Meet the Expert: Bob Schrum

Bob Schrum has been in the car wash and detail business, and has been dedicated to it, for over 25 years and is a life long resident of the Richmond area. Bob is extremely active in numerous civic and non-profit groups across our region and believes in giving back to his community. Click here to ask a question!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How often should I wash my vehicle?
At least once a week. For most people their vehicle is their 2nd largest investment (next to their home) and should be protected as so. Bird droppings, bugs, acid rain, and road salt can cause serious damage to painted surfaces if not washed and protected on a regular basis.

Will the "brushes" scratch my vehicle?
NO. Before the 1980's, plastic bristled brushes were used in most car washes. That is where the term "brush" originated for the car wash industry. Most professional washes use only soft cloth, high pressure, and biodegradable soaps and protectants to clean your vehicles. The cloth is continually rinsed during the wash process to ensure a safe, clean vehicle every time it is washed.

Why should I wash my vehicle immediately after rain or snow?
The most critical time in the life of your paint is after rain and winter storms. Pollutants become trapped in the rain, snow and ice and when heated and dried may lead to acid rain spotting. The salt and sand thrown onto our roads after winter storms deteriorates any wax protection you have on your painted surfaces. It is extremely important to wash this off before too much damage can be done. If left on too long, any protection on your vehicle may be lost making your paint susceptible to further damage.

What is Acid Rain?
The emissions from chemical plants, fossil fuels, power plants, and even our own vehicles are released into the atmosphere where they then get trapped and are transformed into sulfuric and nitric acid. These pollutants are in our rain, snow, and even morning dew. As the sun and your engine heat up the painted surfaces, the moisture evaporates and concentrates the amount of the acid into a small spot, which results in the spotting you may see. These spots may sometimes be buffed out but if they have eaten too deep the surfaces may need to be sanded and re-painted. The best prevention of acid rain spotting is to wash and wax your vehicle on a regular basis.

How are professional car washes safer for my vehicle and the environment?
The majority of people who wash their vehicles at home do not realize the amount of water that is being wasted and where that contaminated water is going. Most of this water goes into our storm drains which pollutes our rivers, lakes, and streams.

Your vehicles finish may also suffer as a result of hand washing.
Too much soap (or using products like dishwashing and laundry detergent) can strip away the protection and leave your vehicle with a dull hazed look. Also, the sponges and rags used to wash your vehicle at home are not continually rinsed and cleaned so that trapped dirt and sand is rubbed against the delicate clearcoat finish leaving light scratches across the vehicle.

Will the waxes/protectants from a car wash streak my windshield?
There is a very popular myth that car wash waxes/protectants will streak your windshield. Many people have complained that after going through a professional car wash the next time they had to use their wipers the windshield was streaked. The reason for this streaking is a simple one. Deposits of road film (mainly grease and oil from vehicle exhaust) can get trapped under your wiper blades. After washing and the glass is clean, the next time you turn on your wipers you are moving the residue across your clean glass, resulting in the streaks. One solution to this problem is to use a paper towel with some white vinegar or window cleaner and run it across the blades; you'll be amazed at what you find. Your wipers blades should also be replaced at least twice a year. A good rule is to change your wiper blades as often as you change your air filter in your vehicle.

When I bought my car I was told it never needed waxing, is this true?
This is a very common misconception. In fact, we ask that you look through your vehicle's owners manual and see if you can find where it says not to wax your vehicle. We have never found one that does. Today's clearcoat finishes are more delicate than the paint of earlier years (before the mid-80's) and is more likely to be damaged by pollutants and acid rain. It is important to keep your vehicle washed and apply a coat of wax about every three months.

How often should I wax my vehicle?
It is important to keep your vehicle washed and apply a coat of wax about every three months, or whenever the surface starts to look dull or faded.

Why do you use so many different wax products?
Different products may be needed to restore your vehicles finish. Your vehicle may get a great looking shine and protection with one product while someone else's vehicle may require a light compound before applying the wax. Our detailers are trained in spotting the different needs of each vehicle and will inform our customers of the process and products needed for their vehicle.

Why is my finish fading?
Vehicle finishes fading and looking dull is typically a result of lack of paint protection. This results in a breakdown of the clearcoat finish. Clearcoat paint is just that, a clear coat of paint over the actual colored paint. When this clearcoat paint breaks down, the colored paint begins to fade because it has no protection from the sun or pollutants. Again, the only solution is to frequently apply a coat of wax to your vehicle. If the clearcoat finish is almost gone, the fading will return about every 3-6 months as the wax protection breaks down. The only solution here is to eventually see a body shop for a new paint job.

How can I tell if my vehicle needs waxing?
One of our professional detailers can tell with the naked eye. However, clearcoat paints make it more difficult to determine when your vehicle needs waxing. It may need attention far sooner than its appearance may indicate. There are two simple tests you can perform to determine if your vehicle needs to be waxed:

+ Wad a clean, dry terry cloth, and rub it along a clean upper surface of your vehicle. If you hear any squeaking, that's a sure sign that your vehicle needs waxing.

+ After washing and drying your vehicle, take your hand and run your fingertips along the upper surfaces of your vehicles hood and trunk. If you detect rough spots or feel any drag, you also know your vehicle needs waxing. At Flagstop, we have a paint gauge to help us determine how many mils of paint is left on your vehicle so that we can recommend the proper service needed to bring your paint back to it's original shine and luster.

A professional detailer will be able assist you in what wax services are need for your vehicle.

How often should I change my oil?
The recommendation on most vehicles is every 3 months or 3000 miles, but try not to exceed 5000. People who receive Full Service Oil Changes experience fewer breakdowns and major engine repairs because of experienced technicians looking under the hood for any possible problems on a regular basis.

What are the benefits of using synthetic oil?
Synthetic oil will not break down under extreme heat conditions; it will not thicken up in extreme cold conditions making cold start ups easier on your engine. You'll receive better gas mileage and the lubrication qualities last longer with synthetic oil.

How often should I change my air filter?
The air filter is the one of the most neglected maintenance needs. We recommend the air filter be replaced every other oil change or every oil change for those people who live around dusty conditions. We also recommend replacing other components of the air filtration system such as PCV valves and breather elements each time you change the air filter.