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To Shampoo Or Not To Shampoo?

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What is a seat shampoo? Who would want their seats to be shampooed?  How does it work? How long does it take to dry? These are all great questions we will answer below.

Since you own a car, you know that the current trend is for them to become ‘more’. More powerful, more efficient, more comfortable, more tech, more refined. Which also means they have become more complex. Can you tell the difference between nylon, polyester, and vinyl? What about leather? Can’t clean it the same way as the other ones.

 

So let’s walk you through a seat shampoo, step by step. Here are the four steps you want to know about if you want to DIY deep clean your upholstery.

– the first thing you want to do of course is hoover the seats thoroughly. You should definitely invest in industrial hoovers as we know dirt, food, pet hair, and much much more (you would be amazed!) can build up inside vehicles. That’s what we did!

– for areas that we know will need special attention, we recommend using a steam cleaner to break off patches of the Nasty Stuff. We’re talking about ink, food stains, sweat, shoe marks, blood (oh yes). Blast those guys with a localised and focused jet of water to pre-clean the area to get the best results possible at the end of the valet.

– then you want to soak the seats with an anti-bacterial shampoo that smells real nice. No fancy secret or magic product for this step: just some good old elbow grease! The trick is to scrub really hard to loosen the dirt that has accumulated on the surface of the seats. Get scrubbing!

– you want to use an extraction hoover for this final step, where the shampoo is rinsed off by shooting water into the seats (hard core stuff!) and sucking it straight back up along with the muck that has been loosened up. So long, muck! We do try our very best to leave your seats and your bum as dry as possible, but it can take up to a couple of days for the fabric to get back to normal. Just put the heating on for a while, it will do the trick!

Click on the picture: we will show you how we do it!

 

Still think you could do a seat shampoo on your own? Well what about leather seats then? Things ARE slightly different for leather. Definitely not a myth. Blasting water in leather seats sounds like a one star review waiting to happen… Don’t do it… So how different is it, and how should you do it?

– let’s need to start right at the beginning with the hoover: you will need to mount a brush on it in order to avoid scratching the leather. Streaks disappear on cloth, but they would leave permanent marks on leather. The brush that you use needs to have horse hair bristles only as anything less gentle would permanently damage the surface of the seats during the shampoo.

– the same idea applies during the steam clean phase: direct exposure to steam would burn leather. So you want to steam clean the seats over a cloth to protect them: you still get the benefits from the heat and manage to open the pores in the leather to prepare it for what is to come. Win – win.

– bearing in mind that leather used to be part of something much bigger and very much alive, the chemicals you end up using have to achieve very different things than the ones used on cloth. Leather needs to hold moisture in, so it does not dry out and start cracking and tearing. So what you do not want to do is use a degreasing product.

– the final touch to a seat shampoo on leather is a conditioner. Again, this comes from the fact that leather used to be alive and to some extent still is. Because leather ‘breathes’ and holds moisture in, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. So go ahead and apply a protective film that will prevent the bacteria from spreading but will still allow the leather to breathe. Congratulations, you have deep-cleaned your car like a pro!

Want to see how we do it? Click on the image!

 

Now, if you feel like this might be a little bit more effort than you are willing to or have time to put in to your car, you could get a seat shampoo included in all our full valets (apart from our Mini Valet). So let us know when your car has seen enough BBQ sauce and crayons, and needs some TLC.

🎉 Thank You 🎉

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It has been a busy year for us all at Fresh Car Valeting. Our busiest ever. And we could not have done it without you. So first things first:

💙 THANK YOU! 💙

2017 has been an incredible year, and we hope you had just as much fun as we have. So let’s look back on a few of the things that helped us get out of bed in the morning and let’s turn to 2018 and welcome the new year with open arms.

So what has happened over the past twelve months? Our Fresh Family has grown to the largest it has ever been. We have welcomed Tomasz in February, Vidmantas and Kristian in August, Rafal’s baby Klaudia in September (we haven’t let her behind the wheel yet), and Gamm and Eve in October. We have also grown our fleet to five vans to service an ever-growing clientele. So once again, from everyone at Fresh Car Valeting: thank you for allowing us next to your pride and joy!

