Four Stages of Paint Surgeon
There is more to washing a car than meets the eye!
The main objective of washing the car is to rid the bodywork of all contaminants while not damaging the existing quality of finish with scratches. Automated car wash machines may be quick and easy, but not only do they scratch paint and fail to clean certain areas, but they are a hugely wasteful in terms of water and electricity. Cleaning by hand with hose brushes and high-pressure cleaners is also likely to cause damage, especially to a classic car. The traditional route of using Chamois leather is also flawed, for it traps grit which in turn can scratch the car, while also leaving streak marks.
The best option is to use a chenille wash mitt in combination with a powerful but environmentally friendly detergent shampoo. The wash mitt is absorbent for water but does not carry grit as the micro fibres within the material are too fine for anything to take purchase. Instead of spraying water wastefully, simply fill a large, clean bucket with 5 litres of warm water, or 10 litres for a large or particularly dirty car. If you live in a hard water area and have a water softener device, use it, for the lathering effect of the shampoo used is improved. Then add 50ml of Foamless or Foaming Shampoo from the Car-Skin Green Clean Range and mix thoroughly. Ensure the water is between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, much warmer and some of the chemicals are in danger of denaturing and becoming less effective. Much colder and you will get chilly hands.
Start from the top of the car and work down, this way the water trickles down over un-washed parts of the car rather than over areas you have already cleaned. Pick a panel at a time, such as the bonnet and cover it systematically, and remember not to apply much pressure - let the cleaning agents do the work. Once you have completed a panel, dry it with a micro-fibre drying towel so that no water marks are left. When using Car-Skin Shampoos, the white marks left by hard water are significantly reduced. Rinse the mitt in the bucket before proceeding to the next panel. Some panels will take more work than others, such as the lower doors and rear wing due to the wheels kicking up mud from the road. Dry to clean the car in a shaded area which will keep the paint cooler and prevent the water from evaporating too quickly.
Once the car is complete, give it a final dry with a micro-fibre drying towel. Drying towels have split ends and an extra absorbent weave, as opposed to detailing towels, which are designed not to absorb polishes or water to the same extent. The next step is to use an intense chemical treatment to rid the paint of invisible contaminants. Use Car-Skin deep clean with a micro-fibre applicator pad, especially on key visual areas of the car such as the bonnet. Remember to remove the excess product after treatment. Now your vehicle is ready for the treatment stage...
The key to achieving what you want is knowing what you want to achieve
There are three broad categories described below - find which one suits your needs and follow the instructions therein.
Light Paint Rejuvenation and long term protection: Ideal for modern cars under 8 years old with good paint that just needs lifting a bit, or for recently resprayed cars that need that added bit of protection. Scroll to section 1 below.
Thorough Paint Treatment and Protection: Ideal for modern cars over 8 years old where the paint has started to fade or decay. Also ideal for cars that have scratches from narrow country lanes or accelerated wear due to hard use or storage in coastal areas. This is also perfect for classics that need bringing back to their former glory to look like they have just had a respray. Scroll to section 2 below.
Paint Repair - Experiance and Time required: This is the most extreme treatment available and is normally used on deep scratches or severely damaged paint. Using Deep Cut Extreme, this process requires considerable care and should only be attempted by an experianced user. If this treatment does not fix the problem, a respray is the only option. Scroll to section 3 below.
For light treatment it is recommended simply to ensure Deep Clean has been applied thouroghly to the entire vehicle following the instructions on the bottle. If there are certain areas where the paint has suffered more, it is recommended to use Deep Cut to remove some surface layers of paint. Deep Allows you to remove very thin layers and it is important to make sure you only remove enough to repair the damage. This can be completed by hand or by polishing machine. Use different micro fibre applicator pads for Deep Clean and Deep Cut and ensure all product has been removed from the surface of the paint before proceeding to the next stage.
This is the most commonly required level of treatment and it uses Deep Cut to remove damaged layers of paint. The first step is to make sure that all Shampoo and Deep Clean has been removed from the surface. Then, using a micro-fibre applicator pad, apply Deep Cut panel by panel. As a very fine abrasive polish with a cut rating of 3 and a gloss rating of 6, the difference between treated and untreated areas will become apparent. The image below is a 1993 Mazda MX5, where the paint had faded dramatically as shown on the left hand side. Two minutes with Deep Cut resulted in the perfect finish on the right hand side.
This should only be attempted by seasoned detailers - the process uses Deep Cut Extreme which is a very powerful cutting compound. The first step is to apply Deep Cut to the vehicle, panel by panel. This will go some way to repairing the paint work and there are some areas that will need no more treatment. For areas that remain damaged after Deep Cut, apply Deep Cut Extreme with a new Micro Fibre pad. Select small areas and focus carefully on the specific areas needing attention. Do not attempt to repair areas where the paint is thin with Deep Cut Extreme, there is a risk it will remove the paint all together. Remember to monitor paint depth throughout treatment. Once treatment has been completed, carefully remove all remaining product. Due to the course nature of Deep Cut Extreme, the paint may appear dulled after use. To return back to a gloss finish, re-use a small amount of Deep Cut and continue to the Protect and Seal stage.
The image below is of a severly damaged Toyota MR2 that was brought back from needing a respray with Deep Cut Extreme.
Protect & Seal
The penultimate stage to the Car-Skin Treatment
Once the paint has been treated and repaired as nescessary it is important to reseal it to protect from the elements.
The first step utilises CS12, which is a polish but with an additional sealing function that chemically bonds with the surfaces created by Deep Cut and Deep Clean. When applied properly, CS12 is designed to offer 12 months protection from all contaminants that commonly affect paint. Far cars kept in coastal regions, where the abrasion of salt is a feature, CS12 is likely to last for 6 months. The same is true for cars that undergo extra-ordinary treatment, such as regular driving at very high speed or daily washing.
Polish & Shine
The final stage will make the difference between a very shiny car and a car ready for shows and concours competitions
There are a number of waxes and polishes available. CS12 establishes a baseline gloss level equal to conventional off-the-shelf polishing products, CS Pro takes this a step further with an even deeper gloss and particularly good colour definition. The newest product, Luxury Wax, takes longer to apply, but the end result is the best physically possible. It is at this point that one should also consider the other aspects of the car. There is no point having paintwork framed with tarnished chrome of misty windows
Car-Skin have a complete chrome repair and polish treatment with Deep Cut Chrome and CS Chrome from the metal surgeon range.
Glass is among the best glass cleaners available, it is perhaps the most impressive product within the Green Clean range.
Rubber will give a natural, dry, matt finish to tyres and window rubbers, adding contrast between paintwork, glass, and rubber that really sets a car apart from the crowd.
The next consideration for a detailer is the interior and engine bay, for which Car-Skin has also designed a range of products as effective as the Paint Surgeon range.
For quick cleaning of your car after treatment both Quick Wash and Rapid Wax will easily return your vehicle back to how it was immediately after full treatment