing up for some time now. I mean really…my work bench is so full of products and samples to try out and review that I don’t have room for anything else. And I have been so busy on everybody else’s cars that I haven’t had the time to work on any of mine.
So with a break in the schedule, a bench full of products to try, and a handful of filthy cars, I got busy sampling, testing, evaluating, and note taking for future articles (and some potential replacements for my existing go-to arsenal?).
2010 Toyota Prius
This is our family car, and it gets well used and abused. Because it doesn’t get much attention, it’s a great vehicle to test the cleaning abilities of products, as well as their durability. It’s also white, which presents a whole new set of issues that you don’t face with darker colored cars. Sure it doesn’t show swirls and defects as well, but it shows off everything else that can get on the surface.
I just bought this car back in January, and didn’t have time to do much with it in the middle of winter. As I started to work on it, I quickly remembered why you should clay brand new cars…it was covered in rail dust which caused a lot of small rust-colored spots all over the lower surfaces and on the back end. I tell everybody else that new cars should be clayed, lightly polished and sealed, but failed to take my own advice on this one. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that the plumber’s house has leaky faucets, or the carpenter’s deck is in need of repair…well the same holds true for the busy detailer! Unfortunately we get so busy on our clients vehicles that we fall short on our own.
So I broke out the new DI Accessories clay (awesome stuff by the way, and very inexpensive!), a bottle of Chemical Guys Luber, and went to town getting rid of all of the rail dust and grit on the car. The front end was just covered in oil and/or tar (I mean…really covered!), and the clay by itself wouldn’t completely get rid of it. After claying I used a liberal amount of Stoner’s Tarminator, and then the oil and tar was completely removed. To follow this I did a quick polish with Optimum Poli-Seal and a Tangerine pad, which made the finish look spectacular. I wasn’t done here though because I had a lot of different paste waxes laying around that I wanted to work with. So now it’s currently topped with 4 different waxes on different sections of the car, and I’m testing out durability of each of them for future reference.
The car (finally) looked fantastic after a complete inside and out detail, but unfortunately with my kids being kids, they’ll have it looking horrible again by the time this article even gets published.
I realize everybody’s going to be upset that I didn’t get juicy photos of the stunningly beautiful Prius, but hopefully you’ll forgive me!
Acura TL Type S
This is my personal ride. I bought it brand new about 3 1/2 years ago, and it currently has 54K on the odometer. It’s only had light polishes or spot polishes, but still looks amazing when you consider the soft, finicky Nighthawk Black Pearl paint. Just about every product I have gets tested first on the TL, and if it works well on the Acura, it gets put into the official Esoteric detailing arsenal. I had another local detailer/friend of mine give me a hard time about how dirty my car was last week, so I figured it was time to show it some love.
It too was fully detailed inside and out, and I tried at least a half-dozen new products in various areas…interior, trim care, wash, wheels, sealants, etc (sorry…can’t elaborate on specifics until I have longer term results logged). I usually take several pages of notes during this trial period, and will continue to update them as time goes by.
Even after a few days of driving the car, I stopped in a local sandwich shop to grab some lunch, and when I came back out to see the brilliant black paint reflecting everything in the parking lot, it literally brought a smile to my face! THAT’S why we love a beautifully detailed vehicle…
After lunch I went back to the shop and snapped a couple of quick photos. Looks pretty good for a black car that’s been driven for several days after being detailed!
1991 Ferrari Testarossa
This particular Testarossa is in desperate need for a major paint restoration detail, which made it a perfect test subject for some products that I wanted to try out. It has pretty severe swirling going on, a bit of oxidation, and just generally dirty. While it was fun working on the ‘Rossa to get it looking nice again, it was even more fun pulling it in and out of the shop. This particular vehicle has a complete aftermarket exhaust system on it, and the sound of an un-corked V-12 is like music to the ears of any automotive aficionado!
For this one I wanted to test out a polish designed for a quick one-step to see how well it would do to remove the light defects, and how much gloss it would restore to the finish. I have to say that I was very impressed, and the Testarossa looked stunning by comparison! Sure it still needs a major makeover, but for just an hour of polishing, it was like I took years off of it.
Ferrari 355 GTS
This is the same 355 that I did a mini-restoration on back in January of this year. It was in for some simple maintenance, and I saw it as an opportunity to freshen it up a bit and to apply a new sealant. The paint still looked good, but not at the same level it did when I finished with it 8 months ago. I gave it a quick wash (test), tried out a quick detailer during the drying process (test), and applied the sealant (test). All went very well, and I was extremely happy how the car looked in the sun afterwards. I’ll need to follow up on this car down the road a bit…
And the two of them together:
So all in all it was a very productive week. I got to test a lot of new and different products, I took about a half a dozen pages of notes, and I started the process for some future write-ups. Now it’s time to get these cars dirty and start the process all over again!
Thanks for tuning in.