Auto Detailing News Winter issue


VOL. 5, NO. 4 WINTER 2020














B Mt.






























































Two year guaranteed protection

Improves gloss up to 10%


What is Diamond Plate?

A: Diamond Plate is a nano ceramic polymer coating that reacts with your vehicle’s

clear coat finish to form a second layer and thicker coating for added protection.

These highly cross-linked coatings are extremely weather resistant, provides UV

protection, wear and acid rain resistance. These coatings are so durable they are

used widely in the aerospace industry.

Our Warranty Protects Against











(from newly painted road lines.)

Complete POS

Signage Available!

The Diamond Plate 2 Year Warranty

Is backed by an A+ insurance carrier.

Therefore, if a claim is filed, both consumers

and installers

will never have to pay

for the price of repair.

Diamond Plate Kit Includes:

• 1 Vile of the Patent Pending Diamond Plate

• VisionBlade Hydrophobic Windshield Protector

• Gloves

• Applicator

• Microfiber Finishing Towel

• P.O.S. Customer Hand Outs

• The Diamond Plate Warranty

Desk Topper Pop Up Sign

Simoniz USA, Inc, 201 Boston Turnpike, Bolton CT, 06043, 800-227-5536


Nitty Gritty .............. 4

What Some Detailers

Don't Get About Coatings

(and What They’re Missing)

The Business

of Detailing . ............. 8

Are you Successful?

All the Details . .......... 10

Let's Take a Trip to ... Mexico

Innovations . ............ 12

IDA Column. ............ 14

Shining Together:

IDA Community Stays Strong

During Challenging Year

Industry Dirt . ........... 18

Detail Doctor . ........... 21

Maintenance Matters

Cover Story ............. 26

Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter 2020

Publisher: Jackson Vahaly

Editor: Debra Gorgos

Design: Katy Barrett-Alley

Auto Detailing News is published 4 times per year

and is independently owned by Jackson Vahaly.

Web address is

All inquiries should be directed to:

Auto Detailing News

110 Childs Ln. Franklin, TN 37067

One More Thing ...

Well… as 2020 comes to an end, I must say,

good riddance. The glass of optimistic poignancy

is empty and here’s to hoping that 2021 will

involve some normalcy. And, yes, I know that

when the clocks strikes 12 on January 1, everything

that has plagued the world will not go up in

puff of magical miasma, but maybe the power of

positive thinking will put good things and better

luck into reality.

How is business going for all of you? I know

people here in Upstate New York took Small

Business Saturday very seriously. Did your business

take advantage of this national quasi-holiday?

I recently read that Facebook has launched

a Season of Support Initiative.

An October 15 Small Business Trends story

reported that in a bid to help small businesses

capitalize on the upcoming holiday shopping

season, Facebook has launched this initiative for

businesses conducting holiday promotions on

Facebook or Instagram. They will receive free

training, marketing support and insights.

“The Season of Support is a three-monthlong

initiative for small and medium-sized businesses

(SMBs) to help them make the most of the

upcoming holiday shopping season. The support

package provides businesses with resources to

strengthen connections with customers as well as

boost sales.

Facebook’s offering, according to the story,

includes 11 weeks of education, resources, and

training for small businesses. It is free of charge

for businesses with a Facebook Page or Instagram

business account. The Season of Support

also includes:

✔ A free personalized marketing plan for your


✔ Tips on boosting posts

✔ Free video training

✔ Promotional assistance

✔ Toolkits to help drive up holiday sales

“The goal is to get your online presence ready,

keep your audience engaged, increase sales, and

manage your online presence,” the Small Business

Trends s story said. And you will be able to make

this possible by learning with a full collection of

videos so you can gain new skills. Additionally,

you can come together in virtual events with

your community to share insights and connect

with entrepreneurs and small business owners.

What are your thoughts?

Are you going to utilize this?

I know for sure many friends who could benefit

from a gifted Detailing Gift Card. Perhaps

consider promoting your business in this way. Let

people know a clean car makes a great gift.

As for this issue’s cover story, I absolutely loved

getting to know Ed Terwilliger. He was a pleasure

to interview and some of his stories might

surprise you. I had already had the pleasure of

meeting Alan Read a few months ago when the

family and I visited Mexico. However, I learned

so much more about his detailing career and was

impressed at his pioneering ways with the first

ever professional detailing association. And, of

course, there is Mike Phillips. I have known him

for years; however, I rarely get to speak with him

one-on-one as he is always surrounded by people

at the tradeshows. Bud Abraham is also included

in the cover. He was one of the first people in the

industry I met back in 2007. Bud is a character.

You can love him or hate him, but he is the reason

I have this job. And he, along with Terwilliger,

Read and Phillips are four personalities that

have left some sort of imprint on the detailing


And one more thing before I go. We have

now reached the 5-year mark at Auto Detailing

News. The first issue came out in January 2016.

I am so grateful for the past five years and look

forward to offering up more wonderful content.

It has been five years full of interviews, seminars,

phone calls, jokes, acceptance, comradery, and I

now have a rolodex full of amazing people I have

met along the way and now consider my friends.

Cheers to all of you for making it happen!

Until next time,

Copyright © 2020

2 Dollar Enterprises/Auto Detailing News

All Rights Reserved.




What Some Detailers

Don’t Get About Coatings

(and What They’re Missing)

By Victor Espeland

Ceramic coatings aren’t going away

anytime soon. These days it seems every

detailer has a ceramic coating service —

even body shops and PPF installers are

getting in on the action. It’s no surprise

considering the benefits of a ceramic

coating. Able to self-clean, resist scratches

and last for years, the ceramic coating

is the obvious choice for paint protection

in the 21st century. Even so, not everyone

has gotten on board.

Here’s one way to look at it. The sociologist

Everett Rogers once described

several personality types to show how

people adopt new ideas. One personality

type, the “Innovator”, champions new

things immediately. The “Early Adopter”

comes next, seeing the promise presented

by the “Innovator”. Then comes

the “Majority”, who sees the success of

the “Early Adopter” and gets on board,

too. The final type he describes, the

“Laggard”, is the one left behind, stuck

holding on to old ideas. The ceramic-averse

are, obviously, “Laggards”. So

what has them stuck?

If you were to ask a “Laggard” directly,

they’d tell you flatly that ceramic coatings

do not work as advertised. On its face,

this claim seems ridiculous, since many of

us see ceramic coatings performing every

day. How can the “Laggard” keep making

this claim? There must be a reason for this

aversion outside of sheer Luddism!

Press the “Laggard” further and they’ll

detail all the ways ceramic coatings have

failed them. They’ll say that after the last

customer came to him complaining about

a lack of water beading after just three

weeks, they couldn’t keep standing behind

the technology. They’ll say that after the

10th time finishing down a high spot, they

could never go back. They’ll say that even

if the coating is installed to perfection, the

customer will just run it through an automatic

wash and complain that it’s not

working. They’ve been burned by ceramic

coatings too many times and they’re not

getting burned again.

If you’re experienced with ceramic

coatings, you’ll read these complaints and

know the issue isn’t with the coating technology,

but the application process itself.

“Laggard” detailers don’t understand

how ceramic coatings bond, cure or are

maintained, and as a result fail to apply

or sustain durable protection. Why aren’t

they getting it? It has to do with the way

we talk about ceramic coatings.

When someone is explaining what a

ceramic coating is, they often use more familiar

paint protection technologies as an

analogy — think phrases like “wax on steroids”.

This metaphor is supposed to connote

the protective properties of a ceramic

coating, but it often leads newcomers to

permanently associate wax with ceramic

coatings. This isn’t just a misconception;

it’s a fundamental error that can lead to

ceramic coating failure. Whether it’s from

a botched application, a failed curing process

or a poor standard of aftercare maintenance,

approaching a coating like wax is

a recipe for disaster.

Instead, detailers need to understand

that ceramic coatings work less like a wax

and more like a second clear coat. Coatings,

like clear coat, need a clean room

environment to form a durable bond.

Coatings, like clear coat, continue to cure

for a week after application. Coatings,

like clear coat, need to be regularly maintained.

With these concepts understood,

“Laggard” detailers aren’t just adding a

new skill to their arsenal — they’re improving

their bottom line, too.




In the factory, clear coat is applied

through multiple stages from preparing the

basecoat surface to curing the clear coat in



an oven. These steps all mirror stages in

the ceramic coating process, shining light

on the standards and practices necessary

to achieve protective durability. So where

does it all begin? Let’s start with the sterile

environment necessary for a stable bond.








Clear coats and ceramic coatings are

both polymer-based and fuse with the

surfaces they’re applied to, forming an

unbreakable bond. To achieve this kind

of bond, the surface must be completely

free of any de-stabilizing contaminants. In

the factory setting, the vehicle is kept in a

sterilized painting booth totally devoid of

outside contamination, ensuring no foreign

particles are able to impede the bond

between the base coat and the clear coat.

How can we apply this concept to

the ceramic coating? For one, detailers

should have a “clean room” dedicated

exclusively to ceramic coating work.

From there, the more you can do to

ensure a clean, stable environment, the

better. Use environmental controls to

maintain consistent temperature and

humidity. Install air filtration systems to

prevent airborne contamination. Anything

that can benefit a painting clean

room will benefit one for coatings.

Now, it’s not always easy to maintain

or even install a room like this. What

else can be done? There’s a new type

of product that protects against contamination

while removing clear coat

defects. This category of products, best

exemplified by Dr. Beasley’s Nano Surface

Primers, locks in the “clean room”

environment by applying a ceramic

foundation, blocking outside contamination

from re-introducing itself to the

surface. This greatly improves surface

stability and makes premature coating

failure highly unlikely. If a clean room

isn’t possible, this is the next best thing.



Clear coats and ceramic coatings must

also be cured to fully bond with the finish.

In the factory setting, when applying

clear coat, this is done by placing the vehicle

in a large oven. The oven causes the

clear coat’s carrier to evaporate, leaving

behind the solid clear coat material. The

evaporation of the carrier leaves empty

space between the solid clear coat material,

which is then filled as the clear coat

polymers cross link with each other into a

densely knit structure.

If curing a ceramic coating in a giant

oven sounds like overkill to you, you’d be

right. In fact, many ceramic coatings are

cured in nothing but an ambient environment.

Many shops, however, will use infrared

(IR) lamps to expedite the process

in a way similar to the factory “big oven”

method. Beyond expediting the process,

an IR lamp also optimizes the cross linking

reaction to produce a more durable coating

than without.




In both clear coat application and

ceramic coating application, the initial

cure accounts only for 99% of the curing

process. The rest happens in the following

week, sometimes even two. During this

time, the clear coat or ceramic coating

continues to off-gas solvent as the clear

coat polymers cross-link into a dense knit.

