Protecting your new Investment

2016 was a record year for new car sales, with new cars come dealership protection packages. When buying a new car we are all suckers for falling for the Jargon of these new car protection packages but do you really know what your getting for your money and how much your actually spending? I am writing this article to explain why Protecting your new car is so important, why not to pay for dealership packages and crucially how you can save yourself money!

Buying a new car is one of the largest investments you will make in your life time so it baffles me why people either chose not to protect their new investment at all or worse than that, let the dealership make a hash of it! Protection isn't just about protecting your paintwork in order to improve its appearance, it does actually have an important role to play in prolonging the life of the materials that your car is made up of. Every car is made up of a wide variety of materials and composites. Each one needs a specific type of product in order to protect it, for example the Ceramic coating applied to wheels is not the same as the coating applied to the paint. The reason being is that wheels require a heat resistant coating due to the temperatures produced under braking the coating applied to the paint simply wouldn't achieve its optimum durability under these temperatures, as such a heat resistant coating is required. Protecting all surfaces is essential, I will demonstrate during the article the difference between the protection package that a Detailer will offer against the basic protection the dealership offers you sometimes at twice the cost.

Why does your brand new car need protection? Its new, its from the Factory surely it'll be protected then? No, not in the slightest! Essentially all that is coming out the factory is raw materials painted and pruned to produce your car. None of those raw materials have any protection, so essentially are open to the elements. Take the seats for example, without protection after a matter of weeks a recent client of mine saw dye transfer from his jeans building up on the bolsters of his Ivory Leather seats. The reason being is that there was no barrier between the dye of his jeans and the pores of the leather resulting in the absorption of the dye into the surface of the leather. This can be prevented by simple application of a leather guard. Another great example is wheels, the heat resistant coatings applied to the wheels prevent the build up of bonded contaminants (those unsightly pesky black spots most of you will find in your wheels once you've had it cleaned), preventing the build up of these bonded contaminants will prolong the appearance of your wheel and maintain its surface appearance. Without a coating most wheels after a matter of months will have large deposits of bonded contaminants built up in the dish of the wheel degrading the surface and appearance of your alloy.

50/50 Shot of the drivers seat from a 1 Week old BMW. The left shows the dye transfer and staining after one weeks use. This car has received dealer protection and allegedly has leather guard applied. The right is after a very light clean using Leather cleaner showing the natural colour of the leather and that the dealership applied protection (Gaurd X) Is not offering protection against die transfer and soiling. Proof that dealership protection is not offering as marketed.

Most dealership protection packages offer the basics of Paint, Glass and Wheels but very few extend beyond that. Detail Driven's New Car Protection Detail protects everything, literally everything. Paint, Glass, Wheels, Engine Bay Plastics and Rubbers, Exterior Plastics and Rubbers, Leather, Cloth, Matts... I could go on. I hear time and time again people who have bought new cars six months in complaining that its lost its new car look, or shine even after they have paid for the protection packages but the one thing that frustrates me is rarely will anyone pick up the phone to the dealership and complain that the protection applied is no longer performing. This is down to lack of knowledge and education as people don't really know what they are dealing with. General rule of thumb here is in the way the water behaves when it comes into contact with your car, be it the paint, glass or wheels. If it beads or sheets from the surface you know that there is some form of product creating a repellent barrier between the paint surface and the extremities, this is protected. If however the water does not bead, sheet or run off the car instead it just hangs around or drags down the bodywork leaving what can sometimes look like an oily finish then your protection may well be worn away. 

At the point of explaining to my clients that their protection has worn away the question I am often asked is why? At this point it's very easy for the Detailer to point the finger at the product applied by the dealership and simply state that it was never fit for purpose, However I do feel its unlikely that companies such as Auto Glym who produce Life Shine which has seen a fair bit of bad press from many detailers would be allowed to produce a product that simply isn't fit for purpose. The product its self would most likely perform for some period of time offering the protection described as long as the product is maintained as described and this is what the dealerships always neglect to tell you. Whether it be Life Shine or any other brand of dealership protection for that matter it will never ever come close to the claimed lifespan if the product is not maintained correctly, but what does maintenance mean,  does it mean you have to clean and top up the product weekly, monthly, or even reapply it in six months? That's down to you as the consumer to find out but it certainly should be made much much clearer by the dealership that the "lifetime guarantee" product they are selling you will require your personal maintenance on a regular basis and will require topping up in the near future as any detailer will tell you there is no product out there that will last more than a number of years on one single application and without top up.

