Auto Blog

Components of detailing[edit]

Detailing is generally broken down into two categories: exterior and interior (or cabin). There are products and services that focus on these two areas specifically.

Exterior detailing involves cleaning, and either restoring or exceeding the original condition of the surface of the car’s finish (usually a paint with a glossy finish), chrome trim, windows, wheels, and tires, as well as other visible components on a vehicle’s exterior. A wide array of detailing products and techniques is used, based on the vehicle’s surface type and condition, or the detailer’s preference. Products include, but are not limited to: detergents and acid free degreasers (to break down dirt and soil), detail clay (to remove embedded contaminates), waxes, shines, and polishes (to resurface and then improve reflectivity, or to give the tires a shine), as well as a variety of applicators, brushes, and drying towels.

Interior detailing involves a deep cleaning of the whole interior cabin. Vehicle interiors of the last 50 years comprise a variety of materials, such as synthetic carpet upholstery, vinyl, leather, various natural fibers, carbon fiber composites, plastics, and others, which necessitates the use of a variety of cleaning techniques and products. Vacuuming is standard, and upholstery stains may be removed using steam cleaning, liquid and foam chemicals, as well as brushes. Additionally, some nonporous surfaces may be polished.

As extensive as the detailing process may be, it typically does not include corrective action such as major body shop repairs, but may be limited to some paint restoration via a dual action or rotary polisher to eliminate swirl marks within the paint.

Tips and Tricks

soap

Dishwashing liquid is the go-to choice for most DIYers. But it shouldn’t be. Dishwashing detergent is simply too harsh for auto detailing. It sucks important oils out of your car’s finish and can actually shorten the life of your paint
dry car

Forget the Chamois, Dry With a Microfiber Towel
Chamois soak up water, but they don’t pick up any grit that’s left after rinsing. Instead, they just grind those particles into your paint. A microfiber towel, on the other hand, collects the particles. Rinse the towel in clean water to remove the grit. Then wring and keep drying during your DIY car wash.
wax

Use Synthetic Wax
Old style paste waxes look great on antique cars. But they don’t produce the same “wet look” as modern synthetic wax, and they don’t last as long when detailing cars. When car dealers sell paint sealant, they’re really just applying a high-quality synthetic wax, which is something you can do yourself for a fraction of the price. Apply synthetic wax in small sections using a wax applicator sponge.


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