I've been contacted recently by an industrial complex requiring a valet to clean and detail a fleet of vehicles; specifically dealing with an issue of industrial fallout. The problem at the complex was so severe that some employee’s vehicles were also suffering. The manager of the plant had asked me to put together a car cleaning schedule for his employee’s vehicles as a good will gesture from the company. There had already been a couple of re-sprays due to the industrial fallout.
It was during the initial proposals of this contract that some interesting fears were raised by his employees. They knew a professional valet had been contracted, they wished to avail of his services but they apparently had been bitten in the past by a poor detailing procedure that had damaged paintwork and stripped some expensive protective coatings from vehicles. The main fear was with clay barring. A very effective method of removing bonded contamination. However, it transpired that some employees had their vehicles clay barred in the past and in doing so their paintwork had been damaged, specifically around the wheel arches. No doubt the edges of the paintwork and I would hazard a guess – lack of lubricant and an aggressive technique.
I had put together a 10 step body detailing plan for each employee vehicle, tailored for the complex. The plan was to carry this out on each vehicle every quarter. The manager had asked me to put together an outline of the cleaning technique, in a hope to allay the fears of those who had suffered in the past, to what was obviously an amateur method of cleaning. I’ve basically just cut and pasted the information in the next paragraphs.
The Proposal; Imagine small sharp hot flakes of iron being attracted to your vehicle (essentially a magnet) and embedding themselves into the paintwork of the vehicle. If left untreated, these little flakes will corrode, and as iron corrodes it expands. This could have a long lasting and possibly irreversible effect on your vehicles paintwork finish.
The solution. A 10 step cleaning process of your vehicles paintwork including a modern protective polymer based sealant. The chosen product – Autoglym High Definition Wax.
Carried out on a quarterly basis, this full body care treatment will remove the fallout and enhance the appearance of your vehicle, but more importantly will protect your vehicles paintwork until a long term solution is put in place.
10 Steps to a Meticulously Cleaned Vehicle
Wheels cleaned and protected.
Bodywork pre-cleaned & a snow foam pre-wash.
Shampoo and rinse.
Fallout Removal using Liquid Clay bleeding fallout remover.
Bodywork shampooed and rinsed.
Tar Removal from bodywork.
Bonded contamination removal from paintwork and glass.
HD Wax application to bodywork.
First the wheels are pre-washed with a non-acidic cleaner/degreaser before a high pressure rinse, anything left behind will require a little agitation with a brush to help clean. The only brush that will touch your wheel is a Wheel Woolie; an American manufactured wool brush mounted on plastic handles – no metal or rough bristles that could damage your wheels’ finish – perfectly safe even on plated chrome.
Note: As an added bonus I will apply Autoglym Wheel Protectant to the wheels or HD wax depending on the wheel type.
Before a wash mitt or cloth can safely touch your vehicle it is essential to remove any loose dirt and contamination. If this is not removed, then there is a risk of marring the paint surface and introducing scratches that will show in strong sunlight giving a cobweb like effect on the paintwork. All cars will pick up some micro marring over their life from everyday use and the environment, but we don’t want to introduce anymore from a poor wash technique (like cheap car washes, dirty sponges and rough brushes).
Lower bodywork will first receive a pre-clean to loosen any contamination from the surface. This will then allow it to be rinsed off with high pressure water whilst the contaminants are suspended in the pre-clean detergent to help avoid scratching.
Q: Will this pre-clean and other detergents you use remove protective coatings?
A: No, the pre-clean detergent and every product that I will be using during this entire process will not remove Gtechniq, Autoglym Lifeshine or other similar carbon/ceramic marketed coatings.
Once the lower, and normally dirtiest part of the vehicle has been pre-washed I will then cover the whole vehicle in a thick foam – commonly referred to as a snow foam. The snow foams job is to loosen dirt and suspend it from the vehicles surface. The foaming action gives the detergent a greater dwell time before it and the suspended dirt is rinsed from the vehicle surface.
