Find the Best Auto Detailers in San Rafael CA
Selling your car (or trading it in) and need it to look its best to get the highest price possible? Or just want to impress by having a car that's shiny and clean? Then you want the services of auto detailers in Marin County CA. Auto detailing services perform an exceptional car cleaning including waxing, polishing and bringing a like-new shine to trim, windows, tire rims and wheels using special detailing clays, detergents, and cloths. And having regular cleanings not only looks better, it protects your investment by helping your auto body and trim last longer. The best auto detailers may also offer paintless dent repair & dent removal in Marin County. The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best auto detailing shops in Marin County and issues related to hiring them
Updated March 17, 2019
Find the Best Auto Detailers in San Rafael CA
Auto detailers in Marin County are not required to be licensed by the State, nor are they legally required to have liability insurance to protect you in the event of damage, however all auto detailing centers bearing The Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol do have liability insurance for your protection, in addition to passing all of the other requirements for certification as Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 such as our research phone calls to their previous customers to verify high satisfaction, hiring only documented workers, sufficient length of time in business, clean complaint record, and more.
Auto detailers in Marin County offer far more than a mere car wash. Auto detailing services are what the dealerships use to make those used cars look brand new. Auto detailing services include rejuvenation (bring your car back to looking new) and protection (the use of sealants, waxes and other special products to prevent further damage or deterioration). A car is expensive, so while auto detailers cost more than that corner car wash, they more than pay for themselves by protecting your investment.
Experience Counts With Auto Detailing Shops in San Rafael CA
Auto detailers are experts in getting your car body to a high gloss with special polishing and waxing, buffing out minor scratches, masking them with special clays, or retouching them with matching paint. They also perform a thorough inside cleaning, vacuuming, and washing of car carpets, floor mats, and upholstery, and can even add that well-known ‘new car smell' back to your car.
But you want auto detailers that know what they're doing. For instance, over-use of a polish can give a temporary shine but actually remove the protective clearcoat which prevents minor scratches and sun from damaging the actual body paint. The best auto detailers in Marin County will know if it's appropriate to wash your car again after claying to remove all clay residue and clay lubricant, how to use prewax cleansers to remove old layers of wax, how to use glazes that contain wax or fillers to hide small blemishes, and if it's best in your case to lay down a layer of paint sealant first before using carnauba wax to achieve a high gloss shine.
Various Car Detailing Techniques Are Used By Auto Detailers in San Rafael CA
Auto detailers can remove your seats to get at spills between the seats, especially ones that cause odor, and make it easier to do a thorough cleaning of seat upholstery and seat runners.
Think hand buffing is best? Guess again. Auto detailers use machine buffing not because it's faster but because in the hands of an expert, it yields better results than hand buffing. Again, finding skilled auto detailers is key since improper use of high speed rotary buffers can cause swirls and excessive paint removal and there's a learning curve to getting it right, so go for experienced auto detailers.
Many of the best auto detailing shops in Marin County can steam clean your engine compartment of grease and dirt, but they need to be careful to keep water out of the computer and electronic modules under your hood. The application of engine dressing will give you a like-new look under the hood as impressive as the one on the car body.
Auto detailers should be experienced and knowledgeable since there's a lot for car detailers to know. This includes techniques, use of specialized equipment, and chemicals including products that both clean and protect. Special equipment used by auto detailers in Marin County includes polishers, power washers, dirt extractors, shampoos and much more.
Paintless Dent Repair in Marin County.
Shops that practice paintless dent repair or paintless dent removal in San Rafael CA use a series of techniques for removing dents and dings, without the need to repaint the damaged area. Paintless dent repair uses rods, glue, and other tools to push or pull out dents from the car body. Repairing car dents in this manner may only be feasible for less serious dents and minor bumper indentations, but avoiding the need to repaint the affected area may be a cost savings. There are some shops offering paintless dent repair in San Rafael CA.
