Interested in an Auto Detailing Career? Here’s What You Need to Know About Washing Supercars
Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, Bugatti, and Aston Martin are all names that thrill the genuine car enthusiast, most of whom would give their left arm to take one of these rare exotics for a spin. Even being in the mere presence of a supercar can raise adrenaline levels—yet cleaning one is not a task for the faint of heart.
Trying to wash, wax, and buff up one of these pricey works of art to glossy perfection can make even the most consummate auto detailing pro a nervous wreck, due to the precise gentle touch needed for getting the job done right. Let’s take a closer look at what goes into cleaning up one of these highly coveted automotive machines.
The Auto Detailing Starts with the Wheels
The wheels on many supercars can pose a particular challenge to the detailer, with oversized brakes and other components of the wheel making it difficult to reach all of the grime hiding between the caliper and barrel. Soft safe brushes of the right size should be used to reach these tight spots, with special care used to prevent any damage to the finish.
Potent wheel cleaners should be avoided, as they can damage the carbon brake discs found on many supercars, as well as the matte finish of the wheels themselves. Instead, a gentle or diluted product can be used effectively for light soils. For tougher dirt, specialist matte-friendly products can be used to provide a thorough overall polish as well as to remove water spots, which tend to show up on these specialized wheel finishes.
Know What Paint Type You’re Working On
Once the supercar’s wheels have been thoroughly cleaned, it’s time to get to work on the car’s sleek exterior. Considering the type of paint you’re working with is critical for preventing damage to the finish. A Ferrari 488 Pista, as an example, has a paint job alone worth more than $30,000, partly due to a custom installation of a paint protection film (PPF) to prevent scratches.
This very special finish requires the detailer to think of specific products that are plastic-friendly, while also considering how to deal with the fragile edges of this material, which can begin to lift prematurely.
Start the Wash
Washing a supercar begins with top quality sponges, cleaning mitts, specialized car cleaning solutions, clearcoat polishes, and a power rinser. Soft clothing that’s zipper and button-free should be the uniform of the supercar detailer, due to the risk of inadvertently scratching the car’s delicate paint finish by rubbing up against the exterior as you clean.
The high points of most supercars are not much different to attend to than any other standard vehicle, but things get tricky when getting at the low-slung aspects that characterize most cars in this niche.
It can be difficult to reach intricate areas located so low down, with wash mitts and towels at risk of coming into contact with the ground beneath and inadvertently introducing damaging grit and dirt to the wash job. The detailer must employ different angles and techniques in order to reach as many parts of the extremely low-lying aerodynamic undercarriage as possible.
Pay Attention to the Tight Spots
The supercar’s various curves, cracks, angles, intakes, vents, and other generally difficult spots to reach add an additional challenge to the wash job. The trick used by Formula 1 auto detailing pros might work for the tightest spots, using compressed air to blow out loose dirt and grime without damaging the car’s delicate finish.
A combined approach to the drying of the car should be used, starting with a blow-dry to quickly and effectively remove trapped rinse water from all of those hard to reach nooks and crannies. A soft microfibre towel can be used for the final dry job.
The supercar’s paint finish should be protected using wax and sealant as a means for preventing damage from environmental elements. Detailing clay is another trick used in professional automotive detailing, which can be applied with light pressure to remove any remaining imperfections.
Being in the presence of a supercar is a rare treat for any car fan, but can nonetheless present a challenge to auto detailers. The detailing pro must get past the nerves of attending to such a high-priced piece of art, remaining focussed instead on combining patience and auto detailing methodology to the job at hand.
Are you interested in receiving specialized training to pursue an auto detailing career?
Contact ATC today to learn more about its automotive technology program!