Detailing your car takes a little bit of time but pays off in great rewards. You end up with a beautiful, perfectly clean car and the pride of knowing you did the work yourself.
Many people wonder why detail your car at all? Isn’t a basic car wash good enough?
A detailed car is more enjoyable to drive. Plus, detailing your car keeps it in great condition so that when you do want to trade it off or sell it, you have more value and worth in the vehicle. Experts estimate you can boost your car value by up to 15 percent with regular detailing.
You can do your detailing yourself if you follow some basic concepts that all car detailers know. Keep reading for the basic top tips for car detailing.
1. Start With The Worst
Cupholders most likely have the most dirt and gunk in them compared to the rest of your car (with the carpet of cars that haul kids being a close second). So start with your cupholders first.
You can get all the gunk out with a small hack. Slip an old sock over a cup that fits snugly in the holder. Then spray the sock with window cleaner and twist it into the cup holder.
A good heart twist should clean out the holders. To make cleaning them easier in the future, invest in rubber cup holder inserts. You can find these at just about any department store.
2. Blow Out Floors and Crevices
The parts where your plastic meets carpet will have all kinds of dirt and years’ worth of debris in them. Begin by clearing out what you can grab with your hands.
If you have kids, this will mean needing a trash bag for the fish crackers and pretzel sticks you find wedged under seats in the crevices of your seats. Then break out your vacuum and use the crevice tool to suck out small pieces of debris.
Finish off the floors and crevices with a blowing tool. Use compressed air from your air compressor to blow small pieces of debris out and then suck them up with your vacuum.
The best auto detailing companies understand how to work their way through a fleet of cars and detail them efficiently. You need only understand how to handle one or two of your personal cars to make the detailing worth it. A tool like an air compressor or even just a can of compressed air is a must-have in your arsenal of detailing tools
3. Use Corner Tools
You do not need specialized tools to dig dirt out of the corners and crevices of your vehicle. As mentioned before, a can of compressed air works well.
You should also consider small tools with long handles. A wooden skewer or a barbecue fork can work well to dig gummy substances out of small spaces.
When you need to detail your air vents, use cotton swabs soaked in vinegar or a similar cleaner. You will need several cotton swabs for the job.
The small corner tools will make the difference between a good and a great detailing job.
4. Treat Fabric and Plastic Purposefully
When you’re cleaning your fabric seats or carpet, use a foaming fabric cleanser meant specifically for fabric in a car. This will ensure that you get a deep clean and that you have a great-smelling car when you’re done.
Usually, you need to just spray the foam on the fabric and leave it alone for a few minutes. Then vacuum up the residue that the foam brings to the surface.
When you’re cleaning plastic, use an ammonia-free cleaner. Ammonia tends to bleach or discolor plastic. Plus, ammonia mixed with other chemicals can cause dangerous fumes.
5. Leave Your Car Sparkling
Shiny, sparkling wheels stand out more than any other car details. But how does a person go about getting these sparkling wheels when the wheels trap dirt more than any other part of the car?
The products you use and your cleaning tools lead to the best results for sparkling wheels. Use a wheel cleaner labeled specifically as safe for any surface.
Do not use caustic cleaners that could strip your wheels of their finish. Find a cleaner with as few warning labels as possible.
Then scrub your wheel with a sponge. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush in the tightest areas. Then hose your wheels off with cool water.
Review the wheels for missed spots and then scrub what you’ve missed. Let the wheels drip dry for at least an hour before you head out on the open road.
6. Use The Right Soap
Your mother’s dish soap may have been adequate when you were washing your first car. But when you’re detailing your favorite vehicle, leave the dish soap at the sink and invest a little in soap designed specifically for cars.
A good car detergent may cost you around $10 for a bottle. It’s worth the extra cost. Dish soap is too harsh on auto paint and can cause problems when used repeatedly.
If you don’t listen to any of these other car detailing tips, listen to this one. Use the right soap.
7. Use the Right Tools
When you’re building your arsenal of auto detailing tools, invest in the right tools. Here’s a basic list of what you should have on hand:
- Quality car wax
- A plastic bucket with compartments for tools
- Lamb’s wool mitt for washing and pulling up dirt and grime
- Ammonia-free glass cleaner
- Clay bar kit to remove ground-in dirt particles between waxing and washing
Invest in the right tools, and you can detail your car like a pro.
Boost Value by Detailing Your Car
Detailing your car takes time, but if you follow these top tips for car detailing, you’ll have a sparkling vehicle in no time. Furthermore, these basic car detailing tips can take your car from good to great and increase its value.
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