Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Spring Automotive Detailing - APS in Fairfax Virginia

Spring has sprung - This means your car is probably covered with layers stuff that won't do your paint any favors.

 Here are some reasons to get your car detailed this spring at a place like APS in Fairfax, Virginia.

APS - Fairfax

- Undercarriage cleaning: Remove the salt residue from your undercarriage and engine bay (remember those pre-treatment brines are still active on your vehicle months later)
Undercarriage Cleaning

- Leaf and seed Removal: Remove all that stuff that falls from trees and gets trapped in your vehicles cowl, door jambs, hood, and engine jambs - that material will break down over time and cause damage to your paint.

Paint Protection
- Paint Protection: Apply either wax or sealant to your paint and protect it against the harsh sun that will increase in intensity over the coming weeks and months of summer.

Interior Protection
 - Interior Protection: Clean out the interior: again remove that salt residue from the winter, along with whatever dirt was tracked in. That salt and dirt with continue to be ground into the fibers and natural surfaces of the interior of your vehicle now is a good time to clean it out and protect it going forward

-Window Clarity: Clean your windows: properly cleaned windows and wiper blades are a safety matter, as a good vision when we're driving is critical. We also encourage the use of Aquapel to keep rainwater beading and running off your windows in heavy rain events.

Spring is a time when a lot of folks look to have their vehicles cleaned in anticipation of the summer months to come. The thought is that they will be able to enjoy the value of the money spent on a detail longer before bad weather makes their car dirty again. It's understandable, however much of the purpose for detailing is actually to protect your vehicle against damage, not only the aesthetic value gleaned from a freshly detailed car. Proper detailing, the way it's done at APS in Fairfax will make your vehicle look great - but it will also do much more. It will protect your vehicle against the environmental impacts that mother nature will throw your way. Acid Rain, UV-Rays, tree-sap, bird droppings, mud and dirt, and sand tracked in from outside, road-grime, brake-dust, the list just on and on... all year long.

We look forward to seeing you this spring for the year-round protection that your vehicle deserves.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Automotive Detailing Tips and Tricks

Taking care of your car's appearance doesn't qualify as vanity, it's smart vehicle ownership. You can hire a professional auto detailer to care for your car -- or you can swipe their secrets, do it yourself and save some dough.

There are a few professional organizations for detailers, like the National Association for Professional Detailing & Reconditioning (NAPDR) and the Professional Detailers Association, where you can find references for local detailers, but membership in either or any organization does not guarantee competence.

If you're going to hire a detailer, ask a lot of questions, ask for references and to see sample work, and agree to a price in writing before the detailing work begins.

"There are no secrets in this business anymore," said NAPDR Membership Chairman Randy Lowe, who also owns Randy's Custom Detail in Salem, Oregon. With the free flow of information on the Internet, do-it-yourselfers have access to all of the tools and tricks of the trade available to the pros.
If you choose to detail your own ride, be prepared to spend a little bit of money gathering the proper tools and materials.
You may already have most of the right stuff handy in your garage; if you must gather everything from scratch, you might spend from $30 to $100 or more, depending on how extensive you want your detail job to be
The most important material that you'll need is already in your tool kit. For Lowe, the secret ingredient is hard work and elbow grease.
"Good detailing is 90% application and 10% product," he said. "The best detailer can get decent results with decent products, but the worst detailer can't get great results even with great products." 
There are few automotive maintenance chores that are more satisfying, accessible to all skill levels and truly beneficial for your car than a good detail job.
We've collected the top secrets that will help you to get professional results, make your detailing more fun, more successful and easier.

 Secret #1: Use two buckets to wash
Detailers know that the two bucket method is the best way to get your exterior clean. Use one bucket to hold your clean suds, and another bucket to hold clean water. Before you dip your cleaning mitt into the clean suds, rinse it off in the clean water bucket and wring it dry.
Then, you're always putting a clean mitt into the clean suds that will go on your car. If you only use one bucket, you're just moving dirt off of your car, into your suds and back onto your car.

Secret #2: Join the microfiber revolution
We're living the microfiber revolution. Pro detailers use color-coded, task-specific microfiber cloths and towels for greater efficiency, lower friction and scratching and easier washing, rinsing and drying.
Microfiber will trap the lint from cotton towels, defeating the purpose of the wash. Use very little detergent and skip the fabric softener, which will coat the fibers and inhibit micro fiber's qualities. Double up on the rinse cycle, and your microfiber will perform at its best. Remove any labels and stitching before you use your towels to avoid scratching.

