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Tutorials : From the tires on up !

Posted by Doug Delmont 
Re: Tutorials : Abrasives
February 17, 2014 02:03AM
Very good info Doug.
Tutorials : Car Washing
March 03, 2014 12:29AM
The only ecologically sound way to wash a car is in a facility that meets the standards of the Clean Water Act . That rules out driveway washing . Some mobile pro detailers use a Water Boom or other recovery system to trap the dirty water for proper disposal .
I use Do-It-Yourself car washes but I modify the procedure : I keep a quart spray bottle of car wash soap and water solution on hand . Other supplies include a microfiber towels or mitts, a car wash mop , a wheel brush, bug-getter sponge for bug spatter and towels .
The objective in washing is to remove the dirt without scratching the surfaces much and the key to doing that is to use plenty of water . If the car is encrusted with dirt, wash it 2 or 3 times gently to avoid rubbing the dirt against the surfaces . If necessary, soap it up, agitate lightly and rinse. Repeat up to three times .
Work generally from top to bottom . Avoid taking dirt from wheels or other dirty spots and depositing it onto the painted upper areas . Rinse your tools frequently . Use light pressure on your towel or mitt to minimize scraping dirt against the paint .
Use a soft detailing brush to soap up emblems and tight spots .

Notes : (1)Some pros first wet the entire vehicle with a degreaser or APC diluted appropriately . This helps remove wax and sealants as well as dirt in preparation for a full exterior detail . Zaino recommends Dawn dish liquid for this step .

(2) You can fashion a plastic block to put under a tire to keep your hose from getting stuck as you pull it around the vehicle .

My wash procedure goes like this :
1) Let the brake rotors cool before starting the wash or keep water off of the wheels because cold water could warp rotors ( Use this waiting time to clean the floor mats or to vacuum the interior . Use the pressure wand to wet down and presoak the whole car . Then, blast dirt away with high pressure water, making sure you blast the undersides of trim moldings and inside the wheel wells . I avoid blasting water at window gaskets and keyholes etc.

2) Spray or spritz soap and water solution all over the car and agitate it, rinsing the towel or mitt periodically with the pressure wand . Let the soap dwell for maybe a minute to dissolve contaminants .

3) Rinse the car with high pressure spray . As you do this, add more soap solution and agitate any remaining dirt . Once the dirt is removed, use soap and a bug getter or towel to remove stubborn bugs and tar .
4) When the wheels are cool enough, spray them with soap solution ( for very dirty wheels, use Dawn or Palmolive dish liquid ) . Wash the wheels with the wheel brush .

5) Run low-pressure rinse water down over the car to make water run off in sheets , thereby reducing the drying time .

6) Drive the car around the block or some distance to partially dry it. Then towel dry it .

Note : Some pros dry the car with a leaf blower to eliminate any risk of scratching .

Pro tip :
Some pros start with the doors, trunk and gas cap door open . They spray the door jambs and trunk surrounds with all purpose cleaner , let dwell and agitate . Then they rinse those areas, close everything up, and wash the rest of the vehicle .

Car wash soaps that don't contain wax tend to wash better , so avoid wash n' wax products. I use Zaino's Car Wash Concentrate --- [www.zainostore.com]

SPECIAL NOTE : My tests indicate that commercial automatic car washes strip away waxes and sealants in only one wash . So do chemicals provided in do-it-yourself facilities . If you wax or even coat your car, don't drive it into an automatic car wash . See this vid on tunnel wash scratches : [www.youtube.com]

Edited 15 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2022 06:24PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Removing Wax
March 15, 2014 03:50AM
Sometimes it is desirable to de-wax the paint . This is done for various reasons . It may be to prepare the paint for a fresh coat of wax, perhaps a different wax than is already on the car and might not be compatible . You might remove the wax to see the condition of the bare paint or to prepare it for touch-up painting .
Stripping the paint bare prevents gumming up your buffing pads during compounding and polishing too .

Griot's Garage markets " Paint Prep ", a strong detergent product specifically for this job. Zaino recommends washing the car with Dawn dishwashing liquid . A weak solution of Simple Green can work too .

Old timers used kerosene or mineral spirits, both of which are combustible, leave a residue and may be unhealthy to breathe .

Body shops prepare cars for repainting with Prepsol, Acrilikleen and other solvent-based chemicals . These do the job but are intended for use on paint that is about to be replaced . There is some suspicion that they may not do your finish any good, so I advise against using them for detailing .

Rubbing alcohol in solution with water is often used .

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/29/2021 08:41PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Scratch Removal
March 15, 2014 04:13AM
The paint surface will inevitably accumulate shallow scratches . These can be caused by commercial car washes, flying stones and dust on the road, snow brushes, hand washing and drying the car improperly & buffer swirl marks . These scratches can be removed by compounding or polishing the paint , removing enough paint to level it . [www.zainostore.com]
Deeper scratches cannot be completely removed without removing an excessive amount of paint . The deep scratches can be made less noticable by smoothing them with polish . In some cases, fine wet-sanding is acceptable .

You can't really " take out a scratch " because a scratch is simply missing paint . You can level the paint or you can hide the scratch with wax or glaze .

Rule of thumb : If you can sort of catch your thumb nail in the scratch, it is too deep to remove completely .

In some cases, you may want to do a paint touch-up . If you can see bare metal or rust at the bottom of the scratch, it is through the paint and should be touched up to prevent the spread of rust .

Note : To prevent scratches, Larry Kosilla of Ammo NYC on YouTube recommends only microfiber be used on paint . Claying or wiping down between washes with detail sprays such as Quik Detailer can cause scratches .

