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April 14, 2017

How to Clean Your Car’s Engine Compartment

How to Clean Your Car’s Engine CompartmentKnowing how to clean your car's engine compartment thoroughly is another of the many ways Steve’s Detailing in Denver really shines. If you are a customer, you know how meticulous we are at cleaning your vehicle and paying special attention to all the little crooks and crevices that hide dirt. A car's engine compartment is an important part of the detail, deserving particular attention that will help the engine run stronger for longer. Steve's Detailing is more than happy to provide this exceptional service for your car every time.

When an engine compartment is clean, it not only looks good under the hood, but it helps cool more efficiently, provides less wear on systems such as pulleys and bearings, prevents rust, and offers early belt wear detection. You can also detect leaks quicker, filters stand a chance at staying cleaner for longer, and let's not forget resale value. The minute a potential customer pops the hood to get a look, your chances of a better sale will increase with a clean engine compartment, and that is a fact!

One interesting note, the cars of today are boasting smaller and smaller engine compartments under the hood, and that means a lot more places for dirt and grime to hide, which in turn means a greater need to maintain this area and keep it spotless. So, let’s get to how to clean your car’s engine compartment.

Remember the importance of COVERING the following first to protect from water issues:

  • All sensors
  • Distributor
  • Alternator
  • Spark plugs
  • Battery
  • Electrical connections
  • Air intake

Here is the simple procedure and some tips:

  • CLEAN IN THE MORNING: It is always best to clean your engine compartment after it has sat all night and has not been driven. Of course, you would NEVER attempt to clean a HOT engine for fear of ruining components when you spray with water, not to mention potential burns to your skin. If you wish to loosen debris slightly, you can start the engine and warm it up for a few minutes to help get some of the dirt loosened up.
  • COVER ALTERNATOR, FILTERS, and AIR INTAKE: Getting water or degreaser in these areas will not be a pretty sight. Cover your air filter with a bag, but be sure to take the bag off when starting your engine up. Also, if you have any custom electric components, take the time to cover or hand clean to be safe.
  • FIRST STEP DEGREASER: Start with the perimeter of the engine bay. Make sure you get the fluid containers and hoses de-greased because they are usually extra dirty. Spray the back of the engine bay and be sure to get as far down as possible. To get the degreaser off, you just need to rinse it with a slow stream of water. Anything that doesn’t come clean can just be wiped down by hand later.
  • HAND WASH: Now the trickier part. Grab yourself a wash mitt specially designed for cleaning engines. You can also use a flexible detailing brush to get into the more difficult areas. It is also a good idea to pick up a lot of microfiber cloths and never use anything with steel bristles or rough surfaces to avoid damaging paint or plastic components. A spray bottle with soapy water in it can make your job easier too.
  • DRY: If you have a good blower around to get the water out of those hard to reach areas, all the better, if not, it will be a long haul getting everything dried by hand. A compressor will also do the job if you have one. This step is imperative before you begin with the wax and polish stage.
  • START YOUR ENGINE: Allow the engine to raise to normal operating temperature for complete and thorough drying of all engine components; You can also put the AC on so the compressor engages. Approximately 5 minutes will do the trick.
  • SHINE: Now the rewarding part...use a wax or sealant for the paint, and an insulator wax made especially for hot areas under the hood. Vinyl and rubber protectants work great for the plastics and hoses under the hood.
  • FINALIZE: Check all fluid levels, check the battery terminals to ensure that they are clean. If they are not, disconnect the cables. Clean both the cable terminals and battery posts with a wire brush. Reconnect the terminals and retighten.

