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Tips & Tricks From Mike Phillips’ Autogeek Roadshow Detailing Class

When I learned there were two spots available for Dr. Beasley’s staff at Mike Phillip’s 2 Day Autogeek Roadshow Detailing Class at our headquarters in Chicago, I immediately wanted in. I’d read Mike’s work before, and even met him briefly at Autogeek’s Detail Fest in March. He’s the best detailing instructor around, so I felt I owed it to Behind The Detail‘s readers to attend.

Over the next couple days, I got schooled on how to properly clean, decontaminate, polish and protect automotive finishes as we worked on an Infiniti M35, a Lexus ES, a Subaru WRX, a Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Avalon, a Rolls Royce Dawn and a Ford F-150 Raptor. What I learned could fill a book, so I’ll share only the juiciest nuggets of knowledge below:

One of the first things we did was clean a car with a waterless wash. This is where Mike dropped his first pearl of wisdom—to maximize your towel’s mileage, fold 4 times, then wipe in a long stroke with the leading corner folded up with your thumb. All the contaminants will concentrate in a line under the lifted corner. That way, you can continue to use that side of the towel a few more times by just lifting the contaminated edge. You can get 24 full wipes out of one towel with this method!

When Mike had us claying the first car, he mentioned we should get the windows, too, especially because the windshield is often one of the most contaminated surfaces on a car. He wasn’t kidding—when I pulled my clay bar off the windshield, it was covered in black gunk!

When talking about the business of detailing, Mike emphasized matching the service to the client. If it’s a daily driver, there’s no point in pouring hours and hours into achieving a show car finish. But if your customer has a 1970 Chevelle they’ll be taking to a car show this weekend, getting them a perfect finish only makes sense!

Mike has a tried-and-true method for pitching detailing services: a small kit you can carry with you everywhere. What goes into this kit? A plastic baggy (to show the potential customer how contaminated their paint is), a clay bar and lube (to REALLY show them how contaminated their paint is), a powerful LED light (to show them how marred their paint is) and a post-it note (to show how thin a factory clear coat is).

The phrase Mike probably said the most often was “I have an article about this”. He really does! Mike’s written about nearly everything under the sun when it comes to detailing, sometimes multiple times. If it has to do with detailing, you can be sure Mike has written about it at some point and will have something to say.

One thing that surprised me the most about Mike was how much he focused on expediting the detailing process. At one point, Mike showed us a famous detailer’s method for priming a polishing pad: squirt product on pad, then spread it out evenly with your finger. Then Mike showed us his method: squirt product on pad, smush pad on paint. Less precise, sure, but a heck of a lot faster.

When you’re working on paint you’ve never dealt with before, it’s important to do a test spot before going over the entire car. There’s only so much you can know from visually inspecting the paint! Doing a test spot will tell you how hard the paint is, how it reacts to polishing, and how it may look when you’re done.

On most of the cars we detailed, we sealed our work with one of three Dr. Beasley’s products: Formula 1201, PlasmaCoat and Nano-Resin. Every time we used one of these ceramic coatings, the class could not stop talking about them and asking questions. People were amazed by the durability of Nano-Resin, the wax-like PlasmaCoat and the wet-applied Formula 1201.

These were just a few of the things I learned during my two days with Mike—the entirety of what I learned could fill a whole book! All in all it was an invaluable experience, so if you ever hear his Roadshow class is coming to a city near you, sign up ASAP!

Have you taken a Mike Phillips class? Comment below and let us know what YOU learned! 

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