Welcome to a place where you can get tutorials, professional techniques and latest information about auto detailing. If you are a car owner who is looking for tutorials and techniques to detail your car, you just came to the right place.
Other than keeping your vehicle clean and shiny, good auto detailing techniques are able to preserve the color and value of the vehicle. You will not be surprised that your car will still look new after many years. In general, auto detailing involves 3 basic steps:
“Waxing is not the key to a shiny car.” Here’s a secret about auto care:
Many people think that waxing is the key factor to make their car shiny. They end up spending lots of money on waxing and expensive car wax. The real key to a shiny and glossy car is ‘A CLEAN CAR’. If a car is not clean, the car will never look shiny with all the expensive car wax products. This is the same as laminating an old dirty piece of paper.
Waxing is mainly used to protect the car surface and enhance its original shine. To keep your car shiny and looks new, it is important to clean your car with professional cleaning techniques and repair existing paint damages. If you have learned and used the professional car cleaning techniques on this website, you can see your car shining without those expensive products.
Let’s start with the basics. Auto detailing involves exterior, interior and engine detailing. In short, you need to detail the outside and inside part of your vehicle.
Exterior detailing is the most important part of car detailing because car exterior is exposed to the environment and vulnerable to different contaminants. The following are major parts of the car exterior we normally focus our efforts on:
- Wheels. They are the dirtiest part of your car and will affect your vehicle’s overall appearance if you ignore them. Cleaning them is quite easy because it normally involve washing and done together with regular car wash.
- Car body. This is the largest area of your car which involves most of your time and effort. Without proper care, the car body surface will be damaged and your car will look old within 1 or 2 years.
- Glass. Proper cleaning and care gives you good visibility while you are driving in the rain.
- Exterior trim. These are normally black plastic and rubber parts of your vehicle. Without care, their color will fade and will start to look old and grey-ish. Trim care is quite easy and could be done together when you are detailing your car body.
- Lights. If you carefully observe older cars, you will realize that their lights especially headlights will start to look yellowish. Restoring headlights is also part of auto detailing.
Exterior detailing starts with the usual step: ‘Cleaning’. When it comes to ‘Cleaning’, you need to do 2 kinds of cleaning: regular car wash and detailed cleaning.
Regular car wash is a weekly task you can do to keep your car clean and shiny. It also removes contaminants which might etch into your car surface.
The next type of cleaning only requires you to do twice a year. This includes using clay bar and liquid cleaning wax. Clay bar is a kind of auto detailing product which allows you to remove hidden contaminants on your vehicle. Lastly, liquid cleaning wax is able to remove oil-based contaminants which leave dark spots on your vehicle. You can get steps to do this on clay bar detailing.
If you have done all the steps on ‘Cleaning’, your car should look newer and shinier. At this step, you could move on to restoring.
Once your vehicle is very clean, all the paint damages and imperfections on your vehicle will start to look obvious. That’s not a bad thing because we are going to identify them and fix them. There are actually many different paint imperfections that might occur on your car:
1. Swirl marks
3. Paint chips
4. Oxidized surface
5. Your car surface simply looks old
Depends on the kind of paint damages or imperfections, each of them requires different techniques and tools to repair and restore their original color. The methods could be as simple as polishing to complicated touch-up painting. You can get steps and tips at car paint repair.
After repairing all the imperfections and restoring the original color of a car, it is the time to ‘seal’ the job. Waxing is the sealing tasks which preserve all your hard work under a thin layer of car wax. Choosing a good car wax for your car and the right application technique is important to provide good shine and protection to your car.
In our article best car wax, you can learn how to choose a good car wax.
Car interior detailing is something easy but not many car owners willing to do. It is important in the whole auto detailing process because it gives a good impression to the passengers and keeps your car interior to look new longer. Most car interior will ‘age’ after time especially those without care. Color will start to fade and dirt will start to build up.
There are two kinds of car interior detailing: weekly and monthly. Weekly car interior detailing mainly involves wiping with a damp cloth. Monthly detailing involves vacuuming, soaping and applying protectants. There are many different cleaning techniques on different upholstery. You can read more at car interior detailing.
Engine detailing is optional and you don’t have to do it especially if you are not interested in studying the engine. However, you can expect good performance and beauty if you are willing to go through the hardwork. If you have a V8 and Turbocharger to show off, do it!
Engine detailing starts with protecting the vulnerable areas. Next, you will need to use light air jet to blow off contaminants and cleanse important areas with soap or degreasers. Degreasers are very powerful substance and must be used with care. Once everything is done, you can apply protectant to seal the work. We have a dedicated article about this if you’re interested.
That’s the complete auto detailing process. Sounds complicated and a long list of things to do?
Actually, it is quite simple when you get used to it. As you can see, all you need is to do the 3 basics: Clean, Restore and Seal. If it is too much of work for you, you can always hand your vehicles to the professionals or ‘outsource’. There are many people willing to do a complete auto detailing around $200.
If you have decided to DIY, you can have a look at the tools and products we recommend at auto detailing supplies. I wish you good luck and enjoy taking care of your car.