Just as people need a haircut or a new outfit, cars need some love and updating, too, especially after winter roads take a toll on them.
DuBois man Cody Flanders was detailing cars for five people when he was 16, keeping his circle small to start, detailing their cars once a year.
Auto “detailing” is thorough cleaning, restoration and finishing of a vehicle, and can be done on the interior and/or exterior.
About five years ago, Flanders gave his phone number to a client interested in passing it on.
“After that, it just kind of went crazy — it seemed like every day someone new was calling me,” he said. “I quickly realized it wasn’t going to stop there, and it was turning into something I never expected.
“I knew I had to give people the best results I possibly could.”
He then threw away his “off-the-shelf” products, Flanders said, and began researching more professional-grade products and detailing methods.
“I still continue to learn everyday,” he said. “I strive to be more of a higher-class, smart and safe method detailer, not just the normal, so I can deliver people the best results possible, and hopefully exceed their expectations.”
Flanders won “Best Detailing Service” for the 2018 Tri-County Sunday Readers Choice Awards. He’s a car enthusiast himself, often attending big car shows in and around the area.
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing how much I can transform them, and seeing how happy people are in the end,” he said. “I’ve gotten to work on some really cool ones you don’t see everyday.”
Winter can take a major toll on vehicles, Flanders says. Salt on the roads during Pennsylvania’s harsh winters is a big part of the reason more vehicles are damaged by rust in this area.
“It corrodes metal, etches paint, gets stuck in your carpet and floor mats, and pretty much everywhere else,” Flanders said.
Some tips Flanders would give car owners after the winter season include having a pressure washer, a shop vacuum and “two-bucket” wash method, he says. The vehicle owner should start by pressure washing the entire vehicle, getting rid of and “pre rinsing” loose debris and dirt. One bucket should have soap, and one clean water, to rinse the wash mitt, he adds.
“This helps with keeping your mitt more clean, in the end resulting in less damage to the paint of your vehicle,” he said.
Although interior vacuuming is pretty self explanatory, Flanders recommends crevice-tool and brush attachments to get into harder-to-reach areas.
Going to a professional has benefits, he says. A professional detailer can provide not only experience, but tools and chemicals needed to take care of the job, he said.
“I’ve found that people don’t really enjoy cleaning their vehicles, which leads to cutting corners, and just all around not doing that great of job, because they aren’t interested in it,” he said.
People should always talk to their detailers about what is right for them and their budget.
“It’s always best to be on the same page with your detailer, so they know what the customer’s expectations are, and what realistic goals are with the job,” he adds.
Flanders currently works out of his personal home garage, but someday hopes to have a full-fledged business, he says, focusing on higher-end services like paint corrections, ceramic coatings and new methods that come along, as well as basic services like washes, waxes and interior work.
For more information, call Flanders at 814-771-2016.