31 Jan Auto Detailing Tips and Tricks
If you take pride in your ride, detailing is a must. However, you don’t necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars every month having your car detailed by the pros. Really, professional detailers don’t use tools or gadgets that are any more state-of-the-art than anything you probably already have in the garage, or can easily purchase or rent. If you’re the DIY type, these auto detailing tips and tricks will help keep your car looking amazing.
In no particular order, here are eight of our favorite auto detailing tips and tricks (plus a few bonus ones) that will make your ride look, smell, and feel brand spanking new.
- READ THE DIRECTIONS: This might seem obvious, but it never ceases to amaze us how many people don’t get the full cleaning or detailing effect from a product—or worse, use a product wrong and damage the paint or upholstery—because they didn’t read the directions. Every product is different, and taking a few minutes (or a few seconds in some cases) can mean the difference between a satisfying result and a huge letdown.
- TWO-BUCKET METHOD: When washing by hand (which is always preferable and recommended) remember the two-bucket method: Fill up one bucket with plain rinse water and the other with soap and water. After every pass with your wash mitt or brush, dip it in the rinse bucket before dipping it back for more soapy water to help remove grit and dirt that can accidently be ground into the paint.
- CLAY DETAILING BAR: The best kept secret of professional auto detailers and body shops is the detailing clay bar. There’s simply no more effective way to remove contaminants from the surface of your car. Here’s a pro tip: Tear a piece of clay into four sections and flatten each one into a small pancake, then rub it over the paint with a back-and-forth motion and knead and re-flatten the piece until it turns gray (at this point you can toss it and use a fresh piece until you get the glossy, glass-like finish).
- Extra tip: Not sure if you really got rid of all the surface contaminants? There’s an easy way to check. Simply place your hand in a thin plastic grocery bag and run it over the surface of the paint. The bag will amplify any contaminants so you can feel them on your fingers and go back over the area with the detailing bar until it’s totally smooth.
- MICROFIBER TOWEL CARE: Everyone knows that microfiber towels are the secret to a lint-free, scratch-free finish, but what you might not know is that microfiber towels need to be washed by themselves. Mixing them with regularly laundry and cotton towels can trap lint in the microfibers, essentially defeating the purpose of drying with a microfiber towel. Another tip: When washing these towels, use very little detergent and skip the fabric softener entirely since these can coat the fibers and ruin the towel’s detailing qualities.
- WIPE WINDOWS IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS: A streak-free window is easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. The pros recommend cleaning your glass in two directions: Wipe the interior of the glass horizontally and wipe the exterior vertically. Why? Because you can easily identify where a streak is and take care of it without having to jump in and out of your vehicle hunting down the imperfection. If it’s a horizontal streak, you know it’s inside the windshield; if it’s vertical, you know it’s outside. Pretty neat, huh?
- Another helpful window cleaning tip: Most people overlook the very tops of the windows since most people wipe down their side windows while they are rolled up. For a total wipe down, crack your windows slightly after they are clean and go over the top to get rid of that line of grime left over after most car washes.
- STATIC ELECTRICITY FOR STUBBORN PET HAIR: Having trouble getting stubborn pet hair from your carpets? Not anymore, you don’t. Simply don a pair of latex gloves and vigorously rub your hands over the carpet. The static electricity generated by the latex gloves will help bring the pet hair up to the surface where you can easily remove it from the carpet by hand or with a brush or vacuum.
- SLIDE UP THE SEATS: Another obvious tip that a lot of DIY detailers forget is to slide up the front seats when vacuuming the carpets. A lot of junk and debris can end up in the area underneath the driver and passenger seats, so make sure you vacuum the entire area.
- THE NITTY GRITTY: The real art (and science) of auto detailing is paying extremely close attention to the trim lines and recessed areas that a quick once-over wipe down misses. For example, one of our favorite detailing ticks is to wrap a cleaning cloth around an old, worn screwdriver (make sure there are no sharp edges). Spray an all-purpose cleaner or detailing spray on the cloth and then move the top of the screwdriver along the trim lines to remove dirt and gunk.
Obviously, you care about how your car looks, so why not protect the paint job from the elements and keep it looking brand new for years to come? Auto Super Shield is the premier paint protection film installation shop serving Miami, Boca Raton, and all Southern Florida. Let us wrap your car in high-grade, ultra-premium paint protection film that will protect the factory finish from chips, scratches, fading, and other environmental hazards. Contact us online or call 561-367-0101 to learn more.