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Table of Contents

  • Exterior Work
  • 1. Degrease
    2. Wheels and Tires
    3. Remove Tar, Wax, and Grease
    4. Wash
    5. Dress Engine

  • The Painted Surface
  • 1. Paint Type
    2. Paint Condition and Depth
    3. Compound
    4. Cleaner/Glaze
    5. Final Finish
    6. Remove Residue
    7. Dress Exterior Vinyl and Rubber

  • Interior Work
  • 1. General cleaning
    2. Clean Glass
    3. Clean Carpets and Seats

  • The Final Inspection

  • Exterior Work

    **First remove all trash and debris from inside the vehicle
  • Degrease

    1. Wet the entire body area around the engine, including glass and body moldings with cool water. This step with prevent alkaline cleaners from spotting the paint. Carefully wet the engine as over-wetting will reduce the effectiveness of the degreasing product when it is applied.
    2. Spray the engine compartment with a cleaner/degreaser, working from the rear to the front. Follow a consistent pattern to ensure full coverage. Then spray the inside area of the hood (avoiding the hoodliner), and wheel wells, backs of mirrors door and trunk jambs and rocker panels.
    3. Scrub any bug residue with a presoaked bug sponge or Doo-all pad.
    4. Pressure rinse in reverse order from your application. This will allow the product to dwell longest on the engine before being rinsed. Be sure to rinse the cleaner/degreaser off thoroughly, taking care not to saturate interior or trunk compartments
    5. Pressure rinse the engine last. Establish a rinsing pattern so that all engines are cleaned in a consistent manner. Also, stand at various angles to ensure thorough rinsing in hard to reach areas.
    6. Examine what you have done. If grease or dirt remains in any area, a second application will be necessary.
  • Wheels & Tires

    1. Spray the wheel cleaner directly onto the wheel and allow it to dwell for no more than one minute. (If working with unfamiliar wheels, test a small section of one wheel first.) Rinse the wheel thoroughly, standing at different angles to ensure that all the cleaner is rinsed off.
    2. Spray both the wheel and tire with a general purpose cleaner and allow the product to dwell for about one minute. Brush the tire with a stiff bristled brush, and rinse both the tire and wheel thoroughly with cold water. (Note: by applying the tire cleaner to the wheel you have helped to neutralize any acid which was left by the wheel cleaner.)
  • Remove Tar, Wax, and Grease

  • **If the surfaces are extremely dirty, rinse them with a pressure washer prior to performing this operation.
    1. Moving from the front to the rear of the vehicle, apply a tar, wax, and grease remover to a pre-softened Doo-all pad or rag and scrub the lower half of the vehicle's side panels, leading edge of hood, fenders, doors, rocker panels, mirrors, and lower front of car.
    2. When finished, immediately rinse the surface thoroughly with cold water.
  • Wash

    1. Using a car wash soap, start from the top of the vehicle and work down.
    2. Agitate with a wash mitt, including the wheel wells.
    3. Then rinse from the top down with a low pressure hose.
    4. To prevent spotting, remove excess water from the vehicle with a chamois or drying blade.
  • Dress Engine

    1. Use an air hose to blow away excess water.
    2. Spray the entire engine with a water based dressing, using a consistent pattern to ensure thorough coverage.
    3. Wipe the engine with a soft cloth to give a natural finish as opposed to a high gloss.

