Detailing and Concourse Prep
There are many different car care products available so, F7 Garage tests and compares products for a number of factors including harshness to delicate car surfaces to durability and appearance. Only the best products are selected for use on our customer’s cars. Likewise, the best approach to detailing a car is a matter of opinion but, F7 Garage has adopted certain standards we believe maximize efficiency and deliver the best results. Below is a basic outline of how F7 Garage prepares a client’s car for show:
- Clean the engine compartment and undercarriage: It's a good idea to do this first, to avoid splattering grease on an already cleaned car. We protect the windshield and fenders during this process to prevent splashing and damage.
- Wash the car using an automotive-specific cleaner and a sponge or mitt designed for use with automotive finishes. We don’t use dish soap, it's too strong. We start by cleaning the wheels, to avoid getting brake dust-infused water all over an already-washed car. For extreme detail jobs we remove the wheels and tires to clean them on the inside and also clean the brakes and rotors. Then, we work our way from the roof down. We rinse the car as we go to prevent spotting. It's also a good idea to wash indoors or in the shade, as water will evaporate quickly from a hot surface and leave soap spots and streaks on the paint.
- After thorough rinsing, we blow-dry the car first to remove excess water from hard to reach areas that may drip on the finished surface later. Then, we hand-dry with a chamois or high-quality microfiber towel.
- To clean surface impurities takes some expertise to judge the best method for the specific situation from, using a quality polish with light abrasives to a clay bar. It is always important to lift sap or stains from the paint before polishing. Whatever the situation, it’s best to follow the directions on the packaging or seek guidance from and experienced professional like the team at F7 Garage to ensure a good finish and to avoid damaging the paint.
- Wax the car: Work in the shade or preferably a climate controlled environment. Wax will dry too quickly on hot paint, and will cause hazing and other ugly imperfections. Apply the wax in thin coats to small sections of the car, buffing the area with a clean micro-fiber towel.
- Clean the interior including the trunk. Clean the door jambs, hinges and the backs of the doors. Vacuum the carpets. Clean any spots or soiling on the carpets with a carpet cleaner suitable for the specific type of carpet, then vacuum again to ensure the carpet fibers are gently lifted and able to dry uniformly. Use a soft cloth dampened with warm water and a small amount of very mild soap to wipe down vinyl and plastic surfaces. For leather, use a leather cleaner and conditioner.
- Apply tire dressing only after the tires are completely dry. Wipe excess dressing so tires have an enhanced and supple look but not wet or greasy.
- Clean the glass: Don't use Windex or other household cleaners, as they may be too harsh or may leave streaks. Use an automotive glass cleaner with a clean micro-fiber cloth to apply and clean and a separate clean cloth to dry for a streak-free finish. For cleaning Lexan windows or plastic convertible top windows use a cleaner specific for that purpose to prevent yellowing, scratching or other damage.
- Look over the car's details. Make sure all wax and other residues are removed from corners, around emblems and surrounding surfaces. Check under the hood to make sure everything is dry and all components have an as-original appearance.