You know you've worked long enough in an industry when you have horror stories to tell from the early days. Every experienced auto detailer on Vancouver Island have these stories to tell. With all the rain and snow out, this is the weather for stories. And there's plenty of lessons to learn for those in the business and even car owners. I wanted to look at some of the things that can go wrong and challenge you when you're in the business of touching up and maintenance.
The Most Interesting Detailer in the World (that's a Reddit handle) described when he took on a job at an unsheltered job site during a record-breaking hot day. He was detailing three cars and a truck. From 6am until 10am, he cleaned the exteriors. For the next few hours, he worked on the interiors and finished one car. By mid day the weather took a toll on him. His legs cramped, his body shook, and he was showing all the signs of dehydration. He had to dump a bucket of water on himself, head home, and then come back to finish the job the next day.
Mobile auto detailing services have to deal with all sorts of weather, of course. There's hot weather, and then there's rain or ice and snow. Detail shops tend to have a slow business when the weather turns cold. People seem to think pulling their car out in severe weather is akin to ruining the paint. But it's the handwash jobs affected by rain and snow; detailing has little to do with it. Some good detail shops will give you rain checks after detailing work on a rainy day. One of our jobs is to protect your vehicle from acid rain, so we're working even in inclement weather. (But you do need to protect your car before the rains come, or you may end up with rain spots that need a full wash and re-wax. Old water spots can require chemical treatment.)
There's a dirty car, and there's a dirty car. A woman once came to me in a car carpeted with maggots. I was surprised she let it get that bad before driving down. Maggots could happen to you because carpets are food traps. Your kids could be sneaking snacks in your car and leaving crumbs behind. Removing the food source will starve the bugs that have already laid eggs in your car. So clean your car promptly to keep maggots away, if you can.
If you can't stop kids from eating in your car, maybe they could learn the clean up song! But kids will be kids. If things do get bad enough that maggot larvae make a home in your vehicle, your best option is to remove the carpets, clean them with steam, disinfect and fumigate the interiors of the car with ozone. Get in touch with a friendly neighbourhood detailer if you can't do this yourself.
DIY Paint Jobs
Sometimes, car owners come to me with a self-painted car project gone wrong. Painting your car is far from the same thing as painting your walls. You need more than a roller and a can of paint. You'll need clear coats, primers, sprayers. And then there's the prepping. If you've got a yellow beauty and want a change, you can't just spray black over it for a change without masking, as one customer did. I went through a can of thinner to strip the paint and re-do it.
Painting your car is a complex job that needs skill. You could do it yourself, but you'd have to be very careful to do things the right way. For the best job, you'll need things like an air compressor, sandpaper, electric sander, safety glasses, paint thinners, among other things.
You could touch up the old paint by matching your car's colour at your local auto dealers.
"Acts of God"
When you're new to working on your car, you make some careless mistakes that offer big lessons. If you're detailing at home, here are some tips learned the hard way: keep any potential weapons of mass destruction away, like wires and mobile phones. The solution is simple - keep your work area clean and headache free.
No Scotch Brite!
I've seen a few car owners use Scotch Brite to get rid of bird droppings, sap, bugs etc. off painted areas. They're probably trying to get rid of the old, dried bits of droppings stuck to the body. But the result is a mess that will cost you a lot more to clean up.
The best thing to do for the bird droppings is to clean them up promptly. The uric acid in it can cause slow damage if it's allowed to stick around. It's easy to remove fresh or dried droppings with a mixture of hot water and baking soda. Mix about four to five tablespoons in hot water and spray on the droppings to soften them. Put on gloves and gently wipe down with a clean, damp cloth. Once it's all clean, wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth.
You could also get yourself a quick detailer spray meant to clean up contaminants on car exteriors. These sprays are inexpensive and handy to have around the house.
If you have a bad case of dried animal droppings and etched stains on your car, you should get in touch with a certified detailer to take care of it for you. At C-Clear Auto Detailing, we service Cowichan Valley and offer island wide servicing of complete interior and exterior auto detailing. Get in touch with us to schedule an appointment or talk to our experts for advice on maintenance.