We have no shame 😉

 

In the motoring industry, we are still seeing the aftermath of the VW Dieselgate scandal. Between more legislation to change how cars are tested, and the growing movement to electric/hybrid cars, the UK government is looking to try and remove traditionally powered cars from the roads from as early as 2040. The hybrid and electric vehicle revolution is well under way pushed in part by companies like Volvo committing to have a fully hybrid range in the next few years. So whether you are a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla S kind of person, chances are you might have to decide on your next car after considering how it is fuelled, and soon you will have to think of how autonomous you would like your car to be! It is a completely different approach to acquiring a vehicle. We have put our trust in Andy at Simplicity Cars to get us the best deals for our new vans, so give him a shout if you could use a little bit of guidance in choosing your next motor. 

Let’s also not forget that in 2017, in other parts of the world, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber got back together; you can now have an appointment with a doctor on your phone; Beyonce gave birth to twins Sir and Rumi; the new Star Wars movie came out; Harry and Meghan got engaged; the most powerful country leader in the world stared straight at a solar eclipse; and Manny the Cat took a selfie! I told you, we’ve been blessed!

 

Now, the best thing is, 2018 should be even BETTER! We are looking forward to Tomasz’ new baby coming very very soon; terribly excited about hiring a new valeter to service our customers in Fife; but also about the Winter Olympic Games and a World Cup; the UK maybe definitely leaving the EU; a royal wedding and royal baby; the first self-driving car; the new Fantastic Beasts movie; and the Edinburgh Sushi Festival.

And of course, car manufacturers never rest for very long and always push on towards innovation. Here are a few of the cars which piqued Andy’s curiosity and that you can expect to see much more of in 2018:

Volvo XC40 –  with the technology borrowed from its bigger brother the XC90. But it is also a funky car full of neat touches like door pockets that can fit a 15” laptop or three 1L water bottles, two handy slots in the door for things like parking tickets or a credit card you like to use for fuel, and best of all a built-in bin in the centre console.

 

Mercedes A-Class – tipped to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the spy shots of the mules show a car that carries the styling of the new CLS. The new model is set to have more space and be a little more luxurious than the current model.

 

 

BMW 8-Series – BMW has decided to revive the 8-Series after nearly two decades of it missing from the range, in both hardtop and convertible models. Sadly though pop-up headlights will not be returning with the name.

 

BMW Z4 – with the UK being one of the most popular markets for convertible cars (think about it for a second, let it sink in… nah, it makes no sense at all, but there you go!), it’s no surprise to see the BMW answer to the MX-5 making a return. The big news about this car though is that it’s a joint venture with Toyota, with the Japanese version set to bring back the legendary Supra name to the roads.

 

Volkswagen Touareg – this time set to be getting seven seats, a feature that lead to it being a little overlooked in it’s past generations. This new model sits on the same platform as the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus, meaning Volkswagen are serious about making the Touareg a challenger in a market that is growing with cars like the Range Rover Velar and Discovery.

 

 

So what are you excited about for 2018? A holiday coming up? A new diet? A promotion at work? Maybe a new car? Give us a shout if your car needs a bit Fresh time!

 

★ With the kind and expert aid of Andy Dickens ★

Wet Wet Wet!

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Do Car Washes Really Offer Sparkling Good Deals?

If you have a car, you usually want it to look nice. It comes down to pride, doesn’t it? If you are taking the time to read a blog article about car valeting, then you also know that there is a difference (or a few of them…) between driving your vehicle through a carwash or even washing it yourself in your back garden, with a hose and a sponge, on a warm summer day; and Rafal, Arek, Krystian, Vidmantas or Tomasz coming out to your home and safely and professionally taking care of your valued motor. So here’s a bit of insight on how car washes work, and on how we operate.

Even with the best of intentions, people are not trained to take good care of their car. Not really anyway. Anyone can find tutorials online made by car enthusiasts, but the issue with that is that there are almost as many opinions out there as there are enthusiasts. So it is really hard to navigate the mucky waters (see what I did!) of car valeting and find out if you are not actually doing more harm than good.

Car washes offer a basic wash for as low as £2. Our Exterior Safe Wash is £24. It is pretty obvious that the services available in a carwash and the ones we are able to provide stand at two very different ends of the car cleaning spectrum. We do not see speed as being synonymous with convenience. What do you actually get out of a £2 seven-minute trip to the car wash?

