Detailers? | FerrariChat


Discussion in 'California (Southern)' started by Jet-X, Nov 19, 2003.

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  1. Jet-X

    Jet-X F1 Veteran

    Nov 2, 2003
    Orange County
    Full Name:
    Does anyone here use an auto detailer, and if so:

    - what car do you have
    - how much do you pay
    - how often do you use a detailer
    - what's included in the detailing service

    I'm very curious what the detailing service you use encompasses? Having someone else wash and wax your car vs. going over every nook and cranny are very different situations.
  2. JaguarXJ6

    JaguarXJ6 F1 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2003
    Black Hawk, CO
    Full Name:
    I don't know any OC detailers however I'm not too far away.

    How often do you plan to wash, once a week, every two weeks, monthly?

    What do you want your detailer to do, everything has a price of course, and as long as you don't balk at that, there are quality people out there. If its a quickie, best off doing that yourself.


    P.S. I do it myself, most think my car is repainted. If it rains, I wash it. if it rains again, I wash it again. I cover it at all times. If it gets dusty at all after being pristine, I wipe it down. If it goes three days in a row with very light dust, I wash it. Fanatic is covered in the dictionary, I think LOL
  3. superbimmer

    superbimmer Karting

    Jan 12, 2003
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Full Name:
    Hi ... yes, I use a detailer who specializes in exotics. He comes to my home, before every major concours, and does an extremely thorough job ... usually spending 8-10hrs. Before the 2002National Concours, he spent 2 days.

    This includes:
    Dry wash (no water ever touches my car, if at all possible)
    Wax exterior
    Wire wheels & tires
    Engine & compartment - everything (incl. inside of hood and fenders)
    Interior - leather seats, carpet, dash & leather steering wheel
    Glass - inside and out
    Trunk - carpet & painted surfaces

    All his work is by hand ... no mechanical equipment (at least on my car) His charge is $30 hour ... but he won't take a job that is less than 6-8hrs.

    He recently detailed the F40, F50 & Enzo (owned by the same person) that were shown at the FCA USGrandPrix viewing in Encinitas.
  4. DynastyD_308qv

    Nov 24, 2003
    Long Beach, CA
    Full Name:
    Ron Couch Jr.
    WOW... I'm Impressed.
    You are not afraid of water near your car. I have seen your car, and it is sweet.

    As Ferrari newbie, I do not want to mess up the beautiful paint job, or let an amature scratch at it (can we say paralysis of analysis). I have no problem with a repair, rebuild, or getting my hands dirty, but how to keep that beautiful shine escapes me.

    Now for the dumb question....
    Would you share your proceedure, and products that you use for a basic wash.... and when to wax.

    Thank you in advance,

  5. Bart

    Bart Formula 3

    Nov 1, 2003
    Orange County, Calif
    Full Name:
    Just be careful with a detailer. I was stupid and used one who I did not know enough about. Some of you have seen my dash after that person used a water base leather cleaner on it. I still am waiting for the color to be match by a leathersmith.
    Oh what a fool I was!
  6. JaguarXJ6

    JaguarXJ6 F1 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2003
    Black Hawk, CO
    Full Name:
    Ron, such a simple question... ahhh. Grab a blankie, you'll be at the computer a while.

    Having a Jaguar used to mean that rust came standard from the factory. With the newer models when Ford retooled the factories, the fit and finish is excellent to outstanding.

    I've tried before to do an extensive write up on what I do, what I use, and why. This is going to be a long post, but I'll try to be as brief as possible in each segment so it won't be so much to digest, LOL.

    Detailing is like playing music. The more you practice the better you get at it. In detailing, there is always a new product to try and quicken the process and save you time. What it boils down to is, you can only save so much time before you have more products than you need instead of putting more time into using the few that you have.

    You will always be improving your technique. The saying that a majority of it is in the prepwork, it is true. Like a great paint job, its the time you invest prior and using the product as close to you can as intended.

    I have a lot of stuff in my trunk, I'll include the full product list at the end of the post.

    ** Primary rule #1. You must remember at all times. If it touches the ground, consider it useless unless its a wheel brush, and especially the clay bar! This also includes a car cover. Touching the ground picks up glass, gravel, dirt, quartz, and other kinds of crap and you can rub this into your paint with the lightest of pressure and it will create scratches. This happens the most to wash mitts, applicators, and drying/buffing microfiber cloths. These things are covered below. **

    People will disagree with me on the use of a car cover, I tell them to bite me. It works if used appropriately.

