Few material bonds are stronger than that of humans and their cars. Automobiles not only offer us convenience to move around, but they are a status symbol in society.
That is why, since time immemorial, we have been pushing limits to develop innovations and technology to offer our cars the best care.
Car detailing is one of the best ways to restore your car’s showroom-like status. If you are looking to treat your vehicle to a new look, then you should consider it.
But what does auto detailing include?
In a nutshell, auto detailing comprises the cleaning, restoration, and finishing of both a vehicle’s interior and exterior to restore its showroom-like condition. It goes beyond a typical car wash to address the finer points of a vehicle’s appearance and condition.
Auto detailing entails various services and techniques, including cleaning, waxing, and polishing. However, each auto detailing service provider often has their custom approach to the process.
An ideal auto detailing aimed at preserving and enhancing your vehicle’s aesthetics and value should include the following;
1. Exterior Detailing
Exterior detailing focuses on cleaning, restoring, and enhancing the external surface of a vehicle. It entails more than just a regular car wash as it addresses imperfections, contaminants, and wear and tear on the exterior surfaces. Some of the work done on external detailing includes;
Washing is the first step of any auto detailing process. It is done thoroughly by removing surface dirt, dust, debris, and any other contaminants on the surface. Special car wash soaps and microfiber mitts or brushes are used to avoid scratching the paint.
Clay Bar Treatment
Clay bar treatment involves using special clay to remove contaminants that washing alone cannot remove.
Some of the most stubborn contaminants include tree sap, industrial fallout, and overspray. The clay bar gently but effectively removes such particles without scratching the vehicle’s surface.
Polishing involves the application of a fine abrasive compound to the vehicle’s surface to restore the paint’s shine and clarity. Polishing usually removes imperfections like swirl marks, fine scratches, and oxidation. It can be done by hand or using a machine polisher, depending on the severity of the distortion.
Waxing refers to applying a special wax on the surface to protect the paint and enhance its shine. The wax protects against environmental elements such as UV rays, dirt, and moisture. It also adds depth and gloss to the paint, giving your vehicle a more vibrant look.
Sealant or Ceramic Coating
A sealant or ceramic coating can be applied as a substitute or complement to wax. These coating products provide long-lasting protection and a higher level of hydrophobicity that makes it easy to maintain the vehicle’s cleanliness.
Trim and Wheel Cleaning
Exterior detailing also includes cleaning and restoring trim pieces such as plastic or rubber molding and seals. Trim cleaning helps to prevent these parts from fading and becoming brittle.
Wheel cleaning removes brake dust, dirt, and grime from the rims and tires. Some car detailers will take it a notch higher by applying a tire dressing to enhance their appearance.
2. Interior Detailing
Interior auto detailing involves thoroughly cleaning, restoring, and preserving the internal components of a vehicle. An excellent interior detailing will ensure your car looks fresh, clean, and comfortable.
Interior detailing includes cleaning various interior surfaces, along with treatment for different fabrics. A standard interior should consist of;
Interior detailing starts with a thorough vacuuming of the vehicle’s interior. All components, including seats, carpets, and floor mats, are vacuumed to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris.
Cleaning of interior surfaces is done after all the loose debris has been removed. It uses unique cleaning products on surfaces like the dashboard, console, and door panels. Cleaning eliminates grime, fingerprints, and stains, leaving these surfaces pristine.
Different fabrics require Specific cleaning solutions to remove dirt and stains. The cleaning process may include scrubbing using brushes to push the cleaning product into the material. Leather fabrics can also be conditioned to keep them soft and supple.
All glass surfaces, including windshield, side windows, and rear windows, are also cleaned using streak-free glass cleaners.
Interior detailing may also involve using odor eliminators or deodorizers to remove unwanted smells from the vehicle. Spills, pets, or the accumulation of odors over time could cause this.
How Long Does Car Detailing Take?
There is no preset duration for car detailing as it depends on factors like