Is car wax dead?

With the invention of ceramic coatings as a far superior protection for a vehicle’s exterior surfaces some have said, “Wax is dead.” Is car wax dead? While I do not disagree that a ceramic coating is the absolute best protection for one’s vehicle, I do disagree that waxing a vehicle is a “dead” practice.

Brief history of Car Wax

Waxing a vehicle is almost as old as the horse and buggy. “Waxing” was first developed in the early 1800s by using animal fats to shine up carriages. As the years went on people starting using natural waxes such as vegetable wax, beeswax, and oils, as well as other synthetic things to shine and protect vehicles services. Today’s car waxes are a formulation of blended waxes, oils, and solvents which can include crude oil distillates, ethanol, mineral spirits, petroleum, and more. A step up from many waxes you find paint sealants. Many paint sealants are made up of fully synthetic longer lasting, more durable materials than natural waxes. The technology for waxes and paint sealants has come a long way and both can be great options to keep a vehicle’s paint and other surfaces protected from the elements.

Car Protection

Car wax or sealant is not a permanent solution to protect a car. Most car wax will last anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. Most sealants will last 3 to 6 months. Some claim to last up to a year. Obviously this depends greatly on what the wax or sealant goes up against. Depending on where your vehicle spends most of its time and how its cared for will enhance or reduce the durability of a wax and sealant.

The pluses of waxes and sealants are that they are layerable, meaning you can put multiple coats of wax or sealant and layer right on top of each other. You can apply them each time you wash your car if you want.

Car Wax with foam applicator

A newer product to the market is the invention of ceramic sprays. These tend to be more like sealants and less like an actual ceramic coating. To be honest I think the use of the word “ceramic” is more of a marketing ploy playing off of the success of coatings.

Vehicle ceramic coatings have been extremely popular and have changed the detailing world. Truth be told there are various forms of ceramic coatings using Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) and Silicon Carbide (SiC). The biggest distinction between the two is that SiC based coatings chemically bond to the paint. Silicon Carbide forms during this bonding process. It cross links with the vehicle’s clear coat and then remains this way for the life of the paint. With SiO2 coatings, many times referred to as glass coatings or quartz coatings, are made up of nano-particles of Silicon Dioxide suspended in a resin. Some SiO2 coatings are helped by regular application of toppers.

Cost vs. Benefit

So when it comes to making a decision on what is the best choice to protect your vehicle, there are various factors that should be considered.

1. Budget

This is a big factor to consider. Only you know (or you should know) if your budget does or does not allow (all at once) for a complete paint restoration service and ceramic coating installation to be done on your vehicle. If it does not you’re better off going with the wax or sealant applied regularly. That way you don’t break the bank. But if you can afford it then getting a ceramic coating installed may be one of the best things you can do for your vehicle’s protection.

2. Age and Condition of Paint

Another thing to consider is the age, condition and type of paint you have on your vehicle. If your paint is past the point of no return, as in you already have clear coat failure or so many rock chips it now looks spotted, you probably would be better to not worry about a ceramic coating because the paint is already so damaged that a coating will only be protecting ruined paint and bare surfaces.

Now if you have a new vehicle that you really want to keep it top shape a full paint correction and ceramic coating is absolutely the way to go. New paint and clear coat are going to need protection and why not give it the best.

3. Vehicle Use

Is your car an old daily driver that is only meant to get you from point a to b or do you have a luxury vehicle that makes smile as you walk up to it and see it shine. Honestly we have installed ceramic coatings on many different types of vehicles. Some brand new and other older and just needing some love.

4. Conditions/Elements

Where is your vehicle parked most of the time? Where is it driven? How do you care for it? Do you plan on taking your car through automatic brush washes or give it the care of hand washing? All these things and more are to be considered if wax.

5. Cost over time

Another thing to consider which many people don’t think about is that when you apply wax or paint sealant to your vehicle over a 2 to 3 year period, you may be spending as much or something close to what you would on a one time paint correction and ceramic coating installation. Again this varies greatly depending on frequency, coat of materials used, if you do it yourself or hire a professional detailing service, etc. If you do the math you may be surprised.

6. Personal Preference

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference. If you love your vehicle and you want to protect it you will choose what works best for you. There are many who enjoy taking half the day washing and waxing their own car. Others don’t want to or don’t have time to spend doing that and they would rather the process be as easy and quick as possible. A lot people hire professionals to do it for them.

It is up to you if you want to protect your vehicle from what it takes on or not. It’s also up to you how you want to accomplish that.

Is Car Wax dead?

So is car wax dead? Nope. Not a chance. Car wax and paint sealants still have a place in the automotive detailing and protection world and probably will for a long time to come.

Feel free to contact via a call, text (801) 412-9274 or e-mail, clean@onsitedetail.net, if you have any questions or if you would want to schedule a service for your vehicle.

by Chris Blaisdell, CD-SV, Onsite Detail

Chris Blaisdell is the owner of Onsite Detail and has been detailing  for 12 + years.
He is a Certified Detailer-Skills Validated detailer through the
International Detailing Association. The industry leader in detailing standards.

5 Reasons to Detail Your Car Before Selling It

Despite the recent snowy weather in our beautiful Utah state, we at Onsite Detail cannot deny an important time of the year is approaching.  March means spring is coming, daylight savings approaches once more, and Saint Patrick’s Day promises to give us a bit of luck and fun before the hot summer days are here.  However, while we look forward to all those events too, us Onsite Detail workers know another important time is coming: car sales time. Make sure you detail your car before selling it.

In the last week alone we received a ton of calls from people looking to sell their vehicles over the weekend, and it got me thinking about all the ways our company can help people make their sells a little easier.  So for this blog I’m going to share five reasons to detail your car before selling it and why it is beneficial and can make your sale go smoother!

ksl.com cars for sale

  1. Makes Photos Look Better

It’s hardly a secret that posting photos of something you want to sell online makes it more appealing to people.  Some sites like KSL.com and Craigslist even suggest uploading pictures to increase sales while you’re making a post!  

If your car is cleaned and waxed for a nice shine, it can make your post stand out from the rest.  Having photos of a clean interior can also appeal to the viewer, since they’ll be able to see they won’t have to worry about sticky cup holders or stains they would have to deal with.  Our services can help your online post catch the eye of a potential buyer and help make the sale with a like-new cleaning!

  1. Helps Remove Trickier Things

Cars are very personal things, and are often treated as such.  Pets are allowed to ride in them and those who enjoy smoking may do so in their vehicles.  This isn’t a bad thing, but it can make selling a vehicle a bit harder if someone has an allergy or there is a lingering smell in the car.  

However, pet hair and cigarette smoke are tricky things to remove.  Our Interior Detail, however, can help with both of those! We do shampoo and steam cleaning to get every surface of the interior and help flush out bad smells that hang around, and can throw in an Odor Bomb to help with especially lasting scents.  Have a pet that sheds a lot? We can add Pet Hair Removal to your service and make it like new again. Buyers with allergies will thank you!

