At Detailed Reflections we pride ourselves on the finer details. We are much more than a car wash that offers "detailing." We are a small, locally owned business that cares more about the satisfaction of our clients than anything else. When we take in a clients vehicle, we want to care for it as if it's one of our own. Part of this process includes making sure that we take the safest means possible in our methods and how we do things.
Knowledge is power. And in the realm of detailing, this statement holds very true. Detailing by it's very nature is a more attentive cleaning of your vehicle than a simple car wash and wax. It's the opportunity to get intimate with a vehicle and really get to know it. The good, and the bad. It's also the opportunity to improve upon the bad. In order to do that, you need to have the proper tools for the job. Through this blog, we hope to pull back the curtain a little bit on the tools and techniques that we use to provide the results we do and to give some insight into what sets us apart from other car washes or "detailers" offering the "$99 inside and out special."
One of the first things that needs to be talked about is damage. Most people see damage on the finish of their vehicle, but don't know what it is. Even worse is not having a clear understanding of what can or can't be corrected.
We use this chart for a visual when talking to clients about what's really happening to the finish on their vehicle.
When looking at the chart, the damage we can typically repair lies in the upper portion of the finish. Those closest to the surface. While other forms of damage can be repaired, they typically require different and more aggressive methods.
Once the finish of your vehicle has been repaired, it's useful to understand what causes the damage in the first place. Let's run through each one and talk about them some more.
Your swirl marks or spiderwebs typically come from improper washing technique or the dreaded automatic car wash. We use two buckets with Grit Guards in them when we wash a vehicle. This allows us to always rinse our soiled wash pads and get the debris free from them so they aren't dragged across the surface of your vehicle. In fact, we never use the same wash pads on two vehicles without cleaning them before hand. And those automatic car washes, they're little swirl factories since they aren't typically clean when you bring your car into them. Even the touchless car wash isn't safe as the soap doesn't sit long enough to encapsulate the dirt before safely removing it.
Up next is the deeper random scratches. These can be something that bounced off your vehicle in parking lot. We will typically spot correct these down to get rid of them provided that there's sufficient clear coat to remove them safely. At the very least, we will reduce how noticeable they are by polishing the clear coat and removing material to provide a level surface.
Deep scratches are those you can catch your fingernail on. This could be a sharp object, a branch or any other number of unknown causes. To really remove this type of damage, we have to wet sand and remove a significant amount of clear coat or to fill the scratch back in with touchup paint before polishing it to blend it into a repair that you can't notice.
What is water spots and etching? The water from our tap isn't pure water. Neither is the water that falls on our vehicles when it rains. The contamination in the water can cause damage or etching into the clear coat of our vehicles. The damage is usually superficial and able to removed by polishing it away. Unfortunately, given the environment there's little we can do to prevent this from happening other than making sure our vehicles have a top layer of protection (wax, coating, etc) to become "sacrificial."
Last up, the buffer trails. These are usually created by improper buffing techniques or equipment. These are completely preventable. It also stresses the importance of choosing the proper people to service your needs. The good news is that if you have them on your vehicle, they can be removed without too much difficulty.
That should give you something to consider. Next time we will talk about how we determine how aggressive or not aggressive we can be as we polish a vehicle. Feel free to leave comments.