We all have a love affair with our cars. We use them for work purposes, vacations, leisure time, grocery getting, picking the kids up from school, taking them to practice, you name it.  We all use our cars for, everything!  Sometime,s we like to get out on a Saturday morning, grab the bucket & hose and give our cars a bath, most of the time though we are in a hurry and we go to the car wash.  99 percent of the time the car washes are not very kind to cars. Yes, they might get the big chunks and they put a coat of tire shine on your tires to give it that “new” car look, but have you ever had your car detailed? I mean really detailed?  Let’s not forget about the inside!  Most of us grab a vacuum, a rag with some Windex, and that is good enough, right?
Not so fast…let’s discuss this a little deeper.  Auto Detailing is not just a wash and vacuum.  It’s quite complex actually.  Every vehicle is different, and every vehicle has different levels of detailing needs.  My rule of thumb while performing an auto detail, is there are cars that I try and make look great, or “new.”  Then, there are cars where I’m just trying to keep it alive!

Surface Contaminants:

As your vehicle is subject to the environment day after day. week after week, and year after year, it picks up and retains contaminants that cannot be removed by a typical car wash.  These contaminants include residue from:
  • Bugs – Insects are very acidic and contain chemicals that can actually eat away at your paint if their remains are left on your car or truck.  What many individuals commonly refer to as stone chips typically found around the front bumper, grille, and hood of your vehicle are more commonly caused by bug residue that has been left on the paint too long.  If left on the paint surface for too long their chemical composition actually eats away at your vehicle’s paint leaving holes in the paint and clear coat.  Simple car washes do nothing to remove this residue.
  • Road tar – All black pavement contains tar that can be kicked up by other vehicles and can attach to your own vehicle.  The combination of road tar and hot sun can cause the tar to actually permanently attach to your paint.  A variety of strong solvents must be used in order to remove tar build-up on cars and trucks.  This is definitely not a fun procedure.
  • Salt – Every winter in Ohio, salt is commonly used on the roads to prevent and break up snow and ice.  The salt attaches itself to your car every winter and if left on the vehicle, can damage the finish on your vehicle as well as remove the wax from the last time that your vehicle was waxed or sealed.
  • Acid Rain on car paint

    Acid rain on car paint.

    Oxidation – The finish on your car can become dull due to a chemical reaction in the atmosphere with the pigment in your vehicle’s paint called oxidation.  This is primarily caused by direct exposure to sunlight for prolonged periods of time and can leave a white, chalky-looking residue on your vehicles painted surface.  Oxidation is especially prominent on boats, cars and trucks that are not garage kept.  Simple washing cannot remove oxidation.  A combination of claying the vehicle with a clay bar and using select polishing and rubbing compounds, along with professional grade pads and buffers, can restore your vehicles paint back to near new quality once again

All of the above issues cannot be resolved with a typical hand wash, and even less with a drive-through car wash.  A combination of meticulous hand washing, the use of the proper solvents, polishes and compounds, and a clay bar treatment can completely rid your vehicle of all of the above contaminants.  The longer that your auto, boat, RV, plane, or motorcycle goes without a proper exterior detailing, the more damage will be done to your vehicles exterior by surface contaminants.
Resale value:   Regular detailing will protect and keep it looking like new as long as you own it, and return value will be more profitable to you from the buyer. If your vehicle has been neglected, detailing will restore a like new look and feel. If you’re selling or trading your vehicle, a detail will assure a quicker sale while increasing the value hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  One thing that is highly recommended is to have an engine shampoo and dressing service.  It makes a huge difference and we always suggest showing the potential buyer this first because it really sets the tone for a good sale.

