Ceramic Coatings: what they do and don’t do

Ceramic coatings are touted as being one of the greatest upgrades you can do for a vehicle’s paintwork. While we agree that an installation can certainly pimp your ride in a way no other paint protection product can, it’s important to understand its limitations.

Most suppliers will – quite naturally – extol the virtues of ceramic coating. However, while it can be an excellent decision in the right situation, it’s not suitable for all vehicles. At Radical Autoworks, we’re all about providing honest info to allow owners of prestige vehicles to make an informed decision about the best way to protect their precious ride’s façade…

All About Ceramic Coatings: the pros, the cons and everything in-between

While we don’t want to teach you to suck eggs, let’s quickly go over exactly what a ceramic coating is. As the name suggests, it contains microscopic elements of ceramic – known as nano-particles – that, when applied to a paintwork (or over a car wrap) bond seamlessly and invisibly to the surface below. The dries into a crystal-clear, rock-hard layer that accentuates the shades and colours beneath it, making the vehicle shine in a way that no amount of waxing or polishing can ever achieve.

The best quality coatings, such as those supplied by Gyeon Quartz will, if correctly applied, add a level of paint protection that lasts for many years.

Dispelling the Myths: the truth about what adding ceramic coating does

Done right, ceramic coating brings many attributes. However, it’s not a miracle product, so let’s get down to the nitty gritty and tell you what ceramic coating can’t achieve. After that, we’ll get to the fun bit and tell you why we think it’s a must-have upgrade for many of the coolest motors on the road today…

  • Ceramic coating doesn’t mean you never need to wash your car again. If only, we have to say. While it does make maintenance easier (more about that in a mo.), you are still going to have to get out the shampoo on occasion.
  • It can’t prevent all types of paintwork damage. Again, while it does an awesome job of paint protection, it can’t stop big stone chips, damage from automatic car washes or damage caused by that (insert description of your choice) who scrapes or scratches your parked car and doesn’t have the decency to leave a note with their contact details.
  • It can’t correct paintwork in poor condition. However, minor paint correction needs are part of the process of a great installation. Just be aware that if it’s not done correctly, the coating can exacerbate the look of any paint anomalies.
  • Ceramic coating won’t completely eradicate water spotting. Sure, it reduces it, but it can’t prevent it completely.

OK, so now we’ve told you what the stuff can’t do, let’s get down to the important facts about what it can!

·      Ceramic coatings for protection: One thing that’s awesome about the product is its protection against environmental and chemical damage. UV ray fade, bird strikes, acid rain… The product creates an excellent barrier against paintwork damage from these types of damage. 

·      Minor physical damage: General road debris, small particles and bugs will have a tough job getting through the best ceramic coating. 

·      It’s hydrophobic: This means that water and liquids are repelled away from the surface, beading and sliding away. While this doesn’t mean, as we mentioned above, that there’s no danger of water spotting, what it does mean is that your regular car maintenance will be dramatically reduced. Which leads us neatly onto…

·      It makes it a breeze to keep your car looking fab! Ceramic coating eliminates the need to wax. While you will still need to hand wash your pride and joy on occasion, the process will be reduced to the rinse-shampoo-rinse-dry sequence. Leaving you way more time to do what you should be doing – driving – instead of spending valuable cruising time waxing on, waxing off…

·      It also makes the paintwork shine like never before: The ceramic particles catch the light, causing it to refract at angles that bring a vibrancy and depth of colour like you’ve never seen before.

·      Great ceramic coatings increase a car’s value: This is because the factory paint remains in better condition for way longer than if it was unprotected. Selecting a top-of-the-range coating, such as the just released and warranty-backed Gyeon Infinite Base Type 1, is by far the best type of product to choose. Boasting superior protection, hydrophobicity and self-cleaning properties, it’s so select that it can only be installed by providers that the company has certified to do so (more on that coming soon… sshhhhhh).

But do be aware that the preparation of the vehicle is as crucial as the choice of coating and installation itself. Cleaning and clay barring goes without saying, as does meticulous paint correction. The coating should be applied in a semi-sterile environment at a regulated temperature, before being allowed to cure for well over 24 hours. 

This makes the choice of installer one of your most important considerations. Correctly applied ceramic coating will bring you all the advantages we’ve mentioned. But done badly? Well, let’s just say that it certainly won’t have the aesthetically pleasing and vehicle enhancing attributes that you hoped for. You can get cloudy patches, smudges and smears like wax that you didn’t quite polish off. The problem if its done wrong is, once it’s dried, it’s very hard to remove your mistake.

Ceramic Coatings: the key points (for those skim-readers amongst you)

So, there you have it. Ceramic coating can be a highly attractive option, as long as you understand its limitations.

  • You must choose a high-quality product and have it installed by an experienced professional
  • It can enhance the look and value of a car
  • It reduces washing and cleaning needs but doesn’t eliminate them entirely
  • It protects the factory paintwork to an extent but can’t prevent severe knocks and scrapes.
  • Provides excellent protection against environmental factors, including UV ray paint fade.
  • Creates a superior shine that can’t be achieved by other means.

It’s also worth mentioning that ceramic coating can be combined with PPF (or clear bra for our American cousins) f required. If you’re serious about beautiful paintwork, then the skilled Radical Autoworks team will be delighted to talk to you about your options. From PPF to detailing, car wraps to ceramic coatings, we’re just an email or phone call away.

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Ceramics vs. Sealants vs. Wax

Protecting the precious paintwork of your vehicle is no longer a simple choice of which wax to use. Depending on your requirements (and budget) there are now various additional options. Good paint protection involves adding a layer between the factory coating and the elements. Today’s options can be temporary, semi-permanent or permanent and come in the forms of:

  • Car wax (temporary)
  • Car sealant
  • Ceramic coating

There’s also the option of Paint Protection Film (PPF), a valuable installation that can be applied to a complete vehicle or just the parts that are more likely to get damaged, such as the bonnet, bumpers, colour-coded wing mirror etc.