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2022 06:30PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Rotary Buffing Tips
March 15, 2014 04:38AM
I'm only going to touch briefly on the controvercial subject of rotary buffing . New advances such as the Rupes brand dual action polishers reduce the need for rotary buffing .

Use only one product on each buffing pad . Store the pad in a Zip-Loc bag . Clean and air dry pads before storing .

You can get different results by using the same product with different pads .

Compounding and polishing with a rotary buffer are skills best learned in person . It is a good idea to practice on junked car doors, fenders and hoods .

When buffing modern clearcoat paints, avoid creating excessive heat, keep the pad moving to avoid burning through the paint and be cautious around edges and character lines because the paint is thinner in those areas .

Evaluate the paint before buffing it . Use a paint depth guage and ask the car's owner for the history of the paint : Was it ever professionally detailed and buffed ? Is the paint all original ?

Never remove more than 1/2 mil of clearcoat . If someone before you removed paint, that counts toward the 1/2 mil limit .

Buff slow ( about 1000 RPM ), wet ( plenty of wet polish or compound on the pad ) and with moderate pressure on the machine .

For swirl-free results, finish up by polishing with an orbital or dual-action polisher .

Dewalt makes popular rotary buffers .

Note : Buffing is more hazardous than it looks ; Wear gloves, dust mask, goggles, non-slip shoes and insure proper ventilation . Don't wear a tie or drawstring etc. that could snag on the whirling pad . Don't step into water puddles while using electrical equipment .

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/2022 02:59PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Misc .
March 21, 2014 06:41AM
Stay tuned . We should be moving on shortly to cover some topics involving the interior of the vehicle .

I would like to mention some ways to keep a car looking its best .

First off, consider a custom-fitted car cover from Weathershield . I had one . The breathable waterproof Nextec material kept the car dry . I had to use a long bungee cord from home depot to keep the cover on in high winds though . I tied a piece of thin rope to the bungee cord so I could throw the free end under the car and reach it from the other side .

I use sun shields inside my windshield and believe that these keep the interior newer longer . They are also handy for blocking light if you take a nap in the driver's seat .

Keep a good following distance, especially behind big trucks, to reduce the number of rock chips on the front of your car .

Park in end spaces or away from everyone else to avoid lot damage, door dings and runaway shopping carts .

Get rid of tacky license plate holders with advertising on them .

If your state offers special license plates in various colors, consider buying one that matches your car's paint .

To avoid wax stains on vinyl and rubber trim, you may want to tape off the trim with body shop tape or wax only to within an inch of the edge of the panel .

To avoid scratching the car, remove all jewelry and stick a towel in the front of your pants to cover your belt buckle .

It is best to wear something other than blue jeans because wet or chemical-contaminated jeans could transfer their blue dye to the car seats .

To do a final check of paint restoration, take the car out into the sunlight and see if more defects show .

Do not use a detailing spray or a " Duster " to wipe down the car between washes because you will put some scratches into the paint .

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/2022 03:03PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Carpet Stains
March 22, 2014 05:53AM
Carpet Stains :

You may want to use a cordless drill and a DrillBrush to agitate when treating carpet stains : [drillbrush.com]

Link to Stain Removal Chart : [images.marthastewart.com]

Assemble your own custom stain removal kit . Include chemicals specific to various types of stains as well as general-purpose stain removers .

Before getting started, it is good to know a few basics : The sooner you attack the stain, the more chance you have of getting it out . Different stains respond best to different stain removers so it helps to know what kind of stains you are working on . If you are a pro, ask the customer what was spilled and how long ago it happened .

Standard procedure is to remove carpet stains before shampooing the carpets . Some pros attack all of the stains with a steam vapor cleaner first and see if that removes them . The more common procedure involves pre-treating all of the stains and letting the chemicals dwell to give them time to dissolve the stains . The next step is to blot up as much of the stain as possible with a clean towel . Blotting, as opposed to rubbing, avoids spreading the stain . Once as much of the stain as possible as been blotted up, re-treat and rub with a towel until all of the stain material is removed . Otherwise, remaining goo will likely wick up to the surface so that the stain reappears .

In rare cases, you may find it helpful to scrape caked-on goo with a putty knife . You may choose to grind away at thick stuff with the threads of a large bolt . You may try agitating the stain with a stiff brush or the powered Drillbrush .

After you shampoo the carpets, check again for stains that may have wicked up and reappeared . If you find any, retreat and extract again .

There are stain charts online and from Rug Doctor, Consumer Reports and others that prescribe specific chemicals for specific stains . You can assemble your own stain kit from products such as dishwashing liquid, naptha and so forth .

There are stain removing products on the market that work on a wide array of stains . I like Awesome Carpet Stain Remover, which is sold in dollar stores .

Various All Purpose Cleaners are effective on many stains . Engine degreasers are used by some detailers to remove automotive oil and grease from carpets .

Knight's Spray Nine works on carpet stains .

Not all stains can be removed . Pros must communicate that to customers . Never promise to get all of the stains out because you can't be sure you will .

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2022 06:57AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Floor Mats
March 24, 2014 02:54AM
Vinyl or rubber floor mats can be hung from clamps, sprayed with All Purpose Cleaner , brushed and then rinsed or pressure washed . Most carpeted mats can survive the same procedure .

Some commercial car washes put the mats through a special floor mat shampooing machine .

Stains in carpeted mats can be removed by using the same methods used on the carpets .

Don't dress mats with slippery protectants . Driver side mats should be anchored and positioned so they can't interfere with the gas pedal or with the driver's foot .