Secret #3: Detail your trim first

This tip comes from Hugo, Master Detailer. He suggests using a trim protestants/restorer like Mothers' Back to Black before waxing your paint. Wash and dry your vehicle, then apply the trim protestants.
The product will repel polish and wax that might otherwise stain your trim. Some pro detailers use masking tape to protect the trim during waxing -- this application can help save time and cleanup.

Secret #4: Use a buffer to apply the product, a towel to remove
Consumers sometimes get confused by the name of the tool and use a power buffer to remove wax or polish from the painted surfaces of their cars. A buffer can leave erratic swirl marks in your clear coat and paint is used to remove the product, that's not what it's for.
Use the buffer to apply wax, and then use a soft, dry cloth to remove it. You'll avoid burning the paint or damaging the clear coat, and you'll wind up with a thin, even coat of wax.

Secret #5: Get a dual action polisher
For just a little bit more than you'd spend on a good direct drive polisher and an orbital polisher, you can get the perfect blend of both tools with a dual action polisher like the Flex XC 3401 VRG, which retails for around $280.
Based in Stuttgart, Germany, Flex has been making tools since 1922 and has been building dedicated auto finish polishers since 1988. The XC 3401 VRG is detailer Randy Lowe's favorite tool for exterior finishes. He says that it will handle 90% of the polishing chores you will encounter.

Secret #6: Use a clay bar system
This secret may be out of the bag already, but it's such a good one that it bears repeating. There's no better way to remove surface contaminants from paint than with a good clay bar system. Pros have been using clay for years, and consumer versions have been on the market for at least a decade.
A good clay bar system includes a spray lubricant, usually a detailing spray, an 80 - 100-gram clay bar, and a towel. According to Hugo, our Master Detailer, after washing and drying your car, you rub the clay bar on the paint to remove "bonded environmental contaminants" without removing paint thickness.

Secret #7: Use a plastic grocery bag to check the paint surface
Here's another tip from Hugo Castillo - APS Master Detailer. Once you have cleaned your paint's surface of contaminants with a clay bar system or another cleaner, it's important to make sure that you've really removed all the dirt before you seal the surface with wax.
Put your hand in an ordinary thin plastic grocery bag, and run it over the surface of the paint. The plastic bag will amplify any bumps and imperfections so that you can go back and detail again. Keep rechecking until the surface is totally smooth, then polish (if necessary) and apply protective wax.

Secret #8: Dry your glass in two directions
Here's a great tip from Hugo: Dry your glass in two directions. Get into the habit of doing your final wipe of interior glass in a horizontal direction, and the final wipe on the exterior in a vertical direction.
Then, when you find the inevitable streak, you'll instantly know whether it's on the inside (horizontal) or the outside (vertical) of the glass. You'll get perfectly clear glass without jumping in and out of the vehicle chasing that streak.

Secret #9: Brush it first
Hugo says that when it comes to cleaning interiors, mechanical agitation is always better than chemical intervention. That means that your first line of attack is a good brush.
For instance, before vacuuming your carpeting, de-mat the fibers by using a stiff nylon brush. Then, when you vacuum, the dirt will be free in the carpet and will be much easier to extract. The same goes for door panels, though you'll want to use a gentler brush. If more aggressive cleaning is necessary, start gently, use a gentle solution of fabric cleaner, and dry with a soft cotton cloth.

Secret #10: Make static electricity your friend
To remove stubborn pet hair from your car's carpets, put on a pair of nitrile gloves (readily available in boxes of 100 from any home improvement store) and then rub your hand over the carpet. The static electricity caused by the glove will help bring the pet hair up to the surface of the carpet for easy removal by hand or vacuum. Professional detailers use a more effective method of high-pressure air in conjunction with a vacuum cleaner.

Secret #11: Leave the headliner alone
According to Hugo, there's one part of the car that detailers avoid if at all possible: the headliner. Even a little bit of agitation can cause the glue in a headliner to fail, causing way more problems than it is worth. Keep your ministrations to a minimum when it comes to cleaning, brushing and tending to the headliner fabric.
If you positively must clean your headliner, use very little moisture, and never allow it to soak through the outer fabric.

Auto detailing can be a great way to bond with your car and to make your automotive investment go farther, last longer and look better. Hopefully, these top secrets will help you and your ride along the way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Undercoating & Rust Proofing

 What is the difference between Undercoating and Rust Proofing?

