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Old 25-09-2017, 09:26 PM   #1
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Biggest visual impact on a detailed car?

I was thinking to myself, what is it about a detailed car which grabs my attention the most? Or maybe to put it another way, what is it that if not done really spoils a car's appearance. So here's my list, starting with what I think is most important. Anybody have a different order or different attributes to put on the list?

1. Corrected paintwork. Now that I know what to look for, this to me is the single biggest bang-for-the-buck improvement that anyone can make to their car. I've seen some very very clean cars but with paintwork that looks like it's seen a Brillo pad, and it's almost painful on the eye, especially on a sunny day.

2. Clean glass. Inside and out. Makes a huge difference. The number of cars I've seen which have obviously had their bodywork treated, but the windows have just had a cursory wipe with what looks like a dirty rag. Yes it's hard to get glass spotlessly clean, but when it's done right, it transforms a car. I'll include window stickers here too. A few can personalise a car nicely, but a sticker from every car show attended in the last twenty years just looks messy. Less is more.

3. Uncluttered interior. I know some people like seeing fluffy tigers in the back of an Alpine Tiger or a Scooby-do in the back of an Impreza for example, but for me it just spoils an otherwise great looking car. Nobody cares if you've got the supplement to the original service book neatly displayed on the back seat or have the dinky sized model version of your car on the dashboard, clear it out and let the car speak for itself!

4. Black trim. The age old problem of making black trim black, but when it's done well, elevates a car to a different level. I've wasted loads of money on blackening products over the years, very few seemed to have much durability, although these days with modern products that has improved a lot. Pay up for a decent trim restorer, get rid of the faded grey plastic!

5. Tyres that aren't glossier than the bodywork. Some people like the gloss look, evidently, but personally I think it just looks cheap. Sure, get the tyres darker, but don't make them look like they've been varnished.

6. Chrome that isn't water spotted. I've lost count of the times I've seen a car that is in otherwise very good condition, but the chrome lets it down. I just don't get it. Chrome is one of the easiest surfaces to clean, so why do some people miss it? Almost any metal polish will do the job, but it still needs to be done. Just because it's a shiny metal doesn't mean it will polish itself!

7. Wheelarches. Whenever I see a car with clean wheelarches, I assume the owner goes the extra mile in other areas too and knows what he's doing. Body coloured rears (usually), and blackened arch liners at the front. Takes a bit of effort, but gives a car a proper look of integrity. Don't underestimate their importance.

8. Rear of wheels. Anybody can clean the front of a wheel, but the back of the wheel needs to be equally clean, not dark grey/black/brown from years of brake dust accumulation. I'm still surprised how often this detail is overlooked. Trust me, some people do notice.

9. No missing or broken trim. This is sometimes out of the control of the owner, especially if parts are rare. But the detrimental effect of a simple missing item, maybe a cracked light lens or something, can be proportionally very high. Make it your goal to replace anything that's broken or missing!

10. Exhaust pipe. Not every car has a nice chrome exhaust pipe, but even those that don't, don't deserve to be displayed with a brown rusting item. Wire brush, steel wool, metal polish, job done.

Any other thoughts?!
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Old 25-09-2017, 09:42 PM   #2
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No swirls, clean glass inside and out, tyres blacked...
There my top 3...

Do things right or don’t bother, My cars are kept like new inside and out every wash
Daily’s under the bonnet and undersides are cleaned every now and then

Last edited by Slammedorion; 25-09-2017 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 25-09-2017, 10:43 PM   #3
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I often play this game when walking the dog. See which cars leap out at you as "clean" at a distance, then watch them change as you get closer.

Surprisingly, for me, it isn't paint first. Even quite swirly paint can look pretty good at ten yards distance. Modern paints can look quite glossy and respectable, even if they have had nothing but rain washing them.

Paint has to be fairly swirled and dull, before it stands out as such i think.

Its wheels, tyres and glass really - they stand out the most on a dirty car.

Less-than-sparkly alloys just leap out at you. Then old tyres. Then as you get closer, glass covered in vertical streaks from the window seals.

cars for sale in a showroom stand out because the wheels, tyres and glass are dressed and immaculate, but often the paint is quite swirly once you get within a foot or two.

Just my two pennys worth.
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Old 25-09-2017, 10:53 PM   #4
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Clean rims....face AND BACKS!
Dressed tyres
Polished tailpipes
If there is alot of plastic trim like BMW Minis and Quashqi, then dressed trim
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Old 25-09-2017, 11:50 PM   #5
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Pedals, I hate to see a nice detailed car with crud lodged in the pedals!

That and wheel arches, both need the same amount of care we show the rest of the car.
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Old 25-09-2017, 11:58 PM   #6
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Its often the things you can't see for me, like above the pedals and also the filler cap plastics behind the flap
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Old 26-09-2017, 12:18 AM   #7
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I think reflections are a head turner, not close up when a highly reflective motor drives by it turns heads. For me tyres show if a motor has had some love.
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Old 26-09-2017, 12:21 AM   #8
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Biggest visual impact on a detailed car?

Its the smaller things like Exterior rubbers for me, see loads of cars that look pretty clean then notice the grubby fading window rubbers
This one isnt something thats noticeable externally but the engine bay and door/boot/bonnet shuts are a big one too! The amount of potential car buys ive been to myself and with freinds and family where the car looks pretty good from the outside but then you pop the bonnet and OMG it screams unloved to me.
Oh and a massive pet hate of mine is dirty exhaust tips it winds me right up for some reason ha ha

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Last edited by lee63; 26-09-2017 at 12:24 AM. Reason: Missed a bit 😉
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Old 26-09-2017, 04:46 PM   #9
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The two things I look for to see if a car is had some love are :-

1) Clean, dressed tyres
2) Clean wheel barrels and around the nuts.

To me a car doesn't look finished until the tyres addressed.
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Old 26-09-2017, 05:48 PM   #10
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Gotta be dressed tyres. Whether you love them high gloss or just a satin sheen, if you car is otherwise immaculate the overall sheen and finish of a car is let down by brown or dull tyres for me.
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