Even among supercars, the McLaren F1 stands out. So when you need to clean one of those legendary machines, you don’t just use ordinary soap and water. You go for dry ice blasting.
In this Hagerty video, professional detailer Tim McNair shows how to clean an F1 with dry ice. He views dry ice as “just another weapon in the arsenal” in the battle against dirt, but this process is a step beyond how most owners clean their cars—and more dramatic to watch as well.
An F1 is a good car to demonstrate dry ice cleaning on because, McNair explains, unlike many collector cars, owners actually tend to drive them. Sure enough, when the wheels and some of the underbody panelling are removed, plenty of dirt is visible on this example, which has the high-downforce kit signified by a large rear wing.
Those dirty areas are blasted with pellets of dry ice, which removes dirt on impact. It does this with less moisture and more precision than other cleaning techniques, making it particularly useful for tight, intricate areas like wheel wells and brake assemblies.
Once the dirt is blasted off, it’s time to detail. On an F1, that requires multiple types of cleaning products and techniques because of the different materials involved. On the brakes alone, McNair meticulously applies brake cleaner with cotton swabs and bamboo skewers, then switches to mascara brushes and fine steel wool for anodized components—to avoid damaging them. Everything then gets wiped down with a spray-on metal detailer.
Along the way, McNair highlights some interesting details of the F1, like the electric fans in the wheel wells that blow air into the headlight enclosures to keep them from fogging.
McNair also gives a quick overview of the steering wheel. What look like paddle shifters are actually controls for the horn and high beams. And because the wheel has a racing-style quick-release mechanism that makes direct wiring to the steering column impossible, those functions are activated by infrared beams. These are the things you notice when you spend hours detailing a car.
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