Your Complete Guide to Detailing – Part 1

Seems like there is some confusion out there as far as what a full detail entails. Many new car owners are getting into detailing. Some have absolutely no idea what proper detailing is, or how to go about it. Others are more familiar and have some experience with detailing. When we talk about a full detail, or a complete detail however, the terms mean different things to different people. Hopefully we can fix all that in this writeup. At the same time I think this list and process will also prove to be helpful to the detailers who are turning pro. I am asked all the time for such a resource. I will talk about my version of what a full detail is. Both interior detailing, exterior detailing, engine cleaning, window cleaning, how to polish your your exhaust system etc…. This way, hopefully you will have a better understanding of car care maintenance and the steps one needs to take to get the job done. And do it the right way. I hope that you will learn something new from my way of doing things. Lets get right to it. I am going to start with a list of all the detailing products you should have to do the job. If you don’t detail for a living, don’t let the list overwhelm you 1,Pressure washer, or a hose with a quality nozzle (Pressure washer is what I prefer) 2, 5 gallon buckets, at least 2 (used to wash with) 3 if you want to keep your wheel/tire brushes in a bucket. ( makes things simple and easy) 3, wash mitts (Get the best quality you can because this is where the wash induced swirls come from and always store them in a zip-lock bag once dry) 4, Various exterior detailing brushes (for wheels, tires, wheel wells, engines, door jambs) 5, Drying towels (have several on hand and get the highest quality towels you can) 6, Micro Fiber detailing towels (Get high quality towels for the paint – interior and wheels/engine don’t need the best, just good quality Micro Fiber towels) 7, Spray bottles with quality sprayers – you can never have too many of them 8, Disposable gloves 9, Applicator pads like cotton, foam, Micro fiber for (tires, wax, vinyl, etc…) 10, Clay towel or clay bars to decontaminate the paint 11, Various interior detailing brushes (for leather, cloth, vents) 12, Engine degreaser, 13, Wheel cleaner 14, All purpose cleaner 15, Leather cleaner (if applicable) 16, Leather conditioner, or leather protectant (if applicable) 17, Tire dressing, 18, Trim protectant 19, Car wash soap 20, Dedicated towel cleaner (this is the way to wash your towels) 21,  Window cleaner 22, Upholstery and carpet shampoo 23, Extractor shampoo (if you use...

Read More

HD Nitro Seal

As the saying goes, there are waxes and there are WAXES  As a fan of LSPs (last step products) I can tell you that there is no shortage of sealants and waxes availaible. You can get a great looking finish with a lot of them, but do you really want to wax every other weekend to keep up that freshly waxed look? In most cases, you have to give. Either durability or great look. Rarely do you get both. I can tell you that with NITRO SEAL, you do. Amazing look and very durable. I remember when I was told by 3D, that I was getting a sample of a new product that is different from most others. That really got my attention because 3D doesn’t ever make outrageous claims. Not that this was, but it seemed that Tunch Goren was very proud of this product. He said: The best product I made in 20 years. So I made sure that I had time to do a mini detail on my car to clean it up once the product was in my hands. I washed the car with my Pink car soap, followed it by a quick claying as my car was in decent shape. I used HD UNO to polish the paint and windows with a finishing pad. I didn’t bother detailing the engine, or do an interior detail, I was just eager to see what NITRO SEAL looked like. I didn’t even polish the exhaust system. OK, so you have 2 bottles  in the box to use. That is different from every other wax or sealant that I know of. I made sure to read the directions carefully, but there was rally nothing to it. I had to shake these cute little metal bottles well. Next I used one of the supplied red applicator pads and spread PART A over the entire car. I mean the entire exterior. Paint, glass, trim, wheels. PART A was very thin, kind of like water thin. You just needed a very small amount to cover the entire car. You just spread it around like any liquid sealant or wax. I always start with the right front fender to apply waxes on. Not sure why. Anyway, I went around the whole car in a couple of minutes as the product is very easy to apply. I just made sure that every inch had PART A over it. Easy! I ended up at the right side of the front bumper when I was done with PART A. I made sure to put the cap back on the bottle as soon as I was done with it to preserve the remaining amount. It will last for 6 months!...

