5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing

5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing
A completed 5 Star Reflections Auto Detail in Spring Hill, TN

Monday, March 24, 2014

How to wash your vehicle after your Detail Package from 5 Star Reflections 
The "Rinseless" Car Wash
This method for washing your vehicle is the one I personally use for keeping my black car clean after commuting 25 miles one way to and from work each day.  It does a fantastic job, but is also very inexpensive and eco-friendly.  It only takes me 20 minutes to wash my entire car (including the wheels) and only uses 2 gallons of water to complete 5+ washes!  Another bonus is the ability to wash the car IN THE GARAGE because there are no puddles of water.  You can also wash your car in the winter as you dry the car before the liquid freezes.
Items you will need:
1.  Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR).  This car care product can't be found in auto parts stores, but is one of the most versatile and easy-to-use car care products I have come across.  It is sold on Amazon or other online vendors and is very inexpensive considering it is a concentrate.  The 8oz bottle typically costs $10, but the 32oz bottle is only $5 more on most sites.  There is also a ONR Wash & Wax (green vs. blue) combo version that has wax mixed in you can use as well.
10/1/2013 update:  Turtle Wax has released a product similar to ONR - it can be found at Wal-mart & auto parts stores.  It is not as concentrated as ONR so it will be more expensive in the long run, but easier to obtain.
2.  2 Gallons of  Distilled Water - You can pick this up at any grocery store for under $1 per gallon.  You can use tap water, but I HIGHLY recommend distilled water because it will not leave water spots like tap water does.  Also, make sure you save the jugs!  You will be re-using them later.
3.  Microfiber Towels - You will need at least 20 towels.  Microfiber should be the only cloth/mitt/towel that touches the paint on your car as it won't scratch or swirl your paint like other fabrics will.  I recommend going to Costco or Sams Club as they both have economy packs for $15 that work great for this wash method.  Make sure you wash (separately from other laundry) them (no fabric softeners) and dry them (low heat) to remove any lint that may have come with the packaging.  Keep them as car wash cloths only.  Don't use them for other tasks around the house.  It will contaminate them with other chemicals or particles and damage your paint.
The following items can be picked up at your local Dollar Store for - you guessed it...$1 :
4.  A clean bucket (make sure it holds more than 2 gallons) dedicated to just washing your car.  If you can get one with a pour spout on the rim, do so.
5.  Clean plastic funnel (Tip - don't use one from your wife's kitchen or you will be in trouble - spend the $1 on a new one!)
6.  A measuring cup that measures ounces (oz) (same advice as above on taking one from the kitchen!)
7.  A clean empty 32 oz plastic spray bottle (Dollar Store bottles are fine, but Lowes has them for the same price and they are higher quality)
After reading this list, you are probably wondering about spending $30 for car wash supplies.  Good news - these supplies will allow you to wash your vehicle every week for a year and the only thing you will need to buy is a gallon or two of distilled water every few months!
The Process:
Step 1.  Measure 1 oz of ONR and add it to your bucket.
Step 2.  Add 2 gallons of distilled water to the bucket.  Be sure to save your jugs and lids for later!
Step 3.  Fill your plastic spray bottle with the diluted ONR solution using the funnel.
Step 4.  Take 10 of your clean microfiber cloths and submerge them into the bucket of solution.
Step 5.  Take 10 dry microfiber cloths and fold them in half and then half again (quarters).  This gives you 8 clean sides of each cloth to work with as you dry your car panels.
Step 6.  Take your spray bottle and mist/spray 1 panel** of your vehicle.  Start from the top of your vehicle and work your way down to encourage dirt to flow down and off your car.
**A panel consists of a roughly 3 foot by 3 foot area of your vehicle.  For example, the front panel above the front tire, the door panel below the window, the rear panel above the rear tire, 1/2 of the hood, 1/2 of the roof, 1/2 of the trunk, 1/2 of the lower bumper area on the rear of your car, 1/2 of the front bumper/grille area, windows, windshield, etc.
**Do not work on your tires/wheels - yet.  Wash the car First and clean the wheels LAST.
Step 7.  Take 1 soaked microfiber towel and wring it to where the towel is wet, but not dripping.  Make sure to wring it out over the bucket to catch the cleaning solution back in the bucket.  Fold the wet towel into quarters (8 clean sides) just like you did the drying towel.
Tip - Once you remove a clean, wet towel from the bucket - NEVER put it back in the bucket for any reason until it has been laundered and ready for the next time you wash the car. 
Tip - Do not put a wash cloth or drying cloth on the ground.  They will pick up sand and particles that will scratch your car.  If you drop a rag - grab a new one!
Doing this will ensure that you are not putting any dirt or contaminants back into your clean bucket of solution and clean towels.
Step 8.  Wipe the pre-soaked panel with the wet folded towel in long, straight, horizontal strokes (NO CIRCLES) applying light pressure to the panel of your vehicle.  Work from the top of the panel down until you have wiped the entire panel.
Tip - Inspect your towel after every stroke, if you have picked up dirt & grime on that portion of the towel, refold the towel to a clean portion before you wipe the car again.  Once you have used up all 8 sides of the towel, put it in the laundry hamper and grab a new one from the bucket of cleaning solution.
Tip - Do Not Wipe In A Circular Motion.  If by chance you do have contaminants in your cloth and it scratches your clear coat, long straight strokes are easier to polish out than circular ones.  Circular motion creates swirls in your paint.
Step 9.  Take the clean, dry and folded microfiber towel and using the same long horizontal strokes, dry the section you have just washed.  The surface should be slightly tacky at first, but will buff to a nice shine. 
**Make sure you switch sides of the towel to clean sections just like you do when washing.
Step 10.  Repeat Steps 6 to 9 for each panel of your entire car until it is clean.
Step 11.  Repeat the same process for your wheels/rims, but do not touch your vehicle's painted surfaces with the same cloths you use for the wheels as brake dust is made up of metal particles.
Step 12.  When your car is finished, take any remaining unused wash cloths left in the bucket and wring them out over the bucket to save the cleaning solution.  Put all of your dirty towels in the laundry hamper to be cleaned.
Step 13.  Take your funnel and refill the spray bottle with some of the remaining cleaning solution from the bucket.  Save your spray bottle for spot cleaning or for the next time you wash your vehicle.
Step 14.  Take your remaining cleaning solution and pour it back into the empty gallon jugs from the distilled water.  Cap the jugs and save the solution for your next wash.  Make sure you label them.
Step 15.  Wash and dry your microfiber towels SEPARATELY from any other laundry.  Use hot water, detergent, but no fabric softeners as it will damage the microfibers.  Dry them on low heat so you will not melt the fibers.  Store them for next time you need to wash your car.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall Is The Time To Protect Your Vehicle From The Elements

