Freaky Details

Detailing is not a job for the Faint Hearted

Halloween is just around the corner, and October is a month for frights and all things peculiar.  Some people indulge in haunted houses or horror movies to get their fill of spooky things, and everyone can expect to hear a scary story one way or another.

At Onsite Detail, however, the strange side of things doesn’t end on November 1st.  Cars need to be detailed all year long, and so we’ve experienced freaky things that to this day are fun to share. Here are a few of our favorites!

What’s Living In Your Car?

Rodent in Car

One of our detailers shared a time when they were assigned an Interior Detail.  Upon opening the driver’s side door, they were greeted by a dead mouse. Not just a dead mouse, mind you, but one that had been there long enough to rot and stick to the carpet.  The further they cleaned, the more they found mice, both dead and alive! Yuck! We highly recommend having an exterminator out before hiring any detailer in this case because just cleaning may not fix the problem.

Apparently it’s not too uncommon to find rodents and other creatures living in a vehicle.  Another detailer shared how they have had to deal with cars that had wasp nests. They expressed how it was especially tricky because they weren’t informed of the nest and were therefore ill-equipped to handle it.  The job was done, but only after a few stings.

Not all vehicles with things living in them have been infested, however.  A couple of detailers went to deep clean a boat, but the owner had forgotten to mention a cat lived in it. They had an amusing time working their way around the curious feline.  

Of course, that only accounts for the living critters.  One detailer was sent to do an Interior Detail and Engine Detail. The owner had mentioned the car was not starting and asked if it could be jump started.  Upon opening the hood the problem was found. They pulled out… a dead squirrel that had managed to electrocute itself between the battery posts. The engine worked fine after that.

Oh That’s Gross!

As with all jobs requiring cleaning, there are the nasty jobs that go beyond clutter and a layer of dirt or pet hair.  When I get calls as the main scheduler some people are shy about how dirty their car is and worry we will judge them for it.  So believe me when I say we have seen some disgusting cars, and yours is likely not one of them.

A few weeks ago one detailer was sent to do some Interior Detailing and came back looking horrified.  When we asked how it went he explained how garbage had been forgotten in the car so long maggots had appeared.  Eww!

Another detailer told of when they had to clean chili off the car floor that had been there a long time but remained liquid.  The owner had continued driving the car for awhile so the movement had caused it to spread even to the sliding passenger doors.  The smell and the texture were the worst parts. As he shared, another recalled when he found a rotten watermelon, or what was left of it, in the trunk of the car that had been there for months over a Utah summer.  He said you could smell it from a few yards away!

Cleaning out cup holders can yield interesting results, from forgotten kid’s snacks to spilled drinks.  However, one detailer topped everyone by sharing when he found vomit in a cupholder. I hope he was tipped well for that one!

How Did That Happen?

As much as we tend to prefer normalcy at times, sometimes life just happens and we get unusual human experiences.  Every so often we get a detail job that may seem by-the-book but has a story behind it that makes it memorable.

 come clean a car right away, as his wife had just had her baby inside the car mere hours before!  What made it unfortunate outside of our not being able to schedule it was that he had insisted on driving his nice new car to the hospital instead of their older, more beat-up vehicle.  At least the baby was delivered in style?


One story came not from a detailer, but from our accounting person.  She shared how she got a call from someone asking if we could

A detailer told me once about how he was cleaning a car out as normal for a gentleman who said it was his sister’s car.  Part way through the job, an older woman approached him and asked if he knew what had happened to the driver. When the detailer said no, the woman explained it was her daughter’s, but her daughter had just been murdered a few weeks before.  The detailer explained  that and the job felt much more creepy, but he did his best to make the car especially nice-looking.

gun in car


This one comes from a call I received and partly mentioned in the blog Top 5 Reasons People Get Their Car Detailed.  A client 

called and explained she wanted her car thoroughly cleaned and revealed it had recently been stolen. It felt unsafe for her to drive until she had it cleaned completely.  Thankfully our Full Combo Detail did the job and she was driving in it again by the next day, but knowing it was once a stolen vehicle was scary!

