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Strictly European Autosport - View topic - The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
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The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread) 
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New post The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
I have decided to make a thread that will answer alot of the questions I'm asked about detailing and how it can benefit your vehicle.

I will go over each service that I offer and break them down so that it makes more sense.

Automotive Detailing is exactly that, detailing. It's very different from bringing your car to a car wash like The Wash Tub, having it run through a system with diluted chemicals of brands in which were made for an instant shine, not a long lasting one, and having your car "scrubbed" with abrasive paddles that are rarely cleaned and often pick up debris that can destroy your paint over time. While these services are quick and convienient, they are rather expensive for the services you are paying for. The engine compartment, door jams, wheel wells, and brakes are often overlooked. A local wash center charges 300 dollars for the following services:

• Detailed bumper to bumper decontamination wash
• Engine cleaning and dressing (under 75,000 miles)
Vehicle Must Qualify - Engine Damage Waiver Required
• Detailed rim & tire cleaning
• Thorough trunk vacuum Interior detailing of dash, door
panels, center console, air vents, cup holders, door pockets.
• Carpet and floor mat shampoo - steam cleaning
• Upholstery and/or leather cleaning & conditioning
• Clay Magic of exterior painted surfaces
• Deep cleaning polish of paint to restore shine
• Carnauba hand wax to preserve finish
• Detailed window cleaning inside & out
• Detailed cleaning of door jams & hinges
• Apply lubricant to door hinges


This service is extremely vague in terms of what your paying for as far as what kind of products used and cleaning techniques. This local wash centers definition of "Clay Magic" and "Polish" are very different from that of a Independent Detailers, so I will start there.

Clay Bar is a service that utilizes a Clay Compound to remove the imperfections from the vehicles paint that you cannot neccesarily see, but can infact feel. By washing and drying a vehicle that has alot of overspray and environmental fallout, you can cause alot of damage to the finish, including swirl marks and scratches. Using a clay bar removes these contaminants and decreases the risk of any damage. Clay barring is essential before polishing to remove anything that the polishing machine might grab and repeatedly grind into the paint. Clay barring should be done at least twice a year depending on how many miles you put on the car and how well it is kept up.

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Polishing is a service that removes swirl marks, hazing, and light scratches from the vehicles clear coat. It is done by using a Porter Cable machine that utilizes pads that are categorized by different abrasivness. By using certain combonations paired with different strength polishing compounds these imperfections are removed by "burnishing" the clearcoat and re-leveling it. Polishing has amazing results, usually bring back your cars finish to a better than new shine. I use Meguiars Medium cut compound, or Poor Boys SSR line of polishings and compounds. The "Local Car Wash" defines polishing by applying a cleaning wax to the vehicle before applying a carnuba based wax to "double up" the shining effect. Its hardly polishing the vehicle, but infact just temporarily hiding the imperfections. Polishing is an extremely labor intensive process and should only be done once a year if swirls continue to re-appear. Swirls marks can be kept away after polishing by keeping your vehicle waxed and washing and drying correctly.

A Vehicles finish with 140,000 miles after polishing!
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Washing I strongly emphasize washing and drying the vehicle correctly because that is where the most damage is done. For example, the local carwash uses a conveyor system that has rough paddles and scrubbers that damage the finish more than clean it. Wool wash mitts should be used on the upper portion of the vehicle, a different mitt should be used on the lower half and rocker panels to avoid contamination of the mitts. Also, when it comes to drying using a clean micro fiber towel is a must. Using bathing towels isn't a good idea because they can pick up debris that are difficult to see and can harm your paint, the fibers are alot rougher as well. This step is extremely important in keeping your vehicle's finish in prestine shape.

