Wayne Estrada's Vehicle Exterior Detailing Procedure

This section covers exterior detailing on the XJ-S, although it's applicable to every Jag. Originally a post to the XJ-S Lovers list, Wayne has graciously allowed JAGBITS to post it here for everyone's benefit.

1) Wheels Start with the Dawn dishwashing detergent. Really, thus stuff is gentle on wheels--better than those "spray" cleaners like Eagle One. They say on the bottle "leave on for 60 seconds and rinse". Presumably more than 60 seconds will cause damage? Also never put on a hot wheel. Ever taken a whiff of the acrid smell thus stuff makes on hot wheels? (OK, I don't follow directions) Seems corrosive to me.

The XJS wheels (lattice) are no fun to clean and get dirty in front quickly(like, duhh, Wayne). A moderately stiff brush and Dawn work great. Spray down the wheel with water throughly and lather up once, rinse, repeat(sounds like a shampoo treatment). I like the "green" (Wesleys brand)wheel cleaner better, but only if the wheels are cool, to get any stubborn stuff off. Do the Dawn first, squirt it with Wesleys and let set for secants, then rewash with Dawn and rinse throughly. Your wheels will be clean at this point. Don't clean hot wheels. A small sponge is good forgetting the last little bits off.

Although it *gathers* dirt, a very thin wipe down with WD40 puts a nice glean on the wheels. Its also easier to clean next time around. Never put wax on the wheels.  Heat transfer from the (front) disks turns the waxed finish a yellowish green.  I know this from wheels on another Jag.

If the wheels are dirty, so are the tires, you just can't see it. Give the tires a good scrubbing too until you don't see brown foam. The silicone spray you mentioned Paul is one of my best detailing tricks. I think in the States it's sold as "Snap-On" brand silicone spray. Look for it with the foamy tire cleaners. Its a black can with silver writing. Silicone puts a perfect sheen and re-moisturizes the rubber. Armourall (etc.) just shines the surface, and also last longer than STP, etc. Once every 3 months, take the wheels off the car and clean the inside of each wheel. You'll notice a big difference in appearance where you can see through the wheels (i.e. lattice wheels).

2) Bumpers and Rubber This silicone spray is also the greatest on bumpers and all external rubber, including the strips around the glass and the black plastic at the door handle, black plastic below the grill, etc. Best of all, many of us have that whited-out look on the rubber strips around the mirrors. I almost replaced my mirrors until this trick.  Here's how--spray it on, let it sit 5 minutes, wipe it off and spray on again heavy, but let it sit overnight. Next day, spray lightly, and wipe, rubdown the rubber to a new gloss. Same trick works on Bumpers too. For convertible owners, also use it on the third stop lamp plastic on the trunk/boot lid--same technique.Does wonders on the front spoiler too--same technique for all.

3) Paint I could write a book on this, and its getting late, and I'm boring all you patient people. Bottom line, Zymol car wash is the best IMHO. Do NOT (damn I used caps) use a sponge or rag to wash! Ever!! It will scratch the surface. Buy a car wash brush--found mine in Barrington's catalog (about $25). Gentle bristles lift dirt off the surface and never scratch.Had my VDP painted 2 years ago using this method and there is not one scratch on the surface due to washing and paint still looks brand new.

When it comes to wax and polishes (and I do not work for them either) the only name is Maguires. Its used by every Concours car owner in the world.Its too lengthy to explain here in nausiating detail, but:

Step 1: Start with their "Cleaner/Wax" (maroon bottle). Go over the car in wash cloth sized areas. Remove every tiny spec, dead bug, tar, etc. Don't rub hard. Gentle circular motions a little at a time. Wipe off each little section before going onto the next. Do the *whole* car, and if you haven't done a really good job on the paint in a while, do the whole car again--same method.

Step 2: Use their "Yellow Wax", same small sections, over the *whole* car. Only use cotton terry towels to wipe off and turn towels frequently. A foam applicator works well. Don't use offset orbital machines. Every great finish I've ever been around is a hand job (don't go there...!) If you want to learn from the real paint finish masters, go to an American HotRod Show. These guys are the best and know all the tricks. The Yellow Wax Moisturizes the paint and will make it darker/richer looking.

Step 3: Use Maguires "Hi-Tech Finish" polish. Same small areas, use a foam applicator (use different applicators for each wax). This stuff will NOT go on unless the surface is perfectly prepared or it will "blotch" onthe finish and your rag. If this happens, go back to steps 1 and/or 2.

OK, back to real work. If anybodys interested, I'll talk about making your engines, along with leather, etc., look like new some other time Sorry this was so long, but hoped some of you benefited from it.

Wayne Estrada
President, Richmond NET
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Copyright 1999, Wayne Estrada

Also See:
Engine and Engine Bay Detailing Procedures

Interior Detailing Procedures and Leather and Wood Care

Exterior Detailing Procedures for the Immaculate Jaguar

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