Rather than continue to spam social media with pictures of valeting and detailing work, I've decided to collate everything into monthly blog post instalments with an itinery of new tools and gadgets, product reviews, case studies and my thoughts on the detailing profession and how business is going.
After a much needed break at the end of June on the back of working 16 days in a row with almost as many 8-9pm finishes, it was time to get back to work for all the jobs booked in throughout July. Perhaps though, I made a mistake in going back to work the day after landing, as jet lag soon crept up on me - by the following Tuesday I was feeling dizzy, sick and exhausted which caused me to reschedule the second job of the day! Something that I would otherwise never do. Lesson learned; don't overdo it, no matter how much customers don't want to wait that little bit longer for an appointment.
In an ongoing attempt to constantly improve the quality of the services, and trim down wasted time to ensure that I work smart and consistently achieve my target hourly rate, I am always looking to add new tools to the inventory. This month, I gained the Flex PE 14-2 rotary machine polisher to add to the roster of polishing machines, as well as a water purifier system.
The Flex PE 14-2 has filled the void in my toolset for a machine that is fast, efficient and has excellent cutting and finishing abilities, as well as offering minimal user fatigue with it's lightweight and ergonomical design. Don't get me wrong, the Flex VRG 3401 forced drive dual action has been a priceless servant over the years being my go-to machine for pretty much everything, and still is, but there are some jobs where you need to "mow down" heavy defects productively, and also jewel the paint with a fine finishing polish. By "jewelling", I am talking about the method used in my Gloss Boost service package, or the final step in a Show Car Correction. This is the action of using a soft finishing pad, and a fine grade polish, setting the machine to slow speed, exerting no extra pressure onto the panel besides the weight of the machine and working the section slowly. This method produces a deep, lustrous shine. The Flex VRG can just about do these things, but this new rotary does it better whilst minimising user fatigue. Gone are the days of being shaken to pieces every day with the rough action of the VRG, resulting in constant back ache and tiredness. The VRG still has it's place though. Where Enhancements are concerned in which you need a 'proper' single step machine polish where the amount of cut and gloss achieved are in equilibrium without the risk of inflicting holograms like a rotary would in this method. So it is paramount to have an inventory of polishing machines that all have their strengths for different situations, as a pro detailer will face different types of paintwork (soft or hard, sticky or otherwise) and degree of paintwork defect severity. I would go into my smaller, more fiddly machines, but I had better stop here before I start waffling on too much and produce a polishing machine inventory review long enough to challenge "War and Peace"... Despite what people may say, I'm not a detailing anorak I assure you.
Anyway, moving onto the second new doohicky, it's a Spectrum Water DI unit. In other words, it connects inline to the hose pipe before the pressure washer or end attachment, to remove calcium deposits from the water. In the West Midlands we have high calcium content in the water, which leave water spots and etching if left to dry on paint and glass. The time spent air drying or buffing cars dry where calcium is present is wasteful, and also an increased risk of paintwork marring is accelerated if the little particles are forced across and into the paint when wiping. This device saves time in the way that perfectly pure water can in theory be left to dry on it's own, enabling time to be spent on other tasks on the car. The main downside, or trade-off, is that this is now another ongoing cost as the resin filter medium needs to be changed every 1000 litres or so, as well as taking up extra space in the van.
Case Study #1.
One of the works carried out this month was this BMW X5, I had last worked on this vehicle in October 2016. The customer booked in stating that whatever the car needed, to just do it. Of course, I never carry out extra work before breifing the customer, and always give an option in these cases incase payment issues arrise when a higher invoice is produced than expected. I have chosen this one as a case study as I have a strong suspicion that this car had not been washed since my last visit. The resulting issue was brake dust that had quite literally baked itself onto the alloys presenting as a cakey, corroded and sticky hot mess that required multiple strong product applications and aggitations, with clay barring - and that was just the wheels!
The bodywork suffered similarly, so after a pre-wash using Meguiars D101 and a good jet wash down, I used the Gilmour Foamaster II foam gun to lather a panel at a time with Code Clean Decontaminate foam; a product with a bit of bite whilst lubricating the panel during wash mitt contact to reduce surface marring from contact. Such cases like this can can easily end up in swirls and scratches if washed incorrectly as the dirt grinds into the paint.
After cleaning in this method, the paint and glass still felt very rough. Sounding like sandpaper when wiped. This is the result of fallout and polution becoming encrusted into the surface which can happen when a vehicle is subject to long wash intervals. Further decontamination including clay barring the paintwork, wheels and glass left a clean surface ready for polishing. Despite being "clean" the effects of the contaminants had left the finish lacking lustre, so consulting with the customer gave me the go ahead to spend a couple of hours with the new Flex rotary tool mentioned earlier jewelling the paint to restore gloss levels. Koch Chemie P2 featured, a polish with a built in wax, and Liquid Elements Paint Freezer added to the pad to boost up the P2 wax, before finishing off with Feynlab QD for added protection. The interior was addressed and a quick go over of the engine bay finished the job.
A common misconception amoungst the public is that a succinctly (and borderline offensively) worded "wash and polish" only takes a couple of hours. This visit taken nearly 11 hours, and being as before and after pictures do not quite tell the true story of the hard work, blood, sweat and tears - I often cut my hands on sharp fittings and my eyes water as I approach exhaustion - involved I thought I would point this out during your perusal of the finished article.
We lead busy lives, and washing the car can often become the last thing on the agenda, as the customer has even admitted, though I really hope the car will get the odd wash now and then to prevent the necessity of such invasive procedures being carried out again sooner than they need to be.
Enjoy the pictures, and stay tuned for pt.2