Why Use Paint Protection?

While vehicles leave the production line with a top layer of paint protection, this tends to have limited longevity and is, of course, subjected to various environmental elements. These include:

  • Stone chips
  • Bird droppings
  • Acid rain
  • UV rays
  • Tree sap
  • Scratches
  • Salt and grit

All of these eat through this original protective layer or, in the case of stone chips, crack it entirely. As the upper surface degrades, so the paint below begins to lose its lustre, scratches appear and other paintwork anomalies become apparent.

Adding a good quality paint protection not only elevates the car’s good looks, but it also increases the resale value.

The Pros and Cons of Different Paint Protection Products

As in all walks of life, paint protection comes in different grades. Going for the highest quality you can afford is key – although it might cost a little more to begin with, you’ll reap the monetary benefits over time, plus the aesthetics will be better.

Let’s look at the three options in order of results and longevity.

1.     Car wax

Long the staple of paint protection, car wax remains one of the most popular and effective methods of car care. Wax provides an element of protection to the paintwork below – albeit temporary. It has some hydrophobic properties, helping water (and therefore, dirt) bead and roll away from the surface. Wax also adds a shiny finish.

  • Pros:  The cheapest method of paint protection, easy to apply yourself, readily available to purchase.
  • Cons: Only lasts a few weeks (less if the weather is poor), laborious to apply, easy to use the wrong type.

Find out more about the benefits and drawbacks of car wax.

2.     Car sealant

This uses advanced chemical engineering to add a synthetic protective layer to the vehicle. It adheres well – with good quality sealant lasting anywhere from six months to a year. Sealants are highly resistant to chemical and environmental factors and they dry to a lovely glossy finish. They come in different types, with the most common being polymer and acrylic.

  • Pros: Easy to apply, good longevity, shiny finish. Helps minimise scratching and corrosion. Many have hydrophobic properties. Quicker to apply than car wax and some can be simply sprayed on.
  • Cons: There are many different types on the market – some have an element of ceramic technology, some make the car glossy but do little else, others protect against environmental challenges. It can be challenging to know which is the right one for your needs. Some need to be combined with other products to be wholly effective.

Get the lowdown on detailing and car sealants.

3.     Ceramic coating

Considered by many to be the ultimate in paint protection (and with good reason), installing a ceramic coating provides superior protection and a high-gloss finish for many years. Ceramic coatings use nanotechnology to add an ultra-thin, super-hard topcoat that’s resistant to virtually every type of environmental and chemical attack. The best ones last for many years – typically 5-7 – and provide a deep shine that’s impossible to achieve by any other method.

  • Pros: The best level of paint protection for cars, lasts for many years, is hydrophobic and helps reduce the amount of time needed to keep the car looking good, increases the value and resale price of a vehicle. Can also be applied over car wraps.
  • Cons: The most expensive of all paint protection products, paintwork correction should be carried out prior to installation, and needs to be applied in a semi-sterile and temperature-controlled environment.

Discover the need-to-knows about ceramic coating.

Of course we haven’t even discussed Paint Protection Film (PPF) here, but we’ll leave that for another day and a post all of its own.

Paint Protection: a summary

Car wax, car sealants and ceramic coatings are all viable and effective methods of caring for a vehicle’s paintwork. Wax is the cheapest, followed by sealants, with ceramic coating being the most expensive.

Applying car wax correctly takes a long time – allow at least a day for the correct prep, application and polishing. Car sealants are a step above wax, and there are many (many!) different types of both on the market. These range wildly in price and results, making it complex to decipher which is correct for your needs.. However, it’s essential to use the right ones, especially when detailing classic, sports and supercars, 

DIY care is, of course, possible, but the alternative is to get a professional application carried out by a car detailing company. This will ensure the correct products are used, plus you reclaim your valuable time to do something more enjoyable – because, let’s face it, it’s a pretty messy, long and boring job!

Ceramic coatings offer the highest level of paint protection. This is a permanent installation and requires meticulous paint correction prior to application. It must be applied and allowed to cure at the correct temperature and in a semi-sterile environment. This all means that a professional service is essential, otherwise you run the risk of a less-than-perfect finish, or even ruining the factory paintwork altogether.

Whichever level of paint protection you choose, it’s all about the product and application. The detailing and services on offer from the Radical Autoworks ensure the correct type is used. Whether that’s detailing with a wax, sealant or ceramic coating finish, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your pride and joy benefits from the ultimate paint protection products. Call us today to discuss your requirements.

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Benefits and Drawbacks of Car Wax

Regularly using car wax is a staple of good vehicle maintenance, right? 

Well, yes – with certain provisos. The thing is, not all car wax products are made equal. Using an inferior product won’t simply provide a poor finish, it can actively damage your paintwork. Plus, there’s the issue of application. Get it right and, indeed, you’ll get many benefits. But if not, then the picture isn’t quite so rosy…

As car detailing experts, and with a passion for seeing beautifully maintained cars cruising our lanes and roads, Radical Autoworks explain the pros and cons regarding the grubby secrets of the humble car wax…

Car Wax – the benefits

  • Can protect the paintwork from wear and tear: The paint on a car is covered by a thin, clear coat of lacquer. A quality car wax actively protects this layer from being eroded by the elements, thereby protecting the integrity of the paint beneath. Think of the wax as a sacrificial film on top of your paint.
  • Can help smooth out minor imperfections: On a microscopic level, wax will fill imperfections in the paint, thus reducing how noticeable scratches are in the paint.
  • Helps your car remain cleaner for longer: Because of the aforementioned microscopic filling of scratches, dirt has fewer places to cling to and so your car stays cleaner looking for longer..
  • Makes your car shine: Because it makes the surface of the car more uniform, so the light reflects better. And this equals that gorgeous just-waxed shine.
  • Creates a hydrophobic layer: Or, to put it in plain English, it makes water bead and roll off the paintwork. Not only does this look pretty cool, it’s also an important defence against rust and corrosion.
  • Helps prevent colour fade: This can be more noticeable on certain colours – mainly darker tones or those leaning towards red on the colour spectrum. We’ve all seen poor old red cars that have gone pink with age. Car wax can help slow this process.

