Our homes and cars say a lot about ourselves. Most people won’t get to see your home, but our cars are more often seen by people we meet. Make sure your car looks as great as the day you bought it by following these simple tips:
The first step in getting the outside of your car looking like new is to inspect it. Park your car in a well-lit, but shaded area. Under a carport is ideal. Next to a building in the shade is also fine. If you have no shaded areas then do the inspections as well as the detailing of your car early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Harsh sunlight will make it very hard to see imperfection in the chrome and paint of your car. Soft consistent light that you will find in the shade is ideal to check for paint chips, scratches, and scuff marks. Photographers call this light direct shade. This means there is sunlight next to the shaded area which means even, bright light in the shade. At a car detailing shop, you will see they use many bright lights all around the area to get even bright light. This is what we are trying to replicate.
Sunlight will also make some of the products we will be using on the car dry out too fast so when we start detailing the car, make sure to keep to the shade. You will need time to buff the waxes and similar protective products without them drying too quickly.
Start at the bottom of your vehicle and look for any imperfections. Look at the wheels and tires first. Then move to lower door sills and bumpers. Take note of any issues that will need attention. Gradually move up to the doors, hood, boot, and roof. While you are busy checking the windscreen for cracks: Taillights, headlights, and wing mirrors are also easy to get cracked or damaged.
Getting Expert Help
Take a look at the notes you made about the exterior condition of your car. Most issues should be easy to attend to at home, but there are a few that will need expert help.
Obvious broken parts on your vehicle will need a mechanic or refinisher to help fix them. You can get hail damage fixed without repainting here, it will even leave your original paint finish intact. Other issues to get help with include broken or cracked bumpers, broken wing mirrors, and cracked headlights or taillights. A cracked windscreen will also need replacement by an expert.
Detailing Your Vehicle
You will need the following items to get your car looking like new:
- Two buckets.
- At least two microfibre cloths.
- Car shampoo.
- An automotive cleaning brush.
- Rubbing and polishing compound.
- Automotive wax.
Before you start make sure you have the correct products ready. The shampoo should be specifically designed for automotive use. Do not use household soap or cleaners. Use polymer wax. make sure to read the instructions before you start.
Start by spraying down your whole vehicle with a hose to remove any loose dirt. Try to get as much as possible of the dirt and dust before starting to wash your car. Also, focus on the wheels as these are magnets for dirt.
Fill one bucket with clean water and another with car shampoo and water. Use one microfibre cloth and the brush to clean the wheels. Rinse the cloth or brush in clean water before dipping in the shampoo every time you wash the wheels and tires. When the wheels are done empty both buckets and fill them again with clean water and one with shampoo as well.
Grab a clean cloth and now start washing the rest of your vehicle. Again rinse the cloth in clean water to remove dirt before dipping in the shampoo and washing the car. Start at the roof and work your way down.
After washing dry the entire car with a clean dry microfiber cloth. You can also use automotive window cleaner with a cloth if needed. Make sure to dry all windows as well as the entire car. Check for drops or streaks.
With your vehicle now clean and dry you can move on to polishing if needed. Polishing will help get rid of those small scuffs and scratches. Make sure to follow the instruction on the polish or rubbing compound. Take your time and slowly polish out the scuffs.
Lastly, you can apply the wax to all the paint on your vehicle. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the wax in small sections and polish it by hand or polisher. Don’t let the wax dry and make sure to get to every bit of paintwork on your car.
Now your car will not only look like new but be protected against the elements by the wax. Make sure to keep it clean especially from any corrosive material that it might come into contact with. Now go for a drive and show off that new shine.