10 Ways to Ruin Car Paint and 1 Way to Avoid It

10 Ways to Ruin Car Paint and 1 Way to Avoid It Steve's Detailing & Hand Car Wash DenverWant your car to look its best? Today, Steve’s Detailing in Denver shares 10 ways to ruin car paint and 1 way to avoid it completely! We know how much our clients love their vehicles and want to take the best care of both the interior and exterior. By practicing proper detailing techniques, you can ensure that your vehicle will withstand the tests of time.

So, let’s start with 10 sure-fire ways to ruin your car paint without even knowing it. 

  1. Nasty Finger Marks and Prints

You’ve probably written “wash me,” or “please give me a bath” on the back of a dust-laden vehicle at some point or another. While it gives us a chuckle, it doesn’t do anything for the paint job! In fact, it grinds in that dirt, dust, and debris, not to mention dirty fingerprint oils deeper into the paint, causing scratches that are hard to get rid of. A professional polish will need to be in order after a complete wash. 

  1. Bugs

Ever pull into a gas station and see a vehicle covered in bugs from bumper to headlights to roof? Where did he just come from? The Amazon? Well, wherever it was, he better make sure he deals with those dead bugs promptly. Bugs are acidic and stick like glue to paint, causing deterioration and more. Dealing with this situation as soon as possible is your best line of defense. Besides, it is not pretty to look at.

  1. Pebble and Stone Chips, and Everything in Between

If the road were solely yours, life would be great on your car’s paint job and your frame of mind, but unfortunately life is not like that, and we have to share the road with others. That means big logging trucks that send debris of all sorts flying our way, salt and sand machines that keep our roads safe while flinging loose material, and who knows what else. Following too closely is not the greatest idea, but even if we did lag a bit behind, you likely won’t avoid the inevitable. Chips happen, so does debris. Steve’s Detailing can help in more ways than you can imagine.

  1. Bird Poop

Much like bugs, this has an acidic effect on paint. And if not dealt with, bird excrement will destroy your paint quickly. The bonus with bird poo is that also carries some debris that actually scratches the surface of your nice new paint job. Because birds eat seeds and nuts, and seeds and nuts contain sharp and rough edges, guess where that result ends up? Right where you don’t want it, on your car’s paint. Clean as soon as possible if you want to save your paint. 

  1. Tree Sap

This one’s a doozy. Depending on where you live, and what trees are near where you park, whether at home, work or the gym, avoid parking under trees that drip sap. This stuff is deadly and sticky and will destroy paint quickly if not removed immediately. Our car detailing services will get to the bottom of this gluey mess in no time. Don’t delay as this stuff is destructive. 

  1. Water Spots and Marks

So you live in a condominium, and every night the sprinklers come on to water the precious landscaping, but did you know that that water sometimes hits your vehicle because of where you are parked, and will eventually destroy your paint? Yes, it will. Minerals and chemicals in public water are usually treated, and these deposited products are left to dry on your paint. These are not easy to get rid of, and usually, have to be polished out. They can also destroy your windshields over time as well, which will need to be replaced eventually.

  1. Using Dirty Wash Products

Dirty rags, brushes, and even water buckets are filled with bits of debris that can permanently cause streaks, swirls and damage to paint quickly. Don’t let this happen to you. Invest in some clean rags and products or have the professionals attend to details. By bringing your car in for an auto detailing, you can trust that we never use rags or materials that are dirty, and each vehicle is treated with products and materials that are proven to work flawlessly.

  1. Proper Washing Intervals

Just like humans, we all need a routine wash schedule, and that also includes your vehicles. Neglecting your car can cause serious paint damage in the future. Adhere to a strict regimen as often as possible for lasting paint brilliance and peace of mind.

  1. Overfilling at the Pump

Fuel stains can be hard to get rid of. Avoid overfilling your gas tank and causing spills around the receptacle. You will most likely need a detail professional to get rid of the stain permanently.

  1. Too Much Sun

Prolonged exposure to the sun is not good for anyone, or anything, and paint is most definitely going to break down rapidly. Cover your vehicle whenever possible or park in a shaded area to avoid extreme heat temperatures. The damage is almost irreversible if left unattended to for too long. Covered parking is your best option, if available.

So, we’re talking about 10 ways to ruin car paint and 1 way to avoid it. So what is that one thing? Well, that’s the easy part. Take your vehicle to a reputable company like Steve’s Detailing. Here you can customize your service, as well as get into a regular detailing schedule that fits your budget, lifestyle and schedule. You can trust that we use only the finest product, and our crew is experienced and knowledgeable in the art of vehicle detailing.

Steve’s Detailing knows all too well about the 10 ways to ruin car paint and 1 way to avoid it is to visit us soon and ask about our special services for all sorts of vehicles, including luxury, sports cars, collectible cars, everyday drivers and more. We customize your experience by listening to your needs when it comes to your vehicle. Your paint job will look as good as new or better once we are through, so get in touch today for dependable and prompt service.

Why Am I Seeing Swirl Marks in My Car Paint?

Why Am I Seeing Swirl Marks in My Car Paint?Have you ever wondered, why am I seeing swirl marks in my car paint? Today, Steve’s Detailing is here to give you the answer and how to deal with the situation. Better yet, if you want your car to gleam, simply bring it to the professionals at Steve’s Detailing. Our team is highly trained and experienced in the detailing business and can take care of everything for you with no swirl marks in sight. 

What causes swirl marks?

