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July 26, 2017

Tips for Washing Your Car Between Details

Steve's DetailingTips for Washing Your Car Between Details offers fast, thorough and complete car detailing that will keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. Here are some tips for washing your car between details so that you can get the most for your dollar, and the best treatment for your car or truck to keep it looking shiny and new.

First off, it is always wise to stay clear of the drive-thru car washes. These poorly maintained machines can damage not only paint jobs, but antennas, and a whole lot more. For example, if the previous car just came back from a muddy or dirty camping trip, guess what is left behind on those brushes? Yup, you guessed it, dirt and debris that could dig into your paint. DIY hand washes are typically the best option.

If your car is new, a wash and wax will suffice, but if it has been neglected at all, then wash, wax and polish are probably in order. Be sure to use premium microfiber cloths that are clean, and products specifically formulated for the task at hand. Some cleaners can do more damage than good.

Rinse your vehicle first to get the majority of dirt and debris off, using a pressure washer (with the proper tip) on hard to reach places and areas with caked on dirt. Use a good quality car wash soap, not just any type of dishwashing liquid or other, as this can damage the paint and strip away wax. Be sure to do sections of your vehicle and rinse promptly to avoid spots and soapy water from drying, especially on hot days. Finally, use dry clean cloths and wipe down the car from top to bottom.

You can go even further if you have the time and energy by applying wax or polish at this final stage, but you can also leave it to Steve's Detailing for the tough stuff.

How often should you detail?

Well, again, this will depend on how often the car is driven, if it has gone through some nasty driving conditions such as rain or snow, and if it spends a lot of time in the sun. It is most common to give your car a weekly wash to keep up with pollen and dirt build up from embedding in the paint, and a monthly wash and wax detailing to keep a protective barrier on the paint.

Is detailing and washing your car that important?

Of course, it is! The fine finish on your vehicle's exterior can wear down fast against the elements of weather, wear and tear, which will eventually lead to your car being nothing but a rust bucket with wheels. Most people trade in their vehicles every few years for better technology and performance. So, if you want to get the most out of your older vehicles, it is imperative that you take care of it inside and out, because no one is going to pay top dollar for a worn out car.

Steve's Detailing loves to provide tips for washing your car between details. It makes your car's value higher, and it makes our job more successful. We use only the top-quality brands and products to ensure your car detailing in perfect both inside and out.

July 13, 2017

Difference Between Car Washing and Detailing

Difference Between Car Washing and DetailingEver wondered what's the difference between car washing and detailing? Ay Steve's Detailing, we’re here to tell you that there is a huge difference between the two, yet both services are important for the longevity of your vehicle inside and out.

Today, let’s discuss a few of the key differences between car washing and car detailing. 

Car Washing

This involves removing dirt, debris, tar, and salt from your vehicles clear coat with a big bucket of soapy water. You can obtain a car wash from a detailing company, a drive through automatic wash, a pay stall DIY wash, or you can even wash your vehicle at home. Each one of these suggestions will get the surface dirt and grime off, but it will not give you the complete and perfect shine like professional detailing.

Another issue to note is that some automatic drive-through washes can do more damage than good to your car by breaking off antennas or scratching surfaces. If the vehicle before you was extremely dirty, chances are, some of that dirt will remain on the brushes for the next vehicle going through. Not only could it end up limiting your cleaning results, but large bits of dirt, rocks or debris could scratch your paint. The main point of a drive-through car-wash speed, which is not always best for your vehicle.

Car Detail

A professional vehicle detail will get into every nook and cranny of your car or truck, using the most up to date, tried and true, professional products to achieve the most stunning and shiniest of results. It may cost a little more than doing it yourself, but the end results will be well worth it and resale value of your vehicle increases because it will maintain that new car look.

Auto care experts are trained with the latest techniques and know-how for achieving the best results for your car, from engine compartment cleaning, removing stubborn carpet stains, bringing your tires and chrome back to life, headlight restoration, leather treatments, and more. You just can't get the same results as the professionals can, and let's face it, most of us do not have the time in our busy lives.

A professional detail can take anywhere from 1-6 hours depending on the size of your vehicle, package you choose, or options you wish to add. Some places have a place to sit and watch TV, others have a pickup and drop-off service. At Steve’s Detailing, we’re conveniently located in the heart of DTC, so you’re welcome to drop off your car for a “spa day” before work. For the time, effort and price it takes to keep your vehicle looking and smelling good every week or month, you’ll see that it is well worth it.

Now that you know the difference between car washing and detailing is, head on over to Steve's Detailing for information on what offer. Let the experts in making your vehicles look like new again, whether you have an antique hot rod, motorcycle, or work truck. Leave the detailing to us!

June 12, 2017

How to Clean Your Foggy Headlights

How to Clean Your Foggy HeadlightsAt Steve's Detailing, we know how to clean your foggy headlights the proper way so that you can see clearly in all weather conditions and on any terrain. We are also superb detailers for every type of vehicle, be it a motorcycle, RV, antique car, hobby car, or just your everyday to and from work vehicle.