Car Wax – the drawbacks

  • Cheap car wax can be abrasive: Some car waxes, especially the cheaper ones and combination cleaner-waxes, contain strong chemicals. Such abrasive materials are not good for the paintwork and can, in some cases, actually cause damage.
  • Proper application of car wax takes time and effort: Let’s be clear about this – waxing your car isn’t a 10 minute job. The car needs to be properly prepared, meaning an intense clean and full dry before commencing the waxing process.  If you don’t have at least a day to dedicate to the whole job, then don’t consider it an option. A large part of that is waiting for the car to dry 100%. Even after you use a blower to speed the process. Any moisture in cracks will be pulled out and mess up your finish.
  • Good car wax is expensive: Sure, there’s cheap versions on the market. But, as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. That bargain buy is cheap for a reason. Not only will it be less effective but it will cause you arm ache when applying. Something like Bilt Hambers Double Speed Wax is a good DIY choice.
  • There’s an art to applying car wax: Not too much, not too little, plus ensuring you cover every bit of paintwork evenly. Make sure to read the instructions, as different waxes are designed to be applied differently.
  • You need to understand the type of car wax you’re buying/applying: Is it a simple wax? A cleaner wax? A sealant? Paste wax, liquid wax, spray wax, coloured wax… And this topic is a whole new blog article entirely!

Car Wax – the conclusion

Car wax can be just what your car needs to keep it in good condition, as long as:

  1. You have the time (and patience)
  2. The vehicle paintwork is in generally good condition without any deeper scratches or marks
  3. You choose the right wax for the job

If you tick those boxes, then self-application of car wax will help ensure the longevity of your car’s paintwork.

The alternative is to get a professional application done by a car detailing company. Not only will this ensure the correct wax type is used, but you gain back your valuable free time to do something more enjoyable. Or you might want to go a step further and have a sealant or ceramic coating applied.

Whatever option you choose, adding a high quality protective layer to the paintwork in the form of car wax goes a long way towards maintaining your vehicle’s good looks. If you go down the DIY route, just make sure there’s a beverage of your choice chilling in the fridge for when you’ve finished to toast a job well done….

To get started, we’ve written about our top tips for cleaning your daily driver supercar here. Follow that before you get to any Waxing.

Image by Scozzy from Pixabay

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5 Tips for Cleaning a Classic Car

Your classic car is your pride and joy. As the days get longer and the sun (hopefully) blesses us with her appearance, it’s time to hit the road and enjoy the inimitable pleasure of driving a vehicle crafted by artisans of yesteryear.

Of course, gleaming paintwork and polished metal goes hand in hand with the best of driving experiences. As passionate car detailers we know a thing or two about making a car look its very best. So if we had to define 5 crucial elements about cleaning a classic car on a regular basis, they would be as follows:

1. Cleaning a classic car: Hand wash only

No matter how much a car wash provider tells you that it’s safe to put a classic car through their facility, you should avoid this at all costs. There are a few reasons for this:

a)     Automatic car washes do not dry a vehicle adequately. This leads to corrosion over time

b)    Automatic car washes miss spots, leaving a less than perfect sheen to your beloved vehicle

c)    Automatic car washes can’t get into all the nooks and crannies, nor do they provide the necessary gentle touch to ensure no damage occurs

2. Cleaning a classic car: Use the right equipment

Forget sponges and brushes, a classic car deserves only the softest of tools. This means high quality microfibre wash mitts or cloths should be the only types used to clean the car. This should be followed by a soft clean microfibre towel to gently dry the paintwork. Autoglym does a hybrid microfibre called Instadry that is brilliant.

Don’t skimp on the cloths as you should use multiple ones for different areas of the car. For instance, most of the grime and oil will collect on the underside and around the wheels and arches. Therefore, the cloths used here should not be used on the rest of the paintwork as they’ll just transfer unwanted contamination. Always wash them after a single use and remember, no fabric softener!

Select the cleaning detergent with care as many contain abrasives that wear away the paint. Choose a gentle, high quality option and use it sparingly and as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Cleaning a classic car: Rinse and dry thoroughly

It’s essential to rinse every last speck of detergent from the car and to dry it thoroughly. Water pools in many areas of the car – and this is just the environment rust needs to thrive. The drying process is perhaps one of the most important of all when it comes to cleaning a classic car, so take your time and mop up every drop. Microfibres are good, but if you want to do the 5-star approach, get a BigBoi Blower

4. Cleaning a classic car: Polish any chrome

Gleaming chrome is one of the best aspects of many classic cars – but it needs lots of TLC to remain this way. Use a high-quality chrome polish and use it after every single wash. We have to say, there’s something uniquely satisfying at standing back and admiring your handiwork as the sunlight reflects from the beautifully polished chrome that adorns your beloved vehicle.

5. Cleaning a classic car: Don’t forget the carpet

Diving in with a vacuum cleaner might seem the obvious way to clean the carpet. However, this can grind the dirt into the fibres if you’re not careful. Instead, use a compressed air sprayer to lift the dirt before you vacuum. When you do use a vacuum, don’t be tempted to use the hand attachments with brushes. These can cause scuffs along the trim or damage aging carpets.