Swirl marks are fine scratches on your car’s paint job can be produced by using a dry towel on a dusty or dirty car or otherwise improperly washing and drying your vehicle. Your washing implements are usually the biggest culprits, and of course, darker vehicle colors will show more swirl marks than lighter vehicle colors. Swirl marks, unfortunately, are pretty hard to avoid forever. At some point, you will more than likely encounter them, and the older your car gets, the more it will happen. Your best defense is to use proper washing and drying practices as often as possible and use a professional detailing service. 

The facts:

The degree to which you can correct swirl marks depends on how picky you are, and the amount of time you are willing to spend getting them out. You will literally have to remove the layer of paint containing the swirls and re-level the surface, which is in microscopic layers. Modern clear-coat paints are harder than the older lacquer paints and enamel used until the 1980s. Manufacturers began using a base-coat and clear-coat system with a protective, hard, glossy clear coat on top of the color coat. These paints are more resistant to fading. Also, they last a lot longer because they are harder. 

Here are some reasons that swirl marks form:

  1. Polishers and buffers used with the wrong pad and uninformed application
  2. Harsh polishing compounds or paint cleaners
  3. Towels and applicators containing polyester threads
  4. A dirty chamois or cloth that has not been adequately cleaned and maintained
  5. Wiping down a dusty or dirty car with a dry towel
  6. Not keeping your wash mitt or sponge properly rinsed
  7. Automated car washes with brushes and other apparatuses that are not clean enough
  8. Not rinsing the car completely off before washing, or not washing your car thoroughly before drying
  9. Using a car cover when the vehicle or the cover is not completely clean 

How do I get rid of these unsightly swirl marks?

The best thing to do is head on down to the professional detailers, like Steve’s Detailing, where they can polish out the swirl marks using the best products and personnel trained in doing so. Some products on the market will only mask or hide swirl marks temporarily, Steve’s Detailing has the products and tools that will lift and erase the swirl marks using a polish compound to do the job correctly, and sometimes even a cutting polish, depending on the severity of the swirl marks. 

Here is a quick reference guide on eliminating swirl marks:

  • The car must be thoroughly cleaned with a de-waxer and non-abrasive microfiber cloth, to remove all contaminants, dirt, and dust
  • If the surface is rough, a liquid clay or clay bar should be used together with a water based sealer
  • A follow up with a swirl remover is recommended using buffing pads/cloth and an orbital polisher
  • Sealing is the finishing touch with an all-weather paint sealant to give you the perfect, professional, glass like look 

A quick word on Snow Foam:

Snow foam is a unique pre-wash cleaner or treatment that can help lubricate your vehicle before you start washing. It is like an added security system to help ensure you don’t get swirl marks from left behind dirt and debris. A thick layer of snow foam left to sit on your car will soften the surface dirt, and when rinsed off, before hand washing, it will make a big difference in the quality of your car wash. A pressure washer with a snow foam lance will give you the best results. 

Why are buckets important?

There is a lot of evidence and reason behind using multiple buckets for washing your vehicle. Avoiding cross-contamination is the main idea. Here’s your bucket list: 1 bucket for your shampoo solution (wash) and 1 full of plain fresh water for rinsing. Simply, wash a portion with the shampoo solution then, before cleaning the next part, dip the mitt into the rinse bucket. Scrub it by hand to remove any and all dirt, then dip it back in the shampoo from the wash bucket, continue with the wash. This ensures that the dirt removed from the paint is then removed from the wash mitt, and isn’t dragged back across the car during washing.

Remember, if your vehicle is already riddled with swirl marks, you will need to first and foremost get rid of them by polishing, either by hand or machine, or by bringing it to our professional detailers. Also remember, that if not done correctly, you can add to the problem, causing MORE swirl marks than you already had. Polishing, waxing and protecting is a big job that requires a lot of elbow grease, so unless you are up for it, and willing to spend the day getting it right, it is always a good idea to check in with the professionals and let them attend to the problem.

If you head on down to Steve’s Detailing today, you won’t be saying, “why am I seeing swirl marks in my car paint?” because we get it right every time and know the detailing business inside and out. Let us bring your paint color back to its original glory, free of unsightly swirl marks and lack luster shine. You’ll be surprised and happy with the results, and able to maintain the longevity of your vehicle’s paint job for an extended period of time.

Tips for Washing Your Car Between Details

Steve’s DetailingTips for Washing Your Car Between Details offers fast, thorough and complete car detailing that will keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. Here are some tips for washing your car between details so that you can get the most for your dollar, and the best treatment for your car or truck to keep it looking shiny and new.

First off, it is always wise to stay clear of the drive-thru car washes. These poorly maintained machines can damage not only paint jobs, but antennas, and a whole lot more. For example, if the previous car just came back from a muddy or dirty camping trip, guess what is left behind on those brushes? Yup, you guessed it, dirt and debris that could dig into your paint. DIY hand washes are typically the best option.

If your car is new, a wash and wax will suffice, but if it has been neglected at all, then wash, wax and polish are probably in order. Be sure to use premium microfiber cloths that are clean, and products specifically formulated for the task at hand. Some cleaners can do more damage than good.

Rinse your vehicle first to get the majority of dirt and debris off, using a pressure washer (with the proper tip) on hard to reach places and areas with caked on dirt. Use a good quality car wash soap, not just any type of dishwashing liquid or other, as this can damage the paint and strip away wax. Be sure to do sections of your vehicle and rinse promptly to avoid spots and soapy water from drying, especially on hot days. Finally, use dry clean cloths and wipe down the car from top to bottom.

You can go even further if you have the time and energy by applying wax or polish at this final stage, but you can also leave it to Steve’s Detailing for the tough stuff.

How often should you detail?

Well, again, this will depend on how often the car is driven, if it has gone through some nasty driving conditions such as rain or snow, and if it spends a lot of time in the sun. It is most common to give your car a weekly wash to keep up with pollen and dirt build up from embedding in the paint, and a monthly wash and wax detailing to keep a protective barrier on the paint.

