Detail Your Vehicle

How to Detail Your Vehicle

In case you don’t know, detailing is a really intense cleaning job. It involves cleaning the interior and exterior of your car so it looks almost new again, a process that usually takes a good amount of elbow grease. Detailing is often necessary after a car has been used for quite a while and not cleaned. This is pretty common because, face it, we are all pretty busy.  The other reason to detail a car is that you are going to sell it.  As Bosak Honda of Michigan City, IN, a full-service Honda dealer, recommends you will more than pay for cost of a detailing when your car sells.

There are two methods of getting your car detailed: You can have it done by a professional, or you can do it yourself.  Professionals will do a good job but it’s going to set you back around a couple hundred dollars. The other option, of course, is to do it yourself.  Then all you have to pay for is some cleaning agents and paper towels.

By the way, if you are doing it yourself, don’t do it outside in the direct sun.  When a car’s surfaces, such as the interior dash or exterior paint, are too hot, the fluids you use for cleaning will dry quickly and leave streaks and such.  It is far better to wait for a cool day or perform the detail process in the shade.

If you are considering detailing your own vehicle, here’s a guide to doing a professional quality job.

Step One – Pull out the floor mats and give them a vacuuming. You may need to steam clean them if they are fabric-based and really dirty. Then vacuum all the floor carpet and upholstery inside the car.  Be sure and use a skinny vacuum nozzle to get into all the cracks in the seat cushions and between your seats.

Step Two – If there are ground-in dirt or stains on the carpets or seats, apply a foam cleanser and rub it into the needed areas.  After soaking for a few minutes, blot up the moisture with a dry cloth and then go at the dirty areas with a steam cleaner. After steam cleaning, let everything dry for an hour.

Step Three – If you have leather seating, apply a good leather conditioner to it.  Go slow and work the conditioner into all the seating cracks and stitching. Leave it for an hour or so to allow it to soak into the leather.

Step Four – Wipe hard interior surfaces with a mild all-purpose cleaner, then use an interior dressing such as Armor All to give the surfaces a nice shine.  This step makes the instrument panel and dash look like new.

Step Five – Clean the mirrors and windows. A professional trick is to use some 4-ought steel wool and single-edge razor blades to get gunk off the glass. Then spray some windex (lots of it) on the windows and dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Don’t do this in the sun as it may leave streaks.

Step Six – Clean your wheel rims using a wheel brush and degreaser or wheel cleaner.  Allow your wheel cleaner product to penetrate wheel rims for several minutes before brushing. After cleaning, you may want apply a special wheel surface enhancer to give the wheels a new look.

Step Seven – Wash the tires with whitewall tire cleaner, then put on some tire dressing for a glossy look.

Step Eight – Spray degreaser on your engine and related parts and let sit for 20 minutes. Then wash off with a pressure washer or garden hose.

Step Nine – Wash the vehicle’s outside with a car washing soap – not a dishwashing soap.  Dishwashing soaps are too harsh for today’s car paint jobs.

Step Ten – Apply a wax or polish by orbital buffer or hand.  Follow the directions on the wax or polish container.