Black on Black on Black (with a little bit of blue)

The pieces are finally coming together! When you’re busy, even some of the simplest tasks become complicated. You’d think putting together wheels and tires would be as easy as bringing it to a shop to get it done – and it is. Except I make things harder than they actually are sometimes.

I had to order two new tires, so I finally got my lazy ass to text Alex to see if he could source me some new ones. Boom – even delivered to Jackie’s shop for me. One down. The next piece was the valve stems… I wasn’t about to run red valve stems on the new black TE’s – not that anything is wrong with it, but it just wouldn’t match the look I’m going for. In my plea for help in trying to find black Rays valve stems without paying $100 for shipping, Errol said that he had some spares. Boom – Errol gave them to Jackie for me.¬† Next was just dropping everything off to Jackie’s to get it done. Isaac finished it for me at lunch yesterday and that was that.

The point of all this is that I’m thankful for the friends in the car community. I mean, I could probably have gone and done all the picking up and delivering myself but I probably would have taken months to actually do it. It’s just the little things that matter – I’m grateful for that. I’m pretty sure the car would probably have just stayed on jack stands this year without their help.

Anyway, just a few quick shots of the wheels. I’m just waiting on ONE MORE big piece of the puzzle before the car gets to go back on the ground. It rhymes with “Dig Drake Bit”. Until then, it remains hoisted up with dusty ass panels until I find time to polish and wax it for the start of the season.

That blue with black is SO good. I never thought I’d love black wheels ever.

Match made in heaven.

Can’t forget the titanium valve stem caps from TiBurnt. They look so rad and the blue/purple works well with the blue Rays/Volk stickers.

Just a mock up. As you can see almost impossible to get a good pic LOL. Underexpose all the things!!

All Black Everything

Well finally the pieces are starting to come together for the FRS once again and I got up off my lazy ass to start getting some things done. The first thing was to get the TE’s dismounted and sent off for a colour change. I’m not going to say that I was necessarily tired of the red, because I still thought it looked great. I just wanted to change it up a bit. I’ve said before that the #1 combination of colours that I hate shooting is a black car with black wheels, yet here I am doing exactly that.

I’ve envisioned this look for about a year now and I’ve finally come to decide that I think it’s going to be a nice, fresh start. I’m not sure what the current trends are lately – they seem to be bouncing back and forth between super vibrant colours or a chrome wheel. I’ve decided to go back to the basics with the TE37’s with the OG gloss black. Not necessarily the Diamond Black that Volk has come out with – that is more of a very dark charcoal colour. To put the cherry on top, I also decided on finishing them with the OG TE37 decals as well as opposed to the SL spoke sticker.

Anyway, there’s a few more pieces I need to complete this look and I think the last piece is something you guys are going to love. The combo is just going to be too rad and I haven’t seen it done yet. Going back to the basics and hoping to really bring a different, yet simple look this year. Enjoy!

Right out of the packaging.

Beautiful. It’s a bit naked without the spoke stickers, but it’s definitely refreshing to see a nice new finish.

Got my cleaning supplies/degreaser to prep for stickers.

Replacement VOLK/RAYS stickers…

Simple application… PS remember that they go on a specific spoke and in a certain order. Locate the valve stem hole, then go up to make a T. The two spokes to the left and right of the center cap is where the stickers go.

In all their glory. It’s amazing what a set of stickers do to make these look amazing.

That concave. Love it.

For now… They’ll just rest in Diana’s library LOL.

Oh… It’s 2018. Hello!

Boy, have I been MIA or what. The last post I had was in November and we’ve gone through Christmas, New Years, and we’re almost at Valentine’s Day. Time sure does fly.

I’m sorry for the lack of updates – there really hasn’t been any. Honestly, I’ve just been spending a lot of time with the family, away from the toys for a bit. It’s winter, so it’s a perfect time to do just that. I don’t have much to tinker with and it’s just been cold and miserable as hell outside so the last thing I want to do is get in the garage to do something lately.

