As the old expression goes, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” This is especially true when it comes to our cars. We spend countless hours looking up how to customize our rides and spend gobs of money to replace parts. So why wouldn’t we try to detail our cars ourselves? All it takes is a few tricks to know how to detail your car exterior like a pro.
The Right Materials
There’s an old tradition when it comes to washing a car—the tradition of an old rag, a container of dish soap, and a bucket. Those traditions are better left in the past. Rags or old t-shirts are quick to become brittle and abrasive which is harsh on a car’s paint job. The best choice is to use a natural sponge or car mitt to preserve your paint and a brush for tougher to clean spots and your tires. Dish soap is also not kind to your car’s paint and can cause it to look duller, even when the car has been waxed. There are soaps intended to be used on a car body—stick to them.
Even the single bucket idea isn’t the way to go when washing your car. For the best results, use two separate buckets—one for wash and the other for rinsing out your mitt. This will ensure that all the dirt and brake dust you just took off your car doesn’t immediately get put back on it again.
The Right Order
Washing the exterior of the car in the right order will help you do the job more effectively. Start with the tires before you do anything else. The brake dust and grime on tires is more intense here than any other part of the car, and when you’re washing it, you will likely splash it on the car body. You should start here using brushes and mitts that you won’t use on the rest of the car. Then, start at the top of the car and work your way down since the dirt you are washing off the car will run down.
Finish with Wax
If you really want the look of a professional detailing job, you will want to take the extra step of applying a paint protectant such as wax, sealant, or ceramic coating. This will not only make your paint colors pop but will help protect the paint and repel some of the water and dirt your car will face, keeping it looking cleaner. Different people prefer different things when it comes to paint protectants, but each has its own benefits and downfalls.
It takes time, effort, and attention to detail your car like a pro. And since you are the person most invested in your car, you are one of the best candidates for providing these very things for it. Your car will shine brighter thanks to you.
Also check out how to prepare your car for all seasons.