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FAQs, Hints & Tips


[Q] What is the difference between buffing, polishing and waxing?
[A ] Buffing and polishing are the same. They are either done by hand or with a hi-speed buffer. Buffing removes oxidation, scratches, light paint overspray, and brings out the shine in your paint or fiberglass to make it look like new again.

Wax is used as a final step in protecting your finish, and to seal in the shine. A polymer or other type of sealer could also be used after the wax for even further protection.

[Q] How often should I Detail or wax my car, boat, RV etc.?
[A] Most manufacturers of quality waxes say their wax is good for at least 6 months; but this is dependent upon how often it's exposed to the sun's UV rays and soaps...especially heavy duty or detergent soap. NEVER wash your vehicle with dish soap, laundry soap or any other soap other than a "wash-n-wax" type soap. You'll strip off your wax and leave a dull film...then you'll need to see ME again to straighten it out. Save yourself some pain and use a small amount of mild soap and a synthetic chamois to dry it with. You'll thank me for this advice later.

Even though 6 months is the estimated life span for most wax, why wait until your wax is completely gone before it's reapplied? I reccommend a good wash & wax every 3 months for most cars, sooner for dark colored cars and less frequently for cars that are garaged and seldom driven.

Re-Detail your car, boat, RV etc. whenever you think it needs it. Some people do it every six months, some do it every 2 years. It's all up to you and what YOU want and need. I reccommend once a year if you don't keep up on the wax, less frequent if you do, and every six months if you REALLY like your stuff clean!

[Q] What is oxidation,pollution, fallout, and overspray?
[A] Oxidation is your car's paint or your boat's fiberglass that 's been damaged by the sun and/or detergent soaps to name just a couple of causes.

Industrial fallout, pollution and rail dust are all much the same in varying combinations. You'll see them and feel them as little brown, black, and orange specks on your paint. We remove them with Oxalic Acid and/or a special type of clay that was developed for the removal of pollution and paint overspray from cars. Paint overspray as you've probably guessed by now, is when your car gets sprayed with paint as someone is spray painting nearby. Don't panic...Lightning Detail is here!

[Q] Chamois or towels to dry a car?
[A] A good synthetic chamois is ALWAYS better than using a towel to dry your car. Towels leave fine, fine scratches on your car no matter how soft they are. A nice synthetic chamois will last you for years and can be tossed in the washer with a VERY SMALL amount of soap and kept damp in a plastic bag. NEVER touch a dry chamois or a dry towel to any car...especially a dark colored car. I'd even go so far as to tell you to bring your chamois to the carwash and have them use it instead of those towels that have been used and re-used on a dozen different cars that day. Note: a brand new chamois will grip your car and be quite difficult to use until broken in. Wash it a couple times, and then use it. It'll pay off in the end!



Horror Stories

A few years back, my crew and I went to Newport Harbor to Detail a 26' Skipjack for Fullerton's Chief of Police. One of my crewmembers recognized a guy working on a 36' boat nearby, as a liquor store clerk in nearby Costa Mesa. When asked, "Hey, Jose, how long have you been Detailing boats?" Jose replied, "only 10 days now." His co-worker gave the same reply. They were both wearing 'Superclean Yacht Service' shirts.

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I got a call from a couple who owned a white Toyota pickup truck. The husband had noticed an increasing amount of brown, orange and black dots on his truck (pollution,acid rain, industrial fallout), and had taken a green nylon kitchen scrub pad to them. I almost fainted when I saw the many, many areas of scratches on his hood and roof of their fairly new truck. Yes, I compounded, buffed, and waxed them all out...but please, NEVER use anything rougher than a 'bug sponge' on your vehicle!

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The owner of a plant, flower and shrub nursery called me to clean the engine of his 1999 Class C motorhome. Seems like rats had gotten into his engine compartment and nested. Not only that, but they peed and pooped all over his engine and chewed on his wiring under the hood, too! I had to completely cover his driver compartment with masking tape and plastic sheeting,and go to town with a pressure washer from inside the RV as well as from under the hood. An hour or so later, all traces of rats and their mess was gone. We came back the following day to Detail the exterior of the RV, and the owner has since placed MANY rat traps around where his coach is parked; particularly around the engine. Problem solved.

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Years ago, my crew and I Detailed a really nice 38' sportfishing boat in Dana Point Harbor. He was sooo happy with our service that he told his surrounding boater friends about us. One of them promptly hired us to Detail his 36' boat two weeks later, and another had us do his a couple weeks after him. When we arrived at the boat at 7am, the first boater with the 38 footer was complaining that our wax job hadn't held up very well; water wasn't beading up on it, and it was looking a little dull already. I asked him what he used to wash it down with, and he stated that he and his 'wash down service' guys had been using dish soap mixed with Pine Sol in a bucket of water to get all the fish guts and blood off his boat. Suuuuure, it works great...but there went his almost $700. boat Detail, right down the drain. I just can't stress enough how important it is to use a mild, 'Wash - N - Wax' type soap on your boat that won't strip your wax and leave a dull film!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep it waxed every 3 months, and Detail it at least once a year.

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Another example of this comes from a former next door neighbor of mine. She had a nice, new black Toyota MR2 and washed it with Spick 'n Span powdered detergent. Suuure her car was filthy because she hadn't washed it in a month or so. She figured she'd wash it with some heavy duty soap to get it good and clean FAST! Problem was, that the whole black car now had a white film on it, and the car looked a cloudy shade of milky gray/white. I can't even tell you what a nightmare it was to get that car back to looking new. Theresa, I still think I shoulda spanked you for that one!!

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Folks, I often think I've seen it ALL. But just when I think that I have, another nightmare problem presents itself. After I recover from the shock, I really do welcome the challenge to solve the puzzle. I have found some amazing solutions to seemingly impossible problems on your cars, trucks, boats and RV's and have often surprized myself with the results. If you come away with anything at all from this website, I hope you'll have complete confidence in my ability to solve your problems properly, and with a smile...especially when I'm finished and you're happy!

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Lightning Detail service van. Coming your way soon!!

We detailed this car that came from some sort of a ride at Disneyland so they could auction it off. We service Disney every two weeks like clockwork. It's a nice gig

Yes, we detail golf carts...they need love, too!
Naaah, we didn't detail this one...but I love this bus!! You'll always see me in person with at least one of my best assistants.