The key messages are to use the right equipment, be gentle, thorough and take your time. That way your motor won’t only look its best when you hit the road, but you’re ensuring its longevity for many years to come. 

Classic car ownership is to enter an exclusive club. Once you’ve experienced the majesty and luxury of driving a car from a bygone era, no other type of vehicle will ever hit the spot, so enjoy…

You might also find our articles on properly cleaning your alloy wheels and how to clean your leather seats useful.

Image by Leif Rohwedder from Pixabay

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How To Clean Car Leather Interior For A New Matt Look

A beautiful leather interior finish is the ultimate mark of a luxury car. But a grubby steering wheel or seats aren’t just an eyesore, then reduce the value of your vehicle and can even harbour nasty bacteria. But never fear… Because we’re about to reveal the insider secrets as to the correct process for a clean car leather interior and steering wheel to restore them to their former glory.

 The Ultimate Guide to a Clean Car Leather Interior

  • Step 1: It’s never too early to begin a clean car leather interior regime
  • Step 2: The how-to process
  • Step 3: A clean car leather interior includes the steering wheel

Step 1: It’s never too early to begin a clean car leather interior regime

The most important thing to understand is that the best car leather care should begin as soon as possible. And yes – this ideally means from the moment the car rolls off the production line. Contamination from different sources and UV rays are the enemy of leather. Not only do they wear it down, but they can also cause discolouration.

The following are some of the contaminants that cause leather wear and tear:

  • Oils from human skin
  • Food and drink
  • Dust
  • Mud
  • Gum
  • Makeup
  • Beauty products, including perfumes & aftershaves, moisturiser, hair spray etc.
  • Sun damage caused by UV rays

While leather is a strong and robust product, it still requires constant care and attention to ensure it keeps its good looks. White and cream leather interiors, in particular, should be carefully looked after as they’re one of the most susceptible to stains and darkening in the areas of highest wear and tear.

Step 2: The how-to process

Cleaning a car leather interior is a 3-stage process. This is:

  • Clean
  • Condition
  • Protect

The cleaning process: This is done using a specialist leather cleaner, such as Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner – one that’s colourless and odourless so it can safely be used on any type of leather. Such a cleaner will gently ease away any contamination without affecting the colour or causing any damage to the integrity of the leather. This means it can safely be used on all-natural, synthetic, and colour-coded leather.

When cleaning a leather interior it’s recommended to use a micro-fibre cloth, as opposed to leather-cleaning brushes. This is so you don’t cause any damage to the leather itself. Spray the cleaner onto the cloth and rub over the surface. Be thorough, as a clean surface is needed before you carry onto the next step.

Be generous with the amount of cleaner you use. Once done, use a clean microfibre cloth to buff the seats. Don’t forget the arm rests and centre console.

The conditioning process: This is vital to ensure the leather remains supple and pliant. This, in turn, prevents cracking and breakage that can occur over time. In older vehicles that haven’t had the correct care, the edges of the seats – especially on the driver’s side that’s subjected to harder wear – are particularly prone to this.

Be sure to choose a high-grade conditioner, such as Chemical Guys Vintage Series Leather Conditioner. This should be applied to the leather using a microfibre applicator, as opposed to a cloth or sponge, as this will spread the cream evenly. Don’t apply too much product to the applicator and be sure to squash the cream into it so you don’t end up putting large blobs onto the leather itself.

Work the product well into every part of the seats, getting into all the creases and crevices. Continue until the product has been well-worked in and you can’t see any areas that are shinier than others. Don’t forget the headrest. Buff with a clean microfibre cloth to finish.

The leather should now look crisp, clean and in matt condition. Cheap cleaning products will make the leather appear shiny – this is not the look you should be aiming for. Good leather detailing presents a matt finish that feels soft and supple.

Protect the leather: This is done using a protective serum, such as Chemical Guys Leather Protectant Serum. This final step is especially important if your vehicle’s interior is subjected to excessive UV rays, such as convertibles. This effectively protects the leather against sun damage, as well as body oils, dirt, dust and any other contaminants.

This is the step that restores a beautiful matt sheen – the perfect look for any luxury interior finish. Use another applicator pad, apply the serum to the pad and squash it well in. Then apply to the leather itself. As well as protection, this prevents future leather cracking. It also restores that wonderful new leather smell – so is ideal for older cars as well as newer ones.

Work well into the leather and then use a separate micro-fibre cloth to buff. Voila! You’ve restored your car’s interior to its showroom glory.

If you can’t get enough of that that extra Leathery new car smell, grab some Chemical Guys Leather Scent also.

Step 3: A clean car leather interior includes the steering wheel

Don’t forget the steering wheel! This is one point of contact that’s especially important because our hands naturally transfer skin oil that can, over time, cause discolouration and damage to the leather. This leaves a greasy, shiny coating, so be sure to include this area in the leather cleaning process.

Remember to include the gear stick, handbrake and dash if they are also clad in leather.

The process is the same for both new and older cars with a leather interior. Clean your leather a couple of times a year unless you do very high mileage. To do it properly will take a good couple of hours – and longer if the leather is particularly dirty or worn.

For a more in-depth guide check out this video:

Alternatively, entrust your precious wheels to a quality car detailing service where they can do the hard work for you. You can also check out our general interior cleaning guide here.