I’m updating mainly cause I’ve finally got off my lazy ass and started making steps to progress on getting the car ready for 2018. Slowly but surely. I have a few pics for an update but nothing good to show just yet…

This is literally what it looks like right now. Still on jack stands, waiting for new parts. Meanwhile, outside is a blizzardy hell and it sucks. Side note – I do enjoy driving the RX in the winter – it is a beast of a car and drives beautifully. It makes me hate the winter less…

Meanwhile, I was able to finally take the wheels off to Jackie at Balance Auto to get the tires dismounted and the wheels off to get powdercoated for a new colour. The red is nice but I think I’m over it… I need something new. I think you guys will like the new combo coming this year. Can’t wait to show you!

Lastly – the man, the myth, the legend over at TiBurnt posted these titanium valve stem caps on Instagram the other day and suddenly I had the urge to buy them. Within minutes, Al messaged me and got me all hooked up and they arrived within a week. These are going to look extra fantabulous with the new set up when it’s all together. Seriously, if you need any type of titanium product/fastener – hit TiBurnt up. He hasn’t let me down yet!

Aria’s Battle with Eczema and How We Helped Her!

It’s been almost 15 months with Aria and it’s definitely been a journey of surprises and unexpectedly¬† great things. Like every good thing in life, there are also some bad things that sit shotgun with them. Most of the time, parents only ever talk about the good because that’s really all we want you to know. Very rarely will we talk about the bad – for many legitimate reasons too – perhaps to hide the fact that your baby isn’t perfect or that you could be doing something wrong. I get it, because if something is “wrong” with your kid, then the parent must be doing something “wrong” too, right? Babies are perfect and they can’t be anything but perfect. Unfortunately, that’s not the case all the time…

In Aria’s case, she’s been battling eczema for the last 8 months of her life. Not an uncommon thing to be fighting, but definitely not perfect. Ever since Aria’s been born, she’s had a case of mild eczema – I say mild because it’s been mainly red cheeks, and some redness on her ankles, wrists and inside of her arms and legs. It’s not terrible, but it’s unsightly and it causes us more grief than it does for her. But as a parent – you want your baby to be perfect, and look good and feel good – even if they don’t know it. You can’t blame us, right? You would want the same for your kid.

Anyway, the reason for this post is more for information and a look into the eczema battle from our point of view. I know from the moment we knew Aria had eczema, Diana and I were always looking for others online for guidance, for information, for treatment that “worked” and you always end up with the same thing: steroids, paid bloggers writing about some OTC product that “magically” worked, and in some cases – the eczema just also “magically” went away. Our case for the last 7 months has been steroids and other creams that I’ll talk about, and the latter two “magical” options never graced us… So we had to look at other options. Those of you that do have eczema/kids with eczema can breathe a sigh of relief – I’m not being paid. I’m writing this because there isn’t enough true and real-life information out there and maybe this will help ease your minds. So if you’re in the same boat as us – read on. I hope that this will provide a solution or another option. For those of you who are used to my car stuff – sorry. I felt that this was important enough to share publicly.

I wanted to share some pictures of Aria with her eczema when it flared up starting from when she was smaller. At the time, it didn’t look “that bad”. When we look back now, my heart breaks that it actually did look “that bad”. Like I said before, it probably caused us more discomfort than it did her. She never really scratched and it never seemed to bother her – but it was unsightly. We used creams and lotioned her well but it would come and go – never completely, though.

Another of it on her face. When she was younger, the eczema was mainly on her face and less on her body.

As she got older though, the eczema started to move from her face to her ankles and wrists. You can see here, this was almost at the most stressful and frustrating time for us. The eczema would flare up on her wrists and she would just scratch. She would scratch until it bled and opened up her skin and we couldn’t do a thing about it. Diana and I were at the point where we were on her like hawks – always waiting for the moment for her to scratch only to stop her as quick as we could. You know how you never want to be a helicopter parent? Eczema forced us to be – for all the wrong reasons.

There were times where we were unable to do this. In the car – you would see her just go at her wrists and you can’t do anything while driving besides try and reach back and grab her hand away while also trying to drive safely only to have her back to scratching the moment you got your hands on the wheel again. At night when she’s sleeping, and she scratches while asleep and you don’t even know that it’s happening. It’s times like this where you’re helpless and you’re at a loss because there’s literally nothing you can do. This is the frustrating part because we would spend every waking second making sure she wasn’t scratching her wrists open only to have her open them up again when we couldn’t do anything.

