Foam Buffing Pad Colors

With all the pads on the market today it's easy to get confused as to what pad is what and the aggressiveness level of each pad. They all vary by color, pad design, and level of aggressiveness but it's easy to assume that every color is the same throughout the different manufactures. Although they all might look the same there are differences so hopefully I can help you by knowing what to look for when choosing your buffing pads.

Do not pay attention to the color but do pay attention to the aggressiveness level of the pad.

The Most Common Aggressiveness Levels

  • Heavy Cutting Pad
  • Light Cutting Pad
  • Polishing Pad
  • Finessing/Finishing Pad
  • Ultra Soft Waxing Pad

There are other levels in between such as Heavy Polishing, Soft Polishing, and other variables such as Euro Foam and PPI Rating but the list above describes the most common pads to keep it simple. Some other variables are the face design and size of the foam pad, this is where you will have to find what works best for you.

Wool Pads also vary in aggressiveness and size so like foam pads choosing by aggressiveness is key. Keep in mind that some wool pads are actually a blend and can be found in "twisted" or "untwisted" wool as well as a mix of both.

Here are the most common wool pads

  • Heavy Cutting Wool Pad

  • Light Cutting Wool Pad

  • Polishing Wool Pad

Hopefully this helps you in your pad selection so you end up with the pads you want instead of being disappointed to find that you bought a different pad than what you thought it was.

The Overwhelmed Newbie

So you just bought a new new ride and want to make it shine, or maybe you have just been bitten by the detailing bug. You get on the computer and do a quick search for detailing supplies which leads you to a plethora of online retailers and detailing forums, that's where it begins.......
It is easy to get caught up in all the hype and marketing these days which often times leaves the newbie with more questions then answers so joining a detailing forum is usually the first thing most newbies do so they can ask questions and get user reviews on detailing supplies. Online forums can be a wealth of information and a place where you can find other newbies, weekend warriors, and even top notch professionals who post the details they do and even techniques.
Common Forum Frustrations
One of the biggest things that frustrates newbies the most when they see spectacular results from a pro detail, go out and buy the products that pro used, and get different results. Remember, these guys do this everyday so don't slam your head in the door on the first try. Learn from your mistakes and realize that there are many different reasons for the products and techniques used depending on the task at hand. Most pros have special techniques that they use and sharing all of them isn't the best business practice.
Don't be afraid to use the forum search function and also ask questions, while there is a lot of good info saved in forums sometimes you may have a question that is unique to your specific vehicle or concern. Sure you might get flamed for asking sometimes but hey, you will never know if you don't ask right?
Be aware that there is a thing called "The Flavor Of The Month" where a product or similar will be hailed as the best thing since sliced bread only to be forgotten by the next flavor of the month. Try not to get caught up in hype but do pay attention to consistency in use from a wide variety of people. Good products that stand the test of time will often be easy to spot because they will be talked about and used without the hype.
Product reviews can be helpful especially when done by a unbiased reviewer simply documenting their findings based out of curiosity. Also learn more about the vehicle you are working on, know what to expect from your car by learning things like the harness or softness of your paint, is it clear coat or single stage paint? This really helps when making a plan of attack for that anticipated detailing day.
Purchasing Online
Be an informed consumer, now that you have done a ton of reading and asking questions it's time to pull the trigger on the goodies! Now that you have done some homework you are getting into the realm of the informed consumer but still might have questions so naturally you want to ask your potential retailer. If you have any doubts about the products in your cart or would simply like an explanation as to how a product works always email or call. You don't want to spend your hard earned cash on something you are not sure of.
There are a ton of retailers out there and they are all fighting to earn your business so don't waste time on a company who is unwilling to return an email or say "read the product description" for details. All retailers are not created equal! Before opening my own online store I ordered from many different retailers with varying experiences.
There are so many products out there it will make your head spin! Pay attention, know that a good All Purpose Cleaner will do the job of 5 different products alone saving you money in the long run, you can always try the "specific" products later. An honest retailer will tell you this instead of selling you a case of head rest cleaner (if there is such a thing lol).
You Are On Your Way.......
Hopefully you now have a plan of attack since getting bit by the detailing bug and can go out there and hold your own in the wide world of detailing. Remember, you don't have to turn out a pro detail the first time around, be patient and educate yourself because in the long run it will only save you time and money.
I hope you find this info helpful on your quest for bling!

The Basics Of Winter Care

Well winter is just around the bend and as most of us know it means major road grime and nasty salt on your vehicles exterior and even your interior. Winter prep is a must especially if you live in an area where snow is the norm. While most of us have windshields the guy in the picture looks like he is going to have one hell of a winter!

One of the most common questions enthusiasts often ask is "what should I use to protect my vehicle through winter?" I think a better question is "how do I protect my vehicle through winter". With winter prep most enthusiasts often do one final polishing before adding their final layer of winter protection.

Some of the basics include:

  • A long lasting wax or paint sealant
  • Working windshield wipers and water repellent
  • Interior protection such as rubber floor mats
  • Protecting your wheels
  • Protecting rubber and other components under the hood

The use of spray waxes/sealants really help during the winter months to boost protection, plus they are easy to use and can be applied while drying. Most spray waxes can be applied to your exterior glass and trim without the worry of staining trim. Generally paint sealants offer lasting protection over a carnauba wax but there are exceptions to this with wax products such as collinite. You may also choose to "top" your sealant with a wax. Multiple layers of a product can be affective to a point so choosing a long lasting product to begin with is crucial if you are going to stay protected through winter.

We all know that an old pair of windshield wipers really does not do much of anything except make your visibility a nightmare so changing your wipers is a good thing. There are lots of water repellent products on the market for glass today with varying results but I have found that a simple spray wax can work wonders for glass by beading water away as it would on paint. The technology available today is increasing the longevity of spray waxes/sealants.

Protecting your vehicles interior is just as important as protecting the exterior! After all, you wouldn't want a show vehicle on the outside and an old beater on the inside right? Not all floor mats are equal, some look good while others perform good. I really like and recommend rubber floor mats with a slightly raised surface to catch debris and they will actually hold water which is excellent for catching all that melting snow from your shoes.

Interior protection can come in many forms such as floor mats, plastic covers, interior fabric guards, UV resistant dressings, leather cleaners and protectants, and the list goes on! Seat covers can be found almost anywhere and come in many styles to fit your needs. Plastic seat covers are good but you don't want your backseat to look like your grandmas couch right? One product I highly recommend is Ultima Interior Guard Plus as it protects just about every surface in your vehicles interior.

Most of us in harsh winter area's change our wheels and tires for snow and ice but some of us don't. I personally use my stock wheels for winter driving but I want to keep them looking nice for the resale! There are a variety of wheels out there ranging from painted to chromed, and there is also a way to protect each of these wheels with products that are made for your specific wheel type. Generally speaking you can use a wide range of protection products on many different wheels. Waxing wheels or using a paint sealant is a great way to keep them protected through winter plus this is where our good friend Mr spray wax comes in again.

You wouldn't think that protecting the hoses and plastic etc under the hood would be important but it is! Road salts and grime can get under the hood and reek havoc on your hoses and plastics. This is where a good exterior dressing can keep things from drying out or becoming stained or faded. The last thing you need in a snow storm is a dried out and blown coolant hose.

These are just some basic guidelines to winter protection and there will be more articles dealing with more specific things such as winter washing, etc. Comments and additions to this are welcome! Thanks for reading!

New TDS Blog!

New TDS blog will be full of usefull info for the detailing enthusiast and detailing related articles. More to come as I learn my way around =)