by Jim Kerr
Clean cars look good, have a higher resale value and keep your clothes clean when you climb in and out. Washing your car is a simple job that many of us undertake on a regular basis. Then there are those that pamper their vehicles and keep them spotless all the time. They may even take them into a Detail Shop to give it that special touch. Most used car dealers also run their vehicles through a detail shop before they are put on the sales lot because dealers know detailed vehicles capture top dollar for their sale.
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The specialists at a Detail Shop know how to clean soiled upholstery, clean carpets, polish the paint and chrome, touch up paint chips and make those tires glisten. They use a variety of tools and cleaners to accomplish their tasks. Many of the cleaners are available at your local auto parts store but the tools were always an afterthought. Even the professional detailers used tools that were often home-made. Now, Black Magic, a company long known for offering automotive shine products, has designed a full line of detailing tools and are offering them for sale at Canadian Tire stores across the country this month.
Every good detailing kit starts with a good water bucket. Some are better than others and the Black Magic bucket tops the list with its Advanced Grit-Trap. The Grit-Trap separates the grit from the wash water so you don’t scratch the paint when you need more water on your cloth or sponge. Shelves on the bucket edges keep sponges dirt free and double as drying racks after the job is done.
Many people use one sponge to wash a car. Black Magic has three, each for a distinct purpose. Their Pro Clean Easy-Grip sponge is for general purpose cleaning and is shaped for easy holding. The Bug and Tar sponge comes with a soft side for regular washing and a textured surface for tough grime. Finally, their Chenille-Covered sponge is super sudsing and cleans gently for a wet look shine. Each comes with a mesh bag for washing and drying the sponges.
No detailer would be without their brushes. A wheel brush with a long handle and soft edges makes cleaning clear-coated wheels a much easier task. Wire wheels and hubcaps are best cleaned with a spoke brush, while a tire brush with stiff bristles will make those tires look almost new. Smaller brushes are useful too. Black Magic’s Finishing Tool has a small brush on one side and a rubber tip on the other. The rubber tip reaches dirt in small places and the tool is ideal for removing wax build up along vehicle seams and trim.
I often use a Vent brush. It is a brush with very soft bristles and it is perfect for cleaning around dash buttons, instrument panels and switch assemblies. It will remove the dirt and dust without marking soft plastic buttons or trim.
After several months of harsh weather, even the best cared for vehicle can benefit from some protective wax. Using the correct tool make applying the wax much easier. Black Magic has developed a hand waxing system with three interchangeable bonnets. Use the mesh bonnet for applying the wax. Switch to the terry-clooth bonnet for wax removal and then the woolly bonnet for buffing. The Pro’s use similar bonnets, usually with power tools, but the hand waxing system works equally as well. It just takes a little longer, but eliminates the possibility of overheating the paint on body edges when using power tools.
There are also many other specially designed detailing tools such as colour-coded applicator pads with tapered corners to reach in those tight spots. The pads are colour-coded so they can be used to apply waxes, protectants and tire coatings without mixing up the pads.
Over the years, I have detailed vehicles for auto shows, cruise nights and personal satisfaction. It is a relaxing way to spend a hour or two and the right tools make the job a lot easier. Not only will your car or truck look a lot better, it will be worth more too.