The owner of this BMW contacted us from Tralee via our Facebook page asking for the paint on his car to be ‘cut’ (heavily machine polished) and the seats inside were also to get cleaned. We booked a date for 25th & 26th (AUG) with the car being dropped off the night before. Taking into consideration the owners requirements, the state of the car and budget we advised upon our gloss enhancement detail with an interior valet and after agreeing on cost we locked the car in for the night and would start work in the morning.
This is a detailed write up on the process, i hope you enjoy!
Upon inspection the car was in the usual un·maintained state most cars of this year are in, it had been through a fair few express car washes by the looks of it. At express car washes harsh chemicals degrade chrome and plastic trim while dirty sponges, wash cloths or brushes abrade the paint leaving behind scratches, swirl marks and a hazy, dull finish as seen below.
First step was to thoroughly wash and clean all exterior surfaces in preparation for machine polishing. A Traffic film remover was applied and let dwell for a few minutes, this product breaks down the dirt and grime making it easier to rinse off.
After a pressure rinse we carried out a soft hand wash using a high quality wash shampoo and synthetic lambs wool wash mitt.
Both number plates and any foam adhesive was removed to allow a complete clean and machine polish of the exterior.
Next the intricate and hard to reach areas are cleaned with a soft bristle brush, microfiber cloth and mild all purpose cleaner.
The side repeaters had lots of dirt trapped behind them and dirt was trapped around the edges of the lenses which is a little detail but once seen can not be unseen LOL
Refitted and a lot better but the plastic lenses were showing there age and would need polishing later. With the exterior fully washed we moved onto the wheels and wheel arches. Again a mild all purpose cleaner was used on the arch liners and tyres with a PH neutral fallout remover on the wheels followed by a bodywork solvent to dissolve any tar deposits. We cleaned the wheel faces only as the wheel barrels were passed rescue and the results that would have been achieved would be sub-par and that time would be better spent on areas that would benefit from it.
Next we needed to remove bonded and embedded contamination, cleaning the paint of impurities that the wash stage would have been unable to tackle. As always tar deposits are first… (exhaust tip would be cleaned and polished later)
Fallout was very present as seen in the colour of the foam and run off on the ground. The fallout remover we use turns purple on contact with contamination.
With the tar and embedded contamination removed the bonded contamination was the last step and this was swiftly dealt with via machine and clay pad.
There was a lot of wax residue that needed to be removed for the detailed appearance to be achieved. For this we used the highest quality toothpick.
We washed the car once again and dried it. Now the car is almost surgically clean and looks miles better for it. Check out them tyres!
Starting at 10 AM it was 2 PM by the time we finished up the exterior wash and clean, taking an half hour tea brake and capturing photos we had about three hours in already.
After lunch the interior valet was carried out and with time pushing on we decided to not take much photos of this process. The interior was dirty but not a total mess.
The seats were very dirty and cleaned up great thanks to our hot water extractor and microsplitter cleaning agent.
With the interior valeted it was time to finish up for the day. In the morning we started machine polishing, the customers requirements for this were to not have a perfect finish but to remove swirl marks and do whatever possible while staying as close to the quoted price.
As with all vehicles the paints originality and integrity is an unknown so to insure the paint was safe to work on we use a paint depth gauge (PDG) this measures the thickness and indicates if the paint is too thin to safely put a machine polisher on. First we read the measurements of the door ledges as these areas get the bare minimum clear coat (top coat of paint) and this would give us a good base line for the exterior paint. 91μm (micrometers) was the average (human hair is around 25μm)
The exterior paint needed to be around 91μm to safely polish and the lowest reading was 119μm so we continued to the next step.
After testing out different polishes, compounds and strength pads we got best results with a medium strength polish and pad on a rotary machine polisher. Here is where we get the term gloss enhancement from, on the left is the original state of the paint and on the right is after machine polishing, while the paint is not flawless the reflection and shine are drastically increased and swirling is also removed.
Another example below shows the benefits albeit in different light it still shows the reflection and shine increased.
After machine polishing
We also finished off those side repeaters with a quick polishing.
After heavy polishing was completed we moved onto refining the finish even further and to keep on budget we mixed the protection stage into this step using an all in one product that lightly polishes, fills in some remaining imperfections and there is also a sealant in the mix. We applied this via dual action machine polisher which left behind and very deep black wet looking finish.
With the paint now looking great we needed to tidy up any polish residue we left behind. This step is key to a truly detailed exterior.
Finished and waiting to go back home to Kerry.
I love the front quarter panel design of the 520.
Thanks for looking!