Professional Carwashing & Detailing

In with the new, embracing the old

October 11, 2010

The detailing industry has come a long way since the days when animal fat-based waxes were used, automatic transmission fluid was used to shine trim, EZ-Off oven cleaner was used to remove paint, and Coca-Cola was used to shine tires. Today’s detail products work more efficiently and better than those used in the past.

At the recent Car Care World Expo, held this April in Las Vegas, new water-based tire dressings were on display, as well as heated carpet extractors and other equipment; all signs that the industry is still innovating and growing.

David J. Mazzarella, president and CEO Mazzarella Car Care Systems, LLC, a company, based in Boston, that researches and develops bio-degradable, environmentally safe chemicals for the detail industry, said that in order for a product to make a splash it has to help make a car last and look better longer. “People are holding onto their cars longer, that’s why car dealerships aren’t doing too well.” Today’s products, he said, “also have to give more bang for your buck.”

Embracing the new
In some cases, the changes in the detail industry aren’t exactly technology-based, but instead simply an adjustment in attitude and practice. In recent years, operators have embraced existing products with a renewed vigor, explained R.L. Bud Abraham, the president of Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems, of Portland, OR; a member of the Western Carwash Association Board of Directors; and executive director of the International Detailing Association (IDA).

According to Abraham, products like waterless wash chemicals and vapor steamers have been used in Europe for years but are only now making real headway in detail shops across the country.

Also, he added, larger vapor steamers are being used for “cleaning cars with little water. You zap the car with the steamer and then wipe off the dirt, etc.” They work great, he said, in combination with the waterless wash products.

New products, new attitude
Mazzarella said that you always have to be on the look out for something new in order to stay in business. “It’s the same old products coming out year after year and I’m always looking for something better. But, if you have a carwash or detail shop you need to look for a product that will work with you… and you have to get your money’s worth.”

One such way detailers can improve operations at their shops is to use a dispensing station. According to Abraham, a dispensing system eliminates the need for an operator to carry around plastic squeeze and spray bottles and dilute chemicals by hand. It prevents wasted time and also reduces chemical costs, Abraham explained.

He emphasized it is important to train staff on the proper use of these systems in order to fully realize the benefits. If the technology isn’t used properly, you won’t save a dime.

Waxing in the sun
A trend making its way through the detail shops is the movement toward greener cleaners and products. Having environmentally-friendly detailing materials is key nowadays, to not only be better to the Earth, but to also draw in earth-friendly customers. These green products were showcased at CCWE 2009, and now Mazzarella said he has come up with an eco-friendly wax that can be used in direct sunlight.

Ever since Mazzarella was a kid he wanted to develop his own wax and his father told him that in order to do that, he would need a chemist. “Because I’m from Boston, I thought I would have to go to MIT or something and knock on the door of the chemistry lab. But, about three or four years ago, I decided to find a chemist and told him I need a wax that can be applied in the direct sunlight without any damaging affects that are usually associated with light and heat exposure.” He also wanted to make sure it was something that would go on and come off easily, really bring the shine back, remove oxidation and be a really strong and durable protectant.

After seven and a half months in the lab, Hot Body Wax® was born. Using authentic high-grade carnauba wax, harvested from the Copernicia Prunifera plant in Brazil, the wax will not harden or stick to oxidized or faded paint finishes.