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Author Topic: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions  (Read 12424 times)

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Offline Too Stroked

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Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« on: May 10, 2012, 10:11:54 AM »
You?ve probably come to this web site because you?re either already into detailing or you?d like to make your vehicle look better. (Of course we can?t rule out the fact that some folks come here because they?re fully over the top OCD.) And that?s exactly what this web site was created for. Several guys who learned how to detail over many, many years found some folks with similar skills and decided to share not only what they did, but how they did it. So in our various forums, you?ll find lots of posts with questions, pictures, problems and answers.

A few of us started thinking that there were actually a number of fairly common problems that we run into all of the time. This leads to lots of new posts, but in many cases the question has already been asked, discussed and answered many times. Why not take some of those common detailing issues and put them all together in one thread? Wow, the ?search? button might freeze up from lack of use!

So we got together and drafted up a list of what we thought were the most common detailing issues that we hear about and / or run into, what causes them, and what you can do (if anything) to cure them. The toughest part turned out to be finding decent photographs of each problem, but we eventually found some pretty awful examples. (Awful is good here.) So sit back and enjoy some of our favorite nightmares and what to do about them. Got any suggestions for additional problems? Drop any one of the mods a PM.


Holograms: Generally caused by somebody getting a little too frisky with a rotary buffer and either too aggressive of a pad or product ? or both. If you couple too aggressive of a pad and or product with moving the machine too quickly across the surface, what you?re left with are these little beauties. They also show you precisely the motions the person doing the damage followed.







It?s not uncommon to see these bad boys early in a color sanding / buffing process, but proper follow on steps usually erase them completely. It?s also common to find them in a ?dealer? detail job where the detailer is pressured to get every vehicle done in a fairly short period of time. The cure involves further polishing with less aggressive pads and products until the holograms ? actually groups of parallel scratches ? are finally removed.


Micro-Marring: This is probably the single most common issue we run into because it happens to every car in differing amounts over time. Every time you touch, rub or wipe the surface of your vehicle, you?re actually scratching it at a microscopic level. Although not noticeable right away, this effect is cumulative and will eventually show up. Dark colored paints tend to show this effect earlier and more noticeably than light colors.





The cure is to polish them out and the process depends on how serious the condition is. The difference between holograms and micro marring is that holograms are generally induced all at once with a rotary buffer and follow the movement of the buffer. Micro marring occurs over time and in random directions due to a variety of causes.


Acid Etching: As the name implies, this is a physical etching caused by acid rain or industrial fallout. A portion of the paint surface is actually removed and shows up as an irregular low spot (or spots) on the otherwise level painted surface.





The trick to removing this effect is to re-level the paint. This is generally accomplished by wet sanding, then polishing the area in question. In some fairly minor cases, you might be able to simply polish the etching out.


Road Tar: This one comes from ? you guessed it ? excess tar (Bitumen) used to bind aggregate together to form blacktop paving and or to seal cracks in road surfaces. Although more common in the summer months because Bitumen softens with heat, those of us living in the northern states sometimes see it in the winter from pothole patching operations.



As ugly as it looks, it?s actually quite easy to remove with a Bug & Tar Remover product such as Stoner?s Tarminator.


Bugs: Again, more common in summer months and caused by suicidal bugs wearing bandanas and a bit wobbly on Sake flying straight into your vehicle screaming ?Tora, tora, tora.? (The problem is lessened in the winter months because the bugs are all wearing Chinese knock off North Face parkas that contain the mess when they hit.)



Although a good, long soaking with most good Car Wash soaps will eventually remove them, specialty products such as Poor Boy?s Bug Squash are much quicker and more effective.


Scuffs / Scratches: Probably the widest category here in that some scratches are almost invisible to the naked eye and others (like where you sideswipe a concrete Jersey Barrier at 70 MPH) are significantly deeper.





The general rule of thumb is that if you can feel a scratch by running your fingernail over it, it?s probably too deep to remove with most conventional detailing processes and products. And as for the stuff Billy Mays sells on TV that supposedly removes scratches with one quick wipe, most of those products are simply loaded with fillers that just temporarily hide a scratch.


Paint Transfer: This is caused by lightly coming in contact with another painted surface and is exactly what the name implies; the transfer of paint from one surface to another. It may or may not be accompanied by scratches. (So kid, how lucky do you feel?)



The only way you?re going to know if you have both problems is to remove the transferred paint first. Then you can look for and / or correct scratches. The best methods of removing paint transfer are to either dissolve it with solvent or polish it off. The solvent method can be much faster, but depending on what solvent you use, you may actually damage the surface you?re trying to save. 


Clear Coat Failure: This is a rather nasty one that?s most often caused by improper (clear coat) application conditions or long term exposure to the sun?s ultraviolet rays. And it is exactly what the name implies ? a failure of the clear coat itself.

