As a former detailer, and someone who had eventually franchised my detailing business around the country, there is one thing that I have always said; a good solid car detail always starts with an excellent wash. That is to say that if you wash the car perfectly the rest of the detail goes quite efficiently and smoothly. You don’t have to fix all your mistakes such as smudge marks, or places which have been missed. Not everyone agrees with this, some people believe that by the time you spend a couple of hours on a car, you will eventually get everything anyway.
Many detailers will rush through the washing part, and spend all of their time doing the more exotic techniques, using the finest products, along with their skill set to create a perfect car detail. I find this to be less than productive, problematic, and the wrong way to think about it from a philosophical perspective. Now then, I’d like to explain why I’m believe this, and also, tell you of some of the traps that auto detailers get into.
Some auto detailers like to use a dry wash product, and that might be fine, but it is my personal belief that the best car wash starts with a pressure washer, as it can get into the cracks and blowout debris. For instance, many cars have plastic vents and ribs on the panel where the windshield wipers are. Pine needles, dirt, and even bird crap gets lodged inside – having a pressure washer to blow all of that out, sure makes it a lot easier than trying to use a toothbrush between every rib of plastic on that elongated panel.
Now then, I’ve used both methods, and I’ve even detailed cars without using any water, or dry wash product. Yes, the final product was fine, but it took longer, and it wasn’t as perfect as it could have been had I used a pressure washer to start with, I doubt the customer could tell the difference, but I could. Okay so, I recommend no less than 1500 PSI and 2.4 gallons per minute. The best pressure washers I’ve found have been Honda pressure washers that are 5 hp, and using a general or a CAT pump.
Yes, there are many competing pressure washers, and several brand names, but if they do not have those components, they are not the ones that I would choose. There are lots of reasons for this such as reliability, noise, fuel economy, and steady pressure. Indeed I hope you will please consider this and my advice after nearly 30 years in the business prior to my retirement.