Is detailing and washing your car that important?

Of course, it is! The fine finish on your vehicle’s exterior can wear down fast against the elements of weather, wear and tear, which will eventually lead to your car being nothing but a rust bucket with wheels. Most people trade in their vehicles every few years for better technology and performance. So, if you want to get the most out of your older vehicles, it is imperative that you take care of it inside and out, because no one is going to pay top dollar for a worn out car.

Steve’s Detailing loves to provide tips for washing your car between details. It makes your car’s value higher, and it makes our job more successful. We use only the top-quality brands and products to ensure your car detailing in perfect both inside and out.

Difference Between Car Washing and Detailing

Difference Between Car Washing and DetailingEver wondered what’s the difference between car washing and detailing? Ay Steve’s Detailing, we’re here to tell you that there is a huge difference between the two, yet both services are important for the longevity of your vehicle inside and out.

Today, let’s discuss a few of the key differences between car washing and car detailing. 

Car Washing

This involves removing dirt, debris, tar, and salt from your vehicles clear coat with a big bucket of soapy water. You can obtain a car wash from a detailing company, a drive through automatic wash, a pay stall DIY wash, or you can even wash your vehicle at home. Each one of these suggestions will get the surface dirt and grime off, but it will not give you the complete and perfect shine like professional detailing.

Another issue to note is that some automatic drive-through washes can do more damage than good to your car by breaking off antennas or scratching surfaces. If the vehicle before you was extremely dirty, chances are, some of that dirt will remain on the brushes for the next vehicle going through. Not only could it end up limiting your cleaning results, but large bits of dirt, rocks or debris could scratch your paint. The main point of a drive-through car-wash speed, which is not always best for your vehicle.

Car Detail

A professional vehicle detail will get into every nook and cranny of your car or truck, using the most up to date, tried and true, professional products to achieve the most stunning and shiniest of results. It may cost a little more than doing it yourself, but the end results will be well worth it and resale value of your vehicle increases because it will maintain that new car look.

Auto care experts are trained with the latest techniques and know-how for achieving the best results for your car, from engine compartment cleaning, removing stubborn carpet stains, bringing your tires and chrome back to life, headlight restoration, leather treatments, and more. You just can’t get the same results as the professionals can, and let’s face it, most of us do not have the time in our busy lives.

A professional detail can take anywhere from 1-6 hours depending on the size of your vehicle, package you choose, or options you wish to add. Some places have a place to sit and watch TV, others have a pickup and drop-off service. At Steve’s Detailing, we’re conveniently located in the heart of DTC, so you’re welcome to drop off your car for a “spa day” before work. For the time, effort and price it takes to keep your vehicle looking and smelling good every week or month, you’ll see that it is well worth it.

Now that you know the difference between car washing and detailing is, head on over to Steve’s Detailing for information on what offer. Let the experts in making your vehicles look like new again, whether you have an antique hot rod, motorcycle, or work truck. Leave the detailing to us!

How to Clean Your Foggy Headlights

How to Clean Your Foggy HeadlightsAt Steve’s Detailing, we know how to clean your foggy headlights the proper way so that you can see clearly in all weather conditions and on any terrain. We are also superb detailers for every type of vehicle, be it a motorcycle, RV, antique car, hobby car, or just your everyday to and from work vehicle.

If you don’t mind spending a good chunk of your weekend tending to your vehicle’s needs, there are a few methods for cleaning hazy, oxidized headlights. The first step is to do a thorough inspection of your headlights and look for the best solution to cleaning them. If you are unsure, always get a professional’s help. If there are extensive chips and cracks, it may be a good idea to replace them all together.

Now, let’s look at the procedures for how to clean your foggy headlights.

STEP 1, CLEAN WITH SOAP AND WATER: Use a good quality car soap to get off the road grime and debris. From here you will get a much better idea of the damage.

Look for signs of hazing. This will happen when the hard coating has worn off the headlights, and the soft polycarbonate is exposed; the light will start to absorb scratches that create hazing. The lens will also be covered, if it isn’t already, in a rough dark yellow crusted surface.

Yellowing is a sure sign that the all of the hard coatings is beginning to thin out and lose its adhesion to the polycarbonate lens. Peeling and cracks will need to be dealt with by a professional detailer or replaced. You may see flaking, peeling, and spotting. These may just need a resurfacing. Once you have concluded the level of damage, here are the options you can choose from to help repair the issue.

STEP 2, SANDPAPER: You will need a few different grades of wet/dry sandpaper. 3M is a good starting point and a courser grade such as 1500 or 2000. Tape off the areas of paint around the headlights to avoid damaging the paint and clean the lights once more with rubbing alcohol. Wet your sandpaper using the course grit first and start to sand in a circular motion, paying attention to areas where the coating may be lifting and flaking off. Use a good amount of pressure until you have an even, dull finish. Now you will change to a finer grit and continue sanding until you get a satin-like finish.

STEP 3, CHOOSE A POLISHING COMPOUND: Now you will determine the buffing compound that will best suit your needs. You can run to the auto parts store and pick up McGuire’s, M105, or others. Aluminum compounds are the best for headlights, or you can use a more natural and cheaper approach by opting for bath and sink cleaners or even blue toothpaste without whitening additives or peroxides.

