Classic Car Care Pro Tips

by Bill Fetter

Immaculate Paint Protection helps new car owners protect their future classic cars, so they look awesome and stay looking new for years to come.

Think of THE car—You know, the one your dad kept tucked safely away under a tarp in the garage, or the one your buddy shows off at barbeques. Being the proud owner of THE car might seem like too much work or like a daunting task, and that’s partially true; maintaining a classic car and getting it ready can be a real challenge, but often the best tips and biggest mistakes to avoid are actually the least expensive and easiest to implement. By following the proper steps, the whole process can be made easy and enjoyable. If you just want to drive and don’t care how the car looks, that’s fine. But if you’re the kind of Car Guy or Gal who sees themselves as a custodian protecting a treasure for the next owner, these tips are for you.

1. Learn what is required to “safely” wash a car Almost all the paint damage we see is from improper car washing. If you’re going to do it yourself, here are the tools I recommend for a good wash: A grit guard; two buckets; high-quality microfiber towels in different colors to separate interior, paint, and wheels; a high-quality wash mitt; a soft wheel brush; and a tire brush. Take a look at our website to see how to use these items. I go into depth and “give away” our car washing secrets. You’ll want to learn the proper car wash methods for one of two reasons: First, you may be a DIY hands-guy who likes a good, clean hobby, or second, if you’re more into paying others for their labor, you’ll at least know what to look for in a quality shop. Unfortunately, we have seen a lot of paint damage done on new cars by so-called professional detailers at dealerships and hand car washes. Investigate first before you drop your vehicle off. Don’t let just anyone wash your car.

2. When going to car shows, please, please, please, stop with “dry dusters.” Yes, I know the packaging says “safe, swirl-free dust removal,” but that’s so far from the truth. If you really need to wipe the car down, use a high-quality detail spray and make sure you use high-quality CLEAN microfiber towels. You should have six to eight towels per vehicle. Use the towel once, then wash it cold and dry it on low heat. You’ll see guys wipe cars down with dirty towels. This breaks my heart—it’s counterintuitive and not necessary.

3. Buy professional-grade products. We recommend Gyeon products because we are certified to install those products. Am I pushing aproduct I sell? Well, yes and no. I’ll answer the hard question I get about other products. I don’t know all the products, but I do know there are great products. I also know there are really terrible products out there, too. In my experience, the Gyeon products in my shop are exactly the type of quality car care products that make the experience fun and rewarding.

4. Remember that a high-quality shop won’t be cheap, and a cheap shop won’t be high quality If you’re really ready to spend some money and want to find a professional, here are some questions you want to ask while looking for a highlevel detailer: Will the shop evaluate your vehicle under no obligation? Will they answer your questions? Will they provide documentation on the work done? Do they have insurance? Are they recommended by a friend or a trusted car guy? A professional should ask you what kind of car person you are, and they should ask you about your car and then come up with a plan.

A true professional should also balance the needs of clients along with what is best for the vehicle. Maybe you’re blessed and have an unlimited budget. Maybe you can afford to have a multiple-step paint correction and heavy compounding machine buffing with additional machine polishing to maximize gloss. But that doesn’t mean you need it or that it will be safe for your vehicle. Sometimes you can’t fix everything. You pay a pro because they know when to stop.

5. Know yourself before you go shopping for professional services. The other scam we see a lot is that some unethical shops will take advantage of car guys, usually ones with high-end sports cars. The shop is either unqualified to work at that level, and they want to have a high-end car to “flex” on Instagram, or they see deep pockets and push hard for a sale. Here’s a dirty secret: Believe it or not, not everyone in the automotive industry is honest. Some of my competitors are real stand-up, honest, hard-working, and ethical gentlemen. But unfortunately, I’ve also seen some shops take on jobs that were way outside their talent level, so be wary.

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About the author: Bill Fetter’s passion for cars started at an early age, as he loved anything with wheels. Throughout his childhood, Bill observed his dad’s work as a mechanical engineer turned marketing manager and proud lifelong employee of General Motors. During high school, Bill honed his passion for cars by handwashing and detailing his neighbors’ vehicles. Knowing he wanted to be in the automotive industry, Bill earned a degree in Industrial Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. He’s worked as an engineer in the automotive manufacturing, medical device, steel industry, and pharmaceutical manufacturing fields.

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