Automotive Detailing: How To, and Why It’s Important
Aside from the real “gear-heads” out there, few people truly enjoy cleaning and detailing their vehicles. But detailing is an important part of owning any vehicle. Don’t treat it like a chore, because done right, it works more like investment insurance. Here’s how…
What exactly is “detailing”?
Detailing is an extensive cleaning and restoration of your vehicle, both inside and out. It’s a thorough process to restore your vehicles appearance and, ultimately, protect the second-largest investment of your life – your vehicle.
Why is detailing important?
Detailing your vehicle helps protect it from aging. Incredibly, there are a large number of people who believe that modern “clear coat” paint jobs do not require regular detailing maintenance. Even vehicles purchased at a dealership that has applied additional protection need regular attention.
The truth is, that some form of protective wax coating should be applied twice a year. Most thoroughly clean and detail their vehicles just before and after winter.
How hard is it to detail a vehicle?
A proper detailing effort will likely take several hours, but may take more or less depending on the condition and age of the vehicle in question. Either commit to the time required or book a visit to the Brasso Car Care Centre where you know it’ll get done right.
Having just come out of the winter months, the first step to a thorough clean of the exterior is spraying the exterior down and, with only a stream of pressurized water, try to remove all the salt and road debris you can.
Keep your vehicle wet as you work. This allows any bugs or sticky debris the chance to soften before you run a brush, sponge or cloth over it. Obviously, the front of the vehicle will have the most bugs and flying debris stuck there, so soak that area particularly well. Hard particles that don’t get a chance to soften and get picked up by your cleaning tools can then be pushed all over your vehicles body and will scratch the painted surfaces.
Next, wash the vehicle from the top down, starting with the roof. Any cheap, automotive soap will do. Do NOT use dish soaps as even liquid dish soaps have abrasives in them. Do not use soaps with waxes in them either. It’s an unnecessary gimmick. Soap, scrub and rinse the roof, then do the same to windows all the way around. You’ll be making several trips around the vehicle as you work. Next soap, scrub and rinse the body down to the waistline molding or halfway down to about knee height. Again, make sure to keep the vehicle wet. Finally, soap, scrub and rinse the bottom of the vehicle. This area is always the dirtiest and accumulates the most debris, road tar and other stubborn materials, so many use a SECOND rag, cloth or brush to clean that area specifically.
Once your car is dry, apply wax. For longer-lasting protection, try a synthetic polymer-based wax.
Your Tires Need Love Too
Because standard car wash cleaners often won’t get your tires sufficiently clean, use a tire and wheel cleaner. Liberally apply tire-cleaner to the outer surface, then use a tire brush to vigorously scrub back and forth. When done, apply the cleaner to the wheels, allow the solution to set for a minute, and then use a clean paintbrush to remove any debris. Next, rinse the wheel and tire with a hose.
Checking your tire pressure, windshield-washer fluid level and replacing your wipers during this twice-per-year routine makes a great deal of sense too.
It’s the Interior Where You Live
So, don’t cut corners in there! Sliding into a sparkling interior makes people far happier than even a sparkling and well-detailed exterior, so treat yourself! Salt and road debris will do a real number on carpets and carpet floor mats, so consider purchasing what is called a “floor liner” which is a molded plastic tray that will perfectly fit the contour of your vehicle’s footwells.
Start with a very careful vacuuming of every corner, storage pocket, nook and cranny. Use a stiff brush on carpet made crusty by road salt and other caked-in debris.
For carpeted interiors, remove and spray down what you can (mats). Then, use a foaming fabric and upholstery cleaner for cloth seats, spot-lifter or stain-remover products for carpeting. Leather surfaces require proper leather treatment products, so don’t substitute.
Of course, if you can’t do the work yourself, or simply don’t want to (we totally get it), then book an appointment with the 10,000 square-foot Brasso Car Care Centre for a thorough detailing. We can take care of any unsightly issues such as scratches, yellowing headlamp covers, road tar and anything else that is keeping your car from looking its best!
Protect your investment! Your car will look great, maintain a higher resale value and put a smile on your face!