After this assessment, the groomer then advises the owner on what needs to be done and how much its crew will be able to accomplish post-treatment. For instance, if a scratch is so deep that the metal is visible, it usually recommends that the panel be repainted, since no amount of polishing can correct this.
Only after this consultation does the actual grooming work begin. First, the car is thoroughly washed to rid it of surface dirt and grime. After this, a clay bar is used to remove contaminants embedded deeper in the paintwork. This initial cleaning process is repeated until the surface is smooth to the touch.
After the wash comes polishing. This process, which is usually done with the aid of an orbital buffer, removes oxidation, fine scratches and unsightly water spots. This is where the groomer’s skill really counts – an inexperienced one might overdo this step and literally burn a hole in the paint.
To ensure that the buffing pads used do not create swirl marks, more meticulous groomers use fresh pads and utilise LED lights to periodically check their work. When the surface flaws are corrected, that’s when they apply a protective coating to the car’s paintwork.
For this final step, some detailers use products made with carnauba wax – a natural substance that hardens after it has cured (this can take anywhere from minutes to hours, depending on the wax). Firms such as ProTech Monte-Carlo, however, use a synthetic formula known as sealant (which has the benefit of not requiring lengthy curing times) to achieve the same results.
The main difference between the two, aside from their curing times (or lack thereof), is that carnauba wax starts to degrade after a few weeks, while sealants can last a few months. That said, there?are some groomers and car lovers who prefer the wax’s more natural “warm” shine over the “hard” sheen that comes from using sealants.
After this, it is up to the happy owner to maintain the lustre of his refreshed ride. But that shouldn’t be too difficult – after all, there’s very little that a car lover won’t do for his beloved vehicle.