View Full Version : The Protection State of Mind

09-28-2010, 01:26 AM
To all wondering about how to maintain a nice and swirl-free finish and then some, I am going to tell you almost all of what you need to know to meet your detailing goals. This is something that I call the protection state of mind:

First of all, if your subject car is a daily driver, your finish will never remain swirl free. It's possible for you to get it swirl free using the products and techniques listed on this website, but it won't remain swirl free. Having said this, the first step to maintaining a great finish is to realize your goal.

1. Realizing your goal

Who are you? What type of environment is your car in? How busy are you? What are your priorities?

These are all very important questions you must ask yourself before you choose a car detailing plan. These are also important questions you should ask yourself if you've found yourself frustrated with the finish of your car. Are you a college student who's also holding down a full-time job with hardly any time? Have you just graduated school and have extra time on your hands? Are you retired and looking to get into a new hobby? Are looks your #1 priority? Would you rather devote more time to your family then your car? Is your car primarily outdoors or in a garage? How much time are you willing to spend on detailing your car? How much money are you willing to spend to detail your car?

All of the aforementioned situations and their combinations will require a different approach and different products for detailing. If you're retired, your kids are all grown up, and you have more time on your hands, you can far more easily keep up your car's paint than if you're a busy college student who's holding down a full-time job and has priorities (rightly so) elsewhere. That's not to say that the college student's car needs to be neglected, but it means that there will need to be a different set of methods and products to service each car.

In general, people who are not willing to spend as much time on their car should stick with basic products, basic techniques, and do them as consistently as possible. If you only have 2 hours every 2 weeks, get a good wash in and then on that one week you have extra time, clay and wax the car.

Here's the scoop:

If you drive the car every day, it will not look like a show car that is not driven at all and just sits in a garage.
You should not expect the car to look like a show car if you drive it every day.
You must figure out how much time you can and will spend on your car and adjust your techniques and products accordingly, creating a realistic goal for yourself.
You should not get frustrated if you have to sacrifice a car wash for more important things in your life.
If your car is out in the elements 24/7, it will require more frequent care and if you cannot provide that due to other factors in your situation, you should not be frustrated if your car does not look like garaged cars.

2. Be Proactive in all real-world situations

If you're still reading this, you obviously have some interest in the upkeep of your car's finish. Since you do, I'll get straight to the point:


Don't park under trees.
Don't park under lights or other objects that birds can sit on.
Don't park near shopping carts.
Don't park too close to other vehicles.
Don't park near cars that look like the owner could care less about them.
Don't take your car to automatic washes.


Do give the most space on the passenger side when you park. Chances are, the car to your left has no passenger, but you KNOW the car to your right has a driver.
Do Park in that last space on the end so that only one car will be next to you, and leave that side the most room.
Do park near other nice and well maintained cars.
Do Move shopping carts and other potentially hazardous objects away from your car when you park.
Do Consider the effects of the weather on your car before you take it out of the garage to go buy a candy bar or a beer,
Do take your car to a touchless wash IF you are going to take it to an automatic wash.
Do be conscious of the location and environment that your car is in at all times.

Following the above guidelines and expanding on them, you will prevent a lot of potential dings and scratches to begin with. That's the BEST way to detail.

3. Be Proactive in all detailing situations

Once again, the dos and don'ts:


Don't use dirty towels, pads, or clay.
Don't use towels, pads, or clay on the paint after they have been dropped onto the ground.
Don't buy low quality budget supplies and expect them to produce results that quality supplies would.
Don't press towels and mitts harder onto your paint than necessary.
Don't make multiple passes over your paint when one pass will do the job.
Don't use tools on your car before you have read the instructions and are properly trained.
Don't allow stuff to rub and drag on your car while you're working.
Don't allow product to just dry on the car unless it's a wax or sealant and the directions say to do so.
Don't be rude to people while out and about. People who think you're a mean person will be more likely to be less careful around your property or in some cases damage it on purpose.


Do use the least aggressive method possible to work on your paint.
Do know the product and read the directions before you use it.
Do ensure that you are well-educated on the tool you plan to use before using it on your car.
Do ensure that you are using clean towels, mitts, clay, and pads on your finish.
Do use GritGuards when washing your car.
Do use quality tools and products on your finish. If you don't know what quality products are, feel free to ask on this forum in Auto Detailing 101 (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/auto-detailing-101/).
Do pay attention to your surroundings while you work on your car and don't allow things like power cords, necklaces, and other accessories to drag over the finish while you work.
Do work in a CLEAN environment. Detailing your car in a filthy garage will allow grit to be blown onto the car and create more swirls.
Do be respectful to other people around you when you're out and about. People who know you're a respectful person will tend to be more careful around your property.

By simply following the above tips, your finish will have the least amount of swirls, marring, and other blemishes as possible for your situation, and best of all, the above tips will cost you little or no money. Keeping your car looking good is not just about the products, tools, and techniques but it's also about your state of mind in your every day life. This is an area that I've noticed some people overlook so I wanted to give it some attention. Happy detailing everyone!


09-28-2010, 12:01 PM
Lots of good info :dblthumb2:

Mike Phillips
09-28-2010, 12:17 PM
I agree, very nice article with lots of good points...

Good formatting too... I might chop the font size down on the headings but other than that, good use of bullet point lists, plenty of white space, good spelling and grammar.

Just needs a blue clickable link to enable yourself and others to quickly and easily share it in other threads and it's great article.

How to share an article using a blue clickable link (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/tips-techniques-how-articles-interacting-discussion-forums/23913-how-share-article-using-blue-clickable-link.html)


09-28-2010, 04:33 PM
Thanks guys! One thing that could be added to those 2 lists under section 2:

Under DOs: Be respectful to other people around you when you're out and about. People who know you're a respectful person will tend to be more careful around your property.

and under DON'Ts: Don't be rude to people while out and about. People who think you're a mean person will be more likely to be less careful around your property or in some cases damage it on purpose.

Mike Phillips
09-28-2010, 05:01 PM
Thanks guys! One thing that could be added to those 2 lists under section 2:



09-28-2010, 08:05 PM
This was a good read. Your section about being proactive reminded me of something, too. Normally at work I park in the parking garage. A couple weeks ago we had some heavy rain in the morning. When I left for the day I discovered that water had dripped through a seam in the ceiling and then dried in a line from bumper to bumper right down the middle of the car. I ended up with what looked very much like Type II water spots that Mike describes in one of his posts. Who knows what kind chemicals mixed with the water from the floor above and then settled on my paint, but I ended up having to polish the car to get rid of the spots. I guess it pays to be on the lookout for this sort of thing. Needless to say I spend extra time now searching for a parking space that's not under one of the seams. :nomore: