Car Valeting has been around since the introduction of the combustion engine but what really does ‘car valeting’ mean?
Well, in a nutshell, valeting in automotive terms means ‘to clean’ a car. The process may involve a simple wash and leather with an interior vacuum thrown in and maybe a wax and polish for good measure but, in essence, it is just a good old fashioned clean.
Detailing on the other hand seems to have become the new ‘buzz word’ in automotive cosmetic enhancement and the majority of car valeters out there are, slowly but surely, evolving (albeit by their own unquantifiable standards) into detailers.
In actual fact, car detailing is an entirely different process and it is a highly skilled discipline that has to be carried out to a very exacting standard. Anybody can offer to valet your car, whether it be dressed up as an ‘express, mini or full… a basic, premium or super duper variant, the likelihood is that it will cost somewhere between £10 and £150 and will always be a compromise on what is actually possible.
Detailing, on the other hand, is exactly that… it’s ALL in the detail. Painstaking, laborious and uncompromised attention to detail. It is simply not possible to thoroughly ‘detail’ a car in a few hours, a full morning or even a day. Amongst many other carefully sequenced tasks, the wheels have to be removed, the engine has to be de-greased, the interior has to be treated with an anti-bacterial agent and, most importantly, the paintwork has to be de-contaminated and machine polished… twice or even three times over to achieve the perfect mirror finish. The final and most rewarding process is the application of a high quality carnuba wax. Unless, of course, you go with our recommendation to upgrade to a ceramic sealant, glass, leather and upholstery protection treatment, this being somewhat akin to your personal grooming regime… you wash, you exfoliate and you protect. After all, your car is subject to the very same toxins, contaminants and environmental fall out as you are!
Even when a new car comes out of the factory, it’s paintwork is compromised. Regardless of the car’s value and the badge that it carries on the bonnet, it is still the very same robots that apply the very same paint using the very same techniques. It is by no means a hand crafted affair and the streamlined processes are almost always implemented in the quest for efficiency and productivity rather than achieving ultimate perfection. After all, the infamous ‘orange peel’ effect in paintwork would be a thing of the past if the automotive industry hadn’t convinced us that this was an acceptable bi-product of the painting process. To cap it all, the day that you take delivery of, what is likely to be your second most valuable investment after your home (or yacht if you are fortunate enough), the chances are that some unqualified, inexperienced apprentice at the dealership will have been instructed to run a sponge and chamois over your purchase and initiated the downward spiral of degradation, even prior to your arrival. Like going for a makeover and the beautician attacking your face with a brillo pad… some things are just not meant to happen!
So, the next time you pull into the hand car wash to take up their generous offer of washing your car for a fiver, before the five strong team dive on your windscreen and start attacking your shiny bodywork and wheels with grit filled sponges, environmentally harmful chemicals and the strongest acid cleaners known to man… or before the valeter rolls up in his fully equipped van to make your car ‘gleaming clean’ in all of three hours, it may be worth considering the true value of a professional detailing treatment… particularly if you take pride in your car’s appearance and you want to enhance the long-term value of your investment.
Ribble Valley Auto Tech are IMI qualified Master Detailers, members of the Professional Valeters & Detailers Association, and Swissvax, Gtechniq and Dodo Juice accredited partners – providing the world’s finest automotive detailing products and ceramic sealants.