CAR CARE AND DETAILING TIPS


TIP #1

When opening and closing your car door, use the door handle. Surprisingly this is what it was designed for, in turn this will minimize the installation of scratches to your B pillars. On the modern car, soft gloss black painted B pillars are becoming a lot more common.

TIP #2

Try using a damp micro-fiber towel when drying your car, works just as well as a chamois and will heavily reduce the number of swirls and scratches you install on your paint work through-out the drying process. This is due to the micro-fibers ability to pick up dirt, rather than a chamois grinding it into the paint. Afterwards just throw it in the wash, then it will be nice and clean ready for the next maintenance wash.

TIP #3

Every car owner will have their own set of standards for vehicle cleanliness and this combined with driving conditions and km's travelled will determine how often your car is receiving a maintenance wash. HOWEVER if you find your car's paint contaminated with bugs, tree sap or bird droppings, Remove both ASAP and safely, in order to avoid permanent damage and etching into your clear coat. Extensive wet sanding and polishing is otherwise required to correct this.

TIP #4

Don't forget to keep your paint UV protected ALL SUMMER LONG, Increased UVA/UVB will damage your cars clear coat if unprotected. The easiest way is to apply a liquid wax, but there are heaps of options available, based on cost and effort. Shade for your precious ride is recommended, although I would be staying away from car covers and parking under trees.

TIP #5

Water mark and water spots too can cause permanent damage to you paints clear coat. Factors include water Hardness and/or the contamination on your car when left with standing water on it (including rain and sprinklers).

TIP #6

After every wash, try using a water-based tyre dressing. This will instantly enhance the looks of your vehicle, with the added bonus of some uv protection, reduced tyre sling and the ease of cleaning next time round.

TIP #7

When closing your boot lid or tailgate, try using the interior handle provided, followed up with placing your hand on the number plate to finish the job. Small techniques like this will prevent scuffs and RIDS (random isolated deep scratches) from appearing around the back end of your vehicle.

TIP #8

The same type of wax and sealants used on your paint, can be used on your headlights and tail lights in order to prevent them from premature fading, yellowing and cracking. Most modern headlights come with a factory clear coat to protect the optical plastic, however these tend to deteriorate quite quickly, especially when the vehicle is parked outside on a daily basis. If required a Headlight restoration is an easy and relatively cheap way to restore both the efficiency and the appearance of your headlights. DIY kits are really good, with heaps to choose from, or for a similar cost, get in contact with your favorite detailer for some mad results.

TIP #9

When at home or the local car wash, try tucking the vacuum hose in between your legs, this will avoid rubbing it against any door sills, jams, kick panels and bumpers. This might look silly, although is really effective and will save your car from this easily preventable damage. Happy Detailing.

TIP #10

When dealing with red dust and/or beach sand, try using compressed air to loosen the fine particles from the fibers of the carpet, switches and air-con vents before sucking it all up with a vacuum. This will drastically reduce the amount of time spent restoring your interior. Please remember to do this before vacuuming and not afterwards. This week’s tip has been inspired by the Motul Albany 2017 Race Wars Event.

TIP #11

Using an electric leaf blower or compressed air is another car drying option to avoid bad contact to any painted surfaces. This also forces remaining water out of any gaps and crevices, helping avoid runs of water down the side of your vehicle after the drying process.

TIP #12

Sitting down onto a seat with any level of side bolstering will help maintain the finish of any leather, cloth or vinyl, as opposed to sliding across. This helps to prevent leather from cracking, and cloth seats wearing holes into the side.

TIP #13

For easy maintenance on leather seats, steering wheels and shifter's, try using Leather wipes. Cleans and protects in one. Although not my own personal go to product, they can be picked up from your locals Coles or Bunnings, for less than half the price of most auto stores. Recommended brands include Oakwood and Hillmark.

TIP #14

A matte or satin finished B pillar can also be polished to restore its appearance, similarly to the gloss black B pillars, however these show sun damage more than swirls and scratches. Dressings and trim gels will not fix the problem, instead will usually result in a streaky mess.