This leaves the coating (clear or ceramic)

susceptible to destabilization by outside

contaminants, as the cross-link structure

is not dense enough to keep them out.

For vehicles at an OEM factory, this

isn’t a big deal — the car likely has some

time before it hits the dealership lot —

but for ceramic coatings, things are a little

different. Most ceramic coating customers

want to drive their vehicle as soon as

possible after application, so it’s doubtful

they’ll keep it garaged for that first week.

If the coating is exposed to large amounts

of contaminants (such as a deluge of rain

water) the curing process will destabilize,

resulting in a failed coating.

Knowing this can make a huge difference

in whether or not a coating fails before

curing can complete. So what is the

solution, outside of keeping the vehicle inside

for a week? In cases like these, a topcoat

for the ceramic coating can be hugely

beneficial in protecting the still-curing

coating. Typically these are maintenance

products to reinforce the coating in the

future, but they also work well to protect

during that crucial first week.



Once the clear coat is applied, cured

and the vehicle is in the customer’s hands,

its durability comes down to maintenance.

Maintain the clear coat well and

it will remain easy to clean and free of

oxidation. Because ceramic coatings fuse

with the clear coat, maintaining the clear

coat becomes maintaining the coating. All

of the ways that you usually care for a vehicle’s

finish transfer over.

This isn’t the case with a wax, which is

why coating-averse detailers don’t understand

the maintenance requirements of a

coating. They assume that if a coating is just

“wax on steroids” it must be super durable

and able to withstand anything. Yes, coatings

are super durable in comparison to

wax, but at the end of the day this is an

extension of the clear coat, not a magical

shield. Much like you would maintain a

clear coat with a sealant application every

few months, you would maintain a ceramic

coating with a ceramic maintenance spray

every few months for optimal durability.


These concepts can help “Laggard”

detailers step into the 21st century by

mastering the successful ceramic coating

installation. Having a perfect success rate

is definitely good for a shop’s reputation.

What’s less obvious is how this meticulous

approach makes your coating service more

valuable and your coating business more

consistent, so let’s dig in and explain.



Many customers struggle to see the

value in having a ceramic coating professionally

applied to their vehicle. They

see inexpensive ceramic coatings available

to the consumer public and assume it’s

something anyone can do. This is where

a lot of “Laggard” detailers get frustrated

— even if they were on board with coatings,

they wouldn’t have enough information

to explain why professional installation

is worthwhile.

If you have advanced knowledge of

ceramic coating installation informed by

OEM clear coat application methods, you



can explain to your customer the stringent

standards and techniques adhered

to in the process. Where most detailers

can only speak to the decontamination

and paintwork correction carried out beforehand,

those practicing clear coat-level

application procedures can detail the needs

of a clean room environment, the careful

surface preparation practiced and the advanced

mechanics of curing. Not only will

this communicate the value in your standard

of care, it will also assure the customer

that they are in the hands of an expert.



Why do so many detailers use foam

cannons to hand wash vehicles?

It looks cool.

The same goes for ceramic coating

application. When a detail shop has a

dedicated ceramic coating clean room,

advanced filtration systems and infrared

lamps for curing, customers notice. What

once seemed like an overpriced spray wax

now looks like an ultra-advanced procedure

that’s worth every penny. If your shop

isn’t set up for that kind of transparency,

have a professional video shot that details

the ceramic coating application process,

then play that on a loop in your waiting

room or on your website. However you do

it, showing off factory-level standards for

coating application is a bit of theater that

goes a long way in demonstrating value.




“Laggard” detailers will often claim

that the longevity of ceramic coatings

makes it so customers can go longer without

booking a service, which in turn hurts

business. When you understand ceramic

coatings as a second clear coat, however,

you see that in reality, it’s quite the opposite.

With this perspective, you can explain

to the customer plainly how the coating

bonds with and cures on the clear coat,

and how that similarity to clear coat requires

a similar level of after care. From

this point you can communicate the value

of a recurring maintenance service consisting

of bi-weekly washes, quarterly reinforcement

treatments and annual inspections.

Once a customer understands and

internalizes these needs, they can commit

to on-going services that greatly outpace

wax re-application in terms of margins.




Ceramic coatings aren’t snake oil

— it’s the “Laggard” detailers out there

approaching them like wax that give the

technology a bad name. If these stragglers,

however, can learn to emulate OEM clear

coat application processes in their ceramic

coating application, they can start to

understand the standards and practices

necessary to install a durable coating. Remember,

it’s not just about doing something

right. By taking these steps to ensure

the durability of a ceramic coating, you’re

communicating and demonstrating value

while ensuring a steady stream of recurring

bookings. There’s nothing to lose and

everything to gain.

Victor Espeland is the Communications

Manager of Dr. Beasley’s, Inc. of Chicago,

Illinois. All Dr. Beasley’s products

are professional quality, safe for consumer

use, and readily biodegradable.



15% OFF






Now through December 31, 2020

Use Promo Code

at Checkout




@Malcoautomotive @Malcoautomotive Malcoautomotive Malcoautomotive

0000 Malco Auto Detailing News Ad_December 2020_Final.indd 1 11/20/2020 9:09:27 AM




Are you


By Rob Schruefer

How do you measure success in your

detailing business? This can be tricky because

success is not the same for every

detailer, it is a very subjective measuring

stick. What would be considered success

in the first few years of business, may not

be the same in year 5, 10, or 15. In this

article we will look at some of the ways to

take a step back and look at yourself and

your business to see whether or not your

business can be considered “successful.”


I think the first and most important

point to consider is your bottom line. Are

you in the red or the black? If your business

is making money and paying the bills

that is the first milestone of ensuring that

your detailing business will make it. The

first few years are difficult ones for every

detailer starting out. Sometimes there is

money to pay the bills, but not enough

left over for you to take the paycheck you

deserve, if anything. I remember the first

time that I was proud of myself in the

detailing industry. It was when I did not

need to work a night job to make ends

meet. It was the winter of my 5 th year in

business, and for the first time I did not

have to wait tables or bartend to make

sure I had spending money. I was able to

pay myself a regular paycheck and started

looking at the growth of the company.

After that is where the perspective of

success diverges for each company individually.

While the end of the year profit

is always a good way to measure how you

are doing, there are several other ways

that can be considered. I will offer you a

few of the ways that I use to measure success

within my company.








2020 2021 2022 2023

Increased revenue is

a great way to measure

your growth from

year to year. We all

know that increasing

your revenue does

not always mean increasing your

profit too. There are costs associated with

growth, and they will offset, and sometimes

eat into the increase of revenue. If

you set yourself a goal of an obtainable

number like a 5 to 10% increase in revenue,

you will ensure that your business

does not become stagnant. A great way to

visualize this is to make a line graph with

year-to-year revenue, and watch it rise

each year. It will also allow you to project

years into the future to plan for big purchases

and future expansion.



Another way I eel successful is when

my staff is doing well. Not everyone has, or

even wants employees, so this one would

not apply to everyone. As a company, we

are responsible for making sure that each

of our teammates make enough money

to support themselves and their families.

We do this by making sure that we pay a

competitive wage and can offer enough

hours to provide full time employment. If

I can help people make a better life for

themselves, I consider that a huge success.

Also, our CXO asks each teammate, each

year, what their goals are for the year. Answers

range from buying a new car, getting

a new place to live, or starting college

classes. He posts them up on his wall and

follows up with them to see how they are

doing to meet that goal, and what it is that

we can do to help. Every time someone

makes one of those goals, I feel like we

played a role in getting them there.


The most important piece of success

is how you see yourself. What is important

to you as a detailing business owner?

If you take a few of those things and

make them into goals that are difficult,

but obtainable, you will always be pushing

yourself forward. As I stated before,

measurable success will be different from

person-to-person, but feeling proud of

yourself and what you have accomplished

is the real definition of success.

Rob Schruefer is the owner of On The

Spot Detailing out of Columbia, Maryland.

He proudly serves on the board

of the International Detailing Association

and works tirelessly to ensure

that detailing business owners receive

business development support to help

them achieve their goals.




Introducing Enrique Villegas of Kompetenz Body Shop Automotriz


Enrique Villegas II


Kompetenz Body

Shop Automotriz

S.A De CV of Mexico City.

Let’s Take a Trip to…


How long have you been in

the auto detailing business?

I have been in the business for 40 years.

Do you have any employees?

Yes, 210 in operation

and 25 in administration.

Is there a big retail market in

Mexico for auto detailing?

Yes, it is a huge market in Mexico.

Approximately how many

detail shops in Mexico City?

Maybe 10, but there are many

auto dealers.

What was your background

before the auto estetica


It was a primitive car wash service.

Washing by hand and buckets full of

water, but [my way of doing business]

was transformed by Bud Abraham.

Do you have a fixed

location or mobile?

Fixed location.

What kind of work do you do?

Retail? Auto Dealer? Fleets?

Kompetenz is open to the public plus

we have auto fleet accounts all over

Mexico. Also, we are partnered with

Grease Monkey Inc. and we work with

corporations such as Banregio Bank,

Femsa-Coca Cola, EuropCar Rental

and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City

and “consulates” throughout the area.

[We mostly compete] for fleet accounts

because that market is huge.

What are you biggest


The continuous fluctuation in

exchange rates because all of

the best supplies are imported.

Also, extortion and violence.

Are there many suppliers of

detail products in Mexico?

Yes, but we get most of ours

from America and Germany.

Anything else you can

tell me about the detail

market in Mexico?

Any kind of crisis is a very good

opportunity to grow in this business

because customers prefer to keep

their cars in good condition.

In His Own Words…


Enrique’s Story

I had been detailing for a while and in

1993 my parents Enrique and Laura told

me to find the best detail supplier in America.

So, I visited the American Chamber

of Commerce office next to the American

Embassy in Mexico City and I got a long

list of suppliers. One of the hundreds of

that list was Mr. Bud Abraham of Detail

Plus, Inc. from Portland, Oregon.

I was very lucky when he came to

visit our location at Jardin Balbuena

in Mexico City in the 1993 and I remember

his words... “Don´t feel insulted,

but your operation is so primitive”

...and that was the beginning of the

transformation of our business and we

trusted in this smart man and he became

a part of the Villegas family.

We began to invest in many kinds

of used equipment during an economic

crisis that went on for several years. But,

with Bud’s advice and business vision, he

helped us to continue innovating and developing

and we opened the first professional

auto detailing business in Mexico in

December 1997 with the new name and


In 1999 we opened a semi-automatic

car wash in the same location but in the

beginning, customers were afraid to wash

their cars in this new mode and we were

worried that no customers would ever

come. We marketed and kept at it, and

eventually customers started coming and

liked the new way to wash their cars. Les

Wickham was a very important friend of

mine and taught us with his brilliant mind

and engineering ideas. I will never forget

his words, “Enrique, now you have all the

aces in your pocket.” I understood what

those words meant many years later.

