Proper Car Care and car washing tips

While regular do-it-yourself PrideShine506-253-04car washes may eliminate the build-up of debris it does not preserve the value of your vehicle unless you are a professional, who knows how to treat and protect every surface of the car without damaging. In fact, many people who decide to do a hand car wash at home have learned a hard and expensive lesson because of their choices.  

The second choice for car care would be the commercial car wash. All commercial car washes can cause damage but it is agreed that the no-touch systems are indeed better than brush car washes. However, they too have their disadvantages and can damage your vehicle over time.

The last alternative and wisest is to take your vehicle to a true professional automobile detailer.  Both Kelley Blue Book and Automotive Dealerships agree that  the best car care comes from professional automotive detailing technicians. A professional restoration technician pampers your vehicle with gentle care. Finding a true professional is the key. Many may claim they are professionals but lack the skills, education, knowledge, chemicals, experience and equipment  to really be considered a true professional. When seeking the services of a professional detailer ask questions, educate yourself and get references.

Your decision should be well thought out and meet your expectations. You need to ask yourself – Do I understand the importance vehicle appearance has on resale value? Do I want to get the most money out of my investment when I sell it? Do I want many years of enjoyable driving? Am I prepared to risk having to perform major repairs such as a new paint job, body work or other costly repairs because I am trying to save money now. Used car owners may believe that if the appearance of their vehicle is not in like showroom condition that detailing is a waste of money. They couldn’t be more wrong. Restoring and rejuvenating the appearance of a used vehicle benefits the owner at resale time. Educate yourself and protect your investment. Familiarize yourself with the different types of car care services and what the advantages or disadvantages are.


Hand Car Wash At Home

Hand-washing a vehicle is always the safest method but only if it is done right. University of Munich in association with Mercedes-Benz performed a study more than 10 years ago and found that a single home car wash using detergent, low pressure water volume and equipment used in the average home washing can leave scratches as deep as 1/10 of the paints total thickness – which is about 5000 th’s of an inch (about the thickness of a piece of paper). A recent study by the University of Texas confirms the findings and indicated that the scientific study showed that hand car washing produced so many scratches they could not be counted.

Before attempting to wash a car you should have professional training, understand the systematic procedures and be knowledgeable about the surfaces you are cleaning. If you lack these vital elements – take your car to a professional detailer. The benefits of auto detailing  are plentiful. Do not try to save money because it will cost you money in the long run. The appearance and mechanical condition say it all when it comes time to sell it.

Many people believe that they are protecting their investment as best they can; when they get out their wash bucket, mitts, sponges, dish soap and garden hose. Not, true! Car washing may sound simple but it is a science. Proper care must be taken to protect the surface of your vehicle otherwise the paint will become scratched and damaged.

Professional detailers do not use over the counter, retail products – they use professional grade and OEM products which are designed for use with special equipment. Vehicles are composed of different materials – what may be okay for one is not always the case with another. Despite the claims – the majority of retail products and equipment do not perform well and are not suited to all vehicles. Do not  wash a car with household cleaners like dishwashing detergent, hand soap, or laundry soap  – they are not formulated for automobiles and can strip off protective coatings.

Buying the right equipment involves everything from wash buckets, mitts, high-pressure washers, sponges and clothes. To prevent damage, equipment should be high quality professional grade not retail equipment. Washing a vehicle with a garden hose doesn’t provide adequate removal of debris and can allow soap residue to remain on the vehicle. High-pressure washers use less water and provide a much cleaner result.

Washing and detailing a car properly is time consuming so be prepared. If you plan on performing a full detail you should allot yourself about 4-6 hours or possibly longer if you are inexperienced. The weather is another important key factor when washing your car. If it is hot and sunny; place the vehicle in a cool and shady area before starting to wash or wax.


Commercial Car Washes

Commercial car washes are more environmentally friendly – typical water usage from a home car wash uses about 148 gallons while a commercial car wash uses about only 35 gallons. Many commercial car washes collect and recycle the water. However, some facilities do not treat the water enough to remove some of the elements like salt which could cause rust damage to your vehicle.

They are quick and economical but could end up costing you money in the future.

