Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Welcome to Detailing101!!!!!!!!!!

Pristine Auto Detailing

is proud to not only offer stellar detailing services, but we're not just going to keep you in the dark about how we make your car(s) looking oh so good, here you have "Detailing Made Easy" typed personally by Matt G. Proudfit, owner and founder of Pristine Auto Detailing.With that being said, have you ever wanted to open a detailing business, but weren't quite sure how to do it? Or have you just wanted to have a solid side job that was good at making money for you? Detailing could quite possibly fit your bill very nicely. If you like cars, have good attention to detail, and wouldn't mind a little extra cash, then look no further, this could be athe big break youve been waiting for! Look through the website to learn the different techniques and methods that are used by many professional detailers today. Granted, there are thousands of different ways to detail a car, and one is not necessarily more right than any other, but this is what worked for me, and hopefully it will work for you as well!
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Detailing101: The Handbook

First things first, what do I need? Again, this is going to change vastly with each person, and shop. For me, I prefer to mainly stick with Meguiar’s and Mother’s products as I’ve found (especially with Meguiar’s Professional Series) that it works A LOT better than normal off the shelf products. (Such as Meguiar’s 3-step system.) However, I cannot recommend these products to everyone; more on these later. Most of the heavier duty scratch and swirl removers and polishes really need to be applied mechanically rather than by hand. For that machine, a random-orbital buffer is going to be more than sufficient for 99.9% of the population. For that, only one comes to mind, the Porter Cable 7424 Random Orbital Buffer. Now that we have the main tool out of the way, once you put the product on, it obviously must be taken off. For this I hit up my local Costco or Sam’s and find the 24 Microfiber towels for $8.24 deal. This is a GREAT deal, as you’ll find by trying to compare that price to just about anywhere else.

Now, onto the products. One of the most important things, (and often the most neglected) is the car wash. If you have previously detailed your car, but want to strip all the wax off COMPLETELY, use dishwashing detergent. If this is not your case, I would recommend some Meguiar’s (or any other well known brand). The first thing I do is a two-bucket wash. Now, for those of you who do not know the importance of the two-bucket system, it is so that once you need to ring out your wash mitt (Microfiber, or chenille is my preference), ring it out into an empty bucket, and keep all of your good suds and soap in one bucket.

Once you wash it once, this is the best time to clay it if need be. For this I recommend Mothers or Clay Magic Clay systems. I find the Clay magic to be a little more aggressive and should only be used on brand new cars, or the extreme opposite of cars that have been neglected for many years. When you are claying, you have the option of either using the provided “Lube” (haha), or just the FRESH soapy water you used to wash with. When you are claying, fold it into a pancake like shape, and then do about 3 sq. ft at once, and go in a back and forth motion, but switch the directions so you are sure to remove all contaminants that may be embedded in the paint.

For the next step, repeat the two-bucket car wash system and dry thoroughly with a, you guessed it, Microfiber towel.
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Interior and Other...

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While the car is taking it’s time to drip-dry, this is when I begin work on the inside of it. The very first thing I do is open up every compartment (ie. Gas lid, doors, hood, trunk, etc) and wipe everything in there down. This serves a two-fold purpose, one, is to remove all the excess water from the jams, which will aid in the drying process A LOT. And two, is to also remove all of the loose dirt and other unsightly things that will cause you, or your customer, to be turned away. Once you go through all of the jams, the next thing I do is remove all of the floor mats, and then vacuum everywhere. I use a Craftsman 16 Gallon Shop Vac with various attachments that allow me to get into small areas in the car.

