Ebony black, novice needs advice
Hi, I'm new to the serious detailing world, I used to think I knew how to clean a car but forums like this have shown I know nothing!
I need advice as to how to improve the finish on my a4 quattro sport (2000/w) in ebony black metalic. I've just bought the car and the previous owner was an audi service manager. Hence its regularly had a supagard treatment. Since owning it I've just added an autoglym gloss sealant and it does look great.
But having read more on forums and looked at polished bliss I'm wondering if it can look better. My main concerns are the odd little scratch, nothing major but be nice to get rid of some, and what I assume is tar/ road deposits along bottom of doors/ wheel arches. This you really can feel, it's rough and is visible on close inspection.
My idea is to do the following but I'd love advice as to what people think I should do. I can't justify the cost of a professional machine paint restoration process so all would have to be done by hand on my drive. I want a good finish and one that will last as although my car is washed once a week I only have time to wax etc every 6-8 weeks.
1. Clay bar using meguiars quik clay (never done clay bar before but have read that megs is a good starter one)
2. Blackfire gloss enhancing polish - will this take off all the wax/polish/supagard, is it too harsh? As the finish at the moment is impressive for an 8 year old car, is this one step back too far, should I skip this step and just go to three? How often would I have to do this polishing step? Everytime I do a major clean/ seal / wax?
3. Blackfire Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection- i read this now has a ploycharger, not exactly sure of the benefit but I had considered Carlack 68 Long life sealant but didnt like the idea of having to mix a polycharger h20 to it everytime. So is the blackfire good for me? write up on Polished Bliss seems good.
4. Finally will Blackfire Midnight Sun Ivory Carnauba Paste Wax benefit the finish. It's pretty pricey but if it's going to add something I'll treat myself.
So that's it, apologies for the long post but any advice would be appreciated especially from anyone who uses these products or recomendations for other products, or from any of the polished bliss guys who I believe read this forum. Also if I was do do all the steps above, would I have to do them all again every 6-8 weeks or so or could I just do the sealant and wax for example? That's it, questions over!!
1. Clay bar using meguiars quik clay (never done clay bar before but have read that megs is a good starter one) - Fine, but don't buy the kit from Halfords, too expensive. Just get the clay bar. Make sure you also apply tar remover after your claying stage. An important step to help get the paint as smooth and level as possible.
2. Blackfire gloss enhancing polish - will this take off all the wax/polish/supagard, is it too harsh? As the finish at the moment is impressive for an 8 year old car, is this one step back too far, should I skip this step and just go to three? How often would I have to do this polishing step? Everytime I do a major clean/ seal / wax? - Don't skip this step. This has cleansing agents that will remove previous chemical layers. Not to be used on the same areas often as it will remove your protection that you've just applied!etc. You may need to carry this step out twice to begin with though just to make sure you've got the SG off consistently across panels. The surface is now ready for protection. By the way, you can use this on your rims too and it will help bring their finish up to a greater shine and level of decontamination.
3. Blackfire Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection- This is a synthetic sealant protection layer. You can multi-layer this as per instructions. This will add to the look of the paint and multi-layering will increase the wetness. It will also provide extra protection too.
4. Finally will Blackfire Midnight Sun Ivory Carnauba Paste Wax benefit the finish. It's pretty pricey but if it's going to add something I'll treat myself. - Your protection has been applied (layered) in Step 3 therefore adding the wax on top is not necessary really. I'd personally skip this step out and invest the money in lots of microfibre cloths, because you are going to need quite a few. There will be lots of buffing of chemical residues from the previous steps. Expect to fork out the same amount of cash in cloths instead of getting the wax. Get a gallon of Megs Last Touch Quick Detailer spray too, for applying and buffing after washes. The QD can also be diluted 1:1 for your claying stage and is superb value for money. You should not be without this if you are seriously interested in keeping your finish good.
Also if I was do do all the steps above, would I have to do them all again every 6-8 weeks or so or could I just do the sealant and wax for example? That's it, questions over!! - Only Step 3 needs to be carried out every 6-8 weeks. Personally I'd try and get 3 coats of step 3 on within the first month. It's worth it. After that, top up every 6-8 weeks if you want, but I think you could aim for 4 or 5 coats in total TBH. I think that would offer ample protection until next Spring/Summer. I personally think you'd be better off making sure your wash technique is good and you just use the QD spray after washes for a little gloss enhance, buffed with plush MF cloths.[/quote]
Hope this helps. Richard may add on or two points of note soon though when he gets the time.
Steps 1 and 2 are the absolutely crucial ones as these are the surface preparation stages to help ensure that your protection has the greatest chance of good consistent bonding for longer.
Good Luck - and make it enjoyable in the fresh air!
Last edited by jr001; 15th August 2008 at 00:42.
Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to reply. That kind of info was exactly what I was after. Am glad I wasn't too off the mark on what I should be going.
Like you say, I think I may skip the last wax stage for now and invest in a lambswool mit and microfibre cloths to ensure I get the basics right.
