- Back to F.A.Q Index.
- Forward to "Information on your clearcoat".
- Forward to "Washing F.A.Q"
- Forward to "Clay F.A.Q".
The Anatomy of a Detail:
It's probably a safe assumption that you came here because you care about your vehicles appearance - that's the first step. The second step is learning how to achieve that head turning shine, the deep reflectivity and gloss you see when you look at show cars. You want your vehicle to look better than new, and here is how GTA In Detail makes that happen.
Before we move on please note that this walk-through of some of our services contains advanced detailing processes - it is quite lengthy; if you have a quick question please contact us, or visit our services section, which contains concise information and prices of all the services we offer. Also, this walk-through is intended as both a showcase of the processes and products GTA In Detail will use to revitalize your paint, however it is also intended to act as a "how-to" for owners who are interested in "doing it yourself". Just remember to be careful and use patience before attempting any paint repair.
This section will focus on dissecting a full detail for you from start to finish so you can see exactly what goes into making a vehicle's paint look better than it did when it came off the line. Let's get started.
The first thing we do is evaluate the condition of the paint by washing off the dirt, and removing contaminents. In most cases consumers have mild to moderate swirling and marring that they think is normal. Swirls, scratches, water spots, and oxidation are not normal; this is a myth borne partly out of ignorance, and partly because the car dealers and wash bays who inflict this damage on your cars paint want you to think it's normal. Consumers tend to look right past damaged paint and judge a cars appearance by how "clean" the paint is. The problem with that is that under the dirt the paint is often in poor condition, and in all likelihood, it's only going to get worse.
Washing is probably the most misunderstood process in the world of car care. I'm sure you've all seen your neighbors washing their car with their old push broom, or a rag from the garage. You may have even done this yourself. This is one of the common things car owners do that cause small scratches, and over time those small scratches turn into millions of scratches which look like this:
Unfortauntely if a car is clean people tend to ignore this sort of damage. What's worse is well-intentioned owners who think they are taking care of their car will spend good money going to a machine wash bay, or "touchless-wash", or will let their dealer wash their car. In a small percentage of cases this might be a good idea, but for the most part those wash bays are using large bristle brushes to wash your car. It's the equivalent of washing your car with a giant hard-bristled toothbrush. Check out the following example - this car looks fine from 10 feet away, right?
Now lets wash it, clay it, and put it in the sun to see what it really looks like.
Not quite what one would expect. This was how my car was delivered from the dealership. They had covered some of the scratches and swirling with filler oils and waxes so I couldn't see the true condition of the paint until it had been washed.
Before moving on and and showing you how we fix this paint, we're going to explain how GTA In Detail washes a car to keep the paint from getting damaged in the first place. The products we use are made specifically for washing cars. Sheepskin and Chenille wash mitts, automotive soap, automotive wheel cleansers, degreasers, bug and tar remover, everything down to the buckets is made to get dirt, dust, and grime off of your car without scratching the paint. We use two or three buckets depending on how soiled the paint is - one with automotive soap and water, and two with water to rinse the wash mitts off in between panels. We wash by hand only, from top to bottom; we pre-rinse to loosen caked on dirt and environmental contaminants, we rinse the mitt out between every panel so the dirt I remove doesn't sit in it and scratch the paint. When we're done, we dry the car using microfiber towels that are made to absorb water and keep it from drying on your paint, which would create water spots. If you choose to have your car clayed, we use a quick detailer as lubricant and clay the car from top to bottom, using as much clay as needed to remove all baked on rail dust, paint over-spray, or general environmental contaminants. The first time you touch your vehicle's paint after it's been clayed you'll be amazed at how smooth it is. Remember, washing properly is the key to keeping your cars paint clean and undamaged.