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  • John Tomkinson

Devil In The Detail

Updated: May 10

Why Car Valeting and Detailing is becoming so popular.

The ever popular car detail
Why is car detailing becoming so popular

You could be forgiven for thinking that a £10 Automated Car Wash is the same as a £25 hr Car Valeting & Detailing service............ you would be wrong.


We live in an age where we have a plethora of information available to us should we choose to explore. Car Valeting and Detailing services fit this bill. The ever increasing amount of Valet and Detailing Companies - both Static and Mobile are making it easier for the consumer to care for their car in ways very few would have previously considered. But why choose to spend the extra when the convenience and low cost value of a 10 minute car wash is at hand virtually on every street corner?


In this article I will explore the reasoning behind why Car Valet and Detailing is becoming so popular and the benefits gained compared to the quick and easy car wash.


Pull up to an Automated Car Wash and you pay your £5-£10 and moments later your driving away having achieved what you set out for......... a clean car. What you may not have intended is to cause damage to your vehicle that at that moment in time you will not see or be aware of. Continue and repeat this process week on week, month on month and suddenly you will begin to realise what in fact you have been receiving and the consequences of it. You see, a car wash designed for speed and convenience comes at a price - and I'm not referring to the lowly £10 you pay for the pleasure.


In order to achieve their USP, car washes need to be quick. Therefore the need to use products and techniques which save time is essential. Lets begin by looking at the products they use - high concentrate, often acid based chemicals to tackle stubborn baked on road film. Not the sort of product that will care for your cars paintwork. Then the equipment they use - many will use sponges. Why not I hear you ask! Well sponges are by comparison extremely abrasive when it comes to your delicate car paint. They also have a tendency to trap the dirt within, resulting in tiny scratches as it goes over the paintwork. If you take a close look at your cars paintwork you will likely see tiny 'swirls'.

These are a direct result of dirt and grit which has been wiped over the paint. This is what causes the paint to look dull.

The left image is an example of paintwork which is free of swirls and scratches. The right image is an example of paintwork containing swirls and scratches. You can clearly see the dulling effect it these swirl marks create, causing the gloss and shine to diminish overtime.


Last but by no means least their cleaning methods and techniques. In many instances you will find one universal bucket full of shampoo which is used and re used time and time again, car after car. Dirt gathered from the sponges get dipped repeatedly in this bucket and placed back on to your car.


So what's the answer? Ever heard the phrase 'you get what you pay for'?


Find yourself a professional, reputable, expert Valet and Detailing company and you will find yourself methods which look after your car and its paintwork without compromise.


In comparison, the methods used by a professional Valet and Detailing company will unequivocally contain products which are pH neutral, equipment that's made from microfiber and not sponges and techniques, for example, like the two bucket method.


Lets take the opportunity to break down in detail the full process which you will receive from a professional Detailer. Firstly, as previously mentioned, the products used to clean the car will be pH neutral. No harsh chemicals will be used. Strong alkaline or acidic based shampoos risk damage to the paintwork which can cause premature ageing to the paintwork and can even etch the glass. They can also remove and wear away any coatings or sealants which you currently have on the car. Invariably a pH neutral 'pre wash' will be applied to vehicle in the form of a snow foam. Snow foam is the term given to the product which is delivered through a pressure washer in order for there to be no direct contact to your vehicle. After a set period of time, often five to fifteen minutes as per the manufacturers guidelines, the product is left to dwell and then pressure rinsed off. This process aims to remove 90 percent of the dirt and grime which was on the vehicle. This is significant because of the next stage - the contact wash.


Contact with the cars paintwork is where the damage can occur. Initially reducing the majority of the dirt will significantly reduce the risks of scratching the paint. In order to carry out the contact wash two buckets will be used. The first bucket will contain clean water along with a grit guard. The second bucket will contain a pH neutral car shampoo, again with a grit guard in. The grit guards are specially designed grills which fit at the bottom of the bucket which by design trap and secure most of the dirt and grit when you rinse the wash mitt. The wash mitt, usually made of soft microfiber is then used to make contact with the vehicle in order to remove any final remaining dirt. Microfiber wash mitts are ideal for this stage due to the fact they can be rinsed and any dirt or grit on them can be rinsed off.


Now your car is clean it needs drying. Simple, right? Well this stage offers risk just like the stages prior. Get this wrong and you've just wasted your time performing the pre wash and two bucket contact wash. Many Detailers will use purpose specific drying towels designed to soak up large amounts of water but remain plush and fibrous. This again eliminates the risk of creating light scratches and swirls. Take it to the next level and you will find Detailers using warm air blowers to remove excess water. Particularly useful in warmer weather where water spotting is at risk.


Compile all of these stages and you have a service which has taken the best part of an hour at least. Add to that the many more stages such as paint decontamination, paint correction, wax or ceramic coating and you will find that it's easily in excess of six to eight hours plus. With access to many Mobile Valet and Detailing companies such as Prestigious Detailing Ltd, the convenience in order to receive such services has never been easier. Be it at your home, your place or work, or even whilst out for the day.


Worthwhile or not? Not everybody is the same or has the same needs. Some people treat their car in similar ways to treating their home or treating their personal appearance. For others its just a method of transport. For those who do take pride in the appearance of their vehicle, it can be argued that investing the extra cost in having your car cleaned by a professional detailer can in the long run be priceless when it comes to having a gleaming, well kept car. If you have ever seen a brand new car in a showroom - I'm sure you have - and if like me, you have been left mesmerised by its shine and gloss then don't think this is just temporary. Care for your car through a detailer and your car too really will look showroom like condition for years to come. Without doubt the devil is in the detail!




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