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Knowledge Center and Frequently Asked Questions:

Limitation of liability: The information contained herein is provided as a courtesy to the consumer and should not be considered a Do-It-Yourself guide. While many of the processes may appear simple in their explanations, there are many factors to consider when performing these tasks. The Detail Guy shall assume no responsibility for direct or consequential damages for the this information. If you have a question about a process, please contact either The Detail Guy or another professional for guidance.


Thank you.

Why are water spots so difficult to remove?

A water spot is an area of dried mineral deposits left on a surface after being allowed to air dry. Water Quality, specifically the amount and type of minerals in the local water supply as measured by the total dissolved solids or TDS test and other mineral levels such as sodium, have an impact on how severe water spots can be, for example on an automobile. As the water droplet starts to evaporate, the minerals actually increase in concentration level and if not removed may etch into a vehicles paint. Removal of water spots is one of those tasks that should be left to the professional. Strong caustic acids are used to remove stubborn spots and in extreme cases, wet sanding is required - especially if the spots have been left for an extended period of time.

The typical TDS level for tap water in the Temecula Valley is near 600 parts per million and in comparison, The Detail Guy uses filtered water with a TDS reading of zero.

Should I worry about headlight oxidation?

Not only does headlight oxidation take away from a vehicle's appearance, it is a safety hazard. Heavily oxidized headlights are only 30% as effective as a clear lens making driving at night difficult at best. Illumination is reduced making it hard for the driver to see clearly and for other drivers to see you. A typical restoration process involves wet sanding the oxidation from the lenses followed by a compounding and sealant step. As a note, headlight restoration is a temporary solution and will need to be repeated approximately every six months. Still, this is a much more economical approach when compared to replacing a lens for hundreds of dollars.

Is Buffing Safe for my Paint?

Buffers come in all shapes and sizes but there are only two basic operating actions - rotary (aka high speed) and orbital. A high speed buffer rotates ON a fixed axis point and is measured in RPM's (revolutions per minute). An orbital buffer rotates AROUND a fixed point and is measured in OPM's (oscillations per minute). Some orbitals are also called dual action meaning while the buffing head is oscillating AROUND it's fixed point, it also spins at the same time.

Now that we've defined buffers, we can answer the question. A high speed buffer will generate much more heat than an orbital since it focuses all of its frictional energy on one spot. Sometimes heat is required to correct certain surface imperfections like a scratch or oxidation; however, in the hands of an inexperienced user, a rotary buffer can burn through paint or leave swirl marks. When used by a professional, there isn't a more useful tool for correcting problems. When performed by a true professional, using a high speed buffer is very safe.

At The Detail Guy, we use both the high speed and orbital machines. Our orbital of choice has two heads that oscillate in reverse directions and is one of the most widely used buffers in the industry

Difference between Swirls and Spider Webbing?

Swirls marks are a by-product of heat and are usually found on vehicles that were buffed by an inexperienced user using a rotary buffer with an agressive pad, compound and high speed. They are phantom or ghost trails in the paint and are more visible on dark colored surfaces. The picture at left is a great illustration of what swirl marks look like in the sun.

Spider webbing looks like wide arcing micro scratches in the clear coat or paint and naturally occur over time with washing, drying and hand waxing. While swirl mark removal and spider webbing require different processes and materials, they are both easy to remove by the professional detailer.

Can I use Dish Soap to Wash my Car?

Products like Dawn, Palmolive and Joy among others are great for cutting grease in the kitchen but are too harsh for painted surfaces. Moreover, these products WILL also strip wax so they're best left where they belong.

Why Doesn't my Paint Feel Smooth?

The air is full of contaminents that can settle on and attach themselves to your vehicle. These include brake dust, llution, paint over spray, bee poo, tree sap, etc. Usually these contaminants attach to the horizontal surfaces (hood, roof, trunk) and may be worse in industrial areas, near major airports, rail stations or in polluted areas. Many people are under the misunderstanding that waxing their cars will leave that "baby butt" smooth surface when in actuality, a vehicle needs to be clayed to restore that smooth surface. Generally twice a year is sufficient; however, in the areas noted, a more frequent application may be required.