Well, most of the carwashes in the UK work using friction. Hard bristles, or more commonly now soft Lammscloth or Mitter curtains, work at removing any dirt from the surface of your paintwork. But as they brush fall-out away, the bristles or curtains also rub that dirt into the paint creating thousands of tiny scratches through your clear coat. We use lambswool mitts and the two-bucket method instead. Lambswool is a lot less abrasive than any other cloth or cleaning fabric, so dirt does not scratch your paint. And, well, two buckets instead of one: because, you know, clean water is better than dirty water! One bucket with soap to wash your car; one bucket with clear water to rinse the mitts off.

Other car washes opted for the ‘touch-less’ approach: no bristles or brushes, only high-pressure hoses blasting water at vehicles going through. The good news with that is that the risk of damaging the paintwork is drastically reduced, though not eliminated. The bad news: is standing under the shower head, no matter how great your water pressure is, enough to make you feel clean? Or do you need a good scrub to consider the trip the bathroom a success? We think the latter! Car washes do put heavy chemicals in their water mix to try and dissolve dirt away, and it does work. But it also strips off any protective layer of wax or sealant. If it came to that, the average cost of respraying a car is around £2500. We have been very vocal about the benefits of keeping a coat of wax on your motor throughout the year and especially during the winter to keep your car paint vibrant and protected against grit. We think that undoing all that hard work and investment would be a shame and definitely not good value for money, despite the alluring original offer made by car washes. 

In our humble opinion, of course 😉 

 

Baby, it’s cold outside!

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Even though winter doesn’t officially start until today, it has felt like time to take the electric blanket out of the cupboard for a while now. In winter, just like us, cars get cold. They get cranky. And irritable. And that’s because every single panel of metal is put under pressure; every single drop of liquid in every single pipe wants to turn to ice; and batteries start choking. So, what can you do to care pro-actively for your car?

Check your tires

Tyres are one of your car’s most important components when it comes to keeping safe on the road. Do not neglect them. We recommend that you visually check the sidewalls of your tyres every four weeks for any obvious damage – like bulges or rips (Keeeerb!!!!). When it comes to your tyre tread, the key number is 1.6mm: above, all good; below, you’re driving with illegal tyres. Damaged sidewalls, low tyre tread or wrongly inflated tyres could mean a fine up to £2500 and three points on your licence. You do not want that, folks!

Check your battery

Batteries can be put under a lot of stress in winter, due to extreme temperatures. At least we don’t have the same issue in summer! Although batteries can now last up to five years, we would still recommend you change them every three years. Definitely much cheaper than having to send for ‘Recovery’ in the freezing cold, on Christmas Eve, knowing the turkey is getting cold and the cat is eyeing the black forest gateau! A failing battery will also affect the fuel performance of your car. If you want to reduce the number of trips to the petrol station, make an appointment at your local garage soon.

Pack for the occasion

When it comes to driving, we should probably take the expression ‘spur of the moment’ out of our vocabulary for a few months. You need to be prepared.

Edinburgh does not usually get snowed in but, if you are going to venture to further afield, we strongly recommend you use your boot to its full capacity.

Take a torch (and batteries), take a shovel (better safe than sorry, right?), take a hi-vis jacket (cause if you’re going to get stranded, you might as well look good).

Top up your fluids and do a walkaround

If your service date or mileage is coming up, make sure to get that out of the way before winter. Regardless, though, it is your responsibility to check the overall condition of your car. Is this good enough to survive the harsh times ahead? Check your windscreen for any chips, as the constant frost-thaw cycle might cause irreparable cracks. Check that your wiper blades are not worn. Check your lights are in good working order.

And we know that you’ve topped up your engine coolant with water throughout the year – don’t even try and deny it. But make sure you now swap the  water top-up for antifreeze to get a nice mix.

Be the smart one and the pretty one

It is easy to see how taking care of the inside of your car makes sense, but it is not just vanity to keep your car looking great on the outside as well. Road grit may drastically improve your car’s grip on icy and snowy roads, but it also accelerates the corrosion of its bodywork. Getting your car cleaned regularly over the winter will help avoid a build-up of fall-out and road salt. Add a coat of wax as well and it will make life a lot harder for those impurities which stick to your paint. Think of it as moisturiser for car paint: the wax will bond with the paintwork and keep it flexible so it doesn’t crack when temperates drop, and snow and grit will slide off a lot more easily.

 

~ Thank you to Fran Brady for her kind contribution to this article 🙂 ~