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When Only a Basic Detailing is Needed


Often times when contacted by potential clients, they give me a rundown of what they are looking to have done. I usually give them 3 options if they are unsure of what level of service is right for them. I give them a good, better, best situation and explain the differences between them. Many people want to believe their vehicle only needs a basic detailing but the majority of times, that is the complete opposite. It’s understandable that at times clients are only looking for a basic level of service due to circumstances but remember, we have trained eyes and what might be considered good condition through your eyes, likely will not be to us. At the end of the day we can only provide you with a professional recommendation which at often times can change upon visual inspection of the vehicle. When a reputable detailer is selected, the client is usually just looking for guidance from the detailer and it lets them decide the best option for the vehicle(s).

Now let’s walk though a situation where the client was looking for the ultimate finish which would require multiple days in shop to restore the gloss on his vehicle. Throughout many emails and phone conversations as well as a pre-detail evaluation, the day came and the car was dropped off to receive a full paint reconditioning plus a Complete Leatherique Treatment. Throughout the process the owner and I kept in contact and spoke about how to properly maintain the finish once the vehicle was detailed. After my first day working on the vehicle, I came home and ordered the supplies the owner would need to properly maintain the vehicle in between visits with me so when the vehicle was picked up, so were the supplies where I could show exactly where each product is used. There are two huge benefits from doing this correctly. One, your next detail will be cheaper as long as you follow the articles :).  Two, your vehicle will have that “just detailed” look longer.

Let’s get onto the pictures. Several months back I was hired to work on this E55 AMG  that I have been speaking of and the owner wanted swirls and scratches removed so he could maintain the finish himself with the products and articles from Detailed Image. Then every few months, I would lightly polish the surface to amp the gloss and reapply protection to paint, wheels, etc.

Here we are last summer after the washing and claying has been completed. The vehicle had a few random deeper scratches here and there, but for the most part it was improper washing and drying marks which came out pretty easily compared to some.

After two steps of polishing the ceramic clear coat

The tail lights were in need as well..


You can clearly see here, it needed some TLC.


After a few days of machine polishing and finishing touches, I present you this..

Now here is the important part of this article. We hear it all the time that clients will properly wash and dry their vehicles from now on and they will keep it looking this way, but let’s face it, it’s a task to keep it looking this good all the time. Let’s fast forward 4 months and 3 days to the next time this car gets dropped off for a visit and winter prep. The owner had told me he had done his best to keep it swirl free and has been following the articles using the products we discussed and wanted me to give it a once over and address any issues I could. Remember, this next set of pictures are from 4 months and 3 days after the previous pictures were taking…let’s take a look.

After doing my wash, here is what I was met with 4 MONTHS later.

Here you can clearly see there was plenty of protection on the paint.
After seeing the vehicle only needed a basic detailing, I decided Optimum Poli-Seal with Opti-Seal for protection would be a perfect fit. All completed with only a basic detailing. This was only possible due to the dedication the owner took to properly maintain his vehicle.

Here is what the owner had to say..

I bought my car used from a Mercedes dealer, and it looked incredible. After just a few weeks, the finish in the car seemed to really take a turn for the worse.

I have had black cars before, and knew that I really wanted to maintain the exterior of my favorite car yet (I have owned over 60). Even though I had not run this car through a tunnel-wash, and had only hand-washed it, it still looked terrible, no matter what I did. I waxed it, it looked great, and then 4 weeks later it looked just as bad. I really had no idea how this could happen, or what to do about it. I was determined that I would never buy a black car again.

After spending time on various car detailing blogs (courtesy of Google), I learned that my car’s finish was damaged before I ever got it, and even though it was “detailed” by the dealer, this was not really helping the finish, and maybe it even damaged it more. I read more and more about products to take care of the finish on my car, but knew that I need a professional to restore the finish to new (actually better than new).

I was not willing to learn a new craft, and figured that if I was able to find a professional to restore my car, I could maintain it and keep it properly cared for. I met DJ Mayo through DetailedImage.com, not only did he explain the whole process of what he was going to do and how it would dramatically transform the finish of my car, but he also took the time to walk me through what products to order for my car from DetailedImage.com, and how to use them.

I was amazed with the quality of the products that I received. Not only did they far surpass my expectations of quality, but the price was much less than I was expecting for quality, professional grade products. I used to buy micro-fiber towels at Costco. I used a chamois to dry my car (I really can’t believe I did that), and then tried buying waffle-weave towels from Auto Zone. The towels I received from Detailed Image are some much higher quality, and so much softer, that I now use the old towels to wipe my tires.

I used to have the hardest time keeping my car clean in the winter, but DJ introduced me to one of the best car care products I have every used – Optimum No Rinse Wash and Shine. Through the winter, I have been able to keep my car clean without the use of harsh No-Touch car washes, or tunnel washes. Now, I literally have one of the cleanest cars in my office garage, thanks to Optimum No Rinse, and my car’s finish is swirl-free.

After the help from DJ, I now use the two-bucket method to wash my car, stay away from tunnel washes and no-touch washes, use top-quality products to maintain my car, and have one of the best finishes on a black car that I have ever seen.

My list of car care products includes:
· Optimum No Rinse Wash and Shine
· 303 Aerospace Protectant
· Chemical Guys Diablo Gel Rim and Wheel Cleaner
· Lake Country Tire Dressing Applicator
· DI Accessories E-Z Detail Bruch
· Chemical Guys Extreme V.R.P. Dressing
· Grit Guards
· Optimum Detailer and Gloss Enhancer
· Optimum Car Wax (spray on)
· DI Microfiber Waffle Weave Drying Towel
· DI Microfiber reTHICKulous Towel
· Stoner’s Invisible Glass

DJ still works on my car once or twice per year, but now instead of a 17 hour job to restore my paint, it now only takes 4 hours for a polish and detail, and I maintain it in between visits.

Thanks to DJ and to Detailed Image for completely transforming my car, and helping me keep it in top shape!

So remember, after having your paint corrected there are things you must follow in order to keep it that way. By doing so, your “follow up” detail is less expensive, less time consuming, and safer for the vehicle. Thank you for taking time to read this article and I look forward to hearing your feedback on any situations you have come across.

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DJ Mayo Reflections Detailing
DJ Mayo
DJ Mayo Studios
Gainesville, VA

7 comments on When Only a Basic Detailing is Needed

  1. matt ferguson says:

    Great article sir.

  2. Matthew Chanthasy says:

    This was a really good read. Great stuff as usual.

  3. Tim says:

    Way to go DJ! Thanks for reminding me to educate on the importance of proper car washing techniques.

  4. BillyBob says:

    Awesome job! Could you tell us what machine, type of pads and products you used?
    Thank you.

  5. DJ Mayo says:

    Thank you for the comments!

    Billy Bob – The first round was Surbuf and 105 on the DA, followed by Menzerna 106FA with a black pad on the Makita. The 2nd round to maintain was a black pad on the DA using the Poli-Seal follwed by Opti-Seal for protection.

  6. Ivan Rajic says:

    Great article and info there DJ!

    It’s something I, as many others do, preach to my clients on a regular basis. If the car will simply be washed poorly, see the corner shop and tunnel washes, there’s really no point in me wasting 10-15hrs and the client wasting $100s of hard earned money.

    Your client definitely knows what they’re doing maintenance wise as they have obviously done a great job maintaining the finish on that gorgeous car. Keep up the great work and educating the clients.


  7. I like this article as much as I love clients that take proper care of their vehicles! Great information and example of how a car can look MONTHS later if the owner is dedicated enough to care for his or her baby using the correct technique with the correct products.

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