If you don’t mind spending a good chunk of your weekend tending to your vehicle’s needs, there are a few methods for cleaning hazy, oxidized headlights. The first step is to do a thorough inspection of your headlights and look for the best solution to cleaning them. If you are unsure, always get a professional’s help. If there are extensive chips and cracks, it may be a good idea to replace them all together.

Now, let's look at the procedures for how to clean your foggy headlights.

STEP 1, CLEAN WITH SOAP AND WATER: Use a good quality car soap to get off the road grime and debris. From here you will get a much better idea of the damage.

Look for signs of hazing. This will happen when the hard coating has worn off the headlights, and the soft polycarbonate is exposed; the light will start to absorb scratches that create hazing. The lens will also be covered, if it isn't already, in a rough dark yellow crusted surface.

Yellowing is a sure sign that the all of the hard coatings is beginning to thin out and lose its adhesion to the polycarbonate lens. Peeling and cracks will need to be dealt with by a professional detailer or replaced. You may see flaking, peeling, and spotting. These may just need a resurfacing. Once you have concluded the level of damage, here are the options you can choose from to help repair the issue.

STEP 2, SANDPAPER: You will need a few different grades of wet/dry sandpaper. 3M is a good starting point and a courser grade such as 1500 or 2000. Tape off the areas of paint around the headlights to avoid damaging the paint and clean the lights once more with rubbing alcohol. Wet your sandpaper using the course grit first and start to sand in a circular motion, paying attention to areas where the coating may be lifting and flaking off. Use a good amount of pressure until you have an even, dull finish. Now you will change to a finer grit and continue sanding until you get a satin-like finish.

STEP 3, CHOOSE A POLISHING COMPOUND: Now you will determine the buffing compound that will best suit your needs. You can run to the auto parts store and pick up McGuire's, M105, or others. Aluminum compounds are the best for headlights, or you can use a more natural and cheaper approach by opting for bath and sink cleaners or even blue toothpaste without whitening additives or peroxides.

When it comes to how to clean your foggy headlights, here are some other natural options to choose from for you DIY-types:

  • Baking Soda: Yup, just like your mom told you.... this stuff works for almost everything. Just rub it on and rinse off.
  • Vinegar: Besides its great cleaning qualities, it works like a charm on headlight covers. Just take them off and soak for a few minutes and watch the crud crumble off.
  • Bug Spray: Good old "OFF" brand will work wonders in taking off bug grime and the UV plastic that is yellowing on your headlights. The chemicals in the spray do a great job.
  • Joy Dish Soap and Salt: Mix the two together for double duty cleaning and removing power.
  • Denatured Alcohol: Be sure to clean your headlights well with soap and water first, then dab some denatured alcohol on a rag and rub in a circular motion. Rinse and dry, and add some car wax for added protection to finalize.

STEP 4, POLISH: Get a nice clean microfiber cloth and add your choice of cleaning compound to it, about the size of a quarter to start. Use small circular motions and a small patch to start. Then you will repeat this cycle until the whole light is done. You can also use an automatic buffer for faster results. Keep buffing and polishing until you get the clear results you are looking for!

STEP 5, PROTECT: To prolong the life of the hard work you have just accomplished, there is a product called Bulldog, which is a plastic adhesion protector that will aid in keeping your lights protected. It is kind of like applying a top coat on your nail polish to add long-wearing shine and coverage. This procedure is something Steve's Detailing can most definitely help with.

The environment is the major issue in the deterioration of your headlights. The UV light exposure from the sun is probably the worst culprit, followed by road grime and chemicals. Road debris causes pits and marks in the lenses, water vapor trapped inside the lens also causes damage over time. So, what can you do to protect these precious and delicate lights? Well, it is wise to try and park your vehicle in the shade or a garage to avoid as much sun exposure as possible, and the second-best option is to have a professional tend to your lights quarterly to clean and protect them.

There are also several products on the market that can help prevent the damage that UV rays cause to your light system. These products have created a unique co-polymer & acrylic resin shell over headlight lenses to prevent their oxidation and fading. Your headlights remain clear and sharp and improve your nighttime visibility and your vehicle's aesthetic appearance. Of course, this is a maintenance task that you will need to adhere to for best results. But one popular brand on the market is called Optimum Opti-Lens Headlight Coating.

A word on headlight covers: These are a great way to not only protect your lights from harmful UV light, but also from chips and grime that wear down the hard plastic coating. Of course, you can't use them at night, but most definitely during the day is a great idea.

Knowing how to clean your foggy headlights is just one of the steps in a long list involved in keeping your vehicles looking good and running like new. Count on Steve's Detailing for all the latest technologies, quality products, and experienced detailers to make your car feel as good as the day you bought it! Stop in today and adhere to a regularly scheduled maintenance plan for optimum results.

