A Brisbane Car Detailing Company’s view – Prevention is better than cure

A Brisbane Car Detailing Company’s view – Prevention is better than cure

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I have begun to feel somewhat like an automotive Florence Nightingale, holding the hand of a mistreated vehicle as it lies on its deathbed, all I can do is make its final years more comfortable and convince them that their owner did care, despite the damning evidence to the contrary. But it’s not all bad; we deal with more than our fair share of well-maintained vehicles which are a pleasure to work on.

This article should help with some basic car detailing tips that will not only prove your love for your vehicle (if you don’t love it then you probably should as it is most likely the most or second most expensive thing you own!), but also improve your wallet through maintaining its value (as much as possible) and preventing the need for more serious, more expensive detailing work to be done later on in its life.

1. Stay on top of it – inside and out.

The title of this article should cover this point, next time you get into your car have a look around. “How did it get to this?” you might ask. Well it probably started with an empty water bottle you left on the back seat, then your friends left their rubbish from that trip to McDonald’s, then the family got their hands on it, or maybe you have kids (in which case I do not envy the challenge you face regarding this point!).

Most of the rubbish we find in cars could be prevented with a little due diligence, make it habit when you leave your car to have a look around and take any rubbish with you. Write a post-it note and put it on your dashboard and you will be amazed how quickly you see the difference!

•             Remove all contaminants asap, this includes bird droppings, tree sap, tar. Get all off these off before they get a chance to bond with the paint, over time they only become harder to remove and will actually cause lasting damage.

•             Remove your rubbish!

Turn this into a habit and you will be amazed how quickly your car will improve. No need to get the detailers in yet!

2. Know your car cleaning products.

There is a wealth of information on the internet, and also an abundance of overrated products and advice. This is not to scare you, just to suggest that it is a good habit to do further research rather than take one internet forum user’s opinion as gospel.

Here is one point of view from Barry Meguiar ( Owner of ‘Meguiars’ one of the world’s largest car care brands) on the most common pieces of internet advice,

•             Do NOT use household dish soap on your car! – “Dishwashing detergent is meant to remove everything from the surface. That includes stripping the polymers off the paint surface… The effect is similar to what dishwashing soap does to your hands. Too much will dry the skin. On the surface of a car, the same thing occurs; dishwashing soap actually accelerates the oxidation process when used regularly.” (Source: From 12 car wash myths – autos.aol.com)

You generally just need a good soap, window cleaner, bug & tar remover, wax and carpet/upholstery cleaner. Once you have these, you should be all set to keep your car clean to a good standard. Don’t be afraid to try new products and you’ll soon develop your very own car detailing armoury!

3. Use clean cloths

Throw that old mangy cloth away right now!

As important as your products are when cleaning your car, your equipment plays just as important (if not more important) a role. You MUST be vigilant with your equipment, if you drop a microfiber towel or cloth on the floor do NOT use it, it will have picked up all sorts of tiny stones etc which will scratch your paint should you use it. You wouldn’t take a rock and rub it along your paint, would you? So don’t use a dirty cloth. If you choose to use a car detailing company, make sure they use fresh microfibers.

With cloth being so cheap nowadays (kmart has 6 microfibers for $3.50), there is no excuse for not retiring those dirty ones.

• Use clean, 100% cotton terry towels to apply the majority of your products.

• Use clean microfiber towels for polishing and buffing.

• Use separate cloths for the dirtiest areas of your car (e.g. rim, mudflaps etc).

• Use a fresh cloth (terry towel and microfiber) for your windows for the best results.

4. Let the product do the work!

One of the most common mistakes people make when cleaning their car is to scrub. The products are designed to do the work, imagine you are giving your paintwork an extremely gentle massage that is how it should feel. Any harder then you will end up damaging your paintwork.

If you feel like you need to scrub, find a different way to get it off, don’t be afraid to let the product soak in, although amazing, they are not all instant miracles and give them a few minutes to work their magic.

5. Treat it once in a while with a professional car detail.

Every now and then (we recommend 6 weeks) get the professional car detailers in! There is no substitute for a well-trained, experienced professional to rejuvenate your vehicle, they know how to reach those tricky spots and bring your car back to life.  They will also be using the best products which the public tend not to use due to their generally expensive nature.

This is by no means a bible, just a few tips to get you started from an experienced head! I hope this serves to help you maintain your vehicle and get your car to more of a professional detailer’s standard.

Fancy getting the pros in? Make a booking with Timeless Car Cleaning.

 

Give us a call at 1300 85 77 34!

Another happy customer!Check us out on WOMO!

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WHAT ARE SWIRL MARKS?

Swirl marks are microscopic scratches in the surface of paint that show up like cobwebs in bright light. They are caused by incorrecting washing and drying where dirt particles in the sponge and chamois leave microscopic scratches in the clear coat.

Solution – Single stage correction package will remove approximately 60-70% of swirl marks, dual stage 70-85% and triple stage 85-95%.

LACK OF COLOR DEPTH

Lack of Colour depth is where the colour has faded but isn’t classed as oxidised, typical on one stage paints that don’t have a clear coat.

Solution – Single stage correction will improve colour depth however dual stage correction is recommended if you want to remove swirls at same time.

ENTRY MARKS

Finger nails, rings and car keys scratch the paint around the door handle and leave unsightly marks.

Solution – Spot machine polishing, although these scratches are usually too deep for 100% correction our spot correction can make these marks almost invisible. Great add for people trying to sell their car. Price $ 20 per panel when added to a detail or $75 call out fee + per panel.

