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.

Tough Conditions

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.)

"Dirty Interiors"

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.

Safe driving!

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For many people, we do not enjoy scratching our vehicles. Whether it be from the grocery store, driving off road, or leaving dirt on your vehicle too long. No one likes cleaning their vehicle just to reveal unknown scratches.

What is the WORST THING you can do to your vehicle's paint? In the industry we call it the "5$ ruin your paint job package".

If you notice an auto detailer using a brush on your vehicles body, turn around and run. The touchless car washes are okay, but let's he honest they don't do anything. You drive away with dirt still on your vehicle.

The brushes used at the car wash are regularly used to clean wheels and tires. This traps dirt and rocks into the fibers of the brush. Eventually some unlucky person takes that same brush and uses it on hood of their car.

If you notice a detail shop using a brush to detail vehicles, turn around and never go back. This is a very amateur move and you will find this done in a large number of detail shops and dealerships. This is one of the many practices that divides glorified car washes from experienced auto detailers.

As the industry leader in auto detailing, we treat your vehicle like our own. A brush will never touch your paint. Always double bucket, pre wash, and numerous other methods to ensure you are receiving top notch auto care detailing, as well the safest cleaning procedures for your paint. We pride ourselves in our commitment to serving you with the highest degree of quality. Within our ever evolving industry, we are constantly innovating and evolving to remain the highest rated auto detailing company on Vancouver Island.

Kevin Lowe

C-Clear Auto Detailing.

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Updated: Dec 1, 2020

Hot cocoa, Christmas decorations, the crisp smell of chimney smoke lingering in the air. How easy it is to get distracted by the hustle and bustle that comes with the holiday season. Last thing on anyone's mind is vehicle maintenance (Except for an emergency). There is a few steps you can take to ensure you are prepared for even the worst situations.

  1. Remember your roadside emergency kit.

  2. Make sure your spare tire is ready and safe to use incase of an emergency.

  3. If you are planning for a long drive, consider getting a pre trip vehicle inspection.

  4. Ensure fluids topped up, and up to date.

Auto care maintenance is high on the list of things that if left too long, can become much bigger problems. From rust spots, clear coat issues, to leaving dirt on your vehicle's surface too long. You may decide to do the maintenance yourself. Refrain from using a garden hose with a single bucket of soapy water in the winter. While you could get away with this in warmer months, the risk of creating ice and scratching your vehicle is greatly increased. Use a pressure washer with no more than 2300 psi, and always use a double bucket method. If these are not available, highly recommended you contact a professional.

You will never hear any professional auto detailer recommend that you take your vehicle into a touchless car wash (which leaves a lot of dirt), or a self car wash bay. For you to start scrubbing away on your vehicle with the brush someone else just used on their tires. Initially you will not see any damage, but over time you will notice what we in the industry call "spider webbing" where it looks like spider webs and lines in your paint.

Actually what is happening, is you are putting fine scratches into your vehicles clear coat. Unaltered methods of cleaning, especially in the winter months when snow and dirt likes to stick to your vehicle more aggressively will result is much deeper, noticeable scratches. To correct spider webbing can be costly. The process involves using a clay bar to remove embedded dirt partials after a maintenance wash. Cut polishing with an abrasive compound, followed by a polish, and then a final wipe down and wax. You can be expected to pay around 500-1000$ for a full paint correction.

Neglecting regular auto care maintenance is similar to mechanical issues where if left untreated will cost substantially more than if you spent the small amounts periodically getting the little things taken care of. Paying a professional bi monthly can be out of budget your for some individuals. Listed below are methods of maintaining your own vehicle between professional maintenance.

  • Always wash with a pressure washer rather than just a hose. This method removes most surface dirt and gets your vehicle ready for the next step.

  • Always wash your wheels and tires first, do not use the same bucket to wash your vehicle.

  • Always use two bucket method, one for soap and another for rinsing with a grit guard.

For any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our professional detailer with over a decade of experience in the field.

Safe driving!

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