Q: I wash my vehicle at home using a garden hose. Lately, the finish looks dull and marked. What could be wrong?
Washing your vehicle at home is extremely harmful to the finish. The University of Texas proved that a single home hand-wash can leave scratches in your finish as deep as 1/10 of the paints total thickness. Also, the average garden hose cannot supply enough water and water pressure with the detergent action to avoid damaging a vehicle's finish. This important study concluded that automobile owners should avoid washing their vehicles at home. Only a professional car wash can provide the proper amounts of water and water pressure needed along with the appropriate soaps and waxes to safely and effectively clean your vehicle.
Q: How can I keep my whitewall tires looking like whitewalls?
Don't use scouring pads to clean your whitewalls. This will deteriorate the whitewall surface. A professional car wash can provide the necessary whitewall cleaner and the proper water pressure to clean your tires effectively.
Q: Does it really help a vehicle's value to keep its finish looking new?
Yes! Appearance is the first thing that buyers look for in a used vehicle. If the finish turns buyers off, it's virtually impossible to get a good price-no matter how well the vehicle runs. A vehicle which is noticeably rusted, dull, or spotty will sell for significantly less than the same vehicle with a high gloss finish. Proper care of your vehicle's appearance will definitely pay off at trade-in time!
Q: Is it true that my new car shouldn't be washed or waxed for a certain period of time?
This may have been true a long time ago, but with the new modern acrylics and enamels, your new vehicle's finish needs tender care immediately. Be careful to wash your vehicle properly. Most new vehicles are treated with a clear-coat finish. It's important that you exercise extreme care specifically when washing your new vehicle for the first few times. Many initial washing errors result in water spots, the setting of stains, and loss of luster. Without the benefit of protective coating layers of wax that your car will receive over the years, mistakes made during the first few washes may not he correctable. It's advisable to wax your new vehicle almost immediately. The best advice is to trust your vehicle's finish to a professional from the beginning.
Q: How often should I have my vehicle washed?
It depends. If your vehicle is exposed to corrosive materials like salt, sand, and industrial fallout, it should be washed often. The same goes for vehicles in areas with high humidity. Moisture attracts contaminants and promotes a variety of chemical reactions that can destroy your vehicle's finishes. Frequent washing is essential to the life of your vehicle's chrome and painted surfaces. In seasons or climates less conducive to corrosion, a wash every two weeks or so is adequate. In areas with acid rain, a wash every seven to ten days is highly advised. Of course, these estimates will vary depending upon whether your vehicle is kept in a garage or out in the elements.
Q: Periodically, I notice a layer of residue on my vehicle's finish. Is it from the atmosphere?
What you are referring to are black particles that come from areas of heavy traffic. They are gritty, abrasive substances coming off tires as they wear. Also, chemicals from diesel smoke and other emissions in the atmosphere will settle on your vehicle's surfaces. If this residue isn't removed immediately, permanent damage to the finish can result.
Q: Why does my car ride better after I've had it washed? Am I imagining it?
Not at all! Actually, the reason is very simple. Dirt and grime collect in the areas around your vehicle's wheels. The concentrated spray at professional car washes removes this dirt and grime, giving you a smoother ride. The concentrated spray also helps prevent rusting inside the wheel wells-the most difficult type of rust to stop.
Q: When should I wash off insect residue?
As soon as possible, especially if the vehicle is new. Insect residue and bird droppings form acids that immediately start to eat away a vehicle's finish.
Q: What is the major cause of rust?
Rust is the oxidation of untreated metal surfaces when they come into contact with the elements. Moisture is the main cause of rust. Since dirt attracts and traps moisture, a dirty vehicle is the instigator of almost all automobile rust, especially in those hidden areas behind the chrome and trim. Only a professional car wash operator has the equipment and know-how to effectively reach all those hard-to-reach places and remove corrosion-producing grime before damage is done.
Q: What can I do to remove the tar that occasionally gets on my vehicle?
Tar and certain oils used on roads require extremely strong solvents to remove. Naturally, we cannot use these solvents when we wash your vehicle since just a few washes with such strong chemicals could harm your vehicle's finish. There are many excellent tar solvents on the market and we would be happy to recommend one to you. A word of caution-follow the directions carefully and wash your vehicle as soon as possible after using such a solvent. The best advice is to let a professional take care of this situation for you.
Q: Lately, my windshield smears when I run my wipers. What am I doing wrong?
Perhaps you haven't changed your wiper blades recently. Most manufacturers recommend installing new blades every three to six months. This will prevent smearing, which dangerously impairs your vision.
Q: Isn't rain a natural, cost-effecfive car wash?
No! Rain and snow contain acids that eat away at the paint and finish of vehicles. After acid rain falls on a vehicle, the water evaporates, but the acid remains. Concentrated by sunlight, this acid can become so strong that it will eat through the finish, ruining the vehicle's paint and appearance.
Q: Aren't hand washings safer for my vehicle and the environment?
No! Dirt that collects in the wash water in your bucket, sponges, and chamois will scratch the paint. The wash water at professional car washes cleans cars better, faster, and safer. Also, hand washings can consume 2-5 times the amount of water compared to a professional car wash. In addition, soaps and waxes used by professional car washes are biodegradable and safe for the environment.
Q: What kind of car wash will do a good job of cleaning my vehicle?
Any professional full service car wash that uses a SoftCloth™ cleaning technology can effectively clean your car without damaging it. There are several kinds of professional full service car washes using a combination of touchless, semi-touchless, SoftCloth™ or brush technologies. Be careful. Make sure that you select a vehicle wash that uses SoftCloth™ technology.