When it comes to how to clean your foggy headlights, here are some other natural options to choose from for you DIY-types:

  • Baking Soda: Yup, just like your mom told you…. this stuff works for almost everything. Just rub it on and rinse off.
  • Vinegar: Besides its great cleaning qualities, it works like a charm on headlight covers. Just take them off and soak for a few minutes and watch the crud crumble off.
  • Bug Spray: Good old “OFF” brand will work wonders in taking off bug grime and the UV plastic that is yellowing on your headlights. The chemicals in the spray do a great job.
  • Joy Dish Soap and Salt: Mix the two together for double duty cleaning and removing power.
  • Denatured Alcohol: Be sure to clean your headlights well with soap and water first, then dab some denatured alcohol on a rag and rub in a circular motion. Rinse and dry, and add some car wax for added protection to finalize.

STEP 4, POLISH: Get a nice clean microfiber cloth and add your choice of cleaning compound to it, about the size of a quarter to start. Use small circular motions and a small patch to start. Then you will repeat this cycle until the whole light is done. You can also use an automatic buffer for faster results. Keep buffing and polishing until you get the clear results you are looking for!

STEP 5, PROTECT: To prolong the life of the hard work you have just accomplished, there is a product called Bulldog, which is a plastic adhesion protector that will aid in keeping your lights protected. It is kind of like applying a top coat on your nail polish to add long-wearing shine and coverage. This procedure is something Steve’s Detailing can most definitely help with.

The environment is the major issue in the deterioration of your headlights. The UV light exposure from the sun is probably the worst culprit, followed by road grime and chemicals. Road debris causes pits and marks in the lenses, water vapor trapped inside the lens also causes damage over time. So, what can you do to protect these precious and delicate lights? Well, it is wise to try and park your vehicle in the shade or a garage to avoid as much sun exposure as possible, and the second-best option is to have a professional tend to your lights quarterly to clean and protect them.

There are also several products on the market that can help prevent the damage that UV rays cause to your light system. These products have created a unique co-polymer & acrylic resin shell over headlight lenses to prevent their oxidation and fading. Your headlights remain clear and sharp and improve your nighttime visibility and your vehicle’s aesthetic appearance. Of course, this is a maintenance task that you will need to adhere to for best results. But one popular brand on the market is called Optimum Opti-Lens Headlight Coating.

A word on headlight covers: These are a great way to not only protect your lights from harmful UV light, but also from chips and grime that wear down the hard plastic coating. Of course, you can’t use them at night, but most definitely during the day is a great idea.

Knowing how to clean your foggy headlights is just one of the steps in a long list involved in keeping your vehicles looking good and running like new. Count on Steve’s Detailing for all the latest technologies, quality products, and experienced detailers to make your car feel as good as the day you bought it! Stop in today and adhere to a regularly scheduled maintenance plan for optimum results.

What’s Better, Cloth or Leather Interiors

what's better, cloth or leather interiorsIt’s a timeless debate, what’s better, cloth or leather interiors? At Steve’s Detailing, we know that when it comes to the vehicles we drive, comfort and style are rather important to most of us. We want to feel good slipping into the driver’s seat. Of course, no matter what side of the fence you fall on, you can rest assured that we’ll take great care of your cloth or leather interior, as well as your vehicle’s exterior. Our detailing and hand car wash services provide long-lasting beauty and value.

So, leather or cloth, let’s look at some of the comparisons below.

LEATHER PROS

  • Looks and feels luxurious
  • Smells rich
  • Soft and supple to sit on
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Durable
  • Great resale value
  • May upgrade the status quo among friends and family
  • Choices between faux, brushed, top grain and Nappa leather

 

LEATHER CONS

  • Can be expensive, depending on the grade
  • Not very “green” or “animal-friendly” after all, it is made from a cow’s hide
  • Hot, sweaty and sticky in the summer, and cold to the bone frigid in winter, unless you have a heated seat option
  • Will show wear quickly if not regularly maintained; sweat is a big problem for staining and odors
  • Can crack, dry and split if left to the elements, leather needs to be cleaned and detailed properly
  • Absorbs heat; with windows closed, temperatures can reach incredible heights
  • Worn out leather seats don’t look very attractive
  • Some manufacturers only use real leather on the top part of the seat; the sides are usually vinyl or cheaper materials
  • Limited color options

 

CLOTH PROS

  • More affordable
  • Comfortable, no sticking to your seat, sliding, freezing backside or hot thighs
  • More breathable material
  • Eco-friendly material available
  • Velour, Suede/tricot blend of materials provides more comfort and cushioning and is stain-proof
  • Low-maintenance; usually only requires a monthly vacuum or steam clean to maintain
  • Lots of color choices whether solid or patterned
  • Holds less heat on hot days

 

CLOTH CONS

  • Stains are hard to remove; wiping with a rag will usually not do the job, so stain guard is a must
  • Holds odors including foods, body sweat, pet odors, damp or wet carpet odors
  • Not much for status quo; can look cheap
  • Low resale value
  • New car smell fades fast
  • Allergies-galore! Pet dander and odors stay put in cloth seats

 

PERSONAL PREFERENCE

What it all boils down to, is what suits your tastes. Most of us have our favorite picked out from the first car we ever owned; so, the choice is easy. Fortunately, with today’s technologies, the options are getting better and better. Auto upholstery fabrics and materials are more allergy-friendly and less toxic to our bodies. Even if you have your mind set, weigh out the options. You may be pleasantly surprised with the savings and new technologies.

A WORD ON VINYL SEATS

Vinyl is a newcomer in the world of seat material, the in-between option for those who can’t decide what’s better, cloth or leather interiors. During the 1950s, vinyl became a leading material in car upholstery. Since then, the quality of vinyl has vastly improved, looking and feeling so leather-like, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference! Vinyl has advantages over leather, too. It can be as much as 25% less expensive and comes in a wider range of colors and patterns. The cleaning of vinyl fabric is super easy, and over time it holds up well, maintaining both its structure and color. It’s more forgiving than cloth and leather when wet; stains are much easier to resolve as well.