    ** Primary rule #2. You must remember at all times. Never use moderate or heavy pressure. If you need moderate or heavy pressure, your doing something wrong. Use a lubicant, a spritz of water, remove the product and try again with a thinner coat. **

    ** Primary rule #3. Have a bottle of water or gatorade or something to drink. You can't dehydrate because you read this thread and printed it out to wash your car with and then try to come after me. **

    Show cars, "First Blood" wash where you just got the car, completely grimy cross country drive, etc.

    - Stick a automotive clay bar in its plastic still your pocket to warm it up.

    Automotive clay is designed to "pull" contaminants from the paint that are invisible to the naked eye and adhere to the surface of the clay. Your paint is like your teeth, it may be smooth, but its definitely porous under extremely close scrutiny. Scratches also hold contaminants in them. Even after a through through job washing the car the first time, stuff will still be in the paint. The clay bar helps remove fallout/pollution, sap, and embedded road grime.

    - Rinse the car with a high pressure garden nozzle, rinse the wheels using a dense stream.

    This will remove loose dirt and remove the first layer of brake dust off.

    - Fill a bucket with a heavy concentration of Dawn and fill with water. Put in your first microfiber wash mitt to soak.

    Dawn has a high alkali content which is good for removing stubborn debris and some layers of wax with each wash. I call it, the "First Blood" car washing liquid. If the car has been heavily waxed prior, you will need to use a wax remover and this will take anywhere from 1-2 hours. The benefit is you have a "clean" surface from wax and polish, kind of like a painter using a new canvas and not one scrubbed clean of paint.

    - Rinse the car again. Gently wash with lots and lots of soap.

    Stay away from the lower 1/3 around the entire car as this is where it tends to really get grimy, especially along wheel wells and bumpers. Rinse the car.

    - Change the soap out and wash the same upper 2/3 again, this time, wash the lower 1/3 and change out soap and the wash mitt if it starts getting funky fast. Rinse and repeat.

    The goal at this point is to be able to wash it with a clean untouched mitt and not discolor the wash mitt.

    - Spray the wheels with a gentle cleaner. Using the bucket of soap that should still be clean, use a soft brush and soak it in the soap, lightly scrub the rims and rinse. The tires will be wet, which is fine. Take a disposable sponge or a tire dressing with an adjustable spray nozzle, or a spray bottle filled with tire dressing, and spray around the wheel.

    This stuff is SLICK, so don't soak the tread. Show cars that do this are obviously GARAGE QUEENS. Blah. Once you hit the road, it will be like having a super thin coat of oil over half of each wheel and that spells danger!! It will quickly rub off but you can just as quickly lose control if you forgot and you dropped the clutch at a few thousand RPM. :) If you overspray on the rim, immediately wash the affected area and rinse. The dressing is water resistant and will dry to a shine.

    - Now the clay bar. Flatten it like a pancake. With a spray bottle of lubricant (small concentration of soap, the rest water, most clay bar kits come with a bottle), spray a 8x8 inch section so its nice and wet and in a straight motion up and, rub the clab on the paint using plenty of lubricant and do this to the entire car, top 2/3 first. A clay bar should be able to do 2 medium size cars or one bad off car.

    - After claying, rinse the car and wash it once using the still pristine wash mitt and a new bucket of soap.

    - Rinse and dry with a microfiber drying towel. Use a small damp microfiber to get the door jambs, the rubber seals, the area between the doors and around the hinges, and the bumpers in case you slip.

    Microfiber is an artifical nylon/polyester weave that has under a microscope split fibers like split hairs, except, it has anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 per square INCH. This is what helps trap dirt it comes in contact with inside the fibers and why it is preferred by detailers to leave the least amount of scratches when drying, applying, and removing products. It makes human hair look like a piece of rebar compared to a single strand of cotton.

    - Compound the surface to remove any scratches using a part polish and scratch remover with a 3M, Meguiar's, or Mother's compound.

    3M's make some of the most widely used and proven compounds. A compound is used to remove wax or remove scratches. For scratches, its essentially a liquid that has the ability of 1200-2000 grit sandpaper. Ultra fine and used carefully. Best left to a professional unless you practice on junk yard panels. If not needed, your ready to glaze.

    A glaze is a pure polish, it doesn't contain wax or if does, in very minute traces to give it consistancy. Its used to bring out the best possible shine of the paint and used in conjunction with a wax. Synthetic waxes have their own prep polish or glaze and follow different steps from here on out to apply and remove. In this case, lets assume we're using a wax to seal this good stuff in. Two of my favorite glazes are Omega One Glaze and Meguiar's #7. You do NOT glaze with Zaino. Very important.