Q: Why do Professional Detailers use so many different products? Why not just a simple soap and wax?
There are many different materials found in today's vehicles combined with exposure to a wide range of environmental hazards. It takes a broad range of products to address the many different surface care requirements of paint, plastic, rubber, metal, glass, vinyl, and leather. Just as a master mechanic's tool chest holds many subtly different types of wrenches, screwdrivers and other items, professional detailers require many different types of products to optimally answer every surface care need.
Q: What is Gloss?
Gloss is an optical characteristic that describes the capacity of a surface to reflect directed light. Dirt, grime and environmental contamination on the surface of a vehicle's paint will absorb and diffuse light, making it look dull and lifeless. No paint will remain glossy if it is neglected. Proper surface care is one of the most rewarding activities you can have performed on your vehicle. Not only do you immediately see a difference, but when it comes time to sell or trade in your vehicle, it will be worth far more than a similar model that has been neglected.
Q: Why do vehicle finishes fade?
Due to surface contamination, environmental factors, stains and oxidation. Automotive paint is designed to reflect light to create the dazzling shine and gloss we see in most new-car showrooms. This shine and gloss would last for years if your vehicle were professionally washed on a daily basis and kept indoors 90% of the day. Most modern vehicle finishes consist of a base coating that contains the color, and a protective clear coating on top that is designed to keep the color paint from oxidizing. Oxidation was an obvious problem ten years ago because you could quickly recognize a color fade. Now that the outer paint layer is usually clear, oxidation is less obvious. The sun dries out the top clear coat layer and natural oils are lost. If these oils aren't replaced by regular cleaning and waxing, the top clear coat layer oxidizes and the surface gradually becomes duller and duller. Even more than yesterday's paints, today's clear coat finishes look faded whenever the surface becomes contaminated by airborne pollution, acid rain, industrial fallout and countless other factors. If this contamination isn't removed frequently, it reduces the reflective quality of the finish until it looks dull and lifeless. Also, this contamination will begin to etch into the thin clear coat layer and expose the base color coat if it isn't removed frequently. The vehicle will require costly repainting once the clear coat protection is gone.
Q: How can I tell if my vehicle has a Clear Coat finish?
This question can be answered quickly by a professional detailer. How can a professional detailer be absolutely certain? An easy way to tell is to apply wax to a small area of the vehicle's finish using an orbital or rotary buffer. If color appears on the buffing material, then you do not have a clear coat finish. Remember, a clear coat finish is just as the name implies: clear. So no color will appear on the buffing material if you do have a clear coat finish. Clear coat paint finishes require special care and harsh abrasive waxes or rubbing compounds should never be used on them.
Q: What is Carnauba Wax?
Wax made from a species of a South American palm tree. This wax is one of the hardest types available. However, it is almost impossible to apply pure carnauba wax to an automotive finish because it is so thick and pasty. It must be blended with other waxes and formulations so that it can be properly applied to your finish and then buffed off.
Q: Are Teflon waxes beneficial?
Professional detailers consider "Teflon" formulas to be empty hype. The maker of Teflon (DuPont) issued the following statement: "The addition of a Teflon fluoropolymer resin does nothing to enhance the properties of a car wax. We have no data that indicates the use of Teflon is beneficial in car waxes."
Q: What about colored waxes that match a vehicle's paint? Can't these waxes remove scratches?
These are not recommended. First, there are thousands of vehicle colors used every year. Some paint companies offer over one hundred different reds alone. There is really no way that the limited offering of 8-12 different-colored waxes can hope to match your color exactly. Second, most paints today have a top layer of paint that is clear - it does not contain the color pigments. If someone were to wax your vehicle with a pigmented wax on top of the clear coat surface an unnatural effect would be created that will look even stranger as the pigments in the wax begin to fade. Imagine applying black shoe polish to your windshield, and you can picture what is happening when a colored wax is applied to a clear coat finish. Quality waxes and cleaners applied by a professional detailer is the only way to properly remove small scratches and restore an automotive finish.
Q: How can I tell if my vehicle needs waxing?
A trained professional can usually tell with the naked eye. However, clear coat paints make it more difficult to determine when your vehicle needs waxing. It may need attention far sooner than its appearance would indicate. When in doubt, there are two simple tests that a professional will use to determine when your vehicle needs waxing. Wad a clean, dry terry cloth, and rub it along a clean upper surface of your vehicle (hood or trunk). If you hear squeaking, that's a sure sign that the vehicle needs waxing; After washing and drying your vehicle, take your hand and run your fingertips along the upper surfaces of your vehicles hood and trunk. If you detect rough spots or feel drag, you also know your vehicle needs waxing. If the problem is more severe, the painted surfaces of your vehicle may even need a deep-cleaning prior to waxing. The best course of action is to get on a regular maintenance schedule. A professional can suggest a schedule that is right for your vehicle.
Q: Will I get a better wax job when the wax is applied by hand or with a buffer?
Professionals prefer using a buffer because this allows the right amount of pressure to be applied on all surfaces during the application and buffing process. Hand waxing is very tiring and it is very unlikely that the same amount of pressure and the same number of strokes will be applied on the first part of the vehicle that is waxed as the last. This can produce an uneven removal of surface contaminants and in general a poorer wax job. Anyone waxing by hand should always use thick, deep-pile 100% cotton toweling. This protects the paint, and helps prevent uneven waxing and buffing. Deep-pile toweling also prevents putting too much pressure on the tops of ridges where automotive paint is the thinnest.
Q: What if I don't have the time or money to wash and wax my vehicle regularly?
You can't afford not to protect your investment! A professional car wash offers safe, fast, high-quality washes and waxes at affordable prices.