|10 Car Detailing Steps|
|Look at the inside and outside of your car first|
|Start with some stiff brushes and compressed air on your mats and carpets|
|Dust to keep that new car smell|
|Always use cleaners that are non-acid based|
|Handwash – it’s the best car wash|
|Bright and shiny = clean paint|
|Wax Every Season|
|Make your glass sparkle|
Today it is so easy to look after your car now all those techniques used by professional car detailers have started to come out and are being used by car enthusiasts Australia wide. Even the paint used on your car has been improved from the days of lacquer covered with carnauba paste wax making it a lot more durable and it shines for a whole lot longer. So if you have the luxury of time to detail your car yourself – you can now throw away all those old cans of rubbing compound, the leather chamois and piles of newspaper – once used for buffing. Today to clean your car we use blocks of paint cleaning clay, aloe leather healer, chemical paint cleaners and microfibre cloths.
The next 10 steps will help your car detailing go smoothly.
- Look at the inside and outside of your car first – all cars will need some TLC inside and out. The carpets, floor mats, dash, door handles and headrests deserve just as much attention as the bonnet, roof, boot and wheels of your car. Don’t rush the job just because you are running out of time. Start with the interior or exterior and then follow up the next day or weekend with any areas you have missed. If you start being more diligent in the care of your vehicle, you’ll have a car that looks better and you’ll want to keep clean.
- Start with some stiff brushes and compressed air on your mats and carpets – if you have an air compressor, blow any dirt from the nooks and crannies of your car’s floor onto the removable floor mats – this way you can easily vacuum everything up together. Stiff brushes will also loosen any dirt from your upholstery and carpets. If you have leather seats always use a good conditioner that contains aloe.
- Dust to keep that new car smell – using compressed air from a small portable compressor is an easy and fast way to blow any dirt and dust out of the air-conditioning and heating vents. The trick here is to aim the high-pressure air at the walls and ducts BEHIND the vent grilles as this is where dirt and dust sticks, which gives your car that musty smell. If your car has a cabin air filter you can either change it or remove it and blow all the dust and dirt out.
- Always use cleaners that are non-acid based – Professional car cleaners use a mixed acid solution to break up residue, clean dirty tires and to remove stubborn brake dust from wheels, but when you wash your car at home use products that don’t have an acid base. Acid based cleaners can cause alloy wheels to oxidise and pit and they can also damage wheels painted with coloured or clear coatings. Use a degreaser on your wheels and avoid using detergents as they can damage paint if splashed – remember – wheels and tires should be cleaned BEFORE you clean your car’s paint.
- Handwash – it’s the best car wash – don’t use dishwashing detergent to wash your car, while it gets the car clean it strips away any protective wax coating which then exposes your car to scratches, nicks and stains – always use a proper car wash solution to preserve your car’s finish. When water evaporates, it leaves dirt and minerals behind so dry the car with a rubber blade squeegee.
- Bright and shiny = clean paint – sometimes it will take more than one wash to really get your car clean, man-made pollutants and bird droppings settle on the paint and after time they can get through the wax and clear coatings to the colour coat underneath. With your car out of the sun, run your hands along the paint, if it feels rough it needs to be washed again.
- Polish – polish is used to smooth the surface of the paint, this makes it shine and look newer. When you polish the paint, you can use a handheld oscillating polishing machine.
- Wax – when your car left the showroom it had a new clear coat, after time that wears off and this is where the wax is your saviour, while it does wear off over time, when it’s there it’s absorbing small scratches and stains before these issues touch the paint underneath.
- Wax every season – Between washing and waxing applications your car picks up stains and scratches if you use a liquid wax you can touch up these spots between waxing. Liquid spray isn’t a substitute for wax. Because you can’t see if the wax has worn off, just give your car a wax at the beginning of each season to ensure it’s covered all year round.
- Make your glass sparkle – buff your windows with a microfibre cloth – this gets rid of any cleaner residue as well as any oils from your skin.