Car detailing is one of the most enjoyable parts of being a car guy or gal. There's something therapeutic about the pampering process and having the time to concentrate on the care and tending of your ride. However, over time, specific detailing trends have cropped up that are in serious need of a revamp.
You pick up bad habits throughout your life that you need to drop. Car detailing is no different. Most of the time, a detailer wants to believe they're doing the right thing, but they're not. They "think" it looks good, but it doesn't. Or it can even be dangerous. Today we'll discuss ten car detailing trends that should be stopped before another innocent car becomes victim to one of these awful habits.
Car Shampoos And Detailing Products With High pH Levels
Over the years, I've seen many dumb and dangerous detailing trends come and go. The latest trend seems to be highly alkaline car shampoos and detailing products with high pH levels. Some detailers even use household cleaners like dish soaps, which are too alkaline. For those unfamiliar with what pH means, it measures how acidic or alkaline (basic) something is.
The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with lower numbers being more acidic and higher numbers being more alkaline (essential). For example, battery acid has a pH of 0, whereas lye has about 13. Pure water has a pH of 7.0 — which is considered neutral. Any pH value below 7 indicates an acidic solution, and above 7 indicates an alkaline solution. Most car shampoos are mildly acidic with a pH ranging from 4 to 5; most household cleaners are highly alkaline with a pH ranging from 9 to 11, and many engine degreasers have a near-neutral pH ranging from 6 to 8.
Applying wax in the sun
This is such a bad idea because heat intensifies chemical reactions. Waxes are made from oils and solvents, so they dry faster than they should when they're exposed to extreme heat. This can leave a waxy residue that appears as white cloudiness on your paint. It's not ideal for applying wax in the sun, but it's even worse to let it sit on your color too long before removing it. The best time to apply wax is when temperatures are more excellent – early morning or late afternoon are perfect if you have those times available.
Buffing The Car Dry
When you see a professional detailer buffing a car, you'll never catch them doing it while the vehicle is wet, and they always wait until after the wash and dry to start buffing.
The reason for this is simple: water is not suitable for buffing your paint. Water on the surface of your car makes it difficult for the pad to glide over the surface, causing more friction between the pad and paint. More friction means more heat, and you don't want that because it can cause severe damage like burning through your paint and even warping your panels if done long enough.
If you must buff your car wet, make sure to use a damp sponge instead of a buffing pad. And work with the water instead of against it by moving in a horizontal motion to allow water to run off the side of the vehicle so that you're not constantly adding heat to the same area.
Spray painting your wheels
It's no secret that the automotive aftermarket is full of snake oil salespeople who will sell you anything from a fake growling exhaust to a useless air freshener that supposedly smells like a new car. But beyond that, some detailing trends can do real damage to your vehicle if you're not careful.
When it comes to customizing your wheels, many people spray their wheels or rims in different colors, which might look cool on some cars, but it's a trend we don't recommend getting into. This was especially common when the chrome "bling" trend was popular, but painting your wheels black is also an option.
Spray paint chips off easily and can get into your brake pads and rotors, causing them to wear faster than average. It's just not worth it for cosmetic purposes that only last for a few months before the paint starts chipping off anyway.
Using Too Much Power On The Buffer
It is not uncommon for a detailer to perform cosmetic repairs on paintwork by a customer. In these instances, it is essential to note that the repair is cosmetic and will not last forever. One example is where a detailer must correct a scratch or scuff on a car panel. A common practice, in this case, is using a polisher and compound to remove the mark.
The trouble with this correction method lies in the paintwork around the scratched area will be removed and the scratch itself, and this leaves you with a dull patch of paint around the now-removed scratch. Again, this repair will not last forever.
Another trend that is both dumb and dangerous is using too much power on the buffer. While power tools such as buffers make detailing projects easier, they can also damage a vehicle's paintwork if used improperly or too aggressively. If you are unsure of how to use one, consult an expert first so that you do not cause any damage to your vehicle.
Using oil-based products on your paint.
If you drive a car, you've probably heard some of the buzz words being tossed around by the car "enthusiasts" and the detailers who cater to them. And if you're a detailer, there's a good chance that you've considered using these services or products to boost your business.
The idea behind using oil-based products is that they offer more protection than modern synthetic sealants or waxes, generally polymer-based (plastic).
The product that started this trend was Zaino Brothers Z-2 Pro Show Car Polish. It's an excellent polish but has been misused by many people who spray it on their cars as a protectant instead of using it as a polish should be used — in small amounts with lots of buffing in between coats.
The problem with oil-based products is that they do not crosslink like newer sealants and waxes do when exposed to air and UV light. Oil sits on top of the paint and does not bond well. This may sound appealing because it's easy.
Not properly maintaining your wash bucket.
I don't know how many times I've seen someone use their wash bucket until the paint is starting to come off. For those unfamiliar with them, wash buckets have a plastic grid on the bottom to help prevent swirls caused by dirt that settles to the bottom of the bucket while using a soapy solution to clean your car. You should replace these grids at least once or twice a year or when they begin to show signs of wear, typically around the edges where it's been rubbing against concrete driveways or garage floors.
Overusing waxes and sealants.
Sure, your paint might look better the first time you use them. But if you apply too many coats, they will start to fill in your paint's swirls and spider webbing. That means when it comes time to polish out any scratches or swirls, they will all still be visible, hidden under a thick layer of wax or sealant. If you want to protect your paint and see it shine, there is no substitute for polishing out every single scratch and swirling in your paint before protecting it.
Wrapping Your Car
Car wrapping is one of the biggest car detailing trends right now. Besides its visual appeal, it offers a couple of practical benefits — namely, it protects the paint job and allows you to change the color of your vehicle whenever you want. However, there are a few downsides to note as well.
For starters, wrapping your car can be expensive. The cost depends on the size of the vehicle and how many colors you use, but in general, you should expect to spend a few thousand dollars at least. In addition, it's not uncommon for people to wrap their cars themselves or with the help of unlicensed specialists. This can result in bubbles and uneven applications that look bad and scrape or scratch your paint.
Trying To Detail Your Car All By Yourself
Some people can be absolute perfectionists when it comes to detailing their cars. They'll take every single precaution and make sure they use the best materials and tools on the market, but there is still a chance that they'll end up making a mistake that could potentially damage their vehicle. Because your car is a valuable asset, you shouldn't risk its value by saving a few bucks. It is always recommended to hire a professional to get the job done.
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