Cleaner Wax vs Polish vs 2 Step Compound BMW 650i 2 Hour Detail

For today's Detail we're focusing on a BMW 650I! The issues are quite apparent...swirls are scattered across the surface, the aging clear bra on the hood demands removal, and the interior emits a musty odor, indicating the need of a full interior cleaning. Additionally, during the detail, I'll conduct a step-down process, applying tape on the car's rear to demonstrate three polishing methods of varying intensity, allowing you to choose the most suitable one for your needs.

Let's begin with step one: preparing our wash bucket and wheel bucket. The concept behind this process involves minimizing cross-contamination. While the two and three-bucket methods are popular, I prefer a safer and simpler approach. I use a 2.5-gallon bucket filled halfway with water, Foam Paint Cleanser, and a few towels. I take one towel out, fold it once and I fold it twice, now I have four sides to work with. When those four sides are soiled, invert the towel and refold. Now you have another four sides to work with. After your towel is soiled it DOES NOT get put back into our clean bucket, set it aside and grab a fresh one from the bucket and repeat the folding steps and continue the wash until you are finished. The main take-away is that when a towel gets used it is never put back into the clean bucket, rendering cross contamination impossible! 

Now for the wheel bucket, we fill it halfway with water, Brute Wheel Soap, and an array of tools like wheel woolies and lug nut brushes for a thorough cleaning. After filling both buckets, we proceed to the rinse phase. First power wash or hose the car down to knock off the loose contaminants. Then take your Foam Cannon if you have one and pre-soap the car. Pre-soap means we're going to put soap on there, let it sit and you'll see it start to drip off. As the soap drips down the car it will drag a lot of that dirt away. As I wait I focus on the wheels. 

The first thing you want to do is make sure that you pre-rinse the wheels before you wash. For wheel cleaning, spray Plum Wheel Cleaner onto the face of the rim, the backside, and of course the caliper. Use your Woolie by starting from top to bottom making sure to get the backside of the spokes as well. If you don't have a Woolie that's okay, use a designated towel for wheels only. Next I use the two-tier pointy wheel brush to get into the lug nuts in the tight areas. Rinse and move to the next wheel, always work one complete wheel start to finish before moving on to the next one. As you switch from one side of the car to the other hit the exhaust pipes as well with your wheel bucket and tools. Even after washing, the tailpipe was still pretty dirty so what I like to do is use four ought steel wool along with Plum Wheel Cleaner and give it a quick scrub. Afterwards, I work the other side meaning the remaining Wheels before cleaning the engine bay. 

On most modern cars today you can lightly rinse the engine while avoiding the air box and the battery, but for the most part they're fairly robust if you're reasonable with your water usage. Then use the wheel bucket and tools to agitate the grease and grime. If it's really oily then use Titan 12 Degreaser. Next I rinsed the soaking soap off the paint. 

Now rinsed, I re-foam the paint and agitate with the wash towel. Make sure to use the one bucket method we discussed earlier, flip and fold as each side becomes dirty then rinse. If your paint happens to feel and sound rough, then you need to Clay your paint. Do it now with the paint wet and having a wash mitt full of soap, this will act as a lubricant. If you decide to go this route just make sure to rinse your clay bar with clean fresh water after using it because sometimes car soap can actually deteriorate the clay. With the paint now clean, clayed and still wet, dry the paint with a drying towel. Take that dry towel and then rinse it in tap water or hose water and then ring it out. The reason we do this is because the towel seems to Glide easier over the paint and holds more water once it's damp.

Next spray Hydrate Paint Moisturizer on the towel before wiping, you'll notice that Hydrate is very viscous it's a little bit more of a blob less of a spray. Hydrate is a lubricant, it's a drying aid and it leaves behind a layer of protection during the drying process. I also encourage you to use compressed air, a leaf blower, or one of those warm air blowers as well to flush out the trapped water in the tight spots. Remember, drying properly is just as important as washing properly to avoid those scratches!

Now we will move on to the interior. Step one is just to remove the garbage and the floor mats. On a normal maintenance wash I'd be focusing on the steering wheel, the shifter and the door handle. Those are normally the high traffic areas but because we're doing a little bit more of an intensive wash you can pick and choose based on what I'm doing right now in this video. Being that this car's interior is more on the dirty side, we're going to go through and do a couple of different things. Right off the bat you need a microfiber towel, I also have an interior brush and I have a scrub pad. Now these go in order of rigidity. The tamest method would be to spray some Lather Interior Cleanser and scrub with your microfiber towel. Quickly wipe it down and you're good to go, so that's kind of level one. Level two is to spray it down then we use an interior brush. The two tier brush is a little bit more stiff on the inside and nicer or softer on the outside so if you need more aggression, you push harder and you get stiffer bristles. Step three if it's really bad you can use a scrub pad. So you would spray it down the same way, and agitate the surface with cautious pressure. Keep in mind that this is a  bit more aggressive so you have to be careful not to lift any of the color. So, depending on your specific job you can kind of manipulate the interior in terms of how dirty it is. The take-away here is that no job is the same and getting the right result may take different measures for different people. 

