Car or automotive detailing means completing a ‘detailed’ cleaning, or restoration of a vehicle to produce a better shine. Detailing also helps to protect paint and other car parts against exposure to UV rays and contaminants.
It’s a global industry that involves the creation, sales, and distribution of more than 30,000 individual detailing and car care products. In fact, the United States auto detailing supplies and automotive car care products generate over $9 Billion each year.
What are the Components of Car Detailing?
When a car owner decides to detail their vehicle, they’ll follow a general guideline:
Most car experts recommend cleaning the wheels first with wheel cleaner or tire brushes. Then it’s suggested to clean the car exterior and protect it with car detailing products. The last step is to clean and detail the car interior.
Many car owners think that replacing their air fresheners or spraying on a tire shine is all you need to do to detail the car. Some purchase expensive cleaning tools, high-quality car wash brushes, automotive wash buckets, and a heavy duty pressure washer.
No matter what products you choose, the best car detailing projects usually involve a lot of hard work, patience, and using the right supplies and techniques.
Beginning the Car Detailing Process Detailing a car isn’t a particularly difficult or technical task but even if you’re just washing it, you can actually do more harm than good if you follow the wrong procedures or using the wrong products. And most often, knowing the steps is half the battle.
It’s also important to understand the car detailing in Portland is much different than detailing a car in Cincinnati for example. Each location you live has unique attributes that impact the way a car becomes dirty and needs to be cleaned.
First things first. If you own any towels, mitts or alike which are not microfiber: throw them out. Yep, the trash bin is the only place for any product which can leave scratches on the surface of your vehicle, when the very thing you’re trying to do is restore it.
I’ve seen countless vehicles being completely murdered with mini-scratches, swirl marks, marring, etc. only because the owners had been using cheap products that had been doing more harm than good.
Dirty worn out rag you definitely don’t want touching your car
Beyond that, the single most important thing you can do to keep your car’s finish looking good is to wash it regularly. The right way.
The reason is all the contaminants that your car is exposed to – the dirt, the mud, the road grime, not to mention things like bird droppings and dead bugs – can harm your paint if left for too long.
But before you get started, remember these five golden rules:
1. Don’t wash your car in direct sunlight
Seriously, almost all detailing products don’t perform well in the sun’s rays or on a hot surface. Heat also speeds the drying of soap and water, and while it’s tempting to enjoy the sun outside you’re asking for water spots and streaks. Work indoors or in the shade.
2. Avoid cross-contamination
Cross-contamination in washing a car occurs by using the same materials for all washing activity. So don’t use the same items (towels, brushes, buckets, water, etc.) for multiple purposes or locations. You don’t want to move the contaminants from one location to another. This is particularly important on areas of the car which get extra dirty like the rims, wheel wells, or lower panels. Keep your supplies separated.
3. Work your way from the top and down
You don’t want to splash all the dirt and grime on parts of your surface you have just cleaned! Importantly though, this does not include the wheels and tires. You should always clean your wheels and tires first as they are often the dirtiest part of the vehicle.
4. Always use lubrication
We’re not being sexual here. If you’re touching the paint you must use some sort of lubrication. Don’t wipe, clean or touch the paint without lubrication and with improper or dirty towels.
5. Get the right supplies and towels
As I mentioned previously, forget your dirty old sponges. Those old yellow things are basically like using sandpaper. Get a proper wash-mitt and make the marginal investment in some nice soft microfibre towels which make it much easier to dry your car’s paintwork without the risk of scratching. Get a proper car shampoo too.
There’s a reason household washing liquid can remove bacon grease and you don’t want it doing the same to your paint.
Source: What is Car Detailing?