Audi RS4 Avant - Protection Detail & Leather Conditioning

The market place for a German performance saloon is one that is loved around the world. The majority of them being rear wheel drive, front engine with big power and often dripping with the perfect mixture of luxury and pedigree with upgraded interior and exterior trim. The BMW 'M Division' seem to lead the way for these types of vehicles with their beloved M3, M5 and the more recent M6 but Audi have always been able to retaliate with their RS models; more particularly the RS4. Previous models of both BMW M5 and Audi RS4 were available in saloons or estates dependent on how active the owners lifestyle was whereas the M3 was strictly saloon. With the RS4 being the closest rival to the M3 of all the Audi Range, this left Audi to give their buyers a little more flexibility.

The RS4 Avant was re-launched in 2012, this time being strictly in estate form and the updated styling gave the Audi wider arches and sharper angles that come together to create a v8 powered four wheel drive vehicle that would look menacing in any rear view mirror. Featuring a double clutch S-tronic gearbox, the RS4 could launch itself to 60mph from a standstill in 4.7seconds which for any vehicle would be a respectable let alone a 1.7tonne estate. The RS4 Avant we have here was delivered to us to receive a Protection Detail to remove all contamination and get every surface protected for months to come. After discussion with the owner we were informed that this particular RS4 hadn't received a thorough cleaning for a fair while due to the owners busy lifestyle. The vehicle was delivered to us with a heavy build up of brake dust on the wheels and a reasonable road soiling build up on the body...

The wheels were sprayed with a liberal dose of Auto Finesse Iron Out to break down the heavy build up of brake dust that had been disturbed by some working hands after what appeared to be four brand new tires. The Iron out was then left to soak into the brake dust and any ferrous particles would cause the product to change into a deep shade of purple due to the chemical reaction process. The door, boot and bonnet shuts were sprayed with an All-Purpose-Cleaner (APC) and a boar hair detailing brush was used to access all hinges and door shut components to rid any accumulated dirt. Once all shuts were agitated the wheels were given a thorough rinse with a pressure washer to jet away the bulk of the brake dust away. A few areas still had heavier spots of fallout contamination so they were sprayed with a second hit of Iron Out. After a minute Auto Finesse Imperial wheel cleaner was sprayed onto the wheels to aid the Iron Out in removing the remaining brake dust. An assortment of wheel brushes and wheel woollies agitated the cleaner to lift the remainder of the dust away from the wheels before being rinsed clean. The arch liners were misted with APC and a long reach brush was used to clear any road soiling from the aras that were hard to reach...

The lower side panels were heavily soiled and were clearly showing little or even no signs of any protection. To help break down the dirt on the paint surface a little more effectively a citrus pre-cleaner was sprayed generously to all lower side panels, rear panels and the nose of the RS4 and was left to gently soak the dirt for a few minutes. Whilst the citrus pre-cleaner was still wet on the paint, the whole car was then covered in a foam pre-wash to further breakdown surface durt and carry any larger grit particles away to help reduce the risk of marring the paint during the physical was process. Rinsing away the foam after approximately 3-5minutes of dwell time allowed the car to be freed of heavier dirt that may marr or scratch the paintwork during the bucket wash. To reduce this risk even further the car was washed panel-by-panel with a two bucket method and a synthetic deep-pile wash mitt. Each panel was rinsed after being gently cleansed to prevent the shampoo solution from drying out prematurely...

The next stage of the RS4's Protection Detail was decontamination. The car was moved indoors and cleared of excess standing water to allow the decontamination stages to work most effectively; with any water lingering on the panel it will cause the products to dilute-down when they contact the panel, essentially making them weaker than normal. A dedicated tar remover was then sprayed through a hand pump sprayer directly onto the side and rear panels to begin softening the tar deposits. Any tar would begin to run as the solvents in the tar remover dissolved the spotting from a solid lump to something that can be effortlessly wiped away. Any larger spots were given a second application to ensure they were removed completely. Auto Finesse Iron Out was then sprayed over the entire vehicle through a hand pump sprayer to remove any industrial fallout that may be present. Like when applied to the wheels, any ferrous particles on the paint would cause a chemical reaction and change into a deep purple colour. The Iron out was then left to soak into the contamination to transform it into a water soluble state that can be effortlessly be rinsed away. This was left to dwell for 8-10minutes to give the product a generous time to work into the most stubborn particles, attention was given to the front body gaps around the bonnet and were given a few mists of Iron Out to prevent the heat escaping the engine compartment drying it out...

As you can see in the images above, there was a reasonably high amount of contamination present. The Audi was then moved back outdoors to be thoroughly rinsed of any Iron Out residue. After inspecting the paintwork for smoothness it was now considerably improved compared to how it was before commencing the detail although there were a few areas where the odd nib could be felt by gently running gloved fingers over the paint. The bonnet was the area that was in question whilst the rest of the RS4 was smooth and contamination free; if your vehicle is well maintained there is no real need to clay a car as the tar and fallout removers are a chemical decontamination process rather than a physical one. Id was decided that the bonnet was to be given a third decontamination step with a surface preparation towel in order to remove the remaining few stubborn contamination specs. A second foaming followed to allow any remaining fallout remover to be worked out of badges and water traps..

