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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Practicing Moderation In Auto Detailing

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As with all things in life, moderation is important. One should not be at the extreme end of a scale.

An example is that our cars need engine oil, not using enough engine oil will result in lack of lubrication and increases wear. Filling up engine oil over the maximum limit will cause the engine to be sluggish.

A second example is in giving praises and compliments. If you praise one person too much, that person might become egoistical, if you don't give that person any praises at all, he/she will be unmotivated and lacking of self-confidence.

Then come auto detailing. Gone are the days where washing and waxing is all that is done to make a vehicle shine. These days, you have polishes, glazes, pre-wax cleaners, clays, quick detailers, waxes and sealants. All these contribute to making a paint finish look its best.

If a person only wash and wax the paint, it might not be enough as the surface might still feel rough and swirls and scratches are still on the paint. Therefore, more steps are needed, such as claying and polishing with an abrasive polish to remove swirls and scratches.

However, some people get too deep into the details until they forget the basic purpose of detailing the paint.

Many types of paint protectants have emerged in the market. You have your basic carnauba wax, then comes your synthetic sealants, then your spray on waxes/sealants and your wipe-on-walk-away sealants. Not to mention that there are different brands or manufacturers in a product category.

Now let's remind ourselves of the basic function of a paint protectant, i.e. car wax.

A car wax acts as a sacrificial barrier to protect the paint from harmful contaminants such as acid rain, bird droppings, industrial fallout and traffic pollution. Of course, waxes also add to the look by filling some scratches, and oils add that wet look to the paint, giving it a glossy shine.

These are the basic functions. Now, those who go into detail will often compare waxes and sealants of different brands, most of the time, trying to hunt for the best. Let's focus on carnauba/synthetic paste waxes. Firstly, you have your famous brand, Megu**r's, on the other end of the scale, you have your boutique brand, Zym*l. Megu**r's have their own paste waxes.

Zym*l has many more different varieties to choose from, since that is what their main product offering consists of. For Zym*l waxes, the higher the percentage of carnauba is in the wax, the more expensive it gets. The benefits of a higher percentage of carnauba is? More protection? Better looks?

I do not know, as I'm not a chemist or a professional detailer. But if I were to apply an RM500 Zym*l wax beside an RM70 Megu**r's wax on a well prepped surface, would one be able to see any discernible difference? I highly doubt so. If I happen to know that the volume of carnauba in the RM70 Megu**r's wax is ten times lower than in the RM500 Zym*l wax, does this mean that the RM70 Megu**r's will perform ten times lousier?

Speaking of which product is better, on internet forums, I've observed that many people like to compare which wax is better, myself included. Is Finish Kare 1000P better than Collinite 476s? Which one shines better? Which is more durable?

I am guilty to be in the same camp but I try to tell myself not to care about too much of the details. Most of the time, I fail, as I tend to analyze and criticize different products of the same category.

This is bad as it will result in overspending in products. Just because people on the internet say that Collinite 476s is better than Meguiar's #16, do I have to go buy it? No I shouldn't, but I did, and only to find out that there is not much of a difference!

The bottom line is, a wax is a wax, a sealant is a sealant, a paint coating is a paint coating. What we should focus on instead is the process in getting the paint detailed and the proper techniques involved. Not because I used this so and so wax, it will shine better.
What is the point in using costly products if the main problem is user error? It's like giving a high-end computer to a computer-illiterate person.

So I would like to remind all fellow detailers out there that we should always keep it simple.

Enjoy the process of detailing and not delve too deep into details.

These are solely my opinion and anyone can freely disagree with me. There is no intention to defame anyone or any company.

What are your thoughts?


17 comments:

陳一豪 12:57 AM  

Same lah like photography.

Most Malaysian photogs buy buy buy but photos come out like shit.

Mobile Blogger 9:16 AM  

Shocking post from you but it is a true reflect of life - from the angle of an auto-detailer.

I thought of photography as well when I read your post. Many will like to stress than Can*n is better than N*kon or vice versa. I was in that camp but I have graduated to a new camp.

KC 11:38 AM  

wanna sell some to me????

lol


well said

Kenneth Tang a.k.a Fishbonezken 11:49 AM  

@yh,
hahaha, don't lah say like shit...maybe not so acceptable...lol

@mobile blogger,
Yup, I guess we all will belong in that camp in the beginning, and then realize it is pointless for such comparisons.