Some Car Detailing Services in Marin County Are Much Better Than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these auto detailers in Marin County: European Attention to Detail San Rafael CA, G Auto Detail San Rafael CA, Precision Auto Detailing San Rafael CA, Hollywood Details Novato CA, P & H Class Details Auto Customizing Mill Valley CA. Other auto detailers in San Rafael who might still be in business include: Doctor Detail Inc. Mobile Auto Detailing San Rafael CA.
Questions To Ask Car Detailers in Marin County
Step 1: Describe to the Auto Detailers the Results You Want
Tell the auto detailers what you're seeking to achieve by going to car detailers in the first place. Do you want your car appearance to meet show car standards? Are you looking to get the best price possible in an upcoming sale or trade in of the car? Or is your reason for car detailing the ongoing protection and maintenance of a car you intend to keep for years?
Step 2: Questions To Ask Car Detailers in Marin County
You can learn a lot about the car detailing shops by asking questions before handing over your car. And you're likely to be treated better by the auto detailing services by demonstrating some knowledge by asking these questions.
Ask local auto detail shops the following questions and note down their answers:
• How long have the auto detailers been in business in Marin County?
• How many cars do they detail per week or month? A decent stream of auto detailing customers can be a sign of a thriving business with repeat business and referrals.
• Can the Marin County auto detail services give you names and phone numbers of customers that you call as references? (All auto detailers bearing the Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol have already had their customer references called by our research staff so you don't have to.)
• Who will be doing your auto detailing? The detailing shop owner may have experience, but is a less-experienced staff member performing your auto detailing service?
• Can the car detail shops in Marin County prove that all their workers are legally allowed to work in the U.S.? (All auto detailers in bearing The Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol have already signed an agreement to only hire documented workers.) This protects you and prevents undocumented workers from being treated unfairly or taken advantage of.
• Do the local auto detailing shops have an actual auto detailing shop or storefront, or are they a mobile service that does the car detailing at your home or office?
• Do the auto detailing centers in Marin County offer written warranties or guarantees?
• Do the local car detailing shops have up to date liability insurance to cover any accidental damage done during detailing or while your car while is on their property? (All car detail shops bearing the Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol have already had proof of liability insurance verified by our research staff so you don't have to. )
• What equipment will the Marin County auto detailing shops be using, and how experienced are they with that equipment?
• Do the vehicle detailers offer any incentive pricing if you commit to a regular schedule of repeat auto detailing?
• Are the cardetailers members of professional trade associations like the ICA (International Carwash Association) or regional associations for the auto detailing industry? This can be a sign the vehicle detailing shops consider their service to be a profession, take it seriously, and are committed to running a long-term auto detailing business.
• Do the auto detail services in Marin County CA subscribe to professional trade publications? This can show the auto detailers are concerned about continuing to better their skills and service by keeping up on the latest techniques and products.
Step 3: Provide Local Auto Detail Services with an Incentive for Good Car Detailing Results and Good Service
Explain to the auto detail centers that if you're highly satisfied with the results of the car detailing, they will be rewarded with your repeat car detailing business and that you will refer friends and family to them for car detailing services in the future.
Tips About Auto Detailing in San Rafael CA
Take a look at the auto detailing shop.
Is it clean and does it protect a professional image? Since the job of auto detailers is car cleaning with close attention to details, the cleanliness and organization of their own auto detailing shop should reflect these qualities.
Choose Auto Detailers That Ask You Questions First Before Going To Work
Do the auto detailers start by asking you questions about what you seek to gain from the auto detailing, such as whether your priority is keeping your car to show car appearance, to sell or trade the car, or as protective maintenance? Auto detailers have many options available as to the type of products and equipment they can use to detail your car and varying levels of results and pricing. Auto detailers who ask you these questions are showing a commitment to customer satisfaction.
The Best Auto Detailers in Marin County Will Communicate With You
Are the auto detailers responsive to your questions and willing to explain to you what they intend to do, the products they will be using and what those will do to your car? If so, you've likely found one of the good car detailing services. Auto detailers who can't or won't explain to you what they'll be doing and why are not a good choice for your car detailing.
Glossary of Terms Used by Auto Detailers
Abrasive - Particles in polishes and compounds used by auto detailers to wear away some of the paint surface to remove imperfections.
Accelerated Dry Paint Finishes - Refinish work put into an air make-up systems to speed up the drying time from many hours to less than one hour.
Acid- Different types of acid such as oxalic, sulfuric, phosphoric, or hydroflouric are found in wheel cleaners used by car detailers.
Acid Rain - Rain containing sulfur compounds or other acidic compounds caused by industrial pollution which can harm car finishes.
Acid Rain Spots - Known by auto detailers as spots of white mineral deposits, usually calcium or salt, produced when the sun evaporates water standing on the vehicle surface.
Air Dry Paint Finishes - Unlike ‘Accelerated Dry Paint Finishes' above, refinish work allowed to dry naturally without the application of heat or moved air.
Appearance Reconditioning - Including auto detailing, the restoration of a car's appearance to brand new.
Bath Tubber - Slang for someone who mixes his own chemical products in large vats or drums, usually cheaper and of poor quality.
Blushing - When paint finish turns cloudy after polishing new paint because solvents haven't fully evaporated from the paint yet.
Buffer - Equipment used to apply products to the vehicle. Compared to hand buffing, reduces time and can achieve better results.
Buffer Marks - Circular marks in the paint from improper use of a buffer.
Burn - To accidentally scar or remove paint from improper use of a polisher.
Carnauba Wax - Nature's hardest natural wax but one which melts at 160 degrees F which limits its durability. Should be rewaxed after 90 days.
Cleaner-Glaze - Combines light abrasive cleaner with silicones to allow auto detailers to clean and provide shine in one step.
Cleaner-Wax - Combines light abrasive cleaner with silicones plus waxes allowing auto detailers to add cleaning, shine, and protection in one step.
Clear Coat - Thin transparent layer of paint applied over the basecoat (pigmented layer) to give a shiny finish and protect the basecoat beneath.
Compound - Also known as 'Polish'. Liquid or paste abrasive that abrade a way a portion of the top paint layer or clear coat layer which contain swirls, scratches, water spots or other imperfections. Usually the first step in an auto detailing process.
Compound Scratches - Tiny scratches in the painted finish caused by use of abrasive-containing compounds, buffing cleaners, and wool cutting pads. Can be removed with polish.
Cracking, Crazing, or Checking - Paint with appearance of shattered glass. Usually caused by repeated fluxes between hot and cold weather temperatures leading to the paint drying out and losing elasticity.
Cutting Pad - A wool pad or coarse foam pad used to remove apply pre wax cleansers or remove small imperfections.
Dressing - Liquids used to give protection and shine to rubber, plastic, leather, and vinyl.
Extractor - Machine used by auto detailers to clean auto carpets and cloth seats by spraying a wet cleaning solution which is then sucked out by a vacuum.
Finishing Pad - Used by auto detailers for polishing, usually wool or soft foam.
Glaze - Product which creates a high shine. Does not last as long as polymer sealants or waxes.
Haze - Dull or white milky appearance from a product which has dried on the surface before being rubbed off or due to dirt imbedded on the paint surface.
Industrial Fallout - Particles of airborne pollution that becomes embedded in the car finish and oxidizes to appear as dark specks in the paint. Can be removed with special products.
One Step - A polishing product that cleans and seals at the same time as a short cut.
Orbital Buffer / Orbital Polisher - Mechanical buffer used by auto detailers that turns the pad in rapid ellipses to simulate the movement of hand buffing to remove compounding haze and to apply a wax or sealant. Different from a ‘Circular Polisher' or ‘Rotary Polisher' which is usually used in the preceding step.
Oxidation - Loss of oils in the pint due to weather elements causing the surface to look dull, chalky and feel rough. Black, red and other dark color paints oxidize quicker because they absorb more UV light from the sun than lighter colors which reflect more of it. Correction usually requires removing a portion of the top paint or clear coat which contains the oxidation using a compound (polish).