The foam was heavily diluted on the second application, this is due to the panels needing minimal cleaning action. The main purpose for this foam was to carry away any lifted contamination without the need to re-wash the vehicle physically. After 1-2minutes the foam was rinsed away and the vehicle was moved indoors for the final time and a combination of warm filtered air and drying towels was used to dry the car completely. The paintwork was now bare, clean and ready for the Auto Finesse Tripple polish to be applied by hand. Tripple cleanses, enhances gloss whilst minimizing light swirls and also leaves the perfect oil-base for the following waxes to adhere to most effectively. Applied in overlapping circular motions the Tripple was spread with a dual foam applicator thinly and evenly. This was then left to cure whilst the glass was treated with OCD Finish Hydro Shield and then left to dry for the remainder of the detail to allow maximum performance. The wheels were given a light mist of quick detailer and buffed free of light dust and water spotting. A layer of Auto Finesse Mint Rims wheel wax was then applied to the faces of the wheels thinly and left to cure. In the time the wheels were buffed and the wax was applied, the Tripple had been given enough time to haze ready to be buffed away with a clean microfiber cloth to reveal a stunning gloss that was ready for the first coat of wax to be applied.

Auto Finesse Desire was applied to the paint to lay down the first coat. As Desire is the flagship wax from the brand, it offers the greatest durability along with some great aesthetic qualities. Thinly and evenly the wax was spread over the entire vehicle and cured for ten minutes before a clean microfiber was used to buff the remains away whilst flipping the cloth regularly to prevent any wax clogging up the fibers. A minimum of one hour was required to allow the Desire to secondary haze before another wax coat could be layered on top, in this time the wheels were buffed of the now cured Mint Rims and the barrels were wiped down to remove drips and dust from the brakes. Auto Finesse Dressle was then misted onto the plastic arch liners and Gyeon q2TIRE was spread onto the brand new tires to give them a beautiful enhanced satin look.

Plastic trims areas such as the rear bumper diffuser area and wing mirror bases were dressed and protected with Auto Finesse Revive trim gel. Spreading a sparingly small amount onto each area allowed a satin finish to be achieved, any excess was then gently wiped away to prevent streaking in the rain. The rear bumper featured a diamond mesh design in the plastic, Auto Finesse Dressle provided the perfect solution to dress and protect these complex areas. The glass treatment was then buffed to a clear with a light misting of Auto Finesse Crystal glass cleaner to ensure no streaks or smears were left behind.

Once the one hour had passed, the second wax coat was ready to be applied after a buff of the paint to ensure all previous wax residue had been removed. To gain maximum gloss from the detail, the second coat of wax was chosen to be Illusion, Auto Finesse's show wax; layering Illusion over Desire gives a great durability vs looks compromise to ensure the vehicle looks its absolute best for a respectable amount of time. The same thin, even application of Illusion was spread over the paintwork and once again left to cure for ten minutes before being buffed away under artificial lighting to check for any smears of any thicker-applied areas. Door, boot and bonnet shuts were given a wipe down with a quick detailer to remove dust and water spotting whilst the gloss enhancers helped to boost the appearance of normally an unprotected area...

Moving onto the interior before the final buff of the exterior took place, all litter was removed from the vehicle and a thorough vacuum of all surfaces removed a very light dusting. An interior detailing brush gently removed dust from air vents and switches without leaving any marring on the carbon fiber trim panels. Auto Finesse Dressle was then misted into a clean microfiber and wiped over all interior plastic trim to leave a satin finish that complimented the carbon fiber perfectly. The glass the received a few mists of Crystal glass cleaner to remove smudges and smears.

The owner had purchased brand new Audi front floor mats to replace the worn ones present and had asked us to fit them. We decided to give the mats a liberal coating of Gtechniq I1 Fabric guard before installing them into the car to help prevent staining and dirt build up from day to day use. The rear mats also received the same treatment. The customer also requested that we clean the leather and apply a conditioning balm to help keep the condition of the leather great. As the leather was already in almost perfect condition with signs of very little use (the drivers seat has been covered from new also), a light misting of a diluted leather-safe interior cleaner was agitated with a leather brush. A clean microfiber then wiped away any dirt that was lifted from the hide. Allowing the leather to dry, a leather conditioning balm was spread and massaged sparingly into every area of the leather seats until the balm was absorbed. The balm provided a rich leather smell that brought the interior back to that brand new car scent...

To complete the Audi RS4 Protection Detail the vehicle received one final buff down of the exterior with a quick detailer. This removed any re-hazed wax and also boosts the gloss levels and acting as a sacrificial layer to prolong the waxes life. A final inspection under LED lighting and a sun gun alternative ensured there were no remaining product residues ready for the Audi's collection. Now for a few photographs of the RS4 Avant in its prime..

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