So there you have it. The easy 3-step guide to a clean car leather interior. Remember, the inside is as important as the outside, so don’t neglect it. Your car is a high-value item, so deserves to be treated as such. Well-looked after cars not only maintain their value, but they’re also a joy to drive. And cleanliness, so they say, is next to godliness. Happy motoring…

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Choosing a Car Detailing Company

There’s no better way to ensure that your car looks great (and remains that way) than by utilising the services of a car detailing company. From enhancement to protection, gleaming bodywork comes about through strategic efforts. However, not all service providers are made equal. 

Any vehicle owner should be sure to carry out due diligence before entrusting their precious motor for any aspect of detailing. After all, your car doesn’t only represent a significant investment – it’s also an extension of your personality. The following are essential questions that the savvy driver should ask before he or she hands over the keys (and their hard-earned cash).

Car Detailing Company Checklist

1. Experience

How long has the potential provider been in business? Not only that, what about the experience of the technicians working on your car? Whether they’re applying a ceramic coating or machine polishing the paintwork, it’s comforting to know that the people doing it are at the top of their game. Any provider will be happy to talk you through their years in the business. Plus the best will have a track record of happy customers. 

This leads us neatly onto… 

2. Check out their reviews

While reviews can, of course, be faked, they shouldn’t be disregarded. Ignore those that are OTT or downright terrible – both could be either paid for or deliberate sabotage – and look at the average. View them from multiple sources (Google, Facebook etc) and you should begin to get an idea of the level of satisfied (or otherwise) customers.

3. What’s the cost and what’s included?

You might know the exact work you want to be carried out or you might ask for the company’s professional advice. Either way, you should determine exactly what’s included in the price. A word to the wise… Cheapest is not best in many scenarios, and this definitely applies to choosing a car detailing company.

Not only are you paying for their expertise, but also the calibre of the products they use. So be sure to check that they use proven brand leaders rather than cheap imitations.

4. Ask about their insurance

Should the worst happen (and no company can never say that accidents never occur), then you need to know that the supplier has adequate insurance to pay for any damage. In addition, they need to hold insurance to drive and move their customers’ vehicles, even if any movement will be solely on private land.

5. What are the premises like?

Any car detailing company worth its salt has professional premises from which to work. This allows them the right lighting to be able to view paintwork imperfections in the greatest detail. It also means they can guarantee just the right ambient temperature to apply ceramic coatings. This is vital because a too hot or too cold environment makes for a poor quality finish. The detailer also needs to ensure a clean location in which to best carry out the work, plus be able to store the vehicle during coat applications. Last, but by no means least, it needs to be large enough to allow the car to stand for a period afterwards to ensure good curing and that no water or residue can taint the work for the first 24 hours.

6. Do they offer mobile detailing?

Because that would be really handy, right? Actually – nothing could be further from the truth. While it’s possible to wash and valet a vehicle from a mobile workstation to a very high standard, true car detailing is a far more specialised process. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to carry out paint correction and apply ceramic coatings or PPF to a high standard from anywhere but fixed premises with the right lighting and heat control. 

7. Your gut feeling

What’s your instinct when you talk to a potential car detailing company? Do they fill you with confidence that they know their trade and that your pride and joy will be well looked after? Are their technicians smart – perhaps dressed in the company colours or overalls? Is the premises well lit, with security cameras and an alarm system?

If the answer is yes to all the above then you might have come across a winner. If they fail to make the grade at any level then it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

Finding the Right Car Detailing Company

By far the best recommendation is word of mouth. Failing that, do your homework and make sure you satisfy yourself that all of the above points are covered. Then, and only then, should you seal the deal and hand over your vehicle.  

Once done, settle back, wait the required amount of days and then pick up your showroom-beautiful car. Because, you know, that’s how you roll…Want the best service for detailing your vehicle? Check out our detailing services and get in touch today for a no-obligation chat.

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

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Car COVID Cleaning: How to sanitise your car interior

We’re now a nation of mask-wearers and hand-sanitizers. But have you considered that the interior of your vehicle can also harbour the virus? Careful car COVID cleaning can dramatically reduce the chance of lingering coronavirus being a transmission risk.

We’ve already written about cleaning the interior of your daily driver. This post discusses the best practices that not only make your car interior gleam but make it a safe haven too.

Before You Start

There are a few important points to understand before we start. The first is this: safety.

The latest WHO advice suggests that the virus can last for up to 72 hours on various surfaces, so you might want to consider wearing appropriate PPE. A mask (worn correctly) disposable apron and gloves are a must if you have even the tiniest suspicion that a person with COVID has been inside or touched your vehicle.

It’s also highly advisable to use disposable cloths. If you’d rather not, then be sure to wash them (and your clothes) as soon as you’ve finished. A hot wash at 60oC will kill any virus that’s on them. 

No matter how fastidious you are in your car COVID cleaning efforts, you can never guarantee that the car is virus free (or even that any of the methods mentioned below are confirmed to work). So you should continue to wash/sanitize your hands every time you use your vehicle, refrain from touching your face and follow all the government advice to prevent catching, and the spread of, COVID.

Car COVID Cleaning Best Practice

The following all need to be actioned to ensure the best chance of total sanitation.

Car COVID cleaning #1: Vacuum

Remove the mats. Vacuum the car thoroughly. This means using a variety of the vacuum’s utensils to reach every nook and cranny. 

Don’t forget to:

Move each seat to its furthest points to gain access to all the carpeted areas. Push the nozzle right into the creases of the seats themselves. Pull out the seatbelts and vacuum in the crevices.  Once the initial dirt has been removed, treat with an antibacterial carpet cleaner.

Clean rubber mats outside the vehicles, hoovering first and then scrubbing them with an anti-bacterial cleaner. If you don’t have the latter, then a soap and water combination will do the trick (the coronavirus has a lipid membrane that’s dissolved by soap). Carpet mats should be cleaned in the same way as the car’s interior carpeted areas.