Of course, as a baby – she didn’t know any better. Aria was good that way because she would scratch to relieve an itch and she didn’t know it was bleeding. Hell, I don’t even think she knew it hurt. She never cried over it, she never showed pain… It’s just extremely sad to see because if my wrists were like that, I would be crying. One of the toughest parts about dealing with eczema in a baby is that they don’t know what’s wrong and what not to do to it… You have to know for them.

Our next step was to try and protect her wrists. They would go from healed to opened again every few days and that’s what was frustrating. We couldn’t blame Aria because all she knew was that she was itchy. There really was no one to blame and in times like this, you really wish there was. Maybe the doctor for not prescribing the perfect medicine? No, because medicine can only do so much.

We decided to get some polysporin and gauze to cover them up and heal up the opened wounds. It worked for the most part but Aria got smart and was able to start scratching underneath the gauze and we were back to square one again.

Anyway, we got to the point where we were desperate. We were willing to do literally anything to stop her from scratching her wrists. I came up with the idea of cutting up one of her onesies, and sewing socks onto the ends of it so that we could put it on her when we couldn’t do anything about it. So we did just that – I cut up her onesie and Diana sewed on some socks. The above is the result and I’ll tell you – this was one of the silliest, yet smartest things we wished we had done sooner. It stopped her from scratching up her wrists but it didn’t “fix” the problem. We were just trying to find band-aid methods until we found a solution. At this point, we were at a loss and pretty much out of hope to find any solution at all. It got to the point (after months of putting this contraption on her) that she was used to the routine. It’s kind of cute that she knows “alright, I have to put this jacket on now before we go out or before I go to sleep” and she just sorta expected it.

You might be saying to yourself now – “maybe they didn’t do this” or “maybe they didn’t do that”. Here’s what I’ll do, I’ll tell you EVERYTHING that we did do… Just so we’re all on the same page and so that we can align on how desperate Diana and I got on trying to make this go away. Sure, maybe there is something we missed, but I felt like we did what we could and knew.

I’ll go through the routine and the products we used will follow after. The routine stayed pretty much the same over the course of the last 8 months but the products we used changed.

  • We bathed her everyday and put lotion on her immediately after to keep moisture in.
  • We tried not bathing her everyday (as per recommendations) thinking bathing often was irritating her skin. Turns out, not bathing everyday made it worse.
  • We wash her face and hands after every meal – if food stayed on, it made her eczema worse.
  • We lotioned her up religiously… And I mean RELIGIOUSLY. Every chance we got, we were putting cream on her skin so it wouldn’t itch and get dry.
  • We watched what she was eating carefully – fruits like Kiwi would make her itch even though she loved them. We would test new foods over the course of a few days just to make sure it wouldn’t cause an flare up.
  • We put a humidifier in her room to moisten the air and keep her skin from drying. (didn’t help).

Here’s a list of the products we used, what worked, and what didn’t work. I’m not saying it won’t work for you/your kid, but it didn’t do anything for Aria.

What worked:

  • Aveeno Eczema Night Balm – this was a thick cream we used at night that kept her skin moisturized nicely. We ended up using this throughout the day.
  • Aveeno Eczema Wash – probably still the best wash we’ve tried. It keeps her skin moisturized and doesn’t strip it dry – even with soft water.
  • Aveeno Lightly Scented Moisturizer – another good moisturizer. We ended up putting this on first with the night balm layered on top of it with good results.
  • Burt’s Bee’s Baby Bee Ointment – we tried this out in the later stages of her eczema and it worked well. The smell was not great but it seemed to keep her flare ups at bay very well, provided that we use it often during the day and at night.
  • Aquaphor Ointment – this worked well for a short amount of time to keep the moisture in at night. It’s greasy like Vaseline so it wasn’t ideal all day.
  • Vaseline Petroleum Jelly – another basic product that worked well but still not ideal.
  • **Steroid – I put asterisks here because this will inevitably come up. I’ll talk more about it later, but it was a product we used for about 7 months. It never healed it or made it go away, but it kept flare ups down. Not the best thing we wanted to use for that long (despite what doctors tell us).
  • **Jian Pai. This is the magic cream. I’ll talk more about this below.

