by Mike Meredith
car can look nearly new inside and out after a professional auto
detail. But what do you get for your money?
around $100 - $300, a professional auto detail can restore most cars to
their former glory. With proper tools and years of experience, a
professional detailer will make your vehicle look its best.
In the detail shop, your car will be deep-cleaned inside and out, top to bottom—you may not even recognize it when you pick it up. So what really happens to your car during a professional detailing?
It Starts Outside
detail begins in the wash bay, where we take care of the wheels, tires,
doorjambs, bumpers, grilles, and all of the nitty-gritty tight spots on
the car," explained Zefkeles.
next step is to remove any road tar and bugs that are stuck to the
finish, and to evaluate the paint. "We examine the paint to
establish a game plan for how we will polish and buff the paint to
really make the finish look as new as possible," Zefkeles said.
detail shop uses different types of foam pads and polishes with a power
buffer to remove scratches, scuffs and other small imperfections from
the paint. The detailer decides what products and tools to use, based on
the condition of the paint.
the car is polished and all the swirl marks are removed, a coat of
quality wax is applied by hand to protect the paint. "The final
step is to address all of the exterior trim and rubber pieces on the
car, including door handles, moldings, tires, rubber trim around the
windows, and polishing the glass," concluded Zefkeles.
Broadus, manager of Bellevue Auto Detail, told Carpoint that a full
detail includes a three-step exterior process. "We spray a watered
wax on the hood, roof and trunk of the vehicle, and then rub the surface
with a clay bar. This process removes the contaminants and pollutants
that polishing cannot."
"Then we polish the exterior, which makes it extremely shiny and clean, and finally we apply a paint sealant that lasts for eight months to a year," explained Broadus.
a complete vacuuming, the car's interior is shampooed from top to
bottom, literally. Detailers use a mild cleaning solution, a soft wash
mitt and towels.
headliner is first, followed by the dash, center console, air vents,
seats and doors, leaving the dirtiest area for last, which is the
carpets and floor mats," said Zefkeles. "The idea is to work
your way from the top to the bottom, cleaning and drying as you
go," he explained. You want to pre-soak any stains and get in there
with a shampoo brush.
the interior has been shampooed, detailers go back through the interior
with an air nozzle and a boar's hair brush to knock loose any dirt
particles loosened by shampooing. Then the interior is re-vacuumed,
again using the boar's hair brush. The brush and vacuum clean as much as
possible without a lot of moisture.
explained that his shop always has two people work on the interior,
because that work is a lot harder and more meticulous than the exterior.
With two people it goes faster and better results are achieved.
"We us an organic citrus cleaner on fabric seats and carpets, followed by a hot-water extractor," explained Broadus. The citrus is good for eliminating odors and the hot-water extractor cuts down on moisture in the passenger compartment.
If a vehicle has leather interior, detailers apply a liberal amount of a leather care product and allow it to soak into the seats for a few minutes. The seats are wiped down with clean towels after the product has had time to soak into the leather.
Focus on Problem Areas
use a soft clay cleaning bar prior to buffing, gently rubbing over the
finish to remove contaminants such as overspray paint and diesel,"
explained Zefkeles. "The clay bar is designed to work with cars
that have clear-coat paints. It smoothes the paint out prior to
contaminants can be removed safely with a mild solvent and, according to
Zefkeles, a little dab of rubbing alcohol will often remove some
contaminants, but it should not be used in direct sunlight.
common problem is coffee stains, which Zefkeles advises cleaning up
quickly. Coffee stains are presoaked with a mild cleaner and then
roughed-up with a nylon brush. The important step is to rub the stain
with a terry towel to bring the stain up before vacuuming. But Zefkeles
warned that coffee left too long on upholstery or carpets can leave a
and pet odors are another common problem that detail shops deal with
every day. The odor in the car of a person who smokes can usually be
handled with multiple shampoos. Some detail shops use spray-on products
that contain active enzymes to treat the interior. Some detailers even
have access to an ozone machine that generates an "ozone fog"
inside the car, which can be very effective to counteract pet odors.
doorjambs and the fuel-filler door are often opened and wiped clean
again. The areas around the lights and under the grilles should be wiped
and checked for any small spots or hidden areas that were missed in the
cleaning or buffing process.
last step of a quality auto detailing is a final inspection checklist,
which ensures the job was completed from top to bottom. "The
difference between an okay detail and a great detail is sometimes only
fifteen minutes, and that's why professionals spend the fifteen minutes
to get a great job," concluded Zefkeles.
a Detail Shop
detail shop owner told Carpoint, "You can probably get a low price
from someone who just opened a shop and is really hungry. But you don't
know anything about the shop and you don't know who's in your car. The
sweetness of low price never equals the bitterness of low quality."
Article from Carpoint