New manufacturing technologies include leather-like patterns and special coatings, making modern vinyl almost indistinguishable from real leather options. Vinyl will not stretch like leather but you will still get the same hot and cold weather issues that leather has. Poor resale values, lack of prestige, and not being very “green” all follow vinyl around.

COST

Obviously, this is largely based on the type and size of vehicle you buy. In general, you will most definitely pay more for leather seats across the board. Cloth seats are considered standard equipment and cost the consumer less money than opting for the upgraded leather seats. Most non-leather materials made of fabrics are easy to create in factory and cost less to install.

Leather seats, take a long time to create because the hide has to be cleaned of hair, salted, tanned, dyed, and dried, all of which can take weeks. Higher quality leathers will take longer to prepare but will offer a softer feel and have more leather grain in the material. Some of the top-quality leathers can take nearly a year to cure, depending on the tanning method. Leather seats are most often upgrades and expensive.

KATZKINS SEATS: WHAT ARE THEY?

Well, they are yet another alternative to consider. This is an aftermarket upholsterer that could help you get leather seats more affordably than the absurdly priced upgrades charged at dealerships. A California company called Katzkin is one of the best-known names, and they offer leather upholstery kits as an alternative to your dilemma. According to Katzkin, their kit costs a lot less, for results comparable to, or even better than original leather seats. Katzkin’s kits are not seat covers, but rather, certified installers that will remove the original upholstery, and some of the hardware, and replace it with leather that has a very precise, secure fit, just like the factory. They meet original safety specs for airbag testing, include a three-year warranty, and in most cases, are even better than the original factory seats purchased. These seats will significantly increase your resale value, much like a leather interior.

At Steve’s Detailing, it doesn’t matter what’s better, cloth or leather interiors. We will get any stains, odors, and grime off regardless of your choice of interior material. Our professional team and a host of professional products will ensure you leave our shop with your like-new vehicle. Professional car detailing will significantly improve the longevity of your vehicle’s interior, and provide you with years of enjoyment too!

How to Clean Your Car’s Engine Compartment

How to Clean Your Car’s Engine CompartmentKnowing how to clean your car’s engine compartment thoroughly is another of the many ways Steve’s Detailing in Denver really shines. If you are a customer, you know how meticulous we are at cleaning your vehicle and paying special attention to all the little crooks and crevices that hide dirt. A car’s engine compartment is an important part of the detail, deserving particular attention that will help the engine run stronger for longer. Steve’s Detailing is more than happy to provide this exceptional service for your car every time.

When an engine compartment is clean, it not only looks good under the hood, but it helps cool more efficiently, provides less wear on systems such as pulleys and bearings, prevents rust, and offers early belt wear detection. You can also detect leaks quicker, filters stand a chance at staying cleaner for longer, and let’s not forget resale value. The minute a potential customer pops the hood to get a look, your chances of a better sale will increase with a clean engine compartment, and that is a fact!

One interesting note, the cars of today are boasting smaller and smaller engine compartments under the hood, and that means a lot more places for dirt and grime to hide, which in turn means a greater need to maintain this area and keep it spotless. So, let’s get to how to clean your car’s engine compartment.

Remember the importance of COVERING the following first to protect from water issues:

  • All sensors
  • Distributor
  • Alternator
  • Spark plugs
  • Battery
  • Electrical connections
  • Air intake

Here is the simple procedure and some tips:

  • CLEAN IN THE MORNING: It is always best to clean your engine compartment after it has sat all night and has not been driven. Of course, you would NEVER attempt to clean a HOT engine for fear of ruining components when you spray with water, not to mention potential burns to your skin. If you wish to loosen debris slightly, you can start the engine and warm it up for a few minutes to help get some of the dirt loosened up.
  • COVER ALTERNATOR, FILTERS, and AIR INTAKE: Getting water or degreaser in these areas will not be a pretty sight. Cover your air filter with a bag, but be sure to take the bag off when starting your engine up. Also, if you have any custom electric components, take the time to cover or hand clean to be safe.
  • FIRST STEP DEGREASER: Start with the perimeter of the engine bay. Make sure you get the fluid containers and hoses de-greased because they are usually extra dirty. Spray the back of the engine bay and be sure to get as far down as possible. To get the degreaser off, you just need to rinse it with a slow stream of water. Anything that doesn’t come clean can just be wiped down by hand later.
  • HAND WASH: Now the trickier part. Grab yourself a wash mitt specially designed for cleaning engines. You can also use a flexible detailing brush to get into the more difficult areas. It is also a good idea to pick up a lot of microfiber cloths and never use anything with steel bristles or rough surfaces to avoid damaging paint or plastic components. A spray bottle with soapy water in it can make your job easier too.
  • DRY: If you have a good blower around to get the water out of those hard to reach areas, all the better, if not, it will be a long haul getting everything dried by hand. A compressor will also do the job if you have one. This step is imperative before you begin with the wax and polish stage.
  • START YOUR ENGINE: Allow the engine to raise to normal operating temperature for complete and thorough drying of all engine components; You can also put the AC on so the compressor engages. Approximately 5 minutes will do the trick.
  • SHINE: Now the rewarding part…use a wax or sealant for the paint, and an insulator wax made especially for hot areas under the hood. Vinyl and rubber protectants work great for the plastics and hoses under the hood.
  • FINALIZE: Check all fluid levels, check the battery terminals to ensure that they are clean. If they are not, disconnect the cables. Clean both the cable terminals and battery posts with a wire brush. Reconnect the terminals and retighten.

