Citroen DS4 Forums banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

Premium Member
936 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For anyone considering this
Its a Big job!!!!

<h2>How To Detail A Brand New Car</h2>
<div ="blogDate">November 25th, 2013

Taking delivery of a brand new car should be a magical experience.
From the moment you settle on what make and model you want a sense of
anticipation sets in, which then steadily grows as you work your way
through the process of picking the options, negotiating the best
possible deal and waiting patiently for it to be built. And when the
delivery date finally comes around and you're on your way to the
dealership to collect it that sense of anticipation turns into
child-like excitement; all you want to do is see it, touch it and smell
it (which might sound odd, but if you've ever been fortunate enough to
take delivery of a brand new car you'll know exactly what I mean).

Unfortunately it's at this point that the experience suddenly turns
sour for some buyers. The sad reality is that vehicle presentation
standards in the motor trade often fall well short of what we, as car
care enthusiasts, typically expect. As a result it's not unusual for
many brand new cars to be handed over with a variety of bonded
contaminants in situ, fresh swirl marks and fine scratches in
the finish and product residue left on the trims and in the panel gaps.
The second to last brand new car we took delivery of (a Fiat 500) was
plagued by all three problems, along with an additional issue in that
the off-white interior had obviously been wiped down with a dirty towel.

Surely this is an exception and not the rule? Unfortunately it isn't.
While the vast majority of new car handovers probably go smoothly and
might well be magical experiences, the bottom line is that the vast
majority of people aren't car care enthusiasts and probably don't notice
such problems. However, we receive hundreds of enquiries each year from
more discerning individuals (like you) who have noticed such issues and
need our help to fix them, by way of us either offering remedial advice
and product recommendations or booking the car in to be professionally
detailed. Of course, prevention is better than cure, so the question is
what can you do differently?

The answer is detail your brand new car yourself. There is nothing
stopping you from doing so and most dealerships will oblige you if it
means sealing the deal on a sale (our local Fiat dealer wouldn't allow
us to take delivery of our 500 without them valeting it fully first, but
in hindsight we should have walked away and bought it elsewhere). All
you need to do is ask the dealership to leave any plastic shipping wraps
in place and not wash or valet the car in any way. This will not
prevent them from doing their pre-delivery inspection (PDI) safety
checks nor will it affect your warranty in any way. The dealership staff
will think you are mad but don't let this put you off!

Assuming you decide to follow the above advice some obvious questions
arise, i.e. what exactly will I be facing and how should I go about
tackling the work? The easiest way to guide you through the process is
to present you with a real world example and as luck would have it I
took delivery of a brand new Fiesta ST just a couple of weeks ago.
Having done exactly as I advised above (i.e. I asked the dealership to
leave the shipping wraps in place and not wash or valet the car in any
way) I was able to record the detailing process I performed from start
to finish. So, without further ado, here is an in-depth write up showing
you how I detailed my brand new car""¦


""I collected my new car from the dealership on a Friday afternoon
and drove it back to our studio wearing trade plates (there was no
point affixing my own registration plates at this point as I wanted to
detail the car without any plates in place). My first tip concerns trade
plates; dealers tend to hang the rear one on the rear wiper meaning it
can flail around and potentially damage the tailgate and bumper. A far
safer option is to sit the rear plate in full view on the parcel shelf
before driving off; I did exactly this and I strongly advise you to do
the same if you opt to drive your new car away wearing trade plates.
Moving on, this is what the car looked like at this point""¦

As you can see it was in quite a state! However, this is not
unusual for brand new cars and merely reflects the nature of the journey
they take from the production line to the dealership. The last image
above shows the master tracking label that was stuck to my car. From it
I've been able to determine that it was manufactured in Hall N at the
Ford assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, on the 09/10/13 and then
transported down the river Rhine on a barge to Ford's international
distribution centre at Vlissingen (Flushing) in the Netherlands. It
remained there until the 24/10/13 at which point it was shipped to
Ford's national distribution centre at Dagenham in the UK.

From Dagenham it was then transported by rail to a Ford depot at
Mossend, Glasgow, before finally being driven up the road to my local
dealership on a transporter. Although it actually turned up at the
dealership ahead of schedule on the 02/11/13 it had still spent over
three weeks travelling by water, rail and road without being washed
once. And as you will see later on the obvious dirt and grime was the
least difficult issue I had to contend with as a result of this journey,
but it was still the first thing I needed to tackle. Accordingly, after
peeling off the tracking stickers and shipping wraps, I started the
detail proper by foaming the exterior with Auto Finesse Avalanche""¦

This was left to dwell for around five minutes, during which time
the citrus-based cleaning agents gently loosened the accumulated dirt
and grime""¦

I then rinsed the exterior thoroughly, paying particular
attention to the panel gaps and shuts; a lot of pine needles emerged
from some of them, indicating that the car must have sat under trees at
some point during its journey to the dealership""¦

