Paint Correction vs Paint protection and Do you need it?

Polish, Compound, Wax, Buff,… These terms get thrown around a lot during discussions about car detailing. Often, they are used interchangeably without regard to their real meaning. However, they all have very distinct meanings and knowing how they differ can make a world of difference. Whether you have a show car or just want to have your daily car looking it’s best, learning about the detailing process will insure that you are getting the most out of your time and money.

Before we look at the difference between these terms it is best to get an understanding of what paint correction is.

PAINT CORRECTION

Picture the painted surface of your car as a smooth, mirror like plane. Over time, dust, dirt, and other contaminants build up on that smooth surface. Unfortunately, the process of washing this dirt and dust away causes the fine particles to act like sandpaper, scratching and digging grooves into the once smooth clearcoat surface. As these fine scratches build up, the surface becomes dull and hazed. Paint correction is the use of specialized machines and polishing agents to slowly remove microscopic layers of clearcoat to once again make the surface smooth and mirror like.

A buffing or polishing machine (here the words are safely used interchangeably), is a handheld machine with a motorized spinning head. Foam or fiber pads are placed on the head and used to spread wax or polishing agents onto the painted surface.

Think of wax as makeup for your car. Though it is often applied with a buffing or polishing machine, it is simply a coating which fills in the scratches – making them harder to see. Over time the wax is worn and washed away, once again, revealing the underlying scratches. In terms of paint correction, wax is purely cosmetic. It will make your car look good for a short time, but does nothing to remove the underlying scratches.

Removing the scratches requires the slow removal of microscopic layers of clear coat to, once again, level out the surface. Compounding agents or leveling agents are specifically formulated liquids that, when added to the rotating pad of a buffing or polishing machine, act as extremely fine grit sandpaper to slowly shave down the clear coat surface.

Once the compounding agents have done the heavy lifting, a polish is then used to remove any final haze and add to the depth and clarity of the finished surface. Think of polish as an even finer grit sandpaper that is used to fine tune the newly leveled surface, revealing a beautiful, highly polished surface.

PAINT PROTECTION

Once the painted surface is perfected, it is now ready for a protective layer. Protection comes in the form of waxes and paint sealants. Waxes and sealants are applied in the same way, but offer differing types of protection. Both will protect the painted surface from acid rain, fallout, bird droppings and tree sap. A paint sealant is a synthetic polymer that will provide a high gloss finish yet will last much longer than a wax – up to a year in some cases. It was once the case that though waxes wouldn’t last as long, they would provide a higher gloss and deeper shine. However, paint sealants have come a long way in the last few years – almost making waxes obsolete. Today’s paint sealants have a higher melting point than wax, allowing them to last longer in extreme elements while still providing the depth and shine provided by a wax. Waxes can also be applied over a paint sealant – further protecting the hard work that went into your car.

Taking the sealant process one step further, we enter into the world of polymer coatings. Polymer coatings chemically bond to factory clear coat to provide a permanent protective layer. Here at PERFECTION PLUS AUTO DETAILING we specialize in a specific protective coating, Opti-Coat PRO by OPTIMUM Products. Opti-Coat PRO is a ceramic coating that is approximately 100 times thicker than typical wax and sealant products. Opti-Coat PRO is a permanent coating that will protect the factory clear coat from harsh chemicals and environmental fallout, provide increased scratch resistance, easy maintenance and permanent gloss. OPTIMUM Products is so sure about the durability of this coating that it comes with a 5 year warranty.

We can now see that the act of buffing is not synonymous with polishing, compounding, or waxing. Buffing is a generalized term for making a surface smooth and shiny. Compounding and Polishing are similar in that they fall under the paint correction umbrella, yet vary in the amount of surface that they remove. Waxing, sealing, and coating are similar in that they all offer protection for the recently corrected surface.

Each of these processes requires special tools and many years of experience to perfect. Paint correction should always be preceded by a thorough washing and claybar surface preparation to remove any surface contaminants. Any contaminants left on the surface can be picked up by the buffing agents and act like sandpaper – easily ruining a good deal of hard work.

Today’s automotive finishes are complex and designed to look good for many years with minimal effort. However, a professional detailing can bring out the true beauty of your car’s finish – sometimes making it look even better than it did when it was new! Even if you don’t plan on attempting paint correction yourself, knowing what the procedure entails will insure that you get the most out of your detailing dollar.