We completed our dream, which was

to have a full-service car wash business,

in the following years. We increased sales

and opened a new freestanding Detail

Shop business, and we got the Detail Plus

Paint Touch up System and began a new

era in the industry in 2001.

We are very thankful to Bud Abraham

and his family with their kindness to us

over the years. We were also about to visit

them in America, and we consider them

family. Bud is my American father and

I´m blessed to know him.



Introducing new & improved products for professional auto, boat & motorcycle detailers.

New line of Air Fresheners from Buffalo Scents

Buffalo Scents is a Buffalo born and

raised brand committed to creating safer,

healthier and better-smelling air fresheners

for automobiles. We’re a small, tightknit

team based out of Buffalo, New York

– a city known for brotherly love, the epic

debate of bleu cheese vs. ranch, wings

(yep, we just call them wings here), underdog

sports teams, and snow. Lots of it.

We’ve always spent a lot of time in

our cars, whether it’s stuck in traffic, navigating

a snowstorm, or waiting in line to

tailgate. We know all too well that a clean,

fresh-smelling car can make all the difference

in how you feel when you drive, according

to owner Stephen Szortyka. Our

vehicles are our second homes – and because

we can’t burn incense or plug an essential

oil diffuser into our cars, we wanted

a more natural, fresher, and cleaner

way to create a moving oasis.

Buffalo Scents was created with the

core belief that air fresheners shouldn’t

have to come with all the nasty chemicals.

Even better, they can come in an affordable,

stylish, and natural-looking design

that doesn’t feel tacky or flimsy.

The company’s mission is simple: keep

cars across the country smelling as fresh

and clean as possible, without adding unnecessary

chemicals. “We’re a new age

air freshener with simple, game-changing

values: good scents made from good ingredients.”

Mud Stopper Plugs

from Kleen-Rite

Have you noticed that mud, grime, and grit

sometimes builds up in the outer holes of the fiberglass

grating in your car wash bay? It’s difficult

to clean out this sludge and it might begin to collect

gravel and small pieces of trash. This is unattractive

and potentially unsafe for customers. In addition,

this increases the possibility that brushes will

pick up solid particles that can scratch or damage

vehicle surfaces.

Mud Stopper plugs easily and quickly solve this

problem! Once you identify which holes in your

grating collect mud, you can clean them out and

insert a plug in each one. This directs the mud

and sludge further towards the center of the grate

where it will fall into the pit instead of building

up around the edges. Plugs are easy to insert and

perfectly sized for common car wash grating. Your

wash will instantly look cleaner, stay cleaner, and

provide a safer experience for all customers and

employees. Packs of 100 plugs are available.

Mobile Spraying

Unit from Apollo


To help protect communities

against COVID-19 and other

viruses, the Apollo disinfectant,

sanitizing and remediation

sprayers are designed

keep people safe. The Apollo

DR3000-PRO Turbo Spray system,

that has been designed for commercial

use, includes a professional variable-speed air turbine, a 30’ Ultra-Flex

air hose and a 32oz capacity professional spray gun with internal stainless-steel

fluid passages, springs and finite solution adjustment. The system atomizes disinfectants

into micro-fine particle sizes and spray patterns up to 10” wide for

complete, even surface coverage while the multi-stage air intake filtration protects

the system from contaminants for years of reliable service. Add the included

wheels to the DR3000-PRO and you have total portability.

Whether you’re spraying a fleet of trucks or trailers the DR3000-PRO will be

there to work for you all day long, providing reliable, safe and even distribution of

your EPA approved Covid-19 disinfectant or sanitizer solution of choice.



Connectorized LED Lighting

Made in the USA











IDA Community Stays Strong

During Challenging Year

Members of the International Detailing Association unite to make it through tough times

By Erin Reyes

IDA Communications Coordinator

There is no doubt that 2020 has been

one of the most challenging years in recent

memory. We have lost cherished

friends and colleagues, endured multiple

lockdowns, rallied against racial injustice,

overcome political differences, and

some of us may have even experienced

permanent business closures. We have

cried together, laughed together, learned

together, worked together, all without the

ability to physically be together. But we

have stuck together nonetheless, and that

is what makes the International Detailing

Association (IDA) community so strong.

The year started off like most others,

with the IDA participating at Mobile

Tech Expo in Orlando, Florida at the

end of January. We hosted our Annual

Business Meeting, presented the annual

IDA Awards, and inducted the inaugural

class of the IDA Hall of Fame. Association

leaders including Board members

and committee chairs convened to discuss

goals and create a strategic plan for the

upcoming year. We gained a large group

of new members and Certified Detailers

at the event. Basically, everything pointed

to it being our best year yet.

Fast forward to March 2020. The IDA

Belgium/France Chapter made their

tradeshow debut at The Detailing Show

in Tours, France. It was well attended and

garnered much international interest for

the association. Then, literally the next

day, the country went into lockdown and

all large events were forbidden.

It was ostensibly all downhill from

there: countries began shutting down,

tradeshows and large-scale events were

cancelled, businesses had to cease – or

at least greatly alter – operations. How

could detailing companies (mostly small,

independent businesses) and, subsequently,

the IDA, thrive – or, at the very least,

survive – through such a situation?

However, something surprising happened.

Despite all the seeming roadblocks,

throughout this past year, the

IDA community has continued to grow.

At the time of publication, we are 1783

members and nearly 1100 Certified Detailers


How then, in a year of struggle and

uncertainty, were we able to experience

this type of growth? Essentially, it comes

down to the sense of community that we

have been able to foster. Our leaders and

volunteers have worked tirelessly to maintain

this tight bond and provide meaningful

support to our members in a time

when they absolutely needed it most.


Earlier this year, in recognition of the

hardships that members and Certified Detailers

were experiencing across the board,

the IDA Board made the decision to offer

some relief in the form of extended dues

and recertification periods. At a time when

connection and access to information

were so invaluable, we did not want detailers

to be left out due to whatever financial

or operational challenges they might have

been facing. That is the exact moment

that a supportive network would be most

necessary. This summer, we also ran a promotion

for one free month of membership

for both new and returning members to

encourage as many detailers as possible

to invest in the community for their own

benefit and the support of others.

Another popular addition this year

was a series of group sessions, which were

facilitated by Jason Rose, CD-SV, RT,

who has a background in psychology and

human services. These sessions, which oftentimes

featured special guests, offered a

safe space for members to gather and discuss

their concerns about the state of the

industry – and the world, at large – and

offer support to others who understood

exactly what they were going through.

Topics included managing anxiety, navigating

compassion and empathy, courage,

and persistence.




While providing financial and emotional

support for our members was important

for us, we also recognized the

need to continue offering professional development

opportunities. Despite outward

obstacles, members still had the drive to

continue bettering themselves and their

careers. IDA Certification is, without a

doubt, the number one opportunity we

provide for professional development.

With in-person gatherings limited, though,

it was clear that an alternate solution was

necessary for certification events.


Luckily, Alan Medcraf, CD-SV, RT,

IDA Vice President of Operators, was

more than ready to accept the challenge

and became the first IDA Recognized

Trainer to offer online certification events.

This allowed detailers from across the

globe to take part in the IDA Certification

Program without ever having to leave

the safety of their homes. As of now, we

have successfully held five online certification

events, resulting in more than 20

new Certified Detailers. Hopefully, the

success of these first online certification

events means that they will continue well

past the end of the pandemic. With this

year’s addition of four new Recognized

Trainers, for a total of 33 worldwide, we

would say this is a great possibility. Check

the event calendar on our website for upcoming

testing dates.

Along with the success of the online

certification events, the IDA Certification

Committee also launched the Marine

Certification program in September.

To date, we have already had nearly 15

Certified Detailers complete or begin

working toward the specialty certification.

This clearly shows that, even in

the midst of a pandemic, there are detailers

dedicated to advancing their careers

and the detailing profession. Learn

more about IDA Marine Certification at

Speaking of advancing the profession,

we were also proud this year to introduce

the Founder’s Endowment Fund, established

by the IDA Founder’s Club, to support

programs and projects that further

detailing education and training for future

detailers. At the time of publication,

submissions are still under review and no

grants have yet been awarded, but a bevy

of entries show that there are indeed individuals

and companies who are working

to improve the detailing industry, and the

IDA Founder’ Club is proud to be able to

support that mission.

Our growth was not just limited to the

United States, though. This year, the IDA

Chapter Development Committee helped

establish two new chapters – Bulgaria and

Denmark – bringing our current total

up to eight active international chapters.

Several more countries and regions have

... even in the midst of a pandemic,

there are detailers dedicated to

advancing their careers and the

detailing profession.

expressed interest in creating their own

chapters, and the committee has set a goal

of adding two additional chapters within

the next year, for a total of ten.

The Chapter Development Committee

made it their mission this year to offer

additional support to existing chapters, as

there was no corner of the globe that the

pandemic and its effects did not reach.

Within the chapters, members established

regular virtual meetups for detailers in

their country or region to come together

to discuss how they were dealing with

the effects of the pandemic and share camaraderie

in a time when it was so desperately

needed. The United Kingdom

Chapter was hit particularly hard, so they

established a schedule of twice-monthly

calls, facilitated by chapter member Craig

Brigham, CD, to catch up with one another

and discuss hot topics. Similarly,

the New Zealand Chapter has recently

hosted two virtual Happy Hour events.

The Chapter Development Committee

further helped facilitate cross-chapter

meetings so members from different parts

of the world could gather to share their

knowledge and expertise to help each

other grow. One of the greatest benefits

of belonging to the IDA, which was made

undeniable in a digital environment this

year, is being part of a global network

that brings individuals together to share

tools and knowledge with one another,

and establish connections that would not

otherwise exist due to distance and other

physical constraints.



With tradeshows and in-person gatherings

being limited or cancelled altogether,

the IDA Tradeshow and Education

Committee, like everyone else, had

to learn to operate in a strictly digital

environment for the health and safety of

our members.

Instead of planning in-person gatherings,

the committee pivoted to focus on

coordinating several virtual panel sessions

to provide up-to-date information to detailers

– both members and non-members

– on dealing with the pandemic. Association

leaders and experts provided as accurate

information as possible, at a time

when it may have been hard to decipher

what was actually helpful with information

coming from a wide variety of sources.

Recordings of these panel events are

archived on the IDA website at https:// You

can also find other COVID-related reference

materials on this webpage, including

safety documents, UK-specific resources,

and a copy of the press release we released

in March, explaining our thoughts

on why auto detailing businesses should

be considered essential businesses, at a

time when non-essential businesses were

being forced to shutter. The press release

was also translated into several other languages,

as a resource for our growing international

member base.

