Tag: detailing

How to Choose a Detail Shop

How to Choose a Detail Shop

There can be a lot of options when looking for a car detail shop near you, making it difficult to pick the right one. Many people often choose the closet or cheapest detailer but can be disappointed in the results. There are many factors to consider when trying to find the best car detail shop. In this post, we will walk you through the main things we look for – quality, pricing, and convenience.

Car Detail Shop Quality

To us, the quality of work is the most important part of choosing the best car detail shop. But, it is important to balance the quality of the shop with your individual needs. For example, it probably is not necessary to take the family minivan to a detail shop that primarily focuses on high-end exotic cars. Let’s take a look at how you get a sense of the quality of the detail shop.

  • Detail shop reviews – A great place to start is with online reviews. A shop that does not care about their online reputation is a major red flag. When evaluating a shop take a look at their recent reviews especially ones where the reviewer purchased the same service you are looking for.
  • Past examples – Most shops will have before and after photos on their website to help you visualize their capabilities.
  • Talk to the shop – One of the best ways to get a better idea of the detail shop’s quality is to call or visit the shop and talk with the owner and employees. Most reputable shops will be happy to walk you through their process, different levels of service, and answer any questions you may have.

Car Detail Pricing

Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few shops that meet your quality needs, it is time to start looking at the detail shop’s pricing. Each shop will have slightly different packages and names for their detail services. They may also have differing opinions on the level of service you need. To compare pricing, you will want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples as much as possible. For example, if shop A is more expensive and going to perform a multistage paint correction but shop B is cheaper and is only planning on a quick polish it does not make sense to directly compare their prices. Also, it is OK to be transparent if you find a shop that you love but they are a few hundred dollars more expensive than another shop you considering, give your preferred shop a call and see if they have any deals or promotions to win your business.

Convenience

Most people think of convenience as the location of the shop, but there are other factors that are part of the convenience. Depending on the service you are looking to get done, many shops offer mobile detailing services. Mobile detailing services can be great, especially for a simple service like a maintenance wash. Another convenience factor to consider is how quickly the detail shop will be able to start work on your vehicle. If you have a brand new car and you are looking to get a ceramic coating or clear bra on it quickly, you might not be willing to wait a week or two if a shop is backed up. The last piece of convenience we like to look at is the time it takes to perform the work. You don’t want to choose the fastest shop but you also don’t want to have your car sitting at the shop idle for a week. Talk to the shop owner and make sure you are both on the same page regarding timelines.

Conclusion – Finding the Best Detail Shop Near You

Overall, finding the best car detail shop near you isn’t too difficult. With a little time spent upfront, you can make sure you are making the best decision.
 

Maintenance Car Wash Routine

Maintenance Car Wash Routine

A proper maintenance car wash routine is an important part of keeping your car’s paint in great shape. Cars with ceramic coatings can be a bit quicker and easier to wash. However, our maintenance wash process is the same whether or not the vehicle has a ceramic coating. The goal of a maintenance wash is to keep the car looking as good as possible between detail washes without spending tons of time or breaking the bank. Here’s a look at our preferred maintenance wash routine and a few of the products we like.

2-Bucket Wash Process

To avoid smearing dirt across the vehicle, we think a two-bucket wash is a must. The two-bucket method simply uses a separate wash bucket (with soap) and a rinse bucket (with water). After each section of the car is cleaned, the wash mitt is first dipped into the rinse bucket before being loaded up with suds. Here are the steps for our typical two-bucket wash.

  1. Wheels first – The wheels are usually the dirtiest part of the car which is why we like to hit them first. To begin, give them a good rinse using either a pressure washer or garden hose with a jet nozzle. Next, spray the tires with a rubber cleaner and give them a quick scrub with a tire brush. After cleaning the rubber, spray a generous amount of wheel cleaner and use an EZ detail brush to remove all the dirt and brake dust from the barrel of the wheel. To finish the wheel, give it a good rinse and repeat the process on the remaining wheels.
  2. Rinse – Now that the wheels are clean, give the car a good rinse. Make sure to use high pressure on areas with lots of dirt or particles stuck to the paint.
  3. Foam gun (Optional) – If you have a foam gun it’s time to cover the vehicle in foam. We like to start with the top the vehicle and work toward the bottom. We like to think of the foam as a lubricant for our cleaning with a wash mitt, so we don’t rinse it off the car before the next step.
  4. Hand wash – With the car already covered in foam it’s time to get the wash mitt, soap bucket, and rinse bucket out. Starting at the top of the car and working toward the bottom load the mitt up with soapy suds and work in sections, rinsing and reloading the mitt as needed. We prefer to start at the top because most of the dirt tends to be at the bottom and we want to avoid grinding any grit into the paint.
  5. Rinse – A quick rinse using light pressure (ex. shower setting on an adjustable hose nozzle).
  6. Dry – There are a few options to drying. Either first blow the vehicle with a blower to remove the majority of the water or use large waffle weave towels. Next, using a drying aid and high-quality microfiber towel to remove any water spots and add a nice shine.
  7. Wheels – To finish this wheels, we like to use a microfiber and dry them while removing any dirt that wasn’t picked up in step 1.
  8. Finishing Details – In this step it’s time to wrap up the maintenance wash and hit any of the final details. Tire dressing, glass, mirrors, and door jambs are all little details that you don’t want to forget!

Maintenance Wash Tips

Here are a few tips to consider when performing a maintenance wash.

  • To avoid water spots, perform the wash in the shade and preferably cooler weather.
  • Use high-quality microfiber towels and wash mitts to keep from scratching the paint.
  • Have dedicated microfiber towels for different parts of the car (ex. wheels, paint, interior).
  • Don’t use too much pressure – let the cleaning products do the work!
  • Use a high-quality car shampoo, not dish soap – especially if your car does not have a ceramic coating.