Spring is Almost Here! Tips on cleaning up your ride!

 

The cold winter is almost behind us and there is no better time than now to spring clean your vehicle! Perfect time to get it all cleaned up and ready for the summer ahead.

So get your rubber gloves out; here are some helpful tips for car spring cleaning:

Wax every season: Each winter season, your car’s paint colour is dulled by the elements and picks up scratches, so keep it looking clean and new with a liquid spray wax.

Out with the dirt in with the clean: Get out your vacuum to suck up all the dirt and dust in the small corners of your vehicle.  Remember to put your seats down to get between the cracks and also vacuum all the cup holders throughout your vehicle as these areas collect dirt, too!

     It’s called washing your car, not your dishes: Never use dish soap to clean your vehicle as it will dull and scratch the protective clear coat off your car. Try using Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner.

Put a break on your brake dust: Get rid of that reddish, brown coloured powder on your wheels caused by normal brake wear.  Wipe down your wheels with a cleaning solution safe for alloy wheels (available at any hardware store) and address those hard-to-reach places in between the wheel’s spokes with a scrub brush or rag.

Take a load off:  Do you use your car as a storage unit? Be sure to empty out your trunk and back seats of all your winter build up. Removing unnecessary weight also improves fuel efficiency and your car’s handling!

What’s happening under the hood? Cars need a ‘medical’ check-up, too! Every spring, it is a good idea to take your vehicle in for a quick under-the-hood inspection and get an oil change, filter replacement and tire rotation.

Freshen up: After you are finished cleaning your car, add your favorite smelling air freshener to keep your car smelling clean and fresh all spring and summer!

Do you spring clean your car every year?  

Image result for SPRING CLEANING CAR

A trained certified detailer VS a detailer

In this blog im going to point out some big differences between detailers that are educated , and continue educating and advancing in there field versus a person who has some experience detailing cars and decided to go into business for themselves. Not all detailers are created equal!

There this huge misconception that detailing cars is detailing cars , this could not be farther from the truth. That is  like saying that all chefs are the same , your not going to get a five star meal from the McDonalds cook , and your going to pay more for that five star chef. Same goes with detailing vehicles , sure pretty much anyone can clean up a car and make it look better than it did but did they use the proper products to ensure that the materials use to make up your vehicle were not damaged? Did they take the extra step and measure the thickness of your paint before they started running a high speed polisher on it ? Are they knowledgeable about the different functions of your vehicle and how to safely operate those functions without damaging your investment? Those are just some of the things that separate a professional detailer from some one who opened a detailing business. Just because they own a detailing business does not make them an expert.

Another big difference is continued education , as with any  other trade technology changes and advances the way we can do things . 20 years ago the only tools we used to polish paint were a high speed buffer , wool pad , foam pad  and compound and polish. Today we have a variety of choices such as random orbitals , forced rotation , 15mm /21mm d/a’s just to name a few. That’s just the tools ! The pads today are much better , the compounds and polishes more advanced etc so keeping up on them is very important . A detailer who has 20 years experience might look at these and say “I’ve been doing it my way for 20 years!” . His method probably has wokred for him for his career , but is he using the safest methods available on your vehicle ? Not if he is still using the same tools and methods he did 20 or even 10 years ago .

The types of materials your vehicle is comprised of is always changing as well , so educating ones self about the new materials is vital . Using the wrong product on the wrong material can cause irreversible damages. Again most shops have one product they use to clean everything usually an all purpose cleaner . We have come so far in the industry the last ten years with great SAFE cleaning products that will not harm your vehicle , loved ones , and are environmentally friendly as well. To me personally this comes down to wanting to detail the right way versus just wanting to make money .

These are just a few instances of lack of education and what are industry is dealing with at this current time . I would advise anyone considering having a vehicle detailed to to do your homework on the shop your thinking of using . Also if the price of your detail is cheaper than most others in your area ,my guess is there’s a reason . You get what you pay for . Also if you are a fellow detailer reading this and scoffing at it , its probably time to revaluate how educated of a detailer you truly are , its time to start detailing the right way!

De-Icer on the roads? How it affects your vehicle

In central Oregon , winter time every year here we have the state spraying down all the major roadways with magnesium chloride (de icer ). This is to to help with ice build up on the roads , but it is terrible for your vehicle. In this blog , we are going to discuss why its so bad and what you can do to minimize the damage.