Here are some of the top ten engine compartment cleaners for 2017, in no particular order:

  1. GUNK FOAMY ENGINE BRIGHT DEGREASER – removes dirt, grime, and grease safely
  2. GRIOTS GARAGE ENGINE CLEANER – environmentally friendly degreaser
  3. SIMPLE GREEN FOAMING CRYSTAL INDUSTRIAL DEGREASER – environmentally friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable degreaser
  4. AUTO-CHEM HD CLEAN – water based degreaser, biodegradable
  5. OIL EATER CLEANER DEGREASER – best used on a cool engine, spray off
  6. PURPLE POWER INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH DEGREASER – biodegradable, non-flammable, non-abrasive, phosphate free
  7. MAX PROFESSIONAL ENGINE CLEANER – removes grease and grime but extremely flammable
  8. PENRAY ENGINE CLEANER – removes oil, grease, and tar, extremely flammable
  9. HD TOTAL CLEANER AND DEGREASER – provides a full range of cleaning activity
  10. CHEMICAL GUYS GRIME REAPER – extremely concentrated degreaser

The cost of a professional engine compartment clean is well worth the money it takes, and most places offer some great incentives and packages to help you maintain your vehicles monthly. Shop around and be sure to ask for discounts that will suit your needs AND your budget! Of course, you can always do it yourself, but by the time you buy all the products needed, not to mention the professional equipment necessary, and a large area for washing, you may realize that the cost outweighs the effort required to put into this task. Go with the professionals, likes Steve’s Detailing!

A clean engine compartment is a beautiful thing, and you can make your life much easier once you get it spotless, by maintaining it with a quick rub down every once in a while. Now that you know the details of how to clean your car’s engine compartment, feel free to visit Steve’s Detailing in the Denver Tech Center area. We can save you a lot of time and energy by providing a spotless car detail inside and out, including an engine compartment clean that will make both you and your car happy.

What Exactly is Car Detailing?

What Exactly is Car Detailing?What exactly is car detailing? And how will it extend the life of your car or truck? At Steve’s Detailing, we know that a clean car inside and out is paramount if you want to get the most out of your ride. Like most things in life, the need to be maintained and cleaned is inevitable. Whether it is our bodies, our homes or our cars, we all know that longevity will extend if we stick to these simple daily or weekly tasks.

Here’s why car detailing should be a big part of your routine.

INCREASES THE RESALE VALUE if you should decide to sell one day. A potential buyer is always looking for a nice, shiny looking car that smells good inside and has been given plenty of love and attention throughout the years. This reassures them that it was well maintained and cared for since the general appearance is often a reflection of how the rest of the vehicle was maintained.

SAFETY is a big concern if you want to get where you are going. Dirty windows, bald tires, muddy headlights and more will interfere with people being able to see you on the road, and for you to see them! This is dangerous for you and everyone else on the road.

TIME AND ENERGY SAVER. By hiring a professional detailing company such as Steve’s Detailing, you know that your vehicle will be clean and tidy from top to bottom. This saves you time and energy to do other things that are more important, and by getting on a routine detailing schedule, you and your car will be happier in the long run.

STAY HEALTHIER by ridding your interior of harmful bacteria. Food and drinks spilled and left to spoil can be extremely unsanitary for your health and the condition of the materials inside your vehicles.

SAVE YOUR PAINT JOB. By obtaining a clean vehicle and washing off salt, dirt, and grime from sappy trees, you will extend the life of your paint color and avoid getting a rust bucket of a car. Even the sun can wreak havoc on our rides. We know how expensive a new paint job is, so don’t ignore the importance of cleaning off the grunge on the exterior of your vehicles.

What can you expect from a professional detailing service? Here are a few services provided.

3 STEP EXTERIOR PAINT CLEANING to protect and maintain your paint job. This usually includes washing and drying to rid the vehicle of dirt and grime, then comes a clay bar application to remove sticky substances such as tar and metals and road grime in the clear coat, next will come the polish process and finally it’s sealed with wax for a shiny like-new finish.

WHEELS AND CHASSIS are imperative to keep clean. The chassis is the underside of your car which can rust if not properly maintained. Wheel wells and suspension components are cleaned, and plastic fender protectors can be sealed with a protectant to help with cracking, promoting luster.

LIGHTS AND TRIM can oxidize with the weather extremes, so by polishing and sealing these areas, you are extending the life of your lights. Any chrome and vinyl are usually finished up with a protective sealant as well to deter cracking and fading.

INTERIOR is just as important as the outside, and the place you spend all of your time driving. Carpets and seats should be shampooed, vacuumed, and even steam cleaned. The plastics and leather inside need to be cleaned and conditioned. This process will include the entire vehicle, front/back, passenger areas, trunk, or and areas.

ENGINE areas are an important aspect of a good auto detailing, be sure to ask if your company includes this service, as some do not. This process entails spritzing the engine with water and a degreaser, followed by a rinse, dry, and a sealer to rubber and plastic components to prevent cracking.

How much can you expect to spend on a car detailing service?

Depending on where you live, the price will vary significantly, but for the most part, you can expect to spend anywhere between $150-$350 on a good service. Most detailing shops will give you a discount if you adhere to a regular detailing schedule, and keep in mind that larger vehicles such as SUVs and vans will cost more, as well as the use of some special equipment that may need to be utilized.

How often you detail your car is entirely up to you, but depending on your lifestyle and the amount of wear and tear put on your vehicle should be a very big deciding factor in how often you detail it. A weekly wash is always recommended to keep pollen and dirt from embedding itself in the clear coat. A monthly wash and wax will help keep the exterior of the car covered with a shiny shield of protectant. Sealants and coatings, however, are a procedure that is best left to the professionals and should be attended to about every one to two years depending on the driving and area that you live in.

