Everyone knows what a car wash is. How many £5 Car Wash adverts have you seen on the side of the road. Well this type of car wash actually harms your cars paintwork.
Detailing is the term applied to the safe & thorough cleaning, decontamination, polishing, enhancement and protection to all surfaces of a vehicle.
We take car cleaning to the next level and use specialist tools, equipment, products & chemicals that a normal car washers wouldn't typically use, to fully restore and enhance paintwork to remove light scratches, swirls and blemishes that are caused through improper vehicle cleaning technique. The finished results are better than showroom condition.
Through this section we aim to help you better understand the detailing process and help you choose a service that is right for you.
The time required to carry out detailing correctly and to a high standard depends on many factors such as the size & current condition of the vehicle, the types of product you use and the customers expectations. The time frames set below are a guide only.
Valets - Won't remove scratches but get a car clean
Premium Valets - Include deep cleaning services and the addition of higher end luxury protection
Enhancement Details - Include minor paint correction and scratch removal
Paint Correction and Ceramic Coatings - For a show standard finish.
At Detail Bug each car is assessed before hand to determine the amount of work required and we can advise the best course of action.
We provide a price guide based on £25/hour in this link here.
A car wash is a generic term for removing loose dirt before any other exterior process is performed. This can vary from a simple Bucket & Sponge to Dual Bucket Methods or even a Water-less Wash and use of a Spray Detailer. Normal wash techniques such as a single bucket, sponge or brush can inflict damage to your vehicles paint and bodywork.
At Detail Bug we care about your vehicle and treat it as if it were our own. We always use Safe Wash techniques and each car receives several of pre wash treatments to safely remove dirt with no physical contact until safe to do so. We then proceed to use the Dual Bucket Method with grit guard inserts and use high quality Lambswool & Microfibre Mitts washing top down with dedicated area mitts for the ultimate care and protection of your vehicle.
Grit guards are plastic inserts placed inside each bucket to help remove any loose debris from our mitts before they are wiped across your vehicles paintwork.
After washing there will still be more stubborn contamination left behind. The removal of this contamination is where detailing starts getting serious.
There are several types of contamination on a vehicles surface such as:
Ferric Iron Oxide - The result of brake dust from vehicles around us. This problem is increasingly more common as the amount of traffic on our roads increases. Hot metallic shards of iron lodge themselves on to our paintwork. Left untreated they will slowly corrode and damage your vehicles paintwork.
Glue & Tar - The result of road tar, wheel weight adhesives, decals etc. Tar spots are unsightly and can't be washed off using normal methods.
Organic - Bug Splatter, Tree sap, Honeydew, Bird Excrement etc all bond to a vehicles paintwork and can cause further damage if left untreated due to their acidic nature.
Inorganic - Paint Overspray, & Enviromental Pollutants that have bonded to a vehicles surface can dull the look of the paintwork. The suns U.V rays can cause oxidation and fade paint.
There are two types of Decontamination processes. Chemical and Mechanical. Choosing the correct method is vitally important to the Detailing process.
Chemical Decontamination involves the use of Iron Fall Out Removers to remove Ferric Iron Oxide from a vehicles paintwork and wheels. Dedicated Glue & Tar Removers aid in the removal of Tar Spots and residual adhesives.
Mechanical Decontamination involves the use of automotive detailing clay to remove organic & inorganic contamination that chemicals alone cannot. Clay bars, as they are referred to, are a bodywork safe, non abrasive method of removing the most stubborn of contamination.
Decontamination should be carried out according to the use of the vehicle. It is recommended that for vehicles used every day & for long commutes, decontamination is carried out every 3-6 months. Vehicles with little use should be decontaminated every 7-12 months.
Over time incorrect washing causes "Swirl" marks. These swirls build up and cause an unsightly cobweb effect which is visible under direct light such as the sun. Swirls are essentially micro scratches which dull paintwork. other causes of paintwork dullness and imperfections are U.V oxidation, acid etching, marring, holograms, scuffs and scratches.
Polishing is the act of using abrasive liquids to cut back and refine layers of vehicles paint to bring back shine and clarity and remove imperfections.
There are several methods to polishing a vehicle. This is done using various polishes & compounds either by hand or by a Dual Action or Rotary Machine Polisher. Our experienced detailers choose the correct polish & polishing pad combination. The method required depends on the paint condition and what your expectations are. Polishing is usually carried out in a 1, 2 or 3 Step Process.