Here are some of the top ten engine compartment cleaners for 2017, in no particular order:

  1. GUNK FOAMY ENGINE BRIGHT DEGREASER – removes dirt, grime, and grease safely
  2. GRIOTS GARAGE ENGINE CLEANER – environmentally friendly degreaser
  3. SIMPLE GREEN FOAMING CRYSTAL INDUSTRIAL DEGREASER – environmentally friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable degreaser
  4. AUTO-CHEM HD CLEAN – water based degreaser, biodegradable
  5. OIL EATER CLEANER DEGREASER – best used on a cool engine, spray off
  6. PURPLE POWER INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH DEGREASER – biodegradable, non-flammable, non-abrasive, phosphate free
  7. MAX PROFESSIONAL ENGINE CLEANER – removes grease and grime but extremely flammable
  8. PENRAY ENGINE CLEANER – removes oil, grease, and tar, extremely flammable
  9. HD TOTAL CLEANER AND DEGREASER – provides a full range of cleaning activity
  10. CHEMICAL GUYS GRIME REAPER – extremely concentrated degreaser

The cost of a professional engine compartment clean is well worth the money it takes, and most places offer some great incentives and packages to help you maintain your vehicles monthly. Shop around and be sure to ask for discounts that will suit your needs AND your budget! Of course, you can always do it yourself, but by the time you buy all the products needed, not to mention the professional equipment necessary, and a large area for washing, you may realize that the cost outweighs the effort required to put into this task. Go with the professionals, likes Steve’s Detailing!

A clean engine compartment is a beautiful thing, and you can make your life much easier once you get it spotless, by maintaining it with a quick rub down every once in a while. Now that you know the details of how to clean your car's engine compartment, feel free to visit Steve's Detailing in the Denver Tech Center area. We can save you a lot of time and energy by providing a spotless car detail inside and out, including an engine compartment clean that will make both you and your car happy.

March 14, 2017

What Exactly is Car Detailing?

What Exactly is Car Detailing?What exactly is car detailing? And how will it extend the life of your car or truck? At Steve's Detailing, we know that a clean car inside and out is paramount if you want to get the most out of your ride. Like most things in life, the need to be maintained and cleaned is inevitable. Whether it is our bodies, our homes or our cars, we all know that longevity will extend if we stick to these simple daily or weekly tasks.

Here’s why car detailing should be a big part of your routine.

INCREASES THE RESALE VALUE if you should decide to sell one day. A potential buyer is always looking for a nice, shiny looking car that smells good inside and has been given plenty of love and attention throughout the years. This reassures them that it was well maintained and cared for since the general appearance is often a reflection of how the rest of the vehicle was maintained.

SAFETY is a big concern if you want to get where you are going. Dirty windows, bald tires, muddy headlights and more will interfere with people being able to see you on the road, and for you to see them! This is dangerous for you and everyone else on the road.

TIME AND ENERGY SAVER. By hiring a professional detailing company such as Steve's Detailing, you know that your vehicle will be clean and tidy from top to bottom. This saves you time and energy to do other things that are more important, and by getting on a routine detailing schedule, you and your car will be happier in the long run.

STAY HEALTHIER by ridding your interior of harmful bacteria. Food and drinks spilled and left to spoil can be extremely unsanitary for your health and the condition of the materials inside your vehicles.

SAVE YOUR PAINT JOB. By obtaining a clean vehicle and washing off salt, dirt, and grime from sappy trees, you will extend the life of your paint color and avoid getting a rust bucket of a car. Even the sun can wreak havoc on our rides. We know how expensive a new paint job is, so don't ignore the importance of cleaning off the grunge on the exterior of your vehicles.

What can you expect from a professional detailing service? Here are a few services provided.

3 STEP EXTERIOR PAINT CLEANING to protect and maintain your paint job. This usually includes washing and drying to rid the vehicle of dirt and grime, then comes a clay bar application to remove sticky substances such as tar and metals and road grime in the clear coat, next will come the polish process and finally it’s sealed with wax for a shiny like-new finish.

WHEELS AND CHASSIS are imperative to keep clean. The chassis is the underside of your car which can rust if not properly maintained. Wheel wells and suspension components are cleaned, and plastic fender protectors can be sealed with a protectant to help with cracking, promoting luster.