Simply put, undercoating protects the frame of your vehicle and rust proofing protects the body of your vehicle. Below we are going to walk you through each of the procedures so you can get a clear idea of what the purpose of each service is. Many people ask us which is the best protection for the potential corrosion due to winter road salt application, and we always recommend undercoating for this type of protection. It gives a solid protective barrier against any salt deposits and will greatly increase the life of your vehicle’s frame.

 Undercoating: WHY and HOW we do it.

Why: To have your car or truck undercoated means having a layer of protection sprayed onto the undercarriage of your vehicle, including the floorboards, wheel wells, and frame. Since the underside of your vehicle is not washed during regular maintenance and is not even rinsed by regular rainwater, it is important to protect the exposed parts from rust and corrosion.

How: Applying an undercoating the very first thing that we're going to do is clean the whole underside of your vehicle - remove all the road grime, road salt, mud, grease - anything that contributes corrosion. Then we'll put the vehicle on our four post drive on lift, put it up in the air and dry the underside of the vehicle with our high-pressure air system. Then we'll apply a thick coating of our abrasion-resistant undercoating to the underside of the vehicle, the floor pans, frame rails, rocker panels - everything on the underside of your vehicle that doesn't move or get hot (like your exhaust system, drive train or shocks).

 Rust Proofing: WHY and HOW we do it.

Why: Rust is a sneaky beast to deal with. We have all seen cars completely rusted out on the side of the road or abandoned in a ditch, and we can picture doors with huge holes rusted out with only a hint of original paint showing. The interesting thing is that rust actually starts to accumulate on a car very early in ownership, it is just hidden away inside the floor panels, inside the doors, and underneath the wheel wells so it is impossible to see. Once you start to see the first signs of rust, it has already been growing from the inside all along. When you realize where the rust starts, the solution is a no brainer.

How: To bake up a delicious batch of rust, you only three ingredients: Iron, water, and oxygen. Since we drive out in the elements all day in vehicles made of steel, we are creating the perfect environment for rust to form, grown, and eventually devour everything in its path.

Once you know how rust forms the solution is simple. The rust proofer we use is a type of extremely thick wax that can be sprayed onto surfaces or into tight spaces using a hose. By laying a thick durable wax coating inside the doors, the hood, and between the pinch welds of the frame we remove all three of the ingredients needed for rust to form. Oxygen can’t get to the iron ore in the steel and water and condensation are repelled away on contact.

We do not spray rust proofing on the underside of the vehicle. Since it is a waxy finish it makes an awful mess, dirt sticks to it, and your mechanic will be cursing your name if they need to get in there to repair something. Since the exposed areas of the vehicle are able to dry, unlike the inside of the panels, it is much less of a risk for rust.

If you'd like to protect your vehicle against corrosion - Undercoating and Rust Proofing are great options - reach out to Automotive Protection Services in Fairfax Virginia (703) 591 0900 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Winter Time Paint Finish Protection

winter is often a time of year that we hear folks saying the same thing - "I think I'll wait until the spring before I get my car detailed "- and sure we get that... But there is more to consider. The harsh conditions of the winter weather, combined with the strong chemicals that the road crews put down can cause some serious impacts to your vehicle, it's actually the time of year when the most vigilance must be employed to protect your cars finish. Here are a few strategies that will help you protect your pride and joy until the weather turns warm again.

Get a Quality Paint Sealant Designed to Withstand Winter Weather
Superior paint protection can withstand exposure to road salt and cold temperatures. Dirt, snow, salt, and grime are easier to clean off your car’s exterior when there is a synthetic paint sealant. The polymers in modern paint sealants create an effective shield from water, road salts, and chemicals. Paint sealant will also seal paint chips and scratches, thus reducing further damage caused by oxidation.

Talk to your auto detailer about the best paint sealant options for the winter condition
ions in your area.

Protect Your Vehicle’s Tires & Wheel Wells
Freezing temperatures can damage your tires. The rubber needs to stay hydrated to prevent cracking. Get your tires treated with a quality tire dressing that not only keeps them looking good but also acts as a barrier from the harsh elements of winter and the ozone that causes rubber to deteriorate. A protective wax for your wheels will repel snow and ice. It requires regular reapplications to provide maximum protection.

Treat your wheel wells with a silicone based dressings to prevent the buildup of snow, ice and road salt. Undercoating in your wheel well is the best way to protect your vehicle against the formation of rust.

While you are at your professional auto wash, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Colder temperatures make tires under-inflated, thus making it difficult to maneuver on icy roads.

