Show Car Detailing Interview with Richard Lin

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I have been detailing, restoring and/or customizing cars since 1963. Back then I paid $25 for my first car which was a 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline. My passion for automobiles still runs deep in my soul and I probably bleed motor oil! I also owned a production detail shop in Beverly Hills for almost 10 years. So to say I’m critical when it comes to detailers would be putting it mildly.


I had both the honor and the privilege to spend the day with Richard Lin, and his lovely wife May. Richard owns Show Car Detailing in Anaheim Hills, California. And I would definitely have to agree with “The Orange County Hot List” that has consistently found them to be the “Best Car Wash and Detailing” shop in the entire county for the last several years. But before you run out and fire up the old Vanagon, this place is truly not your typical car wash and quasi detail center that you see out there on most corners. In fact, they actually have one of those other places right down the street from their shop. Now don’t get me wrong, they can handle any vehicle that you personally feel is worth your cash and their time and attention! But they are more of a paint restoration and beautification spa for your car. This place is where you take your vehicle to be pampered and returned to a condition that is as new as humanly possible. Either you’re the type of person who wants that for your car, or did I mention there was a regular old car wash down the street?!! (LOL)




One of their areas of specialization is the toughest task in the detailing business and that is “black cars!” Richard truly has some kind of detailing magic wand that turns them into ‘black mirrors!!!’ He genuinely believes that your reputation is your bond. And because of his attitude and a work ethic that’s second to none, they have customers who bring their cars in from all over the United States. That is very DaYUUM impressive!!!






I have always preached that if you treat your car well, then it’s going to treat you well and that philosophy has never let me down. The people who bring their cars to Show Car Detailing truly understand that simple concept. They cater to the serious car enthusiasts with high expectations that demand the best and know that Richard can deliver. I learned some new detailing secrets and ‘top shelf’ product knowledge just from hanging out with him! Richard does conduct detailing seminars and classes throughout the year, so you call, or go to their website and see when the next one will be!






Short of a completely new paint job, Show Car Detailing can probably fix your paint problem! I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of so called detailers over the years and I can unequivocally tell you that Richard Lin is by far the best detailer I’ve ever met!







Richard starts you off with a comprehensive paint evaluation process to make an exact determination on the current state of your paint. A customer might come in thinking they need a new paint job only to find out that it just needs Show Car Detailing’s paint beautification process to get it back to ‘good as new’ condition.






So now, let’s hear what our “President of Polish”…“Sultan of Shine”…“Wizard of Wax”… and the “Dean of Detailing” had to say about all this, the incomparable Mr. Richard Lin!!! (Now how’s that for a proper build up! LOL hahaha)


DaYUUM: So tell us Richard, just how much does it cost to get a Show Car Detailing paint evaluation?

Richard Lin: “Our typical job is where the customer thinks they need a repaint to solve their problems. And we show them for FREE what can be done right in front of their eyes through our thorough paint evaluation process. Then, if it can be fixed, we’ll do it better than anyone else!”


DaYUUM: What if I have an older paint job that different from the paints they’re using now?

RL: “It doesn’t matter whether your paint is ultra soft like the Aston Martin DB9 or ultra hard on a ceramic cleared Mercedes Benz, we know how to maximize your finish and will teach you how to maintain it as part of the process. We take swirled out dulled paint and turn it into a gemstone using a proprietary process that is exclusive to Show Car Detailing.”


DaYUUM: So how big is your shop?

RL: “Our 3,000SF shop features 100% distilled water, snow foam cannon, two lifts, wash and detail bay, as well as, a retail store.”


DaYUUM: Do you sell any of your own product lines in the retail store?

RL: “Yes, a product I conceived called ‘Black Wow’ that was formulated by my father who is a world renowned award winning scientist. It’s designed for any color exterior plastic such as on the MINI Cooper, Honda Element, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota Tacoma, Volvo, and others. This gel will restore your trims natural color without the use of dyes or colorants. It provides a rich, long lasting look that’s measured in months, and is proven by the water beading action you’ll see. Even brand new trim will see noticeable improvements on the first application. We also sell ‘Pre-Wow’ which will remove dried wax and polish residue. You spray it on, and wipe it off with a painters rag. You then follow with the ‘Black Wow’ gel. In order for the residue to be removed, you need to treat the problem. Making it wet with water looks good until the water evaporates, right? Applying an oil-like plastic dressing makes it look better until it wears off and the spots “reappear.” So your best solution is to remove the spots permanently, then apply a conditioner/restorer. As I said before, putting on any plastic dressing product will only temporarily mask the problem because the spots will always reappear.”


DaYUUM: Richard, I can tell that you actually are a real ‘car guy!