Car COVID cleaning #2: The seats

If the material is fabric then use an appropriate antibacterial fabric product. 

For leather seats, a combination of soap and water is a safe and sufficient way to clean them. Don’t scrub hard when cleaning your leather interior, and avoid excess suds and water. Hand washing has been recommended as a primary way to protect oneself against infection by COVID-19. This is not only because soap can kill the virus, but also because the friction of washing contributes. This holds true for washing your leather interior as well. You might also consider a specialist leather cleaner to keep the leather soft.

If you use car seat covers, remove them and wash at 60oC.

Car COVID cleaning #3: Disinfect all the touch points

This is, perhaps, one of the most important aspects of a deep coronavirus car clean. Touch points are the most likely place for the virus to lie so should be thoroughly wiped with an anti-bacterial cleaner or soap & water combination. The areas include (but aren’t restricted to) the:

  • Steering wheel (see leather cleaning above)
  • Hand brake
  • Seat Belt clasps and clips
  • Hand brake
  • Gear stick
  • Indicators and the other control stalks
  • All switches and buttons
  • Central console
  • Touch screen for sat nav/media etc
  • USB sockets
  • Cup holders

Don’t forget all the areas in the rear of the cabin too. You should also clean your car keys. Although not technically the interior of the car, be sure to wipe all the car handles, bonnet release catch and boot handle as well.

Car COVID cleaning #4: The boot

Be sure to pay attention to the boot. After all, this is where you put your shopping bags after touching the trolly, bags, checkout and other areas within a supermarket. Follow the same steps as above regarding the carpeted areas and the harder surfaces.

Car COVID cleaning #5: Disposal of materials

Any cloths that you don’t want to bin should be washed at 60oC. Everything else should be bagged and binned safely. Be sure to change your clothes as soon as you’ve finished and wash them separately from your other laundry.

Car COVID cleaning #6: Other considerations

You might consider a professional ozone treatment. A professional car detail shop, will place a special machine within the car that releases ozone, just like we do. It’s known as a powerful steriliser that kills many bacteria and viruses. While there’s no conclusive proof (yet) that ozone kills coronavirus, there’s some promising research. An ozone treatment reaches into every tiny area of the car that regular cleaning is unable to get to, including inside vents and into the fibres of the seats and carpet. It also removes any lingering odours from pets, smoke or anything else.

it’s easy to overlook your car when it comes to coronavirus cleanliness. While the above methods can’t remove the risk of virus transmission completely, weekly car COVID cleaning goes a long way to reducing it. Just think of it as another step to keeping you and your family healthy during the pandemic.

Stay safe and happy motoring.

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The Definitive How-To Guide For A Clean Set Of Wheels

It’s a tough life, being a wheel. From the worst of the weather to dreaded brake dust, your ride’s shoes are subjected to abuse day in and day out. It’s no wonder that a quick once-over with a sponge doesn’t cut it. It’s not rocket science to keep expensive alloys looking great but it is somewhat of an art. The following is our definitive guide as to how to clean car wheels.

How to Clean Car Wheels: The dos and, importantly, the don’ts

First things first. Let’s cover some aspects that you need to avoid to reduce the risk of damaging a wheel’s beautiful finish. They might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people do these without a second thought.

  • Don’t: Use the same cloths for the wheels that you use on the paintwork
  • Don’t: Use any cleaning product, materials or tools that could cause scratches. 
  • Don’t: Use the same brush to clean the wells of the wheel as you use to clean the wheel itself
  • Don’t: Let any cleaning products dry on the wheel

Of course, we can’t have a list of don’ts without a list of dos. So here you go…

  •  Do: Ensure that wheels are cleaned regularly. Failure to do so allows a build-up of corrosive brake dust and, eventually, pitted and cracked wheels
  • Do: Use carefully chosen cleaning products, such as microfibre cloths and a soft wheel brush
  • Do: Clean each wheel from start to finish before moving onto the next one

It’s unusual to clean the wheels in isolation (check out our guide to cleaning your daily drivers exterior). You’re far more likely to carry out the task during a complete car spruce up. Remember, always do your wheels first. Doing the wheels first means you can remove brake dust and contaminants first, and means you don’t get water spots on the bodywork while it dries while you’re doing the wheels later. 

One golden rule of how to clean car wheels is to never use a pressure washer – you’ll only be spreading contaminants onto the bodywork.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to How to Clean Car Wheels

Step 1: Rinse off the debris

Rinse loose dirt and debris from the surface of the wheel with a hose. Any that doesn’t lift can be gently washed away with a soft wheel brush.

While you might be tempted to use a pressure washer this isn’t recommended. The high-powered jet can push debris across the surface of the wheel and cause surface scratches as well as flinging that dirt up onto your paintwork.

Step 2: Spray on the wheel cleaner

Use a non-acidic cleaner and be generous with your application. Make sure to cover the whole wheel and outer wall of the tyre, let it lie for a few seconds, rinse with a hose and reapply. Don’t skimp on the quality of the wheel cleaner. We recommend Megulars All Wheel Cleaner or, for alternatives, check out websites Clean Your Car or EZ Car Care

Step 3: Brush the wheel

This step may or may not be necessary. Advanced wheel cleaners, such as the two mentioned above, are designed to do all the hard work for you. If so, move onto step 4. However, if it hasn’t removed every last bit of grime and gunk, then use a soft brush to gently agitate it away. Be sure to get right into the wheel wells and use a separate brush to get into the tight areas around the wheel nuts. Keep the wheel wet as you clean to prevent any scratching. And be gentle! You should also work from top to bottom, so dirty water doesn’t sluice over already cleaned areas.

Step 4: Rinse thoroughly

Using a hose only please. Thoroughly rinse the wheel making sure you get all the cleaner off inside and out.