Treat the Interior of Your Car
Winter can be troublesome to leather and cloth upholstery. Cold air removes moisture from leather. In order to restore moisture to the leather, treat it with a special conditioner before the temperature dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The leather is poorly receptive to conditioner if the temperature is below 50 degrees.

Cloth upholstery can easily get water stained from even the smallest amount of snow or freezing rain on your coat and gloves when you sit in your vehicle. Professional auto detailing services wash your car seats and treat it with special products that make cloth upholstery more stain resistant. Alternatively, you can have your detailer spot clean stains as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Detailing Tips: Winter Protection

Detailing Tips:  Winter Protection 
During the winter season, our vehicles are the most susceptible to harsh conditions. The dirt and road salt that comes during this season can wreak havoc on the car’s exterior. A damaged paint finish is not only unattractive, but it can reduce the car’s value when you want to sell it or trade it in. As experts, we recommend that vehicle owners implement strategies that can prevent tire damage, rim damage, exterior paint, and body damage and undercarriage decay.

1) Regular vehicle washing
It is important that we regularly wash our vehicles during the winter season more so than any other time of the year. This is because the snow, slush, and grit combined with road salt make vehicles rust. Salt will prematurely degrade and damage sealants applied to the exterior. Hand wash and rinse the car, use a high-pressure sprayer to ensure all the grit and snow is removed. Clean the undercarriage, bumpers, wheel wells and other hard-to-reach areas that are likely to rust.

2) Seal the Paint
It is important to provide the exterior of your car with a protective coating to withstand the extreme winter conditions. A paint sealant is equipped with polymers that can shield your car against water and road salts. Salt, dirt, grime, and snow are easier to clean when your car is coated with a paint sealant. Additionally, the sealant will protect your vehicle from scratches and chips and reduces the damage caused by oxidation.

3) Remove Salt Stain from the Car Carpets
Always care for the carpets, seats, and floor mats during winter. Use a solution of half-distilled vinegar and half water to remove salt stains on floor mats, carpets, and seats. Use stiff brushes to loosen the dirt from the carpets and upholstery. It can take several scrubbing sessions to remove some salt stains completely. Salt stains on leather seats can be eliminated by the use of a conditioner that contains aloe.

4) Care for the Wheels
Just like there are protective sealants for car paint, there are specialized sealants for vehicle wheels as well. Protective tire sealants prevent brake dust adhesion and repel ice and snow from adhering to the treads. There are also nano-based ceramic glass coatings that can keep wheels safe from salt buildup, which comes with long-term consequences. Also, use specially mixed acid solutions to remove dirt, brake dust, and residue from wheels. Alternatively, we can use a nonacid product instead of acid-based cleaners since they cause oxidation on bare alloy wheels and can damage wheels with clear coatings.

Final Thoughts

While many car owners prefer to stay warm by the fireplace during the winter season, it is also nice to care for the car. Winter detailing will help avoid costly repairs while maintaining a car that is in good condition.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


During the winter, pre-treatment brine, salt, and other chemicals that are used to keep the roads clear, sand, slush, mud and other grime, all get thrown into the tight crevices under the vehicle. Those same chemicals and dirt also get splashed up onto your vehicle's paint. Not only is the road grime detrimental to the paint, but it will also cause the vehicle's underbody and frame to rust. While you should wash the salt and other chemicals off your vehicle as soon as possible during the winter, it's important to fully detail your vehicle in early spring.

Clean the Underbody and Frame.
http://apsrustandtint.com/Use a good de-greasing solvent that will cut the grime and clean the undercarriage of your vehicle to keep it from rusting the brakes, axles, frame and other steel or cast-iron parts under the vehicle. Once the underbody is clean, you'll be able to work on the rest of the vehicle. While you could clean and detail it yourself, you should have a professional detail the vehicle to ensure that it is free of dirt, grime, and harmful chemicals. See this article for more information about how to protect the undercarriage of your vehicle.

Detail the Exterior
http://apsrustandtint.com/Hand-wash the entire vehicle using a PH balanced soap. Pressure wash and scrub the wheels and wells and tires, use an iron removing product to melt away brake dust and other ferrous metal on the wheels.  Spot free rinse with reverse osmosis water, compressed air to ensure zero water spotting. Clay bar the painted surfaces to remove road tar, bugs, and other contaminants that become embedded into the painted surface paint and over time will break down your vehicles clear coat.