RL: “Yes, I’m a MINI enthusiast and I’ve been a very active member in the MINI community since 2003. I also bought a 2005 Honda Element with 197,000 miles that I’m current restoring. My mechanic confirmed it’s been meticulously maintained however. I just replaced some light bulbs, replaced a cracked windshield, and the third brake light housing, and mechanically it feels as good as new. The paint and plastics need a lot of work, but since I polish paint and restore plastics for a living, I don’t doubt that I will be able to work my magic on the Element.”


DaYUUM: What is the most basic preparation I can do to my car and still make it look really nice?

RL: “The most basic prep you can do is a wash, clay, wax. For the claying part, check out a video on YouTube called ‘Claying 101.’ To accomplish this, you can wash, then before dry it, start claying, and wipe dry as you go. Or you can wash, dry the paint, clay with lube, dry, and then wax. There’s no need to wash a second time. After claying you must always follow with waxing because your protection is compromised after claying. That’s the purpose of clay, to remove above surface bonded contaminants.

You should strike the word “Rubbing Compound” from your memory. This is something that exists from the old days of single stage paint jobs. Today a more appropriate term is “polish.” Polishes come as both a pure polish with no abrasives and with abrasives. Abrasives come in many different forms from diminishing abrasives to non-diminishing. My Element has Honda paint, which is soft, relative to other manufacturers. You can improve the look of your “neglected” car with a polish. By hand, a pure polish or a glaze will give the best results with the least work. As I said before, the steps are wash, clay, polish, wax or just wash, clay, wax.

By machine, such as a Porter Cable 7424 Polisher, your choices are wide. I love Prima products such as Prima Swirl with a 7424 (aka PC) polisher with a Buff & Shine white or orange pad depending on what I am correcting. Follow that polishing step with Prima Epic synthetic polymer wax and you will have an incredible finish with minimal work. By hand, I would do the wash, clay, and either Prima Epic or Prima Hydro Seal which is simply a wipe on until it goes clear, then you’re done waxing.”


DaYUUM: What about an orbital buffer, like they sell at the auto parts stores?

RL: “That type of polisher is only good for applying wax only. It just isn’t powerful enough to polish paint, at least not using polishes with abrasives. The two handed random orbital buffers usually have a large bonnet or foam pad that is sold to apply larger amounts of waxes to vehicles. So if I’m a wax manufacturer, I’d want you to use more of my product, so I’ll sell you a machine with a big pad on it and because you’ve seen car washes and other places using them. Most of the time they do more harm than good. A proper machine polisher can come in either direct drive like a professional rotary buffer that resembles a grinder, or random orbital type. A safe random orbital dual action polisher is really the only type you want to use on your paint. It can polish out defects and apply wax. They are much harder to do damage to your paint but make correction and waxing much easier and faster.”


DaYUUM: Then how do I know what I want to do?

RL: “First of all, you have to define what you want to accomplish. A polish can add extra gloss and conceal defects like scratches and swirl marks in the paint. Polishing paint can make the paint look flawless and shine in a way that you could never achieve simply by applying a wax. Think of wax as protection. It’s the final step when detailing. Clean and prep the paint, then perfect the paint, then seal it to protect it. Most people don’t realize that polishing is a very important step. However it is optional and you can forgo it by using a combination cleaner-wax or just accepting the results you get with a wax. Personally I would say do a proper wash, clay, polish and wax, then sit back and enjoy the results.”


DaYUUM: How long will it take me to do all this?

RL: “Don’t worry!” It should only take you about 2 to 3 hours to wash, clay, and wax your car. For claying, no need to tape the plastics. For polishing and waxing, it depends on your products. I don’t like to use products that turn the plastics white, so taping isn’t necessary. When I polish with a machine, taping the plastics is important or using ‘Pre-Wow’ cleaner will permanently remove that stubborn residue. Working by hand, a good pure polish won’t affect the plastics. For me, I would use Prima Amigo which is a polymer based paint cleaner that goes on easily before waxing.”


DaYUUM: What do you look for in a paint job that comes into Show Car Detailing?

RL: “I look at paint thickness, paint gloss, paint purity/clarity, reflectivity, depth and what we can do to improve it to take it is maximum potential. Most people and even detailers, only think of gloss as a sign that their paint is at its potential. We see a freshly washed car and think, ‘wow’ that looks good. When I see such a car, I position myself so the sun is reflected off the paint, and evaluate how the light scatters on the paint. I look for paint transfers and scuffs that can easily be corrected. I look for repainted areas and different orange peel textures. Paint clarity and uniformity are very important.

So I put it in the studio under my proprietary LED lights and turn out the main lights so we can see things that couldn’t be seen outside. I also have a digital microscope that I use for analyzing defects. It’s about what we can do to make things better, and prevent damage in the future.”


