What is car detailing?

Car detailing is a term in the car care industry that has been widely used and has a very loose definition to say the least. For some, car detailing means simply washing and vacuuming a vehicle.  To others, it means spending countless hours with numerous products trying to achieve the maximum potential of that certain vehicle.  To quality detailers, the term describes a process by which all different parts of a vehicle are rejuvenated and protected through proper washing, cleansing and paintwork correction techniques.  At LUSTR Detail we define car detailing simply as a process by which we use the best available products and employ the most effective methods in order to meet and exceed our clients’, as well as our own, expectations.  We take the time to do it properly and we always stick to the utmost standards of quality, whether we’re washing a vehicle with the least invasive methods or spending multiple days performing paint correction, applying coatings or installing paint protection film.

Why should I get my car detailed?

All vehicles need to be detailed regularly to maintain and preserve the paint condition.  From simple washes every 1-2 weeks, to monthly waxing, to yearly polishing, a proper maintenance process keeps the paint clean, corrected and protected year round.  Regular detailing and paint maintenance keeps defects like swirl marks from making the paint dull and contaminated.  This contamination and neglect can often lead to premature clearcoat failure and necessitate a trip to a body shop, which greatly reduces a vehicle’s value.  Our Portfolio shows how many of the vehicles were either neglected or poorly detailed before coming to LUSTR for proper correction, so the difference shown in the photos is easily recognized.  The difference after even the simplest quality detail is amazing, especially to someone doing it for the first time.  A proper car detail can usually save the cost of an expensive re-painting, and almost always allow a higher selling value for a vehicle.  Not to mention the pride of the owner after seeing their vehicle and thinking it looks better than ever!

What are swirl marks?

Swirl marks, or swirls, normally refers to “spider-web” scratches on the paint surface, which can be seen HERE.  Some people also use the term “swirl marks” when referring to buffer holograms, which are shown HERE.  The spider-web scratches are mainly caused by improper maintenance techniques such as washing, drying and waxing.  On the other hand, buffer holograms are trails left behind after improper use of a polishing machine, whether it be improper technique or incorrect product usage during the polishing process.  Both swirl marks and buffer holograms are fixed or improved by a proper paint correction process.

What is the difference between swirl marks and scratches?

Swirl marks, as mentioned above, are usually introduced into the paint through improper maintenance techniques.  Scratches are accidental defects, such as dragging a key across a surface, which happen during normal car operation.  Swirl marks are fairly shallow scratches in the paint surface, so they are much easier to correct than deeper scratches.

What is paint correction?

Not to be confused with standard body shops, where paint correction normally involves touching up paint and fixing rust, in the detailing world paint correction is the process through which paint contaminants, swirl marks, scratches and other defects are improved or removed from the paint surface.  This reduces any dullness in the paint, making it more glossy and vibrant.  Proper paintwork correction will level the paint to a safe degree and leave a deep, shiny surface, which many times rivals the look of a brand new paint job.  Paint correction is followed by an application of high quality sealants and waxes to achieve optimal gloss and protection.

Why should I choose LUSTR instead of a local car wash that can do it cheaper and quicker?

The simple answer is in our motto: “Quality over quantity”.  LUSTR Detail was created for car enthusiasts who want the best for their vehicles.  At LUSTR, proper detailing and paint correction is our passion and it’s this passion that goes into every single detail job.  We strive every day to improve not only our tools and products, but also our knowledge in the industry to provide the best results.  On the other hand, local car washes focus on quantity and aim to get as many vehicles done as possible, which greatly lowers the quality of the work and usually even damages paint.  With little to no training, underpaid employees work long hours and almost always do more damage than good by re-using detailing tools and using improper methods.  Unfortunately, many of our clients contact us after experiencing such poor quality car detailing and we are left to correct the damage.  We’re always more than happy to try and get potential clients in touch with clients who previously dealt with the trouble and headache of going for a quick and cheap detail.  Along those lines, we at LUSTR Detail always perform a pre-detail assessment before scheduling any paint correction work.  During this assessment, we evaluate the paintwork and thoroughly discuss with the owner their concerns and expectations.  Thus we are able to focus individually on each vehicle and develop a process that’s specifically tailored only for that vehicle, whether it’s a simple Protection Detail or a multi-stage Paint Correction Detail.

Are automatic car washes bad for my paint?

Simply put, yes.  We suggest hand washes with proper, clean tools and materials every week or two, depending on driving frequency.  Touchless automatic car washes are acceptable during winter months to simply rinse off all the salt and grime in the colder climates, such as we have in Chicagoland.  Otherwise, automatic car washes are very dirty places that see lots of traffic during the day and the dirt that they remove from the first car, is causing swirl marks on the second, third, and so on.  Avoid all automatic car washes except a touchless rinse when necessary.  Quality hand washes are the only way to keep paint in good condition, free of major swirl marks and other defects.

If buying a new car, is it necessary to get it detailed immediately?

A thorough detail on a brand new car is the best way to start off its paint maintenance.  Not only is there the usual residue from protective tape and contamination accumulated during transportation, there is also the almost definite chance the car was improperly detailed by the dealership, usually causing swirl marks discussed above.  Due to the dealers’ negligence in this case, it’s extremely rare for a new car to look as expected, which is free of swirl marks and contamination.  Some vehicles, one being Ferrari, leave the factory with defects such as buffing holograms or sanding marks, which then require paint correction to look as good as they should.  At the very least, we recommend bringing any new car in for a pre-detail assessment so we can evaluate the condition and proceed accordingly.

Do you only work on luxury and exotic vehicles?

No.  Regardless of your car’s condition, there is always something you can do to make it better or preserve it.  We at LUSTR Detail recognize the need for quality car detailing and perform services on all types of vehicles.  We have clients with 30-year old BMWs that come regularly for paint correction, as well as clients with brand new Ferrari 458s or Lamborghini Murcielagos that we see every couple months for paint protection.  We believe that all cars deserve to look their best, and the difference owners see in their vehicles after a detail is what drives us to do the best job each and every time, on each and every vehicle.

What products do you use?

We use a variety of quality products from a number of different manufacturers.  Some of those include CQuartz, 22PLE, Meguiar’s, Menzerna, P21S, Sonax, Lake Country, Leatherique, Flex and more.  We are not loyal to any brand, which allows us to find the best product all around and utilize it for our car detailing services.

Are the products you use available for sale?

Yes.  All products we use, along with many others, can be ordered from LUSTR Detail directly.  These products are of high quality and some of them very exclusive, not available at any local stores.  We currently carry at the shop a limited amount of basic maintenance products, which can be seen on our Store page.  For all product sales, please contact us directly via phone or email.

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