Dry the mats outside in the sun or with a utility heater before re-installing, to prevent mold from growing . Some people dry the mats in a clothes dryer .

Carpeted mats can be treated with a stain guard spray .

Some pros keep a stock of universal replacement mats on hand . If you install new mats, make sure there are no safety issues .

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2022 06:59AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Choosing Products
March 28, 2014 01:54AM
Friends ,
Feel free to consult this old thread link for info on specific products :

And this :

This one too :

More !


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2014 04:48PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Vacuuming
March 30, 2014 04:35PM
Vacuuming Tips :
CAUTION : Avoid scratching the gauge lenses in the dash . Don't brush the clear plastic or bump it with the vacuum nozzle . ChrisFix on YouTube advises only using water on a slightly damp microfiber towel to dust dash lenses .
My procedure involves a combination of vacuuming with an attachment made for cars and brushing with three or more different brushes . I use a stiff brush from the dollar store to stir up dirt as I vacuum the carpets and a grout brush to reach around the seat mounts and get into tight places . I use a natural-bristle paint brush ( with duct tape over the metal part to prevent scratching ) and a mink make-up brush as I vacuum the dashboard and door panels etc .
To avoid dragging dirt from the ground into the car, avoid pulling the vacuum cleaner hose across the interior . take the vacuum cleaner to the side of the car you are going to vacuum next .
Special Tip : To make your own brush for getting dirt out of leather seat seams, cut down a natural bristle paint brush to make a stiff but gentle brush and tape over the metal part with duct tape .
Quoting GTR :
" Air blast interiors, then sweep up the dirt (10 min. saved).
I hate to hear vacuum cleaners constantly starting and stopping at detail shops. There’s a better way. Open all doors, then use your air gun to “blast” the car’s interior top to bottom, and in every crevice and corner. Now blast all that debris out the doors, and out the hatch onto the ground below. When you’re all done with your interior detail (you will spread more dirt), vacuum up the car once and sweep up the dirt on the ground. It’s faster, quieter, and extends the life of your vacuum cleaners. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Don't Remove The Seats-
I think that removing the seats creates the possibility of damaging a fastener or failing to tighten fasteners properly . There is a limit to what customers will pay so I think it best to avoid extra work that forces the price higher . Show car detailing is a different matter .
Skillful use of various vacuum cleaner attachments, brushing with a carpet brush and using a grout brush at the seat mounts, spot removal with a towel and chemical, steam vapor and final extraction should give satisfactory results and save time over seat removal .

To be sure I had sufficient suction, I bought the most powerful Shop Vac Lowes had, a 6.5 HP monster with a 16 gallon capacity and a motor portion that detaches to function as a leaf-blower. The vacuum is plastic, wheeled and short and squat enough so it doesn't tip over. More rugged models cost more.
Mine came with a 2 1/2" wide hose, a size that prevents clogging, should you vacuum up a large rag or something. I've since bought a heavy-duty hose that is 12' long and narrower.
Accessories add a lot to the cost. So far, I've bought an adapter for fitting 1 1/4 " tools to the larger hoses, a large claw tool ideal for cars, a narrow car tool made by Ridgid for their vacuums ( found it at Home Depot ), a flexible crevice tool from a vacuum store, a turbo brush and a kit of mini-tools for detailing. Unfortunately, the mini-tools restricted the air so much that my original wide hose buckled. The mini-tool kit proved to be more cute than practical also.
The paper filters clog up fast. Twice, I've gotten away with blowing them out with compressed air. Normally, I replace them at a cost of $10 or more.
I may try using old nylon stocking material as an outer filter to keep the paper pleated filter clean longer.
Using this unit without a bag makes it easy to retrieve anything valuable that gets sucked up by accident. Bags are available for use in the home, where you want to avoid blowing dust into the air.
Shop Vacs come in many sizes, power levels and configurations. They are not extremely noisy but a pro who uses one often should wear ear protection. My unit is too bulky to be practical for routine household vacuuming. Be sure to lift it only by the lower set of handles, or the top can come off.
The important thing here is that I got what I wanted, powerful suction, especially when the filter is kept clean. This unit pulls far better than the large coin-operated vacuums at car washes and gas stations. The most handy tools are the claw and the car tool by Ridgid, combined with the following brushes : natural bristle paint brush for dusting, grout brush for seat mount areas and stiff scrub-type brush for carpets and mats. The turbo brush attachment is good for trunk interiors and SUV cargo areas.
Quoting Christian Porter :
"Honestly the only reason I can think of to have a larger 8-12 gallon vacuum would be if you only plan on cleaning out your vacuum cleaner once a year. Otherwise there is no real need for a vac that size. I say save the money and get a quality 6 gallon. Even a 6 gal will take a very long time to fill with dry dirt particles.

When you are looking at HP ratings be aware that these figures are often inflated and really mean nothing when it comes to cleaning power. The figure you want to look for is 'inches of lift'. The higher the number the stronger the suction and this is all that really matters when you are vacuuming out a vehicle. "
Quoting Brian Angelucci :
"I have the Hoover Supreme 2-tank system and this has proven to be a great tool for the past 8 years. Never broke down. One thing that helps is Ron's technique -- banging the carpet with a rubber mallet to dislodge the sand and dirt from their hiding places._________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Quoting Scott Perkin :
"To tell you the truth I think the Rigid brand of vacuum are the best pound for pound vacuum out there. I used to have 2 $800 nmatic brand vacuums with twin italian made motors that was very fancy and pretty powerful but it was 1. heavy as hell 2. had no drain so you had to take the vacuum apart to empty it 3. broke several times a year costing over $200 to fix each of the 2 motors. I finally got sick of fixing them so I bought a rigid to use as a backup and the rigid has NEVER broken in 2 years of HEAVY ABUSE! I was s amazed that I sold the numatics and bought 2 more rigids. I also have a new wet/dry central vacuum system being installed and the installer said if I wanted more power out of the rigid I could replace the motor with a central vacuum motor when they finally break. "


Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2022 11:59AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Pet Hair
May 01, 2014 09:48PM
Rubber pet hair brushes are sold in various departments at various stores .

