Detailing – It’s About Detail
When it comes to detailing, there are detailers and there are detailers. At one end of the spectrum are people who clean cars and charge a lot more than your average roadside wash and wipe guys (there’s nothing wrong with either of those categories).
At the other end, there are people who are so obsessive about the tiniest aspect of cleanliness that one might think they missed a calling cleaning operating theatres. That said, there are far more cars around than operating theatres.
I was part of a group visiting a detailing business in Hallatrow, Somerset earlier this year. I admit to being slightly intimidated by the level of detail (there’s that word again) despite which I decided to go back with a specific enquiry. After a few hundred miles in very mixed weather, my car’s paintwork had what looked like sticky fingers streaking away from all of the upper trailing surfaces, especially the rear windscreen. So, I thought, before hacking away with some fearsome solvent, I’d seek the professional’s view. It seems it was time well spent.
Enter Jon Allum. Jon is obsessed with car cleanliness to a degree that I didn’t think existed. Consequently, he works alone (is that a surprise?) as Exquisite Car Care.
After a welcome cuppa and chat, Jon had a look at something he hadn’t seen before… in a strange way, that made me feel good! We also enjoyed a doughnut (with a plate to ensure sugar crumbs didn’t get on the floor or elsewhere, naturally).
It was a jolly cold day and so out came the fan heater (strictly a customer comfort item of toolery). It was pointed away from the car to ensure that any paintwork surfaces remained cool. We then waited whilst the overhead lights stopped agitating in the warm air current. That’s a detail I wouldn’t have thought of, but (now) obviously a still light source is also vital in this line of work.
Next, out comes the daylight lamp to check the underlying paintwork rather than just the surface contaminant. Now the work commences…
As it happened, the work took only about half an hour and involved a light wash over with a surface cleaner followed by another light wipe with a degreasing spray. Both were applied to brand new ultra soft microfibre cloths, not the surface of the car. With only the gentlest of pressure, off came the unsightly marks and left behind lovely shiny paintwork.
So “why go to all that trouble?” you might be asking. Firstly, I shy away from anything in bottles that says the word ‘solvent’ or has danger warnings on the instructions, no matter how remote that danger may be. Secondly, having someone who knows what they’re doing and has the equipment at hand is immensely reassuring. Lastly, I learned how to do this myself.
You might justifiably be thinking, “why would a professional detailer teach customers how to do it for themselves?” The answer is that building a relationship with customers is vital for most businesses. I’m the kind of person that’s unlikely to go for a full wash, clean, repair, polish, etc. session as I rather like doing some of this stuff myself and I have the time to do so. But I will be back for smaller specialist jobs like today’s. I’ll also recommend Jon to anyone looking for any detailing work… and those people might have more budget and less time than I do.
So if you want an expert opinion before tackling a car cleaning project, give Jon a call on 07737 935110 and give him the, er, details.
Above: Jon’s immaculate Golf that started his interest in detailing and remains his test-bed for detailing products. Right: Jon’s happy to talk groups of visitors through what he does.