Knowledge is power.
There is a lot of misinformation out there on the internet about what products you should and shouldn’t use to maintain your vehicle. The purpose of this area of our website is to provide our customers with the knowledge to make the best decision in regards to their automotive care needs.
What is "Auto Detailing"?
Wikipedia defines “Auto Detailing” as the act of performing a thorough cleaning, restoration, and finishing of a motor vehicle, to produce show-quality cleanliness and polish. Detailing can be performed on a vehicle’s exterior and/or interior.
In short, to bring your vehicle back to its “like new” appearance or as close to that as possible.
What is "dressing"?
In the world of Auto Detailing, the term “dressing” is used to describe the action of applying an appearance enhancing or protective solution to an area of your vehicle. The most common areas these are applied are the tires, interior panels, dashboards, and leather seats. You may also know them as “Tire Shine” or “UV Protectant” or “Armor All”.
The purpose of these products is to a. protect your vehicle from UV rays which cause fading, cracking, and otherwise diminished appearance of your vehicle and b. to enhance the appearances by restoring that high gloss shine or matte finish that is synonymous with a vehicle that has been taken care of or that is new.
Do I really need wax?
YES! Your vehicle’s paint is comprised of a few different stages; the base coat (the color of your paint) and a clear coat, which is a layer applied on top of the base coat as a protective film.
The clear coat on your vehicle is only 2 mil’s thick. That’s around the thickness of a sheet of construction paper. That is really thin! Not to worry, it is resilient but you should do more to protective so that it lasts longer.
A wax (such as carnauba) or ceramic coating (SI02) are the best products you can apply to your vehicle to protect its clear coat AND to make washing easier as time goes on.
Wax or Ceramic Coating?
Traditionally, vehicles are protected with carnauba wax. To this day it is the golden standard in vehicle care. It is made from the Copernicia Prunifera Palm tree leaves, found specifically in Northern Brazil. The wax is collected from the leaves of the tree and then concentrated to form carnauba wax.
A traditional carnauba wax after being applied correctly provides the clear coat of the vehicle with 4 to 6 weeks worth of protection. Any carnauba based wax product that claims it will protect your vehicle for longer is strictly a marketing gimmick.
Ceramic coatings are a relatively new technology in the automotive industry. A ceramic coating is manufactured at extremely high temperatures which makes gives it the ability to have an actual atomic bond with the surface of your vehicle thus making the protective layer the ceramic coating provides much more resilient.
Depending on the quality of the ceramic coating product, the vehicle will need to be prepped, temperature-controlled and then left to cure for a number of days. There are also plenty of consumer-grade ceramic products that can be applied in a short amount of time that offer great protection as well.
The typical consumer-grade ceramic product provides 3 to 6 months of protection while the professional-grade product offers 6 months to 2 years of protection.
What is "fall out"?
The term fall out is used in Auto Detailing to describe contaminants that are bound to your vehicle’s paint. The paint on your vehicle is actually porous and debris can become embedded in it. To remove them, special chemicals such as bug removers and iron removers are used in addition to the use of a clay bar. The most common things when describing fall out are:
- Road Film
- Tree Sap
- Iron Particles
My paint is contaminated?
Your vehicle’s paint is a porous surface. That means that debris can bond with the paint because you come into contact with it at high speeds while driving. Every vehicle on the planet is contaminated in some form or another.
Typically, paint is de-contaminated by the use of bug remover and iron remover chemicals and is then clay-barred.
The clay bar is a thick piece of clay that a detailer will knead and then glide over your vehicle’s paint, to remove these bonded contaminants. They cannot be removed without the use of a clay bar. Removing bonded surface contaminants prolongs the life of your clear coat and your paints lustrous shine.
Does the car wash damage my paint?
It depends. There are 2 types of car washes. A Touch Car Wash and a No-Touch Car Wash.
The Touch Car Wash is the typical car wash you are thinking of. Your vehicle is sent down a tunnel of moving scrub brushes, sprayed with water, soap and sometimes polish. The act of the swirling scrubbing brushes actually scratches your vehicle’s paint creating holograms and swirl marks in your paint, lowering your vehicle’s resale value and diminishing its appearance.
The second type of car wash, the No-Touch Car Wash, is much smaller. Your vehicle is typically stationary throughout the process. A large wand or pipe is passed around the exterior of your vehicle hosing it down with water, soap, polishes and then air drying. The plus side to this type of car wash is that you typically do not get scratches or swirls in your paint. The downside the clear coat and be damaged by the use of stronger wash chemicals since there is no brush to agitate the debris on the exterior of your vehicle.