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The beginner’s guide to detailing a vehicle

According to one study, 1 in 5 people say that they have not cleaned their vehicle in a few months. This is a sign that you might need to do some car detailing. But what is car detailing, and what’s involved?

There is a lot of different work that you can do to clean your vehicle, inside and out. Below are some helpful tips and suggestions.

Start with the interior

Start by cleaning out the inside of your vehicle. This will clean up all of the junk and trash that you have laying around and between the seats. You should take out all of the floor mats and vacuum them and this will also allow you to get into the nooks and seams of the fabric of the vehicle as well to get rid of as many crumbs as you can.

For fabric seats, you might want to use shampoo or a fabric cleaner to clean the seats. You can also shampoo the floor mats and carpets as well. You should also use detailing brushes to get into places that are harder to reach.

Dust and wipe down the dashboard and any other plastic surface in your car with a rag or even a vacuum.

After this is completed, you will have a good start to cleaning the rest of your vehicle.

Prepare the exterior of the vehicle

You need to start with a pre-cleaner, that will remove a lot of dirt that is difficult to get off. You should find one that is safe but will lessen the grime so that you can then wash it more easily.

After you’ve primed it, you can then use snow foam. This is a foam that you will spray onto the car. It will help break down other dirt and grime as well without having to sit and wait there to scrub it.

Wash the vehicle

Wash the vehicle with the two-bucket method. First, you should fill one bucket with the solution of the wash and the other bucket should be plain water. You should put the solution onto the vehicle and then wash it from the top down in smaller sections.

Then rinse the brush in the water bucket before you put the brush in the clean solution. This way, you make sure that you do not ruin your wash solution, and you’re always using clean water to wash your vehicle.

Clean the wheels

Often wheels can be the dirtiest part of the car as they go over dust, mud, road salt, brake dust, and asphalt. You should start by cleaning the corners of the tire.

First, apply a spray on the tire that will help clean it. You should let it sit for the recommended period of time to help remove any grime. Then hose it off and then scrub your tires in a circular motion to get rid of whatever dirt and grime is left over. A wheel brush or sponge will access areas that are hard to reach.

Make a solution for a wheel wash bucket because of how dirty tires can be. You should use the two-bucket method again on the tires.

Let the vehicle dry

Once the vehicle and tires are washed, you will need to dry the entire car. Wipe the vehicle down with a microfiber cloth. When you’re done wiping it down, you should look to see if there are any leftover water spots or places where the water pooled and dried. You can then focus on that area with polishing.

Vehicle polishing

After the vehicle is all dried, you’ll need to polish it and remove stains, swirls, oxidation, and scratches. Professional detailers will use a different car polishing compound that can help protect the car. You may want to focus on areas that are more likely to be scratched or bumped when you’re driving or parked. That way, your vehicle is a little bit more resistant to scratches.

Final thoughts

These are only a few things detailing a vehicle, but there are many other steps you should keep in mind. Taking care of your vehicle can be very stressful and overwhelming, especially if you don’t fully understand how your car works.

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