How to Properly Wash Your Car

Follow this tutorial to learn the steps involved with properly washing your vehicle with our wash kits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Happenings you shouldn't miss in the weeks ahead.

How much does a "full detail" cost?

There are a huge amount of variables to consider before answering this. The problem with this question is in the terminology, not the question itself.  One must realize that there is no industry standard for what is included in a "full detail." What one place might consider a full detail might be completely different than another. Most professional detailers do not use the term full detail, as it means too many things to too many people. The actual price of a thorough detail package greatly varies depending on vehicle condition, size, age and service being provided. A customer should be cautious of any detail shop that uses set pricing for their services, as this can usually mean the focus of their business is volume. At Stellar Finish, we realize that this may be useful for some individuals, but most of our clients are looking for a quality service and an extraordinary result that takes time to achieve. Its important to speak with your detailer about what steps they are performing for this service. To answer the question,  interior/ exterior details can cost between $125-$500+ if no paint correction or coating is added. Call us today to discuss in detail what steps we perform for this package or check out "Services and Pricing."

Oct 10

Do I need to make an appointment for detailing?

Yes! While many shops book multiple customers in one day or accept drop ins, at Stellar Finish we prefer to work on one vehicle at a time. This allows us to focus our complete attention on yours and yours only without the need to rush in order to get to the others waiting in line. We are a premium service, and with this comes longer periods spent on the vehicle. In order to keep our high standards, we cannot cut corners, and only having one project at a time allows us to achieve great results. Many detailers book weeks in advance, so pre-booking is a great way to manage your busy schedule. When you are setting up your appointment, some things to consider are:

-Can I do without my vehicle for an entire day?

-Can I be assured my detailer will complete the job on time?

- Can I drop off the day before instead of the morning of?

-If having a ceramic coating applied, can I wait to pick up the vehicle after the coating has had time to cure?

Consult with us to go over any other questions you might have. We aim to make your experience with us as stress free as possible. Let us work with you to make your appointment a breeze!

Oct 10

Pros and Cons of using a Home Based detailer.

When looking for a professional detailer, there are many options to consider. There is a big difference between a professional detailer that works out of a home based shop and a stand alone detail shop that focuses on high volume services. Stellar Finish is a home based shop, and with that comes several benefits:

-More time spent on your vehicle. We don't have to complete large quantities of details every day, so this gives us more time to make your vehicle look amazing.

-Specialized services.  At Stellar Finish, we are not your average detailer, and this is because we provide above average results. We specialize in high level ceramic coatings, paint correction and vehicle protection, and are skilled at everything in between. We have made a considerable investment in products, equipment and training. We are Gtechniq Accredited, meaning we are trained by factory representatives on how to properly apply all their products, most importantly Crystal Serum Ultra ceramic coating, and also uphold the best standards of quality and customer service in the industry.  Make sure your detailer is competent enough to properly work on your vehicle.

-Experience. Unlike many detail shops, we have years of experience under our belts and know how to properly, safely and efficiently take care of your vehicle. Other businesses may have lesser trained staff, and this translates to less than professional results.

-No frills. We invest in products that make your car look amazing, not gimmicks or a flashy premises. You can't judge a book by its cover!

Some cons include:

-Higher prices. Although most home based detailers have lower overhead costs, they are the ones doing all the work themselves, must carry all the expenses, and often provide higher level work than production detail shops. Higher quality products also cost more compared to value brands, but enable us to achieve better results. "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

-‚ÄčLess Availability.  High volume detail shops get people in faster and perform the service faster than home based shops. This means that while we try to accommodate everyone, sometimes we may be booked weeks in advance, as we are a low turnover, high caliber service. If you are in need of an "emergency detail" (large spill or quick wash), we may not be the best option for you.

At Stellar Finish, we strive to meet the needs of all our customers. We recognize the fact that the way our business is set up may not be convenient for some. We invite you to see how we are different from the rest!

