I was really quite surprised, but yes there is a "web definition" for Auto Detailing.
Here it is from the en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_detailing web site:
"Auto detailing is the practice of performing an extremely thorough cleaning and polishing of an automobile, both inside and out, to produce a show-quality level of detail. It can be practiced for personal satisfaction, and it is also performed to prepare a car for a Concours d'Elegance (often shortened to just Concours), a car show that features the appearance of cars, often in a beautiful setting such as Pebble Beach or Amelia Island. Some elements of detailing are extra polishing steps, and..."
What you can expect from "pros". A local Calgary company called DetailZ on their web site offers both interior and exterior packages. The exterior package includes: degreasing exterior surfaces, wheels, & engine, removal of tree sap & tar, 1st stage polishing, scratch removal (minor) and hand waxing.
Their interior package includes , vacuuming, steaming, shampoo, etc. Their listed phone number is 243-8246. We would be interested in a review of their service from anyone who has tried it.
Another local detailing company called Mobile Reflections offers full detailing at your location. Based on a review of that company's web site, it appears to be a very complete and full service.
Recently I spent some time gaining a better knowledge of what auto detailing is all about. Here are some of the main points. Apparently the paint on your car can get contaminated with things like rail dust (very fine metal bits) and other foreign objects that embedd themselves into the paint , much like a dart on a dartboard. The usual washing of a car doesn't take these foreign objects out. An insider's trick is to use something called a clay bar. A clay bar is a specially formulated version of clay that will stick to the foreign objects and then pull them out. All of this is a bit tricky as it has to be done along with a lubricant to ensure that the clay doesn't scratch the paint. Once that is done, you will need to apply sealant and then polish.
Going through car washes and brushing the snow off of your car can produce swirls in the paint (very fine spidered scratches). Swirls show up best in bright sunlight. These get removed through a method of polishing that will actually take a very thin coat of the paint off. The idea being that the paint underneath the top layer will be unmarked.
Washing your car is best done by hand using a microfiber mitt and then drying off is done with a microfiber towel. In Calgary this is a bit tricky as the bylaws prohibit using soapy water that then gets into the sewer system. Here is an excerpt from the City of Calgary's website: "
Can I still wash my car in the driveway or street?
The City recommends using a commercial car wash to clean your vehicle. Commercial car washes drain to the City’s wastewater treatment facility where the wastewater is cleaned and treated. If you do wash your car in the driveway or street, you cannot use soap. Use water only and ensure that dirt or oil from your car does not get washed down the storm drain. "
Interior maintenance is also very important when considering auto detailing. The more expensive vehicles typically have leather seats and the leather needs to be carefully maintained to avoid cracking etc. This requires treating the leather with conditioner that contain lanolin. Luckily in Calgary there is an easy supply of these kinds of products due to the horse industry.
I took a quick trip to my local Canadian Tire store (South Trail Crossing) and was pleasantly surprised to see they stock a lot of the items I would want for homebrew autodetailing. They stock various microfibre cloths, clay bars, and plenty of meguiars products.
This can be a sticky problem, no pun intended or maybe just a little one. I have rounded up some advice from the Internet at large that tackles this paint job destroying problem.
At the website, www.howtocleananything.com the advice is to use mineral spirits or denatured alcohol and then use lots of muscle to hand rub it in. They go on to recommend a light-duty buffing compound if the sap has a hardened surface. Afterwards polish and wax.
Let's go a little further afield and see what www.wisegeek.com has to say. They have several remedies in addition to the one above from howtocleananything. Avon's Skin So Soft, cotton ball moistened with rubbing alchohol, bacon grease (my fav, not), baking soda & water, and finally mayonnaise. Really that's what they recommend.
Epinions goes into a lengthy review of Turtle Wax Bug & Tar remover and concludes that it doesn't work but the manufacturer's website says it is meant for tree sap. Jury's out on this one.
Peanut butter oil is supposed to remove sap from clothes, wonder if it would work on a car?
LifeTips is suggesting WD-40. I gotta think that is to make the sap slide off the car.
TheCarConnection makes the very fine point that whatever you use as a solvent you shouldn't let it stay in contact with the paint for too long.
One site from California recommends Meguiar's Speed Detailer. Find it at http://www.meguiars.com/whatsnew/nxtproduct_page.cfm?SKU=G13224
I think at this point it would make sense for you to take a sample of the sap, try one or more of these remedies on something disposable before trying it on your car.