Kansas City, Missouri (PressExposure) March 19, 2011 -- The guys at KC Detailing seem to always be detailing high-end cars. But more than just that, they are often detailing cars for people that have an obsession with keeping the cars clean. Many of their customers enjoy washing their own cars in-between the more advanced details that the team at KC Detailing perform. Tim Dodd, the owner of the Kansas City based company explains by saying "We often run into people who are as OCD about their cars as we are. And, they enjoy cleaning their own cars but leave the skilled detailing up to us. We like to teach our customers how to properly maintain their cars between major details." But are they really willing to give their secrets away? Tim goes on saying, "Our customers really appreciate our candor. The client doesn't want to to touch a buffer or polisher to their car, nor do they want to hassle with applying the certain hard to use sealants that our team uses. I would rather win our clients hearts and trust than make a few extra bucks in the short term." So lets go ahead and let Tim walk you through their process to properly maintaining your car between detailing.
As you read this, I ask that you not feel overwhelmed. At first our hand washing system may seem complicated but you will soon be washing your car better than the majority of the detailing shops and car washes in your area do. But, if this is to much for you, we do offer a maintenance package that will keep your cars looking their very best between in depth details.
Tools you need:
1 A garden hose with a water supply.
2 Three 5 gallon buckets that are each a different color. You can find these at your local hardware store.
3 Six grit guards. You will have to order these online. Detailed Image or Auto Geek sell this for a good price.
4 One to two microfiber or other soft washing mitt. Do not use foam washing pads. They will scratch your paint. Also, do not use dirty mitts. You must wash your mitts every time you wash your car. You might want to buy two so that if you drop your first mitt you have a back up.
5 A good PH balanced car soap. You can find these are your local car parts store. Meguiars is a good consumer brand car soap.
6 Wheel cleaner will not be necessary if your car is properly detailed every one to four months. If you do need wheel cleaner, contact the guys at KC Detailing and they will tell you the wheel cleaner to use. Most cleaners out there are acid based and are very bad for your wheels.
7 Small wheel brush from your local car parts store or online from the above mentioned websites.
8 Bigger brush for getting behind the spokes of your wheels from your local car parts store or online from the above mentioned websites.
9 A tire scrub brush. You should be able to get this at Wal-Mart or the local car parts store.
10 Two microfiber drying towels. You can get these online, at Wal-Mart, or your local car parts store. The towels that we use are $35 each and we love them but you don't have to get a towel that expensive. Don't use shammies! If you use a microfiber drying towel you will be drying better and safer than 99.9% of Kansas City's car detailing shops and car washes.
11 Two general purpose microfiber towels. hese will be used to dry your wheels.
12 Some Meguiars Quick Detailer or another similar quick detailer.
13 A good water-based tire dressing. A word of advice, do not use silicone based tire dressing; use water based dressing. If you do this, you will be detailing better than 99.9% of the car detailing shops and car washes in Kansas City. Silicone based dressings will turn your tires brown and will sling onto your cars paint job. Silicone is very bad for paint. Water-based dressing is a lot less likely to sling off of your tires. And, water-based dressing does not turn your wheels brown.
14 A tire dressing applicator. The purpose of using an applicator is so you don't get dressing overspray on your wheels.
15 Optional: air compressor with an air blow gun. This will be used to blow the water out of all of the cracks and crevices during the drying stage. Make sure you get a gun with a rubber tip on it. You do not want to scratch your car with a metal tipped air blow gun while you blow the water out of the crevices.
16 Optional: spray wax can be used to finish up your detail. This will keep your car shiny and protected between details. Make sure to get a micro fiber towel specifically for the wax.
Getting Everything Prepped:
1 Try to find a nice shady area were you don't have debris flying around or falling on your car.
2 Put two grit guards in each of your three 5 gallon buckets.
3 Fill the first bucket with water. We will call this your "rinse bucket". Fill the rinse bucket up to 2 inches below the very top.
4 Fill the second and third bucket with soap and water. One bucket will be called your "wash bucket" and one will be called your "wheel bucket". Put the required amount of soap into each of these buckets. The proper amount of soap should be on the label of your PH balanced soap container. You did get PH balanced soap didn't you? Foam up the soap with your garden hose.
5 Now, put your wash mitt into your wash bucket and all of your wheel and tire cleaning brushes in your wheel bucket.
6 Bring your stereo out because listening to your favorite music always makes detailing a car a lot more fun. Maybe even put on the song "at the car wash..."
Hand Wash System Order:
1 The wheels and wheel wells on your car will be detailed first.
2 Washing the top half of your car will be the second part of the process. The top half is from the roof all the way down to the middle of your door. This includes your trunk and hood, or your "boot" and "bonnet" if you are from the UK. The front and rear bumpers on your car are not considered the top half.
3 Washing the bottom half of you car will be the third part of the detail. You guessed it. The bottom half includes the front and rear bumper and the half-way point on your car doors to the very bottom.
