Wellness for your car

Wellness for your car

Lifestyle

When you need to wash your car, do you head to the nearest petrol station with a carwash for a quick wash and wax? Why not try cleaning your car like a pro, at least once? Storyboard asked a detailing expert about the best way to manually wash your car.

30. 4. 2020

Most of us will never devote the kind of painstaking attention to our cars that professional detailer Jaromír Drahokoupil does. But can we learn something useful for everyday life from his experience and expertise?

“Sure, it’s easy to keep a car in good shape by ordinary washing. If you observe a few basic rules, it’s highly likely your car will stay beautiful for a long time. The main thing is the equipment you use,” he explains.

Jaromír Drahokoupil
profesional detailer

If you decide to treat your car to some proper pampering, you’ll probably reach for the standard combo of sponge and bucket with water and shampoo. “That’s your first mistake: all sponges are unacceptable, because they can damage the car’s paint. And standard old shampoos don’t have what modern paints require. Today, car cosmetics are pH neutral, and shampoos contain components that help the shampoo slip over the paint surface without harming it,” Drahokoupil says, revealing the first secret of modern car-care products.

Jaromír Drahokoupil

Jaromír Drahokoupil and his JD Detailing brand have provided individual car care for demanding clients since 2013. The painstaking care means the car ages more slowly, retaining its value as an investment.  Expensive limos and iconic veterans, such as the ŠKODA FELICIA cabriolet from the video beneath this paragraph, have passed through his careful, loving hands. He prepares cars before they even hit the road, taking care of interiors and covering the body with ceramic protection. He spends at least a week on each car and claims that the car is better than new after he’s worked his magic on it.

 

The two buckets method should be used. The ideal bucket contains a special grit guard that keeps any impurities on the bottom of the bucket and stops them from reattaching themselves to the washing glove. Yes, you read that right – forget cloths and sponges. Car bodies are washed with a glove.

Another common mistake according to Drahokoupil is washing a car without rinsing it down first. The car should first be rinsed with foam and water, allowing the water pressure to remove coarse impurities from the bottom of the body to the top. This technique means that the foam remains applied to the body longer and the water we rinse it off with then washes off the remaining impurities with ease. And what’s more, it’s easier to see if you have left out any areas. If we rinse it off from the top, the foam will be washed off the entire car straightaway and we won’t see which parts we’ve missed.


The necessary tools don’t cost the earth

Now that you’ve read all this advice, are you thinking it must cost a fortune? Wrong! And what’s more, it’s an investment that will certainly pay off. To give you an idea: the price of special washing mitts starts around at ten euros; a bucket with a grit guard insert costs fifteen to twenty euros; and a towel costs around 15 euros. As for shampoo, it depends on the amount, but a litre-bottle costs around ten euros, the same as you’ll pay for wax. Iron wheel cleaner can come to 50 euros, but you get a gallon, or three and a half litres, for that. And if you think your car’s wheels aren’t black enough, you can even buy some tyre blackener. That’ll set you back thirty to forty euros.


Alchemy combined with painstaking manual labour

When it comes to taking care of his clients’ cars, Jaromír Drahokoupil goes beyond what most of us would regard as normal and necessary. He even polishes exhaust mufflers or the underside of the bonnet, and applies ceramic coating protection to the wheel arches, exhaust pipes and brake callipers.

And his customers appreciate it. They’re people who are passionate about cars. It doesn’t matter if it’s a supercar, an ordinary limousine or a veteran in their garage.

People have recently been discovering the advantages of protecting their car as soon as they buy it and before they take it out on the road. Roughly three-quarters of Jaromír Drahokoupil’s work involves these kinds of jobs; the rest consists of renovating the paintwork on old cars and veterans.

And how does he spend the week working on this kind of job? “I start with paint decontamination, for example, which means cleaning airborne rust off the surface.  That’s followed by clay cleaning, using a special clay for mechanical cleaning. Then I tape over the plastic and rubber parts, before polishing, polishing and polishing once again. That’s necessary because even brand-new cars can have marks from transportation or from the brushes used in car showroom carwashes. After polishing, the surface is degreased several times. Then, two layers of ceramic coating are applied, using a special lamp to cure it. Meanwhile, the wheels are taken off and cleaned and degreased. The wheels are also treated with ceramic coating - and the same fate awaits the brake callipers, plastic wheel arches, other plastic parts, exhaust pipe(s), headlights and windows.  One popular recent innovation is a hybrid polyurethane film, which is attached mainly to the front of the car to protect it from grit kicked up by other cars,” Drahokoupil explains.

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