No Detail is Too Small When Keeping Vehicles Beautiful All Year Long - Ops Share Their Detailing Dos and Don'ts

Posted on August 1, 2007

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1. What are your favorite detailing and cleaning products for your fleet vehicles?


Meguiars polish and leather conditioner.” – MARK ROBERTS, FLEET MANAGER, THE LIMOUSINE CONNECTION


“We buy exclusively from FinishMaster Automotive and Industrial Paint. My favorite products from the company are Rubber & Vinyl Shine, Hot Shot Degreaser for wheels, and Blast Super Cleaner car wash soap with built-in wax.” – RODNEY FRAME, FLEET MANAGER, LIMOUSINE SCENE


“You need to have a very good chamois that picks up all of the water and does not streak the finish of the vehicle.” – NICK VAVINIS, MAINTENANCE MANAGER, MONTREAL LIMOUSINE WORLDWIDE


“It all starts with the cleaning cloths you use. I use a thick micro fiber cloth because it works on everything, including fiber optic ceiling panels. For all interior wipe-downs, I use Pledge Multi-Surface Cleaner. It works on everything, including windows. On the carpets I use Turtle Wax Carpet Cleaner with Oxy-Clean.” – DAVE ALLEN, OWNER, SPOKANE RACING LIMOS


“We use Stoner for exterior surface cleaning products and MALCO for polishing, compounding, and tire shine products. We use vinegar and water for an all-purpose cleaning product and Febreze for freshening up the interiors and covering any possible odors.” – RON ROSKE, FLEET MANAGER, MAJESTIC LIMOUSINES


“We use a vendor from Production Car Care products.” – CHRIS QUINN, PRESIDENT/CEO, CORPORATE TRANSPORTATION SOLUTIONS, INC.


“Our detail department stocks a full line of ‘PRO’ car care products from BAF Industries to help keep our fleet of vehicles looking sharp. These include Auto Gloss Wash, Clay Bar, #1 Polish, Swirl Eliminator, and Cherry Finishing Wax. For scuffs and scratches our detailers rely on ‘Perfect-It II’ by 3M.” – PAUL NICHOLAS, FLEET MANAGER, DIVA LIMOUSINE



2. What advice would you offer on ways to quickly refresh and clean vehicles between clients?


“When a runner is soiled, roll it up and throw it in the trunk. Use a small whisk broom for sweeping small piles of dirt, and then use a lint roller to pick up the pile. Keep a second set of glassware in the trunk with napkins already folded and ready to go for quick change out. Use a Rubbermaid tub to carry enough ice from the ice chest into the car at one single time with a stainless steel ice scoop.” – RODNEY FRAME


“Use a non-offensive deodorizer and glass cleaner with paper towels. Keep a portable vacuum and tire shine in the vehicles. If there is no vacuum, make sure all of the dirt is off of the floor in the back. One way to accomplish this is to shake out the mats and brush all the other dirt under the floor mat until you are able to vacuum the interior.” – JON EPSTEIN, PRESIDENT, ROYAL COACHMAN WORLDWIDE


“Each of our vehicles has a ‘California Duster’ in it with glass cleaner and towels. We have chauffeurs dump and shake mats to keep them fresh. A bit of tire black carried with a chauffeur is a plus.” – CHRIS QUINN


“The fastest way to refresh is to use Ozium and Turtle Wax Carpet Cleaner with Oxy-Clean. The Ozium removes all odors within seconds and the Turtle Wax makes the interior smell fresh.” – DAVE ALLEN


“We keep a whisk broom (for cleaning the carpets), micro-weave towel (for wiping down interior and glass surfaces), a couple of paper shop cloths (for wiping down wheels), and a California brush (for dusting the exterior) in each vehicle. Our chauffeurs are expected to use these items as needed, between each client, to assure that each has the experience that we promise them.


“In our limos, we keep a spray can of tire shine that is used to put that bit of extra shine back on the tires and Febreze to eliminate any hint of the vehicle having been used since it was last detailed.


“In the mini coaches we keep a roll of paper towels, extra trash bags, and Febreze. The paper towels are used for any big spills, and the trash container is emptied and a new liner put in so that each set of clients start their experience with a clean container.


“We also highly recommend that these actions be taken at a convenience store or similar location so that the chauffeur has access to water for cleanup, if needed.” – RON ROSKE


“For a quick touch-up between clients, we advise our chauffeurs to use a high quality duster on the exterior and a small hand vacuum to remove dust and dirt from the interior. If necessary, dirt, spots, smudges, etc. should be removed from the windshield and windows with a non-streaking glass cleaner and a damp cloth.” – PAUL NICHOLAS


3. What are some dos and don’ts you would recommend for detailing vehicles?


“It is important to remember not to detail a car too frequently. The repeated use of high speed buffing machines on the exterior could cause premature paint wear and a dulled sheen.


“When cleaning interiors, do the windshield and windows last to avoid smudging them while cleaning dash boards, door panels, headliners, etc. Also, keep interior cleaners from coming in contact with clear plastic instrument panel coverings, as these cleaners have a tendency to spot and/or fog the plastic.


“And after cleaning upholstery, mats, and carpeting, don’t forget to rinse these items to remove all traces of cleaner residue, which if left in the material, will act as a magnet for dirt and dust.” – PAUL NICHOLAS

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