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Lexus - Cleaning - Detailing


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I know recently I have seen a number of posts on where members have purchased a used lexus and have been unhappy with the attention to detail of the cleaning of the car at the point of delivery. 

I have had my IS300H a number of months now and this was supplied by a Lexus main dealer. 

Although generally the car was supplied valeted and cleaned, again it did appear that the job was not as good to the last time I took delivery of my last car (about 3 years back) 

One message I had got from a contact of mine in the industry was that a lot of used cars have been changing hands due to households offloading cars due to the covid pandemic. He also stated with cars standing, that they have somewhat been neglected especially externally where they have been allowed to be exposed to the elements including a lot of birds dirt that when left can cause a lot of damage. The droppings contain uric acid which is corrosive enough to eat through coatings and begin to etch the paint. 

With this in mind I decided to give the car a real good check over and as you would expect you start to see the blemishes, scratches, swirls that it's picked up over time. 

It was then I started to look in to detailing and the work involved behind it. 

It was interesting to discuss and check various posts on forums where even a car a few months old can pick up swirls, scratches, marks etc, all primarily down to incorrect car washing. 

I know that a lot of folk these days (including myself) are using hand car washes at 6, 7 and 8 quid a go where you are getting a quick 10 minute wash and dry, tyre shine etc. that does cover a lot of work/detail for the money but when you start asking the experts they do then point to the marks your car is picking up that a high percentage of them is simply down to improper washing. 

With all of the above in mind I then discussed getting the car detailed from a chap who's been in the business for around 6 years and the results were amazing. 

From the enhancement to the paitntwork, the marks, scratch and swirl removal along with the final wax finish that was like glass have finished the car to a fantastic standard. 

It got me thinking that it's such a shame that a brand like lexus and its approved dealerships wouldn't half benefit from finishing an approved used lexus with attention to detail like this. 

I guess it comes down to maximising profits and if they can get away with a rough 25 quid mini valet from a chap around the corner then that's the route they take. 

Here's a couple of pics of the finished result for any interested members

Screenshot_20210804_162222.jpg

Screenshot_20210804_162258.jpg

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Lexus dealerships are not detailers that is for sure, some don't even clean the cars themselves, but simply take them to local hand wash and that is all.

Those dealerships who clean the cars themselves (I know Lexus Reading does) do no better job than same £6 hand wash guys. Yes you get your car clean, but rest assured they don't detail it. 

When I bought RC it was in terrible shape cosmetically, I mean it was one of the reason car was rather cheap - loads of stone chips, swirls and rather deep scratches. I am fairly certain that same car would have been £2000 more expensive would the dealer have had it detailed to high standard. For me that was actually great, got my polishing supplies out and in a week after delivery it looked like a brand new car. It came out very well and none of the scratches really gave me any trouble. So I saved the money on it and had good reason to play around with the detailing on top of that. 

Now there is one more thing which has happened since - I took the car for the warranty job and it was cleaned by Lexus Woodford... overall it was clean car and probably I should have asked them not to touch it, but I forgot. So they washed it and somebody have applied wax or glaze after washing. Obviously that was not necessary as car was ceramically coated, but worse - they forgotten to buff it of the grille and left it to dry on. It took me a bloody week to scrape that dried on crap from what is huge grille. 

Moral of the story - if you buying car from Lexus, be prepared to pay for proper detailer and it will make huge difference. As well as Lexus not to wash your car after service, because they may make it worse. It is certainly not an issue for people who don't care and who don't detail their cars, but fi you have had your car detailed professionally, then Lexus cleaning may make it worse.

As for expectations... Yes I agree for Luxury brand like Lexus having in house detailing and providing sparkling cars would be great, but probably slightly unrealistic. I don't know any mainstream brand which would do that (Audi, MB, BMW) and frankly Lexus has far bigger issues with their used approved cars. Mine came without brake-pads, other guys had cracking tyres etc. So in the order of priority, this isn't even biggest issues I think. But I agree it would be cool indeed if they do it.

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Any recommendations of trustworthy detailers/valeting services in the South? Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, that sort of way.

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The cost was £170.00 for 6-7 hours of work which I felt was more than reasonable considering time/materials etc.

I have seen costs starting at more than twice that but expect these are pitched at higher end motors

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23 minutes ago, cadman2k said:

The cost was £170.00 for 6-7 hours of work which I felt was more than reasonable considering time/materials etc.

I have seen costs starting at more than twice that but expect these are pitched at higher end motors

Not necessary, it is more to do with what level of detail you are expecting and what services you are getting.

