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Spill The Beans: Detailing

Spill The Beans is a new series that gives you the inside information on all things automotive. The series will break down buying and trading in secrets, best tips and tricks for cleaning your car, negotiating strategies, and DIY auto projects.

We’re kicking off this series with an interview from Fred Bean’s insider, Sam Zook. Sam has been running the detail center at Fred Beans and has Spilled The Beans on Detailing 101.

Best product to use to clean tires?

Use a non silicon tire dressing. If you use one with a silicon base and it touches the car, it will stain the paint. You want to use a water based product. If you take it a step further and use tire glaze, like armor all, it will keep your tires clean for about 3 months!

Best method for cleaning windows?

If you have after-market tint on your windows, you want to use a cleaner without ammonia (FYI Windex is blue-tinted ammonia, so avoid it). If you have the basic, factory tint, then Windex or something with ammonia will work fine. When it comes to washing windows, it’s more about the cloth then the cleaner. If you want to take your windows to the next level, ditch your paper towels and get yourself some microfiber cloths or any cloths that don’t produce lint. Fred Beans Detail Center actually uses surgical cloths (don’t worry, they buy them new) since they have no lint, are thin and easy to work with. Most local home stores sell microfiber and lint free cloths (I’ve seen them in the paint and the cleaning sections of the store).

Tips for cleaning the interior of your car?

So the most obvious way to clean your interior is to do it as the spills actually occur. It’s much easier to clean up a coffee spill as it happens instead of as it has set in and now has dirt, turned to caked-on mud after it hits the wet coffee, rubbed in. The classic soap and water and elbow grease are really all there is to keeping the floors clean, that and spill proof mugs. If you have a set in stain on the car’s carpeting, using a carpeting stain remover like Resolve works great. Just follow the instructions on the bottle. Have a tight fit? Use a toothbrush, it can hit those hard to reach places (you know, other than your molars). Make sure you move the seats all the way forward and then all the way back to optimize your reach and having good attachments on your vaccuum or shop vac will help with keeping your car clean.

If you have leather seats then you can use a mild soap and water to clean them and to really make them pop finish up with a nice leather conditioner. Again you want to stick with a lint free cloth to apply the conditioner.

And when you’re cleaning all the knobs and dials you can stick with an all purpose cleaner and your microfiber cloths.

Tips for cleaning the exterior?

Our detail guy Sam thinks a good, synthetic shammy is the key to easy cleaning (and was actually his favorite ‘tool of the trade’ when asked). It’s super absorbant and dries fast. He recommends a microfiber towel for waxing the exterior. Sam also warns against using dish soap for washing your car! Car wash has a lifting agent in it, so the dirt will not scratch your car as you wash it off (and will absolutely scratch your car if you bring out your bottle of Dawn!) So it’s not hype, car wash will actually protect your car and  the paint!

Interesting tips as we start getting into warmer weather…

Avoid parking near mulch! Mulch has little, black seeds in it that are both carried by the wind and actually pop in the heat and stick to your car! These seeds are bad for the paint and hard to get off! If you have parked next to mulch and have these seeds on your car and your normal washing hasn’t cleaned them off then Sam offers this tip – use a pencil eraser to erase the seeds.

And if you’re avoiding parking near things, then let’s avoid parking under trees! Tree sap is sticky and cumbersome to get off your car! You can immediately try and wash it in hot water, but if that fails because it’s sat on your car for more than 20 seconds, then try using rubbing alcohol. Put some on a rag and it should wipe right off!

Road Paint Reimbursement?!?

Because the weather is warming up, road crews are out fixing up pot holes and repainting faded road lines. Road paint looks great on pavement but not so great on the side of your car. If you come across wet road paint, you want to wash your car immediately. If by the time you get home the paint has dried, you can get your pressure washer out. But we know how stubborn dried paint can be to remove, so if you still have paint on your car after washing and power washing, then there is a little known reimbursement program set up in Pennsylvania. You write down the place and time where the road was being painted and the state will reimburse you. You can come to Fred Beans, get written estimate and we’ll submit the paperwork for the reimbursement for you.

So now you have our trade secrets for the best detailing practices for your car. But sometimes we can have all the information but would rather have someone do it for us anyway. If that’s the case you can set up a car detailing appointment online here.

Happy cleaning!