What is the purpose of megs last touch quick detailer spray? I know it can be used as a lube for clay barring but what does it do after each wash? Surely the car is shiney from previous polishes and layers of sealant?
Is the quick detailer just an extra little something to brighten up the finish that may not be as good as the day the sealant was originally applied? Is is easy to apply and buff off? I assume you decant it into a spray bottle and just use a cloth?
Apologies for more questions, but all your help is much appreciated.
Sorry, one more question. I realise that step 2, the polishing shouldnt be done too often as I'll be removing all the hard work and sealant I've applied after. So how often should I do it? Once a year? With just the sealant every 6- 8 weeks?
cheers in advance!!
Just to add to what John has already wisely suggested, and to address your subsequent questions:
1. If funds are tight, definitely skip the wax and get a proper wash kit, including suitable mitts, drying towels, buckets, shampoo, etc. If you fail to get the washing done safely and effectively the rest of the effort will be pointless. I would suggest looking at the Basic or Advanced Wash Kits on our site, choosing the Blackfire shampoo if you fancy the look of the Wet Diamond sealant (I personally think this is an excellent choice for your car, as it will give great results and last well).
2. Quick detailing with Last Touch at the end of the drying process after washing will ensure no water marks or spotting are left behind, and will boost the gloss a touch (as you guessed). It is also an ideal clay lube as John suggests. You do indeed just spray it on and buff off with a soft, plush towel - dead easy!
3. I would aim to wash weekly, top up the sealant every 6-8 weeks and clay/polish twice a year (spring and sutumn are sensible times to do this).
Thanks so much for the reply Rich, you've been a huge help.
With regard to the wax, I wouldn't say funds are tight, I just want to spend wisely. If it's beneficial I'll treat myself, but equally if it won't add much to the appearance I'll spend money elsewhere.
So far I reckon I need:
megs quik clay
Basic wash kit: 2x washmits, waffle towel, blackfire shampoo
Blackfire gloss enhancing polish
Blackfire Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection
Megs last touch detailer
sponge applicator pads(?)
Wow that's gonna add up? Anything else you think would be good?
Rich, I take it that you can supply all this by post (heavy parcel!!)
One last question, I've been recommeded by another company that Zaino Z-8 Grand Finale Spray Seal is the best spray seal, any opinions?
thanks again, james
Hi james, the list looks fine, adding a Lake Country German CCS Polishing Pad for use with the Gloss Enhancing Polish would make sense, as would a Lake Country CCS Applicator Pad for use with the Wet Diamond. For buffing towels I would recommend a triple pack of Poorboys Deluxe Mega Towels. There is nothing else essential I can think of, and a spray sealant isn't essential, as Last Touch will do a nice job anyway - that said, both the Blackfire Deep Gloss Spray Sealant and the mentioned Z8 are great products, so are good optional extras if you like the look of them. However, it might be wiser to look at wheel protection and a tyre dressing rather than the spray sealant? This is the only area lacking in your line up as it stands...
Thanks so much, my next question was going to be about applicator pads. I'll be placing my order online this evening so your time spent has been worthwhile and I do appreciate the time you have spent advising me.
With regard to the wheels, if I'm honest they don't warrant expensive detailing at the moment. They are 10 spoke quattro sport alloys and although not kerbed at all the lacquer on the polished rims has lifted and the wheels need refurbishing. Until this is done I'll use budget products on them.
My last question is regarding wax and sealant on top.
If I were to use 'Blackfire Midnight Sun Ivory Carnauba Paste Wax' am i then stopping myself from reapplying 'Blackfire Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection' in future weeks as I'll be sealing the wax in and you shouldnt do this?
But its ok to apply megs quick detailer, Blackfire Deep Gloss Spray Sealant or Z8 on top of wax. I read on your site that the blackfire sealant is safe over wax, but what about the others and the 'Blackfire Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection' mentioned above.
Sorry for all the questions, your help is really appreciated though!!
All ordered from Polished Bliss late monday night, parcel arrives Wednesday lunchtime. Great service, many thanks.
Hopefully we'll have good weather this bank holiday weekend...
looking forward to the results mate
me too, hopefully weather dependent, I'll post pics over the weekend.
Last weekend was spent doing diy and gardening so I'm allowed a whole weekend of car pampering this forthcoming bank holiday!!
sorry to hijack this thread a little, i have read this with interest, my car is brilliant black (non-metallic) would the same treatments/method be good for my car too?
i only ask because i think that ebony black is metallic isnt it?
Ebony black is metalic, although in some lights almost has a pearl to it. I'm no expert, as you can tell by all my questions on this thread but the Blackfire stuff seems to be good for solid black too. This is just from what I read in the sticky at the top of this forum 'what to use on solid black etc'.
Very informative thread and well worth a read, helped point me towards what I bought. Am sure someone far more knowledgeable will reply soon!
any pics..how did the detailing go..