If you are the proud owner of a new car or truck, and will do anything to keep your auto looking and smelling wonderfully new, there’s an important idea that you need to proceed with — great detailing is 90% technique and 10% product. Here are six tips that will stand you in good stead.
Keep that New Car Smell
Keeping your car smelling like new isn’t just about buying pine-scented car freshener or one that comes advertised for a special new-car aroma. It’s about going after every source of the stale smells that take over your car before long. The number one culprit: the air-conditioning and heating ducts. If you allow dust to build up at all, it will soon attract moisture, and harbor odor-causing organisms. You want to aim a compressor long and hard at the vent grills at least twice a week to keep down the possibility of dust buildup.
Each Time you Wash, Grab Two Buckets
Most people simply use one bucket for everything they do while they wash their car. They dip a cleaning mitten into the bucket, clean the car, and double -dip. This dirties the suds up. The right way to do it is to keep a bucket of clean water next to your suds. Each time you want to reach for the suds, you should first clean it up in the water. You’ll never get dirt from a filthy mitten back on your car again.
Be Fanatic About Removing Dirt First
The more thorough you are removing every last speck of dirt off the surface of your car before using polish and wax, the more scratch-free the paintwork will be. This can take a lot of work and patience. A good clay bar cleaning system is one of the best ways to do this. You can use it to clean every last bit of environmental contaminant off your paint. To be completely sure that you’ve done a good job, you should slip a hand in a thin, general-purpose plastic grocery bag, and run it over your paintwork. If there is any dust at all, you will feel it. You’ll then be able to apply the clay bar to those specific spots.
Pay Attention to the Trim First
People usually wash and dry their vehicles, and then liberally apply polish and wax all over, risking getting it on the trim. The oils and waxes in polish are only good for paint — they stain trim. This is why car detailing professionals always apply masking tape to trim when they wax a car.
Use the Buffer for the Right Job
When it comes to polishing their cars, owners often get mixed up between when to use the buffer and the soft, dry cloth: they will use the cloth to apply polish, and the buffer to rub it in. This is exactly the wrong way to use a buffer. It can leave swirl marks all over your clear coat. Instead, you need to use a buffer to apply wax. The soft, dry cloth is what you use to rub it in.
Become a Hair Magnet
Using a brush on your car’s carpets is a great way to get rid of dirt and sand. Before you do this, though, you want to make sure that there is no pet hair or human hair to get tangled up in your brush. One of the best ways to do this is to use static electricity. What you need to do is to put on a pair of latex gloves, and work up a good store of static electricity by rubbing your gloved hands on the carpet. The static will quickly pull all hair out. This method works particularly well in dry environments such as Phoenix, AZ.