How to select a detailer

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How to select a detailer

BMW E60 530d MSport Interior

Would you know the difference between a good and bad detail?  How do you measure this, what should you check for, is it the price, the products, the customer service or some other sort of bling?  With so many car washes opening and offering ‘detailing’ services how do you choose the best one to suite your budget and expectations?  Let’s look at what makes a good detail and what questions you should be asking.

BMW E60 M5

According to Wikipedia, exterior detailing involves cleaning, and either restoring or exceeding the original condition of the surface of the car’s finish…  Interior detailing involves a deep cleaning of the whole interior cabin… 

The number one thing to decide is what are your expectation for the end result (what type of service will suite you best)?  Do you have a daily driver that you would like valeted for the school run or work commute, or do you have a car you are planning to take to car shows and would like detailed?  This will obviously dictate the detailing service you chose and its price, but as with everything else you can get good and bad at every price range.  So you need to know how to select the best detailer for you, price is not always a measure of quality.  You should be detailing educated, use this site and other resources to learn the process to clean and machine polish paint.  Question the detailer if they don’t explain the steps involved in detailing your car, how will they wash and decontaminate the paint, do they use clay, fallout remover etc.? Do they hand polish, what type of polishing machine do they use, rotary dual action, will they do a one or two stage paint correction, if so why?  Will they apply a ceramic coating, wax or sealant, will they allow you to select the last step paint protection based on your budget and needs?  How long will it take them to complete their work?  This is a big one and will give you an insight into how much care and attention your car is really going to get.  Obviously if you are paying for a detail and you will have your car back tomorrow something isn’t right.

So when you go to collect your car the detailer should have everything completed to your satisfaction based on the service you have paid for (you can’t expect to get a steak for the price of a burger and fries.)  Inspect the car, there should be no product left in panel gaps or around badges or trim.  Check the paint, are there any swirls or holograms left, any areas of hazing or scratches?  Do not try to look at the paint close up, step back and check it by looking at it in bright light, if the LSP is a wax or sealant then the fillers contained in these products will mask most surface defects for several weeks until they wash or wear of.

Panther black Ford Focus

One thing I absolutely totally hate is cheap shiny tire and interior dressing.  If you are paying for a proper detail there should be no reason to use inferior products anywhere during the detail.  Some ‘detailers’ like to leave lines in the carpet, this is usually to take your eye away from the fact that they haven’t properly cleaned and dressed the interior.  Check the glass, is it clean?  Roll the window down slightly, if there is a mucky line round the top then you know they probably weren’t too thorough with the rest of the vehicle either.  The interior should smell clean and fresh and not have a strong chemical smell.

A detail is a luxury service and is an investment in your car, Passion Detailing is able to perform at a high level and can complete anything up to and including a wet sand and machine polish.  The end result should reflect the money spent and your car should look as good as or better than new when you pick it up.  Don’t allow yourself to be taken for a ride by someone with low skill levels who could possibly inflict damage to the paint.  The buy cheap buy twice mantra is just as important here as anywhere else, you may save a few pounds going to detailer B but after the fillers have been washed of how long will it take before you get tired looking at mad holograms?  If you would like to discuss your requirements for a detail or valet please use the contact form on the site or call or email.  We are a mobile detailing business based in Magherafelt and cover the whole Mid Ulster area of N Ireland.  We are always happy to answer any questions about products or technique that you may have and have a detailing or valeting service to suite your needs.

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