After dabbling in several jobs — including being a professional musician — Nicholas Chia’s passion for cars saw him becoming the Chief Detailer at AAS Surface Aesthetics. He shares with Highway what’s necessary to shine on the job.
BEING RECENTLY REBRANDED FROM AA-GTECHNIQ TO AAS SURFACE AESTHETICS, WHAT ARE THE SERVICES THAT YOU NOW OFFER?
Before the rebranding, the company’s main focus was surface protection. The change allows us to broaden our spectrum of services, from just detailing to other services that cater to everything that has to do with a car’s aesthetics, such as car wrapping and maybe even spray-painting in the future.
We emphasise immaculate workmanship and service quality, which, when combined with the use of Gtechniq products, provide unparalleled protection. In Singapore, we are the only accredited detailer for the brand.
HAVE CARS ALWAYS BEEN AN INTEREST OF YOURS? IS THAT WHY YOU GOT INTO THIS LINE?
The desire to learn how to take care of my first car led me into detailing. I learnt everything — washing, waxing, polishing — mostly from YouTube as an amateur in the beginning, but also through hands-on experience.
It was a steep learning curve. I made many mistakes, including destroying my car’s paint and having to re-spray it! Learning from your mistakes is the key to becoming a good detailer. Becoming a detailer and being able to work on luxury vehicles made my passion for cars grow.
WHY AND HOW OFTEN DO CAR OWNERS NEED TO HAVE THEIR CARS PROFESSIONALLY GROOMED?
Having your car professionally detailed improves its aesthetics, and can get it to a level that is better than brand-new. With the level of protection offered by the products used, car owners will find it easier to wash the car. It possibly reduces the risk of scratching it in the washing and drying process, and improves the resale value of the car.
After the initial detailing, they just have to come in for an annual inspection and maintenance to rectify any issues. Over time, their car will look as close to brand-new as you can get it.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION YOU WISH TO CLEAR UP?
Some people think that, because there is a coating on, they don’t have to wash their car anymore, or they can wash it with cloth and water, which is not the right way to go about it.
You always want to use soap and water as soap provides lubrication and cleaning ability, lifting and surrounding particles more easily than plain water, thus helping to prevent scratches.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON PROBLEMS YOU FACE ON THE JOB?
About 90% of my job involves polishing to improve the gloss and clarity of the car. Car conditions vary, but the damage can be severe. To achieve a level of defect removal without compromising the paint thickness is a challenge because I only have a finite level of thickness to work with. The other challenge is fatigue from the hours and hours spent polishing.
ARE THERE CERTAIN TYPES OF CARS THAT ARE EASIER TO WORK ON?
Each car has its own set of challenges. You need to have knowledge of what the car looks like so that you can anticipate potential problem areas. Cars have different shapes; some are more intricate, with scoops and tight corners that you need to be careful of. You can’t get a machine into the corners, so you may need to hand polish the car. Being able to gauge what you need to do for each car is important.
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR JOB?
Taking a car with scratches and water marks and turning it into something that’s of showroom quality. Seeing the smile on the customer’s face when you hand the car over is testament to the level of quality and service you have provided to him or her, making the long hours of work all worth it.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CAR?
The Aston Martin DBS. It’s a gentleman’s car. It’s sleek and exudes style without looking overly ostentatious.
HAVING YOUR CAR PROFESSIONALLY DETAILED IMPROVES ITS AESTHETICS, AND CAN GET IT TO A LEVEL THAT IS BETTER THAN BRAND-NEW.
Have any detailing queries for our Chief Detailer? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on AAS Surface Aesthetics’ car detailing services, visit https://aassa.com.sg.