The thought of sending your beloved ride to a car groomer can be a scary one, especially if you’ve been meticulous about its maintenance.
So, why send your vehicle to a car groomer then? Well, mostly for convenience. Not everyone – even detailing geeks – has the time to give their car a full grooming routine every weekend.
The other – and more important – reason is thoroughness. Powerful pressure washers remove dirt better than plain hoses or buckets of water. And when it comes to polishing and waxing, a correctly used mechanical polisher superior to hand-polishing.
Equipment and manpower aside, here are four other factors to consider when choosing a car groomer.
This is the most obvious consideration for many motorists. But don’t just send your ride to the cheapest car groomer.
For instance, if a groomer charges less than a petrol kiosk does for a car wash (which is already relatively affordable), you might wonder if the firm is cutting corners. Or counting on volume to earn money.
If it were me, I would wonder what else would they be willing to compromise on.
There are no benchmark prices for the various car grooming services. High-end outfits may charge several thousand dollars for a service that a mid-range firm will only charge a few hundred dollars for.
But generally speaking, ceramic coatings will cost more than regular waxing, because the preparation, application and curing processes usually take much longer.
The car detailing world is filled with an endless myriad of washers, cleaners, polishes, waxes, coatings, etc. Every company claims its products are better because they make your car shinier and last longer than their competitors’.
So, how do you know if the products used by a car groomer are any good?
Research the brand/s of products that the company uses. Some well-known brands include Meguiar’s, Auto Finesse, Autoglym and Sonax. These brands have been around for a long time, so if you want to play it safe, go with a detailer that uses them.
Of course, there is also nothing wrong with trying products from newer brands. For keen DIY detailers, this is part of the fun – and the challenge of finding space at home to store them!
CAR GROOMER’S SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES
You don’t judge a detailer by the number of shiny cars, satisfied clients, likes and followers on his social media account.
Ask to see problems – such as swirl marks – that they have corrected. A good detailer will be able to show you “before & after” photos.
Checking for swirl marks isn’t just done under natural light. Car groomers will also use LED torches to inspect the paintwork before and after they have worked on it.
Ask about their processes. Proper detailing involves not just washing a car, but using a clay bar to decontaminate the paint surface before it is polished.
After polishing, paintwork has to either be waxed or sealed to protect it. Avoid any car groomer who says polish alone can protect the car!
CAR GROOMER RAPPORT
Your rapport with a car groomer is just as important as the skills and techniques of the staff he or she employs.
If you’re a detailing enthusiast yourself, you’ll know when you’ve found rapport with a firm. The boss will try to answer all your queries, and you’ll find yourselves agreeing on various methods and solutions. Personally, I like seeing the boss of a firm working on his clients’ cars, too.
Now, most importantly, is your car groomer honest?
There will be detailers claiming to be able to fix any problem. But this is impossible. Older cars, or cars with very thin coats of paint, are going to be very hard to polish without the huge risk of stripping the paint itself.
I would rather trust a car groomer who has turned away customers and advised them to get a respray because the paint is already too marred!