By Hand - For hard to reach places such as under door handles to remove fingernail scratches
By Dual Action Machine - A unique, safe tool that offers good correction and polishing ability with a low risk of residual swirls or holograms.
By Rotary Machine - A tool that takes skill to master that offers the most correction in less time but can inflict swirls and patterns called holograms in to the paint if not used correctly.
A term detailers use to describe the paint correction process is a "Polishing Stage" of which there is 3 possible stages.
To correct a vehicles paintwork it must undergo one of the following.
Using an all in one polish or a polish that that uses diminishing abrasives applied by machine to greatly enhance and remove 70% or more of the paintwork defects. It takes least time and is a great value choice but not as effective as a 2 stage.
The car first undergoes a compound or swirl removing stage using a firmer pad to remove heavier defects. It is then followed up by a second, different type of polish to "refine" using a softer pad. This second stage removes any compounding swirls inflicted by the coarser grade polish. By using the combination of two types of pads and polish you can remove a far greater amount of defects. Usually 85% or more. This type of finish is more than adequate for everyday cars and produces a gorgeous clarity in the cars paintwork that makes any colour pop.
This type of service is the most time consuming. Usually in excess of 30+ hours. The paintwork is rigorously assessed for defects, Severe defects may require wet sanding which will then undergo a Heavy Pre CutCompound first, Swirl Removing Polish second and refined or jewelled with an ultra fine finishing polish last.
Defect removal is in excess of 95% with only the very deepest of scratches remaining. The service of choice for detailing enthusiasts & those attending car shows and competitions.
A pad that is fixed to the end of a Machine Polisher to achieve the desired results. There are different grades of pads depending on the type of product you are using and the task at hand. These range from firm, heavy cutting pads for compounding work to medium polishing and soft ultra fine pads for finishing. All pads are re-usable if cared for correctly and at Detail Bug we take pride in keeping our pads in the best condition possible. Feel free to ask to see our pads to inspect cleanliness.
We use about 6 Polish Pads per vehicle during the compounding stages and 4 pads per vehicle for polishing and refining work. All pads used are clean and swapped out to a fresh pad every other panel. If you prefer we can use brand new pads on a detail which can be discussed at time of booking.
A glaze is an optional layer that you apply before a sealant or wax. It is a product that contains gloss enhancing oils, glazing and wetting agents to improve shine and clarity by "masking" or "filling" imperfections. It does not offer any protection. It is strictly used as a visual enhancer. It is perfect for shows for the added wow factor or where time or paint depth for paint correction is an issue and a temporary high gloss finish is required.
A sealant is an easy to apply synthetic product. They are made of polymers which are composed of thousand of synthetic particles that bond together to form a protective barrier on a nano level. They are extremely durable and last 4-12 months. Sealants have hydrophobic properties that repel water and their contaminants and protect paint against the suns U.V rays. They leave a highly glossy, wet looking paint as smooth as glass.
A wax is different to a sealant in that it is composed of natural ingredients instead. The basic make up of a wax is Wax, Oils & Solvents. The wax is spread on the surface aided by the oils, the solvents escape (known as curing) and leave behind a thin layer of wax as protection. Natural waxes lack the durability of synthetics but are far glossier, naturally U.V resistant and more suited to show waxes and summer use.
Check out our full range of waxes available for purchase here.
One question we are asked all the time is how do you apply our waxes? All of our waxes are easy to apply and use provided you use the correct techniques and follow the instructions.
1. Clean your car the normal way - We recommend the dual bucket method.
2. For best results fully decontaminate your car chemically (glue, tar, fallout removes) & mechanically (clay bar). Re-Wash your car if required.
3. Completely dry your car using a premium drying towel.
4. Pre-Wax Polishing step is optional and down to the user. If you polish use a panel wipe after to remove polish oils and promote wax adhesion.
5. You are now ready to apply the wax. Using a soft foam applicator pad, gently apply the wax to the paintwork.
6. Use gentle movements to glide the pad across the paint in circular movements to ensure even coverage. Apply a VERY THIN coating of wax. A little goes a long way.
WARNING - Do not over apply. Over application and thick layers will cause the wax to not cure effectively, will make removal harder (cause grab) and affect durability.
7. Apply the wax to the entire car and allow 5-10 minutes to cure and dry to a haze.
WARNING - EFFECT OF ENVIRONMENT ON CURE TIME:
Cure time will vary depending on the environment. Sun, shade, temperature, humidity, applied thickness etc.