DaYUUM: So tell me, what is your favorite wax?

RL: “My favorite wax is Prima Epic, I’ve been using Prima products since 2005, coming off of Meguiar’s Professional products. Prima Epic is a polymer sealant. Waxes can be either natural like carnauba, or synthetic type sealants. Typically, natural waxes offer less durability but offer warmer colors while synthetics are durable and offer intense reflectivity or shine off the paint. This “hard” shine can make the appearance to be “colder.”


DaYUUM: I really don’t understand what a colder appearance means?

RL: “Ideally, a wax warms up the colors and offers greater depth and reflectivity. This is what is the most desirable and that’s what I get from Epic. ‘Have you heard of the golden hour?’

DaYUUM: No I haven’t?

RL: “It’s when most of the automotive photographers want to take a picture of a car. It’s when the sun is low and warm, just think of a sunset when the shadows are soft. It’s the most flattering time to take a picture of a car because it hides and masks the worst paint defects. It works like a photo retouching program. It’s what happens when you add more yellow to the photo and it becomes warmer. Carnauba wax works in a similar way and it’s why I don’t recommend using carnaubas on white or silver paints.”


DaYUUM: OK, so what’s the difference between a polish and a wax?

RL: “The basic difference between a polish and a wax is simple. Polishes allow you to perfect the paint by removing defects. There are some polishes like Meguiar’s #7 Show Car Glaze that is a pure polish and has no ability to remove defects, but it does have fillers. Its purpose is to provide short term gloss and lessen the visibility of defects in the paint without removing them. However, it offers no protection. A wax on the other hand creates a sacrificial barrier to your paint, one that naturally wears away. For anyone that believes it’s not necessary to wax a car then I’ can show you plenty of examples of clear coat failure. Your clear coat is not a substitute for wax. A decent bottle of wax costs $16 plus, and you apply it two to three times a year. Your clear coat costs thousands of dollars and you cannot reapply it without repainting. There are some products out there like Zaino, which is a polish that calls itself a wax and that makes it confusing. Just remember that the traditionally accepted terminology is that a polish is used to beautify the paint temporarily and the wax seals that beauty in for a period of time. With that in mind, when you polish a car you use it to fix a problem, then remove it. But when you wax, you apply it, let it dry, and then wipe it off. There should be no confusion about which one you let dry.”


DaYUUM: That’s great, but what about the spray wax at the local car wash?

RL: “Going to the local car wash and having them spray on a wax is just plain wrong! That spray will get into all of your plastics, rubber bits, vents and everything else, plus it won’t last! Prep is everything when it comes to waxing your paint. Without proper prep, the wax won’t properly bond. Unless you have removed the entire surface bonded contaminants, your paint isn’t clean. This is where claying comes in and my favorite clay is still the Meguiar’s Blue C2000. You don’t need to wear gloves and it kneads easily while getting the job done.”


DaYUUM: Richard…thank you so much for this great detailing education!

RL: “You’re welcome Chief!”


Profile Summary:

As a fellow professional detailer I found Richard to be both knowledgeable and totally intelligent in his approach to the science of automotive paint. He has the most seriously pragmatic approach to “detailing solutions” that I have ever experienced. Richard has intelligently formulated new answers to complex and age old detailing questions. With his Dad being a prominent chemist, he has the ability to not only study stubborn problems; he can also create NEW PRODUCTS to solve them. His “BLACK WOW” product line is probably some of the most advanced RUBBER and PLASTIC SOLUTIONS that I’ve experienced in the last 50 years!!!

I was totally blown away by the fact that Richard has even created his own LED lighting designs to completely enhance the detailing experience. Now if you can imagine this, he can custom produce different levels of the “FINISHED PRODUCT!!!”

Some people can be perfectly happy with a cosmetic shine, but that is simply NOT Richard Lin. But, let’s say that you are a genuine sun worshiper who appreciates a more scrutinized shine in direct sunlight? What if you are a florescent light aficionado who wants to look deeply into your paint under florescent lighting? What if you believe in a deep and durable shine? What if you are the “TRUE PERFECTIONIST” WHO WANTS IT ALL?!!

Well my friends, if you find yourself at “SHOW CAR DETAILING”…then I can promise you that you can “ACTUALLY HAVE IT ALL!!!”

If you’re in SoCal, or just visiting from out of town, then do yourself a favor and take your chariot over to see Richard and his lovely wife May…your car will totally thank you for it!

By the way, I definitely left there with a ton of his incredible detailing products so that I can keep my whip in “SHOW CAR DETAILING” shape!!!
So until next time, please stay ‘tuned’ and always remember that…I’ll see you out on the streets!!!

Chief DéMarks



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