    - Lightly glaze the surface, which is applied in the same way a wax is, with a microfiber applicator.

    You want to apply a wax on the vertical surfaces (doors, pillars) in a straight up and down motion with light pressure. You want to apply the glaze to horizontal paint surfaces in straight back and forth motion from one side of the car to the other, not front to back, with light pressure. The reason you do this is, most cars are washed and prepared using a back and forth motion, or even worse, circular motions which case scratches that are harder to remove.

    If you apply a substance using a up and down motion you minimize and control the cloth to prevent scratches. When removing the substances, you use a front to back motion, going against the "grain" of how you applied it. If you have circular scratches, you can see how hard they are to hide but using this method of applying a glaze or sctatch removing substance, you get the most effective coverage.

    You do not want to let a glaze "cure" or dry on the paint unless the directions specifically call for it. They are more difficult to remove since they are not designed in the same way as a wax. You want to apply as thin a coat as possible in a small area, then remove 10-20 seconds after and repeat over the whole car.

    ** Wax. What a subject! I'm not talking about the F-chat poster, but the layer of protectant between your paint, the world, and the shine that is underneath grabbing your attention. There are a few truly superior products out there and I've used a lot of them. **

    ** Wax is like picking a girlfriend. A group of them might share a lot in common, but there will usually be one girl that EVERYONE goes after and for different reasons. Pick your wax the same way. **

    These have been tested repeatedly against one another by detailers, by magazines, and finally in my own experience. I showed my car at least 6 times a year for two years and I never took less than 1st place except once. I came in 2nd only to a sand bagging garage queen that rarely saw use. These were all Jag shows so there was no other marque comparisons. Just me and mine against my brothers and sisters, all of them older, with more experience.

    I've used these extensively, and in our So Cal climate which is pretty light except for sun and dust. Those products in no particular order are below.

    P21S paste wax, Pinnacle Souveran paste wax, Meguiar's Gold Class, Mother's Carnuba Cleaner, and Zaino.

    The best looking are P21S, Pinnacle Souveran, and Zaino.
    The least expensive is the Meguiar's and Mothers.
    The most durable by far is the Zaino followed by Meguiar's, Mother's, P21S, and Pinnacle.
    The easiest to apply and remove are P21S and Pinnacle followed by Meguiar's, Mother's, and Zaino.
    If you want 'strong like bull' durability with in the middle optics, Zaino is your product.
    If you want the best possible look with moderate water resistance, P21S is your wax. These two are pound for pound the best of the list.

    Meguiar's and Mother's you can find anywhere at any decent auto store chain and its the least expensive. The others you order online or through specialty dealers. They resist water better than the two premium waxes.

    Pinnacle is expensive, but it smells so delicious you want to eat it and is a hair easier to remove than P21S. It has lower water resistance than P21S but it is designed for red and black cars only. All waxes can be layered, and layered, and layered, and layered again to increase the depth of the finish for that always wet look. P21S is excellent on all colors and formulated to be that way. Pinnacle gives you that edge for dark ones.

    You need to choose one that best suits your driving style and climate conditions.

    - Now that is out of the way, how to apply and remove it.

    P21S and Pinnacle are wipe on and then wipe off waxes. By FAR the easiest to apply and remove. With practice, I'm able to wax my Jag in 35-45 minutes start to finish by hand after a rinse, wash, rinse, wash, do the tires, dry cycle. Meguiar's and Mother's take 30-45 seconds for a section to cure but once your in the cycle, 45-60 minutes.

    Use the waxes sparingly. Thicker doesn't do anything except take longer to cure and is harder to wipe off, especially if a wax that must cure. Use a consistant coat across each panel. Use a slightly damp microfiber applicator and remove with a microfiber cloth. Its applied in the same up and down and side to side motion as the glaze and is removed with a back and forth motion. Allowing it to cure after you removed the residue based on the instructions for each will provide the best results.

    - How to apply and remove Zaino.

    Once the surface is prepped, apply as thin as possible and let sit for 20-30 minutes. This is the quick curing Zaino if you purchased the $15 additive, otherwise it could take 2-4 hours. You can Zaino and remove in just over an hour providing your finished and the first area you began with is cured. Zaino is a liquid, a trick to applying this is to use a plastic syringe with a plastic tip, apply directly to a slightly damp microfiber applicator and spread across the paint. Kal from F-chat showed me this and it was a great trick for my bag of tricks.

