In this guide:
- Learn the professional tips and tricks to transform your maintenance routine into an enhancement detail.
- Discover the best products to clean, enhance, protect and finish almost any vehicle in a day.
- Master extra processes from every detailing stage to get better results than ever before.
What are the benefits?
- In detailing, these simple processes can add up to a whole lot more.
- You can adapt our tips and tricks to your vehicle to get a deeper clean and much better finish.
- Enhancing and protecting your vehicle with a few extra steps, sets you up for the season and makes future maintenance a whole lot easier.
Transform routine maintenance into an enhancement detail with this collection of our top tips…
Bank holidays are made for detailing, that’s just a fact. We mean, just think about it, you get a whole extra day to pamper your pride and joy, how good is that? It also gives you the time to push your game to the next level, getting your vehicle to a stage where - possibly for the rest of the season - everything else is a simple case of maintenance.
The truth is that, with a spare day or so and the correct products, you can complete a single-stage enhancement detail, and still have plenty of time left over to deep clean your interior… adding a few quick, albeit vital, finishing touches along the way. And all this is without going as far as to dip into the realms of full multi-stage correction… although with a day or two more on the cards, we can show you how to do that, too.
But, back to the perfect bank holiday enhancement detail, and rest assured it’s all to do with being thorough in your cleaning and decontamination, using the correct abrasives for refining and enhancing your paint, and getting it all protected to safeguard your work for the coming months… oh yes, and all this will make your whole vehicle look amazing, too.
Here’s our bank holiday bonus tips and tricks to transform your maintenance routine into an awesome enhancement detail this weekend…
Stage 1: The Wet Work
There’s no doubt about it, going that extra mile here will always pay dividends later on. After all, a true enhancement detail is about one thing – going further and deeper than you would when performing routine maintenance.
The wash stages are where you prepare for the final stages and, although the exact products and processes used will always vary due to the level of contamination, there are plenty of little extras that may not always be carried out on every wash, but will see you well on your way to detailing glory.
Effective wet work is simply the basis for all the processes that come next, and an effective pre-wash is always carried out to do as much as possible to avoid inflicting swirls and other defects during the contact wash. When performing routine maintenance, we’re also extremely carful not to strip away any protection layers along the way.
Now, while it makes sense to avoid the swirling here (more swirls mean more polishing later), protection layers will have to be reapplied after polishing anyway, so saving these during your wet work isn’t the priority when carrying out an enhancement detail. And this means that, very often, slightly stronger dilutions and products can be used over what you’d choose during maintenance.
Wash Stage Tips and Tricks
Fully Decontaminate Your Wheels
Of course, we always start any exterior detail with wheels, but as we’ll be applying wheel protection later (yep, spoiler alert!), safeguarding wheel sealants and coatings comes secondary to getting the deepest clean and decontamination possible. In this case you can also use even stronger cleaners and decontamination products than usual to shift the grime, ingrained metal particles and sticky residues. A 1:2 dilution of Verso All Purpose Cleaner and neat ObliTARate Tar & Glue Remover are not the usual maintenance products, but can be very useful here.
Obviously, a great decontamination can be carried out with the wheels attached to the vehicle, but to really go that extra mile, removing each wheel allows you deep clean the parts that you can’t usually reach. With your wheels off, always work the barrels first followed by the faces, we’d recommend using Iron Out Contaminant Remover brushed in with a little Revolution Wheel Soap this will shift the embedded metal and the rest of the grime. After rinsing, follow this up with ObliTARate agitated with a microfibre cloth to remove tar, rubber and sticky residues.
With one more rinse and you can add your tyres to the cleaning list, a strong dilution of Verso over the whole wheel and tyre will not only be perfect for scrubbing into the rubber (ridding them of grime and old dressings), but will also neutralise any left-over solvent from the ObliTARate.
Because the vast majority of wheels are painted or powdercoated, you can treat these just like your paintwork, going so far as to clay them, too. Then they will be fully prepped for a wax or coating of your choice.
