A good auto detailer can make any car showroom ready. But how do they do it?
Auto detailing, or dealer preparation, goes far beyond a quick rinse and polish. It involves a deep clean of the exterior and interior, including engine, tires, wheels, and undercarriage. Auto detailers use a range of specialized products to achieve a professional finish so that a car shines in the showroom.
Read on to discover some of the tricks of the trade.
The First Steps of Professional Automotive Detailing
The first step in auto detailing is to thoroughly rinse the car to remove any dirt and dust. This should be done with just water first, before adding a car shampoo. Also, it’s important to clean the car out of direct sunlight and when the body work is cool. This is because in hot weather the water is more likely to evaporate before you have a chance to dry it,which will leave water marks.
In general, an auto detailer should always start with the dirtiest jobs involving the harshest chemicals first, such as engine decreasing and wheel cleaning. This will mean that the worst of the grime is gone, and any harsh chemicals won’t affect the wax work or polish.
When you’re ready to wash with soap, a good tip is to use two 15 litre buckets: one with clean soapy water and one with rinsing water, so that you’re not trying to clean a car with dirty water. Also, rather than traditional products like a sponge and a towel, you should use microfiber towels, which are much more efficient and offer lower friction. Grit will fall straight from a microfiber towel, whereas it will stick to a sponge and could damage the paint work. You can use microfiber towels for both washing and drying, but make sure you keep them separate.
Polish, Glaze, and Wax for a Showroom Finish
After cleaning, it’s now time to polish, glaze, and wax. It’s worth paying more for a good dual polisher if you want to achieve a professional automotive detailing finish. This will remove any water marks from cleaning. Polishing and glazing the vehicle can help to remove any minor surface scratches by filling these in.
If the car has any oxidation marks on the paint you can use an auto detailing clay bar to remove these. This works by pulling the contaminants out of the paint. Do this before waxing as it may remove the wax and could leave tiny holes.
Before applying wax, you need to check for any bits of dirt or grime left on the vehicle that could prevent an even finish. Rather than using hands and leaving fingerprints, use a plastic bag to feel the car for any contaminants.
For extra shine, you can apply wax to the car twice. Wax should be applied thinly and evenly with a power buffer and removed with a soft dry cloth. Avoid waxing or polishing any plastic trims as this can stain the plastic. Instead, apply a black restoring product to the trims to fix any faded colour.
Lastly, you can return the car tires to their original dark black colour using a tire dressing. This is an oily product that leaves tires a deep dark rubber colour.
Make Sure the Interior is as Clean as the Exterior
Now the car is looking good on the outside, it’s time todetail the inside. Remove any trash or clutter and thoroughly wipe down any surfaces. You could use an old toothbrush to clean any hard to reach areas.
Remove the floor mats and clean these separately before reinstalling. If there’s any dirt that’s stuck in the carpet, you can use static to get this out. Use a nylon brush or a latex glove to create static energy on the carpet before using a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any stubborn dust and dirt. After a final look inside and out and a moment to admire your hard work, the car should be ready for the spotlight.
Are you considering an auto detailing career?
Contact Automotive Training Centres to find out more!