    Since you can Zaino the entire car, you remove it with either a large porous microfiber towel or a beach towel, yes, a beach towel. Microfiber is so 'smooth' and gentle that its slow to remove the synthetic polish without pressure, since its so 'slick' in nature. something you want to avoid applying at ALL times to your paint. You have to use a more porous, not course, material and a beach towel is what they recommend. A good porous microfiber can also work too and is a little more gentle than a soft beach towel. Don't grab just any one. Find a good one the spouse won't miss and use it exclusively for this. Remove in the same front to back motions. You applied it in up/down and side/side.

    - Final wipe.

    The most supreme of microfiber cloths are used for this purpose. It removes any remaining residue from wax or Zaino. It gives a uniform sheen to the wax or synthetic by removing the residue you can't see.

    - Windows.

    The best way is to have a small clean shop rag. Use glass cleaner sparingly and wipe. Or, a damp shop rag and a dry shop rag, both clean, will also give you a streak free window.

    - Trim.

    Do you have chrome? Aluminum? A gentle chrome/aluminum formulated polish and a microfiber used gently and in small sections, removed with a slightly damp microfiber. Chrome polishes are a pain to remove, more than a glaze, because they cure fast, and even if gentle, they can cut with pressure and a course cloth.

    - Interior.

    Use a damp microfiber to wipe down seats, dash, instrument clusters, door panels, door pockets especially. Save the rear deck for last. If you remember how air flows especially if you like driving with the windows open, this is the dustiest part of the interior. Beat the rugs against an ugly tree or slap with your fist. Vaccuum if you can and use that in the footwells. Take an applicator and lightly apply some Mother's Leather/Vinyl protectant and use a light coat over the door panels, dash, and rear deck.

    - Clean up your mess, put things away.

    Wash the wash mitts together, the applicators together, the microfiber towels together. Its a pain, but it keeps out the chemical interactions and the really grimy stuff from the wash mitts away from the 'cleaner' stuff. The applicators are next followed by the microfibers. This stuff will get dirty the first time you do this, such as buying a car, cross country drive, etc.

    If your in "Maintenance" mode they can all be washed together in one batch. Make sure you do a load of "darks" because if the spouse puts in their "whites" afterwards, you might be in for a little hell and you'll be sleeping with your girlfriend or boyfriend in the garage that night!

    ** Get the camera, snap some pictures, park that beauty in the sun, and light up a stogie. Pull up a chair and relax. Oh, and grab your favorite drink because you've graduated to Maintenance mode. What you just went through you want to do once a year. Its much simpler in Maintenance mode. **

    - I'm in Maintenance mode. Its dirty, what do I do now?

    Get the car wash made for the wax/glaze products your using! Don't use Dawn, it will remove what you tried so hard to apply. Dawn's for "First Blood" and the car wash put out by the wax/glaze will not remove itself. Wash, rinse, rinse rims, wash, rinse, wash rims, rinse rims, apply tire dressing, dry the paint, apply and remove the wax, and do the mirrors. Clean up. Do the trim and interior as needed, usually every 2-3 washes depending on how dusty it gets.

    - When to use a quick detailer.

    A quick detailer is part liquid wax, part water, part alcohol, part gloss enhancer, and part anti-static chemical. It comes in a spray bottle right off the shelf. Its used for light dust only, say, after a quick run and your going right back into the garage. Or your at a show and darn it, something landed on the paint and its almost "rags down" for judging to begin.

    Spritz the quick detailer on the area, gently wipe in the same motions you used above, up/down or side/side and then front/back to finish and the alcohol base will evaporate and leave you with a clean scratch free waxed surface. There is a quick detailer made by each manufacturer, I strongly recommend using that. The wax ones can be interchanged usually, but the Zaino one you do NOT want to use with a wax quick detailer. Since Zaino is not a wax, you'll put wax in between your Zaino and the next coat of Zaino, haha!

    - Dusters are evil.

    A duster does one thing, remove dust and leave imperfections by scraping across the top layer of wax. Its like taking your fingers and rubbing a mirror, it leaves oils and stuff behind. Hurts the wax/glaze optics, collects more dirt by leaving oil from the duster behind. Dusters can leave very fine scratches behind. Use a quick detailer instead.

    - Use a car cover.

    Knowing when is most important. After a quick run, yes, or stationary in the garage for long periods, double yes. For daily drivers, if the commute is quick, yes during the day in or out of a parking garage. Not after a long run, a city to city drive, etc. Sliding a car cover across your dusty paint, even if its a specialty cover which I recommend (compact, washable, protect against UV, waterproof but breathable). You UNFOLD a cover on your paint, you don't slide it around, so you want to apply and remove it using a method. Once applied, you can "peel" the cover up and back from part of the car at a time. Using and removing a cover literally takes 1-2 minutes to put on and 1-2 to put away. After you went through hell above, I guarantee you, proper use of a cover will greatly stretch the time between washes, especially if not daily driver.

