Have you ever wanted to detail your car from start to finish? Well we're doing a special series of Autoblog Detail videos taking you step by step through a complete detail in 10 sequential episodes, working on a 2008 Hyundai Sante Fe. Remember, not all cars will require every step nor will each have the exact same paint damage or interior stains. So the goal here is to follow along through the next 10 episodes to understand the detailing process flow and how to effectively and efficiently restore your car.

Watch all of our Autoblog Details videos for more tips on car cleaning and maintenance by professional detailer Larry Kosilla. While you're at it, check out Larry's other video series on how to diagnose, fix, and modify cars, Autoblog Wrenched!
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[00:00:00] Have you ever wanted to detail your car from start to finish? Well, we're doing a special series of Autoblog detail videos taking you step-by-step through a complete detail in 10 sequential episodes, turning this 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe from this to this. Remember, not all cars will require every step, nor will each have the exact same paint damage or interior stains, so the goal here is to follow along through the next 10 episodes to understand the detailing process flow, and how to effectively and efficiently restore your car. The first step is to diagnose the paint, and setting up the tools for the job.


[00:00:30] That and more coming up on this new series of Autoblog Details. Although most of you will be working on your own car, it's still a good idea to take a quick walk around the paint to make sure there are no surprise dents or new scratches. Because this is a customer car, the walk around is even more important because it helps me determine the tools I may need for this particular job. The goal here is to inspect the paint for the types of issues you'll be facing very soon.


[00:01:00] The most common are swirls, spiderwebs, or what I call love marks. These are typically caused from improperly washing, drying, or overly touching your paint. If you find deeper scratches, they may require heavy compound and possibly wet sanding to remove them, if they can be removed at all. A quick test is to rub your fingernail across the deep scratch. If the nail catches, it most likely will not come out 100%, so keep this in mind as you compound. When looking at paint depth and quality, it could be helpful to only have one source of light directly in line with your eyesight.


[00:01:30] Turn off the overhead lights and use a paint light, or a paint pen, to see what may not have been obvious when the floodlights were on. Next, I lightly feel the paint with my hand. Does it feel like glass, or is it rough and bumpy? If you're having trouble feeling the subtlety, use a regular Ziploc baggie over your hand and then gently feel the paint. The bag enhances the sensitivity. If it's rough, then we'll need to clay the paint before polishing, but keep that in the back of your mind until later.


[00:02:00] Paint depth gauges are amazing tools for pro detailers that allow us to measure the depth, or thickness, of the paint in mils, which is one thousandth of an inch. It's important to understand paint, and specifically clear coat, is extremely thin, about the thickness of this piece of paper. Over time, compounding and polishing removes thin layers of this protection until it breaks, or burns through, the clear coat, and the only solution is to repaint it if this should happen. So avoiding this mistake is critical to a pro detailer.


[00:02:30] So, if you have one, they're great. But don't stress out if you don't. Borrow one, or just be extra careful as you compound your paint. My goal with this car is to remove 80 to 90% of the paint defects, freshen up the engine, and clean and decontaminate the interior. This is not a show car detail, but a car that simply needs some extra love and attention to extend its useful life. With this in mind, let's think about how we can do it properly and safely. For this, we're gonna need some tools. Gathering all your tools ahead of time can be a huge time saver.


[00:03:00] Here's an idea of some of the tools you'll need, but don't worry, we'll go over all these in detail as they're used. Another quick tip to make this process much more enjoyable is if you have all your tools organized in one location, in a cabinet or a box, or just the corner of the room, so you're not scrambling around the garage looking for supplies. First, open the doors and remove all items from the car, and place them in this found-in-car plastic baggie if you're working on a customer car, or directly in the garbage if it's your stuff.


[00:03:30] While removing all the items, take a quick visual inventory of the interior condition. Do you need to spend more time on certain areas or pretreat stains? In most cases, I'll remove and shampoo the floor mats to allow them ample time to dry while the rest of the detail is underway. If the mats are extremely dirty and you need to heavily scrub or soak them, be sure to leave them leaning up against the wall to drip-dry. Pointing a fan at them will also help wick the fibers quickly.


[00:04:00] Even if they don't need to be scrubbed, remove them and store them off the ground to avoid sitting in a puddle of water later. With step one complete, we can now tackle this detail in a thoughtful approach to maximize results with the minimum amount of time required. For step number two, we'll be focusing on the engine and how to clean and restore it safely. To see the next step, visit autoblog.com/details. I'm Larry Kosilla from ammonyc.com, we'll see you on the next video.



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