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Ask a Professional Detailer


I feel our detailing sub-forum is missing this thread. I've done this same thread on a few other forums so I figured it might be helpful to do one here too. I would be glad to answer any questions regarding detailing as best I can. I get a lot of PMs asking similar questions about detailing and tips and such so I thought I'd put this up to help out the folks here.

This thread will serve as an in-depth collection that new members can read through as well as a spot for those questions when an entire thread is not necessary. I will do my best to answer anyone's questions as I have time when I'm not working on someone's car ;) . I love detailing and if I can help more people out and they can care for their cars better, well that's a win-win. Maybe a mod can make this a Sticky?

With that said, ask away!







***If this is your first visit to this thread, read through the answers before posting. You may find your question already asked.***
 

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Is clay bar something only a professional should do? I have read up on it, but I am very nervous to attempt it.
I can shed some light on that. Clay bar is probably the easiest and least invasive thing you can do to improve your cars finish. Only thing you gotta do is keep it good and lubed and knead it frequently. And if you drop it, throw it away and get another piece. Short of that there's nothing you can do to harm your finish.

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I can shed some light on that. Clay bar is probably the easiest and least invasive thing you can do to improve your cars finish. Only thing you gotta do is keep it good and lubed and knead it frequently. And if you drop it, throw it away and get another piece. Short of that there's nothing you can do to harm your finish.

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Thanks, may have to give it a try. Can you recommend a good one to use??
 

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Thanks, may have to give it a try. Can you recommend a good one to use??
.

I personally use Griot's Paint Clay, but Mothers, Meguiars, Chemical Guys, etc. will work just fine.

For Lube I use Griot's Speed Shine, but any quick detail spray should work. Heck, a spray bottle with water and car soap should would fine too.
 

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I'll kick it off for you!

How do you dry your car or the cars you detail?
Great question! I start off with using an electric blower to remove about 75% of the water off the car. Wheels, cracks and crevices, grills, is where this comes in very handy. Don't chase every water drop, just get the majority that way it doesn't dry on you. Leave some water for the towel. Also use the blower in the same spot where you washed the car, where the ground is wet so to not stir up dust from the ground up onto the car. Then dry the remainder with a quality microfiber drying towel. My personal favorite it the Microfiber Madness: Dry Me Crazy.

How do you correct scratches in the tail light bar black glossy part?
That plastic is impossibly soft to start with and makes correcting it a pain. I use a 1"-3" pad on a rotary and a DA machine. It takes longer to do that tail light section than the entire trunk does. Usually requires multiple steps to get everything out and refine it to a high gloss with no micromarring. Also the letters in the center are a PITA. Always tape those off first. Personally I like to remove them altogether and correct the area, then put them back on.

Is clay bar something only a professional should do? I have read up on it, but I am very nervous to attempt it.
Not at all! There are 3 grades of claybar: Fine, Medium, and Heavy. Stick to a Fine grade clay and you'll be fine. Also never use pressure with a claybar, its tempting, but DON'T do it, or you will have to polish afterwards. Just glide it smoothly across the paint till its smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Is there a universal wax one can use on paint as well as vinyl striping?
A lot of synthetic sealants these days can be used on vinyl without detrimental effect. But as for a paste wax, no, not really. Sealants give better protection anyway, so its a win/win.

A couple good ones: CarPro Reload (personal fav), and Optimum Opti-Seal.

You can also ceramic coat vinyl and it looks amazing provides exceptional protection that don't have to keep reapplying constantly.
 

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That plastic is impossibly soft to start with and makes correcting it a pain. I use a 1"-3" pad on a rotary and a DA machine. It takes longer to do that tail light section than the entire trunk does. Usually requires multiple steps to get everything out and refine it to a high gloss with no micromarring. Also the letters in the center are a PITA. Always tape those off first. Personally I like to remove them altogether and correct the area, then put them back on.
Any ideas on how to keep it from getting damaged again after correction? I was thinking of a clear bra material.. Dodge letters will be removed, and possibly move the SRT emblem from the spoiler to center of the panel
 

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Great question! I start off with using an electric blower to remove about 75% of the water off the car. Wheels, cracks and crevices, grills, is where this comes in very handy. Don't chase every water drop, just get the majority that way it doesn't dry on you. Leave some water for the towel. Also use the blower in the same spot where you washed the car, where the ground is wet so to not stir up dust from the ground up onto the car. Then dry the remainder with a quality microfiber drying towel. My personal favorite it the Microfiber Madness: Dry Me Crazy.
That's good to know, I was thinking of buying a corded blower myself, to avoid touching the car on regular bi-weekly washes.

Do you or have you used a regular leaf blower or is it a dedicated blower (like McKee's or Metro)?
 

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That's good to know, I was thinking of buying a corded blower myself, to avoid touching the car on regular bi-weekly washes.

Do you or have you used a regular leaf blower or is it a dedicated blower (like McKee's or Metro)?
+1 on the leaf blower (I have an electric one that I bought from Harbor Freight)

With the '15+ - there's a lot of grille [esp. the lower one] to get the water out of...you can blow the air into the grille to force it towards the belly pan and avoid water drips down the bumper, spoiler afterwards.

Its also good for getting water of the tail lights, trunk and bumper area...since that will still drip water a day after you wash the car w/o doing this step.

And for blowing the wheels dry.

It cuts down on the overall time to wash & dry the car and minimizes having to wipe the car down to dry it. I use a terry towel for the glass, and only need one MF towel to blot up droplets the blower can't get.
-when I used to towel dry exclusively - it took 6 MF towels and one terry towel to do the car and dry the jambs and openings around trunk and engine bay.
 

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+1 on the leaf blower (I have an electric one that I bought from Harbor Freight)

With the '15+ - there's a lot of grille [esp. the lower one] to get the water out of...you can blow the air into the grille to force it towards the belly pan and avoid water drips down the bumper, spoiler afterwards.

Its also good for getting water of the tail lights, trunk and bumper area...since that will still drip water a day after you wash the car w/o doing this step.

And for blowing the wheels dry.

It cuts down on the overall time to wash & dry the car and minimizes having to wipe the car down to dry it. I use a terry towel for the glass, and only need one MF towel to blot up droplets the blower can't get.
-when I used to towel dry exclusively - it took 6 MF towels and one terry towel to do the car and dry the jambs and openings around trunk and engine bay.
Yeah, it's the same problem I was having, it took longer to dry than wash the car, and even if the towel can continue to absorb, it doesn't complete dry the car.

What brand/model leaf blower are you using?

I'm trying to decide between:

Greenworks 9amp ($26)
Worx Trubine 12amp ($54)
or just jumping the gun and getting McKees. ($120)
 

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I'm sure this has been asked but how do I remove the dodge letters off the back of the car so I dont damage the plastic. Looking at this winter to remove as the car is parked until spring.
 
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