Everybody loves driving a brand new vehicle, the smell, the cleanliness and the admiring glances from other motorists is something almost everyone enjoys. The problem is that new cars do not stay new for a long time. After a few weeks the smell wears off, the paintwork and interior get dirty and the vehicle becomes just another car on the road. Simply washing your car can bring back some of that initial freshness, but in order to fully reclaim that lost feeling you have to go one step further.
In order to reclaim that lost beauty your vehicle once had, you need to detail it. Auto detailing basically means cleaning every little detail of the vehicle to remove all dirt and deposits from every nook and cranny of the vehicle. Detailing actually means a total surface renewal, meaning that every part of the car including the interior and engine bay should be fully cleaned. Ultimately you will end up with a vehicle looking factory fresh and new again.
In order to properly detail a vehicle you must set aside a full day to the cleaning process. You should also regularly detail your vehicle to make it easier to keep clean and to ensure that the paintwork remains in good condition. Below is a simple exterior detailing guide for you to follow.
The first thing that you need to do is to properly wash the exterior of the car with detergent. Before you get the sponge out, spend a few minutes rinsing away any dirt or grit from the car, including in areas such as the wheel arches, door shut lines and panel gaps to prevent any dirt from contaminating your sponge and scratching the paint. Then, using only car washing detergent, wash the car in parts, starting with the roof and rinsing each part before you move to the next. Remember to use generous amounts of water and detergent and dry the car afterwards with a soft cloth or microfiber towel.
After washing the car, you now need to polish the paint to further remove any of the tougher dirt or deposits. For this you can use, in order of strength, simple paint polish, paint cleaner, a clay bar or rubbing compound. Start with the least aggressive first and work your way up depending on how the paint finish responds. Unless you are a professional detailer (in which case you should not need to read this), avoid using the super-aggressive rubbing compound.
Finally, you need to wax your vehicle to seal the paintwork with oils and prevent contaminants coming into direct contact with the paint. It is best to avoid using a spray wax here as they apply in thin coats and therefore do not last very long. Apply the wax sparingly with a damp kitchen sponge or applicator pad, and after it has dried, buff clean with a microfiber cloth to a deep shine.