The Audi A4 is one of the most enduring car models in the market place today and of all the subtypes, the RS4 Quattro is arguably the most attractive to those looking to make the most of their daily driver. Whilst the RS4 is capable of acting like a sensible car, make no mistake, this model is at its best when it’s being put through its paces. Thankfully, with Audi’s innate sense of practicality, the RS4 is a fabulous car for performing standard family duties, coupled with the RS designation though, means the owner can also use it to channel their own ‘inner child’ when it comes to playtime! With 414 bhp on tap from the 4.2 Litre all-alloy V8 at 7800 RPM, Audi published a 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds. However, tests conducted by various motoring magazines have consistently shaved 0.3 seconds off that time. Perhaps Audi didn’t want to scare off potential buyers by revealing the RS4’s true capabilities!
This Sprint Blue RS4 belongs to a true enthusiast and as such, this car is put through its paces at every available opportunity. As a qualified mechanic, under the body, this RS4 has been maintained in absolutely perfect condition. However, the weekly wash had been left to a ‘£5 car wash’ whose focus is on quantity rather than the quality of care during the cleaning process! As a result, the clearcoat had become quite severely swirled and scratched, significantly reducing the gloss levels and causing the paintwork to look dull, in places, almost flat. Keen to restore the appearance to that more befitting such an iconic car, the owner booked it into UF’s Brands Hatch Detailing Studio for a Gloss Enhancement Treatment and Alloy Wheel Protection.
This car is a perfect example of the type of how every car can benefit from professional detailing. The owner loves this car and, understanding how damaging some contamination can be to paintwork and wheels, would have it washed regularly to remove all the visible dirt and debris. Unfortunately, he’d entrust it to a high volume ‘hand’ car wash facility and their methods tend involve harsh chemicals. As they rely on the volume of cars passing through, they don’t take much care of the cars and tend to treat only what they can see and access quickly. For example, the faces of the wheels were relatively clear of iron contamination but the backs of the rims were coated with it. This type of particle is derived from brake pads which shred under load and on a performance car such as this, the brake pads shred quite readily! The owner knows iron particles are particularly corrosive – they’re hot when they shred, so they bond hard to the first substrate they come into contact with. Being iron, they begin to oxidise relatively quickly and in doing so, they expand. The longer they’re left in place, the more embedded they become and they can cause permanent pitting in the surface. The cheap car wash had removed the these particles by spraying the faces of the wheels with harsh chemicals but the rear of the rims, being more difficult to access, were still quite heavily contaminated. Here at UF, we remove the wheels to ensure they can be thoroughly cleaned before applying protection to the front and back and also the wheel calipers. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio.
To remove the contamination from the wheels, Bilt-Hamber Korrosol was sprayed onto the surfaces, ensuring the rear of the rims was also coated. Korrosol contains an active ingredient sensitive to the presence of iron contamination. On contact, it begins to change colour and when that colour reaches a deep purple, the chemical reaction is complete and the solution can be rinsed away, taking contamination with it.
The engine bay needed only light degreasing. After protecting a small group of wiring, wrapping them in plastic and securing the plastic with detailing tape, a solution of Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD was sprayed onto the engine bay and components. Surfex HD is a water-based degreaser ideal for removing road grime residue, petrol and diesel splatters, and oily deposits. Areas of dirt build-up were agitated with a detailing brush before the engine was rinsed clean.
Surfex HD is also an ideal solution for removing road grime from wheels, wheel arches and it will also remove remnants of old tyre dressings. The RS4 was raised at each corner using a trolley jack to allow for better access to the wheel arches – a natural trap for dirt and driving debris. The wheels and the arches were sprayed with Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD, applied through a Kwazar Orion Super Pro+ Pump-Up Sprayer to allow the solution to be directed into the hard to reach areas.
Once the degreasing solution had been rinsed away, the wheels were washed thoroughly using Wheel Woolie Wheel Brushes. Their long-handle design and the selection of brush head sizes means the brushes can fit through intricate wheel spokes to clean right through to the back of the rim.
The bodywork and wheels were treated for tar using Gtechniq W7 Tar & Glue Remover, a dedicated adhesive remover that breaks down the sticky bonds. After rinsing, Surfex HD was applied all over the car’s bodywork to remove greasy residues. Using Surfex HD as a lubricant, a Flexipads Clay Mitt was used to remove any remaining stubbornly bonded contamination.
After another rinse, Ultimate Snow Foam was applied using a foam lance attached to a Kranzle K-1152 TST pressure washer. This creates a thick, creamy foam that gets into all the nooks and crannies, including through intricate grille designs, and clings to vertical surfaces for a longer dwelling time. The foam lifts larger particles of dirt and grit away from the surfaces and encapsulates them within the foam. The foam and contamination are then rinsed away, completing the decontamination of the vehicle.