What didn’t work:

  • Cetaphil baby wash – this was terrible. It looked like it burned her skin. It turned it all red and she flared up.
  • Cetaphil baby lotion – same as above.
    • I’d note that we only tried this because a “paid blog” said this was amazing. For Aria, it was nothing short of terrible.
  • Live Clean Baby wash – dried out her skin, flare ups happened immediately after bath.
  • Live Clean Baby lotion – not moisturizing enough. Scented products don’t typically work well with Aria’s eczema.
  • Dove Baby Rich Moisture – despite the name – not very moisturizing. Didn’t do anything for Aria.
  • Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Wash – surprisingly this was not a good product either compared to Aveeno’s Eczema cream wash. Did nothing.
  • Skin Fix – a cream I was undecided on where to put. I’m putting it on the “did not work” section because while we used it for a long time, it never cleared anything up nor stop flare ups. It might have only helped the itch for a short amount of time.
  • **Elidel – if you’ve had eczema, at one point or another – your doctor will prescribe you Elidel. It’s a cream not meant to be used on kids under 2 and there is a risk that this cream causes cancer. Well, we used it as per the doctors recommendation and it did absolutely nothing. We used it for a period of 2 weeks but to no avail. We stopped use of this cream immediately after.
  • **Stronger steroid cream – we got prescribed stronger steroids for short-term use as well which did maybe a little better than the low strength one, but we stopped using that too pretty quickly as it didn’t appear to help much more.

Now, there’s tons more products out there and if we didn’t come across Jian Pai (as mentioned above), you can bet your asses we would’ve kept trying. We’ve probably spent nearly $200 on different products, methods, and items to try and help Aria out and each time, you hope that this next product was the magical answer only to find out it made the eczema worse or didn’t do anything at all…

Now, I want to show you what I mean by us being “desperate” is and just how bad it got. I’m not joking when we say it’s been the most frustrating and stressful thing we’ve had to deal with for Aria – and even looking at this picture today makes my stomach turn. This was when she was in the car and just scratched away. We took her to the hospital immediately after and all we got was more head-scratching doctors and we ended up leaving with a stronger prescription. My problem with this is that after all these months, the only thing doctors have thrown at us has been steroids, stronger steroids, creams that can cause cancer, and nothing helps. In their defense, they can only prescribe what they know and if the first thing doesn’t work, something stronger must be better right? Is it safe? I don’t know but as I keep mentioning – you get desperate and do anything to help your kid out.

Let’s just get to what you’ve been waiting for – if you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering what this magic cream is and maybe it’ll help you. The cream is called Jian Pai – it’s an Asian cream that’s free of steroids. (I’m going to start to sound like a paid blogger now, but believe me – I’m not. I’ll even pay this company more money for what it’s done to help Aria). Here’s a picture for reference.

I like to say that this is where the stars aligned for us and Aria because we only stumbled across this cream by chance. 4 months ago, when Aria’s hand was as bad as that picture above, our doctor referred us to a skin specialist. That appointment was just last week – that means we had to wait¬†4 MONTHS to see a doctor all the while her wrist was open. I get it, specialists are busy and we’re not the only people with problems in the world – so we bit our tongues and sucked it up until our appointment… Which I’ll talk about again at the end of all this. A few weeks before this specialist appointment, Diana was mentioning to her boss that she needed the day off for Aria. Her boss asked her what it was for, and she casually mentioned that Aria has been battling eczema for a while and we’re hoping to get some answers. She told Diana about Jian Pai and how it was amazing for her own skin and her battle with eczema. She listed off all the same medications doctors prescribed her that Aria had been prescribed. At this point – we’re willing to try anything – so we tried this. I went out to the nearest T&T market with the herbal store we always walk by and picked this small bottle up for $40.

