FAQ of Car Wash & Auto Detailing

This terminology is a work in progress to help out customers better understand the steps, procedures, and terminology behind auto detailing. This is intended to help our customers understand the work that goes into each and every detail of service.

1 Step Cleaner Wax – A cleaner wax or all in 1 has 3 different jobs to do. When doing an all-in-one there are pros and cons. Firstly, you can only put so much product into 1. What tends to happen is you have little benefit from each and the end result ends up being fair, but nowhere near the results of doing what is referred to as a 3-step paint correction process. Since the amount of product that can be placed into these types of products is limited, so is the wax protection that is applied to the paint’s surface.

2 Step Process – When using a 2-step process you obtain a better result than a 1-step process. There is a polishing step to eliminate mild artifacts and blemishes. Once this has been achieved a pure wax or polymer sealant can be applied to the paint surface giving it maximum protection over 1 step.

3-Step Process – This is the ultimate way to achieve an amazing swirl-free finish and remove scratches and holograms from the paint surface. First, a compound is applied to remove the largest blemishes. 2nd a polish is applied to remove any hairlines or mild blemishes that the compound wasn’t able to remove. Then a pure wax, polymer sealant, or ceramic coating can be applied to offer good durability and protection to the corrected surface.

All Purpose Cleaner – All-purpose cleaner or AP is known in the auto detailing industry to clean marks, stains, and other dirt and grime from many surface types.

Car Wash – The process of washing the exterior of a vehicle’s painted surface and undercarriage. This removes light surface foreign materials. It will not remove embedded

Carpet Extraction – Carpet and upholstery cleaning is often completed with a piece of equipment called an extractor. Not many autos detailing facilities have an extractor due to the upfront cost. They are expensive and they need 2 dedicated 20-amp circuits to run correctly. If there are no dedicated circuits then the breakers will overheat and blow. This is why we are unable to complete mobile details. Our equipment needs heavy-duty electrical service in order to run correctly.

Ceramic Coatings – Ceramic coating is a durable coating that helps to make cleaning vehicles easier. It is not a coating to prevent a vehicle from getting dirty.

Compound – A compound is designed to get heavier imperfections and or artifacts removed from a painted or clear coat surface. Compounds are similar to sandpaper grits and have various aggressive properties to them.

Diminishing Abrasives – A diminishing abrasive is a compound that starts out aggressive, but as it begins to break down as it works into the finish it begins to polish the surface. These materials are great in getting heavy blemishes out and then polishing out the lines of the compound to reduce caking of the material once it’s been used. In some cases, it can save additional time on polishing as the material can continue to work the surface after it has completed its purpose.

Express Car Wash – An express car wash is like your fast food of car washes. Typically, it lacks initial prepping of the vehicle in difficult areas. There are many areas that the car wash tunnel equipment just can’t clean effectively. These areas are left untouched in a typical express exterior car wash.

Full-Service Car Wash – A full-service car wash is like a fine dining establishment. The process of cleaning a customer’s vehicle is much more complex and requires more labor to clean not only the exterior but also the interior of the vehicle. The process typically includes blowing out the interior and in between cracks, crevices, buttons, cup holders, and in between and under the seats to assure reaching more areas. This allows the vehicle to be cleaned better and more efficiently.

Interior Upholstery Cleaning –

Paint Correction – There are multiple steps to paint correction. Untouched, leveling with a compound, Polishing, Finishing. In order to correctly paint correct a vehicle, we must use wet sandpaper on many areas with blemishes and or artifacts. The wet sandpaper can remove dust particles, orange peel or other artifacts that could have been left from the actual paint process. Wet sanding is also used to take out blemishes and scratches that could have occurred from daily wear and tear. After this process is completed, we move to the 3-step process to get a showroom-like finish. Typically, when doing full paint correction many will opt to ceramic coat the vehicle for maximum durability and shine.

Physical Decontamination –

Polish – A polish is designed to remove light imperfections from a vehicle’s painted surface. Polish is completed after a compounding process is completed if it were needed.

Polymer Sealants – A nano polymer is synthetic type sealant material that is applied to the painted surface to give protection. There are many technological advances in polymer sealants that make them more durable than traditional-style waxes.

Roll Over Automatic Car Wash – These washes are typically seen at gas stations. The customer pulls in and the car wash rolls over the vehicle to wash it. Inherently they are not maintained as well as tunnel wash is maintained as the owner is typically not on site and cannot offer the same service levels to customers when they are not present. If there’s an issue you must call a phone number and work things out over the phone.

Scratches, Swirls, Holograms, Spider Webs –

Synthetic Sealants –

Tire Shine – Tire shine is used as a visual enhancer to shine the exterior of a rubber tire and give a visual enhancement that the tire appears to be a gloss black. There are a few different types of tire shine. It is water-based with silicone, there are solvent-based heptane dressings and also plant-based dressings that are fairly new to the market. At Kings Car Wash we have decided to use a water-based silicone dressing for a couple of reasons. Typically, the solvent-based dressings look very good. The problem is with repeated use over time the solvent begins to prematurely dry rot the rubber tires. The water-based tire shine with silicones does not do this.

Wax – A carnauba-based material that is applied to the vehicle’s finish. Offers protection from the elements. Waxes are no longer as durable as Polymer Sealants or Ceramic Coatings.

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