Now lets talk wax. While there seems to be a hundred different kinds of wax on the market, the good ones all share one important ingredient, Carnuba Wax. This is the element of the wax that gives a long lasting finish and protection from UV rays and acidic water damage. The higher the Carnuba content the better, and usually more expensive. The most expensive jar of wax in the world is 8000 dollars! While that isn't completely neccesary, I use Migliore Fine Wax, Natty's Blue Paste Wax, and Mequiars High Tech Yellow Wax and they all have a high Carnuba content and apply and buff by hand. While they all last a long time, being in our hot climate, they tend to wear off quicker than other climates. Mainly because its extremely hot, and it is a wax after all. The sun beating down on the vehicle all the time doesn't help either. Thats why its extremely important to make sure your vehicle has a coat of wax to protect it. There are a few ways to check and make sure the wax is still there, water beading up on the surface is a good indicator. In the heat i would reccomend Waxing at least every two months if its cold, every four.

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While I've covered the basics of Detailing, I will talk about what makes a Detailer different from a car wash.

Wheel Wells Quite possibly the most over looked part of the vehicle. They are hard to get too and usually too far gone to even seem worth spending hours to clean. With my services i ensure that the wheel wells and the back of the wheels are spotless. I utilize a Bio-Degradable APC to clean the surface and then coat the wheel wells with a product called Bare bonez. Its a spray that will leave the wheel wells shiney for weeks.


Exterior Plastics They are always dried out and tend to lose their color. These pieces are all over the Exterior of the vehicle and look extremely tacky when not conditioned. I use a product by Chemical Guys call Fade2Black to bring back a glosy shine to all black exterior plastics and the results usually last a few weeks. It really tops off end result of a detail.


The Engine Compartment If your reading this, your most likely a car enthusiast and probably like to show off whats under your hood. THe engine compartment is usually neglected and can gather dust in difficult spots to clean and its hard to make any kind of shine last. To make the engine compartment look brand new I use an APC cleaner and follow up with Fade2black on hoses and also 303 protectant. This leaves the engine with a brilliant shine and keeps the plastics and hoses from drying out.

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Interior If you've ever been to the local car wash you know that when the interior is cleaned they smear some sort of grease all over the dash, radio, and instrument cluster. I personally hate the greasy feel and it only seems to collect dust. I dont use anything that is greasy. First I clean the dash and interior pieces with a diluted APC mixture to rid the surface of any grease or dust. I then apply either 303 or P21, both of which utilize a UV Ray deterent to keep your dash conditioned and prevent fading. While it leaves a slight shine, I buff it to remove any greasy residue. I then clean all the interior glass including the guage cluster. Vacuuming as well.

Image

While I covered alot, there are still some things I'm not covering. Like how important clean door jams are, cleaning both the inside and out side of the glass, detailing brake calipers, the insides of wheels, and suspension. These are things that I personally do because when your a car enthusiast those are the first things you look at, areas that others often over look. I hope this helped answer some questions and informed you on what these services do. All products and chemicals that I use are special order and last much longer than any over the counter product you can purchase locally. If you have any questions feel free to PM me and I will answer them the best I can or check out my website!

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07 JettaGLI


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Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:32 am
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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
very informative, kinda scanned it for now, but definitely looking forward to some heavy reading soon
massive props brian

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Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:25 pm
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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
Great write up, but there are a few points that I'd like to touch on to add some extra info.

There are products being billed as Polish, but the use of the term has been so over used that the average consumer doesn't really understand what polishing really is.

Polish is a very mild abrasive meant to correct minor defects in the clearcoat, but a lot of over the counter polishes contain filling agents to hide scratches and swirls and do not cut the surface at all.

In my opinion, the Polishing step is the most important part of the whole detail process because without a clean, swirl free surface, you're just putting lipstick on a pig.

The whole detail relies on how clean the surface really is. A well prepped and polished surface will look better and last longer when it is professionally detailed.

I prefer to use Optimum Polish on a Lake Country pad or a White 3M Waffle pad. The condition and hardness of the paint determines the pad that I use. The harder the pad you start off with, the more steps it takes to finish the surface.

Polishing is best done when it is not rushed. I like to think of it as detailing foreplay. :gfight: :mrgreen:



Waxes: You're absolutely correct about the heat and waxes. This is why I prefer to use a Synthetic Polymer and Carnuba mix.

