APEX Detail is a subsidiary of APEX Automotive Companies, comprised of APEX Detail, APEX Performance, APEX Auto Spa and APEX Events, located in Dallas, Texas. APEX is a luxury automotive services brand specializing in aesthetic automotive and performance customization, education and automotive networking events. In business since 1992 and with well over 50 years of combined experience between its team members, APEX is ready to handle any automotive customization its clients may dream up.
APEX Detail (AD): First let me say thank you for this opportunity to answer questions about professional automotive detailing and to provide some insight and education for your readers so they might make informed decisions concerning their automotive investments. APEX Detail specializes in the following services; Professional Automotive Detailing, Expert Paint Correction Services, Paint Protection Film (Clear Bra/PPF) Applications, Ceramic Coatings, Window Tinting and Vinyl Wraps and Accents.
duPont REGISTRY (DR): You mentioned an Auto Spa, Performance, Education and Events. Can you elaborate?
AD: Absolutely! APEX Automotive is a brand with a few different facets. In addition to our high-end detail division, APEX Detail, we have partnered with local luxury shopping centers to offer on-the-go detailing and hand car washing through our APEX Auto Spa division. Our performance division, APEX Performance, co-located at our headquarters with APEX Detail, specializes in performance modifications, both bolt-on and in-house fabricated performance parts. Everything from a simple intake and exhaust set-up to full-fledged custom turbo kits, to stand-alone engine control units and custom tuning. We host a monthly automotive education and technical session to inform potential customers on shopping for services at APEX Automotive. We tell them what to look for and what our particular products and services are all about. Finally, we run a series of events throughout the season to bring owners of exotic and ultra-luxury cars together to network. You may have heard of one of our events, Cars & Cannoli. It is the original and only private automotive networking event of its kind and we are lucky to get car owners from multiple states who attend each month.
DR: Your APEX Detail tagline is Perfect. Protect. Preserve. Can you tell our readers what that means?
AD: When I look at someone’s Ferrari or Lamborghini those are the three words that come to mind when I think about the care of that vehicle throughout ownership. We start by perfecting it, meaning detailing it, performing paint correction and eliminating any imperfections bringing the vehicle as close to perfect as possible. The next step is to protect the car, by applying exterior paint protection film or interior ceramic window film (window tinting). Finally, we preserve what we’ve perfected and protected by the application of products such as ceramic coating which locks it all in.
DR: What is the difference between detailing and paint correction?
AD: Automotive detailing consists of professionally cleaning the exterior and interior of the vehicle. There are many approaches to detailing, the end goal being to bring and to maintain the vehicle as close as possible to what it looked and smelled like when it came off the assembly line. Paint correction is the process of removing imperfections in the painted surfaces of the vehicle.
DR: What should people know about paint correction services?
AD: There are quite a few levels of paint correction services available to our clients and many professional seasoned detail facilities will offer similar services. The main focus of paint correction is to remove imperfections from the painted surfaces of the vehicle. This can be a complicated process consisting of wet sanding (color washing/color mopping) to remove the factory ‘orange peel’ or it can be a simple, less intensive process of polishing to remove micro-marring and surface swirl marks. I inform my customers the best way to look at the process is to imagine the imperfection in the paint as a valley between two mountain peaks. The process of paint correction is lowering those mountain peaks to match the level of the valley. Once that is done the imperfection disappears. The process of paint correction is the removal of material, in most cases that material is the clear coat surface on multi-stage paints. This analogy helps our customers better understand what this process is all about. Many people think paint correction is a process that can fix rock chips and deep scratches where you can’t see any painted color left. Those ‘valleys’ can’t be fixed by the removal of material since the valley goes all the way down to either the primer or substrate. In these situations, the only way to properly repair that type of imperfection to where it seems like it was never there, is to add material by respraying (highly recommended) or by using some form of paint touch-up.
DR: Why Paint Protection Film (Clear Bra/PPF) and what should our readers know about it?
AD: Automotive Paint Protection Film, sometimes called PPF/Clear Bra, is the only product on the market that is highly effective at protecting painted surfaces against rock chips, scratches, road debris, etc. If you’re searching for a true protection product then look no further than PPF. At typically 7-8 mils thick and with a self-healing topcoat, PPF can withstand impacts without showing any signs of damage. There are two types of installation methods in use today. Those methods are plotted kits or bulk, hand-trimmed applications. For the most part, bulk and hand-trimmed applications will provide the most coverage and look best when applied correctly and more effective than kit applications. The only way to shop for PPF, or any of the services discussed here, is to visit a few shops and take a look at their work. Get up close to the panels of the car, touch and feel the final product on the car so you can compare apples to apples. This is where you’ll see the major differences in quality and price point. High-end shops that focus on quality over quantity, which typically utilize the bulk and hand trimmed method, while they may cost more, the quality of the finished application will be clearly apparent. Ask to speak to the actual installer of the product, the person who would work on your car. Inquire about their experience . Shops that ‘kit’ everything and push multiple cars out in a day is where you may find the installers are younger with less than 5 years of experience. Those aren’t the installers you want working on your brand new $300k+ automobile.