Why does a clean car feel so good? Well, just like our own bodies, when we look and feel good, that presence emits to the world around us. So, whether you are going for a job interview or picking up a hot date, you want to look good and impress those around you. Not only that, you want to feel good getting behind the wheel and enjoying a clean, fresh ride wherever the road takes you.

To enjoy the benefits of what the professionals have accomplished on your detailing services a little longer, be sure to keep up with the 4-month rule, that means that usually products such as waxes and polishes will eventually break down on your car due to the extremes, and will need replenishing. By washing your vehicle, yourself weekly, you can extend the amount of time needed to take it in. The average car detailing service will last a minimum of 30 minutes, to as much as a full day in the shop. Time well spent!

Now that you are more familiar with what exactly is car detailing, you can head on over to Steve’s Detailing for one of the most professional, thorough, and exceptional car detailing services you will ever experience. With a knowledgeable background in custom services such as antique, hobby, luxury and hot rod detailing, as well as every day detailing services, we know what our customers expect from us and you will see the proof in the way your vehicle looks.

What is Paintless Dent Repair?

What is Paintless Dent Repair? If you’ve ever experienced a minor ding or dent in your car, you may have researched what is paintless dent repair and what is involved in the process? At Steve’s Detailing, we provide the finishing touch for this type of repair, which we can attest to being incredibly effective at restoring a vehicle to like new shape. Looking into the service ourselves, it seems that it will save you a lot of time and money, too. So, let’s talk more about what is paintless dent repair.

It has most likely happened to us all, at some point. You walk out of the grocery store, only to find that someone has dinged your car by hitting it with their door or bumper. Also, there are those little fender benders, when we should have given a little extra space between our car and the one next to us. The good news is that paintless dent repair can be just the remedy you need.

Paintless dent repair can rectify a broad range of damage as long as the paint surface is intact. It may be used on both aluminum and steel panels. Door dings, creases, dents, bodyline damage and hail damage, are just some of the more popular issues utilizing paintless dent repair, but not limited to those. It can also minimize the use of body filler when repainting. Usually the shallower the dent, the greater the chances of paintless dent repair being a suitable option. Experienced technicians can fix a large, shallow dent or a crease, to a satisfactory level, but paintless dent repair may not be the proper method for extremely sharp dents or creases. Ask your service shop what they can achieve for best results.

Techniques involved in paintless dent repair utilize metal rods and body picks to push out the dents from the underside of the vehicle body panel. Glue and specially-designed tabs may be used to pull out the dents from the outside of the panel. Finishing touches of the repair involve tapping down the repair to remove small high spots. Experienced technicians can blend high spots to match the texture of the paint, sometimes called orange peel. But if they push too hard, it may create high spots that cause the clear coat to split or crack, which of course is not a good thing. Avoiding cracking or chipping is the ultimate goal. When the damage is so high that body filler is necessary, a paintless dent technician can “push to paint,” fixing most of the damage before minor filling, sanding, and painting. This will save you time and money in the long run if the dent is large.

Technicians also use fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, or in some cases a reflection board to help them visualize the deformation of the dent and aid in locating the tip of the tool used to push out the metal, reforming it to the proper height. Without a reflection from a light source or board to read the dent, the fine detail of the process may not be suitable, and the results will be less than satisfactory. Paintless dent repair requires skill and a good eye, so be sure to find a company that knows their stuff and has the experience in this technique.

Since around the 1940s, “dingmen” have been “pushing” or “massaging” dents out of vehicles. An issue arose as the tools they used could not prevent cracking or creasing of the paint, and it looked like the art may be dying. However, in the early 70s and 80s, the auto industry started making thinner, more flexible metals for panels and roofs. This was ideal for the dent repairmen of that time. Cracking paint issues resolved and the quality of paint and clear coat improved. Now, tools have also improved, and dingmen can take out larger and larger dents. You can sometimes even find mobile paintless dent repair.

The pros of paintless dent repair:

  • Same day turnaround, versus days in the body shop
  • No deductibles or insurance claims
  • Restores an original factory finish
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Repairs are gentle on your vehicle
  • Cheaper than body shop repairs
  • Repaired dents do not reappear

The cost of paintless dent repair will vary, but in general, you can estimate with these guidelines (without comprehensive insurance). Depending on the cause of the damage, such as hail, your costs will go down considerably if you are insured.

  • Dent size and depth location will determine the cost
  • Smaller, easier to reach dents will run between $35 to $45 per dent
  • Medium sized dents will go up slightly to $45- $55 per dent
  • Hard to access areas, such as roofs, jump to $60 to $65 per small dent and $75-$80 for large

Now, you could try to repair your car yourself, but the tools alone can be somewhat costly. Dentcraft Tools are probably the highest quality tools found online, but the 72-piece set alone will run you about $2000. That is much more than the cost to take it to someone who truly knows what they are doing. But if you would like to know how it is done and what type of specialized repair tools are often used to achieve the look, it may be worthwhile investigating the inside steps to how they pop out those little dents and get your car back to new again. The tools look somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle in some respect, so referring the job to a paintless dent repair shop is a good idea!

Now that you know what is paintless dent repair, the frustration of seeing the initial damage to your vehicle will certainly be an easier pill to swallow. There’s no need for a full, heavy-duty body repair at an expensive dealership or auto body repair shop. And there’s no need to go without your car for days on end. Of course, once your paintless dent repair specialist has finished bringing your car back to life, come to Steve’s Detailing for a buff, polish, and wax to make your vehicle feel brand new.