  1. Shiny Engines Feel More Trustworthy

No matter how shiny the outside may be, if the hood opens up to reveal a greasy, dirty engine, it can be off-putting to a potential buyer.  We psychologically associate dirt with disease and disrepair, so a dirty engine can cause someone to think twice about buying.

Our Engine Detail not only degreases and washes the engine, but also shines it up and dresses plastic and rubber for added protection.  One client used our Engine Degrease service and found a leak in the engine that was quick to patch but would not have been seen without it!  Our popular Full Combo Detail comes with an Engine Detail as well as interior and exterior cleaning, so it’s worth considering to detail your car before selling it.

  1. Decal Removal

I have had a few people call recently asking about removing decals from cars they just purchased, especially work vehicles.  Removing them on your own can mean leaving unwanted residue, ugly scuffs, incomplete decals, or time and frustration you really can’t afford to spend.  

At Onsite Detail we can remove decals at an hourly rate, and since it often gets coupled with a Wash & Wax it will help make your car sales floor ready!  Save yourself some agitation and let us take care of the details, selling a car can be frustrating enough as is.

  1. Restoration Can Make the Sale!

While the outside of a car can’t tell us everything, if it looks newer or at least well-kept we are more likely to trust its quality.  While we can’t do a new coat of paint, we can take care of the other things you may not have considered to make it appear well-kept. Plastic and rubber fading?  Try Plastic Restoration! Unwanted swirl marks or light scratches distracting your customers? We do Paint Correction or Buffing & Polishing. Headlights fogged up?  We can take care of that with Headlight Restoration. Our services aren’t just limited to washing and shining things, so feel free to call and ask for anything specific you’re looking for!

The bottom line is. If your car looks, feels and smells better you’ll get more money out of it. That’s why you want to detail your car before selling it. If you want to know the approximate value of your car, check out Kelley Blue Book.

Don’t just depend on a lucky clover to make a good sale just detail your car before selling it!  If you’re looking to sell your car we can help, as reviewer Melissa stated:

“We recently had Onsite Detail detail our van as we are trying to sell it and I couldn’t believe the results. It looks like a brand new car!! These guys are the best! I will go nowhere else to have my cars detailed.”

Call or text us today if you’re want to detail your car before selling it. 801-412-9274. We are more than happy to help.

by Miranda Hughes, Onsite Detail

Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Odor Removal from Your Vehicle

Today I’d like to share my thoughts and experiences on vehicle odor removal. There are many things that can contribute to odors that can be absorbed into the fabrics and upholstery of your vehicle. Some of which include pet odors, sweat, food and drink, babies and kids can be good contributors in their own way, and probably the most potent and longest lasting of smells; smoking. My purpose today is still do my best to inform you of some do’s and don’ts of removing odors from the fabrics of your car.      

Odors and stains can act the same as far as stubbornness to get rid of. Especially if you wait to take them out. One of the hardest odors to remove is the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke. If you can eliminate the odor of tobacco smoke, you can eliminate pretty much any odor with a very similar process.

THE DON’TS

I’ll start with a few don’ts of vehicle odor removal.

HOUSEHOLD SOAP OR CLEANERS

DO NOT try to clean it with a generic dish or fabric soap or cleaner. This will put soaps and chemicals into your fabrics that you don’t want there and may also make the odors and smells seap more into the fabrics. It will also leave marks on the seats when it drys that will also be difficult to get rid of. Many times this can make the odor penetrate the fabric or material more which can make it harder to take out. Although leather may be a little easier to clean, you still want to be extremely careful how you clean it and do vehicle odor removal. Odors and stains can still penetrate the leather if not properly treated.

COVER UPS

Removing odors from vehicle fabrics and upholstery needs to be handled with care. You want to be careful with what chemicals and equipment are being used. The objective is to remove odors, not to try to cover it up or “change” the odor by applying a fabric freshener to it. Fabric fresheners or odor bombs will be part of the process and I will get to them but for the removal process, you DO NOT want to begin with an odor bomb or scents.

INTERNET IDEAS

Another thing we’ve seen people try on the wonderful advice of the internet is baking soda for vehicle odor removal. Baking soda does actually have some great odor removal properties but only in the right circumstances. There has actually been many cases where someone has literally thrown the baking soda all over the interior of their car. While this could potentially temporarily “fix” the odor problem it will create a bigger mess to clean up after it gets deep into the fabric or gets wet. The odor will most likely return as the cause of the odor was not actually be removed. So please DO NOT throw baking soda all over your car in hopes that it will take care of an odor problem.

THE DO’S

My biggest piece of advice for proceeding to completely do vehicle odor removal, especially a bad one, would be to call a professional. Mostly because of the importance of proper chemicals and equipment being used. I will do my best to explain the process of removing odor from a vehicle. There will always be different variables of odors but the process of having them professionally removed will generally be the same. Differences in the process will come from the severity of the odors. You will be able to research many different techniques and procedures for removing odors in your vehicle. What I am telling you today comes from my own experiences and what has worked for me. As I said, if research thoroughly, you will find many different ways to remove odors, some good and some not so good. Here are some of the best ways to remove odor, sometimes combined together.

HOT WATER EXTRACTION

One of the most effective things you can do is to have a very good interior detail done. When professionally done, an extractor will most likely (or should) be used. Especially one that has hot water extraction. An extractor will penetrate the fabric. If the water is hot it will penetrate the fabric even better. When used with a proper cleaning chemical, will effectively break up and separate the the stains and odors from the fabrics. After the water and cleaning chemical has spearheaded the odors, you want to remove the liquids and chemicals (now encapsulating the odor causing sources) from the fabrics. You want to extract fairly quickly. If you wait to extract, the odors could get absorbed deeper into the fabrics making them harder to remove. If this whole process is done effectively, you will have mostly removed the odors along with the cleaning chemical and water. If the odor that you are trying to remove is tobacco smoke then the headliner will most likely be one of the worst areas that absorbs a lot of smells. The headliner may need to be treated with a little more care but still needs to be extracted.

OZONE MACHINE

Another method of getting rid of smells and odors in your vehicle is an ozone machine. This can be a very time consuming process but can be very effective. To put it as simply as I can, oxygen has 2 atoms, (which is why it’s called O2) and ozone has one more atom. The extra atom makes ozone hazardous to breath but also breaks up the oxygen molecules and eliminates them. Included in those oxygen molecules being eliminated are the molecules that the odors are attached to. To explain it a little more simply, basically odors need oxygen to survive and what the ozone machine does is kills the oxygen molecules that odors are attached to. Pretty scientific stuff, yeah? Some words of caution though, ozone is hazardous to breath. After an ozone treatment, the best thing to do is open all the doors to let it air out. If the weather will let you, it would probably be best to have it outside for the whole process. Also, you will want to do your best to seal up as many things as you can to let as little air enter as you can. You want to take care of the odors in the car as much as possible without letting more air molecules enter. Although you will not be able to make it airtight. Doing your best to allow as little as air as possible get in the car will certainly help and allow the ozone machine to do what it does. Make sure you don’t forget to let the vehicle air out when you get done. If possible, let it air out for an hour or two.

