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140 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Audi S3 - Major Paint Correction Detail

I was contacted via the Audi-Sport owners club RE a detail to a black S3. Having been a member here for some time now, (my old Audi A3 1.8 Sport, A3 1.8T Sport, S3 and current A4 Avant) you could say I was a bit of a fan!

Going back two years, I was gutted when the time came to sell my S3 (making way for the A4, (practicality and all that!)) It was a great car! Not 'fast', but, an all-round great! Classy, comfortable, a stunning interior, quality drive, quick, quattro, 'solid' and sporty. Would buy it back tomorrow if I could...

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Anyway, onwards with the detail...


3M Glass Cleaner
3M Ultrafine
3M Ultrafina
3M FastCut+
AutoSmart G101
AutoSmart Tardis
AutoGlym Vinyl & Rubber Care
AMDetails mild clay bar
Aquartz Iron-X
Chemical Guys New Look Trim Gel
Dodo Juice Born To Be Mild
IPA (isopropyl alcohol)
Jeffs Werkstat Prime
Meguiars Last Touch
Meguiars Super Degreaser
Menzerna 106FA
Menzerna 203s
Menzerna 85 RD 3.02
RaceGlaze Black Label Wax

Vehicle was booked in over two days.

Quick inspection:

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Recently refurbished wheels:

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Nice colour combo on the interior; going by photos I'd seen previously, I wasn't a fan of the part leather, part alcantara, but I must say it was stunning!

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Starting with the wheels - other than a blast with G101 and slight agitation, they didn't need a lot. Arches and tyres soaked with Megs Super Degreaser and scrubbed. Engine-bay covered with Super Deagreaser, agitated and later rinsed on medium pressure.

Washed via the two-bucket system and Dodo's Born to be Mild shampoo.

Previously protected with Blackfire (all finish paint protection and the midnight sun wax)

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AS Tardis used to dissolve tar deposits.

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Tar is pretty tricky to spot on a black car! I didn't think there was a lot there but the towel used to remove the residues proved me wrong:

Now, thanks to Alan @ here... He'd sent his new mild claybar for me to trial and I must say, I was very impressed.

Dunked in a bowl of hot water to keep it malleable, I set about claying the car.

The paintwork was relatively clean already though; the owner claims he'd clayed it himself just under a month or so ago. Very little contaminants picked up:

Rear reg. plate removed to assist machine polishing later:

The owner mentioned that the NS had been painted due to someone catching the rear quarter a year or so back.

Paint looking a little streaky?

and with overspray in the window rubbers and doorshuts:

After bringing the vehicle inside and drying it down, it turns out both the NS and OS had been painted. Only areas with original audi paint were the boonet, the roof, the bootlid and two front wings.

In terms of 'defects', the car wasn't too bad. Not so much your general swirling, but more deep scratches from bodyshop sanding, polishing etc.

Flat spots:

A tree/branch had fallen on the NS leading edge of the roof which had left some nice scratches:

Sanding scores:

The bonnet (with original paint) averaged a healthy 130 microns

Defects under the brinkmann LED torch:

Starting my polishing set on the bonnet (original paint) with a yellow 3m polishing pad and Menz 3.02. Lots of deep marks remain. Stepping up to a light-cut hexlogic pad but made very little difference.

After a few more tests with polish and pad combinations, I found the results I was looking for:


The paint was extremely hard. Requiring 2-3 hits per section with 3M FastCut + and a mix of compounding pads (yellow hexlogic and green 3M) In checking the finish under the brinkmann, there wasn't much need at this point to follow with a refinement pass! FastCut was being burnished down to a near perfect finish...

Continuing to work down the OS.

To safely correct some of the intricate areas, lots of tape overlapping had to be done.

OS door 50/50's (again, to be honest, they're not too badly swirled - mainly just deep scratches (the beauty of a tough VAG paint (more resistant against wash induced swirls)

Before/After. Hand polished with Menz 203s:

After heavy correction on the roof:

And further refined with Menz 203s on a polishing pad:

Spoiler corrected and refined:

Boot lid. Before/After:

Some tricky areas on here..

With the tape coming off the plastic strip, there was a noticeable difference!


and corrected...

End of day 1.

Roof before (where the tree fell)

After (the deepest of the scratches remains)

A nasty scrape just above the NS door:

Took multiple hits with a 3M compounding spot-pad to shift.

A-pillar and roofline after:

NS rear quarter. Before/After: (check the paint overspray in the panel gap!)

A bit more spotted here, too:





Bumpers. Before/After:

Light clusters, both front and rear, polished with Menz 203s. Before/After:

Machine work complete. As per, the car was taken outside to remove polishing dusts etc.

"Dust? What dust?"

This dust!

Rinsed with a free flowing hose to sheet the water over the panels, thus, aiding the drying stage.

Blown dry with the Black Baron vehicle dryer.

Another thorough IPA wipedown was given to fully remove all polishing oils etc.

Next? Wax.

Raceglaze Black Label. 66% carnauba content. New wax for my premium appliations.

A nice plug for the boys at Awesome-GTI (

Exhausts wit 00 wire wool and autosol.

Engine bay plastics dressed,

Some final toothpickery work,

Polish residues removes from gaps, badges and crevices,

Glass cleaned. Tyres dressed. Paintwork wiped down. Audi badge polished and interior tickled.

22 hours. Fini. The trouble, and, I know it would happen, is I want an S3 again now! A car to sit alongside the A4 as a mint demo car for weekend and show use only. Hmm. Better polish some more cars first!

Thanks for reading.


184 Posts
Wow, sum in-depth work her. I can see how it'd take 22 hours. [:S] If you don't mind me asking how much do you take for this level of correction?

1,038 Posts
Wow!! Looks better than new-fantastic work[H]

One question...on the more intricate areas such as door handles and around the badges on the bootlid, how did you manage to get the swirls out? Im assuming by hand but would love to know as I am about to do a full detail on a black S3 and mk4 golf soon!

I ate a big red candle !!
10,384 Posts
Thats amazing. [Y]

140 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Stevo, only area done by hand was the insides of the door handles.

The badge surround at the back etc can be done carefully with a spot-pad or two. Just make sure you're taping up delicate areas.

A mammoth detail to a jazz blue mkiv will follow soon. [:D] [:$]
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