BMW E92 M3 by Scene Clean Valeting

E92 M3 Pre-wash Aaron Brooks
As with all detailing processes, the first step is the pre-wash - in this case using snow foam.

This stunning German super saloon is a regular visitor to us for general wash downs and tidy ups. This time however, after many discussions with the owner, we were finally given the go ahead to get this car looking how it should.

This started with cleansing the freshly refurbished wheels to remove the brake dust from both inner and outer faces of the wheels. We used a citrus pre-wash to cleanse the wheels in combination with an assortment of wheel brushes and wheel woollies. This allowed us to access all the areas of the wheels (including callipers), cleaning them thoroughly without causing damage.

The car's number plates were carefully removed and placed to one side for safe keeping. Citrus pre-cleaner was misted onto the lower side, rear, and nose of the M3 to help soak heavier build-up. The car was then covered in a layer of foam pre-wash and left to dwell for 5-6mins in order to break down and loosen surface dirt that had accumulated. A 1" detailing brush was used to agitate dirt and grime from intricate areas such as badges, grills and window seals. The car was then pressure rinsed thoroughly before moving onto the bucket wash.

The two-bucket and grit guard method was adopted, accompanied with a high quality wash mitt and shampoo to gently clean all surfaces safely.

After a further rinse the car was inspected, which identified a substantial amount of tree sap bonded to the car - as shown on the image below. It is vital to remove contaminants like tree sap as soon as they appear to avoid it causing damage. The whole car was treated with a solvent tar and glue remover. This both softened the tree sap and removed the tar-spotting around the wheel arches and lower portion of the vehicle.

A fallout remover was applied with a hand-pressurised sprayer and left to dwell for 4-5mins. The chemical reaction with ferrous particles was demonstrated by it turning deep purple. These ferrous particles are dissolved into a water-soluble state, thus allowing them to be removed easily with rinsing.

The remaining specks of tree sap needed more focussed attention to remove. A microfibre towel was misted in tar remover and laid over the sap to ensure there was a proper interface between the solvent and substrate. After a couple of minutes they had loosened to the point where they could be gently wiped off. The whole car was then thoroughly rinsed to remove any tar remover, with the excess water dried to prevent it interfering with the next step of the decontamination process.

We tested the smoothness of the paint surface by gently running gloved fingertips over the wetted paint. It was clear the third and final step for decontamination was going to be essential on this M3 as the paint still felt rough and inconsistent. A surface prep towel was used to effectively remove any remaining contamination to ensure the panels were as contamination free as possible. Paint overspray and other stubborn contaminants were removed by the polymers within the towel, which act as an abrasive to lift the contaminants from the paint surface, leaving it smooth and contamination free. The car was then covered in a layer of foam and rinsed off to remove any residual products and detritus from the decontamination process. We then carefully manoeuvred the car into the unit and used a drying towel and warm filtered air to dry the car. The delicate trim, rubbers and other fragile areas were then masked to prevent polisher damage during the correction stages.

The second stage of polishing was completed using Koch Chemie M2 on a black Lake Country CCS pad. This stage has a finer cut, boosting gloss levels and removing fine marks and marring. Whereas the first stage was mostly about removing marks in the paint, this stage was more about refining the finish and boosting the gloss. A single set of 6-8 slow passes with no pressure was sufficient to achieve the finish we wanted.

Once complete, we buffed and examined the surface with a super soft, edgeless microfibre to ensure we hadn't missed anything. With polishing complete, the M3 was ready to be waxed. We discussed the various protection options with the owner - some want the ultimate wow factor, others prefer durability and reduced maintenance requirements. A first coat of Desire was applied thinly and evenly across all panels of the car using a Waxmate applicator. By using overlapping circular motions to spread the wax we ensured all areas were covered consistently.

In this case, he wanted a balance of both, so we used two waxes, both from Auto Finesse, Desire for durability and Illusion for ultimate gloss. This was then left to cure for ten minutes before buffing with a clean microfibre cloth. The cloth was worked in straight lines and turned frequently to prevent it becoming clogged with remnants of the wax. Once the first coat of Desire was buffed, it was left for an hour before the process was repeated with a second coat. During this time we attended to a few smaller touches of the detail. All exterior plastics were dressed to return them to the factory satin finish, adding protection at the same time. This car mostly had gloss painted black trim as opposed to bare plastic, so it benefited from the same protection process as the rest of the vehicle.

The honeycomb grills in the front and rear bumpers were misted with Auto Finesse Dressle. This allows greater coverage of these awkward areas. Any excess that come into contact with surrounding paint were then wiped away with a microfibre misted with a quick detailer. Dressle was also misted onto the plastic arch liners. Other exterior trims, such as 'M' emblems found on the front wings, were dressed with Gtechniq T1 Tyre&Trim - the product provides a durable satin finish. Wheels were cleared of dust with a few light mists of quick detailer and a gentle buff with a fresh microfibre. Gtechniq T1 was used on the tyres creating an as-new appearance. Door shuts were given a wipe down using a quick detailer and the exterior glass was cleaned to remove polish dust and splatter.

Then a durable hydrophobic glass sealant was applied to increase visibility during wet conditions, maximising safety whilst driving. The exhaust tips were polished by hand using Auto Finesse Mercury to restore a high-mirror shine. With these smaller touches completed, it was time to apply the second layer of wax. The benefit of layering Illusion over Desire is that you get the high show gloss of the show wax (Illusion) combined with the durability of the protection wax (Desire). Once the Illusion was applied, cured, and buffed we did a final wipe down using a quick detailer. This removed any remaining wax residue and revealed a perfectly presented, streak and swirl free Imola Red BMW M3.


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