Your paint needs to be taken care of on a regular basis:

Your vehicles paint is primarily what others see when they observe your vehicle.  Without proper maintenance, your vehicles paint will deteriorate over time.  Proper care of your paint can help to keep your vehicle’s exterior looking brand new year after year.  Failure to care for your vehicle’s paint can cause it to fade, oxidize, and lose its luster over time.  Fortunately, if you have been negligent to take care of your vehicles exterior, there are methods and ways to restore your vehicles paint nearly back to how it was when you first purchased it.  These methods include:
  • Contaminant removal – As discussed above, surface contaminants can ruin a paint job if left on the vehicles paint.  Solvents and polishes are used to remove these contaminants.
  • Proper Waxing – Vehicles, especially with Ohio’s weather and climate, ought to be waxed at least twice a year.  A typical durable wax can last anywhere from three to six months and should be reapplied at the very least twice a year.  Wax helps to remove light scratches in the vehicles paint, remove light oxidation, restore luster and depth to the paint, and protect your vehicle from the sun and other elements.  Wax acts as a protective layer for your paint and protects it from UV rays, oxidation, pollution, road salt, and contaminated precipitation (a large problem in Ohio).
  • Claying – A clay bar treatment should be done to a vehicle before washing and waxing to remove all remaining surface contaminants left after a thorough washing i.e. paint overspray, road grime, tar, and oxidation.  Claying a vehicle involves lubricating small surfaces of the vehicle at a time and methodically rubbing a slightly abrasive clay compound over all of the painted surfaces until they are absolutely smooth to the touch (the difference is quite noticeable before and after if you were to trail your hand over the clayed surface).  This leaves an absolutely clean and polished surface with which to apply wax, causing the wax to adhere much better to the vehicle’s paint and therefore last longer.

Wheels and Tires need regular special attention too:

Tire BeforeBrake dust is a constant battle for cars and trucks, especially those with disc brakes.  BMWs, Porches, some of the nicest and most expensive vehicles, love to throw out the brake dust.  Brake dust arises from wear on your vehicles brake pads and often attaches itself to the wheels of your auto.  If you have your vehicle hand washed every few weeks brake dust never really becomes an issue.  However, once brake dust begins to build up on wheels it can begin to permanently attach itself to the wheels with the aid of the heat created by braking.  Once it has attached itself to your wheels it will remain there until the proper techniques are used to remove the build-up.  Auto Detail Doctor is proud of its brake dust removing methods.  It’s amazing how good we make wheels look.

Your Vehicles Interior needs a regular and professional cleaning, or detailing:

Your vehicles interior takes constant daily abuse from the driver, passengers, and the environment.  We all love our kids, but we can all agree, kids can be pretty rough on the vehicles interior!  I know mine are!  While a good vacuuming can keep your vehicles looking fairly clean, an interior shampooing with our heated carpet extractor or and steam cleaning is necessary in order to restore your car’s interior properly.  Dirt and oils attach themselves over time to steering wheels, seats, carpets, headliner, doors, and other surfaces and can really make a vehicle look dirty.  With the use of a steam cleaning machine and a few light cleaning agents, dirt and grime that has been imbedded in seats, leather, carpets, fabrics, and vinyl throughout your vehicle can be removed with ease and restored to their original quality, well, most of the time.  The longer these materials are left untouched, the more imbedded they become and thus are harder to remove.  A regular interior cleaning and proper occasional maintenance can help you to have a clean automobile, boat, RV, or other, all of the time and not just after cleanings.  The longer one waits for a detail, the tougher it is to get the car back to its original state.

Last but not least, its always nice to have a clean Vehicle:

Nothing is more satisfying than driving a clean automobile around town or on a date with your significant other.  Along with purchasing a vehicle comes pride of ownership and having a clean vehicle lets others know that you care about yourself and your vehicles.  It’s fun when you can be proud of what you drive!  If your vehicle feels like new, then so will you!  Your vehicle is an investment!  It’s the seconds largest investments you’ll make next to your home.
And to sum up why you should have your car detailed:  It’s just plain, awesome.
Thanks for reading!
-Clint Allerton, owner & operator of Auto Detail Doctor

For more information about Mobile Auto Detailing Services, visit us at www.AutoDetailDoctor.com.