We will start with the obvious , the outside of your vehicle , magnesium chloride is a chemical designed to melt things , it does not dry, it can only be flushed away with water. That being said when you drive your vehicle around this time of year and it gets sprayed with de icer and you let it sit on your vehicle for any length of time it is literally eating into whatever surface its on. Your wheels , paint , chrome , plastic trim , rubber , glass is all being attacked by this melting agent. Also your undercarriage , suspension parts , etc as well.  to help minimize the damage to your vehicle, you should be washing your vehicle after any major road trip or anytime after a storm has passed and there is deicer mixed in the melted snow runoff every where.  You should have your undercarriage washed at least once a year to prevent rust from damaging the major structures that keep your vehicle together . Any professional detail and some car washes offer undercarriage washes .  I recommend frequently this this time of year to minimize the damage.

Your vehicles interior is also at risk to magnesium chloride , how ? you might be thinking. From your shoes!  Magnesium chloride eats your rubber mats , carpets etc. Those need to be cleaned and shampooed regularly as well . A good trick that i teach my clients is to flip there mats upside down this time of year . That way the bottom of the mat takes the brunt of the damage from the mag chloride .

Your  vehicles are the 2nd biggest investment you make it your lifetime , we invest hundreds in them monthly , thousands in them yearly . In my opinion if your taking the time to properly clean and maintain your investments throughout the year, you might as well light that money on fire . Happy vehicles last longer and look better.

Why your new car needs detailed too.

At the shop this week we have several 2018 vehicles in the shop for our detailing services. I know what your thinking : Why does a brand new vehicle need to be detailed? There a few reasons but the main point Id like to discuss is protection.

When new vehicles leave the plant and head to the dealership , they are transported on trains , boats , trucks etc. They are minimally protected , usually wrapped in plastic. They are exposed to all kinds of environmental contaminants such as rail dust, exhaust gas , UV rays , acid rain , tree sap , bird droppings . When they get to the dealership , typically they receive a quick wash , remove the plastics and out to the lot they go where they sit for months once again exposed to all the environmental contaminants that cause pre mature paint failures such as oxidation , water spots  , paint staining etc. All of these reasons are why a new car should be detailed .

You should have at least the exterior of your new vehicle detailed asap after purchase to have the above contaminants removed and some sort of protection applied. Protection can come in many varieties from a simple wax job , to a permanent protective coating. By having your vehicle protected right out of the gate ,your setting yourself and your vehicle up for easier maintenance , better looking , more affordable detailing in the future.

Many consumers believe that the dealerships wax the new cars right when they come in , In my experience they only do this if they see a problem or issue such as a black car covered in swirl marks. On top of that most dealerships don’t employ competent professional detailers but rather anyone they can get to wash vehicles as fast as they can. Dealerships might also offer some sort of protection package for your new car , this is usually just a decent paint sealant and some scotch guard, a professional detailer will have long lasting durable options at an affordable price that will outlast any dealer offering.

As a professional detailer and car enthusiast my recommendation is to have your new vehicle detailed and protected as quickly as possible , this will give you the best start to maintaining your vehicles appearance and longevity on your investment.

Your vehicle is an investment ! Treat it like one!

cupholders cleaned and sanitized

I talk to a lot of people about detailing , some tend to think detailing is a waste of money or only needs to be done before trading it in or getting ready to sale .  Those are two reasons that you should have your vehicle detailed but there is many other reasons as well. Those topics are what I’m going to cover in today’s article .

First and foremost is the amount of money you have spent on your vehicle , now days vehicle prices have gone up dramatically , some reaching 50,000 – 70,000.00 !! With monthly payments and cash down , vehicles are the 2nd largest investment in our lifetime. That alone should be enough reason to have your vehicle detailed at least yearly if not regularly on a maintenance schedule like  a lot of our clients on our maintenance program. Your investment should be taken care of . Did you  know that vehicles that are cared for regularly get an average of 1500.00 more when you trade them in or sale them? That pretty much pays for the cost of keeping it detailed regularly .

Next is appearance to me , no one wants to ride in some worn out ,beat up neglected vehicle. Also if you use your vehicle for work , on a job site etc , it doesn’t leave a good impression on people when your vehicle looks dirty . Neglected vehicles are often stinky , grimy feeling and uncomfortable.