Read More

Detailing solid black colors

Everybody loves the way a freshly detailed black car looks. I don’t think there is another color that comes anywhere near to how beautiful black can look. No wonder there are some many of them out there. When brand new, I love black. Brand new, meaning the dealership has not washed it or god forbid detailed it yet. Once they are washed, the chances are huge, that one will see swirl marks in the paint. As the saying goes: Black is a part time job. Indeed it is. Look at how easy it is to see dirt on black! After one rain. Some colors, I can correct pretty much 100% in 8 – 10 hours. Some. On the other hand, to my standards, I have never detailed a solid black (Jet Black) under 30 hours. If you think about it, that is a tremendous difference. In fact, nowadays if anyone calls for a full paint correction with a non metallic black car, I do my best to talk them out of trying to go for “perfection”. My reasoning is simple. 1 – I don’t want to spend 3-5 days stressing over trying to get every single deep scratch out of the paint. 2 – I know very well, that after the very first wash the vehicle gets light swirls marks. And while the paint will look very very good to most untrained eyes, it is a downhill after that. The gloss will remain, especially if you continue applying wax to the finish, but imperfections will show up with each pass, whether you wash the car, or dry it. I often see people asking on detailing forums about what products to use on their soon to be delivered new non metallic black cars. They are asking, because they are “perfectionists” according to their posts and want the best products to keep the cars in top shape. I feel for them. They will be so disappointed. In fact I had a client once that couldn’t deal with not being able to dry his car without marring it every time he washed it   so he sold it after about a year and got a white one. Someone might think that it is a bit extreme what my client did, but I will guess, that since you are reading this, you are aware about car care. So, if you are thinking about buying a black colored car, make sure that you know what you are getting into. My opinion is to go with something light. Metallic if possible. You will enjoy your ride a lot better for years to come. Be smart and learn from other people’s mistakes. Try not to learn from your own mistakes....

Read More

The popularity of 3D and HD products

3D products are sold all over the world – as of today, in 13 countries! I think there is a very good reason why 3D is growing so fast. For one, the  products work extremely well. In fact, many perform above the competition. 3D product are sold in the US, India, China, Vietnam, Philippines, England, Australia, Netherlands, Spain,  Mexico, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. Not bad! HD UNO sold me on the line back in 2009. As a pro detailer for 5 year at that time I had an idea of what I didn’t like about most compounds in general. Working 5-7 days a week I kept buying different compounding products to help me polish paint easier. For one, I really didn’t like dust. I couldn’t stand to see the panel that I worked for hours to perfect get covered in polishing dust 5 minutes after I moved on to the next panel. I know that is what every other detailer needed to put up with as well, but I kept wishing for a product, that would cut very well, didn’t dust and still looked great. Well HD UNO  was that product. My first time using it was with a Dual Action Polisher, not even with a rotary. I followed the directions, and before me was a a section that was corrected 100% and I did that in a very short time, and there was no dusting at all. Not only that, the paint was ready to be protected. I didn’t need a finer polish with a softer pad to refine. One product did it all. Until that point, I couldn’t do that with any other product on a DA polisher. I was really impressed. I also purchased a bottle of HD POXY to try. I was told Poxy would look very good. I was eager to try it, because unlike compounds, I had many favorite waxes. Needless to say I am an HD POXY convert. These are just 2 of the many wonderful products that were designed to be simple and easy to use. In my eyes the UNO/POXY combo put the company on the map that the whole online community watches all over the world. The word spread quickly and today 3D is the most talked about brand out there. Love it or hate it, 3D has produced some very interesting products for the detailers everywhere. Nitro Seal is a very unique Sealant, with exceptional durability and the way Nitro Seal looks on every color is something else. HD POLISH and HD SPEED are the new kids on the block. Both products are very popular and replacing many of the “go to” products for top detailers around the world....

Read More

Claying your Car

I sometimes wonder what detailers did before the CLAY BAR was invented? I know there are complicated multi step decontamination products out there, (not very well know) but even those can’t match the clay bar in my opinion because if you have tar on your paint, you still need to use a clay bar to get rid of them. Sometimes when I least expect it, I come across a vehicle that is so dirty, that it eats up a whole clay bar. If you are not familiar with claying, or you have never used one, I can tell you that it is amazing to see the amount of contamination that these bars pull off. I want to make sure that you understand that “dirt” that comes off, is coming off a freshly washed vehicle, that is visibly clean. This stuff has embedded into the paint awhile back. Look at that dirt – came from this area underneath the bar, I’d say 1/3rd of the hood. You can see the straight lines I clayed. Just amazing. Guess why? Lack of protection on the paint. Cars that are not waxed regularly are dirty! Really dirty. Of course these same cars are the ones that are taken to get “Express Details” or “Wash and Wax” treatments. Do you know what happens? Let’s examine “Wash & Wax” first: Obviously, the car is washed and dried. Most of the time, the wax is nothing more than a spray wax that will provide just enough protection until the next wash. That is if the wax can actually adhere to the paint. However if your paint has not been clayed in a while or the shop skips the step, imagine how well your paint is protected. As far as I know, sealants and waxes have a very hard time bonding with dirt. The Wash & Wax may have been a bargain, but in this case you didn’t get what you paid for. Express Detail: Not all of them, but most detail shops skip claying, unless they can up sell you. In an express detail, you get a wash, dry, 1 step polish and a wax, or just a cleaner wax. Your Polishing, especially with a machine will remove a lot of contamination, but if you went back over it with a clay bar, you will still remove a lot of dirt. Claying is one of the most important steps in detailing. Never want to skip it. Imagine how long your car will look detailed. Not long at all. Back to the detail shop for more. No wonder so many people detail their own cars nowadays. Car owners are getting more and more educated about proper car care. I am glad to...

Read More