Oct 10

What is and how do I maintain a ceramic coated vehicle?

A more detailed description of a ceramic coating is on the page "Ceramic Coatings". As far as the maintenance goes on a ceramic coated vehicle, its not any more difficult than normal.  They simply need to be hand washed regularly and occasionally decontaminated by your detailer. For warranty coverage the vehicle must be brought back to us yearly after it has been coated for a thorough inspection. If the vehicle is pre- washed, there is no charge. If any spots are not performing as needed, they will be topped up free of charge. We strongly recommend a decontamination of the paint to remove embedded debris, as well as a touch up silica spray. This will ensure the coating will last as long as possible with the best results and performance. This is offered for $175.  Ask us to give you a lesson on proper washing technique to minimize marring and scratches to your newly coated vehicle. You've invested in a superior product, now its time to protect that investment. If you are not able to wash it by hand yourself, we highly recommend using a "touchless wash" car wash, and to avoid any car washes with rotating brushes or rollers, as these will severely damage the coating.  We are always happy to wash your vehicle for you any time though.

Oct 10

Do Ceramic Coatings prevent rock chips?

While ceramic coatings are very durable and have a hard surface, they are not, in most cases, able to prevent paint damage from rocks and other debris blasted at the car during driving. Paint protection films are the best solution in this department. Since they have an actual visible thickness and pliable composition, they can absorb and deflect the impact of small debris. But similarly they also have a weakness. Seeing as they aren't hard, they can be more susceptible to scratching, swirls, and marring. For the best of both worlds, we can overcoat most PPF with a ceramic coating to add greater gloss, slickness, water beading and swirl resistance. We have a special PPF specific ceramic coating designed to increase the lifespan of the film and prevent yellowing. We have done many vehicles this way with superior results.

Oct 10

What goes into a Ceramic Coating Package?

Many things go into a ceramic coating package. We want you to be fully informed about what is involved in this process before you decide to purchase one. On average, most take:

- 2-3 days

- 12-25+ hrs not including 12hr controlled curing period.

- Cost between $699 and $1400+ (average) but can be more depending on vehicle and product.

All include an exterior detail comprised of a full wash, touchless air dry, full paint decontamination process, 1 step paint correction (additional steps may be required at additional cost), pre- coating wipe down and coating application, as well as a light interior cleaning. Other factors that affect the time and price of a coating application are: vehicle size, condition of the paint, if any extra interior detailing is desired, any other surfaces such as wheels, glass, leather or trim are to be coated, and type of coating installed as all have specific guidelines and processes.

Please don't hesitate to speak to us about a ceramic coating for you vehicle. We can answer any questions you may have and help you make an informed, non pressured decision. We offer free, no obligation in person consultations to go over the vehicle and speak with you about options and price.

Oct 10

How much does a Ceramic Coating cost?

A ceramic coating is a durable, micro thin coating that is hand applied to the surface(s) of a vehicle. In order to prepare for the actual coating application itself, the vehicle must first be extensively washed, totally dried, decontaminated to remove all embedded debris, paint corrected to enhance and polish the paintwork to which it is applied (which can be in excess of 8hrs), and then surgically cleaned to remove any polishing/ wash residue. Then, and only then can the coating be properly applied by hand, panel by panel, and leveled by hand so as to eliminate the chances of high spots and smears. Once the vehicle is completely coated, it must be kept dry and clean for a minimum of 12 hours to allow the coating to cure to its initial hardness, and fully bond to the paint.

As you can see, this process is extremely labour intensive and time consuming. Achieving great results with a ceramic coating cannot be done by rushing or cutting corners, this will only ever lead to mistakes and a poor quality coating job. So, to answer the question of what a ceramic coating costs, one must evaluate the condition and size of vehicle and type of product being installed. A small sports car will cost less than a large SUV or pick-up truck, simply because of the size and associated product costs and time spent. Our ceramic coating packages start at $699 for a 2 year coating and go up from there to over $1500 for a 9 year coating, $2000+ with multiple paint correction stages if necessary. We cannot give an accurate quote without first seeing the vehicle in person. Please contact us to schedule a FREE, NO OBLIGATION consultation. A non-refundable $300 deposit is required before scheduling all ceramic coating appointments. Payments can be made at time of in-person consultation or by e-transfer no later than 48 hours after appointment has been made.