As the season changes from the sun baked Summer to Fall, now is the best time to protect your car from what is coming next - Winter.  Not only do nature's elements like snow and ice affect your vehicle's protective clear coat paint, but salt, chemicals, sand and other things are also out there to chip and eat away the beauty of your car.

For years car enthusiasts would put on a fresh coat or two of wax and "hope for the best" as they hunker down for the winter months.  Now, technology has developed synthetic polymers and nano-coatings that are carbon, ceramic, or resin based and can last from months to years to even lifetime protection from a single application.

There are several products out there like Opti-Coat 2.0, Cquartz, DP, etc.  So you will want to ask a professional detailer or do extensive research before deciding on which product is best for you and your vehicle.

These new coatings have been a "game changer" in regards to protecting your vehicle from the elements.  Obviously they last longer than traditional products, but they also provide the same or even better look and luster that a fresh coat of wax used to.

                  A BMW X5 SUV with a coating of Opti-Coat 2.0 & LIFETIME protection from 5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing

They do come with some drawbacks as compared to traditional paste or liquid wax protective coatings.

1.  These coatings will seal in imperfections like scratches, swirls, or paint transfers.  If you are looking to use these types of products you need to have your car "prepped" by removing as many of the defects mentioned above BEFORE you seal your vehicle.

2.  They are tougher to apply and need to be done according to the directions.  Once these products dry, they are very tough to remove and may even need to be professionally compounded or polished off to correct any misteps in application.

3.  You need to have your paint completely clean and clear of any previous waxes or sealants to have these coatings adhere and cure with your vehicle's paint.  Professional detailers use paint cleansing products and techniques to ensure this is done correctly.
  If you are interested in having one of these protective coatings applied to your vehicle, contact 5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing or visit our Facebook Page at for more information.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Remove Bird Poo & Bugs ASAP.

Bird poo is acidic and will etch your clear coat.  The same goes with bug guts.  When you do remove them - make sure it is with a cleaning solution or water and a microfiber cloth.  Dried poo and guts will scratch your paint when wiped off if they are still dry.  Taking the extra second to spray the area down will make a huge difference.  I keep a small bottle of Quick Detail Spray and a few microfiber cloths in the trunk of my car for when the need to remove contaminants arise.
Have your car detailed in Spring Hill at 5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing.  We can safely remove bugs and other contaminants from your vehicle's finish.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Microfiber Cloths For Car Care