Next, I cleaned the exterior trims using Swissvax Plastic Wash.
This is an expensive product, but it's incredibly good at removing
product residues and other stains from plastic surfaces, and leaves them
perfectly prepared for adding protective coatings""¦

After rinsing off the trims I turned my attention to the shuts, using Auto Finesse Citrus Power and agitating it with a Meguiar's Microfibre Wash Mitt and a suitably-sized brush from the Raceglaze Detailing Brush Set.
Because we use so much Citrus Power (it's the best bug and grime
remover on the market by some margin) we tend to apply it using a MESTO 1.5 L CLEANER Pressure Sprayer, but it works equally well using a standard spray bottle""¦

I adopted a similar approach when tackling the honeycomb-style front grill, but switched to using a PB Boar Hair Wash Brush
for all of the agitation work, as its soft, long bristles proved to be
perfect for accessing the depths of the somewhat fiddly design""¦

With all of the exterior details cleaned, it was finally time to break out two PB Clear Wash Buckets and hand wash the bodywork, lights and glass. I chose GYEON Q2M BATHE as my shampoo, as it feels well lubricated on bare unprotected finishes and rinses freely, and I used it in conjunction with a Microfiber Madness Incredisponge,
which has fast become my favourite wash implement. Unlike lambswool
wash mitts, it generates a huge amount of suds (because the high-quality
sponge it contains naturally aerates the shampoo solution in your suds
bucket) and it releases the dirt and grime it picks up very easily
indeed, meaning it says cleaner for longer""¦

With the car now washed, and having rinsed it off again, I
proceeded to check it for bonded surface contaminants. You should do
this in two ways. The first is to visually inspect each and every panel
for obvious spots and speckles; this is very easy to do on lighter
coloured finishes but becomes trickier on darker colours. The second is
to run your fingertips over the (still wet) panels and trust what they
tell you; if there is any contamination present you will feel it
(uncontaminated paint feels perfectly smooth, so if you detect any
grittiness whatsoever, however slight, then contaminants are present).
Unfortunately for me, I didn't have to look (or feel) very far""¦

The first image above shows one of a number of stains that
survived the wash process. All were located on the uppermost panels of
the car and most of them felt slightly tacky. My best guess is that they
were organic in nature and most likely deposited from the
aforementioned trees that the car sat under at some point during its
journey to the dealership. The second image above shows speckles of iron
contamination; at first glance you may only see a handful of darker
coloured spots, but if you look more closely you'll see many more, some
of which have turned orange, indicating that the iron filings in
question had already begun rusting in situ.

Is this level of contamination normal for a brand new car?
Unfortunately it is. If you consider the journey my car took from the
factory to the dealership it's actually not that surprising. My car
spent three weeks out in the open, travelling through the industrial
heartland of Europe, and covered several hundred miles of its journey by
rail. The passage of iron wheels over iron tracks generates a huge
amount of iron-rich dust on railway lines and this has a tendency to
stick to train carriages and whatever goods they happen to be carrying.
Indeed, railway dust is by far the commonest form of contaminant found
on brand new cars in Europe.

Moving on with the detail the first thing I did to tackle these
issues was to treat the bodywork and glass with Autosmart Tardis. This
is a spirit-based solvent that cuts through organic contaminants with
ease. It's particularly good at dissolving tar spots, but also works a
treat on organic residues deposited by trees and insects, and has the
added benefit of being an excellent glue remover too (some of the
stickers I peeled off left sticky residues behind). Furthermore, as I
was working my way around the car I also removed the foam pads for the
registration plates; these are only needed if you intend to screw your
plates on, which I never do (I stick them on instead)""¦

After rinsing off the Tardis, which fully removed all of the
organic stains shown above, I set about removing the iron contamination
using Auto Finesse Iron Out,
which is an intensive iron-dissolving gel. As you will see from the
following images, this revealed the true extent of the railway dust
present on the car, most of which was too fine to initially see. The
trick to removing this amount of iron by chemical means is to allow
plenty of time for the iron remover to work. Therefore, I moved the car
inside, soaked it with the Iron Out and then left it to do its thing for
around half an hour. And this is what was revealed during this period""¦

In fact, so severe was the level of contamination that a second
treatment was ultimately required to ensure that every last trace of the
railway dust was fully removed. However, this did the trick and
afterwards the bodywork and glass felt perfectly smooth, indicating that
no other inorganic contamination was present. This was heartening as it
meant that there was no need for me to perform a claying step (a task I
find tedious at the best of times). As such, I moved the car back
outside and gave it a final rinse before moving it inside again and
drying it with our Metro Vac Air Force Blaster""¦