LIGHTS AND TRIM can oxidize with the weather extremes, so by polishing and sealing these areas, you are extending the life of your lights. Any chrome and vinyl are usually finished up with a protective sealant as well to deter cracking and fading.

INTERIOR is just as important as the outside, and the place you spend all of your time driving. Carpets and seats should be shampooed, vacuumed, and even steam cleaned. The plastics and leather inside need to be cleaned and conditioned. This process will include the entire vehicle, front/back, passenger areas, trunk, or and areas.

ENGINE areas are an important aspect of a good auto detailing, be sure to ask if your company includes this service, as some do not. This process entails spritzing the engine with water and a degreaser, followed by a rinse, dry, and a sealer to rubber and plastic components to prevent cracking.

How much can you expect to spend on a car detailing service?

Depending on where you live, the price will vary significantly, but for the most part, you can expect to spend anywhere between $150-$350 on a good service. Most detailing shops will give you a discount if you adhere to a regular detailing schedule, and keep in mind that larger vehicles such as SUVs and vans will cost more, as well as the use of some special equipment that may need to be utilized.

How often you detail your car is entirely up to you, but depending on your lifestyle and the amount of wear and tear put on your vehicle should be a very big deciding factor in how often you detail it. A weekly wash is always recommended to keep pollen and dirt from embedding itself in the clear coat. A monthly wash and wax will help keep the exterior of the car covered with a shiny shield of protectant. Sealants and coatings, however, are a procedure that is best left to the professionals and should be attended to about every one to two years depending on the driving and area that you live in.

Why does a clean car feel so good? Well, just like our own bodies, when we look and feel good, that presence emits to the world around us. So, whether you are going for a job interview or picking up a hot date, you want to look good and impress those around you. Not only that, you want to feel good getting behind the wheel and enjoying a clean, fresh ride wherever the road takes you.

To enjoy the benefits of what the professionals have accomplished on your detailing services a little longer, be sure to keep up with the 4-month rule, that means that usually products such as waxes and polishes will eventually break down on your car due to the extremes, and will need replenishing. By washing your vehicle, yourself weekly, you can extend the amount of time needed to take it in. The average car detailing service will last a minimum of 30 minutes, to as much as a full day in the shop. Time well spent!

Now that you are more familiar with what exactly is car detailing, you can head on over to Steve's Detailing for one of the most professional, thorough, and exceptional car detailing services you will ever experience. With a knowledgeable background in custom services such as antique, hobby, luxury and hot rod detailing, as well as every day detailing services, we know what our customers expect from us and you will see the proof in the way your vehicle looks.

January 15, 2017

What is Paintless Dent Repair?

What is Paintless Dent Repair? If you’ve ever experienced a minor ding or dent in your car, you may have researched what is paintless dent repair and what is involved in the process? At Steve’s Detailing, we provide the finishing touch for this type of repair, which we can attest to being incredibly effective at restoring a vehicle to like new shape. Looking into the service ourselves, it seems that it will save you a lot of time and money, too. So, let’s talk more about what is paintless dent repair.

It has most likely happened to us all, at some point. You walk out of the grocery store, only to find that someone has dinged your car by hitting it with their door or bumper. Also, there are those little fender benders, when we should have given a little extra space between our car and the one next to us. The good news is that paintless dent repair can be just the remedy you need.

Paintless dent repair can rectify a broad range of damage as long as the paint surface is intact. It may be used on both aluminum and steel panels. Door dings, creases, dents, bodyline damage and hail damage, are just some of the more popular issues utilizing paintless dent repair, but not limited to those. It can also minimize the use of body filler when repainting. Usually the shallower the dent, the greater the chances of paintless dent repair being a suitable option. Experienced technicians can fix a large, shallow dent or a crease, to a satisfactory level, but paintless dent repair may not be the proper method for extremely sharp dents or creases. Ask your service shop what they can achieve for best results.