The final story in this category was shared from a detail job we at Onsite Detail didn’t receive, but one of our detailers experienced before working here at a different job.  They were asked to clean a vehicle and to not worry about the middle compartments, as there was a gun in it for drive bys. It was laughed off as a joke until the detailer did in fact lift the middle compartment and found a gun, just as explained.  He said he closed the compartment and left it alone without saying anything else.


Despite the extra-gross or extra-creepy things our detailers have experienced, they come in everyday ready to work and do their best.  When collecting the stories for this blog I made sure to express how much I appreciated what they did, it sure makes my scheduling work seem much nicer!  If you make an appointment with us, don’t you worry if your car is too bad off, because believe me, we have seen it all!

by Miranda Hughes, Onsite Detail

5 Reasons to Keep Your Car Clean and Detailed

What are the Top 5 Reasons to Keep Your Car Clean?


According to a study done by the Harvard Health Watch, the average American spends 101 minutes per day driving. That means that in a lifetime, an average Joe spends a whopping 37,935 hours driving a car (assuming that s/he starts driving at 17 and drives until 78.7 years old). That is nearly 2 hours a day spent in a vehicle for the average American. If you’re driving around in a germ infested vehicle, it could be harmful to not only you but also people you care about. Getting your vehicle professionally detailed and keeping up with regular cleanings will drastically reduce the harmful germs that could be getting comfortable in your vehicle. If you want to clean it yourself that is definitely an option. I would suggest getting a carefully sought out professional detail. With the healthy and productive mix of proper training, effective but safe chemicals, and high-powered and hard-hitting equipment, most harmful germs will be eliminated. Not just covered up, but removed from the car completely.


This is probably the main reason people want to get their car detailed. It’s always been my belief that a clean car runs better. I’m not going to tell you whether that’s completely true or not. You have the information now so do with it what you must. Having a nice and clean looking car does a lot for piece of mind and confidence. It’s like all those studies that tell you how successful people make their beds everyday. Having a car that you take care of and clean will not just be beneficial to the car but to you personally. It will also eliminate embarrassment. If you’ve ever been criticized or self-conscience about how dirty your car is you know what I’m talking about, you know who you are. I think everyone at one time or another has had to deal with that.


I don’t know what would be worse… an dirty appearance or an unpleasant odor. Appearances can be changed but odors and smells can be a little tougher to eliminate. Especially the longer you wait to try and take care of them. A story about a bad car smell that happened to me personally, er…I mean, a friend of mine… My friend had bought a gallon of chocolate milk for a get-together at a friend’s house and had taken everything into the house except the chocolate milk, which had been locked in the trunk. Weeks went by and a smell started to become worse as the days went by. Keep in mind this is the middle of the summer. 3 to 4 weeks later my friend opened his trunk and was met with the harsh reality of his brief stupidity. By that time, rotting milk had expanded and soaked the carpet of the trunk and the smell had nearly been absorbed into all the fabric of the car. Some good things came from this experience. One of them is that my friend hasn’t done anything that dumb since then but also learned that a good detail job can eliminate smells. Smells (or the bacteria causing the odors) can be extracted from fabrics and carpet if smells haven’t had much time settle into the material. There are other odor removal products such as Odor Bombs or ozone machines as well that help get into every crack and crevice of the vehicle to kill and eliminate the cause of the odor as opposed to just masking it with a fragrance. Smokers cars are the toughest but it CAN BE DONE. In some cases it can be a 3 to 4 days process but it can be done through a combination of the mentioned processes.


If you talk to any good realtor, they will tell you that a house and yard that have been taken care of, flipped, or updated, has a much better chance of selling at a good price than a house that hasn’t been. They will also tell you that putting a couple thousand into the landscaping, yard, or a renovating/flipping project inside the house will increase the value by a few thousand more. In some cases can increase the value by tens of thousands. Putting effort into taking care of things and places that are a big part of your life will pay off in the long run. Namely your house and your car. Although you’ll also need to keep up with oil changes and many mechanical issues that may arise with your vehicle. Keeping it clean will add the appeal and also tell people that if you’ve taken care of the cleanliness of your car, you’ve most likely taken care of the mechanical things that aren’t as visual. Keeping up with the smell and appearance will make selling your vehicle a piece of cake when that time comes.