    The Painted Surface

  • Paint Type

  • **First remove scuffs from bumper corners and body side moldings by hands, using a compound.
    1. Due to the various painting methods used, it is always best to determine the paint type (basecoat/clearcoat vs. conventional) prior to buffing. Use a small amount of rubbing compound on a clean rag and apply it to several inconspicuous areas of the vehicle's painted surface. If the color of the vehicle comes off on the rag, it is a conventional paint scheme. If not, you can assume it is a basecoat/clearcoat system.
    2. Clay Bar is used to remove bonded surface contaminants, such as overspray, fall out, tree sap, rail dust. Use on glass, metal, and plastic. Form a putty with the clay. Spray surface with Robo's Magic Mist. Gently rub surface until smooth using Magic Mist. Keep clay and surface wet. Wipe surfaces dry with a soft microfiber towel.
  • Paint Condition and Depth

    1. It is important to determine the paint condition before selecting products or buffing the surface. Examine the horizontal surfaces for oxidation, scratches, or swirl marks. Use the chart below to determine the paint condition and type of products to use.
      Stage Condition Process Product Type


      No oxidation
      No scratches
      Orbital buffer, hand or D/A machine with finish pad Clay Bar
      Wax or sealant


      Mild oxidation
      Light Scratches
      High speed buffer or D/A machine with light cut or polish pad Cleaner/polish
      3 Heavy oxidation
      Deep scratches
      High speed buffer with a cutting pad, then stage two and stage one process Compound
      4 Primer oxidation
      Primer scratches
      Clearcoat penetrated
      Repaint car N/A
    2. Once the paint condition is determined, but before beginning the painted surface operation, it is also good to know how much paint there is on the vehicle. This can be determined by using a paint depth gauge, which measures the total paint depth in thousandths of an inch (mils). Knowing paint depth is most important if you will be compounding, since that process can remove a large amount of paint in a short period of time. Take an initial reading on several places, then check yourself periodically. Never remove more than .5 of a mil of paint in total.
  • Compound

  • ** Mask off the wiper blades, molding, and all exterior trim
    1. Using the compound, buff the vehicle surfaces using a high speed buffer and cutting wool or foam pad. Apply the compound to an area no larger than 2' x 2' at a time and buff in a slow side to side motion, keeping the pad flat on the surface and applying light pressure. Working too quickly will not allow the compound to effectively remove the paint defects. Also, buffing with the pad at an angle actually increases the amount of compound swirl marks.
    2. A clean pad is vital to achieving the best quality. Spur the pad regularly during use, and set a schedule for pad changes.
    3. When finished, remove the compound residue with a clean polishing cloth. This step will eliminate any excess abrasive that could affect the quality of the cleaner/glaze step.
  • Cleaner/Glaze

  • ** Mask off the wiper blades and windshield before starting this process
    1. Use a high speed buffer with a foam polish or wool polish pad. Apply the cleaner/glaze to an area 2' x 2', working from the top down, then the hood, trunk, and sides. Work at a moderate pace, keeping the pad flat on the surface.
    2. Do not apply excessive pressure, place the pad on an angle, or allow the cleaner/glaze to dry out on the surface.
    3. Spur or clean the pad throughout the process and set up a schedule for regular pad changes.
    4. When finished, remove any excess residue with a clean soft cloth.
  • Final Finish

    1. Using a clean, damp applicator sponge, apply a final finish product by hand to small sections of the vehicle at a time. Work from the top down, then the hood, trunk, and sides. Avoid rubber and vinyl trim during the application.
    2. Allow the product to dry to a haze, and remove with an orbital buffer or a DA polisher and clean bonnet or pad.
  • Remove Residue

    1. Use a clean microfiber cloth and a detailing brush to remove any wax or sealant residue from exterior cracks and crevices.
    2. Beginning with the trunk and hood, remove residue from jambs and gutters. Next, open doors, and clean door jambs and openings. Finally, clean exterior rubber and vinyl trim with a clean cloth and a small amount of general purpose cleaner.
  • Dress Exterior Vinyl and Rubber

    1. Spray a solvent based dressing in the wheel wells.
    2. Next, apply the dressing to the tires by spraying the product on an applicator sponge, and wiping onto the tire. Wipe on in smooth circular strokes (be sure to roll the car forward to you can dress the whole tire).
    3. Then spray the dressing on the applicator sponge and apply to body side moldings, composite bumpers, fairing and front spoiler.