In some cases, spraying distilled water on the carpet to neutralize any static cling and raking the hair out with your rubber gloves will work .

Lint rollers made by companies such as 3M are useful on pet hair too .

Some detailers pick out stubborn hairs one at a time if nothing else works .

The standard method is to brush and vacuum at the same time .

Quoting Adaircare : I have found that a pumice stone works great for hair removal, there are two types though, the best on i have found was from a pool cleaning company
they use it for cleaning the sides, but it work great for carpets and upolstery, litterly grabs the hair with almost no effort and it loosens small debris out of the carpet too, faster then any brush that i've used, the one from the pool cleaning service is denser and last longer, the standard one works great too but breaks up too easy,

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/2022 03:12PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Air Fresheners
May 31, 2014 09:24AM
Many motorists choose to hang a little pine tree or other solid air freshener in their cars . Others spray an odor -masking aerosol into the carpets . That is a matter of personal preference . Be cautious about liquid air fresheners, however, because some can damage interior materials .

Pro detailers face a different set of considerations when it comes to such products . The customer may dislike scents or may even be allergic to some chemicals . The safest course of action is to forego artificial scents and simply deliver the car " smelling clean " .

A used car being prepared for sale can be sprayed under the seats with a new car scent . These come in either a plasticy odor or a leather scent . AutoMagic offers such products .

Zaino Leather In A Bottle is a leather conditioner that contains leather extract , so it has a natural leather smell . It makes the car smell like a new Mercedes for about two weeks [www.zainostore.com]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2021 07:34PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Instrument Lenses
May 31, 2014 09:30AM
Use only microfiber towels on plastic lenses because even a soft brush can put micro-scratches into them . See YouTube videos by AmmoNYC , Chicago Auto Pros , Apex Detail etc. for more info .

Never spray any product directly onto instrument lenses, and keep compressed air away because you can blow dirt behind the lenses where it will become trapped .

Spray a little window cleaner that is safe for plastics on a soft cloth and wipe the lenses . Use swabs to reach any tough spots .

Weathered or scratched lenses can be compounded or polished with plastic cleaner and polish to restore them . [www.zainostore.com]

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2022 09:54AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Interior air vents
July 18, 2014 04:34AM
Avoid bending, and possibly breaking, the fragile plastic vent parts . Use some or all of the following procedure to get them dust free and clean :

1) Blast the vents with compressed air to blow dirt down into the vent and out . You can try an aerosol duster made for computer keyboards too.

2) Vacuum with a brush attachment or use a soft hand-held brush along with the vacuum cleaner . Some cosmetics brushes are made of soft natural bristles . Tape up any metal parts on the brush handle to avoid scratching surfaces .

3) Use swabs and an appropriate chemical or water to get into tight places . Move the vents and louvers to reach every part .

4) Finish up by adjusting the vents so they all point straight .

Editor's Note : Some detailers spray dressing into the vents . This might be a good idea if the vents are looking chauky from sun damage . Adams Polishes sells a special product for spraying vents and such .

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/28/2017 05:07PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Kick Panels
July 25, 2014 10:54PM
The vinyl kick panels get badly scuffed by shoes . Normal cleaning may not remove all of the marks . You'll want to have a stiff brush, towels and maybe sponges on hand .

The products to try, in order of harshness are :
Zaino LeatherSoft : [www.zainostore.com]
Griot's Garage Interior Cleaner
Windex Multi-task Orange
Meguiar's Heavy Duty Vinyl Cleaner
Simple Green all purpose cleaner
Mr. Clean Eraser
Rubbing compound and polish
( Caution : some of these products can degrade the surface . Use AYOR and use test spots as necessary ) .

After cleaning the kick panels, apply a water-based dressing such as Zaino Z-16 , Adam's Polishes VRT or one of AM's protectants .

NOTE : Used car dealers sometimes use lacquer thinner . This can do damage to the vinyl but they cover it up with dressing .

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2021 07:37PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Carpet ( and upholstery ) Cleaning
August 10, 2014 04:55PM
After the stain removal step, the carpets are ready for cleaning . The standard method is extraction and the more powerful the extractor, the better . Professional carpet cleaners have truck-mounted equipment that is phenomenal .

You can brush shampoo or another chemical into the carpet first and then extract . You may choose to extract with plain water or with a chemical solution . Some use Oxy Clean in their extractors .

There are steam vapor carpet cleaners available from companies such as Daimer .

You can friction clean with towels and then extract .

The important thing is to rinse out most of the chemicals so there isn't a soapy residue to attract dirt .

In rare cases, carpets are removed from the car and pressure washed .

Trapped moisture can breed mold , so always dry the interior thoroughly before closing the windows and thus cutting off ventilation . Utility heaters and air movers can speed the drying process .

As a final step, you can apply a stain fighter .

Auto Magic offers a good carpet shampoo . Some people have used Tide Laundry Detergent with success .

A quick and easy way to shampoo carpets that is used by some used car dealers is to brush Spray Nine into the carpets and then rub the carpets with damp towels and dry with a dry bath towel . This is not recommended but it does leave the carpets relatively dry so they dry quickly .