This one speaks for itself. It can be difficult to find the time and money to detail and maintain cleanliness with your vehicle. Especially if it’s a family vehicle. Family vehicles will usually be bigger and be more expensive to detail. Minivans, SUVs, mid-sized SUVs, large trucks, etc. My wife and I have a small SUV that is her car but it is our road trip car. Also the car that we run errands in. My wife also uses it for work daily driving anywhere from 1 to 3 hours a day. We also have a newborn and a dog that minimally sheds. It’s not as much of a challenge for us as it will be eventually but that’s the vehicle we really try to keep up on with mechanical and detailing. As much of a challenge as that can be, it is extremely rewarding to have the vehicle that we spend all of our time on the road together in, is clean and runs well.

Some surveys suggest that a clean car makes us feel happier and three out of four drivers say a spotless car makes them feel better about themselves. If this is true then why would you not want those you care about to have a freshly detailed car as often as possible?


For those of you that struggle buying gifts or have someone that is tough to buy gifts for, we sell gift certificates. Anyone will appreciate a clean vehicle as a gift. Whether you want to pay for a whole service or a portion of a service, we can help you out. We sell them year round and the holidays are always a good time of year to buy them. Let us know how we can help you.

by Andy Stallings, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail

Top 5 Reasons People Get Their Car Detailed

Why Do Most People Get Their Car Detailed

As the main scheduler, I get to communicate with a variety of people who want to schedule a detail service with Onsite Detail.  I get everything from someone wanting the most basic of services to people who need the entire day to get their cars, RVs, boats, motorcycles, and/or airplanes cleaned and protected down to the smallest detail.  It’s not just the services that are so diverse, but also the reasons behind those services. From personal experience, here are the top five reasons people call to get on our schedule to get their car detailed!

1. They’re Selling the Car

A common reason we receive calls is someone is simply looking to sell their vehicle.  A detailed car will not only increase the value of the vehicle but it will help it sell much faster too. Anyone who has bought or sold a car knows it’s a long process with paperwork, scheduling visits, and talking to banks.  Why add to the stress of it when you can have someone else do the detailing?

Our services can deep clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle and make it almost like great, even if it hasn’t been the most well-maintained.  We can also help clean engines so they shine for the buyer and buff out those scratches and oxidation on the paint to make it shine again. Whatever you need cleaned before you sell, we can almost certainly do the job!

2. They Just Don’t Have the Time

We live in a busy age.  It’s uncommon to see someone who has all the time in the world anymore.  So when I make an appointment for someone who says they just don’t have the time, we totally understand!  One of my personal favorites from this is a call I got where someone needed their vehicle cleaned for their friend’s wedding the very next day.  Talk about rushed!

When I say they don’t have the time, I mean all sorts of things.  I mean people whose jobs have them working overnights, to parents with four kids, to people with conditions that make it so they cannot work on their vehicle as they’d like.  Our two or three hour job would be an entire day or more for them. We are more than happy to come to you and detail your car and help keep it clean and protected, even if it’s just because you don’t feel like doing it.  It’s a unique way of treating yourself. Speaking of treating…

3. It Makes A Great Gift

Car Detailing Gift Certificate - Onsite Detail in Sandy, Utah

Detailing a car has lots of uses.  It can help prevent long-term wear and tear like rust, deal with scratches or oxidation, and make the car owner feel like a champion.  It makes me smile when someone explains they want a car detailed that belongs to their spouse, kid, parent, or friend. Some people are hard to buy for, but if they have a car, then you have a gift idea!

My own grandparents, who are hard to find gifts for because they simply don’t need much in terms of material items, were ecstatic when I got their car detailed for them.  It was by no means filthy, but it hadn’t been deep-cleaned in months due to their old age and busy schedules. Other family members were even a little envious because they wanted their cars cleaned too!  So I can tell you from personal experience that scheduling a car detail from the pros is a great gift idea, and at Onsite Detail we even sell gift cards to make that even more fun! Keep it in mind, the holiday season is coming up very soon.

