Here we are looking at a single full day detailing session on this Range Rover Evoque, a 2012 model with just over 50,000 miles on the clock. It's worth considering the age and mileage here as part of the background story. I had already carried out a couple of Service Cleans, my most basic package, on this vehicle, this year and I strongly recommended that the customer opted for some kind of Detailing service at some point.
The paintwork was very flat, as it hadn't been polished in anyway for sometime. Of course, my Service Cleans provided some kind of protection in the form of the polymer based finishing sprays I like to use, but these are still just mere cleans. Over the years I have dealt with customers that want to opt for a 'wash only' regimen, understandably looking to keep cost down, but the case study on this vehicle supports my arguement that there comes a time where every car needs deep cleaning and specialist polishing. It's natural. This car had endured long cleaning intervals, and visited the local car wash when it did get cleaned, before the customer first came to me. The phosphorus and sulfuric based cleaning products that these places use are excellent at cutting through road grime very quickly, but in the long run can damage chrome and plastic trim, and leave the paintwork gasping for hydration as its natural oils are stripped away leaving it porous.
One issue that this particular car had was that the brake pads had been run incredibly low at one point, the resulting corrosive metallic dust that emitted was quite literally cooked onto the wheel due to the high temperatures that exist around the brakes when in use. Not cleaning it away quick enough did not help the situation. A plan of action was discussed with the customer on my first visit.
The plan was to remove this wheel so that it could be given a deep acid clean to remove all of the deposits not only on the face of the wheel but the inside areas too. Unfortunately, my jack did not raise the car high enough to clear the wheel from the ground, due to the height of the suspension. Try as I might, jacking from the sill and the rear differential, I had to make compromise. The customer was rather lenient with this, as long as the face cleaned up well he was happy. Personally, I would have liked to get the inside looking good too, so this may have to be tackled another day. Oh well, at least the car benefitted from checking the tightness of all the wheel bolts.
Acid based products are not very nice to have to use, and I only bring them out as a last resort. Not only is it a risk to myself should it come into contact with myself, despite my PPE, but also there is a risk that prolonged exposure to the painted surface may cause discolouration. The product was worked and agitated and a second clean was carried out with fallout remover. This proved to be far more time consuming than I anticipated, even just to clean the face, so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that I couldn't take the wheel off, as cleaning the barrel would have taken even longer. When quoting for a job, or selling a set package, I am essentially estimating an amount of time, multiplied by my hourly rate. If the job takes an extra 15, 20 minutes that's fine. Yet once I start approaching 1 hour, 2 hour plus above this, not only am I working unpaid for that extra time, but I am not being compensated for the product consumption used during that time.
11am came and gone and I was starting to worry. I am a stickler for timing on these kinds of jobs, I like to have the prep work done and be onto machine polishing at the 12pm mark, but at this point I had barely put a wash mitt to the bodywork. A good snow foam down, three bucket wash method, fallout removal treatment, tar spots removed with panel wipe and a clay bar treatment saw me giving the car a dry down at around half past 12, ready to start taking paint depth readings.
Paint depth readings came back good, in fact this car lies in the 5% of all cars that I work on that had no respray work done to it, at the time of writing. A hint for those that do not know, paint depth readings are essential. If the paint is too thin, you have a pronounced risk of striking through the lacquer when machine polishing, and if panels stand out as being too thick, you could be dealing with underlying filler and repairs of unknown quality.
My first test section involved the Flex PE14-2 150 model rotary polisher with a soft finishing pad and fine grade polish. This brought about a shine, but did not cut defects such as immediately noticeable swirls and marks as much as I'd have liked. Working with a rotary means increasing the cut of your pads or compounds correlates with an increased risk of inflicting holograms, a scouring radial defect also known as buffer trails. As this was a single stage polish job, a second refining stage was not viable, so the Flex VRG 3401 came off the subs bench and with a slightly stronger compound and a medium cutting pad, the marks were demolished a lot easier. The Vertool 12e polisher was used on more intricate areas due to it's advantageous 75mm polishing pad fitment lending well to this type of task.
After a certain amount of sets and repetitions, the polishing pad will become clogged with spent polish and dead paint residue, resulting in decreased performance and even more dust being flicked around everywhere. The Universal Pad Washer gets my pads cleaned off and ready to get back in action very well with minimal downtime.
The polishing stage was completed, with Krystal Klean Detail SiCoat applied. This is a Silane infused wax blend for durable protection and increased shine. The weather was very changeable this day, with strong sunshine one moment and rain the next.
The plastic trims were treated with AUtosmart Smart Trim, the wheels given a liberal coat of Opti-seal, and the paintwork and glass given a further treatment with the polymer spray that I use on all services, to further layer over the top of SiCoat.
It's impossible to take a car that hasn't been pampered for years, and make it perfect. But I do try.