In the glare of the morning sun I looked in horror at the water spotting which covered the black Audi. These were big, ugly, nasty water spots totally baked in to the paint. Only a month ago I had spent a full day machine polishing this very Audi, removing some horrific marring and swirling from the paint. I had given the customer the usual aftercare advice, a basic how to on washing a car safely, yet as I watched the customer putting his bare fingers on the dust covered Audi and rub at the watermarks I felt the old nervous twitch return to my left eye and realised all aftercare advice had fallen on death or possibly ignorant ears.
Over the course of several phone calls from the customer the cause and source of the water spotting had me baffled. But standing now beside the vehicle with the customer, the cause of the spotting and the previous marring was becoming pretty apparent. The customers idea of washing the car was simply running a hose over it when it became dusty and using a chamois to dry it. No car shampoo, no liquid waxes, no rapid detailers or other cleaning products that would not only loosen the dirt, soften the hard water and keep the finish - just good old heavy mineral laden tap water and an old leather chamois.
I thought back to the morning when I first met the customer and he had shown me his collection of car care products in the garage. Not necessarily brands that I would recommend - but fairly good car care products none the less. He had shampoos, polishes, liquid waxes and paste waxes. I thought I had left the cars finish that day in good hands. Little did I know, the customer had no grasp of the absolute basics.
So it was obvious that I was going to need an aftercare brochure or checklist that I could hand out to the customer. Just giving good basic car cleaning tips. Helping them keep that finish which they had paid me to correct. As I tell them at he time, I can only fix the finish - it's up to them to keep it.