When you buy a new car you expect it to have rolled right out of the factory in pristine condition, right? Unfortunately, this is not what actually happens. Chances are, unless you’ve custom ordered the car, its been quite some time since it was at the plant, and you had better believe that the car has swapped hands once or twice. Sure, it’ll be spot cleaned and buffed a few times here and there, but believe me, your brand new car is in dire need of a detail. Here’s why…
The finish may have been butchered.
One of the major factors in why your new car needs to be detailed is what happens to the car between rolling out of the factory and being parked in your driveway. Chances are multiple dealerships and distribution centers have seen and touched your car before you have. During that time your car is going to be “prepped” by someone in the service department. I’ll let you in on a little secret… most dealerships have an inexperienced detailer with a high speed machine quickly go over your car to make the finish glisten, unknowingly creating swirl marks. Sure the polishes will hide the damage for a few weeks, but once they’ve diminished you’ll notice the butchering your car has received all because the dealer didn’t allow the proper time and attention needed to detail it. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, not all dealerships do this – some are better than others and that’s for you to decide when you go to buy your car. I can’t tell you how many customers have come into our shop in Chicago and after a week or two of driving their brand new car they notice it covered in deep swirls that only a machine could’ve caused. A paintwork correction detail by a professional should do the trick and fix any damage that may have been caused by a dealership.
You must protect the clear coat.
Every new car needs to be protected. Now don’t be a fool and purchase the $120 incredi-wax from the dealer – most are a complete sham (basically a spray on sealant that coats the car for a month or two). Additionally, contrary to popular belief, the factory does not put a protective layer of wax on the car for you. The car you receive is basically naked with clear coat protecting the paint and nothing to protect the clear coat itself. This leaves your finish highly susceptible to environmental contaminants that cause imperfections. All you have to do to combat this is give your car a once over with a quality paint sealant. You’ll be protected for upwards of 6 months (depending on the product) from dust, debris, fallout, and UVs.
The ‘New Car’ Detail
Correct the problem…
Now that you know why, it’s time to give your brand spanking new car its detail. You might be thinking that you need to polish your car right away to remove the embedded swirls, but that would be hasty. Wait until you see swirls to address the problem, as some cars (such as those you order straight from the factory) probably won’t be as bad as others that have been sitting in a lot for months on end. If/when the swirls do happen, either take your car to a professional or learn how to remove scratches and swirls (also known as paintwork correction).
As an alternative, if you use a finishing glaze followed by a wax you will successfully fill and hide any existing imperfections. This is known as paintwork preservation, which is a conservative process where you fill-in imperfections rather than cut the clear coat to create a smooth finish. (Read: Preservation vs. Correction)
No matter which procedure you use to achieve a perfect finish, you’ve got to protect your car immediately after. Your new car is extremely vulnerable to the environment; UVs, debris, fallout, dust… they’re all gunning for the downfall of your clear coat. As always, I recommend a paint sealant for longterm protection. And keep this in mind: it is essential for a new car to be protected, not just once, but regularly.
You’re now ready to give your new car the detail it’s needed since the day you bought it, so what are you waiting for? Your car certainly isn’t going to detail itself (yet – more on this later). Let us know how it goes and share your ‘new car’ horror stories with us if you have any. If I’m not mistaken we’ve heard of holograms, swirls, stained paint, mirror gashes, and stained rims on new cars… but I’m sure there are more out there.