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Hello all,

I've been wanting to do a full detail on my QX30 but life kept getting in the way.

My Dad had a service station and garage when I was growing up, so I learned as a teenager that I enjoyed detailing cars. 35 years later and I still do.

Today I spent about 8 hours doing a full detail on the exterior. I didn't do the wheels or interior yet, just the paint. Several people expressed an interest in knowing the steps and supplies I use for a detail, so I'll include that information too, as well as some pictures. Let me know if you have questions.

First, make sure you have good materials. The vast majority of the stuff you see at auto parts stores or WalMart is crap. I am a big fan of Detailed Image (Detailed Image - Premium Auto Detailing and Car Care Products). I don't have any relationship with them other than being a customer for 7 years. They also have a great step by step guide in their website. They run a lot of sales, so I only buy when they've got good deals going.

So a full detail is something I do every time I get a new car, then usually one a year in the spring. It's a lot of work but it's also like therapy for me, I turn on the music and get after it.


1. Wash the car very well. I use a two bucket method and a glove/mitt that I rinse in clean water to keep the dirt and grit out of the soap. Towel dry the car. Our water is pretty hard in Katy, Texas, so a good microfiber cloth helps get it clean and ready for the next step, using a clay bar.

2. Clay Bar. This is probably the most important step, especially on new cars. The amount of brake dust (from rail cars) and other contaminants on new cars is amazing. After washing run your hand over the paint. You'll feel grit and it won't be perfectly smooth. That's where the clay bar comes in. Get high quality clay and a good instant detail as your clay lube. I buy it by the gallon. (It's listed below)

So tear off a piece of clay and flatten it out into a thin piece. Spray the quick detailed over the surface and drag the clay over the surface, back and forth. Use enough detailer to not let the clay stick. Use a clean microfiber cloth to clean the area. Run your fingers over a section you've clay barred and one you haven't. It's amazing to see how smooth the surface gets after you do this, and it's also amazing how contaminants area built up on the surface of the car.

This takes time. Do a small to midsized section at a time. I start with the roof, then rear hatch, front hood, then the sides. Keep kneading the clay by pulling it over the section you just used to keep a fresh piece. This is tetitous work, but it's critical for a great detail.

When you're done, look at the car for reminants of clay. Some people say wash the car again, but unless there is a lot, just use detailer to remove it. That leads to the next step, polishing.

3. Polishing. This is tough step, but the most important one to really make the car shine, but also to fix any imperfections or parking lot rashes. I have a rotary polisher that makes the job go so much better. If your car is older it's usually a two step process, an aggressive polish to remove imperfections, then a finishing polish to shine it up. I was just going to do the finishing polish, but I had a scuff mark on my left passenger door (white paint from someone bumping me) and the hood had some small imperfections that looked like spider webs. So I used the more aggressive polish on those areas and then the finishing polish on those areas as well as the rest of the car. I do a section, then use a clean microfiber cloth to remove the left over polish.

Using a polisher is a learned process. There are some great YouTube videos by 'Junk Man' that I highly recommend. They're fun to watch and very helpful. Between detailed image and Junkman, I feel like a pro.

After that step you're ready for a sealant.

4. Sealant. The sealant is what will protect the car and keep the paint looking great. Picking a sealant is really important and I give a couple of suggestions. Use a damp sponge applicator and use a very very thin coat. This is difficult for me. You can do a section at a time, or do the entire car, let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour for a deeper shine. It's a little harder to remove, but it deepens the shine. This is what I did.

For the polish, sealant, and wax, it works best to do it out of the sun. Once the sun came up onto my driveway, I kept putting the part of the car I was working on in the garage, then turn it around to work on the other end. The sealant needs to sit at least an hour before the next step, waxing. Some sealants say wait 24 hours. I've done both and depending on what I have going on, I'll do it either way. Today I waited an hour. Now you're ready for wax.

5. Waxing. Don't skimp on wax. Use a good, carnauba based wax. With a sealant, wax will last 6-8 weeks, but washing and then waxing is all you have to do until next years detailing. Because my car is black, I use a dark colored wax. Use a very thin coating with a damp sponge applicator. I do then entire car, then buff it off starting where I started the wax application. I have two microfiber cloths, to remove the wax, the car other to buff it into a greater shine. Once you're done, take another clean microfiber towel and go back over the car. It'll look awesome!


Microfiber cloths. Have a ton of them and use good ones. Cheapos leave lint all over the place. Use good ones! Detailed Image has great ones and Junkman has another source that's also good.

Car Wash. I use Chemical Guy's Max Suds. It's simply better.

Quick Detailer. I use Chemical Guys Synthetic Quick Detailer and I buy it by the gallons, and put it in 16 oz spray bottles. You want to use as much as you want and run out before you're done. I keep a bottle in my car with a microfiber cloth, helps remove bird bombings and other accidents that may get you while you're out.

Clay. Use good clay! I use DI Accessories Fine Grade Clay Bar 200g. When I'm done I keep them in a ziploc bag.

Polisher. I use a Porter Cable 7424 XP. It's a great polisher at a great price.

Polish. I use Megular's Ultra Cut Compound 105 for the areas that need aggressive paint help, and Ultra Finishing Compound 205 for polishing.

Sealant. Lots of options here. I've used Klasse All In One and Poorboy's World EX-P. Klasse is the best.

Wax. I really lik P21S Concurs Carnauba. It's fantastic. However, since my car is black, I use Poorboy's Natty Black Paste Wax for this detail. I like it okay, but P21S is my preferred wax. The Natty Black was fine, but was hard to remove. It looks great, but I'll probably use P21S for the maintenance waxes every 6 to 8 weeks.

I didn't have time to do the wheels or interior, so I'll do a post when I do it, I have some great stuff for the seats and trim pieces.

So there you have it. Full detail on my Black beauty. Let me know of you have questions. Pictures are below. I wish I'd taken before pictures, especially of the parking lot rash, because it's now gone.

Have a great rest of the weekend all!


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Great detailed post - if I could add when using clay bar if you wash first with Dawn Ultra dish soap it will strip the old wax off. The only time to use Dawn on your car.

I have being using Zanio products ( and for us Canadians a real bonus for 15+ years with great success. I found the name in the Acura NSX, Corvette and a Ferrari forums. If it was good enough for them I'm sure it was ok for my 2002 Chevy Avalanche. I called Zanio with some questions and ended up speaking with the owner Sal we really does understand customer service and had the patience of a saint to explain the process to prepping and waxing a new vehicle to me. A few of my buddies with some nice cars (Vets, Viper, Chevelle SS) have switch over as well. Easy on, easy off and it stands up for the year.

(Zaino Store: Application Tips

I'm not affiliated with Zanio. I just appreciate value for my buck and good customer service.

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Always good to see someone in the community that can advocate for a product since often most people are skeptical till they see someone else go for it and not just some guy on TV or in some show. Now I tend to look at feedback like this and even from guys like Larry at AMMO NYC
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