March 28th, 2013
The main thing to consider when you have a strong odor in your automobile is the source of the foul smell. There could be a number of things that would cause your daily communte to be anything but pleasant. From smoke to spill, mold to your child’s vomit, there are ways to renew your automobile’s condition once again.
If there is a spill in your car, it is very important that you have it cleaned immediately. There are a few reasons why quick action are important. The first, the quicker the stain is removed, the less likely they will leave a stain behind on the surface. Second, if it is removed fast enough, you may be able to avoid something from spoiling in the heat or from sitting too long, thus causing an odor and making the process of removal very difficult. Sometimes, riding of the smell will be enough to take the odor along with it.
To remove from carpet, always blot the spill first. soak up as much of the liquid as possible before attempting to use chemicals of any sort. Blot until you can no longer pick up a significant amount of the spill onto your cloth rag. Once the spill has been soaked up, then it is time to use a solution of your choice. We suggest for easier to remove stains, just Dawn Soap and water. For tougher stains you may want to use a multi-purpose cleaner (being very careful not to apply directly onto the carpet, it may dye the carpet). Our SharpShine Eco Detailer is a fantastic product to use. It’s safe, and will not cause damage to the surface, you can spray directly on the spill. Once a solution is applied to the spill, work it in and re-apply until there are little or no remains from the spill. Let dry completely to avoid mildew.
This is an embarrassing one for most. Having either pets, small children or someone who has a less that happy stomach, can cause all sorts of problems for the interior of your vehicle. We have seen it all, a sick animal who couldn’t control their bowels, to a child who had too many sweets before the drive home and threw up all over the back seat. Either way, these mishaps are extremely time sensitive. If you can’t have someone remove the waste immediately, then this is the time where you may need to dig in and get your gloves dirty!
The same process for spills maybe used, and use of an anti-bacterial agent as well.
Mildew & Smoke
If you find that you have acquired mildew from damp carpet, water damage, etc., there is still hope. The same applies with wanting to rid of that awful smoke smell. The answer: Ozone Odor Removal. Ozone may be used after the previous spills and stains as well, if cleaning them doesn’t take the odor with it.
Here’s How It Works:
What is ozone? It’s a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms. Oxygen molecules in the air we breathe are made up of two oxygen atoms, so ozone is like super charged oxygen. It’s more unstable than oxygen and interacts more with other molecules., which is why it can be a respiratory irritant in too high of concentrations.
As oxygen oxidizes or “burns up” carbon products like coal or oil, ozone oxidizes or “burns up” carbon-based odor molecules. So ozone treatments result in odor elimination, not just odor masking. Because it’s so unstable it reverts back to simple oxygen molecules quickly after the ozone generator is turned off, making the place habitable again within hours.
BEWARE OF ODOR REMOVAL “BOMBS”
Some local car washes or detailers may offer something similar to an odor removal ”bomb.” This is just a fancy way of saying they will infuse your vehicle with air freshener to mask the heavy odor. This will not remove the bacteria that is causing the foul smell. If you want to have the odor completely removed, the best process would be to use Ozone to neutralize the particles.
Written By: Drea Segura
March 25th, 2013
There are several reasons to wash your engine at least every 6 months to a year. A clean engine will run cooler than a dirty one. You’ll be more apt to tackle routine belt and hose checks and the like if you know you won’t get covered with grime every time you do so. A clean engine will also make it much easier to spot leaks and to service components. Remember to protect sensitive engine components — including the air intake, distributor, and electrical parts — with plastic bags before getting started. Use dishwashing liquid or other grease-cutting detergents and a bristle brush to scrub engine and components surfaces. Rinse thoroughly. Heavy-duty engine cleaning products are available at automotive parts stores. Follow the directions carefully. You may also have your engine professionally steam cleaned.
March 21st, 2013
The Ultimate Car Wash
The Ultimate Car Wash costs about 5,000 US dollars. The attention to detail AND the use of the absolute best products are the reason why this service can cost so much. The big questions is: Would you pay for this much attention to your precious auto?
March 18th, 2013
Leather cars seats are durable and don’t require a lot of maintenance. After a few years, however, the seats can become soiled. Use a leather cleaner to remove dirt and stains.Then apply a leather protectant formulated for pigmented or top-coated grain leather (the leather used for most leather car upholstery). Protectants will resist stains and make the upholstery easier to clean in the future. Choose a protectant that includes conditioners to keep your leather supple.
March 15th, 2013
Increases in gas and tires drive up average costs for sedans to $8,946 yearly, 59.6 cents per mile; SUV costs up to $11,360 yearly, 75.7 cents per mile
ORLANDO,Fla., (April 27, 2012) – AAA released the results of its annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study today revealing a 1.9 percent rise in the yearly costs to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. The average costs rose 1.1 cents per mile to 59.6 cents per mile, or $8,946 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving.