Deep Clean Those Arches
We’d recommend flushing and brushing your inner arches on any wash, that goes without saying, but after removing wheels, you’ll have far better access to get at every last contaminant. Again, Verso is your friend here along with Dynamite Traffic Film Remover, a strong 1:2 dilution of either, brushed into arch liners and suspension components, will get the deepest clean possible. You can also follow this up with Iron Out and ObliTARate to ensure that all of the tougher contaminants are removed.
When the cleaning is done, and the grime is thoroughly rinsed away, a good helping of Dressle All Purpose Dressing is ideal in this area, simply spray (with arches still wet) and walk away.
Decon your Exhaust
One of the most often forgotten part of any vehicle during maintenance is the exhaust, but the good news is that decontamination here is easier than many think… especially as you already have the correct products from cleaning your wheels.
Using Iron Out on exhaust tips gives an extremely effective decon, simply spray on and brush in using a Barrel Brush (or Mini Barrel Brush), followed by a detailing brush. This will remove all of the soot and grime, leaving the tips perfect for a thorough polishing later.
Decon and Degrease your Door Jambs
Ridding the door jambs and shuts is often forgotten during maintenance and we’d always recommend a good brushing with Citrus Power Bug & Grime Remover before you start any pre-wash. But, because we’re not worried about degrading protection here (yes, becoming a bit of a theme, isn’t it?), even more heavy-duty products can be used to really get in there with your Detailing Brush. Eradicate Engine Degreaser, along with stronger dilutions of Verso and Dynamite are all useful for cleaning away the heavy grime and grease often found in door shuts - just spray, brush in and rinse away.
Get a load of extra bite in your pre-wash
There’s various ways of getting even more cleaning power in your pre-wash, especially when maintaining protection layers isn’t a priority. These can vary from using a 1:2 dilution of Dynamite with Avalanche Snow Foam over the top, to actually using Verso as a pre-wash cleaner. You can even use Verso in your Snow Foam Lance to ensure it cleans and flushes all panel gaps. Simply add 100ml or so to your Avalanche solution, spray on and brush into your grilles, along window rubbers and any fiddly areas as usual.
Deep Clean Your Exterior Plastics
One other great tip for Verso is to use it after your contact wash on exterior plastic trim. By spraying on and agitating with a microfibre cloth, matte plastics are deep cleaned, and all reminisce of old dressings will be removed, ready for application of a trim dressing later in the finishing stages. Yes, it’s versatile this one, the clue really is in the name.
Add in a 3-stage Decon Wash
It goes without saying that it’s best if paintwork is fully decontaminated before any sort of polishing takes place. We always recommend a full 3-stage decontamination to ensure that surfaces are free of contaminants that can’t be removed by washing alone. This includes utilising Iron Out to chemically dissolve any sharp metal shrapnel (often derived from brake dust) embedded in clear coat layers. ObliTARate is the product of choice for sticky residues - this powerful solvent-based formula melts these away with ease.
When it comes to heavily contaminated vehicles - for example cars that haven’t had sufficient protection for a few months – it makes sense to get a little more bite from your Iron Out and ObliTARate. Gently agitating with a microfibre cloth or Polish Pad, will help free up the most stubborn particles, allowing them to be wiped or rinsed away. And, as for the clay stage? Well, that’s practically agitation anyway, isn’t it?
Stage 2 - The Enhancement
Enhancement is exactly what it says on the tin, you’re looking to remove oxidation, marring and light swirling, and further refine your paintwork to a level where it deserves the best protection.
You can, of course opt to hand polish here, our Handi Puck with a Microfibre Spot Pad, or Revitalise Spot Pads will be mighty effective for swirl removal and enhancement… but given that it’s a bank holiday weekend, and you’ve got the time – we all know that the machine polisher is going to be no.1 on your list.
Enhancement Tips and Tricks
Clean, Enhance and Protect with Tripple
Right, so we’ve said that our bank holiday enhancement will include a machine polisher, such as our DPX Dual Action Polisher or MPX Dual Action Polisher, but it’s important not to get this stage confused with full paint correction, which is a more time-consuming process often involving multiple stages of cutting, polishing and refining, along with a whole host of products designed to get paintwork to a better than factory finish.