Though all these resources are important,

perhaps the most vital was something

that, in this digital age, is easy to

overlook: a dedicated space for social networking.

Members have always turned to

our exclusive Facebook group as a way to

connect with one another, but this year it

took on a whole new meaning as a place

where members could commiserate and

get feedback from those who were living

the same experience. They could also

go to the group to find pictures of work

other members were doing to establish

a sense of normalcy in a world that is,

truthfully, anything but normal. Several

chapters also have their own Facebook

groups, where they can connect in the

same way as the main group but do so in

a language that is most comfortable for

them and discuss regional-specific topics.

For members without access to Facebook,

there is also the integrated website

community, where members can connect

in a space truly built just for them.



Though we remain optimistic about

one day soon being able to resume our

previous activities – in-person certification,

tradeshows, meet and greets – this

year has taught us that we can weather

the storms and thrive in times of adversity,

all thanks to the hard work and dedication

of our community. In the event that

we are not able to “return to normal” (if

there even is such a thing), you can rest assured

that our leaders and volunteers are

already working diligently to plan for all

contingencies, including the introduction

of digital SV testing and a potential virtual

tradeshow in 2021.

While many things remain uncertain

for the coming year, one thing is for

sure: the IDA will be here to support the

detailing community, and we will work

together to make it through whatever

comes our way.







Increased comfort and ease of use

with revised center of gravity.


Heavy structure for increased durability

combined with new sealing technology.


Deep, open access allows for

convenient use without

unintentional water spray.


Eliminating pressure loss

while reducing clogging.

f e a tur ing pure f l o te c h nol o g y

Learn more at:



FEB 4-6, 2021




Gaylord Palms Resort

FEB 17-19, 2021




Fort Worth Convention Center

Fort Worth, Texas

SEPT 27-29, 2021



Georgia World Congress


Atlanta, Georgia

OCT 4-6, 2021





Atlantic City

Convention Center

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

NOV 15-17, 2021



Las Vegas Convention Center

Las Vegas, Nevada

*These shows are still scheduled

at the time of publication of this

issue. However, shows might still

be canceled due to Covid-19.

Check websites for each show for

more information.

Santa Rosa Detailer

Celebrates Grand Opening


Shawn Sepulveda, owner of A Perfect

Experience Auto Detailing, now known as

A Perfect Experience (APE) Luxury Auto

Spa, believed people were ready for an

outdoor family-friendly event as long as it

was safe, masked and socially-distanced.

Following all CDC guidelines, Sepulveda

celebrated the grand opening of his new

5,500 square-foot APE Luxury Auto Spa

with a Trunk or Treat Car Show on Sunday,

October 25.

According to a press release, in addition

to changing his business name to

APE Luxury Auto Spa, the move to a

larger 5,500-square-foot facility now provides

room to offer several aesthetic services

they were contracted out in the past,

such paintless dent repair (PDR), window

and glass chip repair, cosmetic wheel and

rim repair, paint protection film (PPF),

and window tint installation . Now those

services are all offered under one roof.

APE Luxury Auto Spa partnered with

the North Bay Impalas Club to host what

they hope will become an annual car

show event. There were no entry fees for

the Trunk or Treat Car Show. There were

also food trucks, a deejay, raffles and giveaways,

and plaques and trophies for the

winners of the car show.

APE also now highlights their Transparent

Warranties – the first warranty program

ever to cover automotive detailing

and aesthetic services. Transparent Warranties

offer unprecedented coverage for

PDR, PPF, glass repair, headlight repair,

tire and wheel work, key fob replacement,

and both interior and exterior detailing

work. These warranties are the only ones

of their kind on the market for detailers.

Sepulveda has prepped multimillion-dollar

classics and exotics as a member

of the highly prestigious McCall’s Motorworks

Revival and The Quail Detailing

The latest on Mobile Tech Expo 2021

As of now, the 2021 Mobile Tech

Expo is still happening, although show

officials said they are closely monitoring

Covid and will be keeping the health of

the community and the show participants

as its top priority.

The Show, slated for February 5-6

with its Education Day on February 4, will

take place at the Gaylord Palms Resort

in Orlando. Educational sessions will go

on throughout the day and on Saturday,

February 6, International Detailing Association

Certification testing will be offered.

According to an official statement: We

are excited to bring the 2021 Mobile Tech

Expo back to Orlando at the Gaylord

Palms Resort. We are closely monitoring

the virus, following local health guidelines

alongside those within the hotel property

as the safety and health of our attendees,

exhibitors, and local community is our

highest priority. As the situation changes,

we will assess and communicate any

changes with these guidelines.

Here are a few of the

educational sessions being

offered pertaining to detailers:

• Current Marketing

Trends for Selling

8 a.m. - 9 a.m., THRU, FEB 4

What’s the number one thing needed

for anyone that is selling something? Their

attention! Marshall Hill, Total Auto Solutions

and DJ Patterson, EcoGreen will

take a look at where customer’s attention

has been over the past few years, current

market trends and forward thinking maneuvers

for Detailers to best use in their

B2C & B2B marketing efforts.

• Three Unique Ways to

Grow Your Business

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., THRU, FEB 4

We all know a lot of the standard

things we are supposed to be doing in

our business. Sales, marketing, customer

follow-up, have a website, get reviews,

etc. Some we do really well and some we

can do better. Coach Cory K will help


Teams at Monterey Car Week. He is also

Santa Rosa’s only Air Force One Detailer.

He and the team have restored and are

continuing to preserve and protect the

original presidential jet, Air Force One on

display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

Sepulveda has been part of these

events as a member of Master aircraft

and automotive detailer, Renny Doyle’s

famous Detail Mafia, an exclusive group

of detailers – ‘Made-Men’ – who strive

to be the most accomplished and technologically-advanced

team of automotive

detailers in the U.S., and artisans in

the care and maintenance of automotive

paint and automotive interiors.

you find unique ways to create the life

and business you want.

• The Wall

4 p.m. - 5 p.m., THRU, FEB 4

Join John Corinella, CD-SV of American

Detail Corp. in this motivational seminar

focused on identifying and overcoming

the obstacles in your path. John will be

touching on topics related to identifying

challenges, chasing your dream, building

self-confidence, positive and negative influences,

the impact of being tapped into

the IDA, and much more. Leaving 2020

behind and looking into a fresh year in

2021, you won’t want to miss this session!

• Sell Your Used Equipment,

Old Stock or Product Line

on eBay

11 a.m. - 12 p.m., THRU, FEB 4

Have used equipment that is taking

up space in your shop, garage or storage

unit? Do you have a product line and are

looking for a venue to sell online or are

you interested in creating a side income

that you can run right from your business?


SEMA360 attracts thousands of attendees, includes Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs

Thousands of industry professionals

logged onto on November

2 to take part in the first day of

SEMA360 , a five-day online trade-only

event where attendees from throughout

the world could interact with automotive

parts manufacturers, see new trends and

products, network, and hear from leaders

and experts in the specialty equipment

aftermarket industry, a press release reported.

Following a live Keynote Q&A

powered by OPTIMA Batteries and featuring

Mike Rowe and Tanner Foust on

Monday morning, SEMA360 officially

opened for attendees who were looking to

connect with the more than 650 manufacturers

that are headlining the event.

Rowe, creator and host of the hit TV

series “Dirty Jobs,” and Foust, industry

celebrity and driver, broadcasted live from

their respective locations. During the halfhour

episode, the two talked about the

state of the automotive aftermarket, their

passion for the industry and the need to

inspire more people to get involved in the

aftermarket trade.

Rowe shared his experience and stories

behind the success of his show “Dirty

Jobs,” how the mikeroweWORKS Foundation

came to be and how it evolved

from a PR campaign for skilled labor to a

scholarship fund for those willing to learn

a trade that’s in demand.

“There is a real shortage of skilled

technicians across the country, and real

opportunities to prosper in those trades,”

said Rowe. “My foundation gave away

$1 million in work ethic scholarships this

year to people who want to learn a trade

and help close the skills gap.”

Foust, who was streaming live from

OPTIMA’s event Hi-Performance Expo,

gave attendees a sneak peak of the track,

shared his insight on the diversity of the

industry and talked about how the industry

is persevering during this unprecedented

time of COVID-19 .

“The enthusiast world and automotive

market is healthy,” said Foust. “When you

cruise around in SEMA360 and what we’ll

do the next couple of days here through

this platform, you’ll meet a lot of people

who are almost investors. You’ll find

people who have innovated. People are

tinkering and inventing and putting their

passion into physical representation.”

SEMA360 also allowed for attendees to

view more than 2,200 products in the New

Products Showcase, see over 300 custom

vehicle builds, and take part in more than

30 industry-specific education sessions

throughout the week. Each SEMA360 day

was full of exclusive seminars and events.

Andrew Morgan, Keystone Automotive

Operations Category Director-Truck

& Off-Road, said in a press release, “In

these challenging times, we have to be

flexible and adapt, and we are very thankful

SEMA found a way to help bring the

industry together.”

Amy Fitzgerald, owner of Cool Hand

Customs, also was looking forward to connecting

with the industry on SEMA360.

“The ability to connect with others in

the industry this year is more important

than it has ever been,” she said in a press

release. “With the education seminars

and all the virtual opportunities it offers,

SEMA360 is an invaluable resource this

year for all of us who make not only our

careers but our lives in this industry.”

“Our industry is resilient, and it’s making

history by coming together to conduct

business through the online platform,”

Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of

events, stated in a press release. “We were

unable to have an in-person event this year,

and the industry was able to pivot and find

a way to conduct much-needed business in

preparation for a successful 2021. We are

looking forward to seeing even more activity

in SEMA360 as the week continues.”

Paul Apollonia will help you discover how

eBay can be a sales tool on your mobile

device, an overview of listing items, taking

photos, pricing, and shipping tips.

• What Your Accountant

is Not Telling You

1 p.m. - 2 p.m., THRU, FEB 4

You may get all the proper forms and

taxes completed on time. You probably

have never had your business audited with

regard to any of the forms or tax returns

you have submitted. Yet, there are many

things that you should know about the

accounting aspect of your business. Your

accountant may know most of them, but

to make sure, both of you have to be “on

the same page”. In this session, Tom Shay

will share 14 key aspects of financial management

that you should be aware of.

• Insulate Earning Capability

with Additional Revenue


8 a.m. - 9 a.m., THRU, FEB 4

Was your income impacted last year

by the Pandemic? Some of us had greatly

reduced income because we rely solely on

revenue from detailing services. In this

session, Prentice St. Clair, CD-SV, RT,

will talk about what it takes to be a more

rounded “automotive reconditioning”

technician. With 22 years teaching and

providing multiple services, Prentice can

help you understand what it takes to learn

and equip yourself to be multi-talented,

so that you can dramatically increase the

average ticket price per vehicle.

