Which Detail Do I Need?
When flicking through a service list it can be quite confusing to understand which one is better suited for your car. We've tried to be as plain and simple as possible with our pricing structure and service descriptions, where the more that's involved (products and time) the more it will cost you as the paying customer.
However, the most expensive detailing package on our price list doesn't necessarily mean your vehicle needs it as that varies from vehicle to vehicle. Conversely, the cheapest one might not be enough to achieve perfection, assuming perfection is the desired goal, perfection is definitely the goal from TH Detailing!
To make it easier to digest we've put this guide together, however it's advised that you get in touch prior to any potential booking so we can assess your vehicle and advise you on what's recommended to meet your desired goal.
We'll firstly start of with the basics of paintwork and some common defects and how they are generally caused.
Car paint is generally made up of 4 layers, the top one being Clear Coat (or lacquer, top coat etc).
Clear coat is well, clear, and is applied to paintwork to protect it from damage and UV rays, also gives the paintwork that glossy look. When we correct paint we are effectively sanding a very fine amount off the top, sanding away defects to get a slick, flawless finish. This is achieved with various compounds and pads. Firmer pads and more course compounds will remove heavier defects, but are then refined with 2 stage of medium polishing, and then fine finishing stages, both with pads softer than its previous stage. It can sometimes be the case that not all 3 stages are required.
Swirl Marks are caused by poor washing or drying technique. They are light cobweb like marks in the top of the clear coat. Extreme cases are caused by harsh brushes or older mechanical car washes.
Buffer Trails and Holograms are caused by incorrect machine polishing, either by not maintaining polishing pads, low quality equipment and incorrect technique. There is an art to polishing, and not everyone can master it.
Deep Isolated Scratching can be caused by a number of things. Trees in country lanes, careless shoppers on the supermarket car park, the list goes on.
Harsh products can dull the appearance of paintwork leaving a cloudy or hazy finish to the paintwork. Bird droppings, acid rain and water etchings will eat away at the clear coat and form isolated blemishes.
Oxidation, or UV Fading it caused by the suns powerful rays. Reds turn to pink, black turns to grey. And just generally makes the paintwork look flat and dull. A decent form of paint protection is always advised to prevent oxidation from happening.
There are some defects that detailing alone cannot remove, such as vandalism, or impact damage. If the scratch cannot be safety removed we will always advise you of this prior to attempting it.
We have 4 Detailing services currently available, plus 2 exclusive show car packages (Which we'll save for another blog post):
Protection Detail :
A 1 day intensive deep clean suited for new or well maintained vehicles that require no paint correction. Resulting in ultra-slick protected paintwork.
If you have flawless paint from a previous detail and just need the wax or sealant topping up, this is recommended as it involves no machine polishing.
For vehicles that suffer with light swirls and defects. Ideal to remove light swirls and restore far deeper gloss levels. This includes a single stage of machine polishing with a fine finishing compound, aiming to remove light swirls and dull down deep swirls whilst improving gloss levels.
This will remove very fine swirl marks (that of a new vehicle or freshly painted/previously detailed), and will restore a level of gloss which in itself, will be noticeable. In photo below, you can see the door on the right has been polished removing the very light swirl marks, as well as very light fading.
However in the two photos below, you can see how the single stage machine polish has removed some of the finer swirling, leaving deeper defects behind whilst restoring the clarity of the paintwork.
Minor Correction Detail:
Aimed at vehicles that require a higher level of correction that suffer with heavier swirling and defects. This 2-3 day service will achieve up to 80% correction (Percentages being the depth of the defect). This involves 2 stages of machine polishing, aimed at removing light to medium defects such as holograms, medium swirls and light scratches.
As demonstrated on this motorcycle tank, the defects have been completely removed and clarity restored to the paintwork. The medium cut compound used removed the defects and the fine finishing compound restored clarity and removed any defects inflicted by the previous stage.
Major Correction Detail:
Designed for vehicles that require extensive TLC. Ideal to remove heavy oxidation, heavy swirling and defects, this 3-5 day service will achieve up to 95% correction.
This contains all 3 polishing stages and possibly wet sanding stage to remove "orange peel" or deeper scratches that would take a lot of time to polish out.
The heavy cutting stage is quite aggressive in terms of polishing power. It can remove scratches, heavy fading and swirls. Its important to follow this stage with the 2 remaining polishing stages to avoid buffer trails and the likes, and to restore amazing gloss levels.
Wet sanding is ideal to remove an isolated scratch quickly that polishing alone would take an hour or so to remove fully. The longer the polisher is on the paint the more heat can be generated too, with the risk of distorting or burning through the lacquer.
Wet standing is often a safer, and quicker way to remove defects and has multiple stages, from a grit level of P1000 to P6000 depending on severity (as a rough idea, P180 us used to remove paint to the bare material in body repair, and P80 can sand down metal! P40 is often used to sand down wood and so on. Most cutting compounds have a rating of P6000 with fine finishing componds being P12000+).
Demonstrated below on a wing mirror, wet sanding followed by machine polishing to safely remove scratches.
Orange peel is a term given to paintwork that has the same texture as the skin of an orange. Hazy and spotty usually from a bad paint job either from the factory or a poor repair job.
The Mercedes bonnet pictured below suffered with orange peel from a poor paint job and required wet sanding with a P3000 grade sandpaper to remove it.
The remaining 5% of correction we don't aim to achieve would be stone chips, damaged door edges and scratches we won't be able to remove and require repairing and painting.
So in conclusion, a detail aimed at removing 20% defect level wouldn't be suited to paintwork with defects around 80% (Percentages being the depth of the defect). In the same way that a detail with the potential to remove defects at 80% would certainly be overkill if your paintwork only has minor (around 20%) defect levels. It all depends on the vehicle, namely its age, usage and its previous care methods.
Before correction the vehicle is prepared to be corrected, this can be explained in our previous blog post (a full blog post will be wrote explaining the ins & outs of paintwork preparation too) and after correction the paintwork will be protected, although this will be a blog post in itself as that too, is a minefield for those who don't know about it, yet.
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