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BMW and MINI Special Detailing Edition: Seven Steps To A Beautiful Bimmer or Magnificent MINI – Step 3 – Use A Clay Bar

Jun 30 14

Special Detailing Edition: Seven Steps To A Beautiful Bimmer or Magnificent MINI – Step 3: Use A Clay Bar

** Click Here for steps 1 through 7

Using a Clay Bar

To get your paint really clean and shiny, we recommend using a Clay Bar Cleaning Kit once a year (available from Autosol and SmartWax). The specially formulated, sticky, clay bar removes grime and pollutants that cleansing doesn’t get. Basically, the clay shears off any foreign material protruding above the surface of the paint, leaving behind a smoother, cleaner base for your wax. On Dave’s 545i that was just washed and cleansed, we noted that the paint surface still felt rough. Time for the clay bar:

1) Soften the clay bar by rolling it between your hands.

2) Spray the clay bar lubricant on a small area. Using light pressure and a straight motion, rub the clay bar in the direction of the airflow. You will feel and hear the clay bar as it works, but it should not drag or chatter. If it does, add more lubricant. The surface is clean when the clay bar slides smoothly over it.

Note: When the surface of the bar gets dirty, simply work the clay in your hands until the dirt disappears into the clay and the clay bar presents a clean surface to work with.

3) Wipe the area with a microfiber towel and move on to the next section. Repeat this process until all painted surfaces have been cleaned with the clay bar.

Autosol Clay Cleaning Kit:


SmartWax SmartClay Kit:

California Micro Fiber Glass Cleaning Cloth:





Bavarian Autosport

BMW and MINI Special Detailing Edition: Seven Steps To A Beautiful Bimmer or Magnificent MINI – Step 2: Cleanse The Paint

Jun 30 14

Special Detailing Edition: Seven Steps To A Beautiful Bimmer or Magnificent MINI – Step 2: Cleanse The Paint

**  Click Here for steps 1 through 7

Deep Cleansing the Paint

The goal of cleansing is to remove dead, oxidized paint and materials such as tar, sap, embedded dirt, acid rain deposits – contaminants that washing alone cannot remove. No matter how expensive a wax you use, you will not get the results you are looking for if the surface is not thoroughly cleaned prior to waxing. If you car is more than six months old, chances are acid rain, water spots, road film, etc. have already started to embed themselves in the paint. Even though you can’t easily see them with the naked eye, these environmental factors are actually robbing your paint of its precious shine. Rub your fingers over the surface. How does it feel? Does it feel totally smooth and clean? When was the last time the paint was cleansed? (Not washed, cleansed.) We recommend any of the paint cleansers by P21S, Zymöl, SONAX and Smartwax. All of their products are highly effective. Here’s how to use them:

1) Using a slightly damp cotton or microfiber towel, apply the cleanser to the surface of the paint and rub in a straight, back and forth motion using medium pressure. (Do not use a circular motion! This can cause swirl marks.) Work on one small section at a time (2 to 4 square feet) so the cleanser doesn’t over-dry and harden.

2) Buff out the cleanser using a 100% cotton or microfiber towel. Tip: Many towels that are labeled as 100% cotton, such as dish towels, actually contain synthetic fibers for added strength. These fibers can scratch your car’s clear coat. Use a towel specifically designed for detailing cars.

3) Repeat this process until all the painted surfaces of the car have been cleansed. How often should you cleanse? If you wax regularly, you will probably need to cleanse just twice a year. Without the protection regular waxing provides, you may need to cleanse more often.

Zymol HD Cleanse:


P21S Gloss Enhancing Paint Cleanser:


Sonax Premium Class Paint Cleaner:

SmartWax SmartPolish:

Zymol Cotton Towel:


Sonax Ultrafine Microfiber Towel, 3-pk:

BMW and MINI Special Detailing Edition: Seven Steps To A Beautiful Bimmer or Magnificent MINI – Step 1: Wash and dry

Jun 30 14

Special Detailing Edition: Seven Steps To A Beautiful Bimmer or Magnificent MINI
Step 1: Wash and dry

*** Click the links below for parts 2 through 7:
Step-2 – Cleansing the paint
Step-3 – Using a Clay Bar
Step-4 – Wax and Buffing
Step-5 – Detailing the Trim
Step-6 – Detailing Wheels and Tires
Step-7 – Maintaining the Shine

Washing Basics

From time to time throughout this newsletter, we quote directly from the Haynes Automotive Detailing Manual. These quotes are reprinted here with permission of Haynes North America, Inc.