GHOSTING

Ghosting refers to the outline or visible stencil left on the paint after stickers/decals are removed. It is the contrast between the fresh paint that was protected under the vinyl sticker and the exposed paint that has faded and appears dull in comparison.

Solution – Spot dual stage machine polishing is the most affordable solution, $45 per panel and $75 call out fee. Depending on the colour of your car spot polishing may not be advised. The polished area will vastly contrast the unpolished paint. Lighter coloured cars can get away with single stage polishing at $20 per panel. Full dual stage paint correctionis recommended on darker coloured cars with these defects.

OXIDISED / CHALKY PAINT

Oxidised paint is where the paint appears chalky and dull, it’s caused by breakdown of the paint from exposure to sun,water and oxygen. More common on single stage paints and white, red, and black cars.

Solution – Single stage correction can be effective on white or lighter coloured cars with light oxidation. On heavily oxidised cars, dual stage correction is highly recommended. Spot polishing is not applicable and only full correction packages should be considered.

TRAIL MARKS

Caused by vegetation and scrub rubbing against sides of the vehicle that leaves visible scuffs. These marks range from swallow to quite deep scratches.

Solution – Dual stage polishing is recommended as the first stage orbital polishing is better suited at resurfacing the affected areas with its more effective cutting action. The second stage of polishing restores gloss and further rounds off the deeper scratches.

BIRD DROPPINGS

Bird droppings are very acidic and start eating into your paint the moment it hits, heat and dry weather will amplify the reaction, it’s important to clean any droppings off as soon as you see them. If you still see a ghosting outline after washing you have an etching mark where its has eaten slightly into your paint. If the mark looks like the one in the picture sourced from meguiars online you only have light etching and this can be corrected with machine polishing.

Solution – Spot dual stage machine polishing is the most affordable solution, $45 per panel and $75 call out fee. Depending on the colour of your car spot polishing may not be advised. The polished area will vastly contrast the unpolished paint. Full Dual stage paint correction is recommended on darker coloured cars with these defects.

PAINT TRANSFER

Paint transfer is occurs when a car panel comes into contact with another painted object with force and leaves a layer of paint behind. Common paint transfers are yellow paint marks left from bollards or garage door frames. The actual paint transfer can be polished off with great success, however there are usually a few deeper scratches that are left behind. The polishing stage will reduce the appearance of these scratches but if you can see the undercoat on your car, it’s time for respray.

Solution – Spot dual stage machine polishing is the most affordable solution, $45 per panel and $75 call out fee. Depending on the colour of your car spot polishing may not be advised. The polished area will vastly contrast the unpolished paint. Full Dual stage paint correction is recommended on darker coloured cars with these defects.

AGED BIRD DROPPINGS

Bird droppings that have been left too long can eat all the way through the clear coat. If the mark is crazed, or cracking as shown in the pictures this is unfortunately clear coat failure and can only be fully repaired by repainting. The clear coat has been penetrated and no amount of polishing will remove all traces of the defect.

Light crazing and cracking can be vastly improved and is much more cost effective than painting, many customers still opt for an improvement by our Dual Stage spot paint correction. Although we can not guarantee restoration we can make the marks less visable for a fraction of the cost of repainting. Is a popular option for clients trying to improve their cars for sale.

DEEP SCRATCHES

Random deeper scratches are very common and depending on the depth will determine if they can be polished out. The general rule of thumb gives you an instant idea if the scratch is correctable. Run your thumb nail over the scratch and if a indentation is felt then generally the scratch is too deep to successfully correct by polishing. Normal wear and tear will see your car pick up a few deeper scratches over time. If the scratch is a different colour and you can see bare metal or primer, only repainting is your option. Where deeper scratches have not penetrated all the way through the clear coat you have more options.

A popular choice is to get the area polished to reduce the appearance of the marks first and then determine if you can live with the result. Alternately if chasing 100% correction respraying is your next option, remember that respraying just one door panel can cost $350-600. Dual or even triple stage paint correction package may give you a great outcome and permanently reduce appearance of those scratches without the expense of repainting your car.

WATER SPOTS

There are actually three types of water spots but we will only focus on two of the most popular. The first is mineral deposits that sit on top of your paint and is usually a combination of magnesium and calcium. These minerals are soluble in your town water and when the water evaporates from the surface the minerals are left behind causing unsightly water spotting. This type of water spot can be removed with specific chemicals and light polishing.

See our single and dual stage paint correction packages to restore these spots. The other type of water spotting is where the same minerals have been left on the paint for some time and has started to eat into the paint. This causes deep etching and proves very difficult to remove. Due to the excessive time involved to polishing out these defects we do not offer this service in a mobile sense as it takes more than one days labour. Keep posted for our workshop location at the end of the year.

PAINT MISSING

If there is paint missing and the scratches show the undercoat or even the base metal then repainting is your only option.

CHARCOAL FAILURE

Clearcoat failure is caused by long term exposure to the elements. This comes in the form of bubbling, blistering and peeling. Nothing can be done to fix this apart from repainting. See your local bodyshop for a quote

EGG DAMAGE

Throwing eggs may seem harmless but cause irreversible damage to car paintwork. The small hard shell fragments cut into the paint at the point of impact and can only be fixed from repainting.

KEY MARKS

It makes my blood boil when I see senseless vandalism. If your car is keyed unfortunately respraying those panels is your only solution.