Is your vehicle in need of a little TLC? These car detailing tips will help restore its original beauty and shine so you can keep your used vehicle looking and smelling like new.
Everyone agrees that regular maintenance (oil changes, belts, and filters, etc.) is important to the health and resale value of your car; but, taking care of the cosmetic features can also add hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to the worth of your vehicle when it comes time to sell it or trade it in.
A car is a major purchase, so isn't it worth the time and elbow grease necessary to protect your investment? Not only will you drive with a sense of pride, but you can also be assured that the shiny paint and meticulously kept interior will have huge returns in the long-run. For example, according to Motor Trend Magazine (Motortrend.com), a clean 2010 Ford Focus can be worth up to $1,000 more than the same car in fair condition, and $2,000 more than one in rough condition.
Unfortunately, even diligent car owners who faithfully wash and clean their vehicles can actually cause damage to the paint, upholstery, or moldings because they don't use the proper products.
By following these simple detailing tips, you can keep your car in excellent condition so it looks like new for years to come.
To get the best results and protect your car from possible scratches or damage, it is important that you use the proper tools and products. For complete detailing, you will need:
Most experts suggest cleaning the interior of your vehicle first because you can often transfer dust and dirt from carpets and upholstery to the exterior.
You have probably seen the commercials with the happy family working together in the bright sunlight to wash their car, using a single bucket and a couple of household sponges. This might create some warm, fuzzy feelings, but it would make any true car detailer cringe.
Hand washing is the best way to clean your car, but there are a few important tips you need to consider.
Over time, dirt, bird droppings, road grime, and other debris can bond to the surface of the car. In many cases, these contaminates cannot be removed with normal washing. When you run your hand over the paint, if it feels rough, then it needs some deeper cleaning. A specially formulated paint cleaner or a clay bar can remove these surface contaminates and leave behind a smoother finish.
This step may take some time, but it is
recommended if you want that fresh from the factory look.
Many people skip this step, but it is one of the best ways to protect the exterior of your car and extend the life of your paint.
Polishing your car will remove any clay residue and smooth out small scratches. These products can be applied by hand; however, most experts agree that you will get better results with an oscillating polish machine. With these tools, the polishing and waxing will be done much faster and there will be less risk of causing damage to the paint.
Waxing is an important way to protect your car from future scratches and stains. You can use either a paste or a liquid – whatever you prefer. Like the polish, wax can be applied by hand or with an electric oscillating machine. Gently buff with a microfiber cloth or polisher.
Since the wax coating will wear away within a few months, you should plan to re-wax your vehicle regularly. Some experts recommend scheduling a full wash, polish, and wax at the beginning of every season.
Headlights are a safety feature. When they are cloudy, you don't see as well. In fact, some studies show that hazy lenses can reduce the effectiveness of your headlights by up to 80%. With a good quality headlight restoration kit, it will only take a few minutes to clean your lenses, which will improve both your visibility as well as the appearance of your vehicle.
Tires are important to the overall appearance of your vehicle. You don't want to spend the time polishing and shining the body of your car and then leave the wheels dirty and discolored.
Over time, brake dust can accumulate on your wheels; so, about once a month, you should scrub off this build up using a wash mitt and soapy water. You will want to use a separate mitt or cloth for this task.
Use a tire dressing to shine your wheels and keep them looking clean and new. A good quality product will also protect your tires from cracking, discoloration, and fading.
You should save this job for last since windows can easily collect the dust and dirt from the previous steps. While you may be tempted to grab the Windex bottle – don't! Household window cleaners contain ammonia, which can scratch tinted car windows. Ammonia can also damage vinyl upholstery, instrument panels, and rubber trim. For best results, it it recommended that you use a automotive glass cleaner that will give you a streak free finish without harming your vehicle.
A microfiber cloth works best, but make sure it's not the same one used to clean your tires or exterior paint.
When it comes to selling a vehicle, everyone wants to get top dollar. But, the highest valued cars are those that are well-maintained and kept in great condition. By regularly applying these car detailing tips, you can protect your investment, drive with pride, and keep your used car looking like new.
Detailing your car isn't difficult or expensive; but, it does require time and patience. If you don't want to do it yourself, call a professional to do it for you. It will likely mean spending more money than the DIY method, but the benefits will definitely outweigh the costs.