For a devastatingly effective enhancement over a matter of hours (as opposed to days) Tripple All-in-One Polish is the answer. It’s also a master multitasker, allowing you to carry out deep-down cleansing and refinement – along with adding a little carnauba wax-based protection – in one simple step. In fact, Tripple combined with a soft Revitalise No:3 Pad (or a Revitalise No:2 pad on harder paint types) will bring back an impeccable shine every time.
Don’t forget the smaller areas
The nature of machine polishing is that there will always be the odd area of paintwork that’s a little tight for a machine with a large 5-inch pad. Think A-pillars, spoilers and such. But, this is where our new MPX machine comes in, this is supplied with both 5 and 3-inch backing plates making it ideal for use in conjunction with our Revitalise Spot Pads on smaller areas of paintwork.
For the tiniest of curves, contours and awkward areas, hand polishing with Tripple on a Microfibre Applicator or microfibre cloth is the best option, you’ll find that all these small areas always add up to make a huge difference.
Remember it doesn't stop at your paintwork
Don’t forget that polishing and refinement isn’t just for paintwork, there are plenty of other areas that can benefit from a spot of machine or hand polishing.
Gloss plastic trim is notorious for picking up swirl marks for starters, but this can be quickly and easily removed with Tripple and our MPX polisher, or even hand polished. These products are also great for enhancing carbon fibre trim, too.
Another area that can make a huge difference is headlights. Plastic items can often become faded, oxidised and discoloured but they can be brought straight back to life by hand or machine polishing with Tripple.
Finally, your glass. It doesn’t take much for windows and mirrors to become stained and tired, and this can quickly let down any detail. Vision Glass Polish is the answer to these woes as it provides a double hit of mechanical cleaning (through abrasion) and chemical cleaning to break down the most stubborn stains and grime. This special abrasive can also remove or obscure fine scratches to restore clarity.
Stage 3 - Interior Cleaning
It’s true that interior maintenance is often limited to a vacuum and a quick spritz over with our hugely versatile Total Interior Cleaner and the reason for that is that simple – that’s what maintenance is all about!
For an even more thorough deep-clean though, there are a few other tips and tricks that will push that cabin onwards and upwards...
Interior Tips and Tricks
Deep clean your leather
Shiny leather is actually dirty leather and that means that seats and steering wheels will need to be cleaned periodically to remove bodily oils and staining. Hide Leather Cleanser is a user-friendly, mild glycine-based cleaner designed to break down these, along with ingrained dirt deposits, penetrating the pores and leaving leather fresh and clean, even under the surface.
Alternatively, on extremely contaminated leather, working in a 1:5 dilution of Verso with an Upholstery Brush will thoroughly degrease surfaces, giving a great occasional decon.
Tackle The Commonly Forgotten Areas
When was the last time you cleaned your headlining, or pulled out your seatbelts for a thorough wipe down? The truth is that these areas are not only commonly forgotten, but they tend to be the places that hold the most odours, particularly from pungent foods or cigarette smoke. The good news is that these are extremely simple to clean effectively, using nothing more than a little Total or Verso in a bucket of hot water.
Dip in a microfibre cloth, wring out until it’s damp and then wipe over the surfaces, before blotting away any excess solution with a fresh cloth. For removing spot stains a 1:10 dilution of Verso can be sprayed on directly.
It may sound simple, and to be fair it is, but a bit of extra care in these areas can make more difference than you might think.
Sanitize Your Vents
Our Wipe Out Interior Disinfectant is a master cleaner for use on areas that see a lot of human contact, particularly steering wheels, interior door handles and gear knobs. Proven to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria, it’s perfect for use during any detail, but it does have another important use. Spraying Wipe Out directly into heater vents is a great way of sanitising an area that’s notorious for bacteria build up, not to mention the only way of actually reaching deep down inside!