£170 I would see as more like "maintenance detail" - that is car is in good shape, just need few swirls removed, maybe some decontamination from road grime and brake dust. That would include full wash, chemical decontamination and light pass with polisher. To finish-up maybe a layer of good quality wax for protection. This however, would not address deeper scratches and would not include long lasting protection like ceramic coating. 

When you see prices around £500-600, then this is more comprehensive detail - it involves same preparation, maybe adding few more steps to make sure car is clean as it could get (e.g. claying or even wet sanding the areas with deeper scratches). later it could include, 2-3 or even more different grade of polishes to refine paint to the standard exceeding that of even new car. This all sounds over-kill, but sadly it is necessary if the goal is to apply ceramic coating as a long lasting protection (2-3, maybe even 5 years with right maintenance). And it is necessary because applying ceramic coating on paint imperfections, swirls, scratches would only highlight them. So the paint has to be nearly perfect before ceramic coating could be done.

In short - not all detailing jobs are the same or includes same level of work... and that is what dictates the price.

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Hi it looks very good and I agree that the price was not excessive for this standard of work .I think you have hit the nail on the head when you say the 6 odd quid washes are causing the initial problems as the quality of the products used is usually rubbish including the material used to rub your paintwork ,likewise the dealers will pay the minimum for the valet.The last couple of cars I have part exchanged have really shown up the poor preparation as my old car was far superior to the newer one I bought .I never let any of these people near my car ,to such an extent that on the rare occasions I use a dealer I tell them and leave a note in the car that I do not want it cleaned. The damage that can be done in a few minutes can take hours to rectify

Dave

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56 minutes ago, cadman2k said:

The cost was £170.00 for 6-7 hours of work which I felt was more than reasonable considering time/materials etc.

I have seen costs starting at more than twice that but expect these are pitched at higher end motors

Not necessarily higher end.  I treated my humble IS250 to a detailing experience and that was four days work and substantially more than twice what you paid.  But because it included applications of ceramic finishes, the results are long lasting.

(The downside is that no longer do I have the convenience of the quick car wash!)

I think what you paid was a very fair investment for the quality of the result.  But a car dealer would have to mark up a substantial additional gross profit on the sale of a used car in order to nett the £170 to pay for it.  And that would possibly make that car a more difficult one to sell.

On the other hand, I would rather buy the car and take it to a Detailer myself and have them apply any corrective treatments and ceramic finishes without the involvement of the dealer.

Mind you, we did have a thread here recently in which a buyer had taken his brand new Lexus straight to his favourite Detailer, who identified areas of respray.  The result was the dealer contributing to the detailing rectification work! 

2 hours ago, cadman2k said:

if they can get away with a rough 25 quid mini valet from a chap around the corner then that's the route they take. 

My Lexus dealer always provided 'complimentary' valeting with every service.  And very good it looked too, for a while.  But they had a car wash augmented by young lads so I paid for it somewhere on the way.  And no doubt they also contributed to the (very few) swirls on the bodywork that had to be corrected.

So as Dave has just pointed out, that's one service I will no longer want with a service.

 

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5 minutes ago, LenT said:

So as Dave has just pointed out, that's one service I will no longer want with a service.

If you had your car detailed to high level - Lexus complimentary wash and valet is certainly thing to avoid. It all depends on how much attention to the details owner has - for some it may be good, for other it may be terrible.

I could make rather relevant analogy here - if you have a "thing" which has the surface finished with 500 grit sand paper and you are offered the service where that surface will be refinished with 1000 grit, then it is great, especially considering it is free, that will obviously improve the surface finish! But if you sort of the person who got to the trouble sanding the surface with 5000 grit and then polishing it to mirror finish, then 1000 grit service is really not for you. 

Sadly in the world of detailing where everything is polished to mirror finish Lexus (like any cheap hand wash) only offers 1000 grit "complimentary scratching" service. But let's face it - 90% of customers they have don't have cars detailed or even washed for long time, so they would not understand where we are coming from.

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45 minutes ago, ikeja said:

Is it worth having a ceramic coating in preference to a wax?

If it's a young car (post 2012ish) with silly thin water based paint and you're doing a lot of motorway miles, possibly as stone chips can get down to bare metal and if not noticed or attended to rust creeps under paint and.. BOOM whole panel needs a respray. At least.. this is true of other brands including Mazda, Honda.. I don't know about Lexus paint.

Folks..