TIP #15

If your car has any holograms, buffer trails for DA marks from incorrect polishing, these can be removed. Usually cause by the poor polishing techniques used at car dealerships to quickly prepare a vehicle for sale. These defects are most obvious out on a sunny day, however are killing the finish of your car's paint constantly. It is also quite common for a "brand new" car to have been improperly prepared for collection. Attached are a few before photos of a 2012 Holden Captiva that received a single stage paint enhancement last week.

TIP #16

An easy way to protect your interior from any type of dirt or spill, is to use a fabric protector or fabric guard. This not only creates a hydrophobic barrier, but will also prevent any dirt or stains from sticking, making each consecutive cleaning a lot easier. This is a service offered by M.A.D, however is very DIY friendly. I recommend applying 2 coats of 3M Scotch guard to a clean surface, 2 hours in between each coat. Aerosol cans are available from Bunning’s, ~$12, and one can, will coat a car multiple times, including seats, carpets and floor mats.

TIP #17

It’s a great time to replace/ upgrade your wiper blades and apply a hydrophobic coating to your windshield. Be ready for any wet or stormy conditions ahead. Personally recommend the few extra dollars on some aesthetically pleasing refills over the generic 6mm or 8mm blades.

TIP #18

Start work early in the morning? Can’t see out your windscreen? The solution does exist, and ranges from easy DIY up to professional grades. Consider durability, ease of application and effectiveness.

TIP #19

Going back to basics this week, Properly fitting your floor mats on the correct side and in the proper direction will ensure a greater percentage of loose dirt to be contained on the floor mat and not to the surrounding carpets. This includes making sure they stay in place and will dramatically reduce the time take to maintain your vehicle interior, as they can be easily removed for cleaning, unlike the carpet or vinyl flooring. This is also where car specific floor mats trump generic shapes.

TIP #20

Simple DIY Headlight restoration kits can also be used on tail lights, just remember to skip on the initial aggressive steps. It will not result in the same level of increased functionality; however the cosmetic gain is really worth the effort.

TIP #21

Cleaning your engine bay is not something to be scared of. Alongside the improved aesthetics, a clean engine bay will also aid in identifying mechanical problems, before they become extensive. This will include worn out or cracking fan/serpentine belts, oil leaks around the rocker cover gasket and even corroded electrical/battery connections.

TIP #22

MAD's new favourite interior cleaning product. Kenco Bug Sponges (Microfibre). Just the right level of gentle scrubbing for door cards and vinyl trim. Saves using excessive elbow grease and a microfiber towel to remove stains, sweat, make-up and body oils. Also much easier and quicker than detail brushes.

TIP #23

The use of touch up paint is generally for cosmetic purposes, however it's more important role is for protection. It is stopping any bare metal being exposed to the elements and corroding. When fixing clear coat scratches, that have not gone through the base (colour) layer, it is very important to use "clear coat" and not the base colour. When repairing base coat scratches, ensure your base matches. Sounds real simple. The use of a toothpick or micro brush will also help with "colouring in between the lines" . Below is a poor example which I stumbled upon recently.

TIP #24

Water spots are caused by contamination mixed in with water and water hardness playing a factor into this when rinsing a car. These can be etching into the clear coat, which will require a chemical to neutralize, followed by a compounding session to remove. Luckily enough rain on a clean car will not cause water spots, unlike a dirty vehicle.

TIP #25

Gloss of any surface, including paint work is measurable. Measured in gloss units (GU). Accuracy is affected by the measuring angle. With three common angles used depending on the GU range of the measured surface.

TIP #26

To describe and quantify how "Shiny" ( Surface Quality) a car is, there are four aspects. 1. Gloss. 2. Haze. 3. Distinctness of image. 4. Orange peel. All of which are actually measurable. Want to know more? Check out the below video by one of my favourite detailer's, Larry from AMMO NYC

TIP #27

Caution: Improper use/ location of smelly tree's can cause staining on interior trim, including hard plastics, vinyl and leather. It is also very hard to remove this dye transfer. Here is a pic from a ford ranger dropped off to M.A.D HQ last week with this exact problem. 95% was removed as part of this pre-sale detail.