Techniques involved in paintless dent repair utilize metal rods and body picks to push out the dents from the underside of the vehicle body panel. Glue and specially-designed tabs may be used to pull out the dents from the outside of the panel. Finishing touches of the repair involve tapping down the repair to remove small high spots. Experienced technicians can blend high spots to match the texture of the paint, sometimes called orange peel. But if they push too hard, it may create high spots that cause the clear coat to split or crack, which of course is not a good thing. Avoiding cracking or chipping is the ultimate goal. When the damage is so high that body filler is necessary, a paintless dent technician can "push to paint," fixing most of the damage before minor filling, sanding, and painting. This will save you time and money in the long run if the dent is large.

Technicians also use fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, or in some cases a reflection board to help them visualize the deformation of the dent and aid in locating the tip of the tool used to push out the metal, reforming it to the proper height. Without a reflection from a light source or board to read the dent, the fine detail of the process may not be suitable, and the results will be less than satisfactory. Paintless dent repair requires skill and a good eye, so be sure to find a company that knows their stuff and has the experience in this technique.

Since around the 1940s, "dingmen" have been "pushing" or "massaging" dents out of vehicles. An issue arose as the tools they used could not prevent cracking or creasing of the paint, and it looked like the art may be dying. However, in the early 70s and 80s, the auto industry started making thinner, more flexible metals for panels and roofs. This was ideal for the dent repairmen of that time. Cracking paint issues resolved and the quality of paint and clear coat improved. Now, tools have also improved, and dingmen can take out larger and larger dents. You can sometimes even find mobile paintless dent repair.

The pros of paintless dent repair:

  • Same day turnaround, versus days in the body shop
  • No deductibles or insurance claims
  • Restores an original factory finish
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Repairs are gentle on your vehicle
  • Cheaper than body shop repairs
  • Repaired dents do not reappear

The cost of paintless dent repair will vary, but in general, you can estimate with these guidelines (without comprehensive insurance). Depending on the cause of the damage, such as hail, your costs will go down considerably if you are insured.

  • Dent size and depth location will determine the cost
  • Smaller, easier to reach dents will run between $35 to $45 per dent
  • Medium sized dents will go up slightly to $45- $55 per dent
  • Hard to access areas, such as roofs, jump to $60 to $65 per small dent and $75-$80 for large

Now, you could try to repair your car yourself, but the tools alone can be somewhat costly. Dentcraft Tools are probably the highest quality tools found online, but the 72-piece set alone will run you about $2000. That is much more than the cost to take it to someone who truly knows what they are doing. But if you would like to know how it is done and what type of specialized repair tools are often used to achieve the look, it may be worthwhile investigating the inside steps to how they pop out those little dents and get your car back to new again. The tools look somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle in some respect, so referring the job to a paintless dent repair shop is a good idea!

Now that you know what is paintless dent repair, the frustration of seeing the initial damage to your vehicle will certainly be an easier pill to swallow. There’s no need for a full, heavy-duty body repair at an expensive dealership or auto body repair shop. And there’s no need to go without your car for days on end. Of course, once your paintless dent repair specialist has finished bringing your car back to life, come to Steve's Detailing for a buff, polish, and wax to make your vehicle feel brand new.

December 13, 2016

Is Your Car's Interior Making You Sick?

Is Your Car's Interior Making You Sick?Most of us can agree that the smell of a brand-new car is intoxicating. What is it about that smell that so many of us love? Some manufacturers have even made air fresheners that carry that same "new car" fragrance, so we can forever feel like our car just rolled off the assembly line. But before you bask in the aroma a minute longer, you may want to ponder on this question. Is your car's interior making you sick?

Here at Steve's Detailing, we know all too well the hidden dangers of a new interior. We will neutralize these threats using tried, tested, and true products and help you eliminate these toxic smells that could be making you sick.

