Here’s an interesting one for you folks, the client got in touch explaining that he was looking to sell the vehicle but that it had some marks on it he was hoping I could work on as part of a good clean.
Off the bat it’s always difficult to get across to a client reasonable expectations and to work within a fair time schedule. There can be an assumption that all scuffs and scratches can be removed with machine work, but actually the opposite is normally true. Most can be improved but often times never completely removed with out full body work. A good way to gauge this is to wet the damaged panel, this will show you what if any improvement would look like, as the water has a filling and glazing effect across the panel.
So with it already nearing the end of the year I was sceptical about being able to get any exterior lacquer refinement completed with out indoor cover. How ever having had a late burst of summer and I was able to get out to the client asses the vehicle and make some improvements.
On inspection was met by a vehicle in average condition dirt wise and generally in good condition quality wise. How ever the nearside of the vehicle did had numerous noticeable scuffs and scratches, varying from hedgerow scraping, to ring catches, key clatters and person traffic.
As you can see there was a real mix of light scuffs and medium to heavy scratches.
As the client wasn’t looking to go down the route of a full vehicle lacquer refinish it can be a difficult balancing act to find the right amount and level of improvement. Go too far and the improvement you do can stand out like a saw thumb against the rest of the vehicle.
An option can be to mask some of the light damage with a glaze or wax, not the best option but it is an option if the client knows its only a temporary fix and has a limited budget.
Having had a good discussion with the client after the inspection I was given the sense it was left to my judgement given the budget we had discussed and the time I had available.
I always want to give a client the biggest improvement to their vehicle with time and costing given but this was more prevalent than usual given the imminent sale.
As well as the markings already spotted, during the inspection I noticed a lot of the gloss work across the vehicle like the wing mirror bases and pillar trims had dulled to a matte finish. For me this was an area I wanted to improve as much as the other stuff.
The vehicle was given a deep exterior clean first, including the engine bay, door shuts, boot jam and wheel arches. This is always a must for me in an enhanced valet but especially important when carrying out machine work as you don’t want any hidden debris coming loose finding its way onto the polishing pad and it causing further damage to the lacquer.
During the wash and seeing the panels wet I knew I’d be able to make a decent amount of improvement with machine polishing and with the vehicle now clean I knew better the time I had left.
So with that I jumped straight in with the micro polisher, a 1 inch pad and some heavy cutting compound. I worked the few deep scratches as far as I dare take them with out compromising the lacquer. I wasn’t sure at this stage how far I would go with the machine work but as the lacquer was quite soft and improving quickly I decided to push on with the whole nearside with a forced drive dual action polisher, 5 inch pad medium polish. I felt this was the right decision to go with as the offside was in good enough condition to not give too bad a comparison.