proper maintenance & education

- From proper wash techniques, to reducing and eliminating swirls, to product recommendations & Ceramic Coating maintenance - I hope this page will help educate anyone and everyone on taking the very best care of your vehicles!  This page is for those looking to take their car care to a higher level!

- Tunnel wash vs Touchless wash vs Hand wash -

    For those who weren't aware, using tunnel washes (the ones with the spinning brushes) are absolutely damaging your paint.  They WILL put swirls in your paint.  Now please don't confuse swirls with deep scratching and gouges, and don't go blaming your car wash for putting deep gouges through your paintwork, as that's probably not how it happened.  Also, they are not liable for swirls - that responsibility falls on you.  Touchless washes are definitely an improvement as far as limiting swirls goes, however they don't clean as well, and they use much harsher chemicals to try lift the dirt from the vehicle.  Washing by hand is definitely the best and safest way to prevent swirls from your paint, but ONLY IF ITS DONE RIGHT!  Using brushes will put swirls in the paint.  Drying with shammys or terry cloth towels will put swirls in your paint.  Washing with dawn dish soap can put swirls in your paint.  Scrubbing vigorously with a lack of lubrication will put swirls in your paint..  also, having proper protection like a good wax, sealant, or coating will make your washing process soooooo much easier.  So if you want to keep your vehicle looking its best, check out the video below, and definitely read through Shining Armour's 12 steps to safe and proper washing & drying.  Enjoy!   

 

safest Washing techniques 

12 Steps for how and why to give your vehicle the safest, swirl-free wash & dry as possible!

  • Wash the vehicle every 1-2 weeks

    • the longer bugs, road salt, brake dust and other contaminants sit on the paint, the more damage they can cause​​, and the harder they become to remove

  • Wash the vehicle yourself by hand

    • avoid tunnel washes and touchless washes if you can.  Use high-quality microfiber and the following tips below:

  • Do not wash in direct sunlight

    • the heat from the sun will dry the vehicle too fast which would lead to streaking and water spotting​

  • Wash from top to bottom

    • the car is dirtier along the bottom, and you don't want to be dragging those dirt particles all over the vehicle.  Leave the dirtiest sections for last

  • Use a separate bucket/tools to wash wheels & tires

    • please keep these products separate and avoid coming into contact with paint​.  Also, don't forget to rinse your wheel and tire brushes after every use

  • Pre-rinse & pre-soak snow foam prior to washing

    • the more dirt you can remove before physically touching the surface with a wash mitt, the more potential swirls you can prevent 

  • Use a 2-bucket wash method

    • use one bucket for soap and washing, and the other for rinsing.  Using "grit guards" & having the second bucket for rinsing your wash mitts will greatly reduce the chances of rubbing and sliding dirt/debris across your paintwork​ 

  • Use dedicated car wash soap!

    • using dish soap not only strips protection like waxes, it lacks the proper lubrication for sliding wash mitts across the surface​

  • Use High-Quality microfiber wash pads and mitts

    • unlike brushes and sponges, microfiber traps dirt particles and keeps them from coming in contact with your paint​.  Still, you should rinse them often

  • Be Gentle, and wash in straight lines

    • don't scrub vigorously or apply too much pressure.  Let the weight of the wash mitt be the only pressure applied.  Wash in straight lines to avoid over-scrubbing and for limiting swirling surface contact

  • To dry, use compressed air or an air blower if available

    • whether washing or drying, the less you can physically come into contact with the paint​, the less chance there is of swirls

  • Use High-Quality microfiber drying towels to remove any remaining water

    • drying your vehicle properly is just as vital for preventing swirls.  Microfiber towels will trap the dirt unlike shammys, cotton and terry cloth towels.  Adding a spray lubricant helps even further like in the video shown above.  Be sure to use separate microfiber towels to dry out and clean your door jambs

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- Ceramic Coating Maintenance -

 
Image by Zakaria Zayane

THE FIRST WEEK

*Do not wash your vehicle for the first 7 days*

While the initial cure time for coatings is 12-24 hours, they will not be fully 100% cured for another 1-3 weeks.  During the first week the vehicle and coating will still be vulnerable.  Chemicals of any kind should be avoided, and try not to get it wet (though its not too big of a deal if it does).  Remove contaminants as soon as possible with water.

Product Recommendations

    I've been doing this for over 14 years now, and I've learned so much along the way.  Over the last 2 years I've tested more detailing products than most people will probably use in their lifetimes.  I've been asked often by customers about what products I use or would recommend, so I wanted to create a centralized place where you can come to to find out, and hopefully save some money in the process.  I've included comments next to every product in the Amazon lists to provide additional information as best I can that'll hopefully prove useful.

    To be clear, I am not associated or affiliated with any of these companies or products in any way.  I receive zero compensation for recommending these products or from you purchasing them off my Amazon lists.  These are simply the products I use personally in my shop that I have found work best for me, and ones that I'd be comfortable recommending to others.  I do use a lot more than what's listed too, but I tried to keep it simple.  No one company makes the best products.  I feel like Meguiars have been dropping off in quality lately, and companies like Chemical Guys don't actually make any of their own products.  And a higher price doesn't always mean higher quality.  Look no further than F11 Top Coat, which is sadly the biggest scam in the detailing industry.  There are products a fraction of the cost that'll work ten times better.  Not to mention, my quest for safer, eco-friendly, zero VOC products has led me to some of the most amazing products I've used!

- Safe Washing & Drying Products

Wheels, Tires & Bugs - Amazon List:  Click Here

  • Always wash your wheels and tires separately from washing the vehicle.  Don't ever use your wash mitts on the wheels and tires.

  • Don't forget to rinse your brushes after every use!

Proper Washing - Amazon List:  Click Here

  • High-quality wash mitts, soap, grit guards and foam cannons.  Be sure to follow the 12 steps above to get the safest washes possible!

Proper Drying - Amazon List:  Click Here

  • Don't underestimate the importance of drying, as you can swirl your paint just as easily drying as you can washing.  And never use your drying towels to dry and clean your door jambs!  Always use separate microfiber towels for that.

Products not available on Amazon:

  • Microfiber Madness Incredipole - for bigger vehicles like trucks to reach roofs, or for those that simply don't want to bend down too far while washing their cars.

- DIY INterior cLEANING AND MAINTENANCE

Leather Care - Amazon List:  Click Here

  • from Proper PH neutral cleaners, to the safest scrub pads, to all-natural conditioners.  Get your leather treated right, looking great, or bring it back from the dead!

Pet Hair and Care - Amazon List: Click Here

  • Proper tools for removing hair and odor-removing fabric cleaners to make the job so much easier.  Adding a spritz of water can sometimes help the hair removal tools to lift the pet hairs better as well!

  • A shop vacuum is not listed on the list, but is rather needed.  I personally use the Ridgid Line from Home Depot, which comes with some excellent car-cleaning specific attachments.

- more lists to possibly come in the future!  If you don't find what you're looking for, give me a call or message me any time and I'll happily do my best to point you in the right direction!  Thank you!

 

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