Now for the moment of truth; the paint inspection. With the car
not having been washed since it rolled out of the factory in Cologne I
was hoping that the paint was going to be in perfect condition, i.e.
swirl- and scratch-free. Of course this is never guaranteed because
sometimes such damage is inflicted on the production line and missed
during the final quality control checks, but in most cases if dealership
valeting has been eliminated from the equation then brand new bodywork
should look spot on. And luckily for me this turned out to be the case;
after carefully wiping down all of the panels with GYEON Q2M PREP our 3M Sun Gun revealed zero defects""¦

Unfortunately, though, I did discover one issue; the rear spoiler
was missing a little bit of paint, right on the corner where it meets
the main roof panel. The only logical explanation for this is that it
was caught by the edge of a machine polishing pad on the production
line. I felt pretty gutted when I first noticed the damage but quickly
realised that it wasn't the end of the world; with the spoiler being
made of plastic there was no risk of any corrosion setting in. So, I
simply made a quick trip to the dealership to pick up a Frozen White
stone-chip kit (which they kindly handed over free of charge) and then
touched-in the damage using an artist's paint brush""¦

At this point I decided to call it a day. I'd been at it for over
eight hours (washing and decontaminating a new car properly takes
time!) and I wanted to leave the touch-up to dry fully before doing any
more work. After a good night's sleep I made an early start the next day
and set about protecting the brand new winter wheels I'd previously
bought for the car (due to the more extreme weather we get up here in
Aberdeenshire I run smaller winter rims and snow tyres from Nov-Apr and
larger OEM rims and summer tyres from May-Oct). With the wheels being
brand new all they required in terms of preparatory work was a thorough
wipe down with GYEON Q2M PREP""¦

I then treated the gloss black rims (and bolts) to two coats of GYEON Q2 RIM.
This quartz coating is by the far the most durable wheel sealant we
stock and is ideal for winter protection purposes as it seals treated
surfaces against the corrosive effects of road salt. Even if you don't
plan on changing your wheels for any reason I do recommend taking them
off and protecting them properly from the outset. The following images
show the quartz coating being applied and buffed off, and then force
cured for ten minutes using an infra-red heat lamp. The latter device
simply shortens the curing time of the coating, meaning you can apply
multiple coats in quick succession""¦

With the new winter wheels protected I removed the OEM wheels and
spent several hours cleaning and protecting all of the exposed surfaces
in the wheel arches (e.g. the arch liners, suspension components and
brake calipers). Although our scissor lift makes it easier such work can
still be done a corner at a time using a trolley jack; this is how we
always did it prior to investing in the lift. It may seem over the top
to spend time protecting such areas, but it's easy to do and will help
to keep everything looking fresh for years to come. I used GYEON Q2 RIM on all of the painted and bare metal surfaces, and GYEON Q2 TRIM on all of the bare plastics""¦

While the car was up on the lift I took the opportunity to treat
the underbody with an anti-corrosion wax. I've never tried this approach
to underbody care before, but having observed the toll three successive
winters took on my previous car from new, and in line with the mantra
of prevention being better than cure, I figure it's a method worth
trying out. If the wax I used performs well we will likely add it to our
store sometime next year""¦

Getting back to the detail proper I fitted the winter wheels and then sealed the tyres with GYEON Q2 TIRE.
This product is incredibly good and has well and truly raised the bar
in terms of the durability it offers, which can be extended further if
it is force cured. You can do this in a variety of ways (a hair dryer
set to hot will do) but I simply used our heat lamp""¦

Next, while the car was still up in the air I polished and sealed
the exhaust tips. Again, doing this properly from the outset pays
dividends later on, because it's sometimes hard to fully restore the
appearance of exhaust tips if salt corrosion has set in. I used Swissvax
Metal Polish Fluid to give them a light polish followed by GYEON Q2M PREP to remove the residual oils. I then applied two coats of GYEON Q2 RIM, allowing an hour between them to cure""¦

At this point I headed home for a few hours to see the kids, have
something to eat and take a shower, as I still had a lot to do and I
knew that a very late night was going to be needed to get it all done.
When I returned to the studio I decided to tackle the trims first, using
This flexible quartz coating works brilliantly on all plastic surfaces,
making it suitable for use on light clusters, high gloss mouldings and
textured trims (but not rubber seals)""¦

I ummed and ahhed for a while before treating the honeycomb-style
front grill, as I knew the fiddly design would make the buffing off
difficult. However, knowing that I'd probably get well over six months
of solid protection from a single coat, I bit the bullet and went ahead
and applied a coat of the Q2 TRIM. And, as I predicted, I then had a
nightmare buffing it off, the main problem being that my fingers were
too big to get into the corners of the honeycombs. Having no choice but
to cram my fingers in (until they bled!) and just get on with it, I
spent the best part of an hour carefully checking each honeycomb for
residue with our Brinkmann Maxfire Dual Xenon Spotlight. I may think
twice about treating the grill in this way in future""¦

Next in line was the part of the detail I had been looking
forward to most; adding protection to the bodywork. Deciding on what
last step product to use is arguably the toughest decision you have to
make when detailing a brand new car, because there are numerous
technologies and dozens of products to choose from these days. I suggest
narrowing down your options in two ways. Firstly, consider where you
will be performing the detail and rule out any products that have
stringent application criteria that you cannot meet. For example, most
silica-based coatings must be applied (and left to cure for an extended
period) in warm, dry conditions; therefore, they should only be chosen
if you have access to an indoor workspace.

