Detailing Tips for the Average Motorist

Spring is just about upon us and what that means for us car folk in less than ideal winter areas is, its time for nice cruising weather, salt free roads and weekends spent washing and detailing our rides. For the average person washing or detailing their car seems like an overwhelming time consuming task but I have a few tips to make it simple and easy. I want to start by saying I’m no detailing expert, but I am a firm believer that one doesn’t need to be one or go crazy to have a decent looking ride. The best thing to do for your first wash in the spring is to wash with dish soap. Using dish soaps removes any road oils, old wax and other residue left over on your paint, essentially giving you a blank canvas to work with. It should come without saying regardless of your experience level to practice safe washing. Always use a clean sponge and rinse and re-fill with soap as often as possible. If you have the ability to use two buckets, one clean soap water and one rinse/dirty water bucket, that would be ideal. If you have hard water where you live be sure to dry the vehicle as fast as possible to avoid water spots. I usually like to wash and dry the whole vehicle before moving onto the wheels and using a separate brush. Typically, your wheels are the dirtiest and we don’t want that dirt in our buckets and contaminating the paint on the rest of the vehicle. Next step is to apply a quality wax. Be sure to use clean micro fiber or applicator pads and follow the directions on the wax. Allow your wax to dry thoroughly between coats and polish out with a clean microfiber rotating sides on occasion to be sure you’re using a clean side. I usually like to apply 1-2 coats depending on how much time I have. The final step and one of the most important and easy steps in my opinion is hitting the whole vehicle with a quick detailer spray. This really brings out the shine and shows off all your hard work. I’d equate this step to the final little garnish on your steak. It looks ok as it is but do this one little extra step and it really takes things to a whole new level. Depending on your experience and size of the vehicle this whole process could take anywhere for a whole day to an afternoon. Its important to note that once you wax your vehicle you should only use car specific soaps and cleaners so as to avoid stripping off the wax, unless you plan on waxing afterwards.


With a little elbow grease and some run of the mill products you can really bring up the look of your vehicle. Of course, there are more intense and specialized methods you can use but this is meant for just the average person looking for a nice shine.

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