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2022 07:52AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Leather Trimmed Seats
October 19, 2014 03:31AM
Most leather seats are only leather where they contact the body , the rest of the seat being vinyl-covered . Most leather surfaces are coated with a plasticy protective material . The protective stuff isn't completely impermeable, so it is possible for leather conditioners to penetrate .

Some leather care products are not supposed to be used on vinyl. Some, such as Zaino Leather In A Bottle, are okay for vinyl as well as leather .

Use mild cleaners on leather when possible . Zaino Leathersoft and Griot's Interior Cleaner are both safe for leather as is Lexol's leather soap . Use only soft cloths and brushes to avoid scarring the leather .

Apply conditioner only after cleaning the leather to avoid trapping stains and dirt . I've used Meguiar's Medallion leather treatment , Griot's, Lexol and Zaino [www.zainostore.com] All performed well as far as I could tell .

Light colored leather may be darkened by conditioners .

Pro tip : Most leather conditioners are best applied in 2 or 3 thin coats instead of in one soaking coat .

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2021 07:38PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials :
October 19, 2014 08:43PM
( deleted )

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2017 05:53PM by Doug Delmont.
Re: Tutorials
February 14, 2015 06:21PM
Doug where you been, my friend. Long time I do not hear from you?

Did you know I had a heart attack on Sept 4, 2013 and was down and out, but CPR and a zapping brought me back.

All is good now. Exercising, eating healthy and taking my medicines.

How about you?

Bud Abraham
Tutorials : Carpet Drying
May 25, 2015 02:29AM
You can dry carpets and upholstery by running the car's heater with the rear windows open an inch or so and by setting a utility heater on the seat facing sideways . Professional air movers are sold for this purpose too .

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2022 07:06AM by Doug Delmont.
Re: Tutorials
May 28, 2015 03:16AM
I wrote to you after the heart attack scare . I'm still around but my posts were not being put up here . Are you still emailing ? Hope all's well .
Re: Tutorials
May 28, 2015 04:18AM

Seems nobody posts anymore

Re: Tutorials
May 30, 2015 03:14AM
Bud -
I had hoped that this " tutorials " thread experiment would spur interest in the forum . If it has, the software glitch that is erroneously holding the posts for a non-existant moderator has silenced everybody . Let's hope Paul can get to the bottom of it ...
Re: Tutorials
May 30, 2015 04:35AM
Currently working the issue. This is a test.
Re: Tutorials
May 30, 2015 04:56AM
I "think" I fixed the problem. If there are still moderation approval required responses, let me know.
Re: Tutorials
June 07, 2015 01:46AM
Hey Bud, glad to hear that you are ok. Ive had 2 heart attacks and I know how scary it can be.. And thanks Doug for getting the ball rolling again.
Tutorials : Interior Vinyl
June 07, 2015 09:28PM
Vinyl can take a lot of punishment . That's why it is used to make interior door panels, parts of seat trim and dashboards . Vinyl is not, however, impervious to harsh chemicals, so anything you use on it should be properly labeled and possibly even tested on a junked panel . You can avoid big problems by spot testing a chemical on an inconspicuous area of the vinyl too .
Avoid getting liquids into electric window switches and other controls .
Some pros steam-clean the vinyl .
I've had good luck cleaning vinyl with a towel and Windex Multi-Task Orange . Glass Plus doesn't seem to clean vinyl as well . Griot's Garage Interior Cleaner is mild but doesn't clean as aggressively as the other two .
Brush the cleaning product to make sure it gets down into the textured vinyl surface . Let it dwell and wipe with a clean dry towel . Some products may require rinsing .
Once the vinyl is clean and dry, apply dressing . I've had good luck with Zaino Leather In A Bottle and their Z-16 [www.zainostore.com]. I like Adams Polishes VRT and also . I like to stick with a water-based dressing just in case the fumes from a solvent might be harmful . Water-based dressings usually have a milky look to them while solvent-based products look clear .
Let the dressing dry with the windows down to avoid residues settling on the glass as the dressing dries and gasses .
To dress nooks and crannies, use professional swabs or cotton swabs from the drugstore .

PRO TIP : You may save time by dressing the interior and exterior in one big step, using one product to do it all . Some dressings are okay on leather as well .

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/2022 03:16PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Detailing Procedures
June 07, 2015 10:01PM
Here are some of the step-by-step procedures used by past forum members :

De-trash and Vacuum, Remove Stickers

Equipment : vacuum cleaner, carpet brush, trash can, pre-spotter chemical, razor blades, clear plastic bag ( for owner property ).

Remove exterior debris from hood surrounds, etc.
Remove trash
Brush and vacuum . Remove floor mats
Pre-spot carpet stains and agitate

Wash Bay

Remove spare tire. Pre-soak entire car with plain water ( includes engine )
Spray degreaser on all lower areas including lower half of door jambs, gas door and spray engine compartment. Agitate . Clean spare tire and tire compartment.
Rinse the degreaser and rotate the wheels to clean all areas
Apply soap with a wash mitt and rinse
Spray remaining bugs and tar, agitate and rinse
Dry the car with two cotton towels. Re-install spare tire .
Inspect .
Pressure wash floor mats if applicable


Start in passenger side front
Wipe headliner, visors, dash, glove box, passenger door
Clean passenger carpet and seat
Wipe passenger door jamb
Move to passenger side rear and clean that area same way
Move to driver side rear and clean
Move to driver side front and clean
Inspect. Use compound on bad scuffs .


