What should I look for in a detailer?
Virtually anyone can claim to be an auto detailer and unfortunately, they do. Before hiring someone to detail your vehicle, first ensure that they are qualified to do the work. Many so called “professional detailers” are nothing more than auto hobbyists trying to make some extra money. While some of these people are capable doing good work, without a personal referral, I wouldn’t trust my car to their care.
A true detailing professional will be:
- Trained: since paint technology, cleaning products, and equipment are constantly evolving, it’s important that your detailer has the most up-to-date information
- Certified: although not required, a certification can provide peace of mind that your detailer has been checked out by a sanctioning body of professionals
- Licensed and Insured: being properly licensed and insured shows your detailer is professional and is essential in protecting you and your vehicle
Why should I get my car detailed?
Besides your home, cars are usually people’s second largest investment. Car detailing is an essential step to protect and extend the life of your vehicle. Much like other scheduled maintenance items (oil changes, etc), if you don’t service them regularly, your car will suffer ill effects.
Even if you haven’t been getting your car regularly detailed, it’s not too late to start. Many paint issues can be corrected using various detailing methods. It’s important that your detailer is properly trained and certified in these methods (wet sanding, high speed buffing, etc) before you let them near your paint.
What’s the difference between car detailing and a car wash?
In short, the purpose of a car wash is to bring about a surface clean while a car detail also aims to protect and extend the life of your vehicle.
Car detailing is much more in-depth than a standard car wash and produces a showroom quality level of shine and clean. Exteriors typically receive a thorough cleaning, polishing and waxing. Interiors typically receive a carpet steam-cleaning, dash detailing, and plastic/vinyl/leather conditioning. Besides for improving appearance, detailing helps preserve the resale value of your car.
- Car detailing is the process of bringing a vehicle back to the condition it was in when it was new, and ensuring that it stays that way for as long as possible. This is done by meticulously cleaning the vehicle, applying products to protect it from the elements and from everyday wear and tear.
- NO!! This is truly a play on words, meaning that 'sealant' (which does last longer than wax) still needs to be re-applied every three to six months. Hence the statement "never wax again," simply means sealant rather than wax must be applied again. If you paid the dealer for this coating you will find that the contract requires you to have this re-applied at specified periods, to maintain the warranty. Waxing is a completely safe alternative, but will only last about 1 to 3 months (spray on wax from a carwash may only last about a week).
- A clear-coat is NOT the impenetrable shield that most people think it is. It is simply the top layer of a dual stage paint system called a base-coat/clear coat. It is susceptible to environmental damage and deterioration. It just doesn't show the symptoms as quickly as a single stage paint system. A wax (or paint sealant) acts as a layer of protection for your finish.
- First of all the term 'Detailing' has been widely misused in the industry. A true detail consists of meticulous cleaning, professional swirl free polishing and the protection of surfaces. Many carwashes simply cover dirt with shiny, greasy solvent base dressings. This not only traps the dirt inside but the solvents in many of these dressings actually damage the surfaces. Also, many inexperienced workers will run a high speed buffer over your paint causing damage and those ugly swirls on your paint or waxing over deep imbedded dirt. Make sure you ask many questions before allowing anyone to detail your car!
- Clay bars have the ability to grab the tiniest of debris and hold onto it as it glides across the paint. Used with the proper lubrication, clay bars are not abrasive and will not affect the painted surface with the exception of cleaning it. Anything that protrudes above the top coat surface will be grabbed by the clay bar and pulled out. The clay lubricant will prevent this debris from scratching the vehicle. Once clayed, the paint will feel remarkably smooth and have the shine that comes with perfectly clean paint.
- Clay pulls out things that you can't see, like industrial fallout, rail dust, and brake dust. Though they are not visible, they feel bumpy and gritty and may cause patches of dull paint to appear dull, even after waxing. Even worse, as these contaminants oxidize, they create rust spots within the paint. Once this happens, the oxidation is considerably harder to remove and will most likely take a bit of paint with it.
- Likewise chrome, coated metal, and glass are subject to the same environmental pollutants as the paint. It's much safer than corrosive spot cleaners and it leaves the surface incredibly smooth!
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