TIP #28

Although a touch-less style drive through car wash does a decent job at not scratching your vehicle, caution is still required. With the lack of agitation, some chemicals used in these car washes can be causing a bleaching effect on black plastic and trims due to their aggressive chemical nature.

TIP #29

Before jumping out of your car to go fill her up, take a quick glance for any rubbish within an arm’s reach and make use of those complimentary bins just a few steps away. Little tricks like this will add up and help keep your interior looking its best.

TIP #30

Automotive leather should not be shiny, this greasy look is caused by a buildup of oils, sweat and dirt through daily use. Ph neutral leather cleaners alongside with some mild agitation is all that is required to restore the crisp matte or satin sheen and the supple feel. Leather which is more than 3 years or 20,000 kms old can really benefit from a conditioning product, compared to new leather which still has all of the pore's sealed with a protective "clear coat".

TIP #31

Picking the right microfiber for the job can be crucial. A detailer will usually take into consideration the polyester/ polymide blends, GSM (grams per square metre/ density), pile height, whether the towel is open or closed loop, whether the edge is stitched, laser cut or silk banded, and even colour to co-ordinate between different areas of the car. These towels are not JUST microfiber towels.

TIP #32

When removing lights spots of surface rust which are scattered across a panel of a vehicle, there are two main options to consider. Method 1, (physical decontamination) the use of a clay bar to lift such contaminants, super effective however not without its faults. The light marring of the finish should be followed up with a polishing set. Method 2, (chemical decontamination) the use of an iron fallout removal, to chemically dissolve and wipe away the iron particles which landed onto the paints surface and which are causing the rust spots. The biggest downside is only the smell........would recommend Carpro Iron.X or Chemical Guys Decon.

TIP #33

Many polishes and compound, which contain diminishing abrasives are becoming the go to choice for many one step and multi step paint corrections. Compounds like Menzerna Fast Gloss 400 (FG400) have a cut factor of 8/10. However when the compound is broken down properly, the gloss factor is also an 8/10. This technology combined with the dual action machines, delivers consistent results without any holograms or buffer trails being left behind.

TIP #34

Maintenance is key, prevention is better than the cure. Abrasive brake dust will degrade the finish of your wheels, Bugs will etch your clear coat and the minerals in hard water spots with stain and mark glass. Extremely time consuming and expensive to fix when left alone for extended periods of time.

TIP #35

Streaks and smears on interior glass are caused by plastic trim pieces gassing-out over time and releasing thier plasticizer's. Its these plasticizers stuck to the glass that cause streaks and smears, generally interior dressings on your dash actually amplify the release of the gases. To get streak free glass, the secret is to thoroughly clean the glass, multiple times with multiple microfiber towels, first ensuring all contaminants are removed before going for the final streak-free pass.

TIP #36

Periodically substituting in an iron fallout removal for your standard safe wheel cleaners is a great way to maintain the best possible finish of your wheels. Many high end wheel cleaners contain such iron fallout removers, however are not very economical or cost efficient. This is amplified when considering weekly maintenance wash's on multiple cars.

TIP #37

Thinking of buying a brand new car? Unfortunately brand new is far from perfect. The guys on this episode of DETALKS explain.

TIP #38

Sunscreen is good for protecting your skin, although preventing it from coming in contact with your car is a smart choice. Sunscreen will etch your paint and stain your interior, the darker the paint or upholstery the more obvious and the more time consuming to repair.

TIP #39

Modern cloth seats are made up up of various synthetic materials. This synthetic, tightly weaved and printed materials are fairly resistant to stains. When improper maintenance allow a stain to set in, these resistant properties work against you, making it mission impossible to remove.

TIP #40

Plenty of detailing chemicals are advertised as spray on rinse off. Most of which generally will not live up to this hype, due to the products being designed as "safe" on cars. Chemicals which don't require agitation are far too strong and are not safe for automotive use, this includes some degreasers and acids. Exceptions to this would be an extremely well kept car, with ceramic paint protection all round, becoming almost "self cleaning".