Dress all vinyl and rubber inside and out including tires and engine compartment, wheel wells . Correct and coat discolored vinyl as needed. Undercoat wheel wells if applicable
Dress leather seats


Remove any wax residues from emblems, etc.
Clean windows and mirrors inside and out

Final Prep

Check to see that all interior surfaces are dry
Reinstall floor mats and trunk mats
Install temp floor covers
Inspect all work
Adjust and line up all vents, seats, visors, mirrors, switches etc.
Apply scent if applicable

From Stephen Britz :
* All cars whether they are new or used get a walk around inspection to check for damage, loose items, and to decide what work needs to be done.

Wet work/prepping the car for detailing is a very important part of your detail, a bad prep job will send you right back to the wash bay for a re-do.
This is where a detailers experience and knowledge of chemicals really pays off.

1. Shut off the vehicle, Make sure the vehicle is in a cool place and is cool to the touch, this includes the wheels.

2. Open all doors, take out the mats and place them where they will be cleaned, open gas hatch, trunk, hood.

3. Pre-spot the mats, Cover any items that should be covered before pressure washing. Wet down the surrounding area of the vehicle that will be degreased with wash soap and mitt or flooding with water. Then spray your degreaser under the hood, the engine compartment, door jams, gas hatch, trunk jam.

4. If using a hot water pressure washer, care should be taken not to burn the paint or other items such as wheel covers, rubber, and don't burn stickers off the paint. In most dealerships the mats can be dealt with in two ways; after pre-spotting, friction scrub with stiff carpet brush and carpet shampoo, then extract or after pre-spotting scrub with stiff carpet brush and carpet shampoo and pressure wash, then extract water and hang dry.

5. Cleaning wheels and tires; most professional detailing chemical companys have good tire and wheel cleaners that are safe for tires and wheels, since we are talking about used cars we are talking about a lot of different types (makes and models) of wheels and covers. It is important to understand the effect that certain types of cleaners have on these various wheels. Non-acid are the safest and depending on their formulation can produce the desired affect. Cleaners with acid are very intense and can do a very nice job in the right hands, but I will use the acid cleaner as a last resort in most cases.

6. At this point you can remove any unwanted stickers, and writing from painted, plastic, or glass surfaces using the appropriate tool for the job. Plastic razor blades, steel razor blades, and heat gun are common tools.

7. Exterior washing; if you found in the initial walk around inspection of the vehicle, the surfaces to be rough to the touch, there will be at least two steps here; first washing by hand thoroughly, and the other is claying the surface to remove contaminates not removed by hand washing and rinsing.

8. Next, dry car thoroughly and remove any road tar, tree sap, road paint etc. Also at this time you can dress the engine or leave it undressed depending on dealerships request. The dressing should be water-based, solvent-based dressings on the engine have a low flash point and can catch on fire.

1. Trunk area should be cleaned thoroughly; trunk jam wiped clean, under the trunk lid wiped cleaned and vacuumed where applicable, tools and spare tire removed, cleaned, and placed where they belong, any stains are to be removed from carpet, felt, other materials in the trunk.

2. Seating area; remove all garbage from vehicle in side pockets, under and between seats, dump ashtrays, clean glove box, with air blower and detailing brush blow out and clean all vents, while thoroughly vacuuming interior dry friction scrub the carpets and fabric to stand the pile and fabric up.

3. Clean headliner first working your way down to the carpet area. Use an appropriate cleaner on the headliner that will not loosen the thin adhesive
holding it in place. Great care should be taken here.

4. Next, clean vinyl/leather w/appropriate cleaner being careful not to spray it directly on the material where electronics are present. Unless you are working in an area like seating surfaces, etc. where the need of a scrub brush applies, spraying chemical on toweling, brushes, etc.

5. Cleaning carpets and upholstery; pre-spot carpet and seat stains with a pre-spotter for this purpose (not engine degreaser, window cleaner, etc.). After pre-spotter has had time to dwell, add friction scrub with stiff carpet brush and carpet shampoo, being careful not to use more shampoo than is actually needed, Then rinse the carpets and seats with an extractor. If this is done right, the interior should be slighty damp and residue free decreasing re-soiling and drying time.

6. Dressing vinyl/leather; do this before you clean the inside windows. If you do get some on the windows you only have to clean the windows once, instead of cleaning the windows twice if you start out cleaning the windows before dressings and get some on the window. Water-based dressings for vinyl, and a leather conditioner for leathers after cleaning. Dressings applied by means of an applicator instead of spraying them on the material directly are alot less messy and even more professional.

7. Windows; many used cars in a dealership will have aftermarket tinting and many will have factory tint, it is important to be mindful of this before attempting to clean the windows. Removing price stickers and other advertisements can end in disaster if you run a razor blade through the tinting. Also, certain window cleaners can do damage over time to the film tint. Roll all windows down when applicable to clean the tops of the windows that fit in between or sit outside the window seals.

8. Odor elimination cases of animal urine, cigarette smoke, mold and mildew, etc, can take up a considerable amount of the dealerships and detailers time to really eliminate the problem source. Tools such as a regimen of special chemicals, thermo-fogging equipment, Ozone generator other cleaning techniques may come in depending on the severity of the problem. This takes a highly skilled detailer to deal with these issues, there will be many.

1. During our first walk around inspection of the painted surface we got a pretty good idea of what needs to be done. Now that the surface has been washed, clayed, and is smooth we may see cob-webbing type scrathes, deep scratches that go through the clearcoat or even all the way through to the metal, light to medium scratches, clearcoat peeling, oxidation light/heavy, bird dropping etches, swirl marks, water-spotting, etc. There are many conditions than can occur. In many dealerships including ours the detailers simply do not have the time to create perfect finishes on all cars, the cars are simply made to look much better and clean. We do deal with certain issues on the surfaces as they come up per sale by the request of the customer. Some cars may only need a one step application such as a cleaner wax which cleans, waxes, makes the car look glossy, wipe off any residue and it's ready for the lot, some need the scratches cut out, surface polished, then waxed, some just need a good cleaning and wax application only, there are many variations of surface issues and there are products and pads for every situation. The goal is to keep the confidence level high so that the customer has a genuinely positive experience when in the process of purchasing a vehicle. The way the car looks is the first thing they see.