Interior Detailing
Detailing the interior of your vehicle is just as important as detailing the exterior. Dirt, grime, and contaminants get ground into the carpeting, even if you have
floor mats. Over time, dust and other grime get ground into the seats. Our interior detailing will make your vehicle look, feel and smell new again.

Maintaining your vehicles appearance not only improves how it looks, but it also protects it against premature ageing. To continue learning more follow us online. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Things to Do Before Getting Your Vehicle Window Tinted

Things to Consider Before Getting your vehicles Windows Tinted:

Window tinting is one of the least expensive ways to enhance your vehicle, in terms of both outer appearance and interior comfort. But if you choose the wrong material or the wrong installer, it can turn into a nightmare. Some people try to do it themselves—sometimes with disastrous results—and even choosing the right professional to do the job can be challenging because there are so many window tint installers in the DMV offering what seems like a "deal."

Things to Do Before Getting Your Vehicle Window Tinted

This article will cover the three top tasks you should undertake before getting a window film "tint" applied to your vehicle. The goal is to make you an informed consumer and allow you to make an educated decision.

First, let’s talk about the pros and cons of window tinting, as compared to factory tints or no tint at all.

 The most permanent window tint is done at the factory. The tint is embedded in the glass, so there is no chance of peeling. But factory tints offer no protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays, the is also no infrared (IR) or solar heat protection. Even though many factory tints are very dark they allow (UV) and (IR) to pass straight through and thus offer zero actual protection for your vehicles interior or for you against risks like skin cancer.
Window tint films, sometimes called “aftermarket tints,” offer protection against both Ultraviolet light and infrared heat, even with light tints that do not significantly limit visible light. The proper aftermarket films can reduce interior heat by up to 70 percent, which makes your summer drive time more pleasant; such films can also protect your skin from UV rays—and your car’s interior, which maintains the value of the vehicle.

Do your homework
Window tinting is a skilled craft, and some installation options are better than others, so it’s important to do some research before making a decision.

Get referrals from friends
Talk to friends who have had their windows tinted and find out which shops they have used and how they feel about the quality of the work. Have they had problems with the tint peeling, bubbles, the film changing color over time? Did they have a positive customer service experience? Was the pricing fair, honest and upfront?

Call—then visit—a few window tint shops
There’s no substitute for experience, the master films applicator in our shop has been applying films for over 15 years. Anyone can open a window tinting business with very low startup costs, but that doesn’t mean they can do good work.

Find out how dark window tint can legally be in your state
VLT scaleMany states and cities have laws restricting the maximum darkness of window tints because they are viewed as a safety concern for patrol officers. We’re writing this post from Fairfax Virginia - The max VLT in the front two windows in VA is 50% and in the rear of a passenger car is 35%, the rules are different in Maryland, and the District. For more detailed information about your locality follow link

Narrow your list to two or three shops with good reputations, then visit them. Here’s what to look for on your visit:

Attention to customer service – Any shop worth their salt will take time to explain what they do, why they use the materials they do, and what kinds of tinting options are available to you.
A neat, clean shop – Window tinting techniques require a clean work environment. Dust and dirt around the shop could mean contaminants in the adhesive as the tint is being applied—a real problem. Tools and workspaces should look neat and well-organized.
Samples of their work – Ask to see a window tint job they have recently completed. They should have no problem with this if their work is good and they are eager to earn your business.

Here’s what to look for on your visit:

  o        Look closely at gaskets and paint around the windows. Are there slices, nicks or scratches in them? This could be a sign of sloppy workmanship during installation.
  o        Check the edges of the tint film. There should be no flaws or lack of adhesion. Side window films should extend inside the chassis.
  o        Make sure the rear window tint is one solid piece of film. Some installers patch this together around defroster lines, but a solid piece of the film provides the best adhesion.
  o        Obviously, bubbles are a no-no. But you may see some streaking in the film, and this is normal. The adhesive will dry in a week or so, and this discoloration will go away.
Ask about their warranty – Any reputable shop will provide a warranty and stand behind it - we offer a lifetime warranty on most films, no bubbling, warping, peeling, or changing color. 
Find out how long they have been in business – Look for a shop that has been around for several years. If they have been successful for a while, they are more likely to be around later, should you run into problems with the work. Established shops are also more likely to have skilled, experienced employees.
Get a cost quote – Now it’s time to compare pricing. The lowest price tag is not always the best, but sometimes you can get excellent, cheap window tinting when a shop has its operation humming along.

Good luck!

If you have any additional questions or would like to discuss anything posted here please feel free to post a question in our comments section. 

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