Oct 10

Problems with Ceramic Coatings

Believe it or not, ceramic coatings are not impenetrable force fields surrounding your car. The are, in fact, some of the most durable coatings one can have applied to their vehicle. But as with anything, there are limitations. As transparency is something we are proud of, we want to inform you about the negatives of ceramic coatings:

-Upfront Cost. Yes, the cost of having a ceramic coating applied isn't cheap, and its difficult for some to wrap their head around. Spending $700+ on a coating that will last 2 years, $1400+ for a 9 year? It might seem like a bad trade off, but it all comes down to how much lifetime value you are adding to the vehicle as well as the enjoyment you get every time you drive it. If the coating performs how it says it will, you are locking in that "like new" appearance that it had when it was on the showroom floor for the duration of the coatings lifespan. This increase in overall value, or retention of value is going to easily surpass the up front cost of the coating. Consider having your vehicle detailed and waxed  2-4 times a year by a professional. Lets say each detail costs $200. In as little as 2 years you've already recouped the cost of the coating and gained much, much better protection and added great value to your vehicle!

-Water Spotting. Susceptibility to water spotting is one of the limitations of a ceramic coating, but also every other vehicle as well. Proper maintenance is key to preventing this, and with proper technique and education, you can eliminate this issue completely. Not washing in direct sunlight, using a rinseless wash, completely drying your vehicle when washing, parking inside/ under cover or regularly having it detailed are all ways to reduce the chances of water spots forming. In most cases, these spots aren't permanent and can be removed with the right product or technique. But if left for long periods or exposed to hard water, the spots can begin to etch the coating and damage it. But this is also why you had a coating applied, to protect the clear coat from such issues.  Ask us about proper maintenance of your coating and enjoy peace of mind, while letting the coating itself do the hard work.

-Coating Failure.  This doesn't sound good. I've paid hundreds of dollars for something that can fail? Yes, like with anything, there is a possibility of a failure or malfunction. That being said, most failures of ceramic coatings are not actually failures from poor workmanship or manufacturing issues, but rather the coating has reached the end of its lifespan. This is simply fixed by properly reapplying the coating once again. Coatings are so thin that there is virtually no chance of it "flaking/ chipping" off or peeling up as they are bonded to the paint itself. We have never seen this in our personal experience. In rare cases, it can actually be the paint failing from the inside out, which is rooted from more serious causes. More often than not,they will not even be visible flaws, but instead one might notice the water beading effect has lessened or completely diminished, or that marring or swirl marks are starting to form more easily or in a concentrated area.. Remember, ceramic coatings are essentially a sacrificial barrier between the environment and your paint, so they will degrade over time. How long depends on the product applied and the environment they are in as well as care.. On the off chance that a coating does prematurely fail due to workmanship or a known manufacturing defect, we stand behind what we sell 100%. Allow us the opportunity to fix the issue, as we value happy, satisfied customers more than anything!

Oct 10

What does "Hydrophobic" mean?

The word 'hydrophobic" is a word used to describe something that is great at shedding or repelling a liquid. Think of a high quality rain jacket; when it rains the water droplets bead up and roll off with ease, instead of absorbing into the fabric. This process is identical when talking about a ceramic coating. After a coating has been applied to the vehicle's paint, water does not stick to the surface, but tightly beads up and/or rolls off extremely easily, especially when driving. During a rainfall, its not uncommon for water to be completely blown off the paint when driving at normal speeds.This is what enables the coatings to "self clean" themselves.  This feature helps cut down on dirt accumulation and wash times, as well as keeps harmful bird droppings and other contaminants from sticking to the paint as much compared to an uncoated vehicle.