ODOR BOMB

One of the final things you can do to help with odors is an odor bomb. An odor bomb is an odor eliminator and can be scented to leave a fresh smell as well. Odor bombs contain enzymes and chemicals that penetrate every part of the interior and find any odor causing bacteria and literally eat it. This effectively destroys the odor and gets rid of the odor returning. This will be the final step after you’ve done everything you can to extract odor causing spills and messes. The best place to put the odor bomb is as central as you can get it. Make sure to read ALL of the instructions and cautions if placing and setting off the odor bomb yourself. After setting the odor bomb to release the contents of the can, shut the doors and windows and leave for at least 4 to 6 hours. Personally, I like to leave it overnight if possible. In the morning or before driving make sure to let the car air out for at least 30 minutes.

CONCLUSION

The vehicle odor removal process can and in many cases will involve all three of these steps (or more). In some cases the ozone machine may be the very first thing you do then proceed with the full detail and the odor bomb. Just keep in mind that it will most likely take some time to accomplish and you possibly have to try a few things before you have complete vehicle odor removal accomplished. Have patience and enjoy watching and smelling the odors get eliminated.

by Andy Stallings, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail

5 Things We Love at Onsite Detail

Love is in the air, and we at Onsite Detail are not immune!  We are already gearing up to clean vehicles as part of your perfect date night.  Be it shining up your car’s exterior from last week’s winter storm or deep cleaning the inside for peace of mind as you go to your dinner reservation, we are ready to get detailing!

However, even us employees have things we love as a company.  This blog is being written to recognize five of the biggest things we love here at Onsite Detail, starting with:

  1. Our Customers!

We love our customers for so many reasons.  If you have ever had a service from us you’ve done more than help give us an income.  As a mobile company having so many places to go and things to do lets our detailers see something different every day, and they appreciate it!

One of our detailers just the other day expressed how one of the perks of the job is its different scenery every day.  They go through cities, neighborhoods, businesses, and nature areas of all kinds while on the job and meet all kinds of different people, young and old, native and non-native.  When I talk to people on the phone I hear stories from people of all backgrounds. No matter who it is, everyone has something in common that we also love.

  1. Messes!

Marie Kondo of the Netflix series Tidying Up isn’t the only one who loves mess!  As a detailing company there is nothing more satisfying than bringing a car from filthy to like new.  We have handled many kinds of messy or tricky scenarios, from pet hair and kid’s snacks on the inside to removing oxidation and tar on the outside.  And this isn’t just limited to just cars!

  1.   All Vehicles!

While we love helping all makes and models of car, we don’t stop at cars.  We have also done:

Utah Boat Detailing Onsite Detail

Utah Boat Detailing Onsite Detail

 

  • RVs
  • Boats
  • Motorhomes
  • Airplanes
  • Semi Trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Construction Vehicles
  • Buses
  • Farming Vehicles
  • Snowmobiles

 

We don’t just stick with messiness as a prerequisite for these vehicles to be treated by us.  We also love…

  1. A Challenge!

Do you have swirl marks, faded plastic or rubber, fogged headlights, a stain or smell you just can’t get rid of?  Did you know those are things we can take care of?

No matter the vehicle type, our detailing doesn’t just make your car/truck/etc. shiny but also helps it with long term care too.  With unique services like Headlight Restoration, Buffing & Polishing, Clay bar Treatment, and Plastic Restoration, we can help keep your car like new for years to come.  Jobs like these are difficult for just anyone to do, but we love a challenge and bring experience to the job with expert results!

And for the number one thing we love…

  1. Surprises!

At Onsite Detail we don’t like to stay still.  As a company we are growing fast and have made improvements steadily.  Now we are preparing to announce a big surprise to make our experience better for the customers we love so much!  Keep in touch on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for a future update, you’ll be hearing from us soon!

We hope your Valentine’s Days are enjoyable, and hope to be part of the fun!  If you want us to do some detailing you can reach us at 801-412-9274 or fill out a Request Form so we can get you all set.

by Miranda Hughes, Onsite Detail

Mobile Detailing and Shop Detailing

TWO MAIN TYPES OF PROFESSIONAL DETAILING

There are many differences between mobile detailing and shop detailing. There are not many differences in the results you get by having your car professionally detailed in a shop or having your car detailed by a professional mobile detailing service. Although most of my experience is with mobile detailing. I do have some experience with detailing in a shop. There are definite pros and cons to each one but most of those fall onto the detailers themselves. Not the actual people getting their vehicles detailed.

You would never be able to tell which vehicle was detailed in a professional shop and which one was done by a professional mobile detail service.Depending on the lighting in a shop, it can help with paint correction but can still be successfully done outside by someone with the proper skills and a trained eye. The same goes for the interior. The sun light outside can help you see things easier than a lot of shop lighting. There will be differences on how certain things get done but can both produce amazing results. Everything that is done in a shop can be done in a mobile detail service.

I will try to explain the best I can the different detailing experiences and how they vary with mobile detailing and shop detailing. Although I prefer mobile detailing, shop detailing has its advantages, one being heating and air conditioning. One of the biggest advantages that comes with mobile detailing is convenience to the customer.

Having had experience in mobile detailing and shop detailing, I’m going to do my best to help you understand the difference between the two. To do this I’m going to give you a normal day in the life of a detailer doing each one. You may be expressing that that sounds like an odd idea but inwardly, I know you’re looking forward to it.

 

SHOP DETAILING

Shop Detailing

As a shop detailer, getting to the shop in the mornings can be nice because you don’t have anywhere else to go. Most of the time you will be able to get started right away. With my experience it takes minimal preparation to start working in a shop.

Some shops will have inside wash bays and sometimes you will wash them outside and then move them inside after. My daily goal was usually trying to get one car done per day. I realize that many shops will not do full details on every car and services will vary.

A little bit about my shop detailing experience; it was a high-end used car dealership, I did full details on every single car including engines, paint correction, full interior details, headlight restoration (if needed), and rims and tires. I don’t want to spend much more time on the detailing process at a shop but more the daily routine.

When I would begin my day, I would pull the car into the wash bay and take out the floor mats and prepare them to be pressure washed. I would also pop the hood and spray degreaser on the engine (with the engine still running), and wash the car and deep clean the tires and rims, etc. After all said things are washed and clean on the exterior I would pull the car into the shop. Depending on my mood of that day I would either do paint correction first or detail the inside of the car.

