Car collectors as a whole take great pride in the machines in their collection: they display an almost visceral connection to their cars. They want them to look their best. Whether it’s for a Sunday drive or a Sunday on the 18th green at Pebble Beach, it’s all in the details.
Daniel Miele, the owner/operator of Turn 7 Auto Care, always loved cars, and he knew one way to be around them was to clean them. He started on the weekends at 14, keeping all the exotics at Motor Classic & Competition bright and shiny. He kept detailing on the side through college, where he got his degree in finance and headed off to Wall Street.
He took a job in an institutional equity trading firm, realizing very quickly that he hated it… he didn’t want to be in that world. OK. How about computers and IT? Daniel pursued that for a few years he enjoyed it, but it really wasn’t the right fit; he got bored. All this proved out the right answer: his true passion was cars and detailing.
So back to detailing on the weekends. Cleaning friends’ cars and picking up a few clients. He started studying all the latest techniques and researching all the current hi-tech products. No longer is one just applying a coat of carnauba wax; there are all kinds of modern man-made sealants and coatings, super strong and durable. He had to catch up with the new wave detailing, but the muscle memory was there, and things started to take off.
The event that gave Daniel the confidence to take the leap of faith to start his own business was meeting Larry Kosilla of ammonyc.com at a car show. Daniel was detailing a car and Larry watched Daniel go through his paces. Larry, a top detailer in his own right, saw the talent in Daniel and told him he should start his own company. And so Turn 7 Auto Care came into being.
Having a top detailer spending time with your pride and joy doesn’t come cheap, a thorough washing that makes your car shine like no one’s business starts at around $300.00 and that can move up to 5 figures for a multi-day every last nook and cranny, every bolt and wheel nut given special attention.
If that is too big a drain on the bank account have no fear, Daniel of Turn 7 has 7 top tips.
Follow these tips and your car will be a knockout.
Tip #1 – Watch the surface
You never want to touch a dry car not with your hand and not with a cloth, there are way too many chances of scratching the surface, you always want lubrication whether it be a soap or detail spray.
Tip #2 – Protect yourself as well as the car
For the human, when you are washing or detailing your car you are using a lot of products and chemicals that are fine for your ride, but they are not great for your skin or your eyes. This may seem a bit over the top, but safety first, so always wear eye protection, and nitrile gloves, if you are using any motorized equipment hearing protection is not a bad idea as well. Now how to protect the car from the human.
Those cute signs at the car show say you should be naked when you touch their cars, you don’t have to go quite that far, but it’s a good practice to remove your jewelry. No rings, watches, and no belt buckles go one step further and wear something other than jeans, pants without those nasty little metal rivets. No metal anywhere on you, that has the potential of scratching the paint.
Tip #3 – Never wash your car in direct sun
If possible always work in the shade, it’s better for you and your car. If your car has been sitting in the sun move it into the shade and let it cool down. If you put soap or other products on a hot car they will dry way too quickly and be a pain to remove.
Tip #4 – Use the three bucket system
Again it sounds over the top but this is the real deal. Bucket #1 has soap and a wash mitt that only touches the paint on the car, bucket. #2 fresh clean water for rinsing out the mitt you are using on the body. Bucket # 3 is designated for the wheels only. You don’t want any of the abrasive metal particles that you are taking off your wheels getting on your paint and scratching it.
All three of your buckets should have a “Grit Guard” in the bottom, this keeps all the nasty stuff you have removed from your machine getting back on your mitt. You can apply your soap using a pressure washer with a foam cannon attachment, but keep the buckets close by.
Tip #5 – Don’t cheap out
You have put out a fair bit of cash on your wheels, now is not the time to save a few pennies. Those bulk micro-fiber towels you pick up at various outlets are no great deal. They are too small, low quality, and even when new there is a big chance that they will scratch your car. So spend a little more and get the good stuff, quality is way better than quantity.
Now you have bought the high priced micro-fiber towels and you are happily working away on your car and you drop it on the ground, you are now SOL, don’t you dare use it on the paint again it has picked up way to many bits of who knows what and it is now only good for wiping wheels or cleaning the engine compartment even if you put it through the wash, safest thing to do is throw it away.
Tip #6 – Don’t forget the interior
A common misconception that will do way more harm than good is using a multi-purpose cleaner on the interior of your car. It cleans everything, but these products tend to be very harsh, so they could stain surfaces and even remove dye from the leather and carpets. A safer alternative is to use products that are designated for those areas.
Once again don’t cheap out. The lower the price the lower the quality. Inexpensive products will make things look good right away, but the chemicals in them will do damage in the long run.
Tip #7 – Don’t use dish soap on your car
Dish soap was created to break up oils and fats. Many waxes and sealants are made up of oil distillates. So you are removing any protective materials you have on the car, so always use a car soap.. Now if you want to strip everything off the paint on your car leaving it naked you could use dish soap, but it is not recommended. Use a proprietary automotive stripping soap.
Now it’s time to give your car a new layer of protection.You can apply a synthetic sealant which is a newer and better technology that an old school carnauba based wax. A synthetic sealant is a polymer based man-made sealant that chemically bonds with the surface creating a layer of protection. That is the easiest and simplest application for protection.
The next step up would be a coating of silicon dioxide, or SIO2 also known as a ceramic coating. This is a much more permanent coating. At this point you want the car scrupulously clean. Applying the product is basically wipe on, wipe off, but this is a much more permanent solution than a synthetic sealant, so if there are surface contaminates stuck in the paint, or if there are water marks, scratches, haziness or dullness you have just sealed them up tight. So be sure the car is clean, clean, clean.
But if this is all too much, let Daniel loose on your car, he won’t charge you too much extra to watch.