Pad Washer - Mechanical tool to remove build up of cleaners and compounds from buffing pads.
Paint Sealer - Product applied to a clean surface to protect the paint. Comes with varying durability and gloss.
Polish - Light abrasive product designed to smooth out scratches and swirls left by compounding. Usually the second step in the auto detailing process and also called ‘Pre-Wax Cleaners' by auto detailers.
Pre-Wash - First step in preparing for auto detailing.
Sealant - Product that penetrates the surface to bond with the paint finish and create a protective film more durable than wax.
Silicone - A chemical polymer applied for exceptional water repellency and high gloss. Silicones are commonly used in automotive products to make product application and removal easier and improve their durability. When silicones were first used in the 1950's they were known to cause unsightly spots known as ‘fisheyes' when new paint was applied to a surface not thoroughly cleaned of silicone products. This has led to the persistence of a myth that silicones are bad but they work well now and are in wide use, though manufacturers will often refer to their product containing "modern polymers" when they're talking about silicone.
Synthetic Wax - (Also known by auto detailers as ‘Paint Sealants' and ‘Paint Protectants') Formulas of man-made polymers, gloss agents and oils designed to protect painted or clear coated automotive finishes. Some are water-based, others petroleum solvent-based, or a combination of both. Compared to Carnauba waxes (the hardest naturally occurring wax) they have greater durability, are easy to apply and wipe off and produce a bright shine. They create a hard glass-like barrier to protect against detergents, acid rain and pollutants.
Top Coat - Top layer of paint which is the color coat on conventional paint finishes, and the clear coat on basecoat/clearcoat finishes.
Two Step - A term used by auto detailers to describe the process of cleaning or polishing followed by a separate step to apply a coat of wax or sealer.
Wax - Paste or liquid applied by hand or a mechanical polisher to protect and shine. The final step in the auto detailing process.
Wet Sanding - A technique of simultaneously sanding and rinsing an automotive finish to remove imperfections. A complicated technique requiring experience.
Resources About Auto Detailing in Marin County
Organizations & Associations Related to Auto Detailers in Marin County
AAIA Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (https://www.autocare.org)
CAA California Autobody Association (http://www.calautobody.com/)
IADA Independent Automotive Damage Appraisers (http://www.iada.org/)
IDA International Detailing Association (http://www.iada.org/)
Diamond Certified (www.diamondcertified.org)
NAPDRT National Alliance of Paintless Dent Repair Technicians (http://napdrt.org/)
WCA Western Carwash Association (https://www.wcwa.org/)
Media Related to Car Detailers in Marin County CA
Professional Carwashing & Detailing Magazine (518) 783-1281
Auto Laundry News
Detailers Digest (727) 531-7885
Auto Care Forum
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Auto Detailers in Marin County CA within the following zip codes:
94938, 94963, 94914, 94979, 94933, 94957, 94973, 94978, 94950, 94971, 94929, 94948, 94966, 94976, 94915, 94913, 94942, 94912, 94977, 94964, 94920, 94965, 94974, 94949, 94939, 94960, 94937, 94956, 94904, 94947, 94930, 94946, 94925, 94941, 94924, 94940, 94970, 94945, 94903 and 94901
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Car Detailing in Marin County CA within the following cities:
Bel Marin Keys, Belvedere, Belvedere Tiburon, Black Point, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dogtown, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Ignacio, Inverness, Kent Woodlands, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marin City, Marinwood, Marshall, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Muir Woods, Nicasio, Novato, Point Reyes Station, San Anselmo, San Marin, San Quentin, San Rafael, Santa Venetia, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Strawberry Point, Tamal, Tamalpais Valley, Terra Linda, Tiburon, Dillon Beach, Forest Knolls, Lagunitas, Mission Rafael, Olema, Ross, San Geronimo, Tomales, Woodacre, Almonte, Lucas Valley and Sleepy Hollow