“The average driving cost for 2012 is up due to relatively large increases in fuel and tire costs, and more moderate increases in other areas,” said John Nielsen, AAA director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Those increases were offset by a decrease in depreciation resulting in an overall increase of 1.9 percent.”
The findings of the 2012 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study include:
|Based on Driving 15,000 miles annually
|Cost Per Mile
|Cost Per Year
In-depth findings of this year’s study, including a breakdown of specific costs by category of vehicle and various annual mileages, are contained in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure which is available at select local AAA branch offices or may be downloaded here.
“Some driving costs fluctuate at different times during the year, such as what we have experienced with fuel prices since the middle of February,” explained Nielsen. “However, AAA’s use of a consistent methodology for its study allows an accurate comparison of driving costs from year to year, and the figures can reliably be used to compare different categories of vehicles.”
Nielsen continued, “AAA understands that high fuel prices are a real concern for consumers, and those in the market for a new vehicle may want to be cautious and determine projected operational costs based on varying levels of fuels costs. To assist consumers in determining their individual driving costs, the AAA ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure contains a worksheet that can be filled out and personalized for a specific area, driver and vehicle.
Fuel Costs Up 14.8 Percent
The cost of fuel had the largest percentage increase from 2011 to 2012, rising 14.8 percent to 14.2 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. The average cost of regular grade fuel (used by most of the study vehicles) rose 16.6 percent, from $2.880 to $3.357 per gallon. Several vehicles included in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ study had increases in fuel economy, resulting in the overall average fuel cost increase being slightly less. The fuel costs in the 2012 study were calculated using the national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline during the fourth quarter of 2011.
Tire Costs Up 4.2 Percent The cost of tires ranks second highest among the factors that rose from 2011 to 2012, increasing by 4.2 percent to one cent per mile on average for sedan owners. The rise in cost can be attributed to higher costs for natural rubber, and the increased cost of oil used in tire production and transportation from factory to distributors across the country. A collateral factor is a trend for manufactures to equip new cars with premium-grade tires rather than mid-grade tires.
Depreciation Drops 4.9 Percent
Depreciation costs were up slightly in 2011, but for 2012 the trend has reversed with depreciation falling across the board by nearly five percent.This change may be a consequence of reduced new car sales over the past few years, which has resulted in a relative shortage of good used cars on the market, driving up their value. This is good news for those in the resale market as their vehicles will retain a greater portion of their purchase cost.
Maintenance Costs Up 0.7 Percent
Maintenance costs are slightly higher in the 2012 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study with an increase of 0.7 percent to 4.47 cents per mile on average for sedans. Factors contributing to the increase include higher prices for oil and more manufacturers now requiring synthetic or synthetic-blend motor oils. Although the use of these oils often comes with extended service intervals, the higher cost of the oil combined with increased maintenance operations at each service (which adds to the time required) can combine to increase overall vehicle maintenance costs.
Insurance Costs Up 3.4 Percent
Average insurance costs for sedans rose 3.4 percent (or $33) to $1001 yearly. Insurance rates vary widely by driver and driving record, issuing company and geographical region. AAA insurance cost estimates are based on a low-risk driver with a clean driving record. For 2012, this group saw a small increase that offset a decrease experienced in 2011. Quotes from five AAA clubs and insurance companies representing seven states showed across the board increases for all sedan sizes, with large cars having the biggest increase.
62nd Year of ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study
AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs‘ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.
Driving Costs are also affected by how well your vehicle runs. Performing regular maintenance not only ensures fuel-efficient operation but can help prevent costly vehicle repairs that can add to your total ownership cost. For more information on ways to keep your vehicle in top condition read the owner’s manual and visit AAA.com for vehicle care information, automated maintenance reminders and repair facility locator tools.
The ‘Your Driving Costs’ study analyzes the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. Variable operating costs considered in the study include fuel, maintenance and tires. Fuel costs are based on $3.357 per gallon (average price of gas for October 2011-December 2011/AAA Fuel Gauge Report) and Environmental Protection Agency fuel-economy ratings weighted 60 percent city, 40 percent highway driving. Fixed ownership costs factored into the results include insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. These ownership costs are assumed to be on a purchase of a new vehicle, depreciated over five years. Finance charges are based on five year loan at six percent interest with a 10 percent down payment. Your actual operating costs may vary. Refer to page three of AAA’s 2012 ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure for a list of vehicles and assumptions used in the study.
To conduct its study, AAA’s auto buying and repair experts compiled detailed driving costs for small, medium, and large sedans. Driving costs in each category are based on the average costs for five top-selling models selected by AAA. By size category, they are:
- Small Sedan – Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla.