In a shop it was a huge plus to have all of the chemicals and equipment organized and easily on hand when needed. The car was always in the same spot and the detailing “stuff” was right there. It made it easy to have a routine and almost identical process for each car.

One big thing that sets shop detailing apart from mobile detailing is putting all the transportation on the customers, with the option of leaving the vehicle overnight, which has some advantages. One of which include is there is no rush to get finished in a given amount of time. If any carpet needs to dry, it can be left overnight. It will give that carpet a good amount of time to dry and go untouched. Depending on when the customer will be picking the car up, the morning time is a good time to double check and do any final touches on the vehicle before starting on the next vehicle.

 

MOBILE DETAILING

Mobile Detailing

Mobile detailing, on the other hand, eliminates being able to start right away like shop detailing. After checking the van and making sure you have everything you need for that day, you will get headed to your first job and have some travel time before arriving to the job. Once at the job site, you’ll have to figure out where to pull up next to what your working on and that will vary greatly from place to place. Even though you have everything you need in the van and you have a process, you have to adapt according to each location.

Mobile detailing opens up many doors for you as far as the size goes for whatever you will be working on. People who have boats or RVs, in most cases, will not be able to bring them to a detail shop, let alone leave them for overnight services.

Convenience to the customer will be a big business boost for the mobile detailer and a huge plus for any customer who has a busy schedule. A couple big issues with mobile detailing will be traffic between appointments and weather conditions. Weather will always be a determining factor on how much you can do on any particular job and how many jobs you can do in a day. Sometimes the weather will not permit an exterior detail job to take place if its raining or too windy and dusty. At times mobile operations can work in a customers garage to avoid inclement weather but that also depends on the size of the garage and what a particular job entails.

Now before I mentioned that when I detailed at a shop I typically did a car a day at the the dealership. Mobile detailing will most typically offer a wide range of services and a wide range of different vehicles. Some services will be small and take little time and some will be bigger and take much more time, but this wholly depends on the operation and what types of services are offered.

Scheduling for mobile detailing can be a little more tricky when you have customers in different areas and wanting various types of detailing services. The best way to do it is to have areas designated for different days so you’re not driving in all different directions in day trying to get to all your jobs. The amount of jobs per day could be anywhere between 1 to 5. With mobile detailing, a lot of jobs that are done won’t be full details. You may have a full interior detail at one place, an exterior wash and wax at another, and an RV wash at another. The day to day will be different scenery which, for me, was one of my favorite things about mobile detailing.

So even with all the variables that can come your way with mobile detailing, the days still  might be a little more enjoyable. You will also have added benefits such as more face to face customer contact and getting to know them on a more personal level. You also get to learn the areas where you work and get to have some pretty sweet views some days.

Hope this helps you understand a little more about mobile detailing and shop detailing and the benefits and some cons of each one. Those things might be done differently in a shop that you’d see from mobile detailing but both can produce the same results. Ultimately, a good detail company will have ways to accomplish things and to provide the customer with an exceptional experience, which is what we always strive to do at Onsite Detail.

by Andy Stallings, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail

Top 10 Reasons Why it’s More Important to Detail Your Car During the Winter

Why is it more important to detail your car in the winter months?

During the winter months here in Utah many of us have the mentality to think its not worth it to have our cars washed or detailed because it will just get dirty the next time we drive it. While this, in many cases is true, there are many reasons that it is very important to make sure we clean and protect our vehicles all winter long. If not, it may be something we regret come springtime.

Here are the top 10 reasons why you need to detail your car in the winter.

  1. Image and Impression

For almost all of us our car is dirtier in the winter than in the warmer months. This not only is gross but its ugly too. While it may not be the most important reason for you to detail your car in the winter, it definitely is a concern for those who have nicer vehicles. If you are someone who needs to impress clients or have an important meeting what better way to do it then showing up in a freshly detailed vehicle in the middle of winter.

Road Salt Plow Truck Utah

Snow plow loads road salt in Utah.

  1. Road Salt Destroys

Here in Utah the winter is one of the hardest things your vehicle goes through in its life. The relentless attack on your vehicle from the road salt and chemicals that are used to melt snow and ice will slowly eat away your vehicle’s exterior surfaces, including paint, plastic, rubber and metal. Even interior surfaces will get contaminated with salt and chemicals when you track them in after walking through the winter wonderland that surrounds us. Have you ever noticed that white build up on your interior carpets or mats? That is road salt that has been dissolved in water and reappears as the water evaporates. It left untouched all winter it will build up

  1. Protection of Your Vehicle

As mentioned above the winter is really hard on your vehicle. This means you should be doing everything you can to protect your vehicle. Both interior and exterior surfaces are needing extra care and attention to help them endure the constant attacks from the environment. We offer exterior, waxes, sealants and even ceramic coatings to protect paint all year round but especially during the winter months.

  1. Snow, Ice and Dirt Can Cause Damage

During the Utah winter it is impossible to avoid getting snow, ice and road grime on your vehicle. Now modern vehicles are made to withstand some of “the elements” but they are not invincible to them. The longer we let these things sit on our cars the more potential there is for damage such as scratching, corrosion and cracking.

The most common type of damage is scratches in the paint. As snow and ice slide around on the surface of a vehicle with embedded dirt within, it will cause damage. This also occurs as we “brush” snow off our cars. Unfortunately sometimes this type of scratching is inevitable but the more carefully it is done the more chances we have that we are not harming the paint. I have seen instances where people have literally gouged the paint with the ice scraper. Please do not use the ice scraper for paint. It is intended for windows only. It can also help to warm the car before starting to clean off the snow and ice to help melt and loosen up some of the ice and snow. Also having a ceramic coating install will help to minimize this issue as these types of coating are much more scratch resistant than vehicle paint. Ceramic coatings also make it harder for things to stick to or sit on the surface which makes it easier to clean.

  1. Keeping Windows Clear

One of the most important things you need while driving and operating a vehicle is to be able to see. One thing that drives me crazy and makes me angry is when I see drivers that have not cleaned the snow and ice off their windows and have only cleared a part of the windshield directly in front of the driver’s seat. This is not only a safety issue but in many states you can be fined for not cleaning the snow and ice off your car.

The issue is not with snow and ice but all the salt and road grime that builds up on the windows as well. If the windows are not washed and cleaned frequently throughout the winter it will potentially become a visual impairment problem.

  1. Ice Build Up On the Vehicle

Ice build up can be the cause of accidents if its built up in a bad place. Ice build up can happen on almost any part of the car. I’ve seen it build up on the door handles, wiper blades, side view mirrors and even backup cameras. If ice builds up in cracks or seals between panels or doors it can potentially lead to cracks or damage to the paint and other surfaces. Makes sure if there is a lot of temperature fluctuations during the days where snow and ice melt and refreeze over night that water is not pooling up or getting stuck in those areas. If it does and causes damage it can lead to much bigger issues such and paint peeling, leaks into the interior or even engine problems, etc.