To test your surface, clean a horizontal area of your vehicle's paint such as the hood. Then place your fingers inside a plastic sandwich baggie and gently rub accross the cleaned area. Feel anything? If so, it's time to clay and wax your vehicle.

What is a synthetic paint sealant?

There are two basic types of waxes on the market - natural waxes and synthetic sealants. A synthetic product is man made and may be referred to as a polymer sealant. The primary advantage of a polymer sealant is the protection longevity and resistance to hotter climates. A good polymer sealant will generally last up to six months and is not adversely affected by temperatures. Historically, the downside to synthetics is the absence of that deep luster normally found in a natural wax; however, the shine gap has been closing in recent years. The Detail Guy uses a unique polymer sealant called All-In-One that is fortified with a natural carnauba wax - hence the name All-In-One. This leaves a very nice shine and when the carnauba wears off, the paint is still being protected via the longer lasting paint sealant.

What is carnauba wax?

Carnauba, also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax of the leaves of the palm, Copernicia Prunifera, a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern Brazilian states of Piaui, Ceara and Rio Grande do Norte. It is known as "queen of waxes" and usually comes in the form of hard yellow-brown flakes. It is obtained from the leaves of the carnauba palm by collecting them, beating them to loosen the wax, then refining and bleaching the wax.

Carnauba is the finest of all natural waxes. In its purest form, carnauba is as hard as concrete and is a favorite among concourse show cars and hot rodders alike. Carnauba will leave a deep, rich shine with great depth of color and clarity. The downside to carnauba is its longevity and sensitivity to hotter climates. Carnauba has a melting point of 82–86 °C (180–187 °F), among the highest of natural waxes. When the ambient air temperature hovers around 100 degrees, the surface of a dark colored vehicle approaches this threshhold. This greatly reduces the amount of time a carnauba wax can offer protection - usually 2-3 months, possibly 4 in milder climates.

Why should I have my leather conditioned?

Let's think about this one for a second. Like it or not, leather is a "donation" from wildlife. Like humans, leather contains pores and these pores clog over time with dirt and grime. What would happen to our skin if we didn't wash it or have natural oils to "rehydrate"? It would darken and crack so why should we expect anything different from leather? Leather should be cleaned and treated every six omonths on new vewhicles to maintain that soft and supple appearance. A light cleaner will help remove any dirt from the material and then a conditioner will help restore moisture. You paid a lot for those nice leather seats. Why not take care of them right from the beginning instead of waiting for signs of distress.

How to Restore Aged Plastic/Rubber Bumpers and Trim?

Any dressing will help bring life back to trim; however, only the right dressing will do it for an extended period of time. Water based dressings are typically less expensive to purchase but will simply rinse off with the first sign of moisture. The Detail Guy uses a petroleum based product that has a consistency of Karo Syrup and is highly concentrated. When liberally applied, the bumpers and trim will simply absorb as much product as possible since they both have a petroleum base. The results are amazing. Faded bumpers brought back to life for weeks as compared to days with a water based product.

What are the Myths Concerning Sealants?

So you're all excited to be buying a brand new car. You've agreed to to the price and payment and now you're sitting in the finance office doing the paper work. The finance manager tries to sell you a paint sealant (sometimes referred to as Teflon) and claims you will never have to wax your car again. Instead, they probably give you a sealant enhancer or rejuvinator that you're suppose to apply every 3 months. News Break - This is wax. The Detail Guy can perform the same process for a fraction of what you will be charged at the dealership.

If done correctly, a Teflon sealant is the longest lasting paint sealant on the market today; however, it does not last forever. Usually after a year the product begins to lose its effectiveness and will need to be re-applied. There are a few extra steps when working with these types of sealants to regardless of which automotive detailer you select, make sure they understand proper preparation.

The Detail Guy hopes you have found some value in this section. If you have any specific questions not covered above, please shoot us an e-mail. If we use it in this section, you'll receive a free car wash as our appreciation for your interest.