I'm now sold on microfiber cloths and that is the ONLY cloth or towel I use on my own vehicle. The best microfiber products, which were designed specifically to do a certain job, can't be beat at what they do. They are the professional choice of detailing. Science has certainly contributed to car care through the invention of microfiber detailing tools.  They don't scratch or mar your paint and pick up dirt and particles that traditional towels can't.  You can get good quality microfiber towels from Sams or Costco and they will do a great job.  
One thing to remember is to make sure you keep them separate from other towels and don't use them for other tasks around the house.  That will contaminate them with chemicals and other things that will hurt your vehicle.  Care for them by washing separately with detergent (no fabric softener) and drying on low heat (no fabric softener).  Also, make sure you remove all tags on your microfiber cloths.  They can scratch your paint.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Invest in floor mats for your car

I know most cars come with great floor mats, but I recommend buying separate rubber floor mats and keeping the ones that came with your car in the attic or closet.  That way when you trade or sell your car, the factory mats will be in mint condition and increase your value.  Also the rubber floor mats are easier to clean and protect the carpet of your floorboard better from dirt, grime, and stains.  The worst interiors I have had to detail are because the car didn't have floor mats. 

If you are willing to spend the money - I highly suggest Weathertec.com floor mats.  They are easy to clean and are laser cut to fit your car specifically.
If you need your floor mats cleaned along with detailing the rest of your car , contact  5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing located in Spring Hill, TN for a complete line of auto detailing packages.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where you park your vehicle matters

Most people don't think about it and use their garage as storage for everything but their car.  However, if you park your car in your garage at night, it is protecting the finish for 1/2 of the day.  You can't get bird poo, water spots, or pollen on your car when it is parked in the garage.
Don't park under trees if you can help it.  I know you are thinking it is better to park in the shade, but it isn't.  The main reason - gravity.  Things fall out of trees on your vehicle.  Tree sap, pollen, branches, bird poo etc. all are contaminants to your clear coat finish and once they get on your car, they need to be removed.  Sap can harden and be terrible to remove.  Pollen is like tiny particles of sand paper and if rubbed across your paint, it will scratch it.  Bird poo is acidic and can eat and etch your clear coat finish.  Branches - self explanatory.  
On the same line of thinking,  It is much better to have a wax or synthetic sealant protecting your car from the sun's rays than parking under a tree.

One last note on where you park  - if you can find a parking spot that is covered on one side by a curb or other barrier to keep another car from parking right next to you on that side of your vehicle...you have just reduced your chances of being "door dinged" by 50%.

Learn more about how to protect your vehicle at 5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing.  5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing is located in Spring Hill, TN and is Middle Tennessee's premier automotive detail authority.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A little about 5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing

Welcome to 5 Star Reflections Auto DetailingHeadquartered in Spring Hill, TN, we serve Spring Hill, Franklin, Brentwood, Columbia, & Nashville.  

5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing provides a complete line of automotive detailing services for cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, and motorcycles.

I started auto detailing as a hobby on my own cars.  My wife says it's the perfect outlet for my OCD!  It has turned into a passion. After being requested to detail friends, family and others cars, detailing is now a side venture for me as 5 Star Reflections here in Spring Hill, TN...but remains a passion and something I love. 

I am obsessed with transforming ordinary "daily driver" or neglected vehicles into a shining, reflective and pristine thing of beauty. The true satisfaction and why I became involved in auto detailing is when a customer picks up their detailed vehicle and is amazed with the results.

I do not offer the cheap wash, wax, & vacuum detail services that others perform for a high volume & profits. Rushing to complete a detail project and using cheap, economical products and tools for a profit margin isn't why I became interested in auto detailing and started 5 Star Reflections. 

Honestly, I don't believe a quick, cheap wash & wax service is even considered detailing. I treat each vehicle like a mini-restoration.  I use top quality, professional products and I work on each vehicle personally.  I take the extra steps to treat each customer's vehicle as if it were my own.

I believe that the true difference is the "attention to detail" when working on a client's vehicle.  I only use top quality microfiber towels and switch them frequently...typically over 50 per detail. I do this because I will never cross-contaminate products meant for one area of your car to another. 

For example, tools and towels used to clean and treat engine bays and wheels should never touch your vehicle's paint because of the metal particles (brake dust) and chemicals that can damage the paint's finish.  I also switch towels frequently so that a dirty towel doesn't mar or scratch the protective clear coat on your vehicle by dragging dirt particles across the paint. Believe me, the little things matter.

Another difference with 5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing is I think that after paying to have your vehicle detailed and looking it's best, my clients should have the tools and knowledge to keep it looking immaculate.   

I provide my customers with a complimentary disk with suggestions on top car care products you can use along with "how to" tips and links to videos on the proper techniques to utilize when maintaining your vehicle's top condition.

Thanks for checking out my blog!

5 Star Reflections Auto Detailing
Spring Hill, TN