Clear coat failure can in some rare cases be caused by somebody removing too much clear coat during polishing because most of the UV inhibitor is actually in the surface of the clear coat. The only real cure is to completely re-finish the affected area.



Although clearcoat failure on the painted body panels of vehicles is relatively uncommon, clearcoat failure on wheels is actually quite common. This has everything to do with the harsh environment that wheels live in. Not only are they bombarded with road debris every day, there's also curbs, wheel weights, and brake heat to deal with - just to name a few.



The other un-nerving thing about clearcoat damage on wheels is that once a small area of the clearcoat is compromised / breached, oxidation will creep under even good clearcoat causing all sorts of havoc.

Unfortunately, the only real cure for this is complete re-finishing of the wheel.


Brake Dust: This one is pretty common. In fact if you had a 2004 or 2005 Ford F-150, you most likely had a terrible case of this. As the name implies, it?s caused by the release of brake pad material as it is removed via friction with the brake rotors as the brakes are applied. It?s almost always worse on the front wheels / brakes of a vehicle because they provide most of the stopping power.



Removing it usually requires the application of a good wheel cleaner being very careful to follow the directions exactly. It should be noted that not all wheel cleaners are safe to use on all wheels, so be careful which product you use. The best prevention for this condition is a change of brake pad materials. We should also note that the longer one leaves brake dust on a wheel, the harder (or more impossible) it becomes to remove it.

We should note that in extreme cases ? when the brakes wear to a metal on metal condition ? what looks like brake dust is actually small iron particles from the pad and rotor. These extremely hot particles then imbed themselves in the paint or clear coat and are extremely difficult to remove. The big difference is that this condition looks exactly like rust and the affected surfaces feel just like fine sand paper.


Crazing: This is a rather nasty condition generally caused by either improper process control during the original painting process and / or contact with a ?hot? solvent (Acetone, Xylene, etc.) after the paint has cured. Whatever the cause, the effect is the same. You get what appear to be thousands of small cracks in the paint.

In the picture below, a slovent (Xylene) was used to try to free up a sticky door handle. It ran down the door and crazed the paint as it flashed off.



Unfortunately, the only real cure here is a complete re-painting of the panels involved. There?s nothing even the best detailer can do to fix this problem.


Oxidation: This is actually the very normal aging of a painted surface caused by the sun?s ultraviolet rays. It shows up as a slight (or maybe not so slight) dulling / chalking of the paint surface. For instance, years of sitting outside in direct sunlight have significantly oxidized the red, single stage paint on this truck.



As bad as it looks, it?s usually quite fixable if caught early enough with a good polishing. The picture below shows the same oxidized truck from above, but with part of the fender after Meguiar's M105 on a rotary buffer. Notice the startling difference.




Rail Dust: Actually quite similar to, but not nearly as serious as the ?metal on metal? brake dust issue mentioned earlier. Rail dust is generated from the friction (and wear) caused by metal train car wheels against the metal tracks.  The resulting metal particles sometimes attach themselves to the finish of the vehicles on the rail cars. In northern states, the metal on metal contact of snow plow cutting edges against the pavement can also cause the exact same condition. Believe it or not, virtually all vehicles have some of this, but only very light colors such as white actually show the problem.



The fix for this problem is actually pretty simple. There are a number of products out there (such as IronCut) that actually dissolve the iron particles. None of these products totally remove everything though, so a follow up with clay is highly recommended. After claying, you may want to polish the entire area to remove any staining, then follow with the LSP of your choice to seal everything back up.


Rust / Corrosion:

Over time, almost all metals oxidize. (That would be the technical term for rust.) The real key to rust is preventing it - which good detailing will go a long way in doing. However, one it starts, there's not a whole lot you can do from a detailing standpoint to stop or reverse it. This is especially true if the rust is coming from the inside of the panel. As I think you'll agree after looking at the picture below, there's not a whole lot even the most experienced detailer could do here.




Hard Water Spots:

In some areas of the country, water has a high mineral content. This is sometimes called "hard" water. From a detailing standpoint, this can lead to an issue when the water evaporates and leaves the mineral deposits behind. These deposits appear as raised, generally white areas with well defined edges.



The best way to prevent these bad boys is to use water with a low mineral content, also known as "soft" water. Adding a water softener to your home water system is one (fairly expensive) way to solve the problem. (And try getting this one by the wife just to wash the car.) There are however some small filtering systems available that allow you to remove most of the minerals right at the tap.

There are two areas of concern here; spots on painted surfaces and spots on glass. Let's start with hard water spots on glass because they're a bit easier to deal with. The reason for that is that glass is much harder than paint and therefore will tolerate a much more aggressive removal program.

The first thing we'd generally recommend is plain old White Vinegar. It's actually a very weak acid and generally will do the trick. Remember to rinse with lots of fresh water though.

