Watch all of our Autoblog Details videos for more tips on car cleaning and maintenance by professional detailer Larry Kosilla. While you're at it, check out Larry's other video series on how to diagnose, fix, and modify cars, Autoblog Wrenched!
[00:00:30] Showing up to a car meet or presenting it to a customer for the first time with a tiny missed spot is devastating, especially after all the work you just did. As a professional detailer, spending hours and even days on a car, to have the reveal ruined by an easily fixed smudge or drip is soul crushing and embarrassing, because it's just a lazy mistake. So don't let it happen to you. Here's a systematic approach to double checking your work. First, turn off the overhead lights and use a light pen or light stand as your only source of illumination.
[00:01:00] Any missed wax or non-dressed trim will pop out like a sore thumb. Unlike looking at deep scratches or for color matching, where the light is directly parallel with your eye line, looking for mistakes or smudges works best using an angle of a hundred to a hundred and twenty degrees, which is the angle between me, the paint, and the light stand. Or, if you don't have a light stand, simply extend your arm outward and lean your head towards the paint until the angle is achieved. Changing you physical position from high to low also helps.
[00:01:30] That's why having a jack system like this one here can be helpful for pro detailers. As the car goes up, you can stay low and see the spots you've missed on the lower part of the car without lying on your back. Removing a smudge doesn't sound very difficult because it's not. But all too often, the detailer uses the closest towel to his hand, and not the cleanest towel for the swipe. And then, boom, all the work you've done just when out the window. You've put a scratch in your flawless paint because you've mentally checked out. It happens all the time.
[00:02:00] So be sure to use a clean, final wipe towel, along with a spray wax lubricant to prevent an easily avoidable mistake. For wax or old compound residue stuck in seams or emblems, a short hair paint brush is a great option for pushing the hardened liquid out of the crevice. First, saturate or lubricate the emblem and gently poke the edges. Don't brush or use a swiping motion. This will scratch the paint, and then you're back to square one. Likewise compressed air can be your best friend here.
[00:02:30] Once the residue is loosened, drape a microfiber towel over the emblem and use the compressed air to flush out the gunk. The towel will be there to catch the debris and prevent it from hitting the paint. Finally, get in the car as if you were driving away. Open the driver's side door, close the door, look in the mirror, pull the shifter all the way down. Did it reveal any leftover dirt you missed? Does the gauge cluster have smudges, or the vents have any dust? Does the seatbelt have a spot you missed as you're pulling it out and buckling it?
[00:03:00] Go through this quick routine as your customer or your wife or your friend might when they go for their first drive to avoid these awkward, hey, you missed a spot jokes we hear all too often. If you're presenting or showing a car, then a quick touch-up is always performed upon arrival at the show. Fresh tire shine, light dusting, and so on. If you're presenting the car to a client or a friend, turning the car around in the garage so it's facing outwards is nice icing on the cake when the garage door opens.
[00:03:30] Remember it's good practice to put away all your tools, move the buckets, and have a clean space when doing the walk around with the owner or your friends. The last five percent of the detail is the hardest part of the job. It's finding the spot you didn't see for the last eight hours or two weeks or however long you've been working on it. This is the detail in detailing. The most frustrating part of this art is getting all the way to the end and not finishing strong. So don't pack up before you're done. My very last piece of advice is this. If you think you're done, great, check it again. As always, thank you for watching, and I appreciate your support.
[00:04:00] If you found this video helpful, please share and keep up with all the latest detail videos by liking or subscribing to the Autoblog page. I'm Larry Kosilla from AmmoNYC.com, thanks for watching.