2. Masking/Taping trim pieces and moldings is a good way to protect yourself from damage to these parts, people will appreciate the time you take to protect their investment. Being a quality minded person means nothing if you do not implement it into every job you do. Choosing the proper pads and products for each job takes time and experience from an experienced detailer. For new people learning how to be a good detailer there is a lot to learn.

3. After paint correction, polishing/swirl removal, wax/paint seal you can begin dressing the tires and trim pieces as per vehicle. If I am going to apply a coat of wax over the entire car before wipe down, sometimes I will apply the exterior dressings first then wax. Any dressing you got on the painted surface will come off in the wipe down instead of waxing first, wiping down, then applying dressings which could get on the surfaces.

4. Outside windows cleaned, dealership plate frames.

5. Inspection by me of the entire detail with the detailer.

6. Inspection by General Sales Manager/Sales Manager at the time.

7. Placed on the lot accordingly.

From Steve Okun :

The first step is thoroughly washing the vehicle. Remove any tar, bugs, bird droppings, etc. get everything clean and dry.

Once done, you need to inspect the finish and determine what needs to be done. A basic tenet of detailing any vehicle is to use the least aggressive method to achieve your goal.

A good place to start is to clean the surface fallout with a clay bar and some spray lubricant such as a detailing spray. It allows the clay to work easier and prolongs the life of the clay. Clay only cleans stuff laying on top of the paint surface. It does not go into the finish to fix blemishes; only above-the-surface fallout covering the paint finish. Clay also works on glass, chrome, plastic, and hard rubber.

As a basic procedure that becomes almost second nature, pause every so often and inspect your performance. Evaluate the surface and see if what you're doing is working to deliver your desired result. If not, consider your options and scrutinize your choice of products. If you are buffing, evaluate which buffing pad and if you're disappointed with the results... change to a different pad. Not all pads are alike. As well, foam pads widely differ and are job-matched for specific tasks such as cutting, cleaning, polishing and finishing.

If the finish requires high-speed buffing, determine where you need to buff, because sometimes only the horizontal surfaces require buffing with a cleaner. If you don't need to buff, don't. Buffing with a high-speed buffer is a very aggressive step that requires skill and knowledge about speed, product compatibility, and performance.

If you do need to buff, use the least abrasive product needed to smooth the finish and bring out the desired shine. In most cases, you won't need compound... or even a cleaner. If you do, fine. If not, use a polish to bring up the shine. The shine actually comes from smoothing the finish.

Maybe you don't need to use a high-speed buffer. If so, consider either a D-A (dual-action) buffer or an orbital. They are much easier to use and even a novice can use one without risking damage... as long as you use the proper chemical product. Nothing very abrasive. Instead, a mild polish will probably do.

Once the desired shine is achieved, consider which protection product you'd like to use. As for hand-application or machine, consider this: machine application offers a more uniform application on large surfaces. All the other areas too tight and confined for a 5-to-6" D-A pad require hand-application of products. Buffers are quicker and easier... and actually offer a more uniform result because pressure and agitation is uniformly delivered while hand-application is not as consistent... simply because human beings are not machines and we press harder at our touch-points and lack the consistency of a machine.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/2022 03:34PM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Speed Secrets
June 07, 2015 10:16PM
Sometimes you can speed things up by :
1) Using a one-step wax product.
2) Wiping off the engine by hand instead of washing it.
3) NOT dressing the interior or engine unless the customer wants it done.
4) Packing your Interior Cleaning Kit in a tub, carry-all or bucket you take into the car with you so everything is at hand.
5) Making only one trip around the interior, wiping every panel and all glass as you go.
6) Using a powerful Shop Vac or Ridgid Shop Vacuum along with hand brushing and an attachment made for cars.
7) Claying while the car is wet so you only have to wipe it dry once ( note that this may decrease the life of clay ).
8) Applying wax with an orbital buffer and wiping it off with an orbital fitted with terry or micro bonnets. If you run out of bonnets, use a terry towel and catch it when it works its way out from under the buffer.
9) Using one product for all dressing and dressing everything at the same time so you reach for the bottle and towels only once.
10) Using a wax that is easy to work fast with by machine .
11) Laying all tools and supplies out on a cart in the order that they will be used .
12) Use long-handled tools such as mops, truck brushes , RV bug getters, squeegees etc. as appropriate . Cheap sponge mops are great for applying dressing to cladding on Jeeps and other such vehicles and can be used to apply some types of pure waxes to paint .
Another list from past threads :
1) Keeping spare spray bottles of chemical so you don't have to interrupt a detail when a bottle runs dry ; simply grab the spare.

2) Automated systems such as the Chemspence system .

3) Bud's recommendation to have everything laid out as in an operating room, so everything is at hand and in the order it will be used.

4) Trying to reduce the number of products needed. An example would be using one dressing for all vinyl and rubber-and maybe leather.

5) Using stong cleaners and degreasers that require little agitation.

6) Using a one-step wax.

7) Applying and buffing wax with an 11" orbital buffer.

8) Employing a vapor steam device.

9) Doing another task while wax dries, degreaser dwells etc.

