Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Mini valet and tar removal @Red Rose Detailing & Valeting

The sun is here and the Mini show season is well underway. Now is the time that we all set about getting our Minis all shiny for the adventures we have planned for the rest of the year.

The winter weather has no doubt taken its toll on your beloved Mini, and for us, we've had some motorway resurfacing locally which has led to a serious tar splattering all over the bodywork.

We called in the experts at Autoglym who told us to visit one of their approved valeters who would show us how to use their products to get our Mini all clean again.

On a sunny day in East Lancashire we headed over to Red Rose Valeting & Detailing in Burnley, and met Michael who showed us what to do.

We've got a set of products from Autoglym which should be all we need to get a top quality shine from our MINIs paintwork.

There are a number of quality products available from Autoglym to suit whatever your needs. Our MINI had a heavy coating of tar and some minor scratches that needed attention. For this we used just a few products, as shown.

Scrubbing the wheels before rinsing the whole car.

First of all Michael needed to give the car a good wash. Using a pressure washer he removed all the loose dirt and grime with a quick blast.

Then it is back to basics, washing the car manually. Fill two buckets. Fill the first one with some water and some Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner, following the instructions on the bottle; and fill the other bucket with just some clean water. The purpose of this is to ensure you do not contaminate the soapy water with dirt picked up on the mitt. Alternatively you can use a snow foam lance.

It is recommended to use a lambswool cloth or mitt to apply the soapy suds to the car. Start from the roof and wash the dirt downwards off the car. Rinse the mitt often - the last thing you want is to scratch the car with some grit caught in the mitt - and rinse it in the 'water only' bucket, ensuring it is clean. Then you can get some more shampoo from the first bucket.

A good technique is to wash the top half of the car first, down to the bodyline or halfway down the doors all around, before washing the lower section. The reasoning behind this is is that the lower part of the car will be a lot dirtier, and if you wash that area at the same time as the top half, you could pick up more dirt that will scratch or damage your paintwork. Once you have washed the car, givie it a rinse with clean water.

 Michael then dried the car using a towel.

From here we worked a little bit on the details, but the amount of time you could spend doing this is endless. Using the clay bar, Michael pulled off a small amount. You can use this clay anywhere on the car, from the wheels and bodywork to the glass. In this case, our wheels probably weren't the best place to start, but this is just to show you how it can be done. Using alongside some Autoglym Rapid Detailer, the clay picks up microscopic dirt and contaminants which can cause imperfections. When you can see it getting dirty, just fold it up again like play-doh until you get a clean bit and carry on.

This is enough clay to start with.

With time not on our side, we didn't have all day to clay the whole car, but we were keen on seeing how well the Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover worked.

Yak. Nasty stuff and difficult to remove without the right product.

Wow. On the left a couple of swipes with Autoglym Tar Remover and on the right the untreated area.

It's clear to see on most of the pictures that the car had been heavily assaulted by soft tarmac, and in many hard-to-reach places. Could this product be the saviour? In short - a big fat YES! After a little application of the Tar Remover you could literally see the tar dissolve and start to run down the bodywork. After a few minues, a quick wipe removed most of the splattering. We've previously tried some other products to remove the tar, but nothing has come close to cutting through it so quickly and easily as the Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover - it really is that good!

The tar literally dissolves with the Tar Remover.

Now our MINI has never had the best paintwork, and when looking at it closely you can see there are a number of swirl marks and light scratches. To try and remedy this, or at least improve its appearance, we used Autoglym's Paint Renovator - this is simply worked into the paintwork like a polish - and the results are outstanding! Look at the front and rear of the door to compare the results of before and after of the Autoglym Paint Renovator. This is really a starting product to see if we need something a bit more abrassive to remove the scratches. If that is the case, Autoglym have just released the Autoglym Scratch Removal Kit.

Using a small amount of product Michael dabs it onto the affected areas and applies it as you would do with normal polish, in a circular motion until all the product is worked in. Repeat if necessary on all affected areas.

Lots of scratches

Compare the untreated side (left) to the shiny treated side (right).
We took a photo of the door he was working on. Michael was working on the rear part toward the handle and we left the front part for comparison. As you can see it's like night and day. The scratches on the front portion of the door stand out like a sore thumb but the rest is pretty good in comparison. Some more work on the scratches and maybe a good polish and they could hopefully be gone!

When polishing out in the sun like we are, it's best to work on one area at a time to ensure the polish doesn't dry. Using small amounts as before, dab some around the area you are going to polish and work the product into the paint using a circular motion. Use another clean microfibre cloth to buff out the polish again using the same technique.

On the bonnet we had some fairly visible marks from where the stripes decals have been removed. Using the Autoglym Super Resin Polish made a big difference in helping to fade and blend the paint colour to match the rest of the bonnet. It wasn't perfect, but a lot better!

Finally Michael applied some Autoglym Instant Tyre Dressing to give the tyres a nice wet-look shine. The rims on our MINI don't do it justice, but he's a professional... so it had to go on.

Where's the scratches?


Stripes residue less noticeable.

Clean ass.
And tada... the beautifully shiny MINI with a rejuvinated bodywork thanks to Red Rose Valeting (Burnley) and Autoglym. What a transformation Michael at has done in a couple of hours.

We're delighted with the tar removal, the stuff they use is very impressive, and even how well a quick couple of passes reduced the visibility of the scratches.

Find your nearest Autoglym approved valeter or order products from

Red Rose Valeting in Burnley
Unit 1 Smallshaw Industrial Estate, Phoenix Way
Burnley, Lancashire
07713 888784

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