Top 10 Things You Need to Detail Your Car
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
September 17, 2010
Filed Under Autos
Contributed by David Galassi, Catalogs.com Info Guru
Detailing your own car is therapeutic, and you have the guarantee that it will get done right.
Before you decide to spend your Saturday morning detailing the car, take the time to collect the supplies you need. Top quality supplies will get you a professional caliber result, with just a little elbow grease. Your shining car – or truck – will get you noticed too.
10. Towels and sponges
The correct wiping/washing towels. A natural sponge works great for washing. Abrasive enough to get off dirt and soft enough to hold water and soap. Terry cloth towels for wiping. Wet wiping and wax removal work best with soft terry cloth. A sponge type wax applicator for smooth, even, pin point precision in hand wax application. Don’t just reuse your towels and sponges. Wash and dry them so that they are clean and debris free when you need them next time.
9. Washing chemicals
With all the washing brands out there a good dish soap for the actual car works fine. An all-purpose cleaner for the tires and wheel wells (Fantastic). A citrus based cleaner or degreaser or bug remover for road tar and bugs. A good glass cleaner for windows. Murphy’s soap for interiors and carpet. You can always buy specialty car cleaning products. Try a few and stick with your favorite. If you find a bug remover that really works, stock up.
Get a heavy duty wet/dry vacuum for dry vacuuming and wet carpet and interior upholstery extraction. A wet/dry vac is a substantial investment, but you will find that you use for all kinds of things besides detailing your car. Good for cleaning your workshop, doing the garage floor and all kinds of other mishaps around the house. If you have a wet/dry vac and your buddies don’t, you’ll see that this is the second most borrowed item in your car detailing supply cabinet. Towels will always be the first.
You can never have enough brushes. Brushes come in all sizes, stiffness factors and shapes. There is a brush for every car detailing challenge. A short brass bristle brush for raised letters and white walls. A corncob brush for mag and spoked wheels. A long bristle brush for tires, wheel wells and door jambs. A stiff upholstery brush for interiors and carpet. A horse hair detail brush for wax removal from crevices.
6. Orbital buffer
A high speed wheel buffer, unless used by a professional, can burn the paint and spell trouble. A 8-12″ soft padded orbital polisher makes for easy application of polish , glaze and wax. Buy lots of pads for your buffer. They come in different textures. Wash them in the washing machine when you are done. Then wash the washing machine. Don’t just leave it, your wife won’t like it.
Good overhead and side lighting is really important. This helps in seeing swirl marks and missed spots for polish and wax. Don’t detail your car in direct sun. You get great light outdoors on a perfect day, but you will do better working under a canopy to shield your car from scorching rays. You’ll feel better, too, without the sun beating on your head. Sometimes it’s better to work in the garage.
4. Polish, wax and glaze
A good polish first with the orbital will take out some minor scratching. Use the orbital to apply some liquid or paste wax. A liquid show glaze by hand will heighten the shine. All of these you need to buy good, professional quality product from an auto product retailer.
3. Chrome polish
Apply chrome polish as needed to all chrome. This will polish the chrome and take out most of the pits. The amount of chrome polish that you need to buy is directly proportional to the amount of chrome on your car. You may end up cursing your chrome, but if you put the effort into it, polished chrome gets the most attention and is the most worth the extra time it takes.
Use vinyl and plastic dressing for all interior trim and dash. Rubber dressing is a different product and used for exterior rubber bumpers and side trim. Tire dressing will make give your tires a brand new look. There isn’t one product that will give you equally excellent results across the board – so splurge and get the right product for the right part.
Your buddies, a cooler full of beer and a radio go without saying. Cleaning your car — although therapeutic — can be made more fun with banter from your pals, a cold frosty beer and the ball game on the radio on a warm Saturday afternoon.
Do your wife’s car too. This gets lots of appreciation, and she will overlook #1 on the list, no matter how long it takes to detail the cars.