Last weekend I sponsored Midwest Mazdafest 2009. The event coordinator asked that I detail his '04 RX-8 for the event. Since this is more of a show car, it was already in pretty good condition. The paint had some swirls but I was able to knock most of them out with a 2-step. On to the details...
The first step was to give it a thorough wash. The wheels, tires, and wells were all pre-treated with Optimum Power Clean (3:1) and agitated with various brushes. All lower panels, jambs, and the front end were pre-treated with a mild APC. The body of the car was then washed with 3 oz. of Optimum Car wash and 1 oz. of ONR in 4 gallons of hot water. A grit guard was also used. After pressure-rinsing the car, I clayed all glass and painted surfaces with Clay Magic blue clay and ONR diluted to clay lube strength. The car was then pressure-rinsed again. To dry the car, I used my 225-mph leaf blower which does a great job of not only drying the vehicle, but also getting the water out from every nook & cranny. Once dry, the car was moved into the detail bay and taped up for polishing.
The swirls were hard to capture with the halogen lighting but in person they were visible. Again, the paint was in pretty good condition overall.
I performed a couple test spots with Menzerna IP and also SIP as the paint seemed to be pretty hard. Both Menzerna polishes I tried seemed to really grab the paint so my next test was with Optimum Compound, version 1. With the Makita and a yellow Meg's polishing pad, OC performed as I had hoped. Not only did it not grab the paint, but it also knocked down the swirls. Here is the back door after polishing with OC. The rear quarter-panel has been polished and wiped down.
Once I was finished going around the car with OC, I then used Optimum Poli-Seal on the PC with another yellow Meg's polishing pad to insure there were no halograms. PS really adds a lot of gloss to the paint. Here you can how I leave OC on the paint and then come back with PS over it with the PC.
After buffing off the Poli-Seal.
After finishing the polishing stage, the car went back into the wash bay for another thorough wash. This helps to remove any splatter or other polish dust. Once dry, I moved the car back into the detail bay for a coat of Optimum Opti-Seal; glass included. Not only does it provide good protection, it's extremely easy to use and gives the paint a nice glow. After sealing, I gave it a quick wipe-down with Duragloss AquaWax. I hadn't used AW in a while so I decided to get familiar with it again. Once the paint was finished, I dressed the tires with DP Tire Gel.
Moving to the inside, the interior was vacuumed, plastics and leather were cleaned with Woolite & Water (6:1), and then everything was dressed with Optimum Protectant Plus. ONR was then used to clean all the glass inside and out.
Day of show:
Thanks for looking!