The following toxic chemicals found in your interiors and the air inside your cars may sound foreign and confusing, but they are important to note. Some of these toxins are exceeding levels well above air quality standards. Believe it or not, more than 275 different chemicals are used in car interiors. Some of these chemicals are even worse than the well know "toxic building" syndrome that has surfaced in the news. It is little wonder we are a nation of ill human beings, suffering from unnecessary diseases.

  • VOCs, including benzene, styrene, and formaldehyde
  • Brominated flame retardants
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Lead and heavy metals
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Ozone

What are these toxic substances really doing to our bodies? Well, for starters, fire retardants, which are in all interiors are linked to cancers, autism, obesity, and male infertility. PVC plastic is probably the worst plastic out there and is harmful to pregnant women, babies, and can disrupt the endocrine system. It seems hard to believe, but the facts are real and rather disturbing. Of course, not everyone will be affected in the same way, but people with respiratory issues or chemical sensitivities will be at the most risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a lot of useful information about this subject, and worth the read.

To remedy the situation as best you can, the easiest solution is to get some air flow in your vehicle. Open all the vents and windows to help dilute the concentration of odors and have a good filtration system. Of course, the other option is to remove the source of the smells, but for obvious reasons, that will not always be possible, especially in a new car. You can, however, do your research when buying a new car to see which makes and models use the best environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques. In one study of over 200 vehicles tested for chemicals that "off-gas" from 2011-2012, the Honda Civic came out on top. The worst, Mini Cooper, VW Eos, Kia Sportage, Chevy Aveo 5, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, Mazda CX-7, Kia Soul, Chrysler 200 SC, and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

If you do opt for buying a brand-new car, why not "bake" it? What does that mean? Well, you can speed up the release of chemicals by "baking them out." This process either involves leaving the vehicle in the hot sun with the windows down or cranking the heater on for a while. Afterward, open all the windows and doors and ventilate with fresh air. From here you can grab a microfiber cloth and start wiping down the entire interior, being careful to pick up all the dust and debris. If you are super sensitive to chemicals, you may want to repeat this process a few times. The first six months with a new car are the most toxic, so perhaps wait it out if you can before making a purchase.

Let's not forget about the mold factor too. If you are buying a used car, there is a good possibility it has mold lurking in it due to moisture, especially in warmer humid climates. But it is not just hiding in the seats; a common problem is faulty air conditioners. Be sure to have yours checked out and read up on the Lemon Law to see if the manufacturer will buy the car back if affected with mold. Also, ensure that bacteria from food, animals, and dirt are not lurking in the crevices. It is so important to keep a clean vehicle. In the meantime, here are some great tips to follow:

  • CLEAN THE INSIDE OFTEN, microfiber clothes are the best, just wet and wipe, no need for chemical cleaners.
  • REPLACE YOUR TOXIC AIR FRESHENERS with natural ones such as essential oils on cotton or in a diffuser, or baking soda.
  • CAR AIR PURIFIERS are excellent, especially if you have respiratory issues or wish to breathe cleaner air
  • REPLACE YOUR WINDSHIELD WIPER FLUID if you are sensitive to it. Vinegar and water with a tad of liquid soap works great.
  • KEEP YOUR DISTANCE of at least three car lengths to avoid exhaust fumes from entering your vehicle.
  • DON'T KEEP YOUR VENTS CLOSED always because bacteria will build up. Be sure to open and close often.
  • DO NOT IDLE CAR in the garage. Carbon monoxide exposure can cause headaches and even be fatal.
  • AIR OUT your vehicle whenever possible, winter and summer.

