The term ‘car care’ is being searched online 26% more today than it was this time three years ago, and with almost 80,000 members on the ever popular Detailing World forum; those interested in correctly caring for their pride and joy is at an all-time high.
Problem is of course that with information in such an abundance across forums, social media and YouTube how do we know what to trust? Every car owner has experience of car care, and therefore an opinion on the subject. Such variety of processes, products and techniques coupled with every car owner’s personal experiences has resulted in millions of posts on forums and social media sites… a lot of advice to decipher (Colbeck, Steele and McLean, 2017).
Sometime around 11am on an idle Tuesday in May whilst struggling to fake enthusiasm at my financial services 9-5 I decided it was time to take car care more seriously. With a long-term interest in paint correction, surely I could pursue my hobby semi-professionally? Immediately I searched online for a company local to Belfast, Northern Ireland offering training services in machine polishing and proper technique – I couldn’t find anything.
Fast forward a few weeks and PMG Autocare were hosting a live Q&A session on their Facebook page with Marc Leddy of Polished & Waxed discussing their foundation car care course taking place in June 2017 – within 5 minutes I had my place booked and deposit paid.
The foundation day costs £45 per person and includes a free wash mitt along with lunch and refreshments, an absolute bargain!
The day kicks off at 10am and runs until about 4pm. There is a heavy emphasis on every participant getting hands-on experience with every product and machine available on the day. Due to this Marc and the team are happy for you to stay on past 4pm if you wish to ensure you’ve had a chance to try everything.
The foundation day is broken down in to 10 stages plus the time to get hands-on at the end:
- Damage and how it is caused – Marc and the team will take you around two or three cars available on the day discussing the condition of the their paintwork and identifying any issues, describing the cause of such damage and suggesting ways in which it can be improved upon or corrected.
- Pre-washing and it’s benefits – You will have a chance to test snow foam and a citrus based pre-wash. Marc will talk you through the process for applying each product whilst providing hints and tips to be more efficient when doing it yourself. At this stage you will get a chance to inspect many different wash mitts available on the market. For a long time I’ve been interested in purchasing an Adam’s Car Wash Pad and to my surprise, Marc had one available on the day! – a great example of just how many products are available for you to try during the day!
- Safe Washing – At this stage the two bucket method is explained in all its glory with the theory behind it described and illustrated with everyone crowded around a bucket. Suggestions for the best bucket and grit guard combinations will be offered along with a suggestion of what to avoid.
- Wheel and Tyre cleaning – these have far more of an effect on the overall finish of a car than most care to admit. Wheels and tyres are subjected to extreme heat and force, getting them clean isn’t always easy. At this stage in the day you will be introduced to an extensive range of tools and products which can help you achieve the optimum finish. Marc and the team will answer any questions you might have along with suggesting processes and methods.
- Decontamination – This was perhaps this stage I was most looking forward to, with so much information available online you can be forgiven for being confused about different processes and methods. Marc and the team will take you through the entire decontamination process starting with your chemicals and the correct order in which to use them. Plenty of different brands are on-hand so you can see how each brand works next to it’s competitors. Finally you will get a chance to get hands-on with a clay bar yourself.
- Safe Drying – After the wash process is complete and the car is theoretically clean, you learn how to dry a car in such a way that avoids any further marring by using an incorrect method or product. As with the wash mitts, Marc has an extensive selection of drying towels available on the day for you to play around with whilst he goes in to detail about what to look out for when purchasing your very own towel!
- Rubber and Trim dressing – Cleaning and protecting these surfaces is again essential to achieving the optimum finish you are chasing. The foundation car care day provides a great insight in to why these surfaces can not be treated with one single approach. Marc will use various cars available on the day to describe how each surface needs individual attention and will demonstrate various different products from different brands whilst answering any questions and expelling any myths.
- Glass Cleaning and Repellents – I had never even thought of applying any form of glass sealant let alone applied one before I watched Marc apply Soft99 Ultra Glaco with ease whilst explaining the technology behind it and how it would make window wipers redundant if applied correctly. There were at least 2 or 3 similar products available on the day, one being Angelwax h2go, something I ordered online before I even got home. It was at stages like this when the penny drops and the value of the day becomes obvious, something which happened at least 4 or 5 times throughout the day.
- Introduction to polishing – Now that everyone is up to speed on the washing, decontamination and safe drying stages it was in to the nitty gritty content of the day; an introduction to polishing. With Marc providing some fantastic insight in to what polishing involves along with some advice on what not to do, each of the course participants including myself stood like a group of excited school kids, eager to get hands-on with the 15 or 16 different polishing machines available. At this stage I was incredibly surprised about just how much information was being shared with us on a foundation day. I already knew that I was going to book a spot on the more advanced day.
- Polishing machines and their differences – I can’t think of anywhere else whereby you could try as many different machines, both DA and rotary from different brands, different throw lengths, different pad combinations under the supervision of a professional. Whilst I had already purchased my own DA and pads, for someone unsure about what they need, this is a unbelievable opportunity to try everything on an actual panel! Every participant was encouraged to use each machine, each pad and each compound/polish whilst getting constant feedback on technique from Marc.
With the day drawing to a close, I was trying to make notes on some of the information being shared with us, knowing that as soon as I walk out that door, due to the sheer amount of information, I’d forget half of it. Marc will re-assure you that his advice doesn’t end when you walk away at the end of the day, you are encouraged to message him as and when you have any queries or need any advice and a feedback form is handed around about 3.30pm, a sign he is truly dedicated to providing you with the best learning experience possible.
For £45, this is perhaps the very definition of money well spent. Whether you’re interested in learning how to appropriately care for your own car or considering the profession, attending a day like this is a fantastic experience. Having already booked my spot in the next advanced detailing day on 6th August 2017, a review will most certainly follow.