Brace yourselves. We tried it that night – you put it on twice a day – once in the morning and once at night. In three days… THREE. DAYS. her eczema had cleared up. Literally all the redness and bumps and scratching that had been tormenting Aria just… Magically. Went. Away. It’s been a few weeks now since we’ve been using this cream and her skin is back to it’s beautiful, smooth, eczema-free baby skin we once knew. This is how a baby’s skin should look, we thought. How, after all this time, have we not known about this? Why don’t more people know about this? Why don’t doctor’s know about this? We haven’t put Jian Pai on her for a couple days and she hasn’t had a flare up since… If we start to see it coming back, one application and it’s gone again. It hasn’t been long enough to gauge how well this works but it has been long enough to tell you that no other product or medication or steroid has “fixed” Aria’s eczema like this has.

I’m no believer in magic, and I sure as hell don’t believe in Asian beliefs about drinking tea to make pimples go away or eating root to make you live longer but I think I can stand behind this cream and I’m confident that if you or your kid had anything like Aria did, this would be better than any product you’re using now. The best thing about this cream is that it’s all natural – no steroids, no nothing. I’m not worried every time I put it on Aria that it’s doing something else other than just working the way it should.

Anyway, I wanted to end this post with the skin appointment we waited 4 months for. Months leading up to the appointment, we were anxious because we held all our hope that this specialist was going to solve our problems and was going to tell us finally what was wrong with her skin. After Jian Pai, (2 weeks before her appointment) we weren’t sure what to tell the specialist because she was all good. No sign of eczema, no sign of flare-ups, nothing. But we went anyway…

I’m not going to name the doctor, but if you put the pieces together, you can figure it out yourself if you care enough. We were referred to the Market Mall Dermatology – apparently one of the only specialists in Calgary that look at eczema issues in children. Prior to the appointment, we were told to bring everything that we are currently using, so we did just that. Finally, the day had come – we didn’t go in with much expectations since Aria had already been healed, but we were hoping for maybe some sympathy, some knowledge, or maybe some insight to what it could have been.

We walked into the waiting room… Anxiously waiting to show what was left of Aria’s eczema, the products, the pictures of what it had looked like. The doctor came in, stated that he heard Aria had eczema from our family doctor and began prescribing the steroid and Elidel we had already been prescribed. He was talking so fast that Diana had to interupt to tell him we’re already using that. He said “Oh”, and listed off another one and mentioned that it should only be used by children over 2 but that it’s perfectly safe. He looked at Aria and said “don’t worry, we’ll get you all cleared up”, turned to his assistant and told her to write up the prescription and left.

Wait a second. He didn’t look at Aria, he didn’t care to see what her eczema looked like, he didn’t look at the products we used, he didn’t even care to think if what he was prescribing us was what we were already using. The thing that really puts me off about it all is that he didn’t even care to see that Aria was actually all healed up. The point of the appointment (for us, anyway) was truly unnecessary – we didn’t need to be there, but we were because we had waited so long and clung onto some hope that he might tell us we were fighting something wrong all along. Instead, he prescribed creams and medicines to a perfectly fine and healthy little girl – not knowing anything else about her. This was the worst doctor I’ve ever met. I don’t know him, but that 1 minute appointment was enough to know that I would never recommend or go to him again for anything.

It’s been a week since that appointment and Aria is still better than ever. We still follow our routine because we’re not sure if changing it will make her skin flare up again, but she hasn’t scratched once in about a month. No redness, no open wounds… She’s just back to normal. I guess I’m writing all of this because I feel like we went through hell and we exhausted almost everything until we came across Jian Pai and if we hadn’t, we would’ve kept going until we found a way to help her. I’m writing because of how mad I am that a specialist – who we waited 4 months to see – didn’t care to actually treat his patient, but instead threw more drugs at the problem that wasn’t even there. I’m writing to hopefully help anyone else who is going through the same hell we did. I truly hope this helps… Feel free to email me or leave me comments if you have any questions!