4 Your car should be dried in the exact same order that you washed your car. First dry the top half and then the bottom. Easy enough
5 Now it is time to dress your wheels and wheel wells.
Cleaning The Wheels: If your detailer correctly sealed your wheels last time they waxed your car, your wheels should clean up with the same PH balanced soap you are using on your car. Make sure you do one wheel at a time.
1Grab your tire scrub brush and dip it into your wheel bucket. Begin to scrub the tires to remove any dressing or dirt.
2 Using the same tire scrub brush, dip it into your wheel bucket. Begin to scrub the inside of your wheel well.
3 Rinse the tire scrub brush off with your hose so you don't get to much grim in your wheel bucket.
4 Take your small wheel brush dip it into the wheel bucket, and start detailing your cars wheels from the top to the bottom.
5 Now, take the bigger wheel brush and dip it into the wheel bucket. Use this brush to clean behind the wheel spokes.
6 Finally, rinse off your wheel and wheel well.
7 Repeat until all of your car's wheels are cleaned.
Hand Washing Your Car:
1 Let's wash the top half of your car. Rinse your car off with the garden hose so that lose grit and excess dirt is removed from the cars surface.
2 Get your washing mitt and soak it in the wash bucket.
3 Start by washing half the roof of your car. Make sure to use left-right and up-down motions with your wash mitt. Never use a circular motions because you will cause micro scratching.
4 Now that half of the roof has been washed, put your wash mitt into the rinse bucket and lightly rub your mitt against the grit guard to remove any dirt or grit from your mitt. Then, put your nice clean mitt into the wash bucket and repeat on the other half of the roof.
5 Repeat the process on the windows, the top half of your doors and fenders, the hood, and the trunk.
6 Now that the top half is done, repeat the process on the bottom half of the car. Start with the front and rear bumper then do the bottom half of the doors and front fender. Make sure to save the very bottom underneath the doors for last.
7 Go ahead and rinse of the entire car from the top to the bottom.
Drying Your Car:
1 Take your microfiber drying towels and lightly spray them with your quick detailer spray. This will help to add lubrication while you dry your car so that you don't create scratches while you dry. Remember, we are really OCD about our car detailing.
2 You are going to use one of the microfiber drying towels to soak up the majority of the water while the other one will be used to soak up the little bit that remains. For the sake of this article we will call the the towel that is made to soak up the majority of the water the "primary towel" and the second towel will be call the "finishing towel".
3 Starting with the top section, dry half of the roof with your primary towel than finish that half of the roof with your finishing towel. Move to the other side of the car and repeat the process on the other half of the roof.
4 Repeat this process with the rest of the car, using the same order that you did while you were hand washing.
5 If you have an air compressor with an air blow gun, now is the time to blow the water our of every crack, crevice and detail. Start at the top of your car and move your way down. Mack sure you have the finishing microfiber towel so you can dry the water as you blow it out.
6 Optional: Now that your car is all dry, you can apply a spray wax to keep your car looking glossy and have optimal protection between details. You can get these online at Detailed Image or Auto Geek.
Spray Wax and Tire Dressing:
1 If you decided to get the optional spray wax, now is the time.
2 Make sure your paint is not hot and that you are in a shaded area.
3 Follow the direction from the label on your spray wax. A key to applying spray wax is that a little bit goes a long way.
4 Use the same order that you did with the hand washing and drying. Start with the roof and work your way down.
5 Go ahead and use the spray wax on the windows. Thats right, you are waxing your car's windows. Waxing the windows will help to keep them looking clean and clear.
6 Using your general purpose microfiber towels, apply the spray wax to your wheels. Applying spray wax to your car's wheels will not only make them look better but the wax will make it very easy to clean of any break dust that forms on the wheels.
7 Now that the whole car is cleaned and waxed, if you decided to wax that is, you are ready to apply the tire dressing to your wheel wells and your tires.
8 Spray your water-based tire dressing in the wheel well. This will help darken the wheel well which will make your freshly detailed wheels stick out.
9 Spray your tire dressing on your tire dressing applicator pad. Apply a liberal amount of tire dressing on your tires. Make sure you put more than you need to on the tire because you will wipe the excess off in about 10-15 minutes.
10 Rinse off all of your wheel brushes, pour out your 5 gallon buckets, and clean up the rest of your mess.
11 After you have cleaned up, wipe the excess tire dressing off of your car's tires.
Final thoughts. If you have read this far, I'm guessing that you are a car fanatic. If you think this hand washing process is detailed, you should see what their car detailing process looks like. Tim explains that "once you get this system down, it should take you about twenty minutes to an hour to complete depending on the size of your vehicle and the condition it is in. Your first time will take you two to four hours." Most people would consider this wash going way beyond a normal car detailing but this level of wash is were the crew at KC Detailing just begins. With this kind of time commitment, my wife fears that see may become a widow. I think I will leave the car detailing up to the professionals. Thank you for reading and I hope that you have a new found respect for the car detailing industry just as I have. Stay clean and shiny.