Polish and protect the hidden areas
Back to those inner door shuts and sills, these can be further cleaned and enhanced using Tripple on a microfibre cloth or Microfibre Applicator. In other words, our trademark All-in-One Polish will remove oxidation and staining, refine paintwork, gloss plastics and carbon fibre, and leave behind a layer of carnauba protection, just like it does on your exterior.
The Finishing Stages
There are of course, a few thoroughly indispensable finishing products, such as Finale Quick Detailer, Crystal Glass Cleaner and Satin Tyre Crème, that should always be utilised during routine maintenance, it almost goes without saying. We understand too that finishing is both a personal thing as the products you use often depend on the car. We would say though, that in our eyes nothing beats the glow of a wax. It’s the very reason we developed our range of Signature Hard Waxes, which cover just about every paint type and finish.
A hard wax will not only further enhance the finish of your paintwork, but is perfect for adding durable protection after polishing with a carnauba infused product like Tripple. For a true deep, glossy look, we’ll always take a wax over any other finisher.
As for some handy finishing tips, well there’s plenty more you can include with your bank holiday enhancement…
Finishing Tips and Tricks
Get the wet, glossy look
Your hard wax can be applied straight over surfaces polished with Tripple, and we can guarantee that it will look amazing! But, when it comes to getting an even wetter, glossier look, an application of Ultra Glaze Paint Glaze in between can work wonders here.
Ultra Glaze is a non-abrasive, acrylic polymer-based formula that not only adds to the enhancement of paintwork – deepening dark colours and bringing new levels of fire to reds. But it also actively works to fill and obscure fine scratches and defects for an even more flawless appearance. This ‘easy-on, easy-off’ paint Glaze can be applied by hand or with your machine polisher to give a true show car finish.
Protect your wheels
No other part of your vehicle has to stand up to such extreme abuse as your wheels, and let’s not forget that we’re generally looking at painted or powdercoated surfaces here, so it stands to reason that these will need tougher protection than most.
This is why we developed Mint Rims Wheel Wax, a synthetic, high temperature wax that’s formulated to be tough enough to repel harsh contaminants like salt and brake dust, but gentle enough for use on any wheel finish… even the most sensitive polished and anodised ones.
What’s more, Mint Rims is perfect for this kind of detail, because like any wax it massively enhances the look of the surface, while offering plenty of protection. A good application inside and out is all you need to make those rims shine!
Bring those plastics back to life
Faded plastic trim, especially on older vehicles is one area that quickly spoils the appearance of any detail. This sort of fading is caused mainly by UV exposure and can only be rectified with a dedicated restoration products, like Revive Trim Dressing.
The good news is that Revive is extremely easy to apply – just wipe over with a Foam or Microfibre Applicator, before buffing off any residue – and it will instantly bring trim back to life by darkening and restoring colour and leaving a factory satin finish. Revive’s silicone-based formula is also water resistant and contains advanced polymers that protect from future fading. Safe for use on all exterior plastics, this really is one of those wonder products that can make all the difference in next to no time at all.
Clean and enhance window rubbers
Apart from a good brushing in the pre-wash stage it’s true that window rubbers are often forgotten when it comes to finishing – but they can be enhanced using Verso. A quick spritz on a microfibre cloth worked into the surface will remove staining and light abrasions, leaving a top-notch factory finish.
Make your pipe shine
Polishing up brightwork, chrome and bare metal wheel lips is no doubt the perfect finishing touch to any enhancement, that’s the thing about detailing you see – the smaller details really do matter!
One other area that should never be forgotten is the exhaust tip – this is like the ultimate of ultimate finishing touches. In a way it shows you’ve dared to go the extra mile.
The secret is our Mercury Metal Polish a formula that cleans and polishes in one simple step, removing oxidation and bringing back the shine. Just apply a small amount to a Microfibre Applicator or cloth, work into the metal, wipe away and buff – it really is as easy as that. For extremely contaminated tips, when a little extra bite may be needed, our even harder-hitting Mercury Xtreme Metal Polish is the answer.