Originated in California, and is basically taking a car and preparing it to the highest of standards, by paying attention to every last 'detail'. Many people assume that it’s the same as the predominantly British terminology, ‘Valeting’; this is due to some of the processes involved - i.e. cleaning. However, the difference lies within the different stages of each process and ultimately the finished result. We are talking real perfectionist attention to detail. In some countries, they call it “Salon de Belleza para automobiles” (beauty salon for cars)
Auto detailing is the practice of performing an extremely thorough renovation cleaning of an automobile, both inside and out and the application of a wax or paint sealant to produce a show-quality level of detail.
Paint renovation is the removal of surface scratches and blemishes by 'levelling' the paint with a machine, It can be practiced for personal satisfaction, and it is also performed to prepare a car for a Concours d'elegance (often shortened to just Concours), a car show that features the appearance of cars.
The most important thing to find out before you attempt to clean or care for something is to ascertain what the material is made from. Much the same is true if you’re trying to remove a stain, what caused the stain and what is the material you are trying to remove the stain from.
Formulate a detailing plan, then utilize proper detailing techniques, combined with quality products is what makes a details outcome successful.
Elements of exterior detailing include claying, polishing, and waxing. Interior detailing involves the cleaning of the interior of a vehicle using vacuums, liquid cleaners, and brushes. Engine detailing involves cleaning the engine bay area of dirt and grease by using degreasers and all-purpose cleaners.
Experience; it takes a time to learn how to use the various tools correctly along with the appropriate products. Knowledge; takes an open mind, a willingness to learn and experiment, while taking time to learn from others
The number of vehicles worked on or the amount of ‘time’ you have in detailing does not make necessarily make you a top class detailer (it is possible to make the same mistakes over and over again- just because it works and that’s the way you’ve always done it, are very pathetic excuses.
Analysis and diagnosis are the best approaches to take. All professionals, even doctors refer to their medical books or to other doctors for advice when they are confronted with a problem to which they don’t have the answer to. A paint film surface is a delicate thin coating; easily dulled and very easily scratched and/or damaged.
So if you are confronted with a problem that you can’t solve on your own, seek advice from an expert on what has proven to work without causing damage. Choose carefully the advice you listen to and more importantly what advice you act upon. As opposed to an opinion of what might fix it.
Detailing equates to- combining detailing knowledge, experience, and applicable chemistry; balanced to provide aesthetics. A detailer combines chemicals, equipment as well as knowledge of the materials used in automotive manufacturing (vehicle surfaces). ‘Chemicals’, refers to the cleaning and protection products used, ‘equipment,’ refers to the tools used, for example, random orbital polishers, high-speed rotary polishers, extractors and power washers, to name but a few.
Vehicle surfaces require a basic understanding of chemistry and how to rejuvenate and protect each of the many and varied material surfaces, regardless of its specific surface composition making objective observations based upon experience, the results obtained and adjusting the techniques and products used as necessary.
Detailing also takes a willingness to experiment, which usually means deviating from the product manufacturers directions, making objectives observations based upon experience and adjusting the techniques used as necessary, always keeping an open mind on manufacturer’s claims for their products.
Process over Product
A product represents a very small percentage of the equation; identification of the materials, correct diagnosis of a suitable method and the selection of an appropriate product along with the correct surface preparation and application methodology will result in the desired result being obtained
Attention to the small details
It’s often the small things that make the difference between a good detail and an outstanding one. Once your paint is polished and protected look to the final details; wheel wells, glass surfaces, tyres and the exhaust tips
Paint renovation, although the most noticeable aspect of detailing; it’s just the beginning. Cleaning is an essential part in the maintaining the appearance of a vehicle. The vehicle owner spends most time inside the vehicle, so the interior attention to details is of paramount importance. The objective when detailing a vehicle is to make a vehicle look as good as it can; both inside and outside; in many cases make it look better than it was when new. Detailing can take a lot of time, but the results are always worth the effort.
Proper detailing will also protect a vehicle from environmental hazards that can rob life away from your vehicle. In order to attain and maintain an optically perfect shine, you must protect it from natural deterioration and dullness that occurs over time.
Detailing can be very simple and fun if you use the correct methodologies and products that work. Research other options and products, test them and then make an objective decision based upon factual information, not hype or brand loyalty. After all, how can you fully understand and properly use any product unless you have all the facts? It is also recommended that you should also verify any information that anyone shares with you. The only way to do this is a consistent three-step routine; Clean, Polish, Protect
The question is... Do I buy a new car or keep my present one and do my best to keep appearance at its best and maintain it at top value? Well, the second part of that question is where proper detailing can help. An investment in your time and top quality products will help you maintain the finish and looks of your daily driver as well as your "toy." Any prospective buyer in the future will know that you've taken care of your vehicle and it's worth the price you're asking for it.
Vehicle Condition and Resale Price
When it comes to selling your vehicle, you never get a second chance to make a great first impression. The most important thing is to clean the vehicle inside and out, including the engine bay. A clean, shiny vehicle gives the impression that you cared about the vehicle and maintained its condition. This may also increase your vehicle's sale price significantly.
To see just how much the condition of your vehicle affects its valuation and it's the resale value we examined some figures from Kelly’s Blue Book and Glass's Guide. The only variable that changed for each vehicle was its condition, rated fair or excellent, with a scale of poor, fair, good or excellent.
This clearly shows the significant differences in the value of maintaining your vehicle. The average difference was over three thousand dollars or 16% more when comparing the value from fair to excellent. These figures do not solely reflect the added value of detailing, but clearly, it's a large component of the equation.