The product and its maintenance are not the only issue , its the application process is too and the complete lack of preparation your vehicle receives prior to application. The easiest way to explain this is to offer a comparable. So for example, when applying Gyeon's Q2 MOHS Ceramic Quartz Coating on a new car I will spend approximately a day preparing the paint before application, The vehicle will arrive at my unit still in its wrap as I always instruct the dealership under no circumstances are they to prepare or unwrap the vehicle. The vehicle then undergoes full decontamination removing surface dirt and transportation contaminants, during this process if required and once safely washed various chemicals are used to remove bonded contaminants such as tar, fallout or any other rogue contaminants. Once decontaminated the car is safely dried, and pressurised air is then used to blow all the water from the door shuts, handles, below the door mirrors and where all the water lies in the cracks and crevices. this stage is incredibly important as its essential when applying the coating that no other form of liquids or products are present as they could have a reaction with the coating meaning it will not bond properly. Before application of any coating the car requires some level of machine polishing to refine the surface and enhance the gloss as even new cars are not finished to the highest level from factory. This stage is possibly the most important stage of your new car preparation and unfortunately is the stage that dealerships skip. The machine polishing stages require technique, skill and knowledge and are required due to defects left behind at the factory stage which is very common and the damage inflicted by the preparation completed by the fleet valeters at the dealership. The poor processes and wash methods used by the dealerships mentioned in my "The truth about hand car washes" article result in light swirling, scratches and marring being inflicted to your brand new paintwork. The dealership will then proceed to apply the coating and seal any defects inflicted by them or at the factory into your new paint for the duration of the coatings life, the only chance you have of identifying this is if you pick the car up in direct sunlight which is a rarity. I very recently collected a brand new car from a dealership and the car was put into a fancy collection room which had NO bright or direct lighting, soft lighting panels and strips were used to illuminate the room giving you no chance at all of seeing any defects in the paint so do not be afraid to get a torch out or better than that take the car outside before taking the keys!

At point of booking I request that the client either allows me to liaise with the dealership or that the client strictly instructs the dealership not to touch or prepare the vehicle in any way, leaving the vehicle in its wrap, dirty. This really does make a big difference, when a vehicle has received any level of preparation from the dealer its a given that the car will require more machine polishing to remove damage caused by the preparation stages at the dealer. I ensure that every new vehicle prior to any level of protection is corrected, refined and perfected to ensure that the finish that is being sealed in is a finish worth protecting. All swirling, marring, sanding marks or light scratches will be removed and the client consulted with to ensure they are aware. After spending hours and hours sometimes days decontaminating, preparing and polishing the paint a Ceramic Quartz coating is then applied in controlled conditions ensuring the work area is well heated, ventilated, dry and extremely well lit. Having personally witnessed the application of the product at dealerships despite some form of training the coatings applied by the dealership are rarely applied in the correct conditions. All coatings will have a minimum application temperature, they will all have a cure time and most will require a top coat or further wipe down before hand over. These are not adhered to by most dealerships, cars are rushed into a bay, rushed around by one valeter who is under pressure to do as many as possible in a set time applying all coatings in any conditions at whatever the room temperature is before moving the car straight back outside into rain or shine before the next one comes in! This not only could result in the coating being immediately stripped by precipitation but its also not allowing sufficient curing or bonding time, its not allowing for any potential reactions from the coating which can happen and require removal and reapplication. It certainly does not allow for the correct environment such as temperature control to ensure the coating cures for the correct amount of time at the correct temperature, which will ultimately give you maximum durability from the coating. By contrast once I have completed the machine polishing stages and wiped down temperatures are checked and the application process begins applying Ceramic Qaurtz coatings to the Glass, Paint, Wheels and Trim. One applied and layered these are left to cure, often overnight at a stable temperature for a minimum of 12 Hours dependent on the coating and its requirements. 

At this point other than a quick hoover the dealership will have completed the protection of your new vehicle, spending in the region of 2-3 hours per car before preparing the paperwork for handover. In contrast I will often be 18 Hours into a 24 Hour detail across two or three days ensuring that every surface of your new car is protected.