Moving on to the rest of the interior, with the garbage and floor mats removed,  I'm going to work on the Plastics and leather then I'll go in and vacuum. After the quick interior cleanup, if necessary apply Mousse Interior Conditioner to add some UV protection to the leather especially if it's dry or just kind of getting old and hasn't been moisturized. After applying it let it soak in for as much time as you have then buff it to a matte finish. 

For the mats and carpets, I first vacuum everything up then I spray shag carpet cleaner onto the fibers, let it sit for a second then scrub with a red stiff bristle brush to evenly distribute the cleaner. Afterwards I re-vacuum as scrubbing brings up a lot of junk from deep within the fibers. I blot with a microfiber towel afterwards especially if it's really wet. For the gum stain you see right here I use Titan 12 Degreaser. This has a higher PH than Shag Fabric Cleaner which will help to  loosen that bond between the gum and the fibers. I then use my thumb to sort of scrape it off. With the mats now drying in the corner I played with the old clear bra. 

To remove this quickly, boil two kettles of water, put a towel over the clear bra, and then pour it directly onto the towel. Use one kettle at a time, let that towel absorb the hot water and to keep it concentrated in one area. Notice I'm not wearing any gloves right now, I need super fine dexterity but your fingers and your fingernails are going to pay the price when you're done so just be heads up on that! Also keep in mind I'm not suggesting you need to remove your PPF before you polish the car, this one just happens to be super old. However if you need to remove it for whatever reason hot water in my opinion is much better than steam or a heat gun. Again, that's all personal preference.

Now when it comes to polishing paint there's a ton of things that you can do. So in section what I'm going to do is use what we call Skin, this would act as cleaner wax/sealant. So the way it works is I would use a foam pad with a few globs of Skin, and just in a few passes, it's going to make the paint look much better. This method will remove a couple of the swirls and it's going to be incredibly fast. Now the interesting part is when you're done the paint will have a sealant on it, meaning you've done two steps in one. Just a couple of hours in your driveway and you're good to go. You can do it by hand or machine. 

For section two I'm using X-foliate Polishing Fluid. Now X-foliate with a foam pad is going to take out more swirls and scratches, not as much as number three, but more than our first method. When you're done you have to add your favorite wax or sealant, you want to put something on to protect it, you're going to get better results than method one but it does take longer. Lastly, for section three we're going to use X-foliate again but this time we're going to use a wool pad first to take out all the deep scratches, then we're going to follow up with a foam pad. Then after that we're going to put our wax or sealant on the paint, whatever it is you want to use to protect it. So I'll show you the three different methods, the time it takes, and the results. Up to you to choose which method suits your case! 

After polishing section one the paint is now rejuvenated but there's still some deep Swirls and scratches however it does look a 100 times better and it's also protected as well. This should take under an hour, depending on your experience. 

Section two looks even better: the swirls are mostly gone, and the paint looks slightly deeper because the squirrels are no longer distracting your eye. This probably takes about an hour or two of polishing but you do need to allocate some time for adding extra protection afterwards, so again keep that in mind if you decide to use a coating.

For section three I used the same X-foliate polish as I did in section two but I also used a wool pad first to level the scratches, followed up with a straight cut waffle pad to refine the finish in other words. After this two-step process, the third step would be protection. Now clearly this is the best finish but it will take the longest time to achieve based on the size of this particular car. Section 3 would likely be between 5 to 6 hours depending on your skill, the type of machine you're using, maybe even longer depending on the protection you choose afterwards. In our case here Mike wanted a quick one-step cleaner sealant so I worked on the paint for about an hour and a half or so with a Rupes 21-in polisher waffle foam pad and Skin

Next I'm working on my Nemesis, the glass… by far the interior windshield is the most frustrating part of any detail, creating perfect glass in the shortest period of time is not as easy as it sounds. One, it's really awkward to get your hand into that tight spot behind the steering wheel and two you're constantly dealing with the Plastics gassing out on the inside of the car causing sticky residue to form on the glass. 

First, heavily spray the glass with glass Obey Glass Cleaner, next use a scrub pad to lift and suspend the dirt, the grime, and the plastic residue off the glass surface. Then use a throwaway towel to scoop up all the contaminants. Afterwards reapply a light layer of Obey and then squeegee. After the squeegee then apply an even lighter layer of Obey and wipe with a waffle weave towel. Lastly, use a final wipe towel to dry any remaining streaks or cleaning fluid for a perfect finish. Obviously that sounds like a lot of steps but I found that this process, although tedious, is in fact the quickest way to create perfect streak free glass.

Once all the glass was done, I then applied Mud Tire Gel to the engine bay and buffed it dry to a matte finish. I also applied Mud to the rubber on wheels, and the plastic trim for some extra pop. There you have it, with the detail complete I was happy to get the refurbished 650i back to it's owner. Thanks for sticking around! I hope you enjoyed the walkthrough of this detail and found the advice helpful! Best, Larry. 



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