May 10, 2017

What's Better, Cloth or Leather Interiors

what's better, cloth or leather interiorsIt’s a timeless debate, what's better, cloth or leather interiors? At Steve’s Detailing, we know that when it comes to the vehicles we drive, comfort and style are rather important to most of us. We want to feel good slipping into the driver's seat. Of course, no matter what side of the fence you fall on, you can rest assured that we’ll take great care of your cloth or leather interior, as well as your vehicle’s exterior. Our detailing and hand car wash services provide long-lasting beauty and value.

So, leather or cloth, let’s look at some of the comparisons below.

LEATHER PROS

  • Looks and feels luxurious
  • Smells rich
  • Soft and supple to sit on
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Durable
  • Great resale value
  • May upgrade the status quo among friends and family
  • Choices between faux, brushed, top grain and Nappa leather

 

LEATHER CONS

  • Can be expensive, depending on the grade
  • Not very "green" or "animal-friendly" after all, it is made from a cow's hide
  • Hot, sweaty and sticky in the summer, and cold to the bone frigid in winter, unless you have a heated seat option
  • Will show wear quickly if not regularly maintained; sweat is a big problem for staining and odors
  • Can crack, dry and split if left to the elements, leather needs to be cleaned and detailed properly
  • Absorbs heat; with windows closed, temperatures can reach incredible heights
  • Worn out leather seats don’t look very attractive
  • Some manufacturers only use real leather on the top part of the seat; the sides are usually vinyl or cheaper materials
  • Limited color options

 

CLOTH PROS

  • More affordable
  • Comfortable, no sticking to your seat, sliding, freezing backside or hot thighs
  • More breathable material
  • Eco-friendly material available
  • Velour, Suede/tricot blend of materials provides more comfort and cushioning and is stain-proof
  • Low-maintenance; usually only requires a monthly vacuum or steam clean to maintain
  • Lots of color choices whether solid or patterned
  • Holds less heat on hot days

 

CLOTH CONS

  • Stains are hard to remove; wiping with a rag will usually not do the job, so stain guard is a must
  • Holds odors including foods, body sweat, pet odors, damp or wet carpet odors
  • Not much for status quo; can look cheap
  • Low resale value
  • New car smell fades fast
  • Allergies-galore! Pet dander and odors stay put in cloth seats

 

PERSONAL PREFERENCE

What it all boils down to, is what suits your tastes. Most of us have our favorite picked out from the first car we ever owned; so, the choice is easy. Fortunately, with today's technologies, the options are getting better and better. Auto upholstery fabrics and materials are more allergy-friendly and less toxic to our bodies. Even if you have your mind set, weigh out the options. You may be pleasantly surprised with the savings and new technologies.

A WORD ON VINYL SEATS

Vinyl is a newcomer in the world of seat material, the in-between option for those who can't decide what's better, cloth or leather interiors. During the 1950s, vinyl became a leading material in car upholstery. Since then, the quality of vinyl has vastly improved, looking and feeling so leather-like, it's sometimes hard to tell the difference! Vinyl has advantages over leather, too. It can be as much as 25% less expensive and comes in a wider range of colors and patterns. The cleaning of vinyl fabric is super easy, and over time it holds up well, maintaining both its structure and color. It's more forgiving than cloth and leather when wet; stains are much easier to resolve as well.

New manufacturing technologies include leather-like patterns and special coatings, making modern vinyl almost indistinguishable from real leather options. Vinyl will not stretch like leather but you will still get the same hot and cold weather issues that leather has. Poor resale values, lack of prestige, and not being very "green" all follow vinyl around.

COST

Obviously, this is largely based on the type and size of vehicle you buy. In general, you will most definitely pay more for leather seats across the board. Cloth seats are considered standard equipment and cost the consumer less money than opting for the upgraded leather seats. Most non-leather materials made of fabrics are easy to create in factory and cost less to install.

Leather seats, take a long time to create because the hide has to be cleaned of hair, salted, tanned, dyed, and dried, all of which can take weeks. Higher quality leathers will take longer to prepare but will offer a softer feel and have more leather grain in the material. Some of the top-quality leathers can take nearly a year to cure, depending on the tanning method. Leather seats are most often upgrades and expensive.

KATZKINS SEATS: WHAT ARE THEY?

Well, they are yet another alternative to consider. This is an aftermarket upholsterer that could help you get leather seats more affordably than the absurdly priced upgrades charged at dealerships. A California company called Katzkin is one of the best-known names, and they offer leather upholstery kits as an alternative to your dilemma. According to Katzkin, their kit costs a lot less, for results comparable to, or even better than original leather seats. Katzkin's kits are not seat covers, but rather, certified installers that will remove the original upholstery, and some of the hardware, and replace it with leather that has a very precise, secure fit, just like the factory. They meet original safety specs for airbag testing, include a three-year warranty, and in most cases, are even better than the original factory seats purchased. These seats will significantly increase your resale value, much like a leather interior.

At Steve's Detailing, it doesn't matter what's better, cloth or leather interiors. We will get any stains, odors, and grime off regardless of your choice of interior material. Our professional team and a host of professional products will ensure you leave our shop with your like-new vehicle. Professional car detailing will significantly improve the longevity of your vehicle's interior, and provide you with years of enjoyment too!

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.

 

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