• Proper Pad Care

and Maintenance

1 p.m. – 2 p.m., THRU, FEB 4

The intention of this educational seminar

is to educate/advise on proper care and

maintenance of all pad types foams, microfibers

and wools. The seminar will cover

care and maintenance of all pad types and

will be advised from the time of purchase to

knowing when it's time to replace. The intention

is to educate on how to get the maximum

performance and durability (work

time) from buffing pads. Maintenance will

include how many pads to use per vehicle,

when to change pads, how often to clean

while buffing and when to clean for new

job. We will also be discussing “best practices”

on cleaning pads, differences and

“tricks to the trade” on best ways to clean

various types of pads. We hope that attendees

leave with better knowledge of identifying

the best ways to clean various types

of pads, what processes will work best and

“best practices” of getting the best performance

and longevity from your buffing

pads. Speakers: Clint Hintz, CD-SV, RT

and Justin Labato, CD-SV, RT, Buff and

Shine. JL’s Showroom Detailing, Inc.

• Chemical Technology

to Boost Your Profits

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., THRU, FEB 4

We will discuss the latest technologies

in the detailing industry, and highlight

which ones can turn into better revenue

sources, which ones help cut expenses (labor),

and which ones are a waste of your

time. We will share information about new

coating technologies, including graphene

and high solids ceramic coatings, 100%

inorganic paintwork correction gels (no

more compounds and polishes), and new

cleaning surfactants that leave a protective

film. Not all technologies are beneficial.

Learn about those that are misapplied

to our industry and about others that are

downright bogus, which can affect your

bottom line. Speaker: Jim Lafeber, CD-

SV, RT, Dr. Beasley’s Inc.

• Equipping Your Shop

the Right Way

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., THRU, FEB 4

How to determine what equipment

and tools you need to run your mobile,

fixed or larger scale operation. Know

what to buy, how to buy it and how to financially

manage your purchases to leverage

these assets to your advantage operationally

and financially. Speaker: Keith

Duplessie Details Plus CD-SV, MC, RT

• The 30 minute paint

enhancement with protection!

Maximizing one step performance.

More customers. More profit.

11 a.m. – 12 p.m., THRU, FEB 4

An overview of tips and techniques to

get the ultimate performance while doing

one step paint enhancement procedures.

Jason will show you how to do this with

maximum efficiency and quality. Jason

Rose, CD-SV, RT

• How to Go from Mobile

to Fixed Operations

8 a.m. – 9 a.m., FRI, FEB 5

Find out the back story of how this

successful entrepreneur went from mobile

to fixed location in 4 years. Even

if you are not looking at it now, get a

template for setting goals and executing

them. Speaker: John Corinella, American

Detail Corp

• Organizing for Efficiency

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., FRI, FEB 5

Are you always trying to increase your

productivity and profitability? Learn from

an expert how to view everything from an

efficiency (and therefore profitable) mindset.

We’ll talk about shop/work truck layout,

training and even product selection

to get the most value out of everything

you do. Walk away with tips that will enhance

your bottom line and your work/

life balance. Speaker: Yvan LaCroix



Details for the 2021 SEMA Show have also been

revealed. The Show is to take place November 2-5,

2021, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Pack your parka, SEMA is going to Sweden!

The 2021 SEMA Nordic program in Stockholm,

Sweden, is scheduled for September 2-6,

2021. According to a SEMA press release, Sweden,

Norway, Finland and Denmark – collectively known

as the Nordic region – boasts a long and rich tradition

of car customizing and motorsports are perhaps

best known as among the strongest fans worldwide

of US classic cars, racing and US culture. “A high

standard of living allows them ample disposable income

to spend on their car hobbies. Given the pool

of US classic cars in the region and the strong racing

culture – including drag racing – opportunities

for manufacturers of products for the hot rod and

restoration market given the very large number of

vintage American vehicles particularly from the 50s

to the 70s. The saying is that there are more restored

1950s and 60s cars in Sweden than in the United

States, the press release stated. Lovingly restored and

stunning hot rods are easy to spot on the road, and

from Easter through September there are numerous

car shows and American car cruises.

Participants can learn the potential for their

products in this performance and classic car paradise.

Meet with top trade buyers enabling the half

century old craze in Sweden and the surrounding

countries of Norway, Finland and Denmark to restore

and upgrade American classic cars, the press

release stated. “High disposable income coupled

with a passion for personalization makes this a very

attractive region. Explore the region with SEMA.

The SEMA Business Development Programs are

low-cost, turnkey events that bring together SE-

MA-member manufacturers and buyers from key


I smell a great stocking

stuffer! Car wash scented

candle now available

Smith and Co. Candles LLC, a family-owned candle

company based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is offering a carwash-scented

candle and wax melts online thanks to a partnership

with Kwik Trip, WTMJ-TV reported.

“Earlier this summer, we teamed up with the Smith &

Co. team to launch the Glazers®-Scented Candle. This was

new territory for our company, so we were thrilled to see the

positive feedback surrounding the launch,” Kendra Nedegaard,

digital content supervisor at Kwik Trip, said in the

September 23 story.

Although the secret to Kwik Trip’s good-smelling suds is

top secret, the candle will supposedly transport you straight to

the car wash, at least that is, according to Kwik Trip.

“We knew we needed to make this scent a reality, Kenna

Smith-Hoff, owner of Smith & Co. Candles LLC said in the

story. “It’s especially near and dear to my heart because my dad

Jim works for Kwik Trip as their lead Car Wash Field Service

Supervisor and oversees car wash production and maintenance

in all three states. He has worked for Kwik Trip for over 20

years, so Kwik Trip runs deep in my family.”

The candle is now available for online purchase at






DETAILPLUS.COM || 503-251-2955

Laid-off Disney workers find hope

with auto detailing

The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled Orlando's workforce, according to a November

18 Orlando Weekly story. Thousands of jobs have been lost and the hardest-hit

sector of the local Orlando economy are theme park and hospitality employees.

“Walt Disney World alone has seen more than 50,000 furloughs and lay-offs

of part-time, seasonal, full-time and union employees,” the story said. “Orlando's

plethora of entertainers, performers, artists, and hospitality professionals are the

‘magic makers.’ They're what keep this city vibrant and churning with creative energy,

and many of Orlando's most influential artisans and businesses started their

careers with the Mouse.”

Many employees have a lot of creative energy and nowhere to spend it, the story

said. But, thanks to "Ear for Each Other," a Facebook group founded by Maxine

Pollakis, a 22-year Disney cast member, laid off theme park workers are finding work

elsewhere. Pollakis, who started the group with three others – two laid off, one furloughed,

one still employed – formed the group to give furloughed and laid-off Disney

cast members (CMs) a place to promote and market their side hustles, whether

they're creative or practical, to an audience seeking to support them.

Workers who started detailing cars to get by were helped by the initiative, according

to the story. "When the group was created," Pollakis said in the story, "the federal

aid for Floridians was ending, leaving [the CMs] to earn about $200 per week. I knew

so many were struggling and wondered how I could help." Pollakis looked no further

than her own social network, “where she found CMs painting, baking bread, making

candles and soaps, starting pressure-washing and auto detailing businesses, and more.”

The forum now includes more than 30,000 CMs and community members,"

Pollakis said in the story. "Disney cast members are incredibly talented, and it's very

common for artists to find ways to be creative, no matter the circumstances.":




The Facts about

Paint Finishing


Ask 10 detailers the best way to detail

a paint finish and you will get 10 different answers.

Bud Abraham is Founder and President Emeritus of DETAIL PLUS Car Appearance Systems, with more than 40 years of

experience in the car care industry as a manufacturer, operator, distributor and consultant. He writes articles and gives

seminars on the subject of auto detailing throughout the automotive industry. He can be reached at

By Bud Abraham

After reading a recent article on paint

finishing I decided it was time to take a

stronger stand on paint finish procedures:

Which tools, which pads, and which

chemicals to use.

The Buffing Process

If you have an enamel or lacquer

finish that is heavily oxidized, etched or

scratched and the paint thickness gauge

indicates at least 4 mils of paint, it is safe

to use the high speed buffer with a cutting

pad and a heavy-duty or medium grade

compound. When you use a cutting pad

and a compound you will put swirls and

scratches in the paint finish. A professional

detailer will remove these swirls and

scratches rather than simply fill them. It

is unlikely that the new DAs will remove

heavily oxidation on single-stage paint or

heavily scratched or etched single or twostage

paint systems.

This is truly the difference between

a professional in the detail business, and

a detailer looking for a shortcut. Maybe

filling the swirls and scratches on a dealer

car is OK. but this process has no place

in a detail center providing the service to

retail customers.

How to Remove Swirls

After the paint surface has been

buffed with a high speed rotary buffer,

the only way to remove the resultant

swirls and scratches is to follow this with a

high speed buffer (at lower RPMs), foam

or with 100% lamb’s wool finishing pad,

and a swirl remover (not filler) product.

(The rule is: If you put the swirls or scratches

in with a high speed buffer you’ve got to remove

them with one.)

This is where skill and time play a part

in the paint finishing process. Typically,

when removing swirls and micro-scratches

you move much slower over the paint

finish, paying careful visual attention to

the swirls and scratches you are trying to

remove. This also heats the shine into the

paint finish. Like spit shining vs. brush

shining a pair of shoes.

Using today’s high-tech DAs (Rupes

& Flex and copies of that technology) for

light correction on the first step you can

usually remove slight, if any swirls with

the same DA and a polishing pad.

Waxing or Sealing

The final step is the application of the

wax or paint sealant protection (I am not

mentioning ceramic coatings as a final

protection in this particular discussion because

that is an entirely different situation).

Waxes can come in liquid, creme or

paste form. The cremes and pastes are

best applied by hand, with a hand-held orbital

or with a DA and finishing pad and

removed by hand or the tools mentioned

Sealants are usually in a liquid form

and are best applied and removed as previously


When it comes to hand applying vs.

machine applying, in my opinion, it really

makes no difference in terms of protection

and durability. If you can use the

“Hand Wax” idea as a marketing feature

to the customer, then do it that way.

Buffing Clear Coats?

Like a sheet of plexiglass, or a plastic

eyeglass lens, the clear coat, is subject to

scratching. Also, as discussed, clear coat

paint finishes are susceptible to etching

from acid rain, bird droppings, and insect


If you encounter a clear coat paint

finish with any one, or more of these

problems you most likely will be required

to use a high speed buffer, cutting pad,

and a light to medium-duty compound.

It is the only way to remove them. Trying

to do it by hand, with an orbital or a

DA will, at best, only fill the irregularity

and not remove it.

After you’ve corrected the problem,

(in some instances the damage will be

removed completely) the next step is to

remove the swirls and scratches by using

a high speed buffer, finishing pad (either

foam or 100% lamb’s wool) or a High-

continued ...