Oct 10

What is "Paint Correction?"

Paint correction or "buffing/ machine polishing/ cut polishing" as it is commonly referred to is the process of finely polishing and smoothing out the  top layer of paint on a vehicle. This process is almost always done with a machine polisher, and when paired with a pad and polish or compound product, microscopically removes small layers of paint to smooth out and remove defects and imperfections. This process can be the single most satisfying service to have done to your vehicle, as the results are usually night and day compared to before. We specialize in paint correction of all vehicles, either single stage or clear coated paints. We have the correct tools, products and skill to safely prep, polish, and finish your cars paint to near perfect condition. We offer several packages of Paint Correction, see "Services and Pricing" page for more details. 

Oct 10

What is a "Swirl Mark" and how can I get rid of it?

Swirl marks are tiny scratches that have been introduced to the car's paint from various methods of contact with the paint itself. The most common cause is improper washing technique. Washing a car with a dirty wash mitt or brush, old school chamois', not using a grit guard or two bucket system, improper drying practices, or cheap soaps and cleaning products can all introduce swirl marks to your paint. We can effectively remove most swirl marks and medium defects from you paint, restoring its gloss, depth and colour! See "Paint Correction" under "Services and Pricing" for more details.

Oct 10

Do I need a "wheels off" coating package?

During a wheels off coating package, we carefully remove the wheels from the vehicle to completely clean, decontaminate and coat all surfaces of the wheel and painted brake calipers if applicable and then remount and re torque to factory specs. (Note: we are not able to provide this service for all wheels.) This package is not for everyone, especially if you have a daily driver that doesn't have visible wheel barrels. But, if your car has large diameter or premium wheels that show off the barrels and calipers, this service is great for completely protecting the entire wheel surface. Fend off corrosive brake dust, grime and road debris which can start to etch the wheel itself if left untreated by having us ceramic coat all areas, even behind the spokes. This package is in addition to any other service. Gives us a call to see if this service is right for your vehicle.

Oct 10

What is a clay bar?

A clay bar is exactly what it sounds like, a bar of clay. These tools are extremely good at removing embedded particles from the painted surface, such as brake dust, iron filings, sap, over spray, and industrial fallout.When used with a lubricant to help the bar glide smoothly over the paint, the sticky clay grabs onto and pulls up the contaminants, resulting in a more smooth, clean surface. This step is essential in prepping the paint for a correction or any type of coating including ceramic. How do you tell if your car needs a clay bar? Grab a Ziploc bag and place it over your hand. Now run your hand over the hood of your car lightly and carefully and you should be able to feel how bumpy or rough it is. These are all the contaminants stuck in your paint! We have multiple packages that include a clay bar service to give you ultra smooth paint. See "Services and Pricing" for more details.

Oct 10

What is Gtechniq HALO?

If your vehicle has been covered with paint protection film (PPF), a vinyl wrap or other form of film such as a automotive decal for business advertising, then HALO is for you. It's ultra slick, thick yet flexible coating chemically bonds to the substrate and becomes part of it. This means it cant be washed off and is extremely durable, up to 2 years on a daily driven vehicle. The low surface energy of HALO combined with the complex chemistry yield a product that is able to drastically reduce the ability of dirt to build up and stain the film, and due to it's UV blockers, will prevent yellowing from the harmful rays of the sun. The amazing hydrophobic function of the coating sheds water quickly and easily, diminishing the ability of water spots from forming in most cases. Bird droppings, sap, tar and other harmful contaminants are more easily cleaned off the car, helping you to preserve the brand new appearance of the surface. HALO is effective at protection virtually all popular brands and types of film or vinyl, and has been real world tested to perform. Suitable for gloss, matte, satin and even self- healing film and vinyl, HALO is the best protection you can give your wrapped or PPF wearing vehicle.


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