Here you will find descriptions of the products, techniques, and terms related to detailing your vehicle. As time goes on and I receive feedback, I can expand the information as needed for your education.
Techniques and Products
- Clay-barring is a process whereby a small bar of a “play-doh”-like solid substance, with the addition of small amount of lubricant, is manually rubbed across the entire surface of your car’s painted exterior surface. This intensive process removes stubborn dirt particles that still remain on the paint after your vehicle has been thoroughly washed and dried. Once this step has been properly completed, there is a noticeable improvement in how your car’s painted exterior looks and feels. Go ahead, rub your knuckle across the surface of your car now to feel how incredibly smooth it is.
- Iron Decon is a smelly, spray-on chemical that breaks down metals that have attached to the paint of your vehicle. Though it may seem minor, these particles over time can turn into small little rust spots. These metals also don’t come off in the wash and have the potential to damage your vehicles clear coat.
- A Clear Coat is a protective film on top of your paint and is applied when your vehicle is painted. The clear coat protects the paint from chipping easily, being damaged by the sun, and brings the shine and color out of your vehicle’s paint.
- A Cutting Compound removes small scratches by leveling out and lightly cutting down the clear coat (hence the term cut). Others may call it the buffing stage as well. On single-stage painted cars (some older cars may not have clear coat protecting the paint), it will cut down the old paint and help expose new paint. This is a delicate process since paint is only so thick.
- Sealants provide the same water-beading effects as waxes; however, sealants repel new dirt and contaminants better than waxes as well as hold up better against multiple washes.
- pH Neutral Soap is an important term to look for and understand. Having a neutral or balanced pH level in the soap is extremely important when you are considering getting your car washed. This puts the level of acidy close to the acidy of water. That may make it seem like the soap would be useless, but because of the other cleaning and chemical agents within the soap, it allows for a soft, safe, and deep clean. Anything below or above a balanced pH level may cause the shine of your vehicle to fade or break down the sealants or waxes that have been applied to your vehicle.
- A Polish is a form of paint correction that relies on a much softer pad, and a higher gloss and lower cutting compound than a Cut. It’s not so much about cleaning and leveling out the clear coat or paint. It’s more about bringing out the shine, depth, and brightness of the clear coat or paint.
- Depth, in the matter of auto detailing, is a description of how the paint reflects. A vehicle with great depth reflects with clarity. It isn’t necessarily foggy or distorted. A great example of this, is the first row of photos in the photo gallery.
Questions About Detailing
- Why should I get my car detailed in the first place?
I am not here to tell you that you need your car detailed. Your car will still get you from Point A to Point B with bad paint and crumbs all over the place. However, when it comes time to sell your vehicle all of that counts. Keeping your paint, carpets, plastics, and everything else in the best shape you can may provide dividends in the future. Bad paint can potentially cost you sizable amounts of money to repair it. Having cracked leather seats when selling your car can affect the offer price of your vehicle. When dealers take a look at your vehicle, they look at the mechanical state and the appearance of your vehicle. So keeping your vehicle in good condition is an investment for the future.
And some people just are really into cars and want the cleanest car in the neighborhood. A good Detail and Monthly Wash can help with that goal.
- How does an exterior detail protect my vehicles? An exterior detail will protect your vehicle from road debris, grim, tree sap, bird poop, salt, and more from eating away at your vehicles clear coat and paint. The first major part of the detail is cleaning the vehicle of that listed above using the methods provided on the detail page. These steps of an exterior detail ensures that the paint is as clean as possible before protecting it, just like you would with a wound.
Things to Consider
- Drive thru car washes is rough on a vehicle’s exterior, causing minor scratches and swirl marks on your paint. Though you may save some time and money in the short term, you could potentially lose much more in the long term when it comes time to sell your vehicle or repair the damage. Hand washes are preferred.
- You should wash your vehicle at least once every month, and should get your vehicle’s exterior detailed at least twice a year