Let’s face it, if you own and drive an original S4 or S6 you’ve got an old car. These cars are special and in many cases they have been maintained to high standards thanks to enthusiastic owners. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case so some cars end up looking, well, a bit tired.
I’ve known the owner of this black S6 online for quite sometime but only recently had the opportunity to connect with him in person at the Glacier Lakes Quattro Club Spring Ice Out event. The owner (Tom) drives a nicely tuned black UrS6 that at the time of this posting is going on 260,000+ miles! Mechanically the car it doing well but the paint has certainly seen better days. At the Ice Out event I told Tom that we needed to get together and work on buffing his car back to life. That day finally came on Saturday, August 19th, 2012.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure I could save Tom’s finish using the limited buffing pads and compound that I had on hand. Since the oxidation on Tom’s car was pretty severe I would have liked to start with a more aggressive pad and compound but we sort of planned our get together at the last minute so I decided to run with what I had on hand… my Porter Cable buffer, two orange foam pads and 3M Finesse It II polishing compound. This combo isn’t terribly aggressive and is what I normally use on my own UrS4 each spring. I didn’t know if it would be enough to save Tom’s UrS6.
As with any detailing effort start with a very good car wash… and by that I mean do it by hand with soap. We used Turtle Wax T-79 Zip Wax Liquid Car Wash
but you can substitute your favorite here. Once the car is washed dry it VERY well and let it sit until all the water is done running out of the body seams (it helps to blow it out with compressed air too if available).
Next I will generally go over the car with the Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System to remove any remaining surface contaminates. This step helps your finished surface feel extra smooth to the touch.
Now the car is ready for buffing. For this step I’m a big fan of the Porter Cable buffers. In my own garage I use a slightly older version of this Porter Cable 5.5 x 7/8 Inch CCS Foam Pad Kit kit. On most cars I use an orange foam pad in conjunction with 3M Finesse-It II Glaze to achieve a very nice shine without being too aggressive. This is also what we used on Tom’s car even though we could have started out with a more aggressive pad and polish and done multiple stage buffing to achieve best results. Since I had only an orange pad and Finesse It II and one day to get it done we opted for the single pass attempt.
The car buffed back to life with amazing results. Granted, there are still some imperfections in the paint but for a simple single stage buffing the car looks night and day different. Had I done things the long way I think I could have brought the car back to 98% or so but it would literally take me 3 days or so to give it that sort of attention.