The second way to narrow down your options is to consider whether
looks or durability is more important to you. If obtaining the best
looking finish is your priority then choosing the appropriate product
group for the colour of your car is the best way to proceed. For
example, if you have a red car then choosing a natural carnauba wax will
always give you a better looking finish than a synthetic sealant.
However, if obtaining the longest lasting protection is your priority
then you may have to forgo a little aesthetic quality in order to obtain
it. For example, if you have a red car then a natural carnauba wax may
well look better but going for a quartz coating will give you two to
three times as much durability. Sometimes a compromise is necessary!

In my case I chose to use GYEON Q2 PRIME
as my last step product. I came to this decision because I value
durability over looks (Q2 PRIME is a quartz coating that offers twelve
months of protection per application) and I have access to an indoor
workspace. However, this decision didn't end up sacrificing any
aesthetic quality, as Q2 PRIME just happens to deliver a really awesome
finish on solid white paint too! For a silica-based coating, Q2 PRIME is
really easy to apply and buff off. Working on small sections at a time,
you simply load up the supplied applicator with product, wipe it on
evenly in an overlapping pattern, buff it off immediately with a
microfibre towel and then finally check the section for smears (with a
torch and a second towel) before moving on""¦

After applying the Q2 PRIME I force cured it by baking each panel
at 60°C for ten minutes using our infra-red heat lamp. As per the wheel
treatment, this was by no means an essential step in the process (I
could have simply left the freshly applied coating to cure naturally for
twenty four hours) but given that the equipment was on hand I opted to
use it""¦

By now it was 2 am on Monday morning so I called it a night and
went home to grab a few hours' sleep in readiness for the working day
ahead. Unfortunately the Monday turned out to be a really busy day at
work and I didn't manage to get back to the detail. However, I managed
to squeeze a few hours in on the Tuesday morning, and this was
sufficient to finish the exterior work off. This involved cleaning and
sealing the exterior glass with GYEON Q2 VIEW""¦

""¦and adding a final layer of protection to the bodywork, in the form of GYEON Q2M CURE,
which is an anti-static spray sealant that adds further gloss and
reduces the mineral affinity of the quartz coating (meaning it helps to
prevent water spotting)""¦

After covering our office in the afternoon I attended to the last
few details on the Tuesday evening. Although the interior looked pretty
messy all it really needed was a systematic clean. I tackled all of the
hard plastic and vinyl surfaces with Auto Finesse Total and sorted out the grubby looking glass with 3M Glass Cleaner.
Although they didn't really need it, I gave the seats a wipe down with
some leather care wipes we've currently got on test. These clean and
protect modern leather upholstery in a single step and will be making an
appearance in our store soon. Finally, I vacuumed the carpets and
fitted the mats (which I had already proofed with Nanolex Textile & Leather Sealant), and voilà, the interior was done""¦

I finished off the detail by affixing my registration plates with
sticky fixer pads (using masking tape to create a positioning guide for
the rear one and a heat gun to warm up the pads) and swapping the front
and rear indicator bulbs for silver-effect ones; I don't know why, but I
have a strong dislike of the way that orange bulbs look in transparent
light clusters!""�


I hope you enjoyed the above write-up and that the information
provided proves to be useful to you in future. Although I used some
items of equipment that you probably don't have access to (e.g. heat
lamp, scissor lift) and protective coatings that necessitate the use of
an indoor workspace, there's no reason why the detail itself could not
have been performed in a domestic garage or even outside on a driveway.
If I had been forced to work at home on my driveway all I would have
done differently is to miss out the underbody protection step and to use
alternative last step products that are tolerant of outdoor use (e.g. Auto Finesse Mint Rims instead of GYEON Q2 RIM and the Auto Finesse Tough Kit instead of GYEON Q2 PRIME).
This would have yielded an equally good result from an aesthetic point
of view and would have laid down enough protection to see the car safely
through to the spring. Therefore, my closing point is this; if you are
inclined to do so then there is no fundamental reason why you shouldn't
detail your brand new car yourself. If you fancy giving it a go but are
unsure about which products to use, drop us a line telling us about the
car (i.e. make, model, colour) and your workspace (e.g. driveway,
garage) and we'll happily make a few recommendations for you to

Thankyou to Polished Bliss
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.