  1. Snow and Ice Falling from Vehicles

While most people realize that excessive ice and snow on their vehicle is a potential safety hazard for them, they don’t think about the snow and ice that can fall or even “fly” off their vehicle while they are driving and cause safety issues for other drivers.

I have seen it many times when an individual does not clean off their car and the snow flies off in big chunks and hits other cars. Especially on turns or when driving down the freeway. I have never seen this cause an accident but I have seen it cause temporary road blindness. I have also heard of many times where ice has actually flown into another’s window and cracked or even broken the window completely. Check out this video from YouTube.

This really shows exactly what I’m talking about. I know of a few incidences where similar situations have actually caused fatalities. I’m sure none of us want to be involved in this, so please keep your car as ice and snow free as possible.

  1. Identifying Problems

As many of us know when a vehicle is dirty that’s all we see. Is the dirt and grime built up all over the surface and on windows of the vehicle. Another problem with this is that we cannot see, at least not very well, the actual surfaces of our vehicles. If we cannot see it, then how could we identify a problem if it is there. For example; if there are rust spots beginning to form or if there is a new rock chip in the windshield. We cannot address the issue and get it taken care of unless we can see it and actually know its there. Not seeing and then not taking care of these issue while they are small can lead to bigger and more expensive issues later on down the road. It’s important that we don’t let our vehicles sit dirty too long so we do not miss these small problems.

  1. Smell and Odor

As the winter progresses, if we are neglecting the interiors of our vehicles we may not realize how much moisture is accumulating inside. We don’t think much about it but we step in and out of our cars with wet and icy shoes and boots and make small deposits of water and filth over and over. If this issue is not addressed it may result in mold, mildew and bacteria growth in the cracks, crevasses and under the floor mats where the water gets trapped and cannot evaporate easily. This is obviously not healthy and this can cause some funky odors, especially when temperatures warm up.

Driving a clean car makes us happier.

  1. Health and Mood

A study led by associate professor Nicole R. Keith, Ph.D., research scientist and professor at Indiana University, found that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses. Participants who kept their homes clean were healthier and more active than those who didn’t. I believe this conclusion can be applied to those with clean vehicles versus dirty vehicles as well. I know that I feel better when my “spaces” are clean and organized.

A dirty vehicle does not just mean clutter and junk but it means germs, bacteria and viruses. This puts cleanliness and organization in a whole different perspective. Along with the dirty inversion air and cold temperatures, we don’t need anything else to contribute to our struggles with staying healthy in the winter.

 

Overall, there are many reasons why it is important to keep your vehicles clean and detailed throughout the year but especially in the winter months. I have been detailing for about 12 years and have seen what happens when vehicles are neglected and when they are taken care of and well maintained. It is amazing how quickly a car can begin to have issues and “fall apart” due to the many things that are constantly “attacking” almost every part of a vehicle. If you want to keep your vehicle in tip top shape we can help maintain and protect it.

by Chris Blaisdell, CD-SV, Onsite Detail

Chris Blaisdell is the owner of Onsite Detail and has been detailing  for 12 + years.
He is a Certified Detailer-Skills Validated detailer through the
International Detailing Association. The industry leader in detailing standards.

Car Smells and Odors

Cars are amazing creations.  We get to surround ourselves with technology designed to move us and protect us from the elements and other hazards.  Unlike our ancestors who had to travel exposed, we can enjoy getting from one place to another with the added protection all while listening to our favorite music and controlling the temperature.  

However, being kept in such a confined space can be a bad thing when there is unwelcome car smells in the car.  It can come from all sorts of things, from a milk spill, to food, to cigarette ash, to some hidden offender you haven’t quite found but certainly know is there.  It can make even a drive down the street unbearable and if you have a passenger it can be embarrassing. Unfortunately we have had people tell us that others don’t even notice how bad their vehicle smells at times.

Interior Detail Before and After

Interior Detail Before and After

Our Interior Detail Service  

Here at Onsite Detail our Interior Detail service has saved many a driver, and passenger, from having to face such an unwanted situation.  Our Interior Detail cleans and sanitizes every surface inside the vehicle, from steam cleaning the cracks and crevasses to shampooing carpet and upholstery.  However, it isn’t just us saying our Interior Detail service is great. Many of our clients have reviewed our services and have reported back satisfaction for helping with car smells.  This blog will look over what people have had to say as well as review our process for helping with bad car smells.

The Cleaning Process

Our Interior Detail is often a recommended first step to rid vehicles of unwanted interior odors.  Car smells that linger come in two forms- something you can throw away easily, and something you have to deep clean or extract.  When the detailers first clean the inside of the car, they clear out any debris and vacuum the car. Our detailers have shared with me that sometimes the bad smell in a car is as simple as food that rolled under the seat and molded, or a piece of trash that got to sit in the car long enough to stink.  These are usually as simple as tossing them in the garbage and making sure there is nothing “odor causing” remaining.Help those air fresheners out

Unfortunately not all bad odors are this easy to remedy.  Some of them get into the carpet, fabric or the leather and won’t come out no matter how nicely you ask them too.  I’ve had clients call in saying they tried to treat it themselves with steam cleaners or soap and water and it still comes back to haunt them.  Some have used so many air fresheners and sprays to try to get rid of it but in reality it’s just a temporary cover up. A lot of smells are so embedded in the car that the client can’t get it on their own, like cigarette smoke or a pet mess.  How do those get worked on?

When our detailers come and clean the inside of the car it helps to determine the different possible places where the smell might come from or what’s causing it the nasty odor.  Our detailers will vacuum, steam, shampoo, and scrub any cloth surface of a car and extract mats to get to deeper layers. For smells like cigarette smoke their steam cleaning can get it out of vents and crevices that might be holding onto it, as well as clean surface layers where the smell might linger.  Surfaces like cup holders, windows, and headliners are also cleaned entirely. If a smell has a risk of sticking around even after our service, we provide Odor Bombs for $25 each, which can be released in the car overnight and help eliminate anything that stays by killing and destroying any odor causing baterias.  

While we cannot guarantee the smell will be eliminated, over 90% of the time we are successful in cleaning out the smells after an Interior Detail and almost 100% with Odor Bombs in the worst cases.  

That’s not a claim we are making up either.  Here is a sample of reviews that address bad smells directly to back us up!

What Our Customers are Saying

Richard was a customer who needed lots of help with his new car.  Here is what he told us when our detailers finished the job!

