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.


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/


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  :



Exterior Detailing in Winter Time in Central Oregon

Here in central Oregon we have a harsh climate for vehicles , not just in winter but in summer to .  In 8 years in the detailing business here , I’ve noticed that every winter people seem to only want there interior cleaned not the exterior because its winter . I understand the thinking : Why should I have the outside detailed its just going to get dirty right away. In this blog I’m going to explain why.

In Winter there are a number of environmental hazards here in Oregon that you should be conscious of , cinder , de-icer, road salt , road oil , tar , snow , dirt , debris , and the list could go on . Having your car detailed just prior to winter is ideal , a fresh coat of sealant , ceramic coating or wax goes along way to protecting your vehicles paint , chrome , plastics , and glass from the environmental hazards. Even in the middle of winter if you haven’t waxed or protected your vehicles exterior in a while it is a good idea to get a fresh coat of protection applied . That’s one of  the benefits of having your exterior detailed : PROTECTION . Even though you don’t get to enjoy the shine of your vehicles freshly waxed paint , you do get the piece of mind knowing that your investment is protected! Also a fresh exterior detail , done by a professional detailer will make getting all that road grime, cinder and de-icer a lot easier to remove . Your vehicle will look a lot better after winter because it had been protected through out the harshest time of the year.

I usually recommend to my clients to have there vehicles detailed and protected twice a year here in central Oregon . Once in October , November , just before winter. Then again just before summer (May/June). By protecting your vehicle this way , you are putting a shield of protection on your vehicle just before summer ( harsh UV rays , bug gut acids , tree sap , bird droppings , environmental fall out etc)  and right before winter to protect against the hazards described above. As far as the type of protection goes , there are several options : Wax is the cheapest option but also the least durable and only last a month or two at most. Sealant are a great middle of the budget option , they are more expensive than wax and last 6 months to a year . Ceramic coatings are the future of vehicle protection and there are coatings that last from 1 year to 10 years !!! Ceramics are much more durable and more chemically resistant , they are also on average 10x thicker than wax or sealant. They are a more expensive option than the other but there protection and longevity is far superior .

As a professional detailer , my recommendation to my clients is always to detail both the interior and exterior during the winter for the protective aspects of a good detail. I mean you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on your vehicle so to me its  worth a hundred bucks or so to protect it?

Here’s a great article on winter protection:



My clients ask me often ” Which car wash should I use” ? My answer to this is always “you should not use an automated car wash” . Here is the reason , car washes are all smoke and mirrors . They project to people that they are a great way to wash , wax your vehicle conveniently . While they are convenient they are the number one reason for your vehicles paint deterioration. Let me elaborate on this more , when you take your car through a car wash , the package my say all these great things like super suds soap and ultra wax or whatever but they are pulling a fast one on you . Those soaps and waxes are really just harsh de greasers and acids that break down your vehicles finish and are meant to strip the exterior surfaces of all dirt and grime as well as any wax or sealant that you might have on your vehicle .  As for the wax , Its simply just a gloss enhancer that’s added to the “soap” that doesn’t last more than a day or two . You can test this by putting water on your vehicle a couple days after going through the car wash ,  the water will not bead like a wax job should. Further more the brushes that are used on your vehicle in those tunnel washes have been used on thousands of vehicles before yours and are probably not maintained on a regular basis or replaced as needed. With that being said , that’s the reason your paint gets “swirly” looking scratches and your paint  starts to look dull . The combination of the brushes and the harsh chemicals is a recipe for your vehicles paint to fail and lead to oxidation , chalkiness , uv damage .

I know car washes  are cheaper , more convenient and pretty fun , but they are a harsh way to maintain your vehicle. Below are some links to some easy more convenient ways to wash your vehicle easily and have fun doing it .


This product is what we use everyday here at my shop and what i recommend to all my customers , Its is easy to use , economical , and environmentally friendly. There are tons of videos on YouTube about it .

Also Foam cannon washing method is great way as well but is messy and not as environmentally friendly . It requires much more water and is less effective than the no rinse method. Please feel free to comment with any questions , Im happy to answer them . Also if you would like a free lesson on proper wash techniques contact me .


