Whether you are trying to sell your car or just want to keep it in tip-top shape, detailing your car can be a great way to keep it looking new. Like many do-it-yourself jobs, it can sometimes be a daunting task due to the time and energy it takes to detail like a pro.
Not sure where to start? Here are our tips:
1. Use the right tools for the job.
That old dish rag and plastic bucket may be great for a routine wash, but when it comes to detailing your vehicle you will want to go the extra mile. Bust out the extra long extension cord for the vacuum, invest in some nicer microfiber cloths, tire shine, wheel cleaner, wet cloths, and a sponge that won’t scratch your car. Borrow a pressure washer if you don’t have one, and head to an auto store to invest in some quality cleaners that are designed not to harm your car’s clear coat. You don’t have to take out a loan for cleaning supplies, but upping the quality from your normal wash can help make the job easier and lead to better results.
2. Be thorough.
This isn’t a 15 minute project—to see results from detailing your car you’re going to want to set aside some time. It likely won’t take the whole weekend, but don’t be afraid to block out a few hours into it. Make sure you get all those nooks and crannies and are giving everything the proper amount of time to dry. Make sure you read all the labels of the cleaners you just picked up and don’t cut any corners when it comes to the instructions. The point of detailing is to help your car look as new as possible, not just knock off a little bit of dirt and grime.
3. The Technique is Everything.
Cleaning your windows, windshields, and mirrors can be trickier than you think. The biggest mistake people make is to raid the cabinets to find the Windex. Automotive glass cleaner, however, is designed to get your windows cleaner and see through them easier. Technique comes into play as well. When drying the glass surface, dry in two directions to get a thorough clean and to be able to find which sides are streaking easier.
4. Wax on, wax off.
Waxing can be the best thing you can do apart from regular washing to keep your car’s paint and body as pristine as possible. According to our friends at National Detail Pros, waxing can reduce scratching, swirl marks, hard water spotting, and protect your paint job from UV rays. Overall waxing also makes your car easier to wash later down the road. They recommend waxing your vehicle two times a year for the best results.
5. Clean those wheels.
Wheels are like feet. Feet hit the ground, the ground is dirty. Feet get dirt. Wheels get dirty. All of the dirt and grime from the road can cause a bigger effect than what you may think, so be sure to pay extra attention to the wheels and tires. It’s probably a good opportunity to make sure your tire treads are in good shape too - experts suggest using the “quarter test” (which has recently replaced the long-trusted “penny test”.) Another big tip that the pros at Popular Mechanics have to offer is to be sure to use the cleaner specific to your type of wheel. When in doubt, use the least powerful version suited for all types of wheels.
6. Don’t forget to wash your undercarriage.
Undercoating can be a tricky subject for a lot of car buffs. On one hand, the manufacturer usually provides some corrosion protection for your car’s undercarriage. On the other hand, salt can be a car’s worst nightmare—and while many people are diligent about washing their car, the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” is sometimes truer than many car owners want to admit. The best time to apply a heavy duty undercoating is when the car was new, but just keeping your undercarriage clean can help a lot. Start by pre-cleaning with a degreaser, let it sit for a while, and then rinse (usually with some pressure). Just be sure to not tackle your undercarriage until your car has cooled off if you’ve just driven it, otherwise any type of pre-treatment you try will be instantly dried by the heat.
There are a number of ways you can tackle detailing your car, and at the end of the day it just depends on how far you want to take it. Regardless, giving your vehicle a little extra love will pay off either by letting you enjoy a sparkling clean vehicle of just by knowing that you gave your vehicle a little extra protection to help it last longer.
If you’re detailing your car to prep it for sale, make sure you have the right tools for that job too. With Trusted Car Sale, easily sell your car privately and safely by being able to verify potential buyers, interact with those buyers anonymously, and list your car everywhere with tools and services to help you sell your car faster and get more money opposed to trading into a dealer. Check it out!