For some car owners, washing a car might feel like a boring and difficult task but for car enthusiasts, car detailing can be a favorite hobby. Regardless, no one can deny the appeal of car detailing that makes your vehicle look like as new as in a showroom.
Car detailing keeps your car in top-notch condition and ensures that the value of your car does not get depreciated. It also protects the exterior of your car from external factors and rusting. That said, car detailing does not simply refer to washing the car; in fact, it is a thorough process that requires cleaning perfection of every crevice and part of your car.
What is Car Detailing?
In simple words, car detailing means a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning of your car with the help of special tools and cleaning products. It also includes giving some touch-ups to the car’s exterior to enhance its beauty. Car detailing, however, does not include paintjob and car repairs.
Car detailing is a combination of tasks to recondition the interior as well as exterior of the car. The main reason of car detailing is to maintain the condition of the car by removing scratches and other marks.
Step 1: Prewashing
The first step in car detailing is prewashing the car. Even if your car seems apparently clean, use a hose to wash your car with a light pressure. Many car owners completely neglect this step and start scrubbing the exterior right away. This step helps in knocking different types of contamination like dirt, bird droppings, etc off your car’s body. Skipping this step makes you scrub the dirt and grime all over the surface which can lead to more damage to the paint work.
Prewashing also helps you minimize any scratches or marks from sponges later in the process of car detailing.
Step 2: Cleaning of Wheels and Tires
After prewashing, you start off by cleaning the wheels and tires first. Contrary to the common practice, you should not leave tires or wheels to do in the end. There are essentially three things that you are going to do while cleaning the wheels. First, you should pour a synthetic wheel cleaner over the tires and wheels and leave it for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, use a hose to remove the dirt and wheel cleaner off the tires. Next, you are going to use a wheel cleaning spray on all sides of the tires and scrub it vigorously in circular motion to rinse all the remaining dirt off them. You can use a sponge and a brush to clean the insides of the wheels and tires of your car.
Once you have cleaned the wheels and tires, you can apply brake dust repellents and rim protections to the rims to increase their durability.
Step 3: Two Bucket Washing
In this step, you are going to use two buckets: one filled with car shampoo and the other one with clean water. Make sure to use a specialized car shampoo rather than a detergent or dish washing solution. Now, fill a bucket two-third full of cool water, add an instructed amount of car shampoo in it, and then use a strong jet of water to fill the bucket as the pressure activates suds. Fill the other bucket with clean water for rinsing your washing mitt.
Now, start washing the car’s exterior in straight lines with the help of a good quality sponge. Start off gently at first to pick up most of the dust off the body. You can leave the dirty areas at the bottom for the end to prevent bringing back dirt on the top. After washing one section of the car, move on to the next part as this will prevent the soap from drying on the paint.
Step 4: Drying the Car
In this step, we recommend that you meticulously dry your automobile after washing. The first method that you can use to remove most of the water from the car without touching the surface is the sheeting method. For this method, use an open-ended hose without a nozzle. Starting from the top of the vehicle, move the hose from left to right to make the water start draining from the corners. Now move on to the lower area, pouring water from right to left with the hose. Move all the way down in the same way. The sheeting method will remove 80% of the water off your car’s body.
After using the sheeting method, you are going to use a blower to eliminate water from hard to reach areas like gaps, crevices, mirrors, panels, etc. After thoroughly blowing off the water from these places, use a soft microfiber cloth or towel to wipe the surface of the car. This dry cleaning now does not have the risk of affecting the paint of the car.
Step 5: Polishing and Waxing the Car
For the last step, before polishing and waxing your car, you can use a clay bar or a detailing mitt to smoothen the surface of your car. Use a spray or a lubricant to spread over the car’s surface as well as over the mitt. Now glide the mitt over the surface. At first, you might feel some friction but as you keep gliding it will make the surface smoother.
Usually, your car needs polishing and waxing during full detail ideally only once or twice a year. You can use a buffer to distribute pressure in a more even way than while using a manual pad. You can change the speed of the buffer on different areas of the car to give your car a sleek and shiny look.