Tech DA and a swirl remover chemical.

An orbital will not remove the swirls or

scratches, only fill them. A High-Tech DA

might remove some lighter swirls. A point

to remember is that they were “burned

in” with a high speed buffer, and in most

cases, they must be removed with one.

The final step is the same as a single-stage

paint finish, a wax or sealant applied

and removed as previously described.

“Good” Paint Finishes

By good paint finishes I mean single-stage

or two-stage clear coat finishes

that do not have heavy visual scratches,

etching from insects, acid rain, bird droppings,

discoloration, etc. These surfaces

will generally have light surface scratches

or water spots and possibly some staining

from airborne pollutants.

With paint finishes like this you can

generally follow a 2-step process with either

a buff and orbital of hand method or

using a DA.


process requires using the high speed

buffer, finishing pad, and swirl remover/

polish as the first step to remove any light

surface problems and polish the finish

to a high shine. Next, the wax or sealant

can then be applied and removed by

hand with an orbital.

• DUAL ACTION: You can also choose to

use a High Tech Dual Action tool with a

polishing pad and swirl remover/polish as

a first step and apply the wax or sealant

with the DA and a finishing pad.

These processes are recommended for

all paint finishes, single-stage or two-stage

paint finishes.

Orbital or DAs

Using the orbital or DA is ideal for a

clear coat in good condition because it

will provide the customer with the shine

and protection they want and will pay for

without being shorted. Depending upon

the surface condition you would use the

orbital to apply and remove either

a light-duty compound,

or the swirl remover/polish.

This would be followed

by the wax or

sealant applied and

removed by orbital

or hand. Or, you

can use a DA to apply

and remove the

same chemicals mentioned



the Processes

It makes sense that the processes described

could be combined on the same

vehicle, because the paint finish will have

different problems from one area of the

vehicle to the other.

For example, horizontal surfaces including

the hood, top, and rear deck, are

more susceptible to oxidation, and etching

than the sides of the vehicle. Therefore,

you could take the more aggressive

steps on these surfaces. The sides, if not

somehow severely scratched, might require

a less aggressive procedure.

What you do should be determined by

the paint finish problem and not by, “what

is the fastest, or easiest.”

One-Step Process

As stated many times, the one-step

process really has no place in the profes-

Join Today & Get Involved!

Education | Certification | Social Media Discussions | Awards Programs | Technical Expertise | Newsletters | And more!


sional retail center. It was out-growth of

the wholesale trade. Get the dealer car

done quickly and with the least amount

of work with an inexpensive product

that might provide shine and protection

for 30 days.

In my mind, if a professional detail establishment

offers the customer a one-step

it is like a qualified mechanic only cleaning

your spark plugs instead of changing

them, to charge you less. He knows it’s

not the best. So does the professional


But my opinion

aside, one-step chemical

products and

procedures are

here to stay in

both wholesale

and retail detailing.

So let’s understand


A one-step or

cleaner/glaze product

is, as the second name connotes,

a combination of a light cleaner

and an inexpensive protectant which is

generally a light silicone and/or light wax


When using it, understand that it is intended

to be used by itself, not followed by

a wax or sealant. Why? It is not necessary

because it has protectants in it. Although

not as durable as a straight wax or sealant.

It is amazing how many detailers follow a

one-step with a wax or sealant.

Because it is a finishing product. It

should be used with a finishing pad and either

a high speed buffer or dual action tool.

The one-step process assumes the

paint finish does not have any severe

problems. If it does you must follow one

of the other procedures described, even

on a dealer car. The one step process is

there if you can use it.

The one-step can also be used with an

orbital for application and removal. This

is an ideal procedure for dealer cars with

clear coats in reasonably good condition.

This process can be done in 30 to 45 minutes

by an inexperienced detailer, saving

time and money.

There is so much more that can be

written on the subject of paint finishing,

and the point of this article was not to

make you painters but to make you aware

of common paint finishing problems. As

a professional detailer you must be able to

identify paint finish problems, know their

cause and whether you can repair them.

Far too many detailers haven’t a clue regarding

some paint finish problems and

get themselves into “hot water” trying to

correct them.

If you want to learn more about paint

finishes and paint finish problems, you

might want to purchase the Automotive

Paint Handbook. It costs about $20 and

is an excellent and easy to read source of

great information for the detailer. You may

also try to attend some of the seminars that

the automotive paint companies in your

area offer to their body shop customers.

And, as always, if you have any questions,

disagreements or comments feel

free to contact me at buda@detailplus.

com or text 503-816-7304.

continued ...



Expand your business offerings, and

join our growing list of franchisees with

opportunities available in multiple states

and countries! Contact us today to see

if your desired location is available!



Franchise fee waived for

U.S. Military Veterans!


A Little More You Should Know About Paint


You’re not a painter, but do you know

what “solvent popping” is? Solvent popping

occurs when trapped solvent in the

paint expands arid breaks through the

applied paint film. Inside each solvent

kernel is moisture, add heat and the water

expands and blows it apart. The solvent

is like spheres, you can actually see

them embedded if you go down through

a dried paint film, especially a clear coat.

They reach different levels in the paint

film, and you cannot buff them out. If

you sand them, then you are left with the

problem of pin holing. Bottom-line, the

paint has to be removed and re-sprayed.

What types of things occur with solvent

popping? Here are just a couple:

Blistering: This describes bumps in

dried paint film that looks like small pimples

or bubbles. This can be caused by

moisture trapped in the paint film, insufficient

drying time after wet-sanding,

contamination in the air lines used by the

painter or even heavy humidity during

paint application.

Air Entrapment: This is relatively rare

in painting and can be caused by trapped

air pockets in the wet paint film. Having

the spray gun too close or moving the gun

too slowly while not having sufficient air

pressure can cause this problem. It usually

can be rubbed out.

Dust Contamination: This is not

as much a problem today because of the

implementation of dust-free paint booths.

The chief cause of the problems today include

the use of poor grade masking paper,

particles coming from inexpensive degrading

air lines, poor vehicle prep and a painter

with dirty work clothes. Dust particles

usually will rub out.

To best understand the concept of solvent

popping what I want to do is ask and

answer a few questions about solvent popping

that were presented and answered by

a number of automotive coatings experts.

• What is happening when

solvent popping occurs?

Simply, solvent in the paint is coming out. Solvent is the

medium used to spray the paint. And, the solvent has to

completely evaporate for the paint to cure or crosslink.

This does not happen when the solvent “pops.” What

happens is the top layer of the paint crosslinks with solvent

underneath. Later, when the solvent tries to evaporate,

that is to go from a liquid state to a gas, you have a

solvent pop. It is just like popcorn where there is moisture

inside of each kernel. Add heat and the water expands

inside the kernel and blows it apart. Paint does the same

thing, blowing the paint apart.

• What is the gas you speak of? Air?

No, it is solvent changing from a liquid to a gaseous state.

• Is the gas flammable?

Yes, but they would be better called combustible on a DOT


• So for the painter and/or the detailer this is

a bad problem?

Yes, without question because there is not a quick fix. Bottom

line, if solvent popping has occurred on a paint finish it

has to be removed and repainted.

• What actually causes solvent popping?

It can be a combination of things in the painting process.

The spray gun, the painter and what is called film buildtoo

much paint.

• So even if you have a paint booth, good

spray gun and an experienced painter, if

too much paint is applied you can have a


There also is the issue of the solvent chosen. If the painter

chooses too fast a solvent you are going to have problems.

The biggest problem is the painter’s unwillingness

to change, to do things the old way. You have atmospheric

changes depending on the season and you must adjust the

solvents. In the fall things dry too slowly and in the spring

is when you see solvent popping occur.

• I have heard that shop owners tell their

painters “don’t buy anymore solvent until you

use up what we have got in inventory.”

Is that a problem?

As mentioned, there is a variety of solvents in every paint

product. That means there will be a variety of evaporation

rates in the solvents used to manufacture the paint. If

the painter uses a fast reducer that does not mean that all

the solvent in the paint would be “fast evaporating.” There

also could be some slow evaporating solvent as well. As the

temperature increases, if you continue to add fast solvent

the top of the paint will form a film or skin over which

traps the slow evaporating solvent, and eventually you will

get solvent popping as this solvent tries to get out.

• Are paint companies trying to develop

products to reach the correct flow to avoid

painter error?

Yes! If the paint has to do things to adjust for poor chemistry

then there is trouble. Paint companies need to put out “idiot-proof

” paint, so to speak.

• Until those products come along what can

the painter do to prevent problems?

The paint shops and detailers should purchase the “solvent

package” that is designed for the paint. For example,

when we talk about a clear-coat we mean ready-to-spray.

Everything is there, paint, reducer, etc. We have designed

a package and have tested it in a variety of situations. We

know it works, if you use all the parts. Unfortunately, some

shop owners, in an effort to save money, will buy cheap

paint and cheap solvents. Some will buy good paint and

cheap solvents.

• You hear painters complain about the

quality of the paint. For example, “the car

was perfect last night but when I came in

this morning the hood, roof and deck were all

bubbled over.” What is this all about?

This was a problem with air dry lacquer primers and sealers,

but we don’t use these any longer. It can still occur,

however, where there is super high humidity, like in the

Southeast Coastal area in the late summer. What happens

here is the painter uses slow solvents because it is hot, but

with the humidity so high the solvents are even slower and

won’t come out. Then you have heat speeding up the cross

linking reaction.


Special pricing offer valid through January 31, 2021



Alan Read

Alan Read is one of

those guys who is living

his best life. Retirement

for him includes white sandy

beaches, ocean waves, palm trees, dancing,

tennis, and some of the most delicious

food in all of Mexico. If anyone follows

him on Facebook, they might think, “This

guy…. has it made.” And who wouldn’t?

Living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, is

nothing short of paradise. But, for Alan

Read, he damn well earned and deserves

it. As a veteran, he gave up years of his life

to serve and protect our country. He then

went on to work tirelessly — day in and

day out — in the detailing industry and

is even responsible for leading the first-ever

professional detailing association. He

then worked with non-profit agencies, advocating

for abused and neglected homeless

men and women. Now, even with the

luxuries of utopia at his fingertips, he still

spends countless hours each week volunteering.

When I told him I wanted to write

about him for this very cover story, he said

he was more than appreciative, but also

made sure to share in the honor. “[I was

truly] blessed to be a

part of an industry full

of really great people,”

he said.

In early 2020, when I met Alan,

my family and I were vacationing in Mexico.

He took the time to meet my family

and show us around, even volunteering to

carry my son on his soldiers, a fete made

even more impressive considering he has

an unwavering injury due to his tennis career

and his military training. He proudly

showed us his surroundings. It was full of

fiestas, delicious food, real fresh seafood

and paradisical relaxation. But even our

first meet-up was cut short as he had to

head off to volunteer at a nearby escuela.

