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Preferred Tools of the Car Detailing Trade

Aug 17, 2007
Your tools and equipment are critical to your success. You need to know the reasons why certain tools are preferred over others.

There are two main buffer types that a detailer will use: an orbital buffer and a high-speed rotary buffer. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, weights, colors and speeds.

The Orbital Polisher

This essential detailing tool was made to eliminate swirl marks, mars, or burns from being put into the paint by the common use of speed, heat, and friction. This is associated with the rotary action buffers.

The orbital concept came from the success of the classic floor polisher, which is used to bring up a high gloss shine on marble or wood flooring. The orbital polisher does not leaving swirl marks.
The orbital polisher is very effective. It creates an oscillating effect; produces zero rpms and recreates the motion of hand waxing at 1700 oscillations per minute.

The Orbital Polisher:

* Leaves no swirl marks
* Does not require the use of glazes
* Provides consistent results.

The High Speed Rotary Polisher:

* Best choice for auto body shop to strip/prepare vehicle for new paint job
* Best for heavy duty compounding
* Is lighter in weight
* Offers variable speed options.

Both types of detailing polishers provide specific advantages when used appropriately according to the customer's need.

Skill Level in Polishing

Using the high-speed rotary requires considerable skill learned over time and experience. A beginning detailer who is still learning would not be able to manage this highly skilled machine. Furthermore, they could do considerable damage to a customer's car.

The orbital polisher, on the other hand, is perfectly safe to use for all skill levels of detailers. The orbital is weighty, but it also exacts a deeper, more brilliant shine. If you find the weight an issue you can also buy a plastic model.

Brush motors can burn out quickly with regular use, while the ball bearing capacitor motors (no brushes, no gears) won't.

The orbital polisher works great for maintenance once the car has been stripped, repainted, and compounded.

To convert your high speed and avoid the need for glazes, buy an orbital adapter kit. These will screw into top of any high speed.

Extractor Machine

A professional detail shop will use an extractor machine.

You will not exact the same results by performing an interior detail by hand with a bucket, brush, and wet/dry vacuum.

A good quality extraction machine supplies the heat, water pressure, and vacuum lift and does a professional job that delights the customer's expectations.

Using an extractor, the customer is guaranteed a professional job every time!

Investing in an Extractor

Buy the best! You will receive back years of solid performance when you spend a little bit more.

A local distributor should offer better pricing than direct factory pricing in most cases. You also benefit from help with training and support.

You are more likely to be able to order parts for immediate repair so the machine won't need to be shipped out to be repaired.

Features

Heat provides maximum performance of the extractor as well as the chemicals used.

The temperature of approximately 185 degrees works best. Too much heat could destroy carpet fibers and warp rubber backing.

Heat Sources

In-line Heaters

You don't need to warm up or preheat cleaning solution. Produces vibrant heat immediately.

You must use two power cords due to the high amperage draw. You may need to plug into two separate shop circuits. This can be inconvenient if one power cord goes in one direction and the other goes across the shop to an independent circuit.

In-tank Heaters

Turn on the machine to preheat the cleaning solution.

Once the machine is warm and if it has a stainless steel tank it will work fine throughout the day. Use the preheat setting between details.

In-tank heaters draw less power and require only one cord to operate.

Using Chemicals

Extractors use fewer chemicals than manual cleaning.

Using a spray bottle, spot spray grease or heavy traffic areas for best results. Avoid putting a more aggressive cleaner through the extractor pump.

Clean your pump with a 3:1 solution of white vinegar and water. Run this through the machine once a month. This will keep your machine in prime condition and it will perform expertly.

Highly Efficient

Your extractor machine easily replaces cleaning by hand with a bucket and brush. You are much more efficient using this method of cleaning.

Extractor Cleaning Instructions

To begin, vacuum the interior and remove all debris. No need to get the small, lint type dirt, as the extractor removes all of the smaller, lint type particles as well as the really deep dirt.

Spray the cleaning solution throughout the area to be cleaned. Use a pre-spotter with heavy soiled stains and allow this solution to penetrate well.

Go for a small, short bristled brush to help dislodge the toughest stains and ground in dirt. Use the solution/vac to remove the dirt.

You will find that drying time is quicker using this method compared to hand vacuuming.

To make your time more efficient, use the various styles of tools available. They are made of both stainless steel and plastic.

The standard upholstery wand is used more than any other is. Use it to clean some 95% of the work on your average customer's car interior.
Use the crevice tool to clean in between seats and areas that cannot be reached with the standard upholstery tool.

The floor wand is a detailer's preferred tool. Use it for vans and in your showroom. Some shops take their show on the road using this tool and clean carpets in restaurants, offices, and other venues.
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