There is something deeply comforting and satisfying about climbing into a car which you cleaned thoroughly inside and out, bringing it back to something like showroom condition.
Getting your car to look like new again will mean more than just a quick spray with the hose and couple of minutes with the cloth if you want to clean and detail your car as well as any professional.
Once you have thoroughly cleaned your car both inside and out, you might want to think about applying a wax to the paintwork and protecting the interior by using seat covers from someone like ShearComfort.com amongst others.
Here are some tips to help you get that gleaming finish through DIY car detailing.
If you ask most professional detailers, they will almost certainly tell you that hand washing your car will always produce the best results and allows you the chance to inspect the bodywork at the same time.
Avoid the common mistake of using dishwashing detergent, as it might get the car clean but it can strip away protective wax coatings and then make your vehicle more vulnerable to scratches and stains.
Using a good quality carwash solution will help to preserve the finish on your car so invest in a good quality one and also take the time to hand wash the vehicle, as this will improve yoshur chances of achieving a pro finish when you are done.
Polish and wax
It might take more than one wash to get your paintwork truly clean and you can normally tell when it is ready for waxing when you can run your hand across the surface of the paint and if it still feels rough, more cleaning is required. Once you are happy that it is clean, you can start polishing. The pros often use a rotating polishing machine but they are not that forgiving with any DIY enthusiasts who are new to detailing, so be careful not to damage the surface if you decide to try an electric polisher.
One of the best ways of measuring your results is to hold a ruler perpendicular to the surface of the car and take a look to see how far the resulting reflection stretches. A higher number corresponds with glossier paint, so this is what the pro detailers are looking for.
Cleaning the interior
Make sure you use a good vacuum that has an extension hose and all of the attachments you will need to use for the different parts of the interior.
Work on vacuuming from the top downwards so that any particles of dirt and grime that are dislodged will fall to the ground and get sucked up when you get there. Use the upholstery nozzle on the seats and any other upholstered areas and then switch to the crevice tool to get all of those hard to reach and tight areas.
Pro-tip for a new car smell
If you have a portable compressor, a good tip from the pro’s that they use to eliminate bad smells, is to use the compressor to blow dust and dirt out of the heating and air-conditioning ductwork and grills.
Dust and dirt can stick around and create a musty smell, so blow it away and get that new car smell back.
If you invest your time and a bit of money in the right tools and products for the job, you should be able to get close to a detailing your car like a pro.
Jonathan Wilks works in providing upholstery cleaning solutions to his customers and likes to share his insights and tips with an online audience.