    Interior Work

  • General Cleaning

  • **First, use an air hose to blow dust and dirt from vents, cup holders, etc.
    1. Remove the ashtrays; empty and place them to soak in a solution of mild all purpose cleaner. A few minutes of soaking will allow any stubborn dirt to be removed easily. Wipe clean and place back in vehicle.
    2. Vacuum seat backs, seats, and carpets, being sure to get in all cracks.
    3. Clean hard vinyl and rubber surfaces, including the dash, vinyl seats, seat backs, steering column and door panels. Perform this step with an all purpose cleaner. Spray the cleaner onto a clean microfiber and wipe over the surfaces. Do not spray cleaner directly onto surfaces because it is difficult to control the runoff, and streaking may occur. Use a detail brush for hard to reach areas.
    4. For stubborn stains, spray the cleaner on a clean rag and apply it to the stain. Allow product to dwell for 30 seconds, then scrub and wipe dry.
    5. Next, clean the visors using the all purpose cleaner and a clean sponge. Do not soak the headliner as excessive moisture can cause the adhesive to release, making it fall. A good rule of thumb is to only spot treat the headliner with cleaner and wipe dry with a clean towel.
  • Clean Glass

    1. Clean interior and exterior glass with glass cleaner and microfiber cloth designed for window cleaning. Be sure to clean interior mirrors - rearview and vanity mirrors on visors - and the rubber strips around the doors.
    2. Wipe consistently in the same direction...side to side on interiors and up and down on exteriors. Using this pattern will make it easier to identify any missed spots.
    3. The importance of a clean, residue free cloth is vital to maximum quality in this step. If reusable towels are used for window cleaning, designate some of them "window only" and keep them separate from the others. Microfiber or lint free wipers are recommended.
  • Clean Carpets and Seats

    1. Remove the floor and trunk mats and clean them using one of the methods discussed below.
    2. Do a walk around visual, looking for areas of the carpet or upholstery that have excess stains, etc. Pre-spot any of those areas by spraying a small amount of spot remover directly onto the affected area.
      Deep clean the carpets and seats using an extractor filled with a cleaning solution designed
      for those machines. To achieve maximum quality using this method, be sure extractor lines are not clogged, the cleaning solution is hot, and the vacuum is working properly. Follow the manufacturers instructions for proper product dilution, plus use of the machine.
      Clean the carpets and seats using the all purpose cleaner and an upholstery brush. Dispense the cleaner into a bucket and agitate to obtain foam. Using the upholstery brush, dip into the bucket and remove only foam. Place the foam onto the carpets and seats, and scrub with the upholstery brush (some people like to wrap the brush in a clean towel because the towel picks up dirt and moisture as it agitates). Pay special attention to the areas you pre-spotted in step 2. They may need to be brushed more vigorously, or agitated with a clean towel. A second application of spot remover solvent may be done if necesssary.
      Using an aerosol velour and fabric cleaner, spray directly onto carpets and seats. Let dwell for 1 minute. Scrub with a towel or brush. Wipe or vacuum.
    3. Next, re-vacuum the entire vehicle to remove any excess moisture from carpets and upholstery. Place a temporary floor mat in the drivers side of the vehicle and proceed to the next step.
    4. Place all mats in the trunk compartment.

    The Final Inspection

    Use this checklist to ensure that all areas have been completed and meet the quality standards.


    Paintwork free of light scratches and swirls

    Wheels, tires and wheel wells
    Wheel wells cleaned and dress
    Wheels free of brake dust
    Tires/Whitewalls cleaned and dressed

    Engine Bay cleaned and dressed
    Engine area free of grease and dirt
    Latch and corners

    Interior windows clean and streak-free
    Exterior windows clean and streak-free


    Carpet and upholstery interior (surfaces should be clean, damp but not wet)
    Rear window deck
    Seat belts

    Interior surfaces
    Door panels
    Door jams
    Instrument panel
    Ashtrays, glove box, storage areas