Our clients often ask “how do you the glass so clean and streak free” ! The answer is our glass cleaning process:

We start by using good clean microfiber towels , I like to start the process with a waffle weave micro fiber towel, I spray glass cleaner directly into the towel . I don’t saturate the towel but make sure it is damp. I wipe the interior glass vertically , the exterior glass horizontally . Doing this will tell you what side of the glass has smears or streaks when you get to your final wipe down. After the waffle weave dampened towel , I follow that up right away with a finer gsm microfiber towel , I switch to new towels halfway through the vehicle to ensure there’s no contamination from the previous windows. I clean all the glass in that manner . We then go around and inspect the glass from all different angles , and determine what side of the glass the smears or streaks are on and with a fresh fine gsm microfiber towel remove the streaks or smears , sometimes a light spritz of glass cleaner is needed to remove any residue left on the glass. We continue to walk around the vehicle inspecting the glass until there is no more visible streaks or smears. We then follow that up with an ultra soft microfiber towel for a final wipe down that picks up any lint or fine residue left behind. This is a great method for getting spotless glass. Here’s a link to some great microfiber towels from an outstanding company ! Happy glass cleaning !https://www.theragcompany.com/glass-care/

FOR SALE: Your Vehicle , How to get the most money out of it!

When it comes to selling your vehicle , there are certain things that you should do to prepare your vehicle for its new potential owner. You want whom ever is considering buying your vehicle to be impressed, that is where a great detailer comes in!

Potential buyers don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for someone else dirty mess of a vehicle , on top of that your vehicle will most likely sale itself with a good properly done detail. A good detail should take 6-10 hours of work and cost somewhere above 300.00 honestly . If it doesn’t take that long or costs that much ask yourself “what corners did he cut to make money ” , because that is exactly what happened. You might of saved a few bucks but that type of detailer probably didn’t pay much attention to the “details” of your vehicle . Like flawless glass, great looking paint and other key points of selling your vehicle .

A fresh detail done right on a vehicle can increase its value at least 1000.00 dollars, so spending the money to have your vehicle detailed is well worth it . Spend 300-500 now and get a 1000.00  more for your vehicle than you anticipated. Here’s  a great article on detailing before selling your vehicle


The questions you should be asking a detailer before having work performed

When I get a call from a new customer 9 times out of 10 the first questions all of them ask is : How much for xxxxx on my xxxxxxx vehicle? I get it . Everyone wants to save money. But there are much more important questions that you should ask and know the answer to when considering the detailer your going to use for service.  Honestly anyone can make a vehicle look good , heck you could go to wal mart right after reading this and acquire the products to “detail ”  your vehicle yourself. The difference between a professional detailer and a person who cleans cars for a living is knowledge , knowledge of there products, knowledge of your vehicles surfaces , knowledge of tools . Like I mentioned earlier anyone can wax a car , clean an interior etc , but doing it safely without harsh acids and chemicals is what separates a professional from the average  joe.  Below ive compiled some questions with answers to help you determine whether your dealing with a professional detailer or someone who just operates a car cleaning business.

1) Are they IDA certified or do they have any professional training?

A professional detailer should have formal training like any other profession at a trade school or as an apprentice with an experienced detailer. In my opinion they should also be IDA certified . Heres a link to the IDA:


2) Are they using chemicals to clean your vehicle , if so what kind of chemicals?

Auto detailing has come leaps and bounds in terms of how we SAFELY clean and protect vehicles today, but some detailers refuse to adapt to these newer methods because they have been doing it a certain way for so long or there older method is faster but harsher on your vehicle. Heres an example: If you have water spots on your vehicles exterior and they say they use acid to remove them, RUN run away now. hydroflouric acid is what was used to remove  water spots in the early 90’s . While it will remove the spots , it also breaks down your vehicles clear coat finish , etches your glass and if not used properly can cause irreversible damage to multiple surfaces. Not to mention how bad it is for health in general . Today we have much safer products , designed to safely remove water spots with out inducing vehicle damage or jeopardizing the longevity of your vehicles clearcoat.

3) How are they cleaning your vehicle carpets and upholstery?

If your vehicles interior is not in to bad of shape , a professional detailer will not have to use harsh  chemicals to clean your interior back to like new condition. These chemicals are extremely bad for pets , children , and yourself. If your vehicle does require chemicals and extraction , you should also ask if they rinse out your upholstery after initial extraction to remove the chemicals there carpet shampooer has injected. A professional detailer should have both a steam cleaning system and an extraction carpet shampooer. 9 out of 10 vehicles that come through our shop for interior detailing are cleaned with only European steam cleaning machines , no chemicals needed. This steam technology revolutionized the way interiors are cleaned , they keep your carpets dryer , clean just as effectively as a deep extraction and sanitize your interior at the same time. So in short if you don’t want to get your vehicle back with wet carpets full of harsh chemicals that your unknowingly exposing your loved ones to,  make sure to ask how your vehicles interior is going to be cleaned and if they don’t mention the European steam method they probably are still using harsh chemicals and only have an extractor if not just a shop vac and scrub brush.

4) What kind of protection are they using to protect your vehicle after cleaning?

