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Thread: Car care

  1. #1
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Car care

    Hi, just trying to get a few tips. I am not very good with maintaining my car, i.e. I very rarely wash it and since it is a convertible, I hesitate to drive it through these automatic washing places. Today I decided to invest a bit more and took the car to a place that specializes in high level detailing, but booked their more basic package that supposedly included washing, claying, waxing, polishing and a basic cleaning of the interior. This is the second time I had this done, and again I am very underwhelmed. I think there is a difference between washing a car and cleaning a car - mine is washed at best, and I never would have guessed that they had polished it. Am I expecting too much for $100? They claimed that this is because of waterspots which are clearly there because the car lives mostly outside - and they want $300-400 just to remove those. A larger spot where I scraped along a wall which left some of the plaster on the car paint almost looked like before; I had asked to remove as much of that as possible but was told they would need to use a buffer for that which is not in this package. I am sure I could do a better job with a scotch brite. And the interior was superficially wiped down, I am not sure they even used any cleaning agent because there are still dull and grimy spots where I rest my (sometimes sun-screened) arm and in other places where using any kind of cleaner would have easily cleaned the surface.

    I don't expect show room quality for $100, but this was certainly not worth the money. I was too grumpy to argue and just paid and left, in the mood I was it could have gotten ugly... What are your experiences with this? Am I expecting too much?

    Not sure if when I will find the time, but I would definitely like to work on the interior a bit, clean the painted metal pieces and freshen up the black vinyl - does anybody have tips for products that work well? Any thoughts about water spot removal? That affects most of the exterior pInt surface and would be a bigger endeavour, I am not sure I should try and tackle that myself without any buffer experience. I do like my car clean and in good shape, but I am aware that a car built in 2006 will never look like new again (too many scratches in there anyway), and at 140K miles there is a limit of what I want to invest in aesthetics.

    Stefan

  2. #2
    Never tried it on paint but I had bad water spots on my windows ...just bought the car and I googled it...I wound up using a paste of bar keepers friend mixed with water and buffed it on the window by hand with a microfiber towel....then washed with water and it took out all the spots....they have since came back a little tiny but but I am just too lazy to clean it good again....I was amazed at how well it worked....


    I had my car detailed and I think it was around 150 or 200 and when I say it was like brand new, it was like brand new!....the interior was spotless.....rugs carpet everything.....wheels were flawless....and it was an old car,,,I will say it was in very good condition to start with but it really was a drastic difference....for a hundred bucks I'd be pissed....ryan
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  3. #3
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    I worked at a dealership for about 5 years. I would say what you got was about typical for $100. From what I saw, the "basic package" was normally a car wash and vacuum plus snake oil. I don't know what independent shops would charge.
    For the plaster, I would try a soft cotton cloth and little bit of acetone. Test it out in an inconspicuous location first. It's a good idea to wax it afterward.
    For the water spots, I recommend using Meguiars. It's a good product and it's priced as such. They have a full line of products from paint cleaners (to remove the water spots) to high polish waxes. It's a good idea to avoid using abrasives on your paint. Hope that helps.
    Ian H. Rogers
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    Sounds like you got a "Full Service" car wash, which I pay < $20. Depending on how many people are working on it, a full detail can take about four hours. $200 to $300 would be about right for that service. That should include, shampoo carpets and seats, if cloth. Clean the headliner and a thorough cleaning of the rest of the interior and the trunk. Clean the engine compartment to near new condition. Clay the whole exterior to smooth the paint. Remove any paint rubs, like you have and then polish and finish with a good wax job. They should also clean your wheel wells, wheels and tires. Another service they should offer is polishing cloudy headlight lens back to their original clear condition.

