Vehicle detailing is an old profession, dating all the way back to the far-back days of horses and carriages. As automotive companies displaced those same carriages, auto detailing took its rightful place as a connected industry where service and innovation continue to thrive. By 2020, the sector is resplendent with new detailing products (new sealants, for instance) being released and lauded by many for their lasting and powerful effects.
Some people, on the other hand, tend to favor the older products like waxes which they feel are steady and reliable whereas many new technologies are nothing but passing fads.
In our recent Podcast, we explored the differences between these “classic” products and the newcomers to the marketplace, and analyzed the reasons that people decide to stick with the old instead of moving with the times and going for the newer items. Regardless of which side you fall into, the issue is more nuanced than you know. Below we’ll explain in more detail.
Why do some people steer clear of new detailing technologies, no matter what?
It’s true that some people are just die-had fans and are committed to sticking with their “wax-on, wax-off” approach to detailing. In fact, I’m not writing today to say that these people are wrong. Car waxes are still a reliable and simple way to provide great protection to your car’s paint. I will say, however, that I think the conversation has been somewhat tainted by misinformation and misunderstanding on many people’s part.
What do I mean by that?
Well, some people seem to stick to traditional methods because they are very put off by the overly aggressive marketing style employed with some of the new products. There’s a lot of surrounding new car care and detailing products, and sometimes the seemingly incredible claims they make are enough to make experienced drivers skeptical. In this way, I think it’s understandable that some people decide to stick with their regular car waxes, as they see consistent results and don’t have to worry about buying into any false hype.
Another big reason is just a lack of familiarity with what’s available. Aforementioned hype also blinds potential buyers to the very practical and demonstrable benefits that they offer. When you are unaware that there are very measured and reasonable factors that make new products superior to old ones, and instead have been bombarded with commercial bluster, then it’s no wonder you just stick with the tried-and-tested methods.
What are the key differences and Pros/Cons that exist between new and old methods?
First of all, when it comes to the older car wax products, it’s undeniable just how easy they are to use, which no doubt adds to their allure with those skeptical of newer items. Besides being easy to apply, they have also never lost their efficacy even as new competitors have arisen. Waxes still work great, and many detailers continue to offer waxing packages. It’s a solid, sensible approach which many stick with because they see it as a question of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
What I believe is a pity, however, is that the misinformation and misunderstandings that old-school detailing fans have been subject to has perhaps blinded them as to the reality of the many modern products that are available. The fact is that modern sealants made with innovative and highly advanced polymers not only deliver the same shine and visible results that waxes do, but their effects last for much longer. Years of research has come up with advanced formulas that can offer protection as high as 8-12 months depending on how much you use your car, whereas a typical wax will only offer 1-2 months of protection.
Besides the lasting effects of modern techniques, they are also infinitely more durable and varied, offering tougher protection against a greater array of contaminants and on-road dangers. These techniques also include significant updates to existing technology like the application buffer. It used to be that you’d never use a regular buffer when waxing your car, but a modern dual-action buffer is specifically designed to perform the task of application more evenly and thoroughly than when you do it by hand. Old-school users instinctively shun the buffer, believing it to be incompatible with their preference. If only they knew!
So, does all this mean that modern techniques are always better than the old ways?
Absolutely not. New detailing products are not infallible, nor are they superior to old ones in every way. They do have significant advantages, in my view, but even I can’t deny some of the potential problems. Firstly, any detailing tool, old or new, can spell disaster in the hands of an untrained or unprofessional detailer. New products are also hyped up with claims like the protection will last 12 months. Little do users know that the 12-month promise frequently applies only if you keep your car on the driveway all year long. In reality, they will protect for about 8 months under normal driving conditions. This kind of misleading promise is something of a black mark on the part of advertisers.
Having said that, I won’t deny that as I see it the newer products are better for your car overall. In the hands of trained professionals, these products offer superior protection and are also better tailored to the specific materials of the inside and outside of your car. Old-style all-purpose cleaner will never be as good as using purpose-made products for a particular material, like leather for example.
Those silicone-based products used by many car washes offer a quick and easy glossy shine to your dash, but it’s somewhat artificial and won’t provide optimum protection.
The way I see it, the clue is in the name. It’s car “detailing” so that means you have to pay more attention to each detail, and modern products are designed to do that. Even the high-end products like ceramic coatings may seem to cost a lot more on the surface, certainly a lot more than a monthly wax, right? But ignoring ceramic coating can be a false economy when you factor in the years-long protection it offers, and money you save on regular detailing that you would need without it.
At the end of the day, while there is a lot of hype out there, there’s also a great deal of truth propping it up. Search for the truth and explore ways to combine the old and new to create special detailing results.
If you have questions on car detailing and would like help from an industry expe