I've found great longevity using these products with the intense temperatures that the surface reaches.

When most people think of waxes, they think of the shine effect, but one thing that people overlook is that a wax is a topical product meant to PROTECT the surface.

Most modern waxes contain oils to enhance the shine, which is great if you're entering a car show or want to show off your ride, but most waxes like this fail to have longevity.

This is where Synthetic Sealants come into play.

The offer great shine and longer protection than Carnuba wax and are generally easier to remove. As for my preferences, I prefer using Optimum Wax or Opti-Seal. Are they a little more expensive, yes. But they give me the benefit of wipe on and walk away. I never have to worry about the product drying to the surface and having to spend an hour taking that crap off.


Like I said in the polishing part, the detail starts with the polishing. The wax/sealant is just icing on the cake.


I noticed that you didn't mention the two bucket method, microfibers, or a grit guard in your post and these are great topics for discussion.

Good info and I'm glad to see someone who will tell people the difference between a wash and a detail.

dave.

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Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:35 pm
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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
Good points. Its really difficult to explain polishing to people in a way that they can understand the labor involved and not think it damages anything.

I've heard good things about optimum products, but i really like having a compound tailored to the cut needed and pad, Poor boys ssr has 4 abrasive levels. I also use lake country pads, orange for ssr2.5 and white for ssr 1, and a black for glaze/sealants.


I didn't mention the 2 bucket method in this, but i do on my site. Also, i vagely mention micro fibers in the washing part, but i didnt emphasize how important they can really be.

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Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:12 am
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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
I need to get both of y'all to touch my car prior to the tower show.

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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
07MKVGLI wrote:
Good points. Its really difficult to explain polishing to people in a way that they can understand the labor involved and not think it damages anything.

I've heard good things about optimum products, but i really like having a compound tailored to the cut needed and pad, Poor boys ssr has 4 abrasive levels. I also use lake country pads, orange for ssr2.5 and white for ssr 1, and a black for glaze/sealants.


I didn't mention the 2 bucket method in this, but i do on my site. Also, i vagely mention micro fibers in the washing part, but i didnt emphasize how important they can really be.


Yeah, I know what you mean about explaining polishing. Re-educating people is a tough thing to do when they've been fed marketing BS for so long.

I just received my new bottle of Optimum II and I can't wait to try it out on a few cars. I've had a bottle of the regular Optimum Polish for the longest time, so I've only used the Optimum II a few times at Concours.

With Optimum, the amount of cut you get fully depends on your pad. It's a one step product that can take care of a lot of defects. That's why I like it. I don't like traveling around with a whole case of products that I may or may not use. I like to keep everything simple.

Oh, PM me the link to your site. I'd like to check it out!

dave.

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Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:27 am
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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
Quote:
With Optimum, the amount of cut you get fully depends on your pad. It's a one step product that can take care of a lot of defects. That's why I like it. I don't like traveling around with a whole case of products that I may or may not use. I like to keep everything simple.


Yeah, the guy i buy from just told me about this. Once i run out im definitely going to try it, sounds interesting, and the results always seem to be outstanding!

I just got a 32 oz tub of natty's blue yesterday, new products are always so fun :)

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And the link to my site is in my signature!

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07 JettaGLI


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Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:01 am
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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
I've been wanting to try Natty's and Adam's. I hear a lot about it.

I can give you a little Optimum if we ever meet up. I never mind giving little samples out. If I can get a small sample bottle, I can give you a bit of Opti-Seal too.

dave.

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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
Cool, if you want to try anything i have as well i dont mind sharing. That natty's tub should last a couple years lol

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07 JettaGLI


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Affordable Automotive Detailing Service!


Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:51 pm
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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
bump for flipmod3

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Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:55 am
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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
Found it! Thanx!

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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
Can we sticky this thread?

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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
Great advice. I went to your website but it is down. Have you quit the biz?

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New post Re: The Benefits of Detailing ( An Informational Thread)
I still detail, but by word of mouth now. Too busy to try and do it as often as i did

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