AntiqueCar.com on Twitter   AntiqueCar.com on FaceBook   AntiqueCar.com on LinkedIn   Google+

How to Polish and Detail Vehicles

Body Shop Tips Index
Follow these steps if your ride is important to you and you really want to prep the finish like the pros.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 1 1. Show cars are never washed in a car wash, or even with a sponge in a soapy bucket of water. And you should always detail a car in a garage or under a carport; never in the wind or direct sun.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 2 2. A sponge will leave light scratch marks, visible under low light, so use a tack cloth instead. This surgical blue cloth is very tacky but will not leave a sticky residue like some products do. It is also ideal for cleaning prior to painting.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 3 3. Open the package and refold the tack cloth so it is puffy, slightly larger than your hand. Then wipe down the car lightly to pick up the dust.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 4 4. Take two or three long straight strokes using only light pressure. Let the cloth do the work. Refold the cloth as necessary to keep the dirt from scratching the surface.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 5 5. If there is too much dirt the Dupont E-4144 Sontera polishing cloths will work better. You can add water for better cleaning and they are disposable.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 6 6. Fold three or four of the Dupont cloths together and dampen well.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 7 7. Then squeeze out the excess water.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 8 8. The cloth should not drip water, or it will leave water streaks.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 9 9. Use the wet cloth the same as the dry cloth.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 10 10. The cloth will pick up the dirt.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 11 11. Refold the cloth as needed to keep the surface clean.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 12 12. Never wash and reuse the cloth as that will scratch the finish.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 13 13. After cleaning, the next step is to mask off all the emblems, moldings and body gaps to prevent the polish from getting stuck in crevices.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 13 14. Lay the tape down with one hand as you push it into place with the other.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 15 15. You can use any quality car wax you like however 3M 05990 is preferred for show cars. This product only lasts a few days but it leaves a superior finish and it does not contain silicone, which causes problems when repainting. It is also much easier to apply.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 16 16. Regardless of the product, the application is the same. Squeeze a small amount of polish onto a clean tack cloth.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 17 17. And then apply in a circular motion with minimal pressure.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 18 18. Let the polish sit until it turns dull and then wipe with a clean cloth until the residue is gone.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 19 19. You can use Finesse It part #5929I to remove stubborn scratches and stains. It might take a bit of rubbing but it is preferred to power buffing, unless you are a professional.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 20 20. Finesse will take off the polish so you will have to re-polish the area when the scratch or stain is gone.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 21 21. Use Forever Black on tires. This product will make the tires look brand new without making them shiny or fake looking.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 22 22. Start by cleaning the tire with a tack cloth.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 23 23. Use the disposable cloths with water and go just past the tread. For show cars, remove the tires, clean and blacken the tread and then wrap the tire in plastic until the vehicle is in place for the show.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 24 24. Apply the tire gel evenly and liberally.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 25 25. Then wipe with a dry rag to remove the residue.
How to polish and detail an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 26 26. And touch up as required.

Jeff Lilly Restorations
11125 F.M.1560 N
San Antonio, Texas
210-695-5151 - www.jefflilly.com