Just purchased a car from a private seller. Definite heavy “kid stains” and a terrible smell that I thought must have been from a dairy spill. Welington and George from Onsite Detail came, spent over 3 hours on the car and did a fantastic job. They took out the spare tire which is stored in the interior under a floor cover and found the source of the smell!! Kids’ food molded over and other unidentified “stuff”. [I]t was ugly… I’m sure it’s probably standard for them to do that, but I’m sure some companies wouldn’t bother cleaning the spare tire compartment. I honestly wouldn’t have looked to check and would have been dealing with that smell still!”  -Richard

Among our most common bad smells are dairy-related ones.  Two reviewers, both named Dan, shared with us how we helped them with their situations.

I had a kid spill a half cup of milk in my car on the floorboard. I went home that night and scrubbed it good with soapy water. A month later a water bottle leaked in the same spot and brought all those sour smells back. I called Onsite Detail and they came to the rescue. The customer service was really great. Andy was very professional and knowledgeable. He cleaned it and now it smells like roses! I’ll definitely be using them again.” -Dan

 

So my daughter spilled milk in the back of our car and got on a the seat and floorboards. We immediately tried to clean it with a shop vac and wet rag only to find out later it had that horrible sour milk smell. We called Onsite Detail and they were very responsive and came to bail us out. They got the milk and smell out and were very professional to work with. I have used them since and trust them with my vehicles.” -Dan

Even if there isn’t a specific smell, there is a special benefit to having a car smelling nice.  Ashley and Alex show us how happy this makes them in their reviews:

William came to the rescue! My car is exceptionally clean and smelling amazing. He was so sweet and great to work with. I highly recommend Onsite and ask for William! Thanks again” -Ashley

 

My kids make plenty of spills all over our back seats that are fabric. They were able to clean every spill making it look and smell like a new car again. Thanks again Onsite Detail!” -Alex

In summary, keeping your car smelling clean and fresh is an important part of keeping you and your family and friends happier and healthier.  Our service has helped many people achieve cleaning and eliminating even the worst smells, and we are ready to tackle yours too! Get the nasty odors and smells taken care of before the weather heats up and makes them worse! Call or text us or fill out a request form today.  We look forward to serving you and your vehicle!

by Miranda Hughes, Onsite Detail

New Year’s Resolutions 10 Ways to Help You Keep Your Car Clean

It’s the time of year where we do our best to shed bad habits of the old year and build on the new.  Some people go all out with big goals, like traveling the world or working out like it was a full-time job, while others go for smaller things like keeping their room cleaned more regularly or having one less sweet a day.  In the end we are all ultimately going for the same thing- improving ourselves and accomplishing our goals including better ways to take care of ourselves and our surroundings.

With that in mind, how many of us consider taking care of our cars as part of our New Year’s Resolution?  I don’t just mean keeping up with regular oil chances and adjusting tire pressure- I mean taking care of your car, keeping it clean and protected.  Our cars do a lot of work for us, getting us to jobs, visits, errands, and vacations. Yet not many of us take a lot of time to keep it clean as a form of maintenance and prevention.  This may seem trivial, but taking care of your car can lead to benefits you may not have considered, from keeping your car healthy to taking care of yourself. Among these ten ways to help keep your car clean, you will also find reasons this Resolution will help you in our new 2019.  Thankfully all of these ideas are absolutely possible with help from Onsite Detail, even for those who don’t have the time, energy, or ability to do them (because let’s be real, the majority of us are busy people)! Without further ado, here are ten ways to keep your vehicle clean for your New Year’s Resolution!

Mercedes Engine Detailed Utah Onsite Detail

Mercedes Engine Detailed by Onsite Detail

  1. Engine Cleaning

Our vehicle engines do a lot of work for us, and deserve to be treated well so they function better and last longer. Aside from necessary mechanical maintenance, cleaning out engine areas and detailing it does more than make it look new- it can help the engine run better and more smoothly removing all the caked on dust, dirt and debris. It can also potentially help reveal any potential mishaps coming your way.  One client had an engine detail service done by us to help maintenance workers find a leak later that day. Others just find peace of mind knowing they can open a hood and be able to tell the difference between dirt and damage. Doing this a few times a year is an optional but effective way to keep your engine in check!

  1. Hand Washes

Who likes a dirty vehicle? Well, maybe those off-roading guys wear the dirt caked on their vehicle with pride but most of us would rather be driving a fresh shiny car or truck down the road. Not only does it feel and look great but it is also better for the vehicle itself. Leaving dirt and grime on a vehicle for long periods of time can damage the paint, plastic and other parts of the vehicle, sometimes to the point of no return.

Sometimes people call me and ask why a hand wash is preferred over an automatic car wash.  And to that I have quite a few answers! For starters, car washes can cause swirl marks and micro scratches to appear in the paint with overly aggressive methods and dirty brushes. In the long run that will cost more to correct and repair.  For another, hand washes can be more thorough and detailed, and our hand washes include all the details most automatic car washes are not equipped to get including under door handles, door jambs, mirrors, wheels, wheel wells, and rims. Even if we are not doing the hand wash for you, hand washing your car can feel empowering, as well as help you notice any nicks and dings you may have missed before that need repair from a body shop!

Paint Sealant Application

  1. Protection

Paint sealants and waxes are more than just making your car shiny, though that is a benefit!  Protecting a car’s paint and other surfaces can help prevent oxidation and other damage to the clear coat, plastic and metals. Some waxes can hide blemishes if applied properly as well.  Doing this every 2 to 6 months means it’ll be easy to keep to your resolution while also preventing long-term damage that will cost big bucks to repair if ignored.

  1. That One Odd Spot

Sometimes life happens and you end up with tree sap, tar, scratches or some other kind of unwanted blemish on your vehicle.  While some are willing to shrug and live with it, it can still will be bothersome whenever you see it. You paid a lot for your car, so why let something like that demoralize you?  Taking the time to remove the blemish is much like taking care of those rock chips on your windshield- not only does it feel good to take care of, it can prevent potential long term issues later. Take care of these small issues as they happen and before they before a big problem for you. If you don’t have the time or the knowledge of what to do we are happy to help you out!

  1. Child Seats

This obviously does not apply to everyone, but those with child seats in their car know that the children who sit in them, no matter how precious, can and will make messes. You may be tempted to “not worry about it” because it’s just going to get dirty again, but a child’s car seat left uncleaned can be a breeding ground for germs, molds and bacteria. Not only is it nice to not put your child in a sticky gooey car seat but it will also keep them safe from those nasty illness causing things. We at Onsite Detail can take care of that with our thorough Child Seat Cleaning service, so you can keep your kid’s areas sanitized, neat and tidy!  This doesn’t mean just vacuuming them either, we go as far as steam cleaning and shampooing the car seats to take care of stains and grime.

