Many motorists simply don’t have the spare cash to hire a professional car detailer, but they would love to give their car a smart makeover and make it look showroom smart.
There is something almost uniquely American about that car-washing special ritual that seems to bond us to our car as we spend time trying to get the paintwork to shine with just a bucket of soapy water and a trusty sponge.
There are plenty of tips and tricks that the professionals use which can take your car detailing beyond a simple wash and bring your car back to its gleaming and beautiful best.
Start on the inside
The inside of your car is an excellent place to start with your affordable car detailing and it makes good sense to get this sorted first, so that the dust and dirt you brush away doesn’t get a chance to settle on your exterior after that has been done.
There are many different seat covers for cars available and a great way of lifting the interior up to a new level after you have cleaned it thoroughly, would be to treat your seats to a new look.
If you are looking for a quick pro tip for cleaning the interior, baby wipes actually work really well for cleaning up spills and are particularly effective on vinyl surfaces.
Attention to detail is also what makes a car stand out, so use a wax or polymer sealant on the door jams and sill plates, as this always gets noticed by someone stepping into the car and is so often overlooked.
Getting the wash sequence right
Once you have copied the professional’s methods and thoroughly cleaned the interior first, it is time to concentrate on the exterior.
The trick to getting the best possible results is to use the proper wash sequence. Do everything in the right order and you will get great results every time and your neighbors will soon be asking where you get your car done.
Start by cleaning the wheels, as leaving these until last might leave some splashes on the paintwork you have just done.
Once you have done the wheels, concentrate on washing the roof, followed by the windows. Most professional detailers use wash mitts and they have one for above the beltline and another mitt for below. Never mix the two as one mitt will accumulate more dirt and grime than the other.
Thoroughly hose down the vehicle using what is called a sheeting method before moving on to drying the car.
Tips to remember
Having the right tools for the job is just as important as following the right sequence of events.
Never consider using cotton towels and instead, invest in a good quality microfiber cloth, so that you avoid any micro-marring in the vehicle’s finish.
Always use a good quality car wash solution and don’t ever be tempted to use a dish detergent soap, as it will strip all of the protective wax and protectant from your car.
Car detailing like a pro can be achieved in a simple and affordable way and after a bit of practice, you will soon be getting a showroom shine on a regular basis.
Harvey Long has been buying and selling cars for many years and knows how important it is to get a car ready and looking like new. He enjoys sharing his tips and insights with others online and is a regular writer for a number of motoring websites.