Second, there's a great product called Bar Keepers Friend that will almost always do the trick. The problem is, you don't want to get this stuff on your paint, so be careful!

Finally, there's a polish called oneGrand Glass Polish that truly kicks butt according to JP. (And he's never steered us wrong!)

As for hard water spots on paint, that's a different animal.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2013, 04:49:58 PM by Too Stroked »

Offline Obsessive Detail

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 04:55:40 PM »
Nice writeup!  :clap:

Offline sscully

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 08:08:31 PM »
Finally got a chance to read this all the way through.

Great write up on what is what, so if someone has a question ( the white crows feet ), they should be able to find it on the site.
Steve

Offline Blown F-150

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2012, 11:10:09 PM »
Great work at putting this together! It will be a great resource.
2014 F-150 FX4 Blue Flame
2021 Explorer ST Atlas Blue

Offline BigSur

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2012, 07:07:48 AM »
That's great TS.  Detailing Reader's Digest with my morning coffee.  Good info in there, and you taught me something that I have been getting wrong for a very long time.......micro marring and swirling are essentially the same thing.  Right?  :Me:
BigSur
Tidewater, VA

Offline gipraw

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2012, 08:29:53 AM »
Nicely done..   
================

Doug

Offline Rollingrock

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2012, 08:48:25 AM »
That's great TS.  Detailing Reader's Digest with my morning coffee.  Good info in there, and you taught me something that I have been getting wrong for a very long time.......micro marring and swirling are essentially the same thing.  Right?  :Me:

Yes they are similar enough to bundle them in this document...that said, there are a few other "micro" type problems.   Ticking or Machine induced marring  (also knowns as hooking)  Sometimes when dealing with soft paint and single stage, the pad product and machine and introduce some very small marring at the same time as correcting other defects.  I would describe them as backwards 7's or J's and hooks.   They are not easily visible unless you are using strong halogen lighting or the brinkman.   The best way to remove this is to grab the softest finish pad you have an use a finishing product or a glazing product.   

My .02.

Thanks for visiting the Cafe, come back often.  There's always something new!

Offline Too Stroked

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2012, 10:10:32 AM »
Everything that JP said, plus a thought. I'd suggest that swirling is a form of micro-marring. Mico marring can be induced any number of ways, but swirling comes from a relatively limited number of distinct sources. And now back to JP's thoughts - already in progress.

Offline sscully

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2012, 06:05:57 PM »
Would Ticking or Machine induced marring  (aka hooking) be the same as "pigtails" ?

I got myself in trouble on my solid surface counters with pigtails, this was from using an Orange Pad and M#81 on speed 6.
Steve

Offline Rollingrock

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2012, 06:28:48 PM »
Would Ticking or Machine induced marring  (aka hooking) be the same as "pigtails" ?

I got myself in trouble on my solid surface counters with pigtails, this was from using an Orange Pad and M#81 on speed 6.

yes, same thing.    When you see them randomly appear and not in a pattern it will really make you scratch your head.

Thanks for visiting the Cafe, come back often.  There's always something new!

Offline Too Stroked

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 07:44:54 PM »
Would Ticking or Machine induced marring  (aka hooking) be the same as "pigtails" ?

I got myself in trouble on my solid surface counters with pigtails, this was from using an Orange Pad and M#81 on speed 6.

yes, same thing.    When you see them randomly appear and not in a pattern it will really make you scratch your head.

Sounds like we need a picture and an explanation added JP!

Offline sscully

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2012, 12:21:48 AM »

Sounds like we need a picture and an explanation added JP!


This is a quick picture I found results from sanding where something got between the sandpaper and the surface.  The same on paint from defect removal would be similar to attacking a softer surface with too aggressive a pad or product or both.



This would be from a single pass, my powder room still has remainders of them in the top ( need to get back to that project some day - Detail 2012 is taking my extra time right now, N&C hell  :redneck: )
« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 12:23:33 AM by sscully »
Steve

Offline Rollingrock

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Re: Common Detailing Problems and their Solutions
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2012, 01:13:37 AM »

Sounds like we need a picture and an explanation added JP!


This is a quick picture I found results from sanding where something got between the sandpaper and the surface.  The same on paint from defect removal would be similar to attacking a softer surface with too aggressive a pad or product or both.



This would be from a single pass, my powder room still has remainders of them in the top ( need to get back to that project some day - Detail 2012 is taking my extra time right now, N&C hell  :redneck: )


I have seen this photo a few times....the issue I have with it is that isn't not random....as this presents the bigger OCD problem.    However, this photo does show a great example, it doesn't represent the bigger problem but that said, they both be solved with the same solution. 

"Most" people coming here won't run in to this....but that is why we are here to solve these over the top OCD issues. 

RR

Thanks for visiting the Cafe, come back often.  There's always something new!

 


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