4. They Need a Professional Detailer

Some detailing jobs are too complicated for the average car owner to deal with on their own.  For example, swirl marks, over spray, hard water spots, oxidizing paint, ceramic coatings, or sticky substances like tar and tree sap need an expert to get it cleaned up properly.

When these people call in, I’m always eager to get them on the schedule right away.  Our detailers are trained to take care of the tougher jobs and use the best techniques, products and equipment around to do so. We love seeing a car in rough shape be cleared of its “ailments” and don’t shy away from the harder jobs.  Instead of risking time, money, and potentially making things worse trying to “DIY” it, you can call us to have some peace of mind while we take care of your vehicle.  We even do the big ones like RVs and boats!

Our pricing for some of these are based on how long it takes, such as our Buffing and Polishing being $75 per man hour.  If you want to figure out how long it’ll be, you can send photos of the vehicle to our phone number or email so we can give a better estimate!

5. It’s Personal

Every so often I get a call that part way through throws me off guard for a second.  One such call was because their car had been stolen and recently returned, but the trauma of it made it uncomfortable to drive until it’d been thoroughly cleaned.  Another was someone had been diagnosed with a condition that would need treatment that would kill their immune system, so they needed the car cleaned thoroughly to make sure they wouldn’t risk their health.  They were willing to share this with me, despite not knowing who I was beyond “the schedule person,” and so I was able to communicate more thoroughly what they needed so we did the right job.

These are probably the most rare cases I get, but I treat them just the same as anyone else.  Some people don’t share the reason for getting their car detailed, which I certainly don’t need in order to schedule them.  However, that doesn’t mean the reason for it isn’t deeper than a simple “I want it looking nice.” Part of why I love working at Onsite Detail is because we are a small business so we can treat each person like a person instead of a number, and I keep that in mind whenever I get a new call, email, or text.  

Whatever your reason for getting your car detailed, we at Onsite Detail are more than happy to help!  From simple to complicated jobs, personal to business reasons, we can be there. Click here to schedule an appointment today!

by Miranda Hughes, Onsite Detail

Removing Tar, Sap and Bugs Before Winter Hits

How to Properly Remove Tar, Sap and Bugs from Your Car

Winter Prep

It’s getting to be cooler in Utah, which means getting your car ready for winter.  Snow tires, antifreeze, and battery checks are important parts of this process, but here at Onsite Detail we want to suggest getting other things taken care of that you might not have thought of before.

Tree Sap on Car Paint

Tree Sap on Car Paint

Tree sap, bugs, and tar are a pain to deal with when it gets on your car.  In the short term, it’s unsightly, sticky, and obnoxious. In the long run, it can solidify and do damage to paint, finish, and clear coats. If we allow these contaminants to remain on our vehicle’s surfaces throughout the winter we may find the damage they have caused is irreparable.  Most of us can try to prevent getting sap on our cars simply by avoiding trees, but Utah’s nature and our tendency to park in the shade can make this tricky to avoid.  Warmer weather brings bugs that hit and over time damage your car, and tar can be kicked up from construction or an unlucky encounter with a construction vehicle.  No matter how careful we are, there’s always a chance you will encounter these particular messes.

Removing the Contaminants

You might be thinking to yourself, “wow, I have one of those on my car now, I should get it off.”  That is a good way of thinking, especially since the chances of damage or staining goes up the longer it is there.  A simple Google search can lead you to all sorts of how-to’s for getting rid of these substances yourself. It may seem easy, but if you’re not a hundred percent sure you know what to do, you can potentially cause more severe damage than the contaminant itself could.  Getting the right chemicals, finding the time, and gaining the knowledge exactly what to do without doing damage yourself is a big hassle with a good-sized risk. Paint damage is expensive to get repaired properly and it makes you feel worse when you did the damage yourself.