Project: Lexus RX330 Paint Restoration

One of the first things I do when I get a new car is detail it. For new cars, I can’t stand the factory swirls that either come from shipping, or from the dealership washing it up before delivery. To be honest, it was probably better for it to be dirty than for the dealership to wash it and make it worse. In this case, the RX is an 11 year old car – one that looks like it’s never seen a good detail in its lifetime. It’s a sad and exciting thing… Sad because it deserves more than that, and exciting because I love restoring paint on cars almost as much as I love modding them. It’s a good challenge and a ton of work, but when it’s all done – man, does it feel good.

I’ll walk through the steps of restoring the RX in this post – it’s not as in-depth but it does show the progression well. I tried to take pics when I remembered, but for the most part you’ll be able to see what I did and what I used. This is really just to show that you can bring any car back to life and make it look brand new if you put some elbow grease in paired up with proper products. The below will show you the RX330 coming back to life – AKA (as JC says) Hoanger Spec.

This was the night I got it home. I forgot to take pics of what the headlights looked like before I started wet sanding… But this pic was when I went over it with 1000 grit sandpaper mixed with soapy water. Literally just dish soap and warm water. The important thing is to keep the surface wet (that’s what she said). I like to sand in back and forth motions as opposed to circles, but I don’t think it really matters. I just find it’s easier to remove the swirls and see where you need to keep polishing.

After wiping it dry. You can see most of your sanding marks and where you may need to sand a little more. The headlights have been through a lot over the last 11 years and you could feel the grittiness when sanding. Although the headlights look 100x worse now, they feel 100x better. Smooth as a baby’s bumb.

This was after the second pass with a finer sand paper – 2500 grit. By going up each time, you’re effectively reducing the amount of polishing you have to do. You’re just minimizing the previous sandpapers marks by going over with a smoother grit. When you start, you’ll see some of the marring left by the 1000 grit sandpaper and as you keep smoothing it out, you see less and less of it. Eventually you’re left with a foggy but super smooth finish with very minimal (if any) sanding marks.

My go-to polish combo has been Menzerna PF2500 with an orange cutting pad for a while now. I’m using a Porter Cable 7424 (super old but super reliable) so it’s not strong enough to really burn the clear coat even if I tried. The combo has worked wonders for anything from minimal swirls to something as marred up like the RX. You’ll see what type of condition the paint is in later in the post…

The headlight looks bad now from all the wet sanding, but it’ll soon be better. Dab the polish around the headlight and start slow to spread it all over, then speed it up and finish until the polish has broken down and removed the hazing.

Here we go.

Voila! Good as new. All of the yellowing over the years has gone away… the hazing and foggy build up near the bottom is gone as well. It’s crystal clear now! Repeat for the other side. Also – once you polish, you’ll be able to carefully examine where you may have missed a spot when wet sanding. You can repeat the above process until you’re happy with the result.

I would caution though that I probably wouldn’t recommend doing this on newer headlights. Most headlamps come with a protective UV coating but they wear off as you can see here. If you wet sand a new headlight, there is a good chance you’re just sanding it away. Unless you 3M it afterwards, you’re probably worse off by wet sanding. There are other products out there to fix things like this but I’ve never personally tried them. Most of the cars I have restored headlights on have been older models so I’ll use the wet sand method.

Saturday morning – I was back at it again. I don’t typically clay bar – but this one was a must. The paint was gritty and it just felt nasty to touch.

Here’s a good pic of the condition of the paint. Lots of swirls and unattractive…

Here’s what one pass looked like on the front quarter. JUST the front quarter alone held that much debris and dirt – it is surprisingly satisfying when you clay bar and get this much gunk off.

More shots of the marring and swirls.

Last one. You can imagine how stoked I was to bring this paint back to life…

Here’s what the clay looked like after the first half of the car. Keep in mind to knead the clay every panel so that you get a fresh start on the next panel. The last thing you want to do is continue rubbing the grit and dirt from one panel onto the next one. You don’t want to make it more difficult for yourself when polishing.

