How to Detail a Car: A Step by Step Guide
There are several steps that you need to know if you are looking to detail a car. Car detailing is a part of regular vehicle maintenance. Here is a step by step guide on detailing a car.
Step 1: Acquire Materials
You will need several materials before you get started. Microfiber cloths are important since they will not scratch the paint. Do not use towels that you personally use. You will also need wax, polish, soap and other cleaning materials you may wish to use. These will be used in the exterior detailing of the car.
Step 2: Wash the Outside
Before you actually start detailing the car, it must be cleaned. Take a hose and rinse the whole car off so that all of the dirt, bird droppings and other debris are cleared off. This will not get the small spots, but that's okay, since these will be taken care of during the detailing process. Dry the car completely.
Step 3: Doors
The first thing to detail should be your doors. There are two parts to this process. Open the doors up and get inside the door jambs. Lots of dirt and debris can collect in there. Next, treat the trim around the windows. Treating your black trim will help it not get brittle or stained.
Step 4: Claying
If you haven't waxed or detailed your car in a while, you may want to "clay bar" your car. Clay is a very important substance, because it will not damage your paint job. It can remove dirt that is really into your paint job. It can also eliminate bad stains on your car that you couldn't take off with just water. Just rub the clay bar on the spot you wish to clean. Before you rub down the car though, use a pre-detailing spray, that usually comes with the clay bar, to act as a lubricant for the clay. Be careful though, this spray is very slippery and may cause you to drop the clay bar. If you drop the bar, you will need a new one, as it will pick up new dirt that will end up scratching your car.
Step 5: Polish
Claying removes not only dirt from your car, but also wax. Because of this you will need to re-wax your car. Usually you will want to polish before you wax. Polish will smooth out your paint job, and also clean the surface of the paint. You will likely need to use an orbital polish machine, which really should be done by a professional.
Step 6: Wax
Waxing is the last exterior detailing step involved. Waxing helps protect your car for the long haul. It creates a thick coat on top of the paint. You should never apply the wax directly to the car, but to the applicator, which is usually the same orbital machine you used to polish. If there is any wax on the trim, wipe it away, and you should be good to go.
Step 7: Interior Detailing
Vacuum the carpets and rugs in your car. You can clean the cloth or leather of your seats by using a spray and a brush. The glass also needs to be cleaned, and you can use the same glass cleaner you used on the outside for the inside. Conditioning the car is useful for any leather, vinyl or plastic surfaces to keep them good as new for a long time.