Q: Why the fuss?
A: Modern car paint just isn’t as strong as car paints of old. For various safety and environmental reasons manufacturers have stopped using petroleum based paints (hard), in favour of water based paints (soft). The clear coat, which is the top clear protective layer of paint on your car therefore gets scratched and damaged very easily.
Shampoo and rinse
Now that the pre-clean is complete we can move onto shampooing the bodywork to remove any remaining dirt. Only a clean wash mitt will be used on each vehicle. The rule; if the wash mitt is dropped on the ground, it’s binned.
A two bucket method will be used – one bucket for the shampoo solution, the other bucket with clean rinse water and a wash board/grit guard insert to clean the mitt before it returns to the vehicle surface. Every care is taken to avoid any possible marring of the vehicle surface. Once shampooed the car will then be rinsed down with high pressure washer.
The car will then be hand dried with clean microfiber towels in preparation for the fallout remover. Same rule for the towels as the wash mitts, if dropped they’re binned. The car must be dried at this point as any remaining water on the vehicle surface will dilute the fallout remover hampering its performance.
So now that we’ve got all the organic dirt off the car I can use a fallout remover. Its job is to dissolve and remove industrial fallout – such as iron, which has bonded to your vehicles surface and glass. It’s sprayed on the vehicle and allowed to dwell for several minutes. If contamination is bad, and the bleeding effect of the remover will show me this, a second application of the fallout remover may be required.
Note: The Autoglym Liquid Clay bleeding fallout remover is 100% safe to use on all automotive paint systems. Its use will not harm the finish of your vehicle.
Shampoo & Rinse
Once the fallout remover has done its job, I’ll give the car another good shampoo and rinse. The car will then be dried with both microfiber towels and a warm air blower to get all the rinse water out of the cracks and seems.
It’s impossible to avoid on this country’s roads. A tar & glue remover will be used to dissolve the tar before it can be wiped off.
Bonded Contamination Removal
The Autoglym Liquid Clay fallout remover should get most of the bonded contaminants, however there may be some stubborn contamination that needs another form of removal. This will involve the use of a quality automotive rapid detailing lubricant/cleaner - Autoglym Fast Shine & Lube used in conjunction with a Autoglym Surface Detailing Clay Bar.
If the car doesn’t need it – I won’t do it - I will only be clay barring the areas of the cars that require it. There is a very simple yet effective method of testing the surface for contaminants. This will be carried out first to identify areas that require further work.
The Autoglym Surface Detailing Clay Bar is not an aggressive or hard clay bar. It is relatively soft and when used in conjunction with Autoglym Fast Shine and Lube – the clay bar does not even touch your paint. This is how a clay bar should be used correctly. The bar should be used lightly and should glide OVER the paint surface on the lubrication. The clay bars job is to catch the contamination that is sticking up from the paint and gently remove it. If used in this manner clay barring will also glide over the top of other protective coatings – such as Autoglym Lifeshine.
After the vehicle has been decontaminated I will then inspect the paint work and apply a glaze if required. This would normally be required on older vehicles that are beginning to lose their lustre, this could be down to oxidisation of the paint due to lack of polishing/wax – for example have you ever seen the red car turning pink over time. Once again if the finish doesn’t require it – ill not apply it.
Protection – Autoglym HD Wax
“The result of over 50 years of product research and development, this expertly crafted wax is individually filled and inspected before being carefully air cooled ensuring it is ready for use on the world’s finest vehicles.
High Definition Wax contains a carefully balanced, yet complex blend of polymers, carnauba and microcrystalline waxes.
Surfaces treated with this superior wax enjoy exceptional resistance to environmental contaminants including salt, detergents, UV light, acid rain and industrial fallout. This product is completely free of abrasives, water and emulsifiers.” – Autoglym
Final Stage - Glass Cleaned
The glass of the vehicle will be cleaned with Glass Polish to give streak free vision.