“I would love for you to meet some of

these children,” said Alan. “They have really

changed my life. I feel lucky to be here

but even more lucky that I get to volunteer

here and make a difference.” That is

Alan in a nutshell. A dedicated worker at

heart, and that heart is made of true gold.

Here is his story.


brav·​ery (noun): the quality or state

of having or showing mental or moral

strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty

Alan Read spent most of his life in

Texas as his parents lived in Lubbock

when he was born. “I was never happy

living in Lubbock … and I left after

graduating from high school in 1967, but

came back to attend Texas Tech. [I still]

couldn’t stand living in Lubbock, [so that

is why] I joined the Marine Corps to get

away. That was the best thing I had ever

done up to that time.”

Read joined the United States Marine

Corps (USMC) in 1968. It was a pivotal

year in the Vietnam War and the most

deadly for American soldiers and its allies

with almost 28,000 casualties. But, that

didn’t deter Read. “I trained for combat

for the Vietnam War. I was assigned to

serve as a Civilian Contractor and spent

my time in Vietnam as a Contractor. I received

a special commendation from the

Commandant USMC for my service.”

A day before the signing of the Paris

Peace Accords, Read left Vietnam on

January 26, 1973. He then continued his

service as a Ready Reserve assigned to the

Naval Air Station in Dallas, Texas, until

his discharge in 1974.

“My time in the Marine Corps helped

me to understand that together anything

is possible, it not only taught me how important

teamwork is in combat but how

important teamwork is in civilian life. I

took an oath to protect and defend the

Constitution of the United States and

protect my country from all enemies both

foreign and domestic. I will abide by that

oath forever. Semper Fi is the greeting all

Marines use when we see another Marine.

Forever Faithful, Semper Fi.”

After serving, Read, who was no stranger

to the automobile industry, started his

career in the field of detailing in the 1980s.

Read had grown up in a family that

owned an independent auto repair and

wrecker service. He started working on

cars when he was around 11 years old.

He owned an auto parts store and started

selling a few polishes and waxes to some

local customers. Eventually he started an

Undercoating and Rustproofing business

which lead him to working with paint

sealants, polishes, and waxes.

“The detailing business in the 80s

was mainly small independent detailers

many… doing work for car dealerships.

The retail detailing business was small

locations often with one person, a water

hose and a buffer. Some of these people

were amazing, some were not. At that

point there really wasn’t any consistency

and that was why the industry needed to

become professional.”

This is around the time the first-ever

detailing association came about.





• Engineered rubber blade keeps its grip for years

• Safe to use near leather, wood, and plastic - no

risk of damage to hard surfaces

• Compact and convenient

$11.95 DT2000


Insert fits in the bottom of your wash bucket

and separates the grit from the mitt! Radial

surface design extracts particles such as dirt,

grit and grime from your wash mitt, providing

a clean, scratch-free wash mitt every time you

go back to the bucket for water. 12” diameter.

$5.99 DT1800-BK Black

$5.99 DT1800-R Red



Single 12 oz. cans are available in

black semi-gloss and flat finishes.

Tough, durable finish for interior or

exterior use. Quick dry formula. For use

on virtually any type of wood or metal.

$3.79 DT1200-BK Semi-Gloss

$3.79 DT1200-BK-F Flat Trim



17” x 20” disposable floor mats -

500 per case. Plastic coating on

bottom prevents slippage and damage

to vehicle surfaces. Durable

and absorbent.

$34.75 MAT500






Durable with heavy-duty

parts. Boasts low noise and

low maintenance. Blows

away dirt and grime on

seats, leather, tires, steering

wheels, rugs, carpets & more.

$129.95 DT0100

RUPES Polishers



This highly active cleaning tool

can be used for all the same

applications as the Tornador

classic, but is more effective

on persistent spots and heavily

soiled areas.




High speed and a tight 15 mm orbit (19/32”) make the LHR15ES perfect for

curved surfaces. Lightweight and powerful, provides equivalent cutting power to

larger units. 5” backing plate. 500W operation. RPM Range of 2000-5000.


High speed and a tight 15 mm orbit (19/32”) make the LHR15 Mark III perfect

for tackling smaller, curved surfaces. Lightweight and powerful, provides

equivalent cutting power to larger units. 5” backing plate. 500W operation. RPM

Range of 3000-5200.



High speed and an expanded 21 mm orbit (13/16”) make the LHR21ES

perfect for tackling large surface areas. Lightweight and powerful, provides

equivalent cutting power to larger units. 6” backing plate. 500W operation.

RPM Range of 2000-4200.



$199.00 DT0110



This multi-use tool covers a larger

area that the air flow coming directly

from an air compressor. It channels

air into a powerful tornado-like

motion that quickly lifts dirt and

moisture from any surface.

$49.95 DT0115


High speed and an expanded 21 mm orbit (13/16”) make the LHR21 Mark III

perfect for tackling large surface areas. Lightweight and powerful, provides

equivalent cutting power to larger units. 6” backing plate. 500W operation.

RPM Range of 3000-4500.











12 PACK • 16” x 16”

$14.50 DJMF8600-CHAR Charcoal

$14.50 DJMF8600-BK Black



12 PER PACK • 16” x 24”

$28.20 DJMF3200-BL Blue

$28.20 DJMF3200-DG Green

$28.20 DJMF3200-R Red




• 1 Vial of the Patent Pending Diamond Plate

• The Diamond Plate Warranty

• Applicator, Gloves & Microfiber Finishing Towel

• VisionBlade Hydrophobic Windshield Protector

• P.O.S. Customer Hand Outs


Auto Detailing


Issue DT62 d 1 8/12/2020 3:21:09 PM








trail·​blaz·​er (noun) : one that blazes

a trail to guide others

The Professional Detailing Association

(PDA) got its start as an idea that

“detailing” was a profession and detailers

worldwide deserved the recognition

of being professional, said Read. “The

International Carwash Association had

only recognized detailers as a part of the

car wash industry at that time. Bud Abraham,

Bob Phillips and myself and a few

others in the industry decided to put the

PDA into action.”

Their first meeting was in Las Vegas

recalled Read, and that is where they put

the pieces together. “From there the certification

process developed. The real detailers

worldwide were excited and grateful

to be involved with the PDA.”

Not one to monopolize the spotlight,

Read makes sure that others are noted for

their participation. Along with Bud, and

Bob Phillips, all of the people at that first

meeting were co-pioneers, he said. Read

was named the first president of the PDA,

which he stated was a true honor.

“It was an honor to be selected to lead

the effort to make detailing a recognized

profession. Many of the original people

at the first meeting were my competitors

which made my selection even more special

to me. I actually cried when I was

elected unanimously.”

Read was also working for Auto Magic

around this time. Auto Magic was a small

regional, chemical manufacturer based in

Texas with great products, thanks to its

founder, Paul Miller, according to Read.

“But it had little distribution outside of

Texas. My expertise was in distribution

and marketing so when asked to join Auto

Magic I proceeded to develop distribution

all throughout the United States and

Canada. It was a match made in heaven.

In the four short years I was there, Auto

Magic sales increased 10-fold.”

Auto Magic was an amazing experience,

Read said. He also went on to

consult with Ardex, ECP, Mequiar’s, Autoglymm,

and the Toyota Certified Used

Car Program to name a few.

Eventually, Read left the detailing

industry and started working for a


“My last job before moving to Mexico

was as support staff at a place in the Texas

Hill Country called Enhanced Horizons.

We provided housing, education, work

skills and much more for people aging out

of foster care.”

In October 2016, Read visited Playa

del Carmen for one week and it was love

at first sight.

“I decided to move here in the first 4

hours. I will live here forever.”


zeal·​ous (adjective): marked by fervent

partisanship for a person, a cause, or an

ideal : filled with or characterized by zeal

One thing many people might not

know about Read is that he is a tennis

pro, a title that was only made possible

because he does not like to turn down a

dare. “In 1990 my family went on vacation

in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I took the

free tennis lessons offered by the hotel.

The tennis pro, a Jamaican named Roy

Shand, told me in [a Jamaican accent],

‘Man, you are the worst tennis player

I have ever seen.’” Read took that as a

challenge and by the end of the week, he

won the hotel tournament. To go a step

further, Read would travel back to Montego

Bay as often as he could and would

continue to improve. “I hired a coach in

Texas to help me and in five years at the

age of 40 I was #23 in Texas.”

Read said he never made much money

playing but always wanted to be able to

play. “I was injured in 2014 and did not

play until last year in 2019. I played with

some of the top tennis coaches in Playa

del Carmen and after one of our sessions

they asked me to join the coaching staff.

Hopefully when Covid is better we will

start teaching kids again.”

All of Read’s tennis efforts including

lessons and clinics are volunteer-based

because he said he does not want to

get paid to do something he loves.

Like many veterans amongst us, the act

of giving is strong with Read. It is in his

nature, but also part of his day-to-day

life. He also volunteers with kids, teaching

them English, as well as helping adults

in learning to understand and be understood

in English and Spanish.

“I am trying to give back some of the

blessings I have been given,” Read said. “I

have been a very fortunate man; I hope to

help as many people as possible and improve

their lives in some way. My final 10

years working were with nonprofit agencies

helping the abused, neglected, hungry,

and homeless. I do the same now here

in Playa del Carmen.”

Because of Covid, a lot of his volunteer

efforts, as well as his social life, have

been waylaid. But Read is keeping busy

playing golf, and volunteering from afar.

In fact, when interviewing Read, he was

at the store buying Christmas presents

for the kids at the escuelita. He said they

have 96 kids out in the jungle, and many

don’t have a roof over their head, or clean

clothes and only eat one meal a day that

he helps to provide. He recently posted to

his Facebook page, “I understand that my

Mexican friends have had a difficult time

this year, so I want them to be blessed and

take care of their own family. I will make

sure every kid gets a gift. If you can help

me out that would be awesome. If not,

just be blessed.”

And, while Read is enjoying his new

life down in Mexico, it is easy to wonder if

all of the professional detailers out there

realize his efforts to start the first-ever association.

It was decades ago, but today,

as the industry continues to find and gain

more and more respect and admiration, it

is because of people like Read.

“My advice for anyone getting into

the detail business is, plan well, get advice

from people [those who have been doing

it for a while]. Continue to learn and

practice your skills. Something I always

told people is, ‘Don’t practice on a customer’s

vehicle, practice on your own.’”

Read makes sure to once again acknowledge

the industry as a whole

when answering what it is he enjoyed

about his detailing career. “The detailing

industry was a big part of my life,”

he said. “I am glad I got to be a part

of it and honored to be interviewed.”