    - How do I keep my leather and vinyl in good shape.

    WATER only to clean, sometimes a coat of Mother's Vinyl protectant on vinyl, and use a leather conditioner like Leatherique once every 6 months. Spray bottles are the most effective way to apply it and a gentle swipe of a microfiber applicator, allow to soak in the longer the better and the warmer the better, and remove with their cleaner with a microfiber cloth.

    - I'm cranky, old, tired, sore, busy, the honey do list is long, I'm poor, I'm travelling, and I can't wash the car. But I can fit in a quick detail. If thats you, keep this in mind.

    How often you want to wash is up to you. The more you use a quick detailer, the more careful you will have to be since your substituting a full wash cycle with nothing but a little liquid and a microfiber cloth. You can quickly reach the point of no return where you can't cover, its too dusty to microfiber quick detail it, so you need to wash it. Let it be dirty a couple days, then go through a Maintenance mode wash cycle.

    - Is a chamois good?

    No. If its a soft (old), thick, not flat but porous one 2ft by 2ft or more, they can be used for drying in place of a porous large microfiber cloth. Otherwise, tie them up and let the dog bury it somewhere.

    - Claying is good for the soul.

    If you have your maintenance mode down, once every year is plenty and you will barely pick up anything by doing it.

    - Is there a show mode?

    Yes, it involves a wash cycle, stripping the wax, applying the glaze, and rewaxing. No claying needed unless its been a year.

    - Nasty, dirty, rarely see the light of day nooks and crannys.

    All cars have them, the areas that just get really grimy. Fender lips turned in to face the tire, extremely nasty, use a soapy shop rag to get these areas and wash them with the shop rags used for the mirrors. Bumpers, some suck the dirt like a Corvette right into the tail lights. Ferrari's are very dusty babies. Bumpers are low and they get funky quick. High performance cars have to deal with melted rubber as well. This usually is removed using the car wash, but Dawn if necessary. Quickly glaze the affected area before waxing.

    - How long does wax last?

    Which one did you pick? I've found 30 days in So Cal with a wash once a week and 1 rain storm. No rain? 45 days with a wash once a week. Zaino? 3-4 months with a wash once a week and a rain storm once a month. Its got big balls durability.

    - I live in a snowy climate, what product do I 'wax' with?

    Zaino. Zaino and and Collonite Super Double Coat or some silly name which is a wax, are the only two that can. Especally Zaino though, it can survive sleet, rain, and snow, for a month straight and after you wash the car, it feels like it was applied the day before. Its the durability king and it looks good too.

    - I just got caught by a sprinkler or sprinklers or puddles, what do I do?

    Microfiber that off with a quick detailer as necessary as soon as you can without "appearing disturbed" to other drivers, your spouse, friends, family, or co-workers! Unpurified water will leave a film, the sun will bake that spot into the paint too. If the spot is already dry but didn't bake in there, a quick detailer will lubricate the surface first.

    - I washed my windshield with washer fluid and it landed on the paint, is this ok?

    Worse than water! It can stain paint quicker than unpurified water baking in the sun. Quick detail it to lubricate it and remove with a microfiber ASAP unless its raining or snowing lol.

    Maybe it would have been easier to show you in person. Cest la vie.

  7. JaguarXJ6

    JaguarXJ6 F1 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2003
    Black Hawk, CO
    Full Name:
    Oh yeah, almost forgot!

    Wax those wheels before you clean up and if you rinse off the undercarriage, make sure to go driving to get the water off from underneath, and use a can of compressed air or an air compressor during the rinse cycle to blow the water out of crevices.
  8. Ron

    Ron Formula Junior

    Dec 23, 2002
    Sunny, great post. I wish you were closer to show me how to do all this. Actually, I wish i could pay you to do it. I don't think my back would last more than an hour or so.

    See you sometime soon, I hope.

  9. DynastyD_308qv

    Nov 24, 2003
    Long Beach, CA
    Full Name:
    Ron Couch Jr.

    I have got readers cramps now.... THANK YOU for providing such a detailed post. I hope someday I may be able to produce that show stopping shine that you do.

    Do you provide a detail service?

    Have you ever considered teaching a class?
    Sign me up please! ... I'm sure it would be worth every $$.

    Ron C.
  10. RyanZX6R

    RyanZX6R Formula Junior

    Nov 4, 2003
    Riverside County
    Full Name:
    That sure is a lot of information, but I can see why your Jag looks so good. I should have you detail my bike for me

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