Japan is leading the countries in trying to eliminate this toxic cocktail in vehicles by cutting out 13 of the compounds in interiors, including formaldehyde and styrene. Hopefully, the U.S. will catch on and join the bandwagon on making America's vehicles safer for everyone. Ford is also on their way to improvements, and it won't be an easy transition, but it is a necessary one. And just imagine all those chemicals sitting in the hot sun, this is extremely dangerous because it adds fuel to the fire, so to speak, heating up these already toxic materials to even stronger levels with the solar exposures. Use solar reflectors whenever possible and park in the shade when you can.

Japan and Europe are putting their best face forward and are ahead of the toxic car syndrome in many ways. We are even starting to see significant organic changes in interiors such as car seats made from raw materials like palm and soybean oils, plant-based foams, and plastics made from petrochemicals, and even the hibiscus tree and a particular type of grass utilized in today's vehicle interiors. The technology is incredible and exciting, to say the least, and it is something everyone will be pleased with in the long run.

At Steve's Detailing, we will do our best to ensure your car’s interior is not making you sick. With years in the industry as a trusted and knowledgeable vehicle detailing shop, we know what it takes to provide our clients with safe products and the added experience to eliminate or reduce the toxic overload your car may be emitting. Ask us today how we can help you know, is your car's interior making you sick. If your vehicle is on a weekly or monthly detailing regimen, there is no doubt that your exposure to toxic materials will decrease or be eliminated. Steve's Detailing can get the job done with superior expertise.

November 15, 2016

What Causes Condensation Inside Cars?

What Causes Condensation Inside Cars? At Steve’s Detailing in Denver, we get quite a few customers who are frustrated with having to either keep a rag in their vehicle or use their expensive new sweater to wipe away excess moisture from their car’s windows. Many of them ask us what causes condensation inside cars. Here, we’ll provide you with the answer so that you can take steps to prevent it.

Steve's Detailing knows that humidity can wreak havoc on interiors, leather and more. So, if you are continually plagued by a condensation issue in your car or truck, bring it to us for helpful advice and superior cleaning, inside and out. In the meantime, let’s discuss what causes condensation inside cars.

Condensation occurs when warm and humid air meets a cold surface. When someone gets into a cold car, their breath and body carrying warm moisture-rich air meet a cold windshield. This, in turn, causes the moisture from the air to collect on the glass. It can also happen if you have wet seats or clothing in the car, leftover food and wrappers, a coffee mug with remnants of yesterday's beverage still in it, damp carpets, leaks from a sunroof or vents, wet umbrellas, floor mats, dog blankets and even coolant leaks.

Now you know what causes condensation inside cars, follow these simple steps to keep the inside of your vehicle dry:

  • Leave at least two windows slightly open on a sunny (preferably warmer) day in the winter to help circulate the airflow, but be sure to close them by nightfall to avoid dew from settling in.
  • Invest in a moisture absorber, but be sure to keep an eye on it when it needs emptying.
  • Look for signs of dampness, especially under a rear wheel well.
  • Use your air conditioning. Yes, even in winter! This will pull the moisture out of the air, keeping your AC system in tip-top shape and your car from smelling bad when you turn it on. It will also be ready for the arrival of summer.
  • Ensure your recirculating valve is off, or you won't be doing yourself any favors. Keep that fresh air coming it.
  • Try to avoid anti-fogging products, they seem just to leave a blurry mess on windows.
  • Air your vehicle out often by opening the windows and putting the heat on at the same time while driving.
  • Park in the garage with the windows down if possible.
  • Avoid using unbreathable car covers.
  • Check for a windshield washer fluid leak.
  • Check all your door and window seals.

Condensation is not ideal for any interior because eventually the moisture will destroy and break down the fibers in the materials, causing cracks in leather or even mold, odors and possibly discoloration.

Now that you’ve learned what causes condensation inside cars, also know that when a car isn’t clean, the dirt particles attract moisture as well. Feel free to leave it all to the professionals at Steve's Detailing in Denver. We can help you maintain a clean and dry vehicle inside and out. Our prices are competitive so that you can enjoy your ride and keep condensation issues at bay. Come in for an auto detail today.

 

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