Can you help me make it look good?

Dave LeGear

Staff member
Lifetime Member
Premium Member
What's left of Pine Island
Good Afternoon!
And some may chuckle at this, but I have been sent several notes asking if I could come help them with making their Trucks and Boats look better! Trust me, I wish I could for I always enjoy teaching and helping others :cool: This though gave me an article idea on how to help many secure many of the same results I have posted up, this and save on both money and time while doing such!

What I have found over the years including those while I was a Automotive Service Director, that the #1 appearance issue was the condition of the paint. This and the other areas of the automobile could very easy with a little time and effort, get addressed at home. And without getting and using expensive tools much less them NOT having the knowledge needed to help prevent from making it worse ;) As such, what is needed to is secure professional level help to do the actual paint correction steps (targeted help) and then leave the rest of the job to you the owner :)

Now in many cases due to the fact that I cannot actually "see" or feel the condition of the paint, I can only make generalized recommendations. And really what I am going to recommend is a good washing and Clay Bar use on pretty much any paint that has not been done within the last year? Does this sound like you...? Naturally you can take two different directions pending how much time and effort you have and or actually want to do at home?

1st option is doing some yourself to save on funds and simply no paint correction (swirls, light marring, etc.) steps by you ;)
  1. Rinse with water, then wash from the top down with a good stripping soap. Dawn can work well in removing a lot of crud and can strip off much of what is now (or let of) sealants on the paint. I though prefer the use of a stronger soap like the kind you use as a Prep Soap before you apply ceramic sealants and my favorite is Malco Epic Ceramic Prep Wash Concentrate. Read the Directions also!
  2. Clay Bar the entire automobile and if it is a newer type of Clay Bar that has a sponge backing, you can use it with wash water as the clay bar lube. And make sure you break it in 1st (if brand new) on the glass.
  3. Dry it and put some kind of light protection on the paint pending on how long until the next step is taken...?
  4. Hire a local Detailer to address the paint correction steps. And they may want to use a Chemical Decontamination (Iron Free) and Clay Bar it again (no big deal and cannot hurt) just so they have a surface that is ready for the needed polish and / or paint correction steps.
  5. When they are finished and some of them are even mobile services. I would just have them apply some type polymer or ceramic paint sealant (all depands upon your budget) and you can always finish it off with Turtle Wax Seal and Shine for that extra POP if you so choose :cool: I have become a Big Fan of Turtle Wax Seal and Shine and it wears like iron and holds up well!
  6. Then each time you wash the Truck, just use some more Turtle Wax Seal and Shine as a drying agent (spray some on a clean Microfiber cloth then wipe) to help keep up with the protection and gloss levels. This and wash it every 3 weeks or so to help it stay that way :)
  7. If it is a Fiberglass Boat, then use BTS on it alone and you will have very good protection!
  8. The rest of the project like the interior, you can handle at home with a new paint brush to get into the cracks, and a vacuum! P&S Bead Maker works great for door panels, dashboards, etc. once you get the inside looking the way you like it again.
2nd option, is the have a local Detailer tackle the entire exterior project to bring it back into shape. This would include all the washing, Clay Bar as needed and paint correction steps. Here again, many Detailers have packages for Exterior, Interior, or Combined... My focus would be in having them spend their time and your funds, on the Paint in getting it back into shape with their tools and experience. This and no need of you buying of an RO Buffer, or the risk of you burning through the paint yourself, and then you can handle the other maintenance chores in your garage or driveway ;)

The one thing I want to stress and bring to attention that I think some are not aware of... No matter if you are Wet Sanding with 5000 grit paper and then Polishing the Paint. This or using a Compound then Polishing and then resealing it. Even to include one of the AIO (All in One) products that are designed to this all at once. At the end of the day, you are still taking off (still wet sanding really) layers of Clear Coat and / or Paint "Off" of your Automobile or Gel Coast on the Boat! You have to be careful that you do not take off OR keep taking off, more than you should in an effort to correct swirls, marks or marring... By having a local Detailer with the tools to measure the amount of paint layers on the surface, and knowing how far they can go and what they simply cannot remove to correct yours, is extremely valuable!

So how do you find a good local Detailer? Naturally you can search Bing or Google for them and read over various reviews. The problem with reviews is those giving them! In many cases they simply allowed it to get that bad in the 1st place :rolleyes: So any work / improvement they see is great! What is that saying "Consider the Source" comes into play here for sure...

Another option is to use the member list found on the IDA (International Detailing Association) to help ensure they are educated in that trade and in what is in many ways, an art form...

And you can find one for your area located here:

Lastly, if you are looking to trade in or sale your Truck / SUV and or your Boat. The time effort and money spent doing this, will usually have a very good ROI for resale value! I would spend 500 bucks to make another 1000 or more any day :p

Hope this helps and any questions, please as always feel free to ask away!