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Answers to Your Frequently Asked Question about Car Detailing

Below are answers to common questions our clients ask us. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to call us.


What is automobile “detailing” and what is actually done to the car?

Often called re-conditioning, detailing is the process of “super-cleaning” your car and protecting its finish, inside and out. We start with a gentle wash, using non-abrasive soap and a soft lamb’s wool mitt to remove dirt and grime. We thoroughly clean the wheels and tires and add a protective coating. We carefully clean all parts of your car’s interior, including carpets, mats and seats, the dashboard and door jambs, the headliner, and even the trunk. Leather is cleaned and softened. We use a liquid compound to make your paint job shine and then apply a pre-selected finish to protect the results. Chrome is polished to a high sheen and the entire vehicle is inspected by our Quality Control Specialist to ensure the job is done right.


Why is detailing becoming so popular?

According to Kelly Blue Book, the average price for a new vehicle in 2013 was $32,086. At the same time, the average age of a passenger car was 11.4 years. Today’s consumers are keeping their cars longer than in the past and those cars cost more to purchase. In response to these facts, professional cosmetic maintenance offers an effective means of protecting this important investment.


How often do you recommend that I have my car detailed?

A number of factors come into play when figuring how often your car should be detailed, including the climate in the area in which you live, the type of exterior paint and interior materials applied to your vehicle, and the colour of your car. For example, black cars or those with dark-pigmented paint typically require detailing more frequently than cars painted in lighter colours. Car Guys Appearance Centre recommends a three-times-per-year maintenance program for most cars, with an absolute minimum of two annual visits. Darker cars should be detailed as much as four times per year.


What is the best way to protect my car’s finish?

The paint on your car represents the first line of defence against everyday dirt, road grime and other contaminants. Exposure to the sun’s rays can fade and crack your car’s finish, and harsh detergents and temperature extremes can cause it to lose its lustre or even peel. Without regular maintenance, your car’s finish can soon take on a weather-beaten, dull appearance.


Car Guys Appearance Centre offers several excellent solutions for protecting the paint and finish on your vehicle, beginning with the application of a pure, hand-rubbed Carnauba wax and specially designed paint sealants that not only protect the appearance of your car’s paint, but also penetrate the surface, providing added strength to prevent cracking, flaking and peeling. This sealant also serves to keep out dirt, air and water to prevent fading, oxidation and a dull appearance.


What colours are the hardest to keep looking new?

In our experience, base coat and clear coat vehicles, black cars and others with dark colours – such as navy blue or red – are the most challenging colours to maintain. We recommend that dark-coloured vehicles be detailed more often than those with lighter hues.


How long does it take to detail an automobile?

While smaller cars and vehicles with light-coloured finishes that have received regular maintenance are easier to clean than those that have been neglected, it typically takes most of a work day to achieve a professionally detailed appearance. Because each team member has a specific job function, it is difficult to estimate the total number of hours we put into your car.


Can I wait for my car?

We do have customers who bring cars in for detailing and then wait for them to be completed, but detailing can take as much as five hours to complete. If you would like to wait, we ask that you let us know in advance so that we can expedite your car.


Can you touch up door dings and scratches?

If you can provide a container of the correct touch-up colour, we will be happy to perform this service for you. Please let us know when you bring your car in for service that you would like this to be done.


What is “overspray” and why is it so expensive to remove?

“Overspray” describes the effect of chemicals such as paint, acid rain, insecticides and other pollutants adhering to the paint on your car. Removing this condition is like detailing your car two or three times! Our professional team will carefully remove tiny droplets of contaminants from the paint and then clean, polish and wax the underlying material. Many insurance companies will reimburse the cost of overspray work; check you policy to see if you are covered.


What can I do to preserve my paint, chrome and rubber?

In addition to ensuring that your vehicle receives regular detailing and hand washing, one of the best ways to preserve the appearance of your vehicle is to be aware of your surroundings. For example, parking near a sprinkler system can cause your car to be covered in water droplets, which are then burned into the paint by the sun’s rays. The same problem can result from leaving a car out in the rain. A wet car should always be wiped down, especially if it going to be left sitting in direct sunlight.


Salt from sea air or winter roads can wreak havoc on your car’s paint job. The prompt removal of any salt residue, along with frequent hand washing and wax protection are generally sufficient to prevent damage. Bird droppings and insect remains contain uric acid, which can be quite damaging to paint, so they should be removed promptly to avoid spotting. Moisten a soft cloth with hot water and place it on the affected area until the material is softened enough to be removed without damage. However, frequent automobile detailing remains the best defence against these and other hazards.


Car Paint Care Tips

While your car’s paint job might look smooth to the naked eye, inspecting it under a microscope would reveal a very rough texture, known in the industry as high peaks and low valleys.


In order to properly care for and protect your paint surface, it is necessary to polish the paint before applying wax or sealer so that you can clean out the pores of the paint.


The first step in the process is to abrade, or rough, the paint using aggressive compound, followed by less abrasive, mild polishing products, much in the same way raw wood is sanded to a fine finish.


For severely damaged paint, as a last resort, we use a highly aggressive cleaning method known as “compounding”. Compounding can dry and chafe the paint finish, so it is necessary to apply nourishing oils as a part of the process. This will prevent the painted surface from becoming too dry while restoring and brightening the colour pigmentation.

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