Tar on Car Paint Before

Tar on Car Paint Before

Clean Car Paint After

Clean Car Paint After

We, at Onsite Detail, try to make this process easier for you.  While the majority of our auto detailing services have a fixed cost, removing sap and tar comes at a separate cost of $75 per man hour.  While we can’t give a perfect estimate, you can send photos of the contaminants to our email or text them to us at 801-412-9274.  You can also talk to the detailer in advance, as they can tell you how long they think it will take and discuss your needs/budget with you.  Rather than sink more money into chemical products you may never use again and risk an expensive paint repair job, you can leave it to us to help you with these hazards!

That’s all well and good, but what about bugs?  Glad you asked! Whenever you schedule an Exterior DetailOnsite VIP Detail or any service that comes with a full exterior hand wash it includes taking care of any bugs on the car.  We utilize products that help with that specifically so you get the care your car deserves. We can make sure they’re cleared off, unlike running it through a car wash that may or may not get the tough bugs off.

DIYers Beware

If you are really into the idea of doing the job yourself, more power to you!  Just remember to take time and make sure you’re using the right stuff to minimize the damage.  We will provide a small list of things to not use, based on what we have seen others that have tried and failed and called Onsite Detail to the rescue.  Please do not use the following to try and remove tar, sap, hardwater spots, overspray, bugs or any other contaminant from your vehicle’s surface:

Scratches from Brillo Pad

Scratches from Brillo Pad

  • Brillo pads
  • Magic Erasers (especially the heavy duty ones)
  • Razor blades of any kind
  • Steel Wool
  • Stiff bristled brushes
  • Hair dryers or heat guns
  • Brushes not made for auto detailing
  • Any harsh chemicals not designed for auto detailing (read your labels!)

Take Care of Your Vehicle

We encourage you to take care of your vehicles, because they do a lot of work for you. Whether this means taking its care into your own hands or getting in touch with professionals, it’s always a good idea to keep up on even the small and sticky annoyances because they can quickly become bigger issues.

Contact us, here at Onsite Detail for your vehicle detailing needs before winter really hits!  It will not only make your car look better, but will prevent long-term damage and staining. No matter what, you’ll be glad you did it!

by Miranda Hughes, Onsite Detail

5 Myths About Detailing

The Top 5 Detailing Myths You Need to Know

Myth #1 A Shiny Car Is A Clean Car

This myths about detailing is an easy one to debunk. You can check this yourself after washing your car. By running your hand or fingers over the paint you may still be able to feel small imperfections and contaminants that have embedded themselves into the clear coat of your car. No need to panic as this is rather common, especially with vehicles that are driven regularly. To get rid of those small imperfections and particles we prefer a clay bar treatment. Contrary to another myth, you do not have to be a professional detailer to use a clay bar, although you do need to educate yourself before attempting the process. A very important thing to remember is to keep the paint lubricated for the clay bar to avoid marring of the paint. There are many different types of lubricants that can be used. We use a showroom gloss water-less wash to keep the surface wet long enough to keep the clay bar moving along the surface of the paint while picking up contaminants. Be sure to rinse off the clay bar between every use and store in an airtight zip-lock bag or container.

Quick tip: Performing a clay bar treatment before paint correction will help produce amazing results.

Myth #2 Old T-Shirts, Diapers, or Flannel Cloths Are Best for Detailing

If you’re cleaning your car regularly, good for you! If you’re using old t-shirts or diapers, shame on you! You’re not in trouble but it’s time to make a change. Investing in some quality microfiber rags is the best option for most interior and exterior tasks in detailing. Diaper and shirt “cloths” most commonly have cotton in the material that can scratch and cause swirls in the clear coat of your car. These “cloths” also do not lift dirt very well from the surface of the paint but rather push and or drag the dirt across the clear coat that can cause micro-scratches and swirls as well. The same is true on the interior, they will just spread the grease and dirt around and not really lift and/or absorb all that gunk you want removed. Microfiber rags will absorb and clean best with any type of detailing job you need done. At Onsite Detail, we don’t use anything but microfiber cloths. We also care for them properly and wash them correctly after every use.

Quick tip: Make sure to check rags well and make sure there is nothing stuck in the fibers of the cloth that could potentially scratch before each use.

