: Call a detailing company or do it myself?



ben.gators
07-14-10, 12:45 AM
Hi Guys,

This is more than one year that I have purchased my STS and so far I have had it hand washed and waxed, and vacuumed inside. But the car is screaming for a deep detail. Dirty carpets, dirty leathers, faded tires, non-shiny paint ...

Based on Craigslist with 200$ I can have a show-room level detail on my car. However I am thinking that it can be a good idea to start to do it by myself to learn.
The problems are:
1- No garage!
2- I do not have appropriate tools for detailing, e.g. for polishing and buffing detail companies use Flex XC 3401 VRG, carpet steam cleaner, and I am unsure with hand shampooing, buffing and polishing I may get very good results.
3- The basic products and kits for detailing will cost me as much as the money a professional company will ask for a one time detail.

4- I have no especial skills in detailing and I am not sure results can be perfect.

What do you guys suggests? I just call a company or I try it myself to learn?

Submariner409
07-18-10, 02:06 PM
I can testify that to start from scratch on your personal car care detail stash will cost over $400 if you go with high-quality supplies.

Ask around your locale - at car shows, cruiser drive-ins - who runs a good shop. It can get expensive, but unless you're a real detail freak the investment in your own equipment can be costly, so a once a year shop detail may well be the way to go.

$200 complete detail ???? Impossible.........Wanna try about 500+ ?

ben.gators
07-20-10, 03:37 AM
I can testify that to start from scratch on your personal car care detail stash will cost over $400 if you go with high-quality supplies.

Ask around your locale - at car shows, cruiser drive-ins - who runs a good shop. It can get expensive, but unless you're a real detail freak the investment in your own equipment can be costly, so a once a year shop detail may well be the way to go.

$200 complete detail ???? Impossible.........Wanna try about 500+ ?


Oh boy! You are a real detail freak! :bonkers:

Indeed I have started to do the detail step by step by myself! First of all I purchased 3M kit for headlight restoration. And also spry paint for leather. And the next is one of those Zaino Ultimate Kits. Finally I got to this conclusion that let's do it myself and learn! I guess detailing a car is one of those jobs that every man should know! It gives me some manly feeling! :D

About the detail costs, Yes! Right now (at least in our area) the detail costs is really low. the reason is because of high unemployment rate in the area a lot of people have purchased a van plus detail tools, and they are asking as low as 99$ for complete detail! Definitely these people are unable to provide the customers with top of the line quality, however they are effectively breaking the detailing price in the valley! Famous good detail companies need to reduce the asking price to be able to remain in the business! Two weeks ago I was in one of those very fancy AAA approved body shops for getting a quote for my rear bumper, and there was an offer on the board for full detail. The price was 150$!!!

Here is a link to the detailing offers in our area:

http://phoenix.craigslist.org/search/aos?query=detail&srchType=T

Submariner409
07-20-10, 12:12 PM
.............used to be a couple of detail suppliers in here - haven't seen them recently.

For some insight and reading take a look at www.autogeek.net

Stingroo
07-20-10, 03:50 PM
Flash Man. He sells good wax products, etc. And will even send you a free sample kit for cost of shipping ($6 if I remember right?)

Good luck. And of course...

:postpics:

ben.gators
07-24-10, 01:18 AM
OK, so far I finished restoring the headlights and dressing the tires.... I am very busy with university and could work just one hour each day.

The tools I used for restoring: 3M kit, Masking tape, Black & Decker 12 V drill, Dust mask, and clear enamel (Have not used it yet!)
http://i29.tinypic.com/2d2botu.jpg

This is one of my headlights before applying the technique:
http://i30.tinypic.com/r885dk.jpg

I am not sure you can see in picture or not, but there is a yellow layer on the headlight! It was not just simply a hazy lenses!

At first I spent about half an hour sanding just half a headlight with p500 sand disks and I finished 4 of p500 disks, but the yellow layer was still there! I went to a local store and purchased couple of p320 grit hand sand papers. By use of these sand papers I easily could remove the yellow layer and then proceed to p500 and p800 disks. Therefore if there is a heavy yellow layer on your headlights start from a lower grit sand.

The first headlight took me about 2 hours to finish, but second headlight took just less than half an hour! I learned a lot from first one! :D

Here is the same headlight after restoration, the headlight does not look like brand new, but it is MUCH MUCH better than before. The technique works pretty fine.
http://i32.tinypic.com/30v2hdd.jpg

By the way, what about a clear coat on the headlights? Some people suggest, but some others not?!

Submariner409
07-24-10, 01:10 PM
My headlights looked exactly like yours before these pics were taken - and I used the Custom Chemical kit that a few others have had NO luck with. Go figure.

The only thing I use on my headlight and tail lamp lenses is a commercial plastic/polycarbonate preservative named MicroPel from Certified Labs (www.certifiedlabs.com). I buy it commercially by the case, so I don't know if they sell direct. NOTHING, not even bugs, sticks to it. It is perfect for polycarbonate eyeglass lenses, too.

Cadillacon22s
08-01-10, 02:52 AM
I live in Arizona and use a great company. Bling Bling Express. They are a small company but they do great honest work. Phone number is (602) 488-0059. Give him a shot tell him the Cadiman sent you!!!

ben.gators
08-01-10, 02:43 PM
I live in Arizona and use a great company. Bling Bling Express. They are a small company but they do great honest work. Phone number is (602) 488-0059. Give him a shot tell him the Cadiman sent you!!!

Hi there, nice to see people from AZ.

Indeed I have started detailing the car myself. I am going step by step and slowly, but having good progress. So far have finished:
headlights
wheels and dressing the tires
have changed the leather covers for driver seat which was heavily worn,
Painting leather seats
Cleaning and shampooing carpets
cleaning and dressing all trims and vinyls
door panels and windows


The results are so great that they motivated me to start to work on paint imperfections too. My paint is very shiny, but there are some scratches and chips which is not very strange for a 11 year old car. I have put an order for touch up pen for base coat, an spray can of grey primer, an spray can of base coat, an spray can of clear coat, an adhesive spray, a series of different sands, and I will start to repair the small chips on bumper, and the scratches on the paint that I could not remove by rubbing compound.

I will post all the pics of these processes soon.