The biggest reason I can think of to keep your vehicle cleaned regularly is your loved ones! Kids , spouses , friends , pets , if you have uncleaned spills in your vehicle you could be exposing your loved ones to bacteria and harmful gasses that cause sickness , nausea etc. Take a coffee spill for example: If you use cream and sugar in your coffee, if it spills that milk and sugar over time off gasses in your vehicle and emits air borne bacteria that can smell awful and cause headaches, nausea and vomiting . You might not even smell it before its to late .

In the scope of things keeping up on your vehicle is a great way to insure you get the most money out of it when you go to sale it, trade it in etc, it also keeps it looking better and protected as well as making sure your not exposing your loved ones to any harsh bacteria .

SPORT FABRIC SEATS CLEANING TIPS FOR D.I.Y.

I’m sure if your reading this , you know the exact seats I’m talking about. Those light colored ones , that even spilling water on them makes them look horrible.  Those seats that seem impossible to clean . I know your struggle , even as a professional detailer these seats are probably my biggest challenge. In this article I’m going to give you some good tips on how to clean them up .

First , lets discuss why these seats make stains and spills looks so bad. Car manufacturers for a number of reasons decided to go with this type of fabric . Its supposed to repel stains out of the fibers of the seats so that stains and spills don’t get embedded into the fiber but rather sit on the surface of the fabric seat , creating those “white and dark looking rings” my clients describe. In theory it was a great idea but in my opinion they dropped the ball on thinking how consumers seats would look after multiple spills and how tough those “rings ” are to remove .

Now that we understand the science behind the fabric , here’s some tips to keep your sport fabric seats looking good. First , if something is spilled on the seats wipe it up asap , using light pressure and hot water if possible. You want to continue to lightly rub the stain with a towel until you see no more of the stain transferring onto the towel. Next if possible lightly rub the entire seat area with hot water to blend in the surrounding area so that you don’t end up with clean spots on your seats.  Try to avoid using chemicals as these fabrics are very sensitive and can be damaged if not treated properly. If stains persist have your seats detailed by a certified , trained professional .

I know these seats drive a lot of my clients insane so i hope this helps , also I always encourage my clients to have these seats treated with our fabric guard to help further repel stains and make cleaning easier .

Different Levels Of Detailing and Detailers

In the auto detailing there seems to be this misconception among consumers that all detailers and detailing are equal . As a 15 year veteran of this industry I can guarantee you that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  There a many different levels of detailing and detailers. In this article I’m going to break this down for you .

I’ve said this before , anyone can honestly “detail” a car . Its doesn’t take a degree or years of experience to do basic car cleaning . That’s the exact reason why just about anyone can open a car wash or detail shop , its also the reason you as a consumer need to be cautious on what detailer you choose and educate yourself on what to expect from an educated , experienced detailer .

Lets start with basic detailers and basic details . A basic detailer to me is someone who has less than 5 years professional experience , very minimal time using a polishing tool and minimal knowledge of chemicals , there uses and proper procedures. While they can make your vehicle look good , 99% of the time they are using the wrong product on the wrong material , going as fast as they can to make as much money as they can and don’t take much consideration in making sure your vehicle is detailed safely with proper products, minimal chemicals , and correct protection . They usually offer basic packages and lack the knowledge to properly remove or repair defects . These types of details and detailers are more budget friendly but are not healthy for your vehicles longevity and quite possibly your loved ones.  If your vehicle is still full of chemicals when you get it back from the detail and you put your pets , children etc in the vehicle they are being exposed to the off gassing of these products.

Next lets talk about the journey man level detailer and detail shop. At this level your vehicle should be nearly restored back to like new condition , the detailer should be able to perform multi step paint correction with out leaving buffer trails , swirl marks etc in your vehicles finish, they should also have a multi step stain removal process and products to remove specific types of stains . They should have better knowledge of chemicals , there uses , knowledge of types of stains such as protein, tannin , ink etc. They should also offer different levels of protection for your vehicle not just basic waxes or sealants. They should also be IDA certified and have some kind of proper training under there belt. There services are a bit more expensive than the basic detailer but still affordable and you can feel safer knowing that they have safely detailed your vehicle , rinsed any chemicals out of the vehicle etc.