  • Do clean the under the clean or allow for proper cleaning techniques in the crevices of the vehicle.
  • The clothes, brushes, rollers, heaters and chemicals can create damage on your vehicle. 
  • Rotating brush washes are designed to be adjusted to the size of the vehicle going through. If it is set for washing compact cars it may apply to much pressure causing scratches to full-sized vehicles.
  • Bristles and clothes may not be fully cleaned prior to the last vehicle therefore your vehicle is being washed with contaminants.
  • Most automatic system are not
    equipped to handle wide wheels, body cladding and aerodynamics in which case damage can result.

No touch car washes are perhaps the safest of all commercial type car washes but they do not eliminate possible damage.

  • High pressure sprayers may be too high – causing paint surface deterioration.
  • No touch washes use harsh detergents, chemicals & acid pre-soaks; which strip the wax or sealants from the paint of your car and dry out your clear coat. Paint surface damage such as tiny scratches, spider-webbing effects, erosion and corrosion can be visible or invisible to the naked eye. This is a common problem associated with commercial car washes and home car washes.

Automatic car washes can not provide the proper protection that your vehicle requires. A vehicle needs to be properly prepared before applying sealants, waxes and protective coatings – meaning that each surface needs to be decontaminated accordingly.  Environmental elements such as: rail dust, road dust, brake dust, industrial fallout and acid rain; etch the surface of the paint allowing erosion and corrosion to set in.

  • Car wash facilities  do not follow the proper procedures necessary to  eliminate these elements  therefore you’re sealing in dirt, debris and impurities into the paint.
  • Spray on protection sealants and waxes used in automatic car washes do not provide proper protection to your vehicle because they aren’t designed to treat each of the different surfaces of the vehicle. In addition, they are not being distributed evenly – leaving your vehicle unprotected in some areas. 
  • The hot wax sprays usually consist of silicone dispersed in hot water which may actually harm painted surfaces, trim, rubber, metal, plastic, vinyl tops and glass. 

Professional Detailing Services

There are a few types of detailing services available.

Express detailing services

Most of the true professional detailers or automotive reconditioning technicians will agree that express detailing services are not the same as “professional detailing services”.  Some professional detailer’s do offer this service; but take the time to explain that while this service may enhance the appearance of the vehicle, it doesn’t provide complete protection to the various surfaces to care for your investment or restore the vehicle to that like new showroom condition.

Express detailing can be an economical solution for maintaining vehicles that have been fully detailed on a regular basis by a professional. With exception to the professional detailer’s who offer this service – most express detailing services are not designed, equipped or trained to handle heavy interior cleaning or extensive exterior care. An express detail is usually completed in under an hour in comparison to a full or complete detail which ranges between 4-6 hours, sometimes more.


Full Service Detailing & Professional Detailing Services

Anyone can call themselves a “professional automotive detailer” it doesn’t mean that they are. Here are some tips to help you recognize a true detailing professional from those that aren’t.

 A true professional detailer or automotive reconditioning/restoration technician has:

  • Gained knowledge through training, experience and continues their education process to keep up with technology.
  • They use proven systems of protection, high quality professional grade chemicals and equipment.
  • They pay attention to detail, provide quality workmanship that is within or above industry standards.
  • A professional detailer is committed to customer satisfaction  and consumer education.
  • A skilled professional generally charges more than those claiming to be professionals and will not lower their prices because they perform quality care car protection services. 
  • Understands both the art & science of reconditioning vehicles

Anyone who falls short of this should not be considered a professional detailer. Professional workmanship is the result of professional training! Lower prices mean that the workmanship or quality of products is poorer which will reflect on the vehicle’s value.

Benefits of professional detailing services :

  • Prevent damage that can deprecate your vehicle’s value
  • Reduces costly repairs such as paint jobs and bodywork
  • Preserve the value and life-span of your vehicle
  • Creates a professional appearance and makes a statement about your lifestyle
  • Provides a healthier environment reducing illness and allergy symptoms
  • Are highly recognized in the automotive industry as a means to preventative maintenance
  • Can restore, rejuvenate and recondition vehicles that have been neglected bringing them back to as like new condition as possible – helping you to net more money when selling them.
  • Can keep new cars looking like they are in showroom condition

The only disadvantage to professional detailing is the cost. However, if you are an intelligent consumer who is unwilling to jeopardize the value of your vehicle – investing in a skilled or true professional detailing technician is the only solution to complete protection for your vehicle. Saving money on car care is not possible – you can pay now or pay later.



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