Top 5 "New Car Owner" Recommendations
1. Paint Protection Film (Clear Bra)
While some people like to build suspense by “saving the best for last”, I figured I’d start out with one of the most important things first. In Arizona, where rock chips are life, you should strongly consider PPF (paint protection film) before you go on any road trips or freeway drives.
Whether you track it, show it or drive it daily – paint protection film will help prevent damage from rocks, road debris and other blunt force hits. Combined with a self healing top coat and a 10 year warranty (in the case of Suntek Ultra and Xpel Ultimate) – it is the best way to make sure your finish is protected from the damage it faces everyday.
Over the last several years, PPF has become more durable and less visible, which allows you to enjoy the satisfaction of having your baby protected without having to compromise the look of your new car.
When hunting for a quality film installer – remember the Three R’s:
Research, Reviews and Referrals.
At the very least, be sure to find out the type of film they’re using , ask if they will be hand cutting or plot cutting the material (tight areas like bumpers are best cut by a plotter due to their intricacy) and how many years of experience the installer has.
2. Nano-Ceramic Paint Coating
When protecting your vehicle – the question is often asked – “What exactly am I protecting my vehicle from, it’s new!” The answer to this question comes in two parts; the first we covered above (protecting from rock chips and other blunt force hits), the second is environmental damage. Things such as UV rays (especially in Arizona), bird droppings, bug etchings and chemicals from cleaning will etch, stain and fade your paint, eventually causing it to fail.
Things to consider when choosing a paint coating (and potentially a coating installer) include:
1. Reviews and history of the coating (has it been tried and tested or did it just come out last week?)
2. What the coating manufacturer says it will protect against? Remember, a nano-ceramic coating is meant to provide protection from environmental threats. Some companies list unrealistic promises (such as protection against things like screwdrivers, fire and comparable blunt force hit protection that clear bra provides). Ceramic coatings were not designed to protect from these types of things – but they can provide excellent protection from things that you will encounter, like the sun.
3. What is the history of the detailer you’re hiring to apply the coating? Just like the history of the product is important, the history of the company installing the product is equally (if not more so) important. Also keep in mind that a true detailer will make sure your paint is in excellent condition prior to any coating application. You don’t want to lock in a sub-par finish with a semi-permanent coating. Proper paint prep is the key prior to the installation of a coating.
We all know that a sweet tint job to your new ride can really make a huge difference in how it looks. However, there are three key practical functions achieved from window tinting aside from a super sleek look.
1. First and foremost, protection from UVA/UVB rays. In Arizona especially, skin cancer is a major concern. A quality tint will filter out over 99% of these at least help keep you safe while you’re stuck in your car during a hot July day. In my opinion, this is a must if you have children riding in the back seat. This won’t make rush hour any less agonizing to drive in, but it will help protect you from harmful UV rays.
2. Privacy. If you don’t like the idea of just anybody seeing what’s on the inside of your car when left unattended (phone, laptop, purse etc), then you’ll likely not want to leave your windows un-tinted and 100% transparent.
3. Last but not least, comfort! Tinting your windows will keep the inside of your vehicle much cooler and more comfortable. This isn’t just good for you, its also good for your electronics and interior upholstery such as leather seats.
What does it mean exactly to “properly” maintain your vehicles exterior? Well, the most common type of damage we run into is usually from the owner actually trying to take care of their car. Quite the paradox isn’t it?
Unfortunately, things such as automatic car washes, improperly trained employees at hand washes or even owners who take the DIY route but haven’t learned the correct way to wash their car, do often times cause harm to their vehicles finish.
Brushes, harsh chemicals, hard water and poor technique all attribute to a vehicle becoming more “aged” in appearance as well as causing irreversible damage in extreme cases (such as stained wheels or paint and eventually thinned out or failing clear coat). Doing hand washes with proper technique and quality produces really does make a night and day difference as to how your vehicle will look down the road. While the paint swirls in the above photo were repairable - it is still better to prevent them as much as possible from the beginning.
Our doors, phone and email are always open to those wanting to learn how to best care for their car. While the full details on how to do this will require an article all of it’s own (which I will post soon), know that “clean” doesn’t always mean, “correct.” If you don’t believe me, next time you take a shower use some steel wool! You’ll be clean, but you won’t be very comfortable!
after receiving CQuartz Finest and Suntek Paint Protection Film
Car Maintenance Workshop - Summer of 2016
5. The Right Car Care Provider
Before you bought your new car, you likely did some sort of research on it. While some of us take pre-purchase research to a different extreme than others, the point still stands that simply because your car came with wheels, an engine and a steering wheel – you never believed all cars were created equal (I think most of us remember the Daewoo!)
The same holds true for a professional Detailer. Just because Bob has a bucket, and a sponge and a flyer that says “Detailer”…. it doesn’t mean he is in fact qualified to touch your car.
Things to consider:
1. Are they licensed (yes, detailers are required to have a business license).
2. Are they insured (accidents do happen and chances are the guy charging $75 on craigslist can’t afford to fix your new Mercedes if something were to happen.)
3. Are they experienced? Once again we go back to the 3 R’s (no not reading, writing and arithmetic) - reviews, research and referrals.
I tell all of my potential clients that I can speak highly of myself all day (ok that sounds a little egotistical but just go with me here!) However, you’re more likely to trust the feedback of several people who have a completely unbiased opinion and have paid their hard earned money for a company’s service. We not only welcome, but also encourage questions from anyone who walks through our door. This not only gives piece of mind to anyone willing to trust us with their car – it also greatly increases the likelihood that an individual will be able to enjoy the work we performed on their car for a longer period of time.
I hope that these Top 5 New Car Owner Recommendations helped and hopefully sparked a bit of thought as to some things to consider for your vehicle. I’ve always loved the quote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Basically, it’s a lot easier to take care of something from the beginning rather than neglect it and have to fix it later on down the road.
If you enjoyed this – please share it with a fellow car lover in your life and feel free to contact us or comment with any feedback or questions you may have.
Owner - Windows and Wheels Auto Detailing