The Master level detailer is rare , even after 15 years in this industry I don’t consider myself a master level detailer. These detailers have unmatched skills, knowledge ,tools and products . They are who everyone is this industry thrives to be . They charge a premium for there details but the results are second to none. This level of detailing and detailer is usually reserved for the higher end of the market . They use premium products , they practice using the least aggressive method to safely clean and protect your vehicle .  They always take into account the preservation of your vehicle . They are willing to spend countless hours to achieve the ultimate level of near perfection .

Please choose your detailer wisely , your vehicle is your second largest investment . You should do your research and spend the amount of money necessary to have your vehicle properly detailed and protected.

FOGGY HEADLIGHTS? THE RIGHT AND WRONG WAY TO FIX THEM

Headlights these days are made of cheaper materials and thus start clouding up within the first couple years of being exposed to the outdoors.  The sun , air , debris , environmental fall out all play a role in breaking down the uv barrier on the outside of your headlights . There is a proper way to restore headlights and a bunch of bad ways. These bad ways might be cheaper but in the long run they are destroying your headlights. In this blog i will discuss the right way to properly restore headlights and touch on the bad ways .

To properly restore your headlights first you need to understand why they are getting foggy in the first place.  Most headlights are made of poly carbonate plastic and have a UV clear coat sprayed over the top of them . This UV protection is the issue as it is deteriorating it causes fogginess , or blotchy looking headlights. This UV clear coat MUST be removed completely to properly restore your headlights. The only way to remove the coating is through abrasion or sanding. Some detailers simply compound or polish the coating to shine it up . This is a band aid fix and not a proper repair, just because the headlights are shiny again doesn’t mean the real problem is solved. In fact they have actually done more damage to the light by removing even more of the coating but not all of it and putting a new coating on it.  That method is a temporary fix.

To properly restore headlights , as mentioned before the UV coating needs to be removed through abrasion completely. Then a new UV clear coat needs to be applied . This method will give you longer lasting , better looking results . We offer this method only at my shop along with a lifetime warranty . This is the proper way to restore your lights to the maximum potential. There are other ways like toothpaste , and magic wipes that again put a band aid on the problem not fix the under lying issue . Please feel free to check out some of our work on facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/centraloregondetailing/

D.I.Y. WAX YOUR CAR THE RIGHT WAY

I’m going to begin this blog post by saying that these tips are for after your vehicle has been properly washed . Your car should be freshly washed , in the shade and cool to the touch before you apply any wax.

The first tip is your selection of wax , I recommend locating a good detail shop that has retail products for sale , they will have the knowledge and products to start you on the right path . Watching videos online is good insight but keep in mind, most people making videos are professionals . They are in a different climate , with better tools , and experience. Your local professional detailer will give you insight into the best techniques and products for your particular area. As for waxes here in central Oregon , I actually do not recommend wax here as it does not last very long n our environment . At a minimum I recommend a polymer or ceramic based sealer .  Sealers are more chemical resistant , UV resistant and just better protection . At my shop we only use sealers as our standard . Other shops up charge for this.

Wax application: for the DIY person , I would recommend using a clay bar to remove environmental contaminants that get lodged in the pores of your vehicles clear coat , use a quick detail spray as lube and glide the clay bar across the painted surfaces and glass, fold the clay bar like play dough after each panel to use a clean clay side . Dry each panel after claying . If your are going to shine your tires or black trim now’s the time to do it, before waxing so that you don’t contaminate the wax on your freshly clayed vehicle.  Once your done shining your vehicle I recommend wiping down the vehicle with a 50/50 mix of 91% rubbing alcohol and water. Doing this removes any silicone , polish or wax oils that might be left on the vehicle that will interfere with wax adhesion. Now for the actual wax application , if your going to hand wax you will need a nice soft applicator pad and the wax or sealer of choice. Start with two to three pea sized drops on the applicator , less is more when it comes to waxing. Work applicator in overlapping circular motions one panel at a time being careful not to hit any of the trim. Wipe off after each panel using two nice soft microfiber towels. I recommend doing two coats per panel .

There are also fantastic , easy to use spray-able waxes on the market . These are the future of waxing and protection for your vehicle , they literally spray on , buff in with towels and buff off with towels to a shine !We keep these products in stock so please come by and pick some up and pick my brain! Here’s a couple link to some of my favorites  :

P AND S BEADMAKER PAINT PROTECTANT

OPTIMUM CAR WAX