- Medium Sedan – Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.
- Large Sedan – Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon.
Though not part of the AAA composite average, SUV and minivan information is also included in ‘Your Driving Costs’ to help buyers estimate operating costs for these types of vehicles. Selected models include:
- SUVs – Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner.
- Minivans – Dodge Grand Caravan, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
March 12th, 2013
There are a number of services to think about when going for a full auto detail. It’s important to know what you are looking for, but if you are not sure or have never had a full detail done before, here are a couple of items to look for.
Paint Care The paint on your car is a very delicate thing, and most reputable detailing services with deal with it in a three step process that cleans, corrects and protects the paint surface. The cleaning step consists of properly washing and drying the car to remove any dirt and grime. Next comes clay bar application, which removes contaminants in the clear coat such as industrial fallout, metal particles, dirt and tar. Once this has been done, if needed, the paint will be polished to remove any swirl marks and fine scratches before being sealed via waxing to protect the paint and help it to shine.
Wheelse and Chassis The undercarriage and chassis of your car should be cleaned along with the rest of the exterior. This not only includes directly under the car, but also inside the wheel wells and around the major suspension components such as anti roll bars and control arms. The plastic splash guards and inner fender liners should be dressed with a plastic protectant, and wheels and tires should be washed thoroughly before being dressed in a protectant that improves their luster and protects from corrosion and cracking.
Headlights, Taillights and Exterior Trim Many detailing services will apply a polishing compound to headlights and taillights showing signs of oxidation, but properly sealing them after wards with a plastic sealant is an important step. Chrome trim should be cleaned, and any vinyl or plastic trim should be dressed with a protectant to help them resist cracking and fading. In addition to plastics and rubbers, many detailing services also clean the chrome or polished exhaust tips as part of their service.
Interior Detailing Interior detailing should at minimum include a cleaning of all carpeting and seating surfaces. This is done either by shampooing or by using a steam cleaner. In addition, all plastics and vinyl should be properly cleaned and dressed, and any leather should be conditioned and cleaned. This is not limited to the passenger area, and many thorough services will also include the trunk area in the detailing package.
Engine Bay While many detailing services may not include this in their standard packages, it is a very important aspect of automotive detailing. The engine bay should be lightly misted with water, and then cleaned with a suitable degreaser before being rinsed clean. Once properly dried, all silicone, plastic and rubber components should be properly dressed to protect them from cracking.
Cost For Detailing A standard car detailing service should range in cost between $50 and $150 depending upon your location, the type of vehicle you drive and the quality of services being offered by the company or individual. Larger vehicles such as SUV’s and vans typically cost more, as does an upgraded package consisting of even more attention to detail. You can expect to pay additional fees for the highest quality shampoos and cleaning products, the use of special equipment, superior waxing, steam cleaning or shampoo of interior carpets and cleaning of leather upholstery. You may want to take advantage of additional services including engine cleaning, dent removal or wheel detailing.
March 4th, 2013
For many, running the car through the drive through was seems, easy, fast and convenient. But lets take a deeper look at the importance of a 100% hand wash.
There are a few factors to keep in mind when it comes time to wash your auto. The first being, when was the last time you had a wax or acrylic application to the surface? It is always recommended to keep a protective coat on your paints surface, that is reapplied every 3-6 months. If you have had a proper wax application, then it is important to use a wash and wax car shampoo. Using dish soap or other harsh detergents can strip away any protection on your plaints surface, causing a dull appearance, and eventually breaking down the clear coat on your surface. Cracking, peeling, and rust are all results of the breakdown of your autos clear coat. The only way to fix these common issues, is repainting! It can be avoided with proper care.
Second, nothing should touch your auto that is not clean and soft! Sounds simple enough, right? Running your car or truck through an automatic car wash does not guarantee this. The automatic brushes carry dirt and grim from previous cars, leaving micro scratches and dulling your paint surface. Again, this is something that can cause damage that will cost you to fix down the road.
Last, there is no better way to make sure something is clean that to inspect it inch by inch. A proper hand wash will include a closer inspection that most car washes over look. It is also important to fully dry your auto before driving off. Water spots that sit long enough, especially in this Arizona heat, can become etched in your clear coat, only to be removed from polishing. Again, another unnecessary expense!
There is a lot more that goes into maintaining your investment than most people realize. It is to your benefit to be sure that your auto is being washed 100% by hand, with the proper supplies and products. Overlooking the importance of a hand wash can end up costing your 3 to 4 times as much down the road! Make the commitment to be selective with what and who touches your precious car or truck.
