Detailing Tips

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by DougS026, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. DougS026

    DougS026 Formula Junior

    Oct 4, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Full Name:
    Doug S
    Okay, I've had my car for 3 weeks now. I guess its time to get out from behind the wheel and start detailing it. I've never done a full detail before, just the usual wax and cleaning. I guess I never had a car worth the effort before!

    What do you guys use for wax, cleaning the leather, dressing tires, etc? How about the engine bay? Any special tips? Anything I should stay away from?

    What's your opinion on touching up the leather? My red leather is in decent shape but shows its age in a few places. Do you use dye to touch it up or leave it as is to show some "character" as one person told me?

    Thanks in advance.
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  3. Perfusion

    Perfusion F1 Rookie

    Oct 16, 2004
    Marietta, GA
    Full Name:

    First of all, congrats on the car - it must be a great feeling! Second, let me declare that I am not professing to be any sort of detailing expert, but rather just someone who enjoys and can appreciate a nicely cleaned paintjob and interior.

    Wax - there are as many opinions on which wax is the best out there as there are shades of grey. I personally prefer the Meguiar's brand of waxes available at just about any local autoparts store (Pep Boys, Kragen, Autozone, Checker, etc.) as well as places like WalMart, etc. Their "Gold Class" wax is my favorite, although their "NXT" wax is very popular as well. I've found, however, that the NXT was slightly more difficult to remove (more so on darker colored cars), but it does leave a mighty fine shine. Longevity is pretty good. Others might suggest looking at products from a company called "Griot's Garage" - I've not used them personally, but from what I've heard, they have a good reputation...maybe just a little on the pricey side. There's another product out there called Zaino that has an almost cult-like following in some automotive circles. Its shine and durability are near-unmatched, but it is not a true wax - it's a polish. On top of that, it's pricey, is only available on the internet and from independant distributors (i.e., individuals who work with the co.), and the initial application process is WAY more involved than many people want to deal with, so I'd suggest sticking to the easier and more readily available stuff. For what it's worth, I asked the guys at Silicon Valley Auto Group what they were waxing the yellow Enzo parked on the showroom floor with, and they said "Blue Coral" - basically a readily available, commercial grade wax.

    Leather - the best product family I've found so far is from a company called Lexol. They make cleaners/conditioners for leather, and they come in either an orange or a brown spray bottle - very easy to spot at the store. *Some* local parts stores carry them, but not everywhere. I've actually also seen the stuff at tack shops (places that sell equestrian-related stuff...saddles, etc.) and feed/hay stores. Your local Fcar dealer may also have it - I first saw it at Ferrari of Scottsdale, and that's how I got into using it.

    Tires - I've found you just have to try different products out and go with the one that works best for you. Some people love the dripping wet, shiny black look, while others like a more subdued tire shine. It's all personal preference, I suppose. Meguiars makes a tire shine, as do companies like Eagle One, Mothers, etc.

    Glass - as far as I'm concerned, the ONLY product out there for glass is made by Stoner and it's called "Invisible Glass." It comes in an aerosol can with a yellow cap. Best stuff I've ever used - I use it on both my car and the wife's, and all the windows on the house (that I can reach), inside and out.

    Engine bay - I use a shop vac to get rid of surface dust, and then stick to Simple Green, a rag, and some elbow grease. I've always been nervous of steam cleaners.

    Hope this helped! As always, your mileage may vary, but more importantly - try different products out and go with what you like best. Some are more about shine while others are more about long-term protection. It all depends on what you're looking for. I would suggest starting out with the Meguiars, Lexol, and Invisible Glass products and see if they don't give ya' what you're looking for... Best of luck!
  4. ylshih

    ylshih Global Moderator
    Global Moderator Advising Moderator Honorary Owner

    Mar 21, 2004
    Northern CA
    Full Name:
  5. prancin horse

    prancin horse Karting

    Aug 22, 2005
    Naples Florida
    Full Name:
    The stuff from Griots garage is fantastic. May be a bit expensive for some but I get great results. Used to be a big Mothers fan till I tried this stuff and will never go back. They offer all products for every area of your car. They have a how to detail book thats cheap and gives you the basics for proper detailing. Their speed shine is awesome for inbetween washes and I buy it by the gallon I like it so much. Congrats on the car!
  6. Mike C

    Mike C F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Aug 3, 2002
    Southeast USA
    Full Name:
    Mike Charness
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  8. ferrarigtofan

    ferrarigtofan Formula Junior

    Sep 26, 2005
    I recently purchased a tire product that is not a spray, but rather a wipe on. Similar to self applicator shoe polish, this tire product is not overly shiney and does not get onto your fresh wax job. I can not recall the exact name, Eagle something, purchased at Autozone.

    Leatherique gets high marks and is the official Rolls Royce product. My interior is nearly mint, but I do apply a bit of Leatherique a few times a year for maintence purposes.

    Q-tips, you'll need a box of them.

    I also recently purchased a package of detailing brushes at Autozone, came on a blister pack. Now I have various widths and stiffness brushes to get into tight areas, it was about $8.00.

    I use Mother's wax, it works well. I did not like the NXT, but many people swear by it. My Ferrari is a fair weather only vehicle, so the protection issue is really moot. My findings with waxes from woodworking are, the harder the wax, the better it wears, but it has less shine than a very soft wax.

    Recently there was a discussion on microfiber towels, if you are intending on purchasing towels I would steer you in that direction.

    If you are not entering contours events, consider you will be doubling your effort for a 10% improvement on the vehicles apperance, which no one can see at 65 mph. Most people look at a Ferrari and think 'nice car', unless you encounter a car buff that is also willing to spend ten hours polishing their ride, your extra effort is strictly for your own satisfaction.

    Clean the engine as infrequently as possible, water and electronics are a bad mixture. I tarp my engine when I wash my car to prevent the engine from getting wet, once a year, if needed, I clean my engine. I would only wash the engine if it is hot and sunny out so as to have it dry as fast as possible, leaving the engine bay open for an hour or two to dry out.
  9. DougS026

    DougS026 Formula Junior

    Oct 4, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Full Name:
    Doug S
  10. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
    Full Name:
    Driving at over 120 mph on a race track straight during the rain usually does a great job at cleaning the car :)

    Use Zymol products, but there are a TON of 'which wax os best' threads, Please use the search function.
  11. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    Cumming, Georgia
    Full Name:
    Franklin E. Parker
    I like products from They are a little pricey, but worth it IMHO.
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  13. Ed P.

    Ed P. Formula 3

    Dec 28, 2002
    Long Island
    Full Name:
    No Longer
  14. kev 355

    kev 355 Formula Junior

    Jul 26, 2005
    Burbank, CA
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