And, with that Read goes back to his daily

life in Mexico, buying gifts for those

in need, while miles and miles away in

the United States, a country he served

to protect, is bustling with successful detailers

participating in a profession he

helped to authenticate. A true hero, and

trailblazer indeed.


Ed Terwilliger

Ed Terwilliger is a humble man. He is sort

of a mix between Mr. Chipping in Goodbye,

Mr. Chips and Paul Newman especially

concerning his extracurricular activities

resume. But, more on that second

part later. The humble part of Terwilliger’s

persona is one I experienced firsthand.

It was at a Mobile Tech Expo a few years

back. It was an IDA seminar and the room

was packed. I stood in the back as a panel

of detailing professionals spoke about the

call for professionalism and respect in the

industry. I noticed another person standing

in the back with me. He kept quiet,

but soon offered up his thoughts on how

detailers can find high-quality employees.

He spoke about trade schools and the dedicated

students therein. After the seminar,

he disappeared into the crowd. A year later,

at the next Mobile Tech Expo he stood

on a crowded stage, being inducted into

the IDA’s newly established IDA Hall of

Fame. “The following individuals were

nominated by their

peers and inducted

for their significant

and lasting contributions

to the professional

detailing industry in the areas

of Innovation, Advancement, Education,

and Leadership,” stated the IDA. Terwilliger

received a buoyant round of applause.

Afterwards, I asked him if I could

interview him for this magazine. Sure,

that would be great, he said. His modesty

and quiet unpretentiousness were once

again noticeable. Here is the IDA’s writeup

of Terwilliger:

Ed Terwilliger has been a passionate

promoter of detailing since the late

1960s. He began his professional career

teaching Industrial Art at Buena

Park High School in Buena Park, California,

in January of 1971 after getting

his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts

from California State University, Long

Beach. Ed was instrumental

in developing

the core curriculum for

detailing for the North

Orange County Community

College District

In 1988. After teaching Auto

Detailing at the High School at

night, Ed expanded the curriculum from

Buena Park and began teaching Auto

Detailing on campus at Cypress College

in Cypress, California., in 2000.

Ed has been a member of the International

Detailing Association since its

inception. He was a member of the PDA

(Professional Detailing Association) and

the NAPDR (National Association of

Professional Detailers and Reconditioning),

which both preceded the IDA. He

was also a founding member of the SCP-

DA (Southern California Professional

Detailers Association).

Besides being a member of the IDA,

he has his CD (Certified Detailer), SV

(Skills Validated), and is an active RT

(Recognized Trainer) for the IDA.

As an Instructor for high school, college,

and as an RT for the IDA, Ed has

been responsible for countless people getting

their detailing start through his classes.

He is also a regularly featured speaker

at many detailing tradeshows and events.

He has been a featured guest on the TV

Show Car Care, for Autogeek’s Competition

Ready series hosted by Mike Philips,

CD-SV, RT, on the Velocity Channel.

Ed organizes and regularly hosts detailing

meet and greets for the IDA, which

has had a great impact on recruiting new

IDA members and getting detailers to

sign-up for CD and SV certification.

Ed has spent his entire adult life as

a “Car Guy” in the detailing and auto

appearance industry. He is a passionate

and dedicated ambassador for the IDA

and detailing.

As for the Paul Newman reference, it

appears that Terwilliger is a bit of an athlete,

hobby aficionado, and maybe even a

little bit daredevil. From being a competitive


water skier, to loving to ride, fix or beautify

anything with a motor, Tewilliger does not

like sitting still. In fact, when I called him the

first time for this interview, he had just gotten

back from riding vehicles in the Moab

Desert with a few other legendary detailers.

Just another day in Ed’s world.

However, even with a busy schedule,

a loving relationship with his wife, his

daughter and grandchildren, Terwilliger

also has a love for his career as a teacher.

He has been teaching for over 50 years

and has a passion for his students and

their pursuit to be well-respected detailers.

Between teaching, being a devoted

husband, and competing on water skis he

found the time to talk to me.

Here is his story.


for·​ti·​tude (noun):

mental and emotional strength in

facing difficulty, adversity, danger,

or temptation courageously.

I was a car guy from a very young age,

said Terwilliger. “I started drawing pictures

of futuristic cars when I was very young.

And then in junior high, if not earlier, I was

building model cars. My dad was a bit of

a home-based mechanic so I would help

him with oil changes and brake jobs. Then

in high school I got a job at a gas station/

mechanic shop. I worked for them for three

years. I was doing everything from pumping

gas to working in the lube rack to brake jobs.

I’ve always been hands-on with cars.”

Terwilliger also had a buddy from elementary

school and they would go to car

shows in the 1950s with his father. It was

mostly hot rods and roadsters.

It was a few years later in Junior High

he found that he liked helping out other students

in the Industrial Arts program. It was

also around that time that he decided he

wanted to be a drafting teacher. “I became a

teacher’s assistant in 7th and 8th grade and

that followed me all the way into college.”

“In junior high I made the decision

that I wanted to be a drafting teacher.

And that stayed with me, basically into

college.” he said.

It wasn’t until he was around 16 that

he had his first detailing customer. That

customer would prove to be his first taste

of dissonance.

It was a 1965 Lincoln Continental and

his friend’s father made it very clear that

he only wanted him to use Simoniz. So,

Terwilliger did as he was told. The first

time, that is. Satisfied with his work, the

father asked him again for another detailing.

This time, Terwilliger used Turtle

Wax. “He didn’t like that,” he shared. “I

pay you to Simoniz my car. That was the

last time I worked on his car. I said I was

sorry. I didn’t realize it was that important

to him. But, it didn’t stop me. Most things

roll off my back like water on a duck and

I didn’t let it get to me.”

Terwilliger eventually went on to college,

graduating in June of 1970 with a

BA, studying Industrial Arts and did his

student teaching the following Fall. He also

started detailing and painting cars on the

side when he got out of college and started

teaching at Buena Park High School in

January of 1971. Around the early 70s he

got into more serious detailing.

“Back in the day you had a can of wax,

a garden hose, and bucket. Then, in the

early 70s, I could run a High Speed polisher

or buffer. When Rupes and Flex came

out with their more powerful machines a

few years ago, they really revolutionized

the industry. Now, all of those guys who

were afraid of a rotary polisher could now

pick up a machine and polish paint and

get some results without the fear of cutting

or burning through the paint. Along with

pads and chemicals — detailing has come

a long way since I started out.”


pro·​fes·​sion·​al (adjective):

following a line of conduct as

though it were a profession.

Being a teacher was always a dream

of Terwilliger’s. He taught at Buena Park

High School, where he started the first

vocational detailing program in 1988

through the Community College district,

starting at night at the High School as a

Satellite location and later moving on

Campus at Cypress College around 2000.

Over the years he has taught over

18,000 students. “I developed great

friendships with some of my students going

back to the early 70s to today. I have

always liked helping people,” Terwilliger

shared. “The other thing is that I wanted

three months off so that I could ‘play’.”

One of Terwilliger’s goals as a teacher

has been to “professionalize” the detailing

industry. The trade needs to be respected in

the automotive world. “I have been working

for 32 years trying to professionalize the industry.

I think that is because I am a professional.

As an educator and in anything I do

I take it from a professional point of view.”

Around 1990 in Southern California

Terwilliger and five of his college students

started the Southern California Professional

Detail Association. It lasted for

about 6 years and had an average attendance

of 30 to 40 people at each monthly

dinner meeting. “It was very active, but

folded because I could not get any detailers

to take over the board. “We covered

everything. We had Ron Ketchum, who

at that time was working for Finish Kare,

which was owned by Floyd Meguiar, and

he was very well connected with the automotive

industry at the manufacturer’s level

— so he brought in paint technicians,

updates from GM and Ford on a regular

basis. We had equipment people come

in and push their wares, we had product

manufactures come in — there was always

something every month. There was

always a speaker of some type.”

A year or two after the International

Detailing Association started, Terwilliger

joined because he wanted to support any

detailing organization which supports

and enhances the industry. “There have

been a lot that have come and gone and I

have been a part of all of them.”

Now, Terwilliger’s plaque hangs in the

IDA’s Hall of Fame amongst four other


Today, he teaches at Cypress College,

an academic and vocational college in

Cypress, California. He currently teaches

Beginning Auto Detailing and Car Care

and Advanced Automotive Detailing.

The Advanced class has a lab every night.

The beginning class has a couple hours of

lecture and then a lab.

“Teaching has been important to me.

I have always been a teacher. I’ve been

teaching just over 50 years.. One of the

things that has impressed me the most

over the years is that the detailing industry

is now a professional industry. That was a

goal of mine since I started my program

back in 1988.”

One of the things he admired at the


2020 Mobile Tech Expo was the determination

of the attendees. “These people

are taking their jobs very seriously. Investing

money. Investing in their education

through the seminars. Tools and products

have also been impressive, but I am so

impressed with how driven the detailers

are. The comradery and networking are

also great to see. Everyone is sharing their

ideas and trying to help each other.”

Terwilliger advice for others looking to

get into the industry is to make sure you

like it first. “Doing what I do is a passion.

I have a passion for the industry. I advise

others to try it out as a hobby. If they like

it, then pursue it professionally.”


de·vot·ed (adjective): zealous or ardent

in attachment, loyalty, or affection.

Terwilliger has been married for 50

years to his wife Rickeylynne. The secret

to their long-lasting marriage? No arguing.

“My wife always says, ‘I might not

always be right, but I am never wrong.’”

In fact, during this interview, you can hear

Rickeylynne encouraging her husband to

share parts of his professional resume and

accomplishments. She also laughed when

I asked him what it is he likes to do outside

of work. Why the laughter? Because,

according to Rickeylynne, this part of the

interview will take a while.

A surprise to many might be that Terwilliger

is a competitive water skier. He skis

three days a week for eight months a year.

During those other four months he snow

skis. When he is not doing some form of

skiing, he is off-roading, golfing, traveling,

boating, racing and working on cars.

One of his great passions is the working

on cars part. “I have a partner and

we work on Mustangs, and racecars. We

have been doing that for 35 years. Building

cars, selling cars, buying cars, fixing

cars. We paid for our racing hobby by

flipping Mustangs.”

I like anything with a motor, he said.

As for his future, Terwilliger admits he

might hang up his teaching hat next year.

And, not because he is tired, or burnt out,

but because he wants to travel more with

his wife.

“I am thinking of retiring next year

so that my wife and I can travel. I cannot

do that while teaching. We still travel, but

you cannot stay long because of the classes.

So, if I retire, we can then travel some

place and just stay there for a while. We

are thinking of exploring Wyoming.”

However, he will still be just as busy.

“With my hobbies, and with working on

cars, I will never slow down. As long as I

am physically able, I will always stay busy.”


VOL. 5, NO. 2 SUMMER 2020





More magazines by this user
Similar magazines