Is Your Car’s Interior Making You Sick?

Is Your Car's Interior Making You Sick?Most of us can agree that the smell of a brand-new car is intoxicating. What is it about that smell that so many of us love? Some manufacturers have even made air fresheners that carry that same “new car” fragrance, so we can forever feel like our car just rolled off the assembly line. But before you bask in the aroma a minute longer, you may want to ponder on this question. Is your car’s interior making you sick?

Here at Steve’s Detailing, we know all too well the hidden dangers of a new interior. We will neutralize these threats using tried, tested, and true products and help you eliminate these toxic smells that could be making you sick.

The following toxic chemicals found in your interiors and the air inside your cars may sound foreign and confusing, but they are important to note. Some of these toxins are exceeding levels well above air quality standards. Believe it or not, more than 275 different chemicals are used in car interiors. Some of these chemicals are even worse than the well know “toxic building” syndrome that has surfaced in the news. It is little wonder we are a nation of ill human beings, suffering from unnecessary diseases.

  • VOCs, including benzene, styrene, and formaldehyde
  • Brominated flame retardants
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Lead and heavy metals
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Ozone

What are these toxic substances really doing to our bodies? Well, for starters, fire retardants, which are in all interiors are linked to cancers, autism, obesity, and male infertility. PVC plastic is probably the worst plastic out there and is harmful to pregnant women, babies, and can disrupt the endocrine system. It seems hard to believe, but the facts are real and rather disturbing. Of course, not everyone will be affected in the same way, but people with respiratory issues or chemical sensitivities will be at the most risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a lot of useful information about this subject, and worth the read.

To remedy the situation as best you can, the easiest solution is to get some air flow in your vehicle. Open all the vents and windows to help dilute the concentration of odors and have a good filtration system. Of course, the other option is to remove the source of the smells, but for obvious reasons, that will not always be possible, especially in a new car. You can, however, do your research when buying a new car to see which makes and models use the best environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques. In one study of over 200 vehicles tested for chemicals that “off-gas” from 2011-2012, the Honda Civic came out on top. The worst, Mini Cooper, VW Eos, Kia Sportage, Chevy Aveo 5, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, Mazda CX-7, Kia Soul, Chrysler 200 SC, and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

If you do opt for buying a brand-new car, why not “bake” it? What does that mean? Well, you can speed up the release of chemicals by “baking them out.” This process either involves leaving the vehicle in the hot sun with the windows down or cranking the heater on for a while. Afterward, open all the windows and doors and ventilate with fresh air. From here you can grab a microfiber cloth and start wiping down the entire interior, being careful to pick up all the dust and debris. If you are super sensitive to chemicals, you may want to repeat this process a few times. The first six months with a new car are the most toxic, so perhaps wait it out if you can before making a purchase.

Let’s not forget about the mold factor too. If you are buying a used car, there is a good possibility it has mold lurking in it due to moisture, especially in warmer humid climates. But it is not just hiding in the seats; a common problem is faulty air conditioners. Be sure to have yours checked out and read up on the Lemon Law to see if the manufacturer will buy the car back if affected with mold. Also, ensure that bacteria from food, animals, and dirt are not lurking in the crevices. It is so important to keep a clean vehicle. In the meantime, here are some great tips to follow:

  • CLEAN THE INSIDE OFTEN, microfiber clothes are the best, just wet and wipe, no need for chemical cleaners.
  • REPLACE YOUR TOXIC AIR FRESHENERS with natural ones such as essential oils on cotton or in a diffuser, or baking soda.
  • CAR AIR PURIFIERS are excellent, especially if you have respiratory issues or wish to breathe cleaner air
  • REPLACE YOUR WINDSHIELD WIPER FLUID if you are sensitive to it. Vinegar and water with a tad of liquid soap works great.
  • KEEP YOUR DISTANCE of at least three car lengths to avoid exhaust fumes from entering your vehicle.
  • DON’T KEEP YOUR VENTS CLOSED always because bacteria will build up. Be sure to open and close often.
  • DO NOT IDLE CAR in the garage. Carbon monoxide exposure can cause headaches and even be fatal.
  • AIR OUT your vehicle whenever possible, winter and summer.

Japan is leading the countries in trying to eliminate this toxic cocktail in vehicles by cutting out 13 of the compounds in interiors, including formaldehyde and styrene. Hopefully, the U.S. will catch on and join the bandwagon on making America’s vehicles safer for everyone. Ford is also on their way to improvements, and it won’t be an easy transition, but it is a necessary one. And just imagine all those chemicals sitting in the hot sun, this is extremely dangerous because it adds fuel to the fire, so to speak, heating up these already toxic materials to even stronger levels with the solar exposures. Use solar reflectors whenever possible and park in the shade when you can.

Japan and Europe are putting their best face forward and are ahead of the toxic car syndrome in many ways. We are even starting to see significant organic changes in interiors such as car seats made from raw materials like palm and soybean oils, plant-based foams, and plastics made from petrochemicals, and even the hibiscus tree and a particular type of grass utilized in today’s vehicle interiors. The technology is incredible and exciting, to say the least, and it is something everyone will be pleased with in the long run.

At Steve’s Detailing, we will do our best to ensure your car’s interior is not making you sick. With years in the industry as a trusted and knowledgeable vehicle detailing shop, we know what it takes to provide our clients with safe products and the added experience to eliminate or reduce the toxic overload your car may be emitting. Ask us today how we can help you know, is your car’s interior making you sick. If your vehicle is on a weekly or monthly detailing regimen, there is no doubt that your exposure to toxic materials will decrease or be eliminated. Steve’s Detailing can get the job done with superior expertise.