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Cosmetic Maintenance: Washing, Waxing, Detailing, Bodywork, Protection Anything related to keeping your Camaro clean and in good cosmetic condition.

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Old 06-15-2009, 10:24 AM   #1
Steve P
 
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FIRST DETAIL: '10 Camaro SS #4768

I first met Number_9 at the Classic Chevy's dealership Camaro Launch party. After talking about his future new arrival, I offered to assist in the first detail treatment once the new car was delivered. Since this car was traveling by rail from its Canadian origination, more than likely the car was coated in even more graphite and dust while sitting in the rail yard. From some of the previous new car deliveries I have seen, I made it very easy to understand that having the "make ready" dealership people wash the car could be the worst thing that he could have done unless he wanted free swirls and fine scratches in the new paint job. As I explained, what most people don't realize is that while the graphite particles look like fine dust, they are large enough to do serious damage to a paint job. This is especially true for paint jobs that have a clear coat applied, like his brand new Camaro.

Based on my conversation with Number_9, he decided to start off on the right foot and not have his paint job ruined before his SS even left the lot. Most dealerships get a new car and then immediately pull it into a stall to have it washed. This is a good thing, right? Wrong! Why? Because they don't take the time to remove the graphite and dust before they wash the car. Instead, they grab a sponge, some soapy water and start washing away... all the while rubbing the graphite and dust around on the paint. Typically, people wash cars with circular motions and when you combine a circular motion with road film, fine dust and improper washing tools you get circular scratches in the paint. This is why you see brand new cars with swirls in the brand new paint job. After talking about some washing tips before delivery, he was not going to let this mistake happen with his new car, and the dealership understood completely. In fact, from the moment he got to the dealership that morning, he was in charge of his car.

Once he had taken delivery of the car and drove it home, it was time to make arrangements to confirm the steps that he should follow to ensure that the car was "made ready" properly. After talking with Number_9, I decided that the dark color of his paint, along with his not letting the dealer do anything to the car, made his situation ideal for a step-by-step "make ready" how-to... and I wanted to handle it personally. He was floored! My idea was simple. I would use his car to create an example of how to ensure a new car's paint job does not fall victim to the graphite and dust it brought with it to the dealership.

So, that Sunday 6/7/2009, I showed up at his house and proceeded to teach him things that he said he never knew about washing a car. After some initial prep work, he felt he had been doing it wrong the entire time. (He couldn't help but be really thankful that the he and his son went to the dealership's Camaro launch party where we met). The process started with removing the plastic from inside the car (at last!) and then a light surface rinse to remove loose graphite, dust and dirt on the outside. Something he learned here is that cleaning the wheels/fender can be done prior to the washing the body itself. This approach minimizes transferring dirt and graphite back to the paint and potentially damaging the finish. Once the car had been lightly rinsed with low pressure water, I swabbed the surface with soapy water using straight strokes to minimize any scratch infliction. The 2-bucket method(1 bucket with soapy water, 1 bucket with rinse water) helps to minimize scratches as well. He also learned something here too as I rinsed the ShMITT foam wash mitt using after each panel to remove the graphite/dirt. You would rinse your mitt to remove the dirt after swabbing each panel in the clean rinse water bucket. This reduces adding the surface dirt to your soapy water bucket.

After swabbing the entire car down with soapy water, it was time to rinse the car again and move on to using the clay bar. He had never used a clay bar before, much less seen one used. For those that don't know, and he just learned this himself, a clay bar is used to remove surface contaminants that make the paint/surface feel gritty or rough to the touch. You can place your hand inside a plastic baggy to determine the need for a clay bar. If the surface feels rough or gritty through the plastic bag, it is suggested to clay the surfaces. After using the clay bar on all the major flat (horizontal) surfaces, it was time to rinse the car again. After this rinse, I dried the car with a microfiber waffle weave drying towel that is designed to absorb the water without leaving scratches on the paint. Once we had the car dried, we moved it into the garage to let the surface cool down before applying the Tropi Care-2B "Crystal Black" Carnauba Creme wax. He had never seen black wax before but that's what it is, dark black liquid car wax that's designed for cars with darker paint jobs.

Using a soft Lake Country foam wax applicator and minimal amounts of the wax, I wiped down all door jambs, hood/deck, lid, ledges and trim area. He was really surprised by a couple of things here... one, how little wax you really have to use to do the job right. Two, how little pressure you have to use to properly apply the wax. He felt he had been doing things wrong and working too hard in the process. Waxing a car can actually be a fun labor of love. Once the wax dried and we had buffed it off, I dressed the tires with water based Tropi Care TC-15 tire/rubber dressing. He liked his tires clean but he didn't want them sliding down the road or splashing tire dressing onto the paint. After cleaning the wheels, I went back over the car using detail spray.

The final paint inspection and wipe down with detail spray was the last step. Once I was done with that, it was time to admire the work and snap some pictures of the car. After I was on my way and the car glistening in the late afternoon sun, Number_9 decided to capture the finished results at a local industrial park to take some pictures of the final product.


He took over one hundred pictures throughout the day. From start to finish, the entire process took about 5 hours. It was really amazing to watch the transformation, as his car went from gorgeous to absolutely stunning, and he definitely learned alot of new tips and tricks.

Questions/comments welcomed.

Last edited by Steve P; 06-15-2009 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:38 PM   #2
beowulf80
 
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Nice! Another reason I'm glad I ordered IBM.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:14 PM   #3
EarliestMemory
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Looks great! Do you do anything differently for the stripes? Would you if they were matte finish vinyl (as mine will be)?
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Old 06-15-2009, 03:42 PM   #4
Mason44
 
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Looks great and its a good thing he didn't let the dealership clean the car.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:20 AM   #5
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Useful information for people still waiting.

Useful information for people still waiting.
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