Car detailer


Washing a car is a process that’s evolved tenfold in the last twenty or so years, so we thought we’d hang out with one of Auto Finesse’s master detailers to see what a typical day is like.

For many of us, a car wash is no longer a quick drive-through process.

With lease purchases on the up in popularity and PCPs, with the option of giving the car back at the end of a term, being the most popular way of buying a car, it’s more important than ever to ensure your car is in decent condition when they come to collect. And not to mention those who actually own their car and take huge pride in keeping it looking awesome; the modified scene in particular is known for ensuring their cars are in the best possible show condition for the numerous shows and show and shine competitions they enter their cars into.

We met up with Ash, one of Auto Finesse’s master detailers, to find out what a typical day for him is like. Rocking up at 8:30am, Ash sets all the products out that he needs for the day, along with prepping the bay area with any necessary tools. All prepped, Ash set this stunning E36 BMW up for a wash.

First off, Ash performed one of the most important parts of any detailer’s work; to rinse the vehicle of any loose debris and dirt (anything that can mark the paint during the contact wash stage) with a jet wash. Loose debris washed off, it was onto a full snow foam with Auto Finesse Avalanche. Good quality snow foams contain a bug and grime removing solution that cuts through any grease and debris to further loosen dirt, which will mean at the time of you having to put some elbow grease into it it’ll be a much easier process. Snow foam added to the lance, it’s then sprayed and left to dwell on the car for a few moments ahead of rinsing. At this point, the wheels are washed with Imperial wheel cleaner. Car shampoo mixed in one bucket and a second bucket set up for rinsing, it was time for the contact wash stage. Just a mitt and a good soap over the whole vehicle is enough to get the vehicle to a clean state ready for a detailer to take it up a notch.

car detailer

BMW washed and dried thoroughly, it was time to protect and preserve its clean status for as long as possible before its next wash, also making the next wash an even easier one. Ultra Glaze was applied to the entire vehicle acting as a pre-wax filler, filling any imperfections or fine lines, ready for a layer of wax. In this case, Ash opted for Auto Finesse’s Illusion wax. Finishing touches are then applied such as Mint Rims (a wheel wax to seal and protect against brake dust and grime). Glass protection, featuring high water repellency, is also applied at this stage, along with a good metal polish to all brightwork. Tyres are then dressed to finish it all off. Car finished and, more importantly, customer happy, the detailer releases the car to its owner.

During all of that, Ash was continually social media’ing the sh*t out of the whole process; a way in which the Auto Finesse brand prides itself in giving back to its customers, with tips and tricks on best practices.

And that’s Ash’s day.

Naturally, every day is different, whether it’s a different car, a new process, new product, or a different aspect of ‘detailing’; such as clay barring and machine polishing – we’re really getting into the thick of detailing with the latter – no two days are the same.

wheel detailer

Watching a detailer like Ash work, it’s easy to see his passion for the detailing world and it just makes me think that more people should wash their own cars. It’s a quick job, when you know how (the know how is easy to source – Auto Finesse has a blog which covers many of the different processes of detailing) and the better you do it the easier it is to upkeep. I come from the modified scene and have shown some of my own cars, so I’m fully aware of detailing and the importance of it. But for people that don’t really care, you could well be in with a shock when say your lease agreement is up or your car isn’t worth as much when you come to sell it.

It might be prudent to find yourself a car cleaning brand that you trust – one like Auto Finesse that has been born from a love of detailing, with the founder himself starting out as a detailer – and spending that little time it takes to avoid such charges.

Prevention is better than cure and all that.

images: Keith Bridle