FAQ's About Detailing
What is "detailing"?
It involves thoroughly cleaning and protecting the interior and exterior of a vehicle with high quality products, tools, and processes. Detailing is not a quick run through the harsh automatic car wash, then a quick wipe down with some old raggedy towels that have been used multiple times. And you definitely don't want to let anyone near your vehicle with a rotary buffer if they are untrained, or in a hurry, or both. You can irreversibly damage the paint!
Who needs detailing?
Detailing will protect one of your most valuable investments, your vehicle.
- If you are like most people, you have a vehicle that you plan on keeping for a while, and would like to keep it looking good and protected for the future.
- If you're selling a vehicle, you can easily increase the value by several hundred dollars. Look at the difference in the "Poor", "Good", and "Excellent" categories in NADA used car guide or Kelley Blue Book.
- If you have a new vehicle, it was probably never protected inside or out, and typically, it has sat outside for weeks at the plant, during transport, and at the dealership. Many times the dealer's version of a detail can induce swirls in the finish that show up in the sunlight. The only way to get rid of these is to have someone use a dual action or rotary buffer (who knows what they are doing) to buff them out.
What is the purpose of wax or sealant?
All paint will oxidize and be prone to damage from things like bird droppings, bugs, and tree sap without some kind of wax or sealant. Modern vehicles are clear coated. This is nothing more than a clear paint. It is prone to damage, just like any paint. There is a UV layer in the very top part of the clear coat. If this is damaged, the degradation of the paint will be accelerated. Waxes and paint sealants take the punishment instead of the paint. All waxes and paint sealants will wear away over time. The sun and elements, along with harsh washing materials and chemicals will wear it away faster. Traditional waxes usually last between 2 weeks and 2 months. Polymer paint sealants will usually last for 3-6 months, and give you a "wet look" shine. Machine polishing is sometimes the step right before the wax or sealant. This enhances the shine, but does nothing to protect the paint.
What is clay barring?
It involves running a lubricated, specially formulated piece of synthetic clay across the paint surface. This removes a remarkable amount of invisible impurities in the paint. These impurities can accelerate the aging and degradation process of your paint. Removing these impurities also make polishing the paint easier and more effective, since you're not grinding these impurities into the paint surface. Take a sandwich bag, put it over your hand, and rub your hand lightly across the paint. You will probably feel many tiny bumps. These are the impurities.
What is headlight restoration?
Headlights used to be glass, and when they burned out, you had to replace to whole headlight. Now, you can replace just the bulb. The down side is that the lenses are plastic, and over time they oxidize, cloud up, and turn yellow. With headlight restoration, we can polish and UV protect your headlight lenses, returning them to "like new" condition, with an advanced, German made system, then protect them with paint protection film.
How do I remove the tiny scratches and swirls in my paint?
Paint swirl removal can only be done through machine polishing. Usually, car wash "details" merely cover up scratches temporarily with glazes that are full of fillers, but the scratches will show up again quickly. On the other hand, machine polishing actually removes a microscopic layer of paint, thus smoothing it out. NEVER let someone machine polish your paint unless they have a paint thickness gauge! VERY few detailers own one of these because they are expensive. We are committed to utilizing only the most effective, yet safe methods available. Your factory paint consists of a primer, base coat, & clear coat. The clear coat is about 1-1.5 mils(1000th of an inch) thick. The top .5 mils is where the UV protection migrates during the initial paint process.
.4 mils is the most that you want removed during machine polishing. A detailer using an old school rotary buffer can eat through the clear coat quickly with a rotary buffer and an aggressive cut polish. We use a forced rotation dual action polisher to remove swirls and light scratches safely, yet effectively.
Xpel Ultimate paint protection film will protect the paint from swirls, scratches, rock chips, bird droppings, bugs, etc., and self heal if it does get any!