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Wash failure? Swirls are back.

AL_B Apr 25, 2008

  1. AL_B

    AL_B Well-Known Member Team Daytona Audi S3 DSG

    Clark, Rich,

    Really need your advice.

    If you remember, a while ago I posted up about my concerns over swirl marks.

    See this thread...

    Following your advice I had them corrected by Matt @ Off Your Marks detailing. Who did an excellent job.

    See this thread...

    But over winter I've seriously done something wrong in my wash process/technique and reintroduced the swirls. Which now require another paint correction detail.

    I am absolutely gutted and feel like a total muppet. I am doing something wrong somewhere, and I need to solve it, otherwise I'm just wasting my money getting Matt to re-correct the paint.

    Following the paint correction in October 2007, crappy weather and winter started to set in. I remember not being able to wash the car for 2, maybe 3 weeks sometimes. Due to either time constraints, bad weather, cold or lack of day light.

    I only do about 40 miles on the motorway per day, but the car got dirty quickly. Road grime, salt etc. But when I did wash it, I made sure I rinsed the car throughly with water first. I used a meguairs lambswool wash mitt, Zymol Clear wash suds, a clean water rinse bucket, and what I thought was a light and careful technique with the mitt. Fully rinsed the car and use 1-2 waffle weave drying towels - dab or very light strokes to dry.

    Despite my best efforts the swirls are back, possibly worse than they were before.

    I've had a chat with Matt, and I even had to embarassingly swallow my pride and ask for his time to actually show me how to wash the car.

    But I'm worried about getting it wrong again, and after the paint is re-corrected, inducing swirls yet again.

    One of Matts main points of advice is to pre-wash the car and remove as much dirt from the car before touching it with the wash mitt. I have started to do this since about February when I bought the K'archer foaming lance attachment. I'm using Maxi Suds II at the moment, and I've got some Meguiars Shampoo plus ready to go. I've tried both, but the pre-wash, which I'm doing twice, is just not shifting enough dirt.

    Matt's pre-wash tends to be a warm water based one. As he has a Karcher with water heater built in. I don't have the option of using warm water, due to expense of the professional Karcher unit and can't have a hot water tap fitted outside as the kitchen has just been done. Other than Matt's wash mitts being of much deeper pile than the Meguairs mitt (not sure what brand it is), our technique is roughly the same.

    So I need your advice, can you think of what I may have done that could have reintroduced the swirling, and do you have some advice for the future?

    Matt and I seem to think that not washing the car at least weekly over winter AND not doing a pre-wash during most of it, could be the prime reasons.

    But I need to get the correct process written down, so that once the paint is re-corrected, I can follow it and hopefully not introduce swirls again.

    Can you, (or anyone) advise?


  2. jr001

    jr001 Member


    I've got the same reocurrence on my car, even my wife noticed them from the kitchen window when the sun was shining.

    Missing weekly pre-wash and washes is IMO the reason. I missed several washes too. The only areas of my car to be affected to a noticeable degree are the door panels as they are the ones that catch all the grime getting thrown up. My bonnet is pretty fine, as are the other parts.

    I normally pre-soak with Citrus wash through a sprayer and then pressure rinse off. Then a quick foam and hand wash. But the side of the car obviously gets more dirt and will retain it if washes are missed.

    Yes, I think the answer is to hold religiously to a weekly wash, whcih in the winter months is always going to be a challenge sometimes.

  3. james b

    james b Member

    No matter how hard you try you will pick up some swirling at some point, doing a safe wash will minimise them and the depth, but eventually you will need to re polish the car and re wax, but it would more than likely just need a light refineing polish with a finishing polish and a polishing pad, rather than the compounding etc you had done in the start,
  4. WX51TXR

    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

    Well, it sounds like you are doing everything right, and the inclusion of the foaming step should improve things in the future. However, one thing I note that I disagree with is the frequency of washing during the winter months. I now firmly believe that over washing through winter is a recipe for collecting defects, due to the high build up of road film in short spaces of time. Easing back to washing once (very carefully) every couple of weeks (or longer) is better than trying to remove the road film on a weekly basis. Leaving grime in place on top of a layer of protective wax/sealant will do no harm (as long as the paint is not rubbed in any way). However, moving a mitt over road film on a regular basis will undoubtedly induce marring, and so by simple logic, the more often you try to remove road film the higher the chances of inflicting marring, which will then aggregate to produce visible swirls.

    As James says above, minor swirls are largely inevitable over time particularly on darker colours - that said, you should be looking at 6-12 months between light polishing sessions with a product like 85RD. My usual routine is to clay and polish in the spring, because it is likely that most defects (and bonded ****) will be acquired over the winter months. Have you considered investing in a dual action polisher yourself? Buzzing the bodywork with a fine finishing polish like 85RD is very safe and very easy, and should be enough to nip out minor swirls and marring without removing much paint; you'd be lucky if you took off half a micron at a time with 85RD on a polishing pad by dual action. In the long run, this would save money over using professional services on an annual basis, and would enable you to act whenever the swirl load starts to get on your goat. Just an idea!

    Other than the above, there's not much else I can say; that fact that Matt has shown you how to wash says to me you are now doing it right, so there is little more to change other than using hot water (which does make a very big difference, but which is very expensive and difficult to implement). Hope that helps a bit, I appreciate it must be frustrating. :yes:
  5. AL_B

    AL_B Well-Known Member Team Daytona Audi S3 DSG

    Wow Rich, you have been busy. Just noticed you've gone through all threads and replied to everyone - nice one.

    Not sure what to say on that one. It's quite a change in approach. I understand your theory and it sounds like a reasonable idea, but what's the best product for removing a substantial 2-3 weeks of grime in a non-contact pre-wash? Also without removing the wax?

    Yes I have considered buying a dual action polisher. As much as I like Matt and fully appreciate the top-notch job he does, it is expensive getting a professional to do the work. A DA polisher would be much more cost effective.


  6. WX51TXR

    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

    To remove heavy winter grime, particularly after several weeks, requires a fair bit of foaming through a pressure washer and patience. I tend to foam my car 3-4 times over the course of half an hour or so when I'm forced to wash the car at home during the winter, and only then do I start the hand wash procedure. Allowing the grime to become saturated and the foam wash to loosen it takes time, but is well worth it, as by the time the hand wash is started the panels are a lot cleaner. Then it's a case of washing very gently and changing the rinse bucket after every 1-2 panels. Patience, patience, patience! :thumbsup:
  7. S3 Big Andy

    S3 Big Andy Stealth Beast Baby Yay

    I would like my car detailed is there a company near Reading that can do it??
  8. WX51TXR

    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

    There will be plenty; if you visit www.detailingworld.co.uk and ask in your regional section, you will get a list of companies provided. Take the time to check out their work in the studio section, and their own portfolio's before taking the plunge. There are a lot of good detailers in the south of England, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding someone. :icon_thumright:

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