  1. Vacuum and Wipe Down

Keeping the inside of the car clean is important for personal well-being.  Dust and dirt can easily get on the headliner and in our seats, and being surrounded by uncleanliness can make us feel down on ourselves.  Taking the time to dust, vacuum, and wipe down the inside of your vehicle not only gives you a sense of control over the car, but also takes initiative on helping ourselves feel better.  Taking even twenty to thirty minutes every few weeks makes this a worthwhile endeavor!

Auto Detailing Utah Carpet Shampoo

Interior Carpet Shampoo

  1. Interior Detailing

Some of us lose track of time and our cars’ interiors take the toll to the point that vacuuming and wiping down the inside won’t be enough to get the job done.  Maybe there was a spill or accident that has begun to leave a smell or the basic cleaning can’t take care of the finer details or get much dirt or grime out of carpets or seats.  Taking a day to do a full Interior Detail might be the way to go. Not only does it take care of long-term grime, it gets in the parts of a car you may not even think about like pockets, crevices, and under seats and the mats.  Not sure you have the time? At Onsite Detail, we offer an Interior Detail service that takes about two hours on average, and with us going to you, that’s almost no time at all! It makes it easy for you to get the interior detail done and still get everything else done you need to.

  1. Clay Bar Treatment

Clay bar treatment is a process that detailers use to remove contaminants from the vehicle’s paint and smooth it out.  In short, it takes care of many things a regular hand wash cannot! Not only will your car’s exterior look better, it will feel better too.  Why not take the extra step to ensure all the contaminants are removed from your car’s paint? Your car will look and feel great. You will feel great as well.

  1. Pet Hair Removal

Many of us have furry family members that we bring everywhere with us.  However, that can lead to lots of pet hair being left behind in your vehicle!  Pet hair is not only unsightly, it can cause people with allergies to struggle.  Taking care of pet hair can be satisfying since you can see the results of the work quickly!  It also helps pave the way for putting down covers to keep pet hair off at a later time. You and your pet will be happier for it!

  1. Annual Packages at Onsite Detail

As was said early on, many of us are super busy.  We may not have the time or resources to take care of our cars to great lengths, or even to consistent ones.  However, to make your Resolution happen we have a special service: annual packages. Setting these flexible services up means paying up front but taking 20% off the the services you want done for your vehicle for at least a year, as well as consistent appointments to have us come and take care of your car.  Call our office for more information, we would love to set one up to make your New Year’s Resolutions happen!

These are just a good handful of ways to keep your car clean this year, with benefits to yourself to keep in mind when moving forward.  We at Onsite Detail wish you a Happy New Year, and we look forward to detailing your vehicles all through 2019 and beyond!

by Miranda Hughes, Onsite Detail

How To Clean Vehicle Carpet

Vehicle Carpet Takes the Most Abuse

Out of any part of your vehicle’s interior the area(s) that take the most abuse and get the dirtiest are the floors. There are some, mostly commercial vehicles that have vinyl flooring. Most cars have carpet. This is due to the fact our shoes and other things drag in dirt, water, snow, road salt, small rocks, and even sticky things like gum or tree sap. Not mention all the stuff we spill and drop on the floor that if not cleaned up in a timely matter can get ground into the carpet. The question then arises, “How do I clean vehicle carpet?”.

There are actually a myriad of ways to clean vehicle carpet, depending of what type, how dirty, one’s budget and what color the carpet is. We will go over some DIYer techniques and work our way to the most effective, safe, and professional way to clean your vehicle’s carpet.

How do you clean other things?

How do you most effectively clean your tile or hardwood floor in your home? What steps do you go though? If you want it done right, you probably have a certain order in which you do it in, right? Hopefully you don’t go right into mopping. Hopefully you de-clutter and maybe you take out the rugs, shake them, wash them (if needed). Maybe you move furniture to get those areas that never see the light of day but where dust and dirt go to take cover. Bottom line is that you want to do the best job possible. Even professional floor cleaners have a certain order in which they do things. Basically what I’m getting at is that when cleaning properly there are certain steps to follow. There is an order that you do things in. For example: the usual order for a proper tile or hardwood floor cleaning would be first sweeping and then mopping. After of course removing rugs and moving furniture as needed.

Cleaning the Vehicle’s Carpet and FabricDIY Vacuum out car

Carpet and/or fabric cleaning has a similar order, especially in vehicles. Vacuuming and shampooing (cleansing, rinsing and extracting). The first step before turning on a vacuum or extractor is taking out any and all floor mats. Some vehicles may have plastic or rubber mats that you will want to take out to clean separately. We will come back to those in a little bit. The next thing you want to do is decide where you are wanting to start. I personally prefer to start at one of the front seats, driver or passenger. After you decide where you are starting. Make sure the seat is moved appropriately. If you are starting in the front move the seat as far back as it will go. Make sure any trash and/or junk is cleared out, especially under the seat before you clean vehicle carpet. You will notice some of the most dirty areas are also areas that are more difficult to get to, especially for vacuuming purposes. A couple of those areas will include under the seat and the floor area between the seat and center console. If you have a long skinny vacuum attachment (a crevice tool) for your vacuum, it will help you do a better job in those hard to reach areas. Another area that can be forgotten or overlooked is the area in the back of the seat just under the backrest. To see what I’m talking about, move the backrest of the seat all the way back and you will see an area where much of the dirt, crumbs, and other debris has collected in that space.

When you are finished or have vacuumed to your satisfaction, move the seat all the way forward and continue vacuuming behind the front seat. Continue vacuuming around the car. Be sure to get under the seats and in the crevices of the seats and where the seat belt connectors are. If you desire to move beyond the cab of the car; the trunk is an area that can collect dirt and debris.

After you have vacuumed the car you come to the “mopping” or shampooing section and is probably the part where you will realize you may want to call a professional detailer to clean vehicle carpet. If you do not have the time or budget to have it professionally done, it will take some supplies and a little bit of elbow grease but you may be able to achieve some acceptable results. The supplies you’ll need are a spray bottle, a stiff bristled (not a wire brush), hand held scrub brush, and a shop vac with the capabilities to suck up water (most wet/dry shop vacs are strong enough to do this). You will want to get a carpet cleaning chemical or all purpose cleaner that is safe for use on carpets and fabrics and dilute it in the spray bottle (if it’s not in a ready to use form). A good amount is usually 4 to 1 or 5 to 1 depending on the chemical. This can be altered depending on the severity of the soiling and stains. You don’t want to go more than 2 to 1.

Note to self before beginning: This is for a pretty basic shampoo job. Again, I would recommend that you get this done professionally just because of experience and the use of proper equipment and chemicals will produce far better results. But if you really want to DIY, this will be a pretty basic shampoo.

