Car detailing industry is one of the biggest in the automotive sector worldwide and has in the past few years made quite an impact on the Indian automotive market.
For those who aren’t very familiar with the term, car detailing is the process of rigorously and thoroughly cleaning, polishing and application of paint and surface protective products to all parts of an automobile, both exterior and interior, with the help of special tools and polishing and scrubbing products that aren’t even heard of at most common car washes in India.
Although car detailing does not include body repairs and paintwork, most detailers would still provide for light, surface restoration work like scrubbing, fixing and filling minor scratches and dents along with repainting a part or even the entire body of the car.
First the car is washed and cleaned
The process primarily aims at complete restoration and further enhancement of the automobile’s paintwork by elimination of scratches and swirl marks that have been inflicted through everyday use and cause distorted and unclear reflection of light off the surface due to the minor surface anomalies, dirt, or even faded paint.
Before any sort of surface detailing is commenced, the car is thoroughly washed and cleaned inside out, in order to remove as much dirt and contaminating substances as possible. The first step involves jet spraying and foaming the vehicle completely and allowing it to soak in order to soften the dirt and lift it off the surface of the car before rinsing it again. While soaking, the plastic and rubber bits and parts like window rubbers, grills, trim details and badges are scrubbed with soft bristled brushes. The foam is then thoroughly rinsed off the car and it takes along with it all the loosened dirt, grime and other foreign contaminants.
Usually, most of the effort while washing goes into cleaning the wheels, wheel arches and wells, and the undercarriage since they are the dirtiest and most covered in grime as compared to the rest of the car. Special brushes and wheel cleaning products are used to remove the stubborn dirt and muck from all the wheel areas, suspension components, brakes and calipers, lug nuts and the mudflaps too.
For the body and paint, plush wash mitts and soft micro fibre towels are preferred to sponges and other fabrics in order to prevent the lightest of scratches and swirl marks from being inflicted during the process. The complete wash process takes almost two hours to complete and sometimes even more in the case of large vehicles.
Polished for removal of scratches and swirl marks
Once the body has been sufficiently cleaned and prepared, it is polished for the removal of any light scratches, swirl marks, hazing, oxidation and any such surface reflection anomalies and imperfections, with the help of either hand held rotary polishing machines, or by hand, using the right sort of body waxes and polish products. After polishing, and correcting the imperfections, the body surface is sealed and protected using pre-wax cleansing products and then the wax is applied.
As the body paint is done with polish and enhancers, the remaining exterior parts are dealt with. Windows and glass are also polished and protected along with the metal and chrome parts. Rubbers, plastics and vinyls are also revived and redressed to restore their original surface finish quality.
The wheels and tyres are also rubbed with surface treatment coats that help further enhance and protect them and provide for a beyond the ordinary level of detail.
Detailing the interior
The interior detailing process begins with thorough vacuuming and shampooing for the removal of any stains and contaminants along with brightening and freshening up the surface. The headlining is cleaned and the leather is thoroughly scrubbed for further dirt removal before the protective conditioning treatment. All the plastics, vinyl and trim are cleaned and finished with the best suitable products for their revival and protection from any further damage by heat and sunlight.
The interior detailing process is as precision driven and time consuming as the exterior and there is a huge variety of products like brushes, swabs and micro fiber towels to deal with the most difficult of tight spaces strewn with dust and filth.
Car detailing helps to keep the original value and visual appeal of any automobile and is increasingly becoming popular in India. A number of quality washes and car care setups have mushroomed all over the country to help the zealous enthusiasts keep their beauties sparkling clean.