The number 1 detailing mistake is a very basic concept that eludes most people in the pursuit of a cleaner car. This of course is improperly wiping, cleaning, or touching the paint too often without lubrication or with improper or dirty towels. This is known as overtouching and it's the number 1 detailing mistake, yet it's easily avoidable. Find out how it happens and how to avoid it today on Autoblog Details!

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!
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[00:00:00] The number one detailing mistake is a very basic concept that eludes most people in the pursuit of a cleaner car. This, of course, is improperly wiping, cleaning or touching the paint too often without lubrication and with improper or dirty towels. This is known as over-touching and it's the number one detailing mistake yet it's easily avoidable. Find out how it happens and how to avoid it today on Autoblog Details. Let's start at the very beginning.

[00:00:30] When paint becomes muddy, dirty or even just lightly dusty the desire to return the car back to shiny is inherent in every car guy or gal. What we don't realize is that anything that sits on top of the paint will cause some type of marring as it's wiped off because dirt is actually rocks, just microscopic. This is what a dirty car looks like under magnification. These jagged particles tumble and roll across soft paint and leave lines known as love marks or spider webs.

[00:01:00] Cars that have these very fine lines in the paint are a good indication that the cleaning technique used on the paint needs to be adjusted. Now imagine this rock as one of millions of tiny little rocks within a given 12 inch wide space on your paint. During the wipe, the towel pushes the rock across the paint, as these rocks roll they scour the clear coat. And even worse when the rocks don't roll at all they actually grind across the paint causing deeper yet still microscopic gouges.

[00:01:30] The accumulation of these gouges are known as micro marring and are the likely cause of dull or swirled looking paint. Dry-wiping occurs when a towel is wiped across a dirty or dusty surface without the use of water, spray wax or drying agents. In fact the most common form of dry-wiping is without a towel at all. We've all seen it, the dreaded hand wipe. Hand wiping down the side of the car is just as destructive as a terry towel and in some cases even worse. Car shows are notorious for this type of innocent yet wildy annoying scratching.

[00:02:00] To avoid dry-wiping simply introduce a lubricant. Water from a hose, spray wax and drying aids help encapsulate, lift and encourage contaminants to glide off the paint, leaving less opportunity for potential marring. Paper towels, beach towels and terry towels are not to be used on the vehicles paint. Their material is designed to absorb but not necessarily pick up any contaminants it may encounter during the wipe.

[00:02:30] Microfiber towels have largely solved this problem as they are absorbent and designed to suspend particles away from the surface of the paint during the wipe. However, just because it's microfiber doesn't mean it won't scratch the surface. It must be clean to be safe. Dirty, or full, microfiber towels do not allow enough space for the new particles to be absorbed because the fibers are already full of debris. When they're full, continuing to wipe only pushes dirt around the paint in the similar fashion as paper, beach and terry towels thus defeating the entire purpose.

[00:03:00] The number one cause of detailing mistakes really boils down to a lack of patience. Much like any worthy cause, patience and persistence is the key to success and maintaining your paint is no different. If your car's dusty or dirty yet you have no access to a hose, or a spray wax handy, waiting until you get home is a virtue few car guys possess. We must continually wipe, continually touch and continually fuss with the paint and although, satisfying as it is in the moment, the long term consequences are fine lines, swirl marks and what I call love marks.

[00:03:30] Don't over love your car and your paint will shine for you in return. By understanding and embracing this philosophy your paint will look better and require less abrasive restoration otherwise known as compounding and polishing. Adhere to the detailer's oath of do no harm to the car or in other words, clean it properly or you'll end up paying for it later. If you found this video helpful please share and keep up with all the latest detailing videos by liking or subscribing to the Autoblog page.

[00:04:00] I'm Larry Kosilla from Thanks for watching.

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