When I begin to vacuum, I scoot the drivers and passenger’s seats all the way back, and then vacuum in their footwell areas, (scoot the seats back so you get all the dirt beneath them.) Once that is done, scoot the seats all the way forward, and then proceed to do the rear seats as well. If the car’s seats are leather, be sure to GENTLY pull the sections apart and vacuum in there because all sorts of crap likes to find its way into those little places. Also, recline the seats, so you can get down into the crevice where the bottom of the seat meets the top. (Sorry if any of this sounds disjointed, I’m thinking of it as I go.) Now, walk around the car, and see if you missed any spots. The main ones people miss are on both sides of the seats between the seat and the center console, and the seat and the door. Both are narrow, and if you don’t have a crevice tool for your vacuum, they will be hard to get clean.
Alright, once you get done vacuuming, this is when I clean the plastic parts that usually cover the step of the door so prevent from scuff marks, but in the process, they get torn up with scuff marks. The Special Cleaning formula of Armor-All does very well in getting scuff marks, dirt, etc off of plastic and vinyl. It can be found at any auto store, Meijer’s, Kragen, Wal-Mart, and so on. Now, once I get done with that, I divide the car into 4 sections (6 if SUV) by making a line down the middle of the car, and then splitting front and back. These then become little “stations” and I clean everything in one “station” before I move on to the other ones. I start in the driver’s seat, and clean the steering wheel with a terry-cloth towel and NEW formula of Armor-All, and then move on to work on the dashboard on the driver’s side. For the air vents, I take a paint brush, and lightly mist it with the Armor All, and then run it through the slats of the vent until all the dust is gone. For the dirt between the steering wheel and the steering column, I take the aforementioned terry cloth towel, and slip it in the small crack that is there, and then run it back and forth until you know all the dirt is gone. Be sure to get the underside of the dash that is behind the steering wheel, as a lot of people miss this spot because you just don’t really ever see it. Once this “station” is done, go on and do the rest of the car.

If the seats are leather, I like to use Meguiar’s Gold Class Leather Conditioner. Not only does it condition the seats, but it also cleans them, and it does so quite well. When you use it, just take a spare towel, (make sure it isn’t TOO dirty) and put some on it, and then rub in a circular pattern over a certain area. Make sure to get the side bolsters and the edges of the seats VERY well, because they are the areas that are prone to the most damage over time and by normal everyday wear. Once this is done, the inside of the car should look almost brand new, if not brand new. If I forgot anything about the inside, Ill come back and add it later on.
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Waxing, Swirl Removal, etc...

Now that you probably spent about an hour or two doing the inside, the car has had time to drip dry from all the cracks, mirrors, jams, etc and should be good to wax. If there are considerably swirls in scratches in your paint, I would recommend using Meguiar’s #9 Swirl Remover with the Porter Cable 7424 to apply it with. The product can be found: . Work one panel at a time for this, and let it dry to a faint haze, once this is done, you are safe to remove it with a Microfiber towel. Once you’re done with the car and this product, begin to use the Meguiar’s Show Car Glaze (Professional Series as well), Oh, I forgot to mention, if you are using the PC 7424, use the yellow (most aggressive) cutting pad with the Swirl Remover. For the Show Car Glaze, switch to the white pad, and go ahead and do a few panels and again wait for it to dry to a haze before removing. Once you’re done with one part, finish up the car, and do the other parts, and then move on to the next stage: Carnauba. I must admit, this is the one time I really break away from my Meguiar’s loyalty. I absolutely love the Mother’s Carnauba wax, and it even smells good, which is always a plus. This goes on VERY easily, and takes little time to set-up. If you’re using the 7424, stay with the white pad for this, and just lay it on top of the Show Car Glaze. When you’re done with this step, my final layer is always Meguiar’s NXT for colored cars, but not DARK colored cars. For those I also break away from my loyalty, and go to the Mother’s Reflections. When you begin to use this, switch to the black (finishing) pad, and put it panel by panel and allow about 5 minutes for it to set-up, and then go at it with your Microfiber towel and hopefully if you are not completely incompetent, your car should look AMAZING.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Best Swirl Removal

As you'll read in another post of mine, for swirl removal, I recommend Meguiar's Professional Series Swirl Remover 2.0. However, I find that the best route for very minor swirl removal caused by drying a vehicle numerous times, using a towel, light scratching, etc. For a more serious scratch/swirls, I HIGHLY recommend Poorboy's SSR2.5 and Poorboy's SSR1. These are the best swirl removers that I have ever used and cannot say enough good things about them. So, GO BUY THEM! After you buy them, and wash your car, spread a little bit of the SSR2.5 onto a yellow Wolfgang Concourse pad around the edge, and lightly rub it onto the surface of your car in a about a 2'x2' area, and set your PC 7424 to speed 6 (yes, that is the fastest speed, and your hands will likely hurt if you keep it on for a long time.) You don't need to let it "cure" for anytime since it actually contains absolutely no wax, natural or synthetic. Once you're done with the 2.5, repeat the process with the SSR1, and then go on to using a good Carnauba Wax and then a Sealant. Sit back, and enjoy perfection.