You will begin by spraying the diluted degreaser on the desired area. To do the best job possible, you will want limit the size of the areas to work on. Starting in the front drivers seat is the best place to start because you’ll want to allow it as much time to dry as possible. After spraying, take the hand brush and scrub the area(s) you sprayed. If you need more moisture feel free to spray more as needed (depending on the severity of dirt and stains in the given area). After you have scrubbed the area thoroughly, you will take the shop vac and suck out as much cleaning product, dirt and moisture as possible in the area that you have been scrubbing. You will want to be sure to vacuum to the point of the carpet or fabric being as dry as you can get it. After that take a rag and scrub and press down on the same area to help wick out any moisture that you can.

You will repeat this throughout the rest of the car. When you are finished, you will want to check the carpet and make sure it’s as dry as possible. You will most likely need to leave all the doors open in a warm environment to allow the carpet to dry all the way. Check areas where moisture or the degreaser could’ve collected to make sure that it is as absorbed as possible.

How does it look after?Utah auto carpets all clean Onsite Detail

Hopefully after all this effort you’ve gone through, your clean vehicle carpet will be to your satisfaction. If you didn’t do any of that or aren’t happy with the way that it looks, CONTACT A PROFESSIONAL DETAILER!! You can’t say I didn’t warn you. If you’re brave enough to give it a shot, good luck, and I hope this helps. If not, give us a call and we’ll be happy to do that for you.

In the professional detailer steps the idea is the same although more effective tools and chemicals will be used. Depending on how dirty the carpet is there are additional methods that would be used. For example if gum is stuck in the carpet or if something like tar is embedded in the carpet. Professionals have heated extractors and or steamers that improve the cleaning power and effectiveness of the chemicals. The suction from a professional extractor is more powerful and has the proper attachments to be most efficient and effective to clean vehicle carpet.

I bet you can guess what I’m gonna say for really bad stains or soiled carpets. If you haven’t guessed “call Onsite Detail” yet, keep guessing. It will take more then what I have told you to get out tough stains. Some stains, if left for a long time may not come out at all. I’m not even going to try and tell you how to attempt it because in many cases, that could make it worse if the stain and dirt get pushed deeper into the carpet. That’s when having the right equipment, effective chemicals, and proper training come into play. Most of which cannot be obtained by reading a blog. As much as I’d love the ability to perfectly train someone over a blog, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I don’t think I’ve been blogging long enough to be able to do that quite yet…I’ll work on that though. We wish you success in any DIY efforts but if you want help or find yourself in a hard place please contact us and get your vehicle on our schedule for your detail.

 

by Andy Stallings, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail

Fix exterior faded plastic oxidation

Exterior Vehicle Plastic

Today’s exterior vehicle parts and trim are largely made of plastic that if exposed can lead to faded plastic oxidation. These plastics are used to add efficiency in production, to reduce overall weight and to create decorative pieces for a vehicle’s exterior. Many different types of plastics are used in manufacturing exterior plastic. Nylons, polystyrene, poly carbonates, weather-able ASA-AES, PVC, polypropylene, polyesters, and urethanes are the most commonly used plastics in these applications. All non-painted exterior plastics on every vehicle are susceptible to plastic fading or oxidation.

Some of the most notorious vehicles for exposed exterior plastic are the Chevy Avalanche and the Jeep Wrangler. These both have above average amounts of plastic and so they are among the hardest to maintain and most noticeable when the plastic fades and oxidizes. If the plastic is not cared for it makes these vehicles look pretty bad. When you see one of these that has properly cleaned and protected plastic, it looks great.

The fading of the plastics is a constant battle that most vehicle owners end up losing because they can’t find a solution that keeps for more than a week or two and they deem it not worth it or don’t have the time to keep up with the required maintenance.

What causes exterior car plastic to fade?

Most vehicles have at least a small amount of exterior black or grey plastic. They both fade, but it is much more noticeable on black plastic.

The sun, heat and other elements are almost constantly beating down on the plastic. This causes the already somewhat porous plastics to degrade or oxidize. The result is a faded or lightened color from the original plastic which does not look good but is actually not good for the plastic either. Most vehicles have various plastic parts that are not necessarily made by the same manufacturer. This means that some plastics are not as well made and can potentially degrade faster than other parts. It takes time but it can get the point of plastics actually completely breaking down, becoming brittle and falling apart. Depending on where that plastic is on the vehicle, it can actually become a safety hazard if the plastic deteriorates to that point of falling apart.

Many have claimed to have the perfect solution to fixing plastic fading and oxidation but few live up to the claims.

DIY dont’s

I have seen many mistakes because of bad ideas or bad advice (usually found online under “life hack” articles) that claim to have miracle fixes to this problem that most of us face with our exterior plastics on our vehicles.

Please DO NOT attempt the following;    

  • Rubbing peanut butter into the plastic
  • Spray it with WD-40
  • Spray painting the plastic
  • Applying used engine oil to the plastic
  • Sanding the plastic
  • Buffing or compounding the plastic
  • Applying cooking oils
  • Applying heat to burn/melt the plastic
  • Coloring the plastic with permanent marker
  • Applying some type of solvent

These are some of the things I’ve seen people try and at first might produce a satisfactory result but over time the mistake of trying one of these will show. Many of the articles claiming these things will help neglect to state why they help or how long they will last. Most don’t understand how plastic is actually made and that these things will actually damage the integrity of the plastic to only progress the deterioration of the plastic quicker.

Hiding plastic oxidation

There are so many products out the that claim to fix or restore the faded plastics on vehicle exteriors. Most of them actually look great when first applied. But many of them fall short and begin to lose their darkening effect rather quickly, some within minutes of application. Some do last a week or two but then seem to dry out the plastic and make the oxidation worse than is was before, prompting most people to re-apply the same product again.

Many products produce a high shine, greasy and wet look. While some people like this, it is not the natural or original look of new plastic. New plastic has more of a matte look and does not feel greasy to the touch. A lot of these products can actually cause damage over time and dry out plastics to cause faded plastic oxidation.

Make sure before using any product that you read the labels and instructions completely to understand the proper application process and what kind of results to expect.

True plastic restoration

In my years as a detailer and detailing business owner I have always jumped from product to product trying to find the best plastic restorer but have almost always been disappointed. In our plastic restoration service we use an actual plastic restoration product. It is the only one I’ve used that actually lives up to what it claims to do. The product is called Solution Finish. The exterior plastics, once faded and ugly, will look better than new. Once wiped off properly they are clean to the touch and do not feel greasy or look shiny. The real test is the longevity. In my own experience on my personal vehicle, after a month went by, it looked freshly applied. It took a full 6 or 7 months of Utah weather to show any signs of fading again.

The beauty of this product is that it actually restores the plastic and is not just a greasy filler that covers up the fading. It actually restores and reverses the oxidation that has occurred. This is a professional grade product and service that is truly worth paying for.

Fixing faded vehicle plastic

Whatever product or service you end up going with to restore your faded exterior vehicle plastic make sure you know how to and/or understand what the results will be.

 

by Chris Blaisdell, CD, Onsite Detail