TIP #41

Using your favourite car scent/ deodoriser such as stripper scent, green apple or strawberry margarita from chemical guys. Spray a few squirts at the foot wells on both the driver and passenger side, with the a/c set to recirculate. This will cleanse the a/c system ready for the summer and leave your vehicle with a scent of success.

TIP #42

Regular maintenance on a vehicle will prevent contaminants from embedding themselves in the clear coat, keeping that " smooth as glass" feeling for longer and resulting in less required decontamination session with a clay bar. In tern leading to a more refined and longer lasting finish with less micro-marring.

TIP #43

Worth spending a few bucks on some micro brushes when your about to tackle some touch up painting. Bit of a laugh when compared to a standard brush supplied with such paints. Think about it, such that you need to be colouring in between the lines.

TIP #44

Maintaining your door jams is quite easy. Once thoroughly cleaned you will find that they do not get dirty very quickly. A mild A.P.C is more than adequate, topped off with your favourite spray wax or spray sealant to keep them shiny for longer.

TIP #45

The crevice tool attachment for the end of your vacuum is a crucial tool for interior detailing. A trick to gain a little extra safety and performance out of it, is to cut a new custom and clean angled face, followed by sanding down all the edges. this can be done periodically, until the length becomes too small. The sanding process ensures any sharp edge is removed to prevent scratching/cutting of leather interiors of cloth fibres.

TIP #46

Throw on a set of nitrile gloves whilst tackling your weekend warriors tasks. Whether your detailing your pride and joy, servicing the beast or playing mad scientist, a set of gloves keeps your hands clean and away from various chemicals which are designed to strip down and remove oils,grease etc. Any mess easily wipes straight off, ready to tackle the next task at hand.

TIP #47

Heat energy, heat transfer and temperature is a detailer's enemy. Any Body panel or piece of glass above 60 deg C is a nightmare to work on.This includes finishing touches on glass, paint correcting and polishing panels as well as drying a car efficiently. After washing your vehicle, make sure you can get it under some cover a.s.a.p before continuing onto your next step. A black car is obviously considered the worst offender, easily reaching 80+ deg C if left out in the summer sun for only a short period of time.

TIP #48

Stubborn dirt just not coming off when your washing your car. For the sake of your car don't scratch at it, just follow the tip of this week. Try waiting 30-60 seconds between washing the panel and then washing the panel again. Leave the soap on and allow it to breakdown the contaminants. This little tip will greatly reduce any micro marring induced through the washing and drying process.

TIP #49

Long sleeve fishing shirts make for great detailing apparel. UPF 50+ to protect you from the sun, keeps you cool and they dry nice and quickly. Giving them very high value this summer

TIP #50

Trying to find the best bang for buck paint protection for your vehicle. When considering ease of application combined with durability, Newer SiO2 based spray sealants are going to be the way to go. They contain the same Polysilazane resin as in ceramic coatings, just with a lower concentration, which delivers it's ease of use. Moon Light (TacSystem USA)

TIP #51

Lighting is key, you cannot correct or clean what you cannot see. Multiple types and sizes of lights are essential, plug-in and cordless. Different lighting will show up different defects, with the sun always out to get ya, best to check your work under both natural and forced lighting conditions. Also important is an IPA based panel wipe to ensure you are looking at the truly naked paint, minus any fillers, glaze or protection.

TIP #52

Depending on who you ask, priming your pad whilst compounding/polishing could be the most important detailing step, or just a waste of time. The MAD way of looking at it, keeps it very simple. For a polish/compound with a diminishing abrasive (DAT) like Menzerna FG400/2400/3500 or Sonax EX04-06, priming is a waste of time and product. For compounds and polishes with non-diminishing abrasives (SMAT), pad priming is crucial. This includes Meguiars 105/205.

BONUS TIP

With DAT products make sure you completely spread the product out over you working area, before beginning to break down the product. With SMAT products you can begin the work cycle immediately. DAT products also have a fixed working time, compared to SMAT abrasives which can be worked for as little or as long as the detailer requires.

MAD AUTO DETAILING IS "MAD" ACCREDITED