March 1st, 2013
Use Non-Acid-Based Tire Cleaners
Pros use specially mixed acid solutions to clean dirty tires and to strip residue from new tires, as well as to get stubborn brake dust off wheels. But weekend DIYers should use a nonacid product. Acid-based cleaners can cause bare alloy wheels to oxidize and pit, and they can damage wheels painted with color or clear coatings.
Use a degreaser on wheels, but avoid detergents because they can damage paint if splashed. Again, remember to go in the correct order: Wheels and tires should be cleaned before you clean and protect your car’s paint.
Our SharpShine Eco Detailer is perfect for your wheels!
February 25th, 2013
Something very simple, but will make a huge impact on the appearance of your vehicle…your windows! If you are like us, you can’t stand to drive your car or truck around town with streaky windows. Here is a quick and simple process that will leave your windows spotless!
1. In a small bucket, fill about 1/3 with lukewarm water.
2. Add 3-4 drops of Dawn dish soap
3. With a microfiber towel, mix the water and dawn soap
4. Wring out towel, and clean the inside and outside of each window (rinsing and wringing out towel often)
5. Once you have wiped each window, dry completely with another dry microfiber towel
The Dawn dish soap will break down the film on your windows, leaving a spotless finish! If you feel the need, you may follow up with your regular window cleaner. Spray cleaner onto a dry microfiber towel, and work your way from the outside perimeter of the window, in.
*Make sure not to over saturate your towel with window cleaner!
*Always fold your microfiber towel into quarters
February 21st, 2013
WASH – CLEAN – PERFECT – PROTECT -MAINTAIN!
Step 1 – Washing Your New Car
Wash – Thoroughly wash your car to remove loose dirt and grime.
The first thing you need to know is that the car washing procedure is the number one cause of swirl marks! Don’t worry, this can be avoided by using high a quality car wash shampoo, wash mitt and microfiber drying towels. Using two buckets – one for your car wash solution and the other for rinsing your mitt is also very helpful when it comes to avoiding swirl.
Step 2 – Claying Your New Car
Clean – Clean your paint with detailing clay to remove bonded surface contamination that is stuck to the paint and is not removed with normal washing.
Many people think that a new car does not need to be clayed. This is not necessarily true! Contamination doesn’t care if your car is old or new. Even though your car is new it has been subjected to many types environments. Your car started at the factory, sat on a lot waiting for transport via ship, train or truck or a combination of transports, then it may have sat on the lot waiting to be bought for who knows how long. During this time, who knows what was floating around the air on the long journey between the factory and your driveway?
Claying your car with a detail clay is not a substitute for polishing your paint, it is a process to be done prior to the polishing process to remove surface contaminants that make your paint rough. When your paint is rough, dirt and grime tend to stick and build up creating even more problems. The simple task of claying will remove the contamination and prepare your car for the polishing and protecting steps.
Step 3 – Polishing Your New Car
Polish – Remove defects in your paint, staining and enhance overall shine.
More than likely if your car is new you won’t need to remove defects unless your car has been on the lot for a while and been stricken with that dreaded swirl from poor washing procedures by the dealership. This can also be created by dealership detailers who use machine polishers incorrectly.
If your paint is free of defects you will still want to use a pre-wax cleaner like the Ultima Paint Prep Plus to enhance the shine and prepare your paint for your paint protectant, sealant or wax. This can safely and easily be done by hand or machine.
Step 4 – Protecting Your New Car
Protect – Protect the paint surface from harsh environmental elements and prevent premature aging with a car wax, paint protectant or paint sealant.
Many new car owners look at the clearcoat as a protective layer that shields their car against harm. This is simply not true. The clearcoat is a tough clear paint that is there to protect your color coat and add depth in shine. It is not a super high tech protectant, it is just clear paint and needs to be protected just like the older single stage paints.
Car waxes, paint protectants and paint sealants all fall into the same “paint protection category”. Although some do a better job than others, they all protect against and help prevent premature deterioration caused by the onset of oxidation. With modern technology, a car wax would be “old school” and be less protective than the more advanced paint sealants.
Step 5 – Maintaining Your New Car
Maintain – Maintain your paint with normal washing and quick detailing in between washing.
Quick detailers are also known as waterless wash and are commonly used by detailers and car enthusiasts to put the finishing touch on a freshly detailed vehicle. Quick detailers quickly and easily remove fresh water spots, streaks, dust and other light contamination. It is also a good idea to keep one with you for those dreaded bird bombs for a quick cleanup to avoid permanent damage.
Quick Detail Sprays are a special formulation that evaporate quickly to prevent further spotting, lubricate to prevent scratching and contain gloss enhancers to refresh your just waxed shine. For the car enthusiast, a quick detailer is more than just a convenient time saver, it is a necessity when it comes to keeping your finish looking great.