Wash Products

High-quality wash products are an important part of a maintenance car wash. Below you’ll find a list of some of the products we like to use.

The Best Foam Gun For A Garden Hose And Car Wash

The Best Foam Gun For A Garden Hose And Car Wash

Don’t have a high-pressure washer but still looking for the extra suds from a foam gun when washing your car? No need to worry, as long as your garden hose has decent water pressure Gilmour’s Foamaster II will give you most of the same benefits at a fraction of the price. In this article, we’ll take a look at the benefits of using a foam gun, how to use them, and why we think the Foammaster II is the best garden hose foam gun.

Foam Gun Benefits

As we have mentioned in some of our previous posts, washing a car is all about providing lubrication between the wash mitt and the paint. Foam guns provide a quick and easy way to coat the car with the sudsy foam lubrication from the car shampoo. Typically, foam guns are used with high-pressure wash systems which professional detailers use but we managed to find one that attaches to a garden hose and works surprisingly well. The foam gun is also great for covering hard to reach areas like the wheels and wheel wells. Even though you may not be able to scrub back there just applying the soap and rinsing helps remove some of the build-ups.

How To Use A Foam Gun

The Gilmour Foamaster II is very easy to use. The foam gun comes with a screw on attachment to your garden hose, the fluid reservoir, and the foam sprayer. The foam sprayer has a quick disconnect attachment to switch between water and foam quickly. To use this for a car wash, we fill the reservoir with car shampoo – we use enough to have 3/4 inch – 1 inch of the container filled. Next, twist on the foam sprayer top and connect the foam gun to your garden hose. The foam sprayer has a dial setting with 5 different levels, labeled “A” through “E”. The “A” setting is the lightest and “D” or “E” seems to give us the best foam production.

Foam Gun Car Washing Tips

  • Don’t mix the car soap/shampoo with water, just pour it into the container.
  • When foaming the car, spray the top first and work toward the bottom last.
  • Use enough soap, you don’t want to have to add more part way through.
  • Hold the container upright when spraying for maximum foam.
  • Spray the wheels and tires with soap.
  • Use the “D” or “E” setting on the foam sprayer.

If you’re looking to improve your wash without spending tons of cash on a high-pressure wash system, make sure to check out the Foamaster II on Amazon. Also, if you need help with finding the best car wash mitt checkout our recommendation.

Weekend Wash – Top 10 Car Wash Supplies

Weekend Wash – Top 10 Car Wash Supplies

Want a little extra shine out of that weekend car wash? Our top 10 car wash supply list will get your car looking showroom ready without breaking the bank! Or if you’re feeling lazy, this car wash kit from Adam’s is a pretty good start.

Top 10 Car Wash Supplies

  1. Microfiber Wash Mitt / Wash Pad

    best-wash-mitt

    • A high-quality microfiber wash mitt is essential for anyone serious about taking care of their vehicles.Using the wrong mitt can leave your car with swirling and scratches in the paint. The mitt is one area you don’t want to cheap out on. We recommend the  2-pack Premium CYCLONE Korean Microfiber Wash Mitt and Huge 10″ x 10″ CYCLONE 10X Wash Pad by THE RAG COMPANY. You can read more about why we think this is The Best Car Wash Mitt & Pad.
  2. Adam’s Car Shampoo

    adams-car-shampoo

    • Car shampoo is all about suds, lubrication, and water spots. This shampoo is great for all 3 – cleaning power, it doesn’t scratch, and it’s water spot resistant.
  3. Wash and Rinse Buckets (2-Bucket Wash)

    2-bucket-wash

    • The two bucket car wash method is a must. It is the simplest change you can make to your car washing process to achieve some of the best results. If you are using one bucket, then you’re smearing your grit across your paint causing swirl marks and marring.
  4. Waffle Weave Drying Towels

    waffle-weave-drying-towel

    • Similar to using a high-quality wash mitt (see #1), waffle weave drying towels are designed to remove water quickly and without scratching. The faster you are able to dry the car, the less likely you are to have water spots.
  5. Microfiber Towels

    microfiber-towels

    • After removing all the majority of water with a waffle towel, we like to use a drying aid (see #6) and a microfiber towel to give the car a bit of protection and shine. We love these microfiber towels from THE RAG COMPANY.
  6. Optimum Car Wax (Drying Aid)

    optimum-car-wax-drying-aid

    • It’s tough to dry a car and avoid spotting, especially in the heat of summer. We use Optimum Car Wax as a drying aid leaving us with a nice shine and no water spots. After removing most of the water with waffle weave towels, we work panel by panel using a few squirts of Optimum Car Wax and wiping it down with a microfiber towel.
  7. EZ Detail Brush

    ez-detail-brush

    • Ever wondered how car detailers clean the barrel or inside of the wheel? Their secret is a brush like this – the EZ Detail Brush makes it easy to clean wheels, wheel wells, and exhaust.
  8. Car Pro Perl (Rubber/Plastic Protectant)

    car-pro-perl

    • Car Pro Perl leaves your tires looking new but not wet. It’ll restore that deep black color to your rubber without giving you all wet shine.
  9. Chemical Guys Foam Block (Dressing Applicator)

    chemical-guys-foam-blocks

    • We use these foam blocks from The Chemical Guys to help us apply Perl to our tires. The foam blocks are great, a quick rinse with the hose after each use and they are ready for your next car wash!
  10. Adam’s Wheel Cleaner

    adams-wheel-cleaner

    • The wheels are usually the direst part of the car, filled with brake dust and grit. A few squirts of Adam’s Wheel Cleaner before getting in their with your EZ Detail Brush makes this process quick.

Now that you’ve got the top products, make sure you aren’t committing any of the Top 10 Car Wash Mistakes.