Myth #3 Dish Soap Is the Best for Washing Cars

So I have good news and bad news! I’ll give you the good news first. Sorry if you wanted the bad first but for the sake of my argument I need to give you the good news first. Washing with dish soap does get  your vehicle clean but it will strip most waxes and sealants off the paint’s surface. Now you need to re-wax your vehicle. I guess if that was your goal all along it would work but if you wash your car weekly you would be removing the wax or sealant long before it would wear off, essentially wasting money and defeating the effectiveness of the wax or sealant. Most waxes will last for 2 to 3 months. Most sealants will last 2 to 6 months. Dish soaps are designed to remove oils, grease, and many substances which include chemicals that are found in wax, polymers, and silicone. This means some dish soaps can prematurely dry out exterior plastics and rubbers and cause premature oxidation. The best option for car wash soap is a soap that is pH balanced and has glossing conditioners and specially formulated for vehicle washing. So a good car wash soap will clean your car and not take off the finishing protection that may have taken hours of work to apply.

Quick tip: If you have ceramic coated vehicle avoid using car wash soaps that have a wax or sealant additive.

Myth #4 Waxing Is All You Need To Do To Remove Swirl Marks

How nice would this be? Unfortunately it takes much more to correct the swirls and scratches than a layer of wax. Sometimes a wax or glaze can temporarily hide small imperfections but is does not correct the problem. Paint correction is one of the things that you need to have done professionally. To completely or mostly eliminate swirls and minor scratches can be a 3 to 4 step process. With deeper scratches and scuff marks, this process can start with wet sanding. Wet sanding requires a proper sand pad with very small grit made for working on automotive paint. It also requires keeping the surface lubricated to avoid being too aggressive and causing irreparable damage. I would recommend the same surface gloss that I mentioned previously with using the clay bar. Having a well lit shop or garage with LED lights will help the imperfections be more visible than they would be outside or in bad lighting. Depending on the severity of the scuffs we can determine the correct pad and the appropriate amount of pressure to apply or not to certain areas. This is why when it comes to doing this, you would want to make sure you know what you’re doing or  who does. Wet sanding does not always need to be done and rarely needs to be done to the whole car. The most common areas for wet sanding will be the hood, roof, and trunk area.

When wet sanding is complete, you will notice a lighter complexion to your paint but an extremely smooth surface that you’ll be able to feel the difference in before you wet sanded. Next step is to bring back the glossy, mirror-like shine. Many of the swirls and minor scratches will be eliminated but this may still only be the first step of 4. Your vehicle is now ready for buffing, polishing and waxing. Yes, they are all separate and require different products with less and less grit as you go. Finally finishing with a wax or sealant to protect your newly buffed and polished paint/clear coat. Again I reiterate please have this done professionally! This is something you don’t want to get into and figure out the hard way that you’re in over your head.

Quick tip: The best way to keep your car scratch and swirl mark free is to not get them in the first place. Make sure you use the correct techniques and procedures when caring for you car, especially washing.

Myth #5 Electric Machines Are Damaging To Your Vehicle’s Paint

This myth is could potentially be true… or partly true. In the wrong hands someone could probably do more damage than good with a rotary buffer or DA polisher but with the right machine and proper training someone can correct a lot of damage that has been done to the clear coat. Car paint is made to survive some pretty harsh conditions: rain, windstorms, sun, and other elements but those things among others will slowly and continually “beat up” the clear coat. To correct the paint imperfections when possible you need a machine. I prefer an oscillating or DA polisher machine. Although it’s an easy machine to learn (for most detailers), experience, skill and technique still play a vital role in being able to successfully eliminate swirls and scratches.

Quick tip: A professional detailer will be able to help determine what type of correction (if any) your vehicle needs according to what results you are looking for. At Onsite Detail you can text or email photos in and get recommendations on what course of action should be taken.

Final Thoughts

There are many myths, rumors and misconceptions that go around about detailing, many of which are/were marketing gone wrong or old techniques people did before they knew better. If there are any questions or concerns feel free to contact us and we can do our best to help you out and get your questions answered.

by Andy Stallings, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail