Car Detailing: 8 Secrets to Steal from the Pros

Not many people love to wash their car, even though everyone loves to see a spotless vehicle. However, if you do it right, you can get that professionally-cleaned car look at home without too much trouble. If you’re used to just tossing a bucket of water over your car, here are a few tricks to try out next time.

Clean tires with tire cleaners

Everything starts from the tires, and if they are dirty and dusty, your car will never look picture-perfect. In order to strip dirt and residue from your tires, you need to use a non acid product to prevent damage to wheels painted with color or clear coatings. Detergent should be avoided, but you can freely use a degreaser (tires should be cleaned before you tackle your car’s paint).

Roll up your sleeves

While there are various gadgets you can use to wash your car, hand washing is still the best method. This chore gives you a chance to interact with your car, inspect it and familiarize yourself with its surfaces. However, when washing your car, make sure to stay clear of dishwashing detergents. It will get the job done, but it will also strip all protective wax coatings and expose your car paint to staining and scratching. A professional car washing fluid is the way to go.

Polish for that mirror look

While polishing your car, you will smooth out the surface and make it shine and get that new-car look back. Some polishing products also have wax which can protect the paint. When you’re polishing your car, you can use a polishing machine. While pros use a rotating polishing machine, it might be too tough for inexperienced hands, so you can use regular oscillating buffers for your DIY work since they are much more forgiving.

Protect the paint

If you want to have a shiny car that’s also protected from the elements, you can try to cover it with a ceramic coating. When this coating hardens, it offers great protection that’s also very durable. There are three types of ceramic coatings—a spray-on coating with a lower percentage of SiO2, Teflon or silicone-based coating and nanotechnology coating. The hard nano coating is the best option since it provides professional protection you can achieve at home. Look up some product reviews, find the best coating and give your car the protection it deserves.

Fire up your air compressor

When cleaning your interior, professionals love to use an air compressor to remove dirt from the tiny nooks and crannies. Once the dirt is out of those little hard-to-reach pockets, it’s much easier to vacuum and remove. Air can also be used to remove dirt and dust from heating and air-conditioning ducts (this is what usually causes those nasty smells).

Give some love to the interior

The dashboard and various instruments on it are like little dust magnets, so make sure to clean them with a damp cloth soaked with dash and upholstery cleaning products. If you notice some leftover dust on delicate buttons, use a paintbrush to flick it. Many people make a mistake of using a silicone spray to add some shine to the dashboard, but that can create dangerous glare. If you use this coating on the pedals too, it can make them slippery and you can get into an accident.

Don’t forget the sills and door openings

Sills and door openings are easily overlooked while you wash your car, but when you have a spotless vehicle, your dirty door openings will stick out. So while the doors are open, grab a bucket and clean those tricky places.

Clear the glass

Lastly, it’s time to tackle your glass surfaces. These should always be done at the end because dirt and grime from the other parts can spoil your hard work. When cleaning glass, find a cleaner without ammonia, since it’s very bad for upholstery and the instrument panel (and it’s stinky). For that shiny look, buff glass with a microfiber cloth which is spectacular in removing cleaner residue that causes those nasty streaks and spots on your freshly-washed windows. In order to reach the inside of the back windows of sedans and coupes, place the microfiber on the back of your hand—it will allow you to reach much further down the surface.

You don’t have to waste your precious money on regular car details by professionals. If you have time and patience, it’s very easy to make your car look spotless at home with only a few products and some pro tips. Prepare to put in some elbow grease though, but it will be worth it!


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