This answer can largely apply to how much you are spending on your detail but a professional detailer should have several different options to give you . Most detailers still use carnuba wax , while it does give your vehicle an initial shine it doesnt do much in the way of protection , it lasts about a month or two tops. They should also have a sealant option , these are a great upgrade from wax and last longer , typically 6 months . Here at my shop we do not offer wax , we include a ceramic based sealer in all of our detailing jobs.  A professional detailer should have your vehicles and your best interest at heart. They should be able to explain how important it is to keep your vehicles protected year around not just giving you a shiny vehicle that lasts a month or two . I dont how you would feel but if it were me i would feel ripped off.

5) How long have they been detailing professionally?

Like any other profession , you wouldn’t hire just anyone to work on your house right? I hope you would want to know how long they have been working on houses , there background in it etc. Same goes for detailing . A professional detailer should have at least 5 years of experience working at a private detailing shop not a dealership. Dealerships provide minimal training to there detailers and provide limited equipment and products while pushing the detailer to go as fast as they can , that combination does not create a quality , knowledgeable detailer. They should have worked under a true professional detailer who has been doing this for at least 10 years.  The detailer you choose should be confident in what there doing, what there using and like any other professional industry always be improving with the newer advancements in there industry. If they are using the same old techniques and products they have been for twenty years I would encourage you to look else where.

Whether   you choose to use our shop for your detailing needs or not , I feel as a professional detailer it is my duty to inform the public on what proper, safe detailing should be . I hope this helps you make an educated , more informed decision about who you choose for your detailing needs.


Why brand new cars need detailed too.

In the shop this week we have several 2018 vehicles here for detailing services . Why does a brand new car need detailed you ask? Its  a great question and one that needs to be answered in explanation.

When cars  are built at the factory , they are just that built, assembled , and shipped that is it. No wax , no leather conditioning , no protection . They then travel to and from all over the country on trucks or ships , along the way they are exposed to all kinds of different environmental contaminates .  Such as UV exposure , acid rain , rail dust , road materials , etc etc. Then there is the people along the way getting in and out of the vehicle , moving the vehicle , potentially damaging the new vehicles paint , interior , glass etc.

Once they reach the dealership , most dealers don’t spend more than an hour preparing the car to get on the lot . There lot boy rips the plastic covers off , washes the vehicle and puts it on the lot.  In essence your are buying a new to you but abused along the way vehicle. This is the reality of the auto industry.

You just spent 10’s of thousands of dollars on your new vehicle , wouldn’t it be wise to invest in protecting it right from the start? That’s where a good , certified , detailer comes in .  Dealerships will sell you on a new car protection package that is 9/10 times complete B.S. to be honest. They are typically these low end paint and interior sealants  that are marked up ludicrously. They only last a few months at most. A good , knowledgeable detailer will be able to offer you better protection at a better price and maintain your vehicle throughout ownership  .  The Audi in the pics below has less than a 1,000 miles on it , it doesnt even have license plates yet and you can see in the pics the damage that has occured already just from the above mentioned circumstances.  In short if you want to keep your new investment in as good as shape as the day you bought it , bring it to a private detailer , and have it protected the right way with good products. That is why you should have your brand new car detailed .

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“What is the difference between a ceramic coating and a wax job” . This is a question im being asked more and more . Ceramic coating are starting to become more and more popular among car protection and for good reason , they are the future of how vehicle protection.

Lets talk waxes and sealants first  : Even the best waxes in the world protect your vehicle for a maximum of 3-4 months , they diminish with every car wash , every passing day . They look  great initially but within about a week or so the luster starts to fade, so does the protection. Paint Sealants usually are polymer based and last 6-12 months , again diminishing with every wash , drive , etc . The benefits of these are short term but they are a cheaper option.

I consider waxes and sealants old technology when it comes to vehicle protection.  Vehicle protection technology has advanced 10x in the last 5 years , from sio2 9h rated coatings , to material (aluminum,plastic,glass ) specific coatings that are engineered to protect only that . We have a plethora of different coatings to give consumers total vehicle protection both inside and out.

Ceramic coatings are initially more expensive , but provide much better longer lasting , chemical resistant , uv protection . Not to mention the gloss from a ceramic coating is incredible compared to traditional waxing . There are coatings on the market rated anywhere from 2  – 10 years ! Not months , YEARS ! Here in my area (Central Oregon) we have a lot of environmental contaminants that are horrible for your vehicle such as : UV rays, de icer, cinder , environmental fall out   , road salt etc. Waxes and sealants will not protect against these things for more than a week or two. At my shop we only use ceramic based products for this exact reason . I do not feel that it would be in my clients best interest to get just a wax job in this environment. It will not hold up to all these elements working against it.

Ceramic coating provide basically extra layers of clear coat , they make your vehicle much easier to clean , prevent damage , and are affordable . They keep your vehicle looking new year after year rather than for 3-4 months .  To me a couple hundred bucks more to upgrade to years of protection rather than months of protection is well worth it .