Get a cuppa, sit back and relax, this is very soothing to watch 😄

 

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2 minutes ago, PJD69 said:

If it's a young car (post 2012ish) with silly thin paint and you're doing a lot of motorway miles, possibly as stone chips can get down to bare metal and if not noticed or attended to

Ceramic Coatings don't offer any protection against stone chips, they provide UV and stain protection, plus make it easier to clean and provide a high gloss finish. This is all similar to wax but it lasts much longer. They may offer slight protection against swirl marks but this is often overstated.

If you want chip protection you need a PPF.

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If you want a story about detailing, try this https://www.detailingworld.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=81391 epic.

The best bit, which I can't find at the moment, is when the author announced that he and his friends were going to have pizza to celebrate the completion of the job. Some wag replied asking if they'd send the pizza back if it wasn't to the exact required thickness. 

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9 hours ago, ikeja said:

Is it worth having a ceramic coating in preference to a wax?

It depends on how much time and money you’re prepared to invest in obtaining and maintaining a really deep shine.

A ceramic finish is best done, I would suggest, by a professional detailer.  They require substantial preparatory work and usually use infra red heaters to bake on the final ceramic coatings.  But they can remain effective for years and require very little effort to maintain the original - and often quite dramatic- results.

Waxes, of course, are an easy, low cost DIY option that just demand a bit of dedicated application.  But the results don’t last long and require more frequent reapplication.  But for many people that’s part of the pleasure of car ownership.

One disadvantage of detailing and paying for ceramic finishes is that the results are obtained by eliminating the swirl marks and micro scratches created by car washes and poor washing techniques .  So there’s little point in spending the money if you’re not going to change those habits.

I didn’t expect that at my age I’d have to abandon the  handy car wash at the BP station, and be messing around with Snow Foam, Foam Guns, buckets, wash mitts, drying cloths and so on.  But it gets me out of the house.

And I’ve discovered that there are such things as mobile detailers  that come to you.  Something for the future?

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13 hours ago, PJD69 said:

If it's a young car (post 2012ish) with silly thin water based paint and you're doing a lot of motorway miles, possibly as stone chips can get down to bare metal and if not noticed or attended to rust creeps under paint and.. BOOM whole panel needs a respray. At least.. this is true of other brands including Mazda, Honda.. I don't know about Lexus paint.

Folks..

Get a cuppa, sit back and relax, this is very soothing to watch 😄

 

I chanced upon this very video late last year.  Until then I had no idea that detailing was so….detailed.

It caught my attention because my IS250 is also Pearl White.  It impressed me enough for me to decide to treat mine to four days of pampering and ceramic coating by a local specialist.   In part I was spending the money I saved by driving only 3000 miles that year, thanks to various lockdowns.

The results were pretty much as you see here.  And a worthwhile investment as far as I am concerned.

 

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Mostly of the paintings of Lexus are known for a special “shade” like Sonic Titanium.

I saw for the first time that color in Tokyo while I was there for business.

Remember that in the morning the color had some shade, in the evening others, in the night totally different.

At the time I had a new IS250 basic black, never take care of the paint so it was full of swirls and imperfections.

So when I change the car I bought a IS300H Sonic T, again, I was little bit more careful, but did not know how to take care of the paint, but for sure the new paint was totally better tocare than the basic black, when I read the Lexus paint has some “autorepair” property I did not trust, but seeing my IS300H after 4 years of automatic wash at the petrol station, I think the paint for sure hase some properties, I had very few swirls and imperfections and the dealer that take back says “congrats for the care you had for this car”!

Now that I know the “detailing world” surely my RC300H is treated aswell as I can do, I am not a professional or an enthusiast, just try to take care every 1/2 weeks by a prewash (alcaline and acid) hand wash, two bucks, decontamination, quick detailer.

only with high end products, like Labocosmetica or  Carpro, my favorites.

Of course inside is the same.

Now the car has a normal wax, that last only a month or two, too short time.

I would like to bring to a detailer for a nanocoating, but my question is:

”there’s a possibility that the nanocating change the behavior of the original paint?”

As Sonic T is not matt, is not gloss, and it has a proper look, this is what I am afraid: to change the beauty of this paint.

Any idea from your side?

Thanks

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The week before last, my son bought a Honda Civic R to replace his series 1 BMW. The Honda has only 29k miles on it, but its appearance would have suggested 129k. Full of swirls and other visual imperfections, all of which more readily showed up on its black paint. We washed it twice, clay barred it, washed it again, he machined polished the entire car except the roof, washed the car again, and then I followed through with a quality waxing. Got to say it looked the mutties and as a 29k mileage car should. Extremely hard work that achieved a fantastic result, albeit we now figure it needs its bonnet resprayed given the number of chips in the paint! I still have some doubts about the 29k but its MOT and service history is impeccable so I assume the paint quality is as bad as is suggested in an above video.