DR: It seems like there are literally 1000’s of ceramic coatings available today. What is a ceramic coating and why should our readers consider it?
AD: You are right, it seems like another ceramic coating company pops up daily. Much of what’s on the market is ‘snake oil’ and doesn’t perform like the manufacture claims. I tell my clients not to believe all the things they see and read in online posts and videos. Our approach has been to test many of the leading products head to head and we’ve chosen to use the one that has outperformed the rest. Ceramic coatings work on a molecular level. They don’t have the protection aspects as 7-8 mils of PPF can provide, so we do not consider them a protection product or a replacement for PPF. This is evident because many of the major ceramic coating companies also produce PPF under their brand name which indicates that it isn’t a protection product. A ceramic coating is a maintenance product, not really a protection product. Managing client expectations on ceramic coatings, like all other products and services they are considering, is of utmost importance. Our explanation of the product is that it provides a surface on the vehicle that resists dirt and therefore can go for longer period between washes. When it’s time to wash the car or truck things wash off much more easily. The ceramic coating acts as a superficial layer on top of the substrate surface. However, many detailers and shops are purporting that ceramic coating is a “protection” product first and foremost, but that is just not true. I would steer clear of any shops that refer to ceramic coatings as “protection” products.
DR: Window Films and Window Tinting, what’s the scoop there?
AD: There are a few types of window films; dye-based films, hybrid films and ceramic/IR films. Here, in Texas, our installations mainly fall into the category of hybrid or ceramic/IR films as those provide the best heat rejection, which is the most important aspect of purchasing window film. Like with everything, you get what you pay for. This is the same when choosing a window film material. Dye-based films, while inexpensive, only provide privacy to the occupants in the vehicle at a legal tint level in the 30%-35% range. Hybrid films consist of both dyes and metals and provide a nice mix of both heat rejection properties and privacy at a reasonable price point. Finally, the IR/ceramic films provide the best heat rejection properties, while still providing the privacy most people are looking for. The choice of film material will really be based on your budget at the time of application and what the shop recommends based on vehicle use and what part of the country you live in.
DR: Let’s talk vinyl wraps and accents, what does APEX provide here?
AD: We have been wrapping cars for quite some time now. Whether a client is looking for a completely custom print or pattern design or a basic color change, we guide them from design to material selection, printing, and finally application. We routinely provide clients with chrome deletes using satin or gloss black vinyl to create a more stealth, modern and sporty look. Finally, I’d like to dispel the myth that vinyl wraps can be used in place of PPF for vehicle protection of the paint. This isn’t true at all since most vinyl wrap materials are roughly 1-1.5 mils thick or even less when stretched around corners. We always recommend PPF even with a wrap to provide the utmost vehicle protection.
DR: Tell us a bit about how APEX Performance works along with APEX Detail.
AD: Our performance division, APEX Performance, plays a key role in assisting APEX Detail perform its applications and services. It is great having various certified techs under the same roof to remove and replace parts on the car so we can professionally perform our services. Whether removing door handles and mirrors so we can apply our PPF without any visible edges or removing and torquing center-lock wheels on Porsches. APEX Performance certified techs play a key role in putting our clients at ease. It provides peace of mind for our customers knowing their cars are in very capable hands throughout the entire process and provides our clients a true one-stop-shop for all their automotive customization desires. APEX Detail also sells fully integrated radar and laser systems and offers powder coating options for wheels and color changes for brake calipers. Having APEX Performance under the same roof is key with these automotive customization modifications to make sure the wiring is done right, to make sure wheels and tires are properly balanced and mounted and to make sure calipers on the braking system are reinstalled to manufacturer specifications.
DR: This has been a wonderful, informative discussion and quite an educational experience for our readers. Thank you very much for providing this insight as I know it will help our readers make better choices concerning their automotive customization projects. How can our readers get in touch with you to have APEX Automotive work on their cars or answer questions they may have?
AD: Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with your readers what we do and how we do it, what to look out for and to point out some of the major items most people want for their vehicles. We have enjoyed many years of partnership as a member of DR’s Elite Detailer’s Alliance in the monthly issues of the magazine. For those readers who wish to send us their cars for high-quality automotive customization work please feel free to reach out to us either via email at info@ApexAutoCo.com or telephone at 855-998-APEX (2739) and use ext. #2 for Detail and #3 for Performance. Thank you, again, for this opportunity and I look forward to hopefully working with some of your readers in the future. For those who may be outside of the DFW Metroplex and would still like to receive the high-quality services we provide, we have solid relationships with a number of enclosed shipping providers and clients will routinely send us their cars from all over the country. Having worked on clients’ daily driven luxury sedans to one-off winners of Pebble Beach and other concours events, we are ready to earn your trust and business.