Not long after you drive off the lot, your shiny new car can begin to look well, a lot less shiny. Rain, snow, pollution, dust and dirt will dull and damage your car’s finish and reduce its resale value. Luckily, you can detail your car like a pro without too much hassle or expense, using some basic products and elbow grease.
Clean it with care
The most important thing to know about keeping your car looking new is to keep it clean – not just surface clean, but really clean. This is probably the most important factor in the final result because waxing or polishing a gritty car will produce a gritty finish. The first step is to wash your car using clean water. A two or even three bucket system works well, one or two for clean water and another with clean soap. This helps to keep the dirt and grit you remove with your cleaning mitt or cloth from being put back on your car with the next pass. Make sure that you thoroughly rinse with clean water
Clay bar systems have replaced rubbing compound as the best way to remove grit, dirt and bug guts from your car’s surface without removing a layer of paint. It is a snap to use – just rub the clay bar on the offending grit until it is gone. Clay bars leave the surface free of any residue and ready for wax.
Spray sealants and waxes
You can get a high shine and excellent protection with spray sealants and waxes. These products go on easily and are wiped with a high quality cloth. The benefit of these products over a more traditional “wax job” is that they don’t require buffers, polishers, or intensive elbow grease. It is crucial to make sure you have a perfectly clean surface or you run the risk of creating swirl marks that can be very difficult to remove.
Use high-quality cloths
Microfibre clothes are the material of choice of many professional detailers for washing and drying cars. Treat your microfiber clothes with care – designate specific purposes for each and don’t use them for anything else. Don’t wash them with each or other items, and don’t use fabric softener, which can “clog” the fibres.
Wipe both ways
To save time and aggravation, wipe the inside of your windows left to right and the outside windows up and down. This makes it easier to figure whether that stubborn streak is on the inside or outside. Use quality glass cleaner to make streaks less likely in the first place.
Latex gloves vs. pet hair
Rub latex gloves against the fabric of your car to raise pet hair and lint so that it can be more easily removed.
Keep your car looking its best, and follow these tips every time you wash your car!