The 7 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Detailing their Cars
1. Using the wrong tools: I'm sure you've heard of "the right tool for the job" and detailing your car is no exception to the rule. For example, I see many people using the sponge/wash mitt you washed your car with to clean the wheels, instead of using a wheel brush; or using some old rag to remove wax off your paint instead of using a diaper/microfiber. These "shortcuts" not
only affect the quality of your job, but will also cost you a lot of extra work later on. You ask how? Well, suppose that sponge you used on your wheels picked up some brake dust, which did not rinse out but then wound up scratching your hood the next time you washed your car. I can see you cringe by the way. How long would it take to polish that scratch out? Do
you want to take that chance?
2. Not giving the chemicals enough time to work: This is called "dwell time." Many chemicals need time to work because their effectiveness is based on a chemical reaction, not a physical one (as in a compound). Some of the chemicals that fall into this category include tar removers (as well as other solvent based chemicals) and leather conditioners. How do you know
how much time is enough? Read the directions (usually). Most often, the directions are accurate, but I have noticed that on some products the directions seem to have been written by a marketing or technical writer, rather than by someone who actually used them. This is another case where hurrying and taking off the chemical costs you more time in the end, because
you have to reapply it again.
3. Not letting the chemical do the work: I've seen many people resort to using pressure, when the chemical they're using doesn't seem to work. For example, when they're washing their cars and the shampoo doesn't remove the spot, they press harder and harder on the sponge (probably scratching the paint) instead of realizing the shampoo was not made to remove that spot and maybe they should try a chemical that was. Remember that usually there is a correct chemical solution for every problem. If you don't know what that chemical is, you can inquire online or call Detailing Dynamics at 516-747-4114. But practicing on your exotic car isn't the wise thing to do.
4. Not using window towels on windows: The #1 problem most of the people seem to have is getting windows truly clean. And while the cleaner you use is important, it still won't work properly without using the proper towel. Trust me on this one! I know; you're saying that you use newspaper (by the way, ever since they switched to water based ink on newspapers, all it will
do is dirty your hands), paper towels or expensive disposable wipes you purchased from that pretty catalog. I'm telling you that I've tried them all and come back to these DyNA Clarity Glass Towels or equivalent window microfiber suedes for only one reason; they work best. You want to have a set of window towels that are dedicated for that purpose only and nothing
else. And make sure you wash them properly. (I describe how to do this in my website: http://www.detailingdynamics.com/tip.html)
5. Using vinyl dressing on leather: One of the things that drives me absolutely nuts is the directions on vinyl dressings. They almost always say to use them on vinyl and leather. No, no, no! Think about it; have you seen any shiny cows walking around like they've been drinking Armor All®? This is one of those times when you should not follow the directions. Not
only does the dressing make the leather shiny and slippery, but it also closes the pores in the leather. How the vinyl protectant manufacturers can get away with this amazes me. I've seen more than enough cars where Armor All® has been applied to leather seats and allowed to bake in the sun, thus ruining the leather beyond repair. I'm sure the manufacturers of the vinyl
dressings know this, yet continue to include that in their directions in order to increase sales.
6. Listening to their neighbor/friend who details on the side: Now this is my personal favorite. Of all the six mistakes, this one is the most widespread. It seems that almost every other person I meet has a buddy who "details" (and is more than willing to share his vast arsenal of knowledge with you). But as one of my best customers (who is a dentist) said, "Just because you brush your teeth, it doesn't make you a dentist". I've seen people wash their car with a Brillo® pad because their neighbor Bob told them it would remove the road tar (well he was right, it did along with the clear coat) as well as other "Oops" maneuvers.
7. Getting advice from the internet chat rooms: This one I added recently due to the growing popularity of the internet. I now read the detailing chat rooms every chance I get; not for educational purposes, but for pure entertainment. I've previously heard it said that "The internet is the biggest source of misinformation" and in this case I must say it's true. I especially enjoy reading the "professional" forums; after all these guys must know that they're talking about. Ironically the top detailers in the country who I've had a chance to get to know over the years never contribute their knowledge to these chat rooms. I've found the advice on these forums to fall into (3) categories:
1. The correct/best solution to the question or problem at hand.
2. A mediocre/partial solution that although is not the best one will still not damage the car.
3. A completely wrong solution that will not solve the problem and damage the car.
The problem in most cases is that you don't know who is on the other side of the keyboard. I remember some time ago on one "Professional" chat room there was one user who was very helpful answering every question posted and offering advice to everyone who had a challenge. This went on for about (2) months after which he posted "Just did my first paid detail". My question is, what the heck was he doing for the previous months? Doing your mothers and uncle Tony's car for free doesn't qualify you to be a "Professional" detailer.