THE FINAL TOUCH
Lately, I've been asked the proverbial question of "How do you do it?" with regard to staging a vehicle prior to delivery. With so many different intricacies and manufacturers introducing more and more embellishments to their body styles, I find that it's obligatory for me to stay ahead of the curve by studying the designs of various auto manufacturers. By using this method, I'm able to target areas that will invariably require a certain level of finesse and patience. Below you'll find a few templates showcasing this very topic, along with techniques that are ancillary to the final presentation of any project. Below you'll find a list of products that ensure the highest level of curb appeal when dealing with areas that seal the deal.
Depending on the frills that accompany any modern grille design, it's important to note that there are small tools that help facilitate the "final touch" process. Some of these tools include detailing sticks, ultra-fine paintbrushes, soft-bristled toothbrushes, and other varieties that are akin to the detailing of grilles.
I always emphasize the use of a delicate hand purely because newer designs are often accompanied with lighter materials, thus making the margin for error much smaller because some designs have the potential of breaking if handled improperly.
No, I'm not talking about the t-shirt that was on sale during Black Friday. On the other hand, I can't turn down an attractive bargain. The term alone should be somewhat self-explanatory, but "gaps" are simply those inconspicuous areas that rest in between body panels.
In a lot of ways, these areas can be handled with the use of a dedicated steamer (along with a single spray attachment) a thin microfiber towel, an air compressor, or in the rarest of cases I'll employ the use of foam-tip swabs for hard-to-reach areas. Often times, my clients will come in with a vehicle that they had recently purchased from the dealership only to realize that the vehicle had been riddled with remnants of wax prior to delivery. I refer to these areas as the "white streaks of death", but I digress.
3. Window Trim
Just like a snowflake, each manufacturer has its own unique design and overall structure to window trim. With this in mind, I find that the best practice is to avoid using microfiber towels in these areas simply because the outer trim piece is accompanied with thin rubber trim that can easily mar or scratch. Over time, these areas can show significant wear and tear if handled improperly.
Therefore, it's best to reduce your toolbox to either a spray bottle of distilled water and the proper dilution ratio of your favorite all purpose cleaner, along with your most delicate brush. In many cases, an air compressor has the potential of distributing too much pressure to the effected area, whereby leaving residual splatter left from compounding, waxing, or a facsimile thereof. In addition to these techniques, be sure to apply light pressure to the outer trim, because while it may appear to look like pure aluminum, many trim comes in a plated form, so proceed with caution.
4. Windshield Cowls
If there's an area of a vehicle that serves as a dumping ground for residual product, windshield cowls would come out on top. As a preventative measure, I consider it to be standard operating procedure to mask off this area prior to any paint correction or application of any other product. Invariably, you may be faced with residual dust and other unwanted debris landing on your cowl.
Much like the vents within the cabin, you'll most like have vent pieces that require the same amount of attention. If this is the case, you may want to consider utilizing a "detailing stick" to remove any loose twigs, leaves, or any other foreign matter within these particular areas. To finish, simply take a rubber-tipped air gun and direct air pressure from one side to another in one fluid sweeping motion.
5. Door Jambs/Door Hinges
As a detailing technician, my eyes are drawn to every conceivable area of a vehicle. With this unhealthy obsession, I like to showcase a level of creativity because I'm always of the opinion that there are better ways to improve overall efficiency. When handling door jambs and hinges, I like to think of objects that are soft and malleable, while still delivering effective cleaning power.
While a variety of brushes may reach a majority of areas surrounding the door jamb, there's always that murky area that no other brush can reach, which is why a foam-tipped toilet brush is ideal for reaching into crevices that you otherwise couldn't reach with a traditional brush. While your trusted all purpose cleaner is recommended, I've often found that these areas require a little heavier ammunition, in which case it may be necessary to whip out a degreaser mixed at a weaker dilution ratio.
Tools and Products
Toilet Bowl Brush