Q. Why do some detailers readily give a price over the phone while others do not?
Mobile Detailing is a one-size-fits-all proposition only to those detailers with little technical knowledge and skill. Detailers with good technical expertise know very well that the scope of the work on a vehicle depends on several factors, including the condition of the paint and interior finishes and the owner's expectations. It helps to envision an ideal scene of the finishes in relation to the way in which the vehicle is used. For example, one does not usually perform a showcar detail for daily driven cars unless, of course, the owner desires that level of quality.
Factually, average mobile detailing in SoCal is destructive to the paint since generally more healthy clear coat is removed than is usually warranted and unsightly swirling may be evident. It is true to say for most cases that a higher-priced detail is not simply a lower-priced one that is marked up for pure profit. There are a billion variations to what can be done on a car and a simple inspection of the car with the owner discussing his/her concerns and perhaps a test section to determine a good quality match with price will go a long way in building confidence.
Q. Does my ride need to be clayed?
Generally yes, without question, to remove any embedded organic/inorganic fallout from the exterior paint, glass, chrome, wheels, etc. These particles are harmful, with their acid ph characteristics they penetrate deeper into the paint over time. This holds true for any vehicle or vessel or aircraft so exposed. About the only exception might be a vehicle that is exclusively used for shows. Detailers' clay and the new nanoskinned towels are the tools for this job.
Q. Why does my car look scratched despite having it hand-washed regularly?
It is easy to mar the paint and put in finer or not-so-finer imperfections when washing. Actually there is a definite tech to washing the car and this job takes more time and care than car-washers are usually prepared to spend. Call me for further info on this if interested.
Q. Why does my RV (or boat) look dull again within a few weeks of being polished/waxed?
The gelcoat finishes are far more porous than a standard clear-coat paint system on a car, thus they experience a far higher rate of oxidation. So, if during the detail, all the oxidation is not removed prior to waxing, the remaining oxidation in the gelcoat will quickly absorb the wax on the surface and reappear chalky. Gelcoats are able to withstand greater compounding than clear-coats and more aggressive machine polishing is often indicated.
Q. Which products or brands are best for my car?
Paint systems vary in their characteristics between makes and also between similar models with different production dates. Some of the newer German cars, for instance, can have hard paints, particularly the ceramiclear paints with ceramic particles in them which make them very hard-wearing but a job-and-a-half to refine by polishing. On the other hand, I have detailed cars with paint so soft that I had to select certain top-quality microfiber finishing cloths that were the only cloths that would not mar the paint on contact. So each company's product has its pros and limitations and it more often boils down to expertise in combining products with machine types and buffing speeds and pressure and pads to attain the desired end result.