10) Checking the work after each step because returning to the step later will be more time-consuming.

11) Using dressings that can be applied and left to dry ; not ones requiring multiple applications and wiping off of excess.

12) Use of a set procedure because repetition builds speed.

13) Vacuuming and air blasting thouroughly but extracting with a "once-over" to avoid soaked fabrics and long drying times.

14) Replacing filthy floor mats when necessary instead of cleaning them.

15) Assembling an interior cleaning kit to be carried into the car with you so you needn't reach back out for supplies.

16) Task Specific procedures, in which the process is done by tasks rather than by areas of the car. Examples include degreasing engine and wheel wells at the same time or dressing everything in one step.

17) Area Specific procedures in which you do every task in one area and move on.

18) An air-powered brush machine for carpet shampooing.

19) Grouping your products on the shelf by purpose instead of brand name.

Here is a list of tools that a well-equipped shop can use to turn out work quickly :
1) I include a stiff concrete brush here for getting mud out of truck wheel wells or for scrubbing filthy floor mats.

2) Drillbrush. I've since tried it on carpet stains and was impressed with its rugged construction and performance. The Drillbrush is is made of stiff bristles that should work well on tires but are too harsh for most wheels. Now I really must try the other drill-mounted tools. On another forum, someone said he cleans wheels with a drill by mounting a wooden stick and attaching microfiber towels to it with rubber bands.

3) A grout brush. These can be found at Home Depot and let you get dirt out from around seat track mounts and other tight areas.

4) Soft cosmetics brushes for fine dasboard dusting.

5) Natural-bristle paint brushes with the metal part taped to prevent scratching. These can be used for wheel-cleaning and interior dusting ( in conjunction with a vacuum cleaner ).

6) Plastic putty knife for general scraping.
Do something else while a product dwells or dries. No standing around.

If you shampoo early in the job, there is more time for the fabric to dry out by itself, reducing the need for a hair dryer and other time-consuming work.
Check each step after you complete it and correct whatever was missed.
You can't afford to find defects and stop what you are doing to correct them
constantly. Finish up with a quality control inspection at completion.

For greatest speed, try to touch everything only once and work in a linear fashion ; vacuuming carpets and mats from front to back. Apply wax sparingly so there is less to wipe off. Vacuum thoroughly so less shampooing is needed and wash thoroughly so you can wax without slowing down to remove tar etc.
Keep at it and your speed will grow. Make note of which operations are eating time ( wheels? removing wax residue from trim ? Stubborn spots ? ).
And never agree to do a car without inspecting it first !

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2017 01:14AM by Doug Delmont.
Tutorials : Products To Have Handy
June 07, 2015 10:30PM
Each of these product types is accompanied by an example :

1) Household window multi-surface cleaner ( Windex Multi-task Orange )
2) Auto Glass Cleaner ( Invisible Glass )
3) Ammonia ( Parson's Ammonia )
4) Glass polish ( Auto Glym Glass Polish )
5) Carpet Spot Remover ( L.A.'s Totally Awesome )
6) Carpet Shampoo ( AM Carpet Shampoo )
7) Special Stain Removal Kit
8) Car Wash Soap ( Meguiar's Soft Wash Gel )
9) Dish Washing Liquid ( Dawn Original )
10) De-waxer ( Griot's Paint Prep )
11) Dressings for vinyl/rubber/tires/engines/wheel wells ( Meguiar's #40 )
12) Plastic cleaners and polishes ( Plexus )
13) Metal Polishes ( Meguiar's All Metal Polish )
14) Chrome Polish ( Mother's )
15) Compounds and polishes ( Optimum, Zaino, Menzerna, 3M Ultra-Fine, Griot's Machine Polish #3 etc. )
16) Wax and cleaner/wax ( Zaino's Z-2, Z-5, Z-CS, Z-AIO ) [www.zainostore.com]
17) Clay ( Malm's Deracer, Zaino Clay Bar, AM )
18) Detailing Spray ( Griot's Speed Shine, Zaino Z-6 )
19) Bug and Tar Remover/adhesive removers ( Goo Gone )
20) Degreaser ( Mean Green etc. )
21) All Purpose Cleaners ( Spray Nine, Simple Green etc. )
22) Leather Dressing ( Griot's, Meguiar's Medallion, Zaino Leather In A Bottle )
23) Leather soap ( Lexol )
24) Fragrances ( AutoMagic )
25) Trim Restorer ( Forever Black )
26) Alcohol ( generic )
27) Heavy-Duty Vinyl Cleaner ( Meguiar's )
28) Interior Cleaner ( Griot's Garage )
29) Distilled water ( generic )
30) Lubricant for door latches ( Siloo white grease )
31) Undercarriage Dressing : ( Adams Polishes, Griot's ) .
32 ) Interior Cleaner ( Griot's )
33) Exhaust System Paint
34) Touch-up paint / primer
35 ) Dish soap ( Dawn, Palmolive ) for wheels and de-waxing
36 ) Rubbing alcohol .
37 ) Odor Eliminator ( Meguiar's )
38) Undercoating
39) Stain Guard
40) Quick spray wax product ( Zaino Clear Seal )
41) Gloss Enhancer ( Zaino Grand Finale )
42 ) Special Interior Detailer ( Adam's Total Interior Detailer )
43 ) Odor Neutraizer ( Adam's, )
44) HD Interior Glass Cleaner ( Adam's Brilliant Glaze )
45) Vinegar
46) Rubbing Alcohol
47) WD-40
48) Touch-up paint
49) Undercoating spray
50) Spray paints ( Clearcoat, Flat black etc. )

Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2021 07:43PM by Doug Delmont.
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