It is best to test the wax on a small section in an inconspicuous area before use.
8. Once cured use a premium, plush microfibre towel to gently buff off the wax with ease to a high gloss shine. Apply a second layer after an hour for optimum results and maximum durability.
1. Paste waxes vary in hardness depending on temperature. If the wax is cold it may need warming up by hand by gently massaging the applicator pad around the inside of the tin. Friction will cause enough heat build up on the wax surface to create an oily consistency and make spreading the wax easier and more enjoyable.
2. DO NOT USE in direct sunlight or if the panel is hot from the sun. This is the same principle for all waxes and it will make the wax "flash" cure/dry immediately. If you must work in sunlight or hot conditions work in small areas at a time, use a damp applicator pad and remove immediately with your buffing cloth.
This section aims to cover the latest innovation in car care technology - Nano Coatings.
They are derived from inorganic nano compounds and combinations of oxides, carbides and silicides such as, but not limited to, SiC (Silicon Carbide) or SiO2 (Silicon Dioxide) which is the main substance of quartz, silica sand and glass hence the nicknames - ceramic, quartz or glass coatings respectively.
Nano Coatings bond differently to your paintwork compared to waxes. They form a semi permanent bond to paint with a covalently bonded nano network structure like a tight mesh (#), which increases durability and creates a super hydrophobic, high surface tension that repels many environmental factors.
Effects of water, dirt and contamination are reduced and U.V and chemical resistance is increased. It makes washing the car much easier as dirt is less likely to bond to the coating than it is to bare paint.
To apply a coating however reuires alot of time & preparation to ensure the paintwork is contaminant free and defects are removed to ensure they are not sealed in under the coating.
One common myth about ceramic nano coatings is that you won't scratch your car and you'll never wax your car again.
Whilst the coatings are harder than waxes and sealants you can still scratch and swirl a ceramic coated car through improper wash technique - it is afterall, the dirt itself that causes the damage. By coating a car you are icreasing surface tension which makes the dirt less likely to stick, and easier to remove by rinsing.
Claims of 9H hardness refers to the pencil scale and is a common marketing term to describe a hard scratch resistant coating. It is not the coating itself that is scratch resistant. Any detailer or brand who says different is purely saying what you want to hear. (Probably to get a sale)
Tests to achieve the 9H figure are usually carried out by manufacturer controlled tests, in a controlled environment, with no independent statistics to back claims, they are, in our opinion, the most miss sold products in the car care industry made worse by lack of understanding from end users and consumers.
To explain on a larger scale the 9H Pencil Hardness is around 3 Mohs on the Mineral Hardness Scale (Measured in Mohs). To put that in to perspective:
So a 9H coating can actually be much softer than the paint already on your car and is easily scratched by anything harder thanyour fingernail. The coating is an ultra thin layer only a few microns thick and due to the thickness the controlled test results will actually be the hardness of the painted surface beneath.
To never wax your car again is another false misconception as often a ceramic coat requires a conditioner (Ceramic Shampoo) or an annually applied sacraficial top coat to keep the base layer in peak performance. You are basically protecting the protective layer. In truth if you go down the ceramic route you do eliminate the need for wax. It is simply a different form of protecting paint by increasing surface tension. A wax will increase surface tension too...you just need to apply wax more often as it forms a weaker bond.
What a Ceramic Coating will do however is save you time by making your car wash routine simpler, easier and quicker. This is because of the coatings higher surface tension meaning dirt and contamination won't stick. Remove the dirt safely first and you can prevent the scratches.
- Easier to maintain a vehicles finish
- Up to 5 Years Protection (depending on Brand and top coat)
- Don't have to use a wax or sealant each month
- Top coats can be re applied annually to preserve the base coat.
- Exceptional Gloss
- Exceptional Hydrophobic Water Behaviour
- Extreme U.V and Chemical Resistance
- Involves a lot of prep work and labour before effective application
- Costly to buy initially but saves money over time and the duration of the coating
- Will not provide scratch resistance as claimed
- Must be applied indoors and allowed at least 12-24 hours to cure
Entry level coatings last 12-24 Months and are great value and easy to apply.
Higher end coatings can be expected to remain effective for up to 36 months if applied correctly and looked after.
Leading brands of Ceramic Coatings claim 5 to 7 Years of protection with some of their products, subject to annual check ups and correct maintenance. Application of these types of coatings require a controlled indoor environment.