The point is the time and effort we spent on that car were more than rewarded given how it now looks. I also suspect we upped its value quite significantly and knowing my son it won't be too long before we find out is that is the case!

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2 hours ago, Overland said:

I would like to bring to a detailer for a nanocoating, but my question is:

”there’s a possibility that the nanocating change the behavior of the original paint?”

As Sonic T is not matt, is not gloss, and it has a proper look, this is what I am afraid: to change the beauty of this paint.

This may help you, Cris.

It's a professional detailing job, applying ceramic finishes, to Lexus Sonic Titanium.

 

As ceramic finishes are clear coats I wouldn't have thought that any colour changes would occur.  The original finish just looks shinier, has a greater depth and, of course, lasts longer.

Whether you like the glossier finish is a personal preference.  I can only suggest that you find a good car detailer who's using ceramics and ask their advice.

In contrast, here's a video made by a Lexus dealer for a customer featuring a Sonic Titanium finish - but not ceramic.

Different cameras obviously, but maybe it'll give you some help by suggesting which one looks more like your car.  And which one would you like it to look like!

 

 

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Interesting to see the above videos especially given I too have a Sonic Titanium finish on my car. Have to say sometimes when I look at it all I can see is silver and other times a greenish hint or a golden silver. Still not quite sure what is the best regime for putting a sparkle on it, but one thing that does help is Carplan "Super Gloss Number 1". Seems to get little press or recognition, but I've used it on 4 off my cars over the last 5 years, two of those were white Jaguars, a titanium sliver BMW and now the LC. All have most definitely benefited from its application, albeit I will concede it ideally needs 2 coats to bring out the shine. Very easy on/off and well worth the effort.

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4 hours ago, Overland said:

 

I would like to bring to a detailer for a nanocoating, but my question is:

”there’s a possibility that the nanocating change the behavior of the original paint?”

As Sonic T is not matt, is not gloss, and it has a proper look, this is what I am afraid: to change the beauty of this paint.

Any idea from your side?

I would say no - it won't change how paint behaves. Why? Because first of all as any modern paint Sonic T has clearcoat on top of it, whatever effect the paint has is made by multi-layer application which suspends the flakes in base coat of or layers of clear coat and not on the surface of the paint. By the way Sonic T is metallic paint, meaning it is gloss, just not plain colour. What ceramic coating does - it adds another layers similar to clear coat on your paint by binding silica polymers (basically glass), but it is very thin we talking nanometres (that is why they are called nano coatings sometimes). So for example you car may have say 40microns thickness, then ceramic coating on top adds few 100nanometres layer, so like it will be more than 40 times thinner (more like 200-400 times actually). In short it adds to already existing clear coat of your car nothing more, so should not change the metallic effect your paint has.  

The only effect you may see is that your paint looks even more shiny and deep, because ceramic coating surface is much smoother than clearcoat, again because of chemical bonding and self-levelling effect.

The only caveat - whomever is preparing the car has to prepare it right. Sonic T is great paint from the perspective that it hides defects very well, but likewise it is easy to miss few defects. If ceramic is applied over the defects it may be enough to highlight them.

Overall, ceramic coating is not really a compromise compared to waxes, the only trade-off is that it costs 10 times more to apply, because car has to be meticulously prepared.

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Given the preparation required and the application of ceramic coating would anyone thing the GEN 3 Glasscoat treatment offered by my Lexus dealer at £399 worth it?

thanks

Dave

 

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26 minutes ago, Djwbiker said:

Given the preparation required and the application of ceramic coating would anyone thing the GEN 3 Glasscoat treatment offered by my Lexus dealer at £399 worth it?

Depends on who they use for that work... 

I mean if they work together with some professional detailer and just use their leverage of providing more work to them and able to offer detail + coating for £399 instead of what would normally be £500-600, then yes that is good deal. However, if they just ask dealership cleaner to apply coating on the car, then it is absolute waste of money.

Now sadly being the pessimist I am, I am fairly certain it will closer to the later. As well I have mentioned dealership cleaner for a reason - I know Lexus dealership where they have agency to do their dealership cleaning and same agency provides staff for their car wash... and literally the same people sometimes does both jobs... and I am not being derogatory towards people doing cleaning jobs, but let's face it - detailers they are not!

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