    With all the work I described you can imagine how much time would be involved. So you figure in the hourly rate of the detailers plus the materials and other overhead and you can see $300 is not out of line. For $100, you were probably more trouble than what it was worth. Should you have gotten better service for $100? 20 years ago, maybe.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    Full detail inside and out can get up to like $400. This includes in this order: wash, clay, polish, seal/wax. It is a lot of labor. I started doing it myself this year and it can take between 4-6 hours.
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    Senior Member larrybard's Avatar
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    I think you were overcharged (based on my experience) for what you received, and had overly high expectations for what you paid. Sounds like you received a superficial basic cleaning, but clearly not a very good one. For what you apparently received, I think you should have paid far less. And, with all respect, it's unreasonable to have expected claying, polishing, etc. at that price. I recently had a car detailed for almost $400. At that price one would justifiably expect the work to include polishing, maybe some touching up, careful interior cleaning, etc. But not for $100. As Ian mentioned, there are quite decent products available, such as Meguiar's, that should take care of water spots. http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotiv...-spot-remover/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by larrybard View Post
    I think you were overcharged (based on my experience) for what you received, and had overly high expectations for what you paid. Sounds like you received a superficial basic cleaning, but clearly not a very good one. For what you apparently received, I think you should have paid far less. And, with all respect, it's unreasonable to have expected claying, polishing, etc. at that price. I recently had a car detailed for almost $400. At that price one would justifiably expect the work to include polishing, maybe some touching up, careful interior cleaning, etc. But not for $100. As Ian mentioned, there are quite decent products available, such as Meguiar's, that should take care of water spots. http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotiv...-spot-remover/
    " washing, claying, waxing, polishing and a basic cleaning of the interior"

    once the clay bar comes out, the cost go up. a hand wash is around $30..i think adding a clay bar and subsequent polishing, $100 is a good deal. now my thinking is independent of whether or not they did a good job.

    my last full on detail cost me $400.

    couple of questions to the OP:
    does the paint feel smooth now..and water beads on it?
    and did you tip them? did you the last time?

  8. #8
    Senior Member larrybard's Avatar
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    boomchakabowwow: we may be in agreement. $100 would be a very good deal, IMO -- if the work that the detailers represented would be done was in fact done. It seems pretty clear to me (based on the Stefan's description) that they did a lousy job, and probably did not use a clay bar nor polish the finish. So, as you say, $100 would be a good deal if they did that work. But $100 was too much for what he apparently received. And if there ever was any doubt about the reasonableness of the charges, does anyone really think $300-400 is anything but outrageous just to remove water spots?

    P.S. I hope he's not serious about ever using a scotch brite, and said that just to make a point.

  9. #9
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the comments. So, this morning I was a little less grumpy and checked again in the sunlight. First, they did apply wax from the way water pearls, i just had expected it to be bit shinier after polishing. But there clearly are lots of waterspots and that may indeed account for the somewhat duller appearance. About 80% of the time the car is outside and i could have done more for upkeep in the past, so this is probably really what I can expect for that price - especially since things are generally a bit more out here anyway. There still are things where I think they went through the motions without the ambition to do a good job of it, which I always have a hard time with (ask my students...). And, of course, I am aware that this does not replace a full detailing which also runs $350 and up out here. I just think if the price doesn't cover claying or anything else if you want to do a good job, don't include it in the first place.

    I will see what I can do about the plaster remains (thanks for the acetone tip!) and other than that leave the exterior as it is for now. Definitely will get to the interior surfaces again, and the back window is still very streaky and the mirrors also have water spots that I will try to work on in a few weeks. Now, on the positive side they found my almost new Kershaw Leek D2 that I thought I had lost. That's a $60 knife, so if I count that in, the car job only cost me $40 plus tip and that is more than adequate

    Stefan

  10. #10
    Stefan, I am telling you the bkf really did work on my glass....I might be scared to try it on a mirror first but I tried it in the bottom corner of my back window first just to make sure it worked ...when it did then I went all out....mine were really bad, with the glare from lights at night , you could barely see out the window...ryan
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    viva la revolucion !

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