Mercedes A45 AMG

For this project, it was time to give my own car some attention. Having had the car for over two years I had never done anything particularly exciting to it, save some waxes and washing. This needed to change.

I booked myself a week at the start of January to give the car everything I can possibly do – ‘The Specialist Detail’.

The ‘Specialist Detail’ included a full major paint correction, all the coatings for paint, glass, plastics, metals, leather, fabric & wheels, interior work, engine bay, and undercarriage.

The car was in a pretty sorry state if I’m honest, not having been washed in a little while (and I’m a detailer!).

As always we started with the full decontamination. This included all the pre-wash stages, an engine bay cleanse, door shuts, boot shuts, wheel arches, wheels & components, snow foam, two bucket wash, tar and iron fallout removal, clay bar, re-wash then dried with super soft towels.

The car was then blown down with a high-velocity, heated blower to remove all trapped water from the door cills, handles, rubbers, intricate bumper work, badges etc. We do this so the car is absolutely dry before going on to machine polishing and after that, the coatings.

We brought the car inside on to the lift for a full IPA (isopropyl alcohol) wipe down and paint inspection. We take our time during this stage, making a note of any deeper markings which could require more work at a later stage. We are also inspecting for areas which have had previous work, re-spray, sanding etc. As this is my own car I knew all the paint was original.

Hundreds of paint depth readings are taken to give us an idea of how much clear coat/lacquer we have to work with. Our major paint correction aims for as close to perfection as possible. However, clear coat thickness depending, this isn’t always possible without compromising the paint for the future.

Protection is then applied to the car. This a preventative step to stop any sensitive parts becoming polished, e.g. window rubbers, badges. We also ‘tape as we go’. This protects panel edges during the heavy cutting stages. Too many times have we seen ‘burnt’ through edges on cars which have been machine polished previously with no protection – (usually the cheap all over one-day ‘mop’).

Next, it was time to move onto the test sections. We worked up from a light polish and pad combination to something heavier until we found the results we were looking for. This prevented going in ‘too heavy’ at the start and removing more clear coat than we ideally needed to.

After testing we decided on a heavy cut compound from ‘Angelwax’ – ‘Ressurection’ with microfibre cutting pad. It was chosen over other heavy cut compounds as it removed the defects quickly but left the least amount of ‘good damage’ behind.

We also did some test refining at this point. The paint was fairly soft but not soft enough that we needed to ‘polish’ between the cut and refine stages. The below picture shows our test refine sections, taped off for the different refining polishes we tested. The hazing you can see is from the heavy cutting of the defects.

So cutting commenced. After each area, we buff the polish residue away and use a panel wipe or IPA to remove any polishing oils from the paint. If we didn’t do this, the oils could be hiding leftover defects.

Most panels required two cuts to remove the majority of the defects. The panel was then full inspected to see if any deeper marks had been left behind. These were marked out allowing us to localise further correction.

The pictures below show the leftover marks from the front offside wing. These are marked out with a smudge so we don’t lose them again. Each of these defects required an additional 2-3 cuts to fully remove. This equates to around 20 minutes of work – which is why it takes a full week for this treatment.

So cutting continued across the rest of the car and totaled around 25 hours of work.

At this point, the car was pretty grubby with spent compound dust, lint, tape and needed cleaning off before going onto the refining stage. To remove this the car came back off the lift and outside again.

Once outside we fully rinse the car down with purified water. This safely removed the dusting etc without causing any new damage to the paint. Whilst outside we gave the clean engine bay a blowdown and dressing.

Again, the whole car was blown down with the vehicle blower to remove any trapped water before coming inside onto the lift again.

The refining polish we chose was ‘Gyeon Primer’ with a white ‘Rupes’ pad. This cleared all the good damage from the cutting and refined the paint down to a deep gloss.

The refining was a much quicker process and took around 6 hours to complete. The car now looks absolutely stunning!

Once we’d finished refining we moved onto the undercarriage. A full cleanse was carried out and any exposed areas dressed. The exhaust was polished including the back box. This sits low on the car and will be picked up from following car lights. The exhaust system was sealed with a high-temperature ceramic coating, which prevents dirt build up and makes it a dream to clean in the future.

The wheels were removed, deep cleansed and again a high-temperature ceramic coating applied. The brake calipers on the car are painted, and these received the same treatment. While the wheels are off, all of the arches and components were deep cleansed and dressed.

Next, we moved onto the interior. This received a full comprehensive interior detail. Every surface is cleaned with an anti-bacterial cleaner and protection products applied. Fabrics are steam cleaned, killing any bacteria left behind.

Paint protection time. As this was my own car I decided against a ceramic coating. I like doing things the old ways sometimes and opted for a high-quality carnauba wax from ‘Mitchell & King’.

‘Pioneer’ was the first wax ‘Mitchell & King’ produced. The waxes are all handcrafted using the finest ingredients and medical grade carnauba.

Three coatings were applied to the car, allowing 12-18 hours curing time between coats. The finish from a high-quality wax is always something to behold. It gives a deep, deep gloss finish, something which a ceramic coating cannot replicate.

Glass coatings were next. We opted for ‘Gyeon Repel’ for the car. This is a durable coating which at speeds above 30mph makes the rain bead off the screen, almost negating the need for wipers! Perfect. This was applied to all the exterior glass on the car.

Finishing touches included hand polishing the door cills and shuts, badges, chrome work around the front end, machine polishing the ‘canards’ off of the car before being replaced. All of the panels gaps, window rubbers were cleansed and all plastic trims were restored and a durable coating applied to keep them in pristine condition.

The last job was a final wipe over with a quick detailer from ‘Mitchell & King’. This helps to protect the wax layers below and is the perfect finale for the car.

In all the car took 6 full days to complete and the results are stunning. The car looks better than new and is now fully protected for the years to come!

Enjoy the after pictures!


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