Top 5 Myths of Car Detailing

Myth Busting Car Detailing

At Project Detail, we often hear people discuss about how they wash or detail their cars. We realised that there are quite a lot of myths, uncertainties and guesswork  surrounding in the topic of car detailing. Here at Project Detail Studio, we are going to discuss the Top 5 Myths of Car Detailing. 

Snow Foam Pre-Wash, as part of our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination

Snow Foam Pre-Wash, as part of our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination

Myth #1 - Car Wash and Car Detailing is the same

Myth:

 Car Wash and Car Detailing are pretty much the same, just different names. Their job is to clean cars and make sure they are well cleaned. 

Fact:

The services at a car wash cafes are completely different to what proper Detailers offer. For starters Car Detailing is a lot more than just a wash.

In fact, the car wash takes up less than 15% of what detailers do. When a car is washed by us, we follow up with a full vehicle decontamination that safely removes above-surface contamination that can't be removed by a simple 2-bucket method wash. Our sole goal, is to now only wash and clean the vehicle but do so in the most gentle manner to avoid swirls and defects from quick and improper washing.

We then follow up with an extensive paint polishing to remove below-surface contaminations such as blemishes, minor scratches, swirl marks etc to refine the paintwork to be close to brand new condition, or sometimes even better. After all those steps, we then apply a premium last step product (aka LSP) for short or long term protection. 

50/50 Before and after shot, achieved by Paint Correction

50/50 Before and after shot, achieved by Paint Correction

Myth #2 - Save money by hand polishing cars myself

Myth:

It is not necessary to hire a detailer to polish cars when I can just buy some products and polish the cars myself. I could save myself some money. 

Fact:

This myth used to be a fact back in the 70s where base-clear coat paint system hasn't been introduced and the paintwork back in the day are all single stage paint and paint oxidisation can be removed by polishing with hand. But in recent years, after base-clear coat paint system introduced, base-clear coat paint is way too hard and it is impossible to hand polish to a good result. Products you find on the shelf of auto stores are mainly glazes, waxes or sealants which contains fillers and resin that does not contain any abrasives to level the minor scratches and blemishes out. They simply 'fill' or 'mask' the imperfections so it looks good for a short period of time, but the effect is not permanent.

Paint Correction (aka cut and polish, buffing, polishing etc.) performed by professional detailers are permanent results that will not be washed away or come back after a week or two. 

The weekend warrior or car enthusiast might see the value of buying equipment themselves to polish their cars to save money. We respect the enthusiasm but however keep it mind the cost will be more than hiring a professional detailer and the results won't be as good compared to a professional detailer. Machine polishers, compounds, cloths, chemicals and miscellaneous products such as masking tape's cost will be about to $1500 to $2000. Not to mention you'll need to learn how to use them properly in order to achieve good results. 

BMW M5 + P-01A + BC-04 Coating, Curing with IR Lamps

BMW M5 + P-01A + BC-04 Coating, Curing with IR Lamps

Myth #3 - New cars doesn't need Paint Protection

Myth:

Modern clear coats are design to resist UV and it can protect itself, especially modern hard clear coats and self-healing technology. Getting a detailer to apply a good paint protection would be a waste of money and I don't see a value in that. Paint Protection are rubbish anyway. No paint protection product can resist bird poo baking under the sun on paint. Just buy a $10 wax and apply every month, that's the best protection you can get. 

Fact:

Clear coats are only designed to resist UV to an extent. Long exposure to the sun's UV rays (especially in Australia) will lead to clear coat fading and failure. While European, luxury and high end vehicles certainly have better quality paint, it is by no means impervious to UV, swirls or scratches.

Waxing your car is a good way to protect to some extend but not all. We did several test with conventional wax, sealant and coatings. Wax does not protect your car from chemical etching such as bird/bat poo, sealant does a okay job as long as it haven't been sit on the paint surface for too long.

Meanwhile Ceramic Quartz Coatings were resistant to chemicals of pH 2-11, UV and even physical resistance such as micro marring and very light swirl marks. Coatings are usually considered as permanent due to their inability to be washed away from regular washes and they require good preparation stages for the coating to perform well.
 

Masking is crucial as part of the preparation process for Paint Correction

Masking is crucial as part of the preparation process for Paint Correction

Myth #4 - Paint Correction is the same as Cut and Polish

Myth: Any detailers that claim they offer paint correction is exactly the same as cut and polish. It's just an marketing term detailers use as a marketing term for a huge price markup. 

Fact: Cut and polish is not just using a paste/liquid compound that you apply using a foam hand applicator and "polish" the paintwork that many people still assume. These paste/liquid cut and polish compounds are generally not designed for clear coat finishes, they work on oxidised single-stage paints that came out from the factory in the pre-1980s. Going all the way back, cut and polish actually means you "cut" back the paint with sand paper and polish the sanding marks out with a rotary with a lambswool pad. Typically these combination restores the paintwork back to how it looks like when its new, therefore the popularity of the term. In modern detailing world, a proper cut and polish is equivalent to Stage 3 to 4 Paint Correction where we wet-sand, heavy leveling with a rotary, level and finish it with a Rupes polisher which it would be a week worth of project and several cups of coffee.

Holograms caused by improper use of a rotary polisher.

Holograms caused by improper use of a rotary polisher.

Myth #5: There's no difference in price

Myth:

Detailer A charges me $100 cheaper and the quality is no different from other detailers that charges more. What a deal!

Fact:

We all hear about new detailing businesses that charges at a low rate and gets themselves busy. We respect that because we understand that a good detailer has to start somewhere.

But when comes to quality and results, its a whole different story. Good detailers charges more for a reason, a good detailer has more experience and attention to detail. To produce good results, a detailer needs to spend more time looking for little imperfections and taking extra steps in their work to achieve another level of perfection which cannot be learned overnight.

Furthermore, as a detailer progresses, they ideally invest more money into better equipment, more intensive techniques and better products. A detailer with a workshop, also has fixed overheads which are often larger meaning that his prices and work must reflect these costs.

We hoped we helped you to debunk some of the myths circulating around the topic on Car Detailing. For any questions or inquiries regarding about detailing, feel free to contact us by clicking here.