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Your Essential Car Detailing Checklist

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Use this check-list as a guide and make sure no detailed are spared in the process, from the inside to the outside.

Exterior

Initial Surface Wash 

Restoring a paint job back to showroom shine starts with an initial wash. If you keep up with regular washing, all that’s likely required is a basic 30-minute cleanse. Wash from top down for a cleaner finish and no streaks. After washing and rinsing, prep for waxing by drying with a soft towel.

Wax and Buff

Wax with a high-quality wax and foam applicator pad. Work in areas of 2 X 2 feet, applying small amounts of wax (about the size of a dollar) at a time, in  small, circular, overlapping strokes. Once the wax is dry, use a soft towel to remove the residue. Avoid waxing in direct sunlight.

Not sure if a scuff can be removed by polishing? Find out how to tell if a scratch needs the attention of an expert.

Clean and Wax Wheels and Tires

With a variety of wheel cleaners available, it’s important to pick the right one. There are options for aluminium and chrome wheels, but if you’re unsure look for an an all purpose cleaner. Wheel cleaner is specifically designed to loosen brake dust that has made its way into the pores of the rubber.

Rinse wheels thoroughly with cool water, then spray all over with wheel cleaner. Allow it to penetrate up to 15 seconds. Very dirty wheels may need to be scrubbed with a wheel brush. Rinse thoroughly and repeat on all wheels. Once you’ve finished washing, add an extra layer of protection by applying a coat of wheel wax. Do this just as you wax your car.

Interior

Polish the Dashboard and Console

Using a damp microfiber cloth, wipe the entire surface of the dashboard to clear the dust. Use an interior cleaner (or any standard glass cleaner) on a chamois to remove built-up grime. Brush away dust in the vents and between radio buttons with a dash brush or paintbrush (make sure there’s no paint residue on the bristles first!)

Polish the Steering wheel

Start by wiping the steering wheel with an antibacterial cleaning solution. Then spray your vinyl protectant on the applicator, not directly on the dash or the steering wheel to prevent overspray on the glass or upholstery. Wipe thoroughly. Allow the protectant to soak in for 3 – 5 minutes, then buff the dash and console dry with a microfiber cloth.

Clean Interior Glass and Mirrors

As your car ages, the glass may become less clear, which can affect the look of your car from the outside, and the view from the inside. Using a high-quality glass cleaner and staying on top of cleaning both interior and exterior of windows, should be a priority.

Wash / Replace Floor Mats

Remove floor mats and vacuum under the seats, dash and rear window area. Wash mats in the washing machine, or if you haven’t replaced them since winter, buy new ones.

De-stain the Seats

Car seats can absorb all kinds of stains. Start by vacuuming up any debris. To wash fabric seats, simply use ordinary laundry detergent and a sponge and spot clean, or combine a mixture of 2 Tbps. dish soap, 2 Tbps. washing soda, and 2 cups hot water. Dish soap will lift grease stains while the washing soda will refresh fabric without using chemicals.

If your seats are leather, consider applying a leather protectant or carnauba wax, which will prevent seats from being damaged by the sun’s rays.

Now that you’r vehicle is thoroughly washed, waxed and buffed, it’s ready to hit the road! Before you do though, give some attention to your insurance policy, and consider if your coverage is adequate for all your needs this summer.

Your Essential Car Detailing Checklist

There’s a lot more to car detailing than a spin through the car wash. It takes time, effort and know-how to get your car looking brand new.