Step 5: Dry the wheel

Do this with a soft, microfibre towel to ensure you don’t leave water spots, and be careful not to let it touch the floor where it will pick up debris and grit.

Step 6: Dress the tyre

This is a bit of a marmite product. Some people swear by using a tyre dressing (or shiner, or whatever you want to call it), others hate it. The key is to only use products that don’t cause any damage to the integrity of the material, so they need to be water based and not contain any silicon. Apply with a cloth or foam applicator. Meguiar’s Endurance Tyre Gel is a current favourite of ours, but we also trial new products to make sure we’re always using the best.

Some people like to carry out this step right at the end. It’s a personal choice, so go with what you prefer.

Step 7: Apply a wheel protector

This adds a robust, hydrophobic coating to the wheels that helps rebuff the immediate onslaught of debris from the moment you hit the road again. Combination wheel sealer and wax make for an easy life. There’s plenty of great choices on the market. WheelWax is a great option – it restores, seals and protects in a single application. You can’t purchase this American product directly from the manufacturer. But, guess what? You can get it on Amazon…. Whichever wheel protector you choose, apply, allow to dry a little before polishing it off with–you’ve got it—a non-abrasive, microfibre cloth.

There you have it. Our guide to how to clean car wheels. The key take-aways are to use non-abrasive equipment and products and to take your time. That way you’ll end up with gleaming rims that perfectly complement the rest of your ride’s lovingly cleaned paintwork.

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Cleaning the interior of your daily driver supercar

Most supercars are reserved for weekend best, for special occasions or for a blast down to the south of France in the summer (like Radical Rally perhaps). They generally don’t get used for daily drivers. But we know that some of you will want to spend a lot of time in your fantastic motors. So we put together some top tips on cleaning the interior of your daily driver with minimal effort and tools for maximum impact in between visits to the detailing studio.

This is a simple guide that you can use to maintain the appearance of your car at home with the minimal effort, tools and chemicals.

This is part two of a two part series. The article on exteriors can be found here.

What’s your aim?

Most of us have little time to clean our own cars unless it’s a real passion. Life gets in the way and there is always something more pressing to do. Even at Radical Autoworks we find ourselves too busy with customer cars to lavish any attention on our own vehicles. So you have to ask yourself, is your aim to keep the car clean for your enjoyment or for other people to admire as you drive down the street? You can answer both of course, but if it’s just one of those you can save yourself a load of time.

For example if you are most concerned about keeping it clean for your enjoyment, then we’d recommend focusing on cleaning the interior of your daily driver…. After all, that’s where you sit. If it’s to look good as you roll down the street then perhaps you’re better off spending more time on the exterior. 


If you’re going to be daily driving your supercar, that means getting in and out of it a lot more than normal. Probably with a variety of clothing, after a hard days work and with bags in tow every day. That extra wear needs to be considered. You should get a fully detail done at the outside so you start with a high standard that you just have to maintain. That should include getting a protective coating applied to your upholstery as this will save you a ton of time maintaining the interior – especially on light colours. 

You should also consider what you carry with you. For example, if you carry a laptop, consider using a soft laptop bag instead of a rough canvas one with lots of exposed buckles.

Interior cleaning method

The interior is often neglected because more commonly people spend the time cleaning the exterior. Vacuuming can be tedious and it’s fiddly work. But stick with it because this is where you spend all your time with the car, so you want it to be a nice place to be.
Before you start, make sure you are not wearing clothing with metal buttons, belt or shoes with metal fasteners on them. Trust us, you’ll thank us later.

  • Start by using soft brushes to dust out the air vents. Pay attention to all areas of the cabin where dust and debris can collect and where a vacuum may not be able to get.
  • Next up is vacuuming. Pull out the mats, do the carpets, between the seats, under the seats. Just about anywhere you can think of. Be careful with the hard end of the vacuum though and any delicate parts of the car if it is a powerful one. Pay close attention to the drivers space. 
  • Spray the detailing spray sparingly onto a clean folded microfibre cloth. Do it outside of the car so you don’t get spots of it everywhere. Then gently wipe over the plastics and vinyls in the cabin. After you do an area, re-fold the cloth to get a clean section and keep going until the whole car is complete. AVOID all glass, screens or clear plastic like the instrument cluster.
  • Grab another clean microfibre cloth and the glass cleaner. Again spray it onto a folded cloth, outside the car to avoid overspray. Thoroughly wipe all the glass and clear plastic surfaces. Pay special attention to the windshield and repeat as needed to make sure all marks are removed…. There is nothing more annoying that smears on your windscreen as you drive down the road in the sun.
  • Finally, if you so choose, use an air freshener spray of your choice (my favourite is new leather smell or vanilla) and sparingly spray onto the carpets. Avoid overspray as it can leave water marks.

Make sure to thoroughly clean your equipment after use and launder your cloths (without fabric softener).

Tools and products

We’ve tried to keep this list short and sweet and get you the best results with the minimum of special tools and products. Otherwise you’ll end up being like us with a whole workshop full of specialist gear!

Tools you’ll need:

  • A small soft brush or two
  • A vacuum
  • Selection of microfibre towels

Products you’ll need:

  • Interior detailing spray
  • Glass cleaner
  • An air freshener spray or odour remover spray

Golden rules

There are a couple of golden rules you must follow also…

  1. If you drop a cloth… don’t keep using it. Get a clean one to carry on and thoroughly wash that one later.
  2. Always clean your tools after use and put your cloths through the laundry (without fabric softener).

If in doubt, call us. We’re always happy to talk to people about cleaning their pride and joy. It doesn’t matter if  you’re in the UK or not…. just be aware we might not answer if its 3am here when you call. You can also contact us by email here.

