Car Detailing Explained (Part 1)

Most car owners, unfortunately, are not really tuned into car detailing.  What is car detailing?  What does it involve?  How often do I need to detail my car? At Sierraglow, we get a lot of questions “Do I need car detailing?

While there are not hard and fast rules as to the timing for detailing your car, car detailing should be done on all cars and even new cars.  It is better to have detailing done than just let the environment, weather and car washers do their damage month after month, year after year.  In short, cars must go through car detailing when it is time, when there are problems.

The two dirty car photos are extremes, but the microscopic dust and dirt attaches to the car.  If you let it build up, the mess and damage becomes severe.

dirty cardirty car 4dirty car 3


Perhaps it is easiest to describe car detailing by describing what it is NOT.  So, washing your car is not car detailing.  Vacuuming  is not car detailing, and rubbing some wax on your car is not car detailing, and oh, using Window Cleaner on your windscreen and mirrors is not car detailing.  While these activities will make your car look nice and clean…they are not car detailing.  Although all of the above may be involved in professional car detailing services.  So, what is the differences?

Car Detaling is much more than washing or waxing  your car.  When you buy a new car, believe it or not, your car paint actually isn’t in that great a shape.  There are many imperfections in the paint surface.  Their will be rough spots and areas where the clear coat is not so smooth.  We call these “porous imperfections” and a good detailer can take care of these car paint issues.

As a car ages, and within a year, paint can take a heavy beating.  You would be amazed at how our environment wears down our car paint.  Each day a layer of microscopic particles, dusts, chemicals, pollutants sit on top of the car paint.  You might think that these particles would just blow off, but your car builds up an incredible amount of static electricity.  This huge body of metal (your car) thrusting through the wind creates the friction to electrify your car  statically, so that these particles are attracted just like an magnet. The results, the particles are attracted and sit on your car. see video on static electricity.  This is a 5 minute video…and the static electricity only starts 2:18, but it’s Mr. Bean, so laugh and feel uncomfortable for the whole thing…enjoy

Now, throw on top of these particles WATER!  This is similar to having dry dusty ground. When it rains, the ground turns muddy.  On a microscopic level, this is what happens to you car.  If you have made the mistake of waxing your car instead of using a car coating material, then the dust, water and mud become embedded into the wax.  Everytime you wash your car, this mixture is being wiped around with the result of small sharp cuts into the clear coat…

If you move your cloth in a circular motion, you will put razor thin swirls into your clear coat.  These swirls or cuts into the clear coat have now compromised your paint structure, and these hairline scratches will collect more dirt and grit between you washes.  Each month, more damages will be caused from the compromised clear coat. The below photos show swirls and surface scratches into the clear coat.  Many of these are caused by polishing, as the buffers/polishers were simply rotary type (not gear action) and buffers by those without the required experience.  See earlier here.

imagesswirls 3swirls

Although some of these photos are extremes, your car if it does not have car coating, most probably has these swirls and marks.  If your car has been polished by a buffer, the swirls are most likely covered up by the wax on top, but once the wax melts and runs off, the swirls can be easily see.

Swirls and marks if they are not so deep can be reduced or even eliminated, and in the next post, I will write about this process…This is the end of Part 1, next week Part 2.


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