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919-805-3170 Office

Cardinal Detailing

Serving the Triangle

Q: Should I use automatic car washes or touch-less car washes to clean my car?


A: We do not recommend it especially on a regular basis. Automatic car washes use harsh chemicals that strip the wax and protection from your cars surfaces. Also, the brushes cause fine scratches and swirls in the paint surface. Touch less car washes use even harsher chemicals and can severely harm your paint finish.

Q: Why should I use a professional detailer to periodically maintain my cars appearance?

A: A professional detailer is trained in the latest techniques and is knowledgeable about the various cleaners used for different surfaces. A true professional detailer will have the knowledge and skill of equipment and cleaners used to properly prepare and treat the various surfaces on your vehicle.

Q: What type of questions should I ask a detailer to ensure I am getting a good service?

A: What type of experience does the detailer have, did he/she attend any professional training schools, quiz them on the types of services they offer and the purpose. A good detailer should be able to educate you on the processes that he or she will use and the expected end-result.

Q: What is the difference between Polishing and Waxing / Sealing?

A: Polishing is a paint correction process and is normally accomplished with either Hi-Speed or Random-Orbital polishers combined with the proper compound to address the correction process. Polishing is used to remove superficial scratches, blemishes, and fading or oxidation of a paint surface. Polishing a cars paint surface is what brings out the depth, gloss and shine for that wet look that people crave. Polishing adds no protection to your vehicles surfaces and in fact, usually strips away previous wax coatings on the paint.

Waxing or synthetic sealing is the protective barrier applied after the polishing process is completed. The final wax or sealant coat is what prevents damage to the polished surface. Having your car waxed or sealed is no less important than changing your oil. You can wax or seal a finish without performing the polishing process but you should never polish a surface without applying a final coat of wax or sealant.

Q: How should I wash my car between detail appointments?

A: We recommend using a wool or microfiber mitt or cloth with a shampoo specifically designed for auto finishes. DO NOT USE dish or clothing detergents as they are designed to remove the protection of a wax or sealant. Dry the finish with a natural or synthetic chamois or Microfiber towel. We do not recommend using terry-cloth towels as the fibers can become matted and hard after repeated use and will cause swirl and scratches marks.

Q: How often should I have my car professionally detailed?

A: This will vary depending upon your local conditions, how often you drive your vehicle, and what kind of wear and tear it gets. Under normal circumstances twice per year is recommended but not less than once per year. A good time would be at the beginning of spring and winter. We recommend washing your vehicle once per week so that harmful contaminants like bird droppings and bug splatter are quickly removed. These contain complex proteins that bond to and penetrate the paint surface causing permanent damage. Brake dust is another harmful material to paint surfaces. Brake dust contains metal particles and adhesives used in the brake pad manufacturing process and is highly corrosive and very sticky. Washing your vehicle once per week will remove these kinds of harmful contaminates before any damage occurs.

Q: Is it necessary to have a new car detailed?

A: Absolutely! New car dealers rarely perform full details on new vehicles. New vehicles are subjected to numerous contaminants during shipment for example rail-car wheel dust, which is highly corrosive to paint finishes. New vehicles can also sit on a dealers lot for long periods of time which subject them to the same UV light penetration, air particles, acid rain marks and so on. When a new car is prepped for delivery, it is typically washed and a quick-detail type wax applied. Quick-detail waxes will produce an acceptable shine, but they typically have a very short protection life.

Your new car should be prepared with a high-quality carnauba wax or high-quality synthetic paint sealant.

Q: What is the difference between a Wax and a Synthetic Sealant?

A: When it comes to protecting a paint finish, there are only two real choices, Carnauba Wax or Synthetic Paint Sealant.

Carnauba Wax is a natural product and is the preferred choice of car collectors and enthusiasts because it creates a rich, warm glow. Carnauba Wax is rock-hard in its natural form and is blended with oils or solvents to make it easy to work with. The best Carnauba wax is approximately 1/3 natural carnauba so when you see a product advertised as 100% Carnauba Wax they are referring to the purity of the carnauba itself and not the product as a whole. Carnauba is graded according to color and the yellow wax is the most pure and is graded the highest. This is the grade that is commonly used in high-end, very expensive car waxes.

Some manufacturers will refine the yellow wax into an ultra-pure white wax, which produces the clearest and most reflective gloss when applied to paint. Carnauba wax is breathable and will protect you paint surfaces from UV rays, heat, moisture, oxidation, and environmental contamination. The downside of Carnauba Wax, if you can call it that, is that it only lasts approximately 4 to 8 weeks. This is highly dependant on you your particular climate, if you car is stored in a garage, and other factors. Hot and humid climate conditions will shorten the life-span of a carnauba wax. Carnauba wax produces the most stunning shine & glow. So if you prefer to protect your vehicle with Carnauba Wax, it will need to be applied more often.

Synthetic Paint Sealant, on the other hand is man-made from polymers. When applied to a painted surface it dries on top of the paint and forms a rigid shell. Sealants produce a glossy and slick looking finish, but they do not have the warmth and depth produced by a quality carnauba wax. However, paint sealants are extremely durable and typically last 4 to 6 months and there are a few high-end sealants that will last as much as 12 months. They are easier to apply and are an excellent choice for vehicles that are constantly exposed to the outside elements.

Some people prefer to have a paint sealant applied for long lasting protection followed by a coat of carnauba wax to experience the rich, warm glow. Both provide superior protection. The choice boils down to longevity.

Q: What are the benefits of having my car detailed if I'm selling or trading it in?

A: Rarely do you get a second chance to make a good first impression. Whether selling your car or trading it in, its appearance is the first thing that will be judged. A professionally detailed vehicle can increase it value by as much as $1,000.00.

Q: My car has a clear-coat. Does this mean I do not have to wax or seal it?

A: Absolutely not. Clear-coat is simply part of the paint finish. When a vehicle is painted today, the pigment or color layer is applied and dries to a dull finish without any shine, protection or durability. The clear-coat is the final step of the paint process that adds the shine and durability to the overall finish. When you apply a wax or sealant, it is the clear-coat that is being protected.

Q: My car dealership said they can apply a coating to the car finish that never needs maintained.

A: This is untrue. If they apply a sealant and offer a lifetime guarantee, read the fine print on the warranty. There have been various articles that report dealerships charging between $300.00 and as much as $1,200.00 to apply a lifetime guaranteed sealant. First of all there is no product on the market that we are aware of that will last a lifetime. The lifespan of the best sealant that we know of is only 12 months depending on you particular climate conditions and driving habits.

Q: What is a Clay-bar and what is it used for?

A: Auto detailing clay removes contaminants and pollutants from a vehicles surfaces that washing cannot. It is an engineered resin compound and resembles play-dough only much more elastic. It is wiped along paint, glass and other surfaces and will remove very fine particles that protrude from the surface. The particles stick to the clay and are removed from the surface. Clay needs to be used with a lubricant to prevent the removed particles from scratching the clear-coat finish.

If you have ever noticed little specs of orange dots in your paint, it is air-borne metal particles that have become embedded in you paint and begin to oxidize. Detailing clay removes these very fine particles and works wonders on paint, glass, fiberglass and other surfaces. Claying a surface prior to polishing and waxing or sealing produces a glass-smooth surface that helps the finish coat to adhere better.

If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us.