Image by Karin de Smale from Pixabay

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Cleaning the exterior of your daily driver supercar

Not many people will be driving their supercar (or classic car) on a daily basis. They are usually reserved for weekend best, for a treat on sunny days. Used for a blast down some country roads to a lovely pub for a spot of lunch or on special road trips (like Radical Rally perhaps). But if you are daily driving your supercar, it’s going to get dirty fast. So we thought we’d put together our top tops for cleaning the exterior of your daily driver supercar in between visits to the detailing shop.

This is a simple guide that you can use to maintain the appearance of your car at home with the minimal effort, tools and chemicals.

This is part one of a two part series. The article on interiors is coming next.

What’s your aim?

Most of us have little time to clean our own cars unless it’s a real passion. Life gets in the way and there is always something more pressing to do. Even at Radical Autoworks we find ourselves too busy with customer cars to lavish any attention on our own vehicles. So you have to ask yourself, is your aim to keep the car clean for your enjoyment or for other people to admire as you drive down the street? You can answer both of course, but if it’s just one of those you can save yourself a load of time.

For example, if you are most concerned about how it looks in the sun as you roll down, the street then you’re better off spending more time on cleaning the exterior of your daily driver supercar.


One of the best things you can do for your daily driver is to get a full detail and polish done first to get the standard of the car up to a really high level before you start. That should include getting a ceramic coating applied as this will save you a ton of time maintaining the appearance of the paint and will go some way towards protecting against the increased washing cycles that a daily driver endures.

If you start with a clean car, you have much more chance of keeping it that way without too many specialist tools or chemicals. 

Exterior cleaning method

The single most important thing about washing your daily driven supercar is your washing technique. If you get this part wrong you’re going to be introducing small marks to the paintwork with each wash. Not only will this make the paint look less perfect but it will give us a big headache when you next bring it in for a full detail and paint correction. 

Make sure the car is cool to the touch and out of the sun when you start. Also make sure you don’t wear clothing with metal fasteners, buttons, belt buckles etc as they can damage the paint. 

  • Start with the wheels as they will likely be very dirty. Using a couple of brushes make sure you agitate the entire wheel surface and in between the spokes as there is nothing worse than leaving a dirty patch and finding it later. Use dedicated brushes and a specific PH neutral wheel cleaner. Then make sure you thoroughly clean out your bucket if you don’t have a dedicated wheel bucket.
  • If you have a pressure washer, use it to liberally apply a snow foam product. If you don’t, you can get pump action aerator bottles that do a similar job. Leave it to dwell on the car for 3-5 minutes then wash off.
  • Mix up your car shampoo or wash & wax in one bucket using cold water. In the other just put a small amount of cold water – this is your rinse bucket. Using your microfibre wash mitt, start at the top of the car and wash a section at a time. Rinse out the mitt in the clean water each time before you go for more shampoo. Make sure not to pick up debris from the bottom of the bucket. Work your way round the car quickly and methodically finishing with the areas around who wheels, bumpers and side skirts. If you drop the mitt, STOP. You must use a clean mitt or thoroughly wash it out so you’re not dragging grit from the floor around the car and scratching it.
  • Thoroughly rinse off all the shampoo.
  • Use clean rinse out your snow foam lance or aerator bottle and fill with diluted hydrophobic coating. Spray liberally over the car while it’s still wet and let it sit for a minute or two. Avoid the windscreen. If you have a soft top, this step is not recommended as most hydrophobic products are not suitable for canvas roofs – you need a specially designed one.
  • Thoroughly rinse off the hydrophobic coating.
  • Using your drying towel, carefully dry the entire car from top to bottom, paying close attention to areas where water can collect. Again if you drop the towel, STOP. You will need to replace it or clean it.
  • Then open all the doors, bonnet, boot, fuel cap, etc. Using a clean microfibre cloth, wipe round all the door jams, sills and other areas that were covered for the previous step. If the cloth gets dirty, put it in the laundry pile and get another.
  • Do a final walk round to make sure you have caught all the drips and runs – you always get some after opening the doors etc. 

Make sure to thoroughly clean your equipment after use and launder your cloths (without fabric softener).

Tools and products

We’ve tried to keep this list short and sweet and get you the best results with the minimum of special tools and products. Otherwise you’ll end up being like us with a whole workshop full of specialist gear!

Tools you’ll need:

  • 2 buckets ideally with grit guards in them
  • A couple of dedicated wheel brushes (for the face and between the spokes)
  • Pressure washer with snow foam lance or aerator bottle
  • A microfibre wash mitt
  • A high quality drying towel
  • Selection of microfibre towels

Products you’ll need:

  • PH neutral wheel cleaner
  • Snow foam
  • Good quality car shampoo or wash & wax
  • Hydrophobic coating

Golden rules

There are a couple of golden rules you must follow also…

  1. If you drop a cloth or a wash mitt… don’t keep using it. Get a clean one to carry on and thoroughly wash that one later.
  2. Always clean your tools after use and put your cloths through the laundry (without fabric softener) so they are ready for the next use.
  3. Never, ever, visit a regular car wash. Automatic ones go without saying, but hand car washes can be just as bad for your paint. If you’re stuck for time, give us a call and we can do a quick maintenance wash for you. 

If in doubt, call us. We’re always happy to talk to people about detailing their pride and joy. It doesn’t matter if  you’re in the UK or not…. just be aware we might not answer if its 3am here when you call. You can also contact us by email here.

Image by Janis Liepa from Pixabay

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Supercar and Luxury Car Detailing & Protection

Bringing the best out of your classic or supercar with paint correction, PPF, and next level detailing in Dorset and surrounding counties.

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IMI (Institute of the Motoring Industry) Certified Detailers

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