This is the stage that the detailer really excels against the dealer going into much higher levels of detail applying coatings to surfaces that the dealer wouldn't even contemplate. Lets take the wheels for example, i'm unaware if the dealer remove the wheels to apply their protection but given the time constraints involved its extremely unlikely. Every time a new vehicle comes through my doors, wheels are removed. The reason being is to ensure when applying the coating its applied to the face of the wheel, the barrel of the wheel and the rear of the face. Removing the wheels also allows for better access to wheel hubs and brake calipers, another step skipped by the dealer. The heat resistant coating applied to the wheel can also be applied to the brake calipers and wheel hubs often rejuvenating the already diminished appearance of the unsightly wheel hubs. Most wheel hubs often very quickly begin to rust and deteriorate, applying coatings wont necessarily stop this if the process has already begun but it will certainly prevent further deterioration or discolouration prolonging its appearance. Once wheels, calipers and hubs have all been coated the wheels are refitted and correctly torqued.

I could go on with a list of areas where any detailer will spend hours preparing, refining and coating from paint to leather, wheels to engine bay everything is correctly prepared and professionally coated. 

Next up is the cost, ultimately this is what it comes down to for most people. After doing some research the average cost of a protection package from a dealer is £600, some coming in at £400, a lot where in the region of £550 and some even pricing theirs at £700-£800 when they are no different from the rest. Some of the products currently being marketed at those prices are Auto Glym Life Shine, Gaurd X, Supagaurd and so on. If it wasn't bad enough that the product your paying for isn't applied correctly your also being massively overcharged for it. On average each dealer is buying the product in at £50-100 and selling it on anywhere from £400 up. I appreciate that markup is a fact of retail however that level of markup is outrageous given that in six months time i would guarantee that your coating is either not performing as marketed or completely worn away due to improper application. To compare, my New Car Protection Detail is £450 which includes the price of all the coating and approximately two days preparing your new pride and joy and not two hours. So think of it more as value for money and guaranteed satisfaction.

The last point of discussion is maintenance. Spending hundreds of pounds protecting your new investment is without question one of the best decisions you will make, however take short cuts on maintaining it and the appearance of your car will quickly deteriorate and in a matter of months without the correct care your car could look years old rather than months...

Hypothetically lets say the dealer applies your protection correctly and adheres to all the points raised above and they hand the vehicle over in perfect condition. Before compiling this article I spoke with several friends and family and clients who have all paid for such protection packages from the dealer and have all been handed the care pack that you often get with these protection packages from the dealer. They all explained how little advice they were given of what the products are, how to use them and how often they should be used. They also explained that the performance of most of the products in the pack is very poor. The second issue is regardless of how good the product is, lack of education and improper use will lead to inflicting damage to your freshly prepared and protected paintwork essentially wasting the hundreds of pounds you've just invested in protecting it. In contrast following your car receiving my New Car Protection Detail I offer two options, The first is to provide additional training and supply the required products needed at additional cost to safely maintain your vehicle and its coatings to ensure the coatings achieve their maximum durability and that the vehicle is safely washed preventing infliction of swirls and marring. The second option which is the most popular is to sign up to my Maintenance Plan. Detail Driven offers a completely mobile maintenance service, Carrying water on board all that is required is a power supply so work or home, I can come to you as often or as little as you like to maintain your vehicle and its appearance. 

Investing in professional automotive care is not just piece of mind for you. It provides your vehicle with the best possible start in life and the highest level of automotive protection. It will maintain that "like new" finish for years to come and also ensure maximum resale value when you decide its time for a change. 

The Finished Article, This Brand New M5 recent received my New Car Protection Package, For an insight into what it received click  here  to read the article.

The Finished Article, This Brand New M5 recent received my New Car Protection Package, For an insight into what it received click here to read the article.

For too long now dealerships have been taking advantage of the large markup they make on these new car protection packages especially when once applied the product is barely fit for purpose. I wrote this article to educate people on what they are actually getting for their money and the advantages of choosing a detailer over the dealer protection packages. Chose wisely when deciding how to protect your investment as ultimately its always going to hit you in the pocket and not the dealer. Book your New Car Protection detail today and quote NEWCAR17 to receive 10% off your booking if booked before 01/04/2017.