@kc,
LOL! I don't have much surplus nowadays, unless you would like to have more M83, hehehe.

k1+ 5:59 PM  

A very sincere and detail thoughts being shared. IMO, branding and marketing make the difference... and most of us certainly enjoy to be part of the best out there... if we can afford... lolz. That tiny blue ZxxxL, is it B.O.S? Wonder where in SG can i get it... hmmm... Cheers buddy!

Kenneth Tang a.k.a Fishbonezken 8:10 PM  

@k1+,
regarding the swissvax/zymol, not too sure where to get in SG. But I do know where to get them in M'sia, if you need them.
No need lah, got AG HD, enough already, hahaha!

k1+ 1:36 AM  

AG HD is certainly very good wax but it's a very underrated showcar wax in SG. I'm monitoring AG SG as i got news that they are working on their new HD wax & HD Cleanse... Zymol and Swissvax are too costly to begin with for general public needs... maybe only suitable for those minority who appreciate these high end wax on their Falarri & Lambighini... jokes aside, next time bring me go for a product tour in MY... thanks!

Kenneth Tang a.k.a Fishbonezken 2:29 AM  

@k1+,
sure sure, when you come again, bring you on an auto detailing tour. Special Wet Shine Detailing Service, hahaha!

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Interesting but true.
After detailing for 6 years, I stick to the "what works best for you" having tried out all the various products out there.

On a graph this would probably look like starting from the bottom initially you make that jump going a step above from just washing and waxing, climbing into the peak arbitrary phase testing out the more upmarket and niche waxes and then the curve drops into a more steady line after you've done all the comparison.

Kenneth Tang a.k.a Fishbonezken 11:43 AM  

@Anonymous,
Have to agree with that! I think we will all go through the 'curve'. Then can we say that the further along you are into the curve, the more experienced the detailer is? hmmm, I wonder...

Anonymous 10:29 PM  

You make me feel Crystal Rock is a sham man! (kidding kidding)

Good thoughts indeed dude. Keep em coming.

Kenneth Tang a.k.a Fishbonezken 10:55 PM  

@Anonymous,
haha! Hey, if it works for you, then by all means, do not be ashamed by what other think of it!

Izso 7:09 AM  

Fish, can you tell me when a piece of clay is considered "dead"? Mine's turned from green to... erm.. mush but still seems to do its job.

Speaking of cleaning, I gotta find time one of these days to give you some stuff to experiment and blog about. I need 2nd opinions. Ever tried Nupolish or whatever its called? They claim 1 year no need to polish.

Kenneth Tang a.k.a Fishbonezken 10:20 PM  

@Izso,

Dead clay? I know what you mean by mush, it kinda melted is it? I have few pieces that are stored in shampoo water, these have turn into mush and became unusable. If yours can still pick up dirt from the paint, does not stick to the paint when lubricated, it should still be fine.

Nupolish, from my wasted hours procrastinating on detailing forums, it seems to be quite an old product from U.S. Do a quick search on Autopia.org, I think you'll find your answers there. I HIGHLY doubt the 1 year claim.

Izso 6:56 AM  

Basically you mean it's rubbish? LOL

I doubt anything that'll last more than 2 weeks in our weather. But what it seems to be doing is dulling my car colour. Anything I can use to restore the gloss and depth?

Kenneth Tang a.k.a Fishbonezken 6:08 PM  

@Izso,

Haha, no I don't mean that it's rubbish, LOL. Well 2 weeks is acceptable, even a month or two with regular washing is achievable. 1 year is quite hard to believe.

If I'm not mistaken, I've read that it is abrasive. How are you applying it to your car? And with what?

If can, get the Meguiar's foam applicator pads. They cost RM6 each.

Pour a dab of product on the foam, spread a small section using circular motions, and work it in, in straight lines to break down the abrasives. Stop when the product turns from whitish to semi-clear. Wait for it to dry to a haze and buff off with a clean cloth, preferably, Microfibre.

Anne 2:29 PM  

I believe that choosing the right products for your detailing is necessary for a better result. I guess it's just a natural thing for consumers. Busy people would opt for mobile detailing services rather than go to the detailer's shop and have their cars detailed. Comparison is something natural but I'm sure that it's the consumer's discretion to choose which works better for him/her. You'll find different people with different preferences on products online. Happy detailing everyone! :)

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