Detailing Articles

Clay – the can do tool

Depending on whom you speak to, clay can either be one of the most useful “tools” in your shop, or just an expensive piece of play-dough. It’s been around for quite a few years now. Some detailers have embraced it, while some have no use for it. I believe that clay...

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Refinishes – How To Spot Them and Why You Should

Chances are that at some point in its life, a vehicle will have at least one mishap that will result in the need for it, or at least part of it, to be to be refinished. It is important to be able to identify any portion of a vehicle that has been refinished or has had...

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A Detail With All The Trimmings

In an exterior detail, we focus on a couple of key elements: the “prep” work — which entails washing the car, bug and tar removal, wheel cleaning, etc.; and buffing and polishing the paint surface to restore the paint back to showroom new condition. However, there is...

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When to wax?

Above: The first day at home for the author’s new MINI Cooper. The car was 25 days old total from the factory and already waxed to protect it against a harsh winter. My wife and I just purchased a new MINI Cooper. The day we picked the car up, it looked great! Clean...

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Buffing Pads

In last month’s issue, I spoke about the importance of buffing products and the need to know what they can do. If you have products that you are familiar with, the other item that is just as important to the buffing process is the buffing pads. Your choice of buffing...

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Wet Sanding, a Powerful, yet Dangerous Tool

THE TWO KEY ELEMENTS ARE THE DEPTH OF THE SCRATCH AND THE COLOR OF THE VEHICLE I’m sure most of you have heard the term “wet sanding” or “color sanding.” What do these terms mean and when and how should you use these procedures? Sometimes the only way to remove or...

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Perfect Polish – The Making of a Product – not so easy

A reader, who recently read an article in Auto Laundry News that I had written, contacted me regarding that article and other related detailing issues. His name is David Ghodoussi, Ph.D., president and CEO of Optimum Polymer Technologies in Memphis, TN. We had a great...

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Window Cleaning

Window cleaning has always been a challenge for both detailers and car washes. It’s an area where customers demand perfection, but more often than not, they are dissatisfied with the look of their glass. We all try to provide streak-free and crystal-clear glass, but...

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Wet Sanding: For Show – and for dough – Part II

Iin last month’s issue of Auto Laundry News, we discussed wet-sanding basics, considered the tools required, and suggested that you ask a lot of questions before getting started. This month, we’ll compare sanding scratches to sanding entire panels, discuss correct...

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Wet Sanding: For Show – and for dough – Part I

Being able to wet sand (or color sand) scratches and other blemishes that are too deep to be buffed out is something that every detailer should be able to do if called upon. As a detailer, this added skill raises your level of professionalism, saves the customer money...

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Under Pressure, Part I

Proper buffing involves many nuances and variables, ranging from technique, buffer speed, pad type, products, type of paint, and more. However, one variable that often gets overlooked — but is extremely critical in buffing — is pressure. More specifically, it is the...

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Swirl Marks – A Detailer’s and Customer’s Nightmare

If I mention “swirl marks” to you as a detailer, how do you react? Do you get the shakes, start to sweat, develop a nervous twitch? Some detailers view swirl marks as a major catastrophe, while others view them as a minor obstacle in completing a perfect job. The real...

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Final Details – It Does Make a Difference

You have completed the toughest part of the detail. You have cleaned the wheels to perfection, got the filthy interior spotless, buffed the paint to a mirror finish, and applied your best wax. Now, its time to trim out the vehicle and let it be on its way. Not so...

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Swirl Marks: How they get there, how to remove them

Swirl marks — or buffer marks — have been a big problem in detailing for ages. Even before people began to refer to this business as “detailing,” there were issues with the unnatural, ribbon-like abrasions in the paint surface that make a vehicle look extremely poor...

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Clear Coat – Not So Clear Cut

We know by now that almost all vehicles are painted with a basecoat / clear-coat system, with the clear-coat portion of the paint being what we buff. There is no secret there. We also know that clear coat is still paint - but a clear paint applied over the base or...

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Electronic Paint-Thickness Gauges

What They Are, and Why You Need Them Paint thickness gauges have come a long way in the past few years. Gone are the pen-like devices that a user would lay against the paint surface to get a reading. While helpful, these gauges involved a bit of guesswork. Today's...

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