One thing that I got a lot of questions and comments about on my Instagram story was about the clay bar method. Clay barring your car is used to remove contaminants and debris that is “lodged” in the clear coat that regular washing wouldn’t have removed. There are people that clay bar their new car and still find debris and contaminants in the paint. I’m not one of those people – but I do think that after 11 years, a car that has not received a good detail does require claying. Technically, I could have gone straight to polishing and it would’ve had a similar effect. However, you would just get a lot of the debris in your polishing pad and make it less effective as you go. Clay barring also does not remove swirls – polishing and sealing/waxing is vital to follow up with to protect the clear coat after clay barring since it removes everything – even existing wax. Please don’t think clay barring will fix your paint – it will make it look ‘cleaner’ for sure, but your swirls are there for good until you polish.

The final product after claying. The car does shine a bit more with a lot of the dirt out of the clear coat, but there is a bigger challenge ahead – swirls.

Here’s a shot of the polish after being worked into the clear. The biggest thing to remember is that polish needs heat and time to break down. You can’t run your polisher on the lowest setting and expect swirls to be gone. You need to spread the polish at a low speed, then gradually work your way up and begin generating heat on the pad to the surface of the clearcoat so that the polish starts to break down. I typically work on a panel for 5-10 minutes depending on how many swirls or how bad the condition is. It also helps to have a light over the panel you’re working on so you can see how much you’ve fixed.

Once you’re satisfied, wipe the polish off with a MF cloth and inspect the surface. This is how you’ll know whether you need to make another pass or if you’ve removed enough swirls to your liking.

Here’s a shot of the front fender after polishing with one pass. 99% of the swirls are gone and the surface is reflecting as expected.

Aria came to join and help out for a little bit…

A shot of the rear bumper – the rear bumper was probably the worst part of the car. Lots of scuffs from many things I imagine – luggage, swiping with jeans/jackets, bumps and bruises from parking lots… I was able to remove about 95% of the scuffs that did not go past the clear coat.

Also polished the tail light. Yes – you can polish your tail light to reveal a nice, clear finish.

A shot of the rear quarter and tail light.

One more of the tail light. Note – I did not wet sand the tail lights. Typically, tail lights receive much less abuse than headlights. The only time I’ve wet sanded tail lights was when the previous owner has taken the car wash brush to it one too many times. You’ll be able to tell based on the scratches and scuffs and haziness of it, but this wasn’t bad at all. A quick pass on this really just helped clear it up again.

Once you’ve done the hard – and most important – part of it all, the next step is to help reveal and protect the shine you’ve just brought out. I decided to try out a new type of sealant – a product from Japan – Soft99’s Fusso Coat. It’s the Japanese brother of Chemical Guys, if you will. It’s a fairly hard paste sealant made of a fluorine polymer. It’s marketed as a ’12 month wax’ but I suspect with our winters, I’ll probably last 4 months if I’m lucky.

This particular tin is made for dark cars. Small print if you would like to read the details…

Here’s what it looks like. I was totally expecting it to smell like squash but it just smells like strong chemicals. Bummer lol. I’m not going to bore you with wax application pics – it’s pretty bland. The best pics are after the wax is wiped off…

While I was inspecting the car, I also noticed the grill had taken quite the beating over the years. it looked like a cookies and cream grill now. I wanted to restore it back to black so I masked it off and painted that while I was waiting for the wax to cure.

Finally done! All in all, it took me about 5-6 hours to complete it all. I consider myself lucky because the car was already pretty clean to begin with – it was kept in good condition and all I needed to do was fix it up here and there. A little hard to tell in these pics since the sun was half and half…

A shot of the rear quarter – it truly looks like a brand new car.

One more…

A shot of the rear. The rear hatch was also quite beat up I imagine from opening and closing and other things. The 3″ pad that I picked up worked wonders on the tight spaces here.

A shot of the refreshed grill. Nothing fancy, but definitely better than before.

A shot of the now-cleared headlights.

Another shot of the headlights. No more swirls, or haziness!

Reflection shot. Much better than the swirly shot I took above…

Tail lights refreshed as well.

Head on…

And one last one before the garage closed for the day. It’s a total bummer too because I wanted to drive it while it was so damn shiny… But it’s snowing and shitty today and no one will ever be able to appreciate it like I did on Sunday… Oh well.

If anyone has questions, feel free to email me! I’m always willing to help and answer questions!