“Every detailer will tell you the most common mistake made by average motorists in cleaning their cars is the soap they use. Never use common household cleaners, whether laundry soaps, dish soaps or even hand soaps to wash you car! Household soaps are much too strong for your paint finish, rubber or chrome, and can dull paint and leave light-colored streaks. Always wash with specific car-washing soaps…” [Ed.: We recommend P21S Bodywork Shampoo and Zymol Clear, both of which are formulated to clean your BMW or MINI without stripping any of the essential oils out of the paint and clear coat.  If you are in a water restricted zone, the Eco Touch waterless car wash is a great choice.] “The second most common mistake is washing the car outside on a sunny day. Even in areas where the water isn’t particularly hard [i.e. high mineral content] you will get unsightly, hard-to-remove water spots all over the paint job when the water dries “instantly” on the hot sheet metal, chrome and glass… Wash your vehicle indoors, if possible, or at least in cool shade, and cool the car off with a good rinsing before you begin.”

Note: These instructions assume you have access to a faucet and a hose. If you don’t or local water bans forbid you to wash your car, we offer the environmentally friendly Eco touch car detailing line.  These products are designed to be used without water, from washing to final detailing and waxing.  Alternately, you can do all this at a coin-op car wash. Please don’t use their foaming brush-on-a-stick! There could be sand, tar, oil, etc. in the brush, left behind by the mud-caked 4×4 that used it last. Plus you have no idea what kind of detergent is spewing out of the brush. And be considerate of others waiting in line: once you’ve done your final rinse, drive your car to a shady area to dry, cleanse, wax, etc.


1) First, use two buckets: one containing the car washing solution you have chosen and the other full of clean water for rinsing the dirt and grit out of your mitt, brush or wash stick (below).

2) Using a medium to strong spray from the hose, rinse the dirt off your car from top to bottom. Rinse wheel wells, the undersides of skirts and bumpers, as well as the seams and the crevices where body parts meet (e.g. fenders, doors and bumpers).

3) Wash and rinse one section of the car at a time, starting with the roof. Remember, the goal of washing is to remove loose dirt and road film that sits on top of your paint (removing oxidized paint, sap, acid rain deposits, etc. occurs in the cleansing step), so do not apply too much pressure with your wash mitt because any grit on the surface, or picked up by the fibers of your mitt, might scratch the finish. For this reason, rinse the wash mitt and reload with soapy water often. If the car is especially dirty, you may need to change the rinse water in your bucket once or twice.

4) When you have finished washing the roof, wash the hood and trunk lid. Now rinse these three areas thoroughly with a gentle spray, or remove the nozzle completely and just let the water cascade over the surface. The goal here is to remove all traces of soap. DO NOT LET SOAPY WATER DRY ON YOUR BMW OR MINI. This will not only create unattractive spots, it will leave a sticky film that will act like a magnet for dust and dirt. Plus it will interfere with the bonding of the wax to the surface of the paint.

5) Now wash the fenders, upper side panels and rear of the car, then rinse.

6) Wash the front of the car (grill and bumper) and lower side panels. (These are often the grittiest, grimiest sections. If you wash them first, your wash mitt could transfer that grit and grime to other areas.) Rinse.

7) Spray a wheel with P21S or SONAX Wheel Cleaner and let it sit while you use the OXO tire brush dipped in the car wash solution to scrub the sidewalls of your tires.

8 ) Once the wheel cleaner has had time to work, use a soft bristle wheel brush, or the Power Wheel Brush,  to get into corners, around spokes, lugs, etc. to loosen stubborn brake dust. (You can also use your fingers and a microfiber towel, if you prefer.)

9) Once all the brake dust has been loosened, rinse the tire and wheel. Repeat this cleaning process for the other three wheels one at a time.

Tip: After all wheels have been cleaned, move your car forward one-half of a wheel rotation, so the portion of the wheel that was at the top is now at the bottom. This will help you see brake dust in areas you couldn’t easily see before. Clean as needed, then dry.

10) Over the years, we have found the easiest and fastest way to dry a car (easy because we like easy; fast because we don’t like water spots) is to use a combination of a squeegee and a synthetic chamois. We offer great, non-marring squeegees – for removing large quantities of water from body panels, and a couple of highly absorbent synthetic chamois (the Absorber and the P21S Drying Towel) for removing water from tight spots and cleaning up any drops the squeegee missed. You can’t go wrong with any of these products.

Smart idea: To prevent grit and grime being transferred from a grubby area to a clean area when you dry, we created a kit with three Absorbers: one Absorber XL, for drying body panels above the wheel line, and two Absorber Minis, one for small, clean areas above the wheel line (e.g. windows, side mirrors, etc.), another for the grubby areas below the wheel line (e.g. side skirts, door sills, wheels, etc.).

Tip: Mark the Absorber Minis so you know which one is reserved for the grubby areas.


Ultimate Hose Nozzle:

Wash Stick:

P21S Bodywork Shampoo and Conditioner:


Zymol Clear Wash:


SONAX Car Wash Shampoo:

Smartwax Smartcarwash:

Smartwax SmartOne Waterless Car Wash:

Sonax Wheel Cleaner:

P21S Wheel Cleaner:


Sonax Wheel Cleaning Brush:

Wheel Brush (small):


Wheel Brush (large):

Power Wheel Brush:

BavAuto,, Bavarian Autosport