It is quite common to send your car to the car detailing center especially when it is still new as you want to preserve the paint, keep it tip-top or just for general maintenance.
Are car detailing centers good?
Most car detailers will sell you a product that will keep your car as good as new. While most of them are true, it is the price you pay that will burn a hole in your pocket.
Hence, does it makes good sense to keep visiting them? The best practice is to give your vehicle a good polish once every 6 months and visit the detailer for interior cleaning once every 2 months.
What they never show you
The truth is, each time you collect your car from the detailer, it looks good, smells good and even drives well. Here are some of the things they have done to your car which you can actually try yourself.
Detail the interior yourself
Use the very popular Meguiar’s New Car Scent Protectant Wipes in the interiors once a week.
This will keep the interiors looking and smelling as good as new all the time. When your car feels this way all the time, you will not see the need to visit the detailer so often.
PurSteam is one of the brands that you can purchase a handheld steamer. This is best applied if you put carpeted floor mats and textile seat covers.
A lot of detailers these days use the steaming method and they will use certain chemicals which might not work very well for you. PurSteam’s one is chemical-free and very portable making it very convenient to do it yourself.
Cleaning the surface before waxing
The common practice is to wash the car before applying for wax. However, there might be small particles that might still be on the surface and you don’t want to use your hands to feel through it and leave prints.
This can be solved by using a standard grocery plastic bag like a glove and then feeling your way through the surface so that any dirt or abrasions can be detected and then removed before you start waxing.
Detailers will clean out the vents in your air-conditioning which is why it looks brand new after they are done.
You can do this yourself using a can of compressed air on the vents which will instantly freshen the air-conditioning when operating.
Water first, others later
Make it a practice to always splash water before the soap or you will just be pushing the dirt further into the paint. Water is always the best agent that can remove dust and dirt and that is why you should rinse before applying the soap.
Detergents and cloth
2 important elements must be taken into account here, the detergent and the wiping agent. While dishwashing detergent is acceptable, you should use dedicated car wash detergents as they are less harsh and kinder to the paint.
Use microfiber cloths instead of sponges as the latter tend to have grit or dust stuck to them even after your rinse them. You should also use a microfiber cloth to wipe the water dry too.
What to do when polishing
If there are minor scratches on the car, remove them before you start polishing. There are many scratch removal kits available that can do the job. You want to remove them so that your shine is more consistent after polishing.
For the polishing process, use a dual-action polisher (which is not the preferred choice among detailers as they are slower).
Since you are doing it yourself, let the dual-action polisher takes its time as they are low speed. Apply the polish on the pad instead of the car.
On to Waxing
Detailers mostly use synthetic wax which is known to give the car a shiny and wet outlook. The classic type of paste waxes is good for older cars as they are more matte in the finish.
Synthetic wax is the best way to give the car the shine you want and when you are done, use the microfiber towel to remove the wax haze (in circles). Make sure that you have a separate towel for this and do not mix it with those you use for rinsing and washing.