The RS4 was washed using the Two Bucket Method. This method keeps washing and rinsing water separate to prevent cross-contamination and helps to prevent accidental swirling of the paintwork. A soapy solution of Gtechniq G-Wash was mixed in the Wash Bucket and the Rinse Bucket was filled with fresh, clean, pure water. Both buckets contain Grit Guards which sit in the bottom. An Ulti-Mitt Double Sided Merino Wash Mitt is dunked into the Wash Bucket and loaded with soapy water. A section of the car is washed and the dirty mitt is rinsed in the Rinse Bucket, the mitt brushed across the Grit Guard to release dirt particles trapped in the wool pile. After wringing, the mitt is dunked back into the clean, soapy wash water and the process repeated. This prevents dirt already removed from the car’s surface from being reintroduced to the paintwork.
Once clean, the car was rinsed clear of all suds before an Aqua Gleam De-Ionising Water Filter was attached in-line with a hose to deliver a final pure water rinse. The car was dried using soft microfibre towels, brought into the detailing studio and the RS4 raised on a hydraulic ramp and the wheels removed for final cleaning. The paintwork was inspected under high-intensity lighting to reveal the true extent of the damage.
Before the paint correction process began, multiple paint depth readings were taken across each panel to check existing paint levels – an essential step prior to any machine polishing work.
Audi paintwork, like most German marque finishes, is quite hard, so a fairly aggressive pad and compound were selected to address the damage. In this instance, a RUPES BigFoot LHR 12E Duetto dual action polisher with a Kamikaze Collection Banzai Dynamics Red Polishing Pad were used for the larger panels. The pad features a textured surface which allows better air circulation. This ensures compounds with diminishing abrasives can be worked for longer, allowing time for the abrasives to break down without causing unnecessary heat build-up on the panel (which can cause marring and holograms). Koch-Chemie H8 is a highly lubricated compound and works perfectly in combination with the Banzai Dynamics Pad.
For the smaller areas, such as along door panels, a RUPES BigFoot LHR 75E Mini was used with a RUPES Medium Green Polishing Pad, concentrating the polishing action over a smaller area to achieve more effective results.
Particularly stubborn areas were tackled using a Flexipads Microfibre Cutting Pad. This pad has been specifically designed to allow a dual action polisher the same level of cut as is found with a rotary polisher whilst retaining the inherent safety of a DA.
The paintwork was refined using a FLEX PE14-2 Rotary Machine Polisher with a Flexipads Hex-Logic Black Finishing Pad and Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800. The combination of the burnishing action of the rotary, the softness of the foam pad and the fine abrasives brought a deep gloss to the paintwork and restored the colour clarity perfectly.
The surfaces were wiped with Gtechniq Panel Wipe to remove any polish residue. The RS4 was now ready for protecting. The owner had selected Gtechniq Crystal Serum black, the ‘Gold’ sealant upgrade to the Gloss Enhancement Treatment.
Crystal Serum Black is a combination of Gtechniq’s flagship ceramic coating, Crystal Serum and EXO v3 Ultra Durable Hydrophobic Coating. Crystal Serum is innovative in its formulation. Applied as a single layer, during the curing process it separates into two layers. The lower layer cures to a hardness of around 7H (on the pencil scale), giving flexibility to the finish coating. The upper layer finishes with a hardness of around 9H. The combined effect is a coating, better able to withstand surface swirling and is also virtually impervious to extremes of pH. Crystal Serum acts as an effective barrier to chemical and environmental fallout that can damage unprotected clearcoats. EXO v3 enhances the hydrophobic function of Crystal Serum, providing a self-cleaning action by encouraging dirty water to bead away from the surfaces and inhibiting contamination from adhering to the treated surface.
For Crystal Serum to cure effectively, it must be applied in tightly controlled environmental conditions with ambient air temperature and humidity kept within set parameters. For this reason, Crystal Serum is available only as a service through Gtechniq-approved detailers. Gtechniq is so confident in the performance of Crystal Serum it carries a manufacturer guarantee of seven years!
The wheels were washed once more, dried and then each wheel and caliper were wiped with Panel Wipe to prepare them for the protective coating. Gtechniq C5 Alloy Wheel Armour, a nanotechnology-based coating, works with the alloy’s rheology to bond strongly, protecting from harsh chemicals, road grime and inhibiting the build-up of damaging brake dust. Treated surfaces are easier to maintain and do not require the use of astringent wheel washes to strip back contamination.
The tyres were dressed with Gtechniq T2 Tyre Dressing to produce a natural satin sheen.
The glass was cleaned and then sealed with Gtechniq G1 ClearVision Smart Glass, providing a hydrophobic barrier that repels rainwater and contamination, keeping windows clearer during bad weather conditions and making driving less tiring.
Restored back to its former glory, the Audi RS4 Quattro was looking absolutely stunning and with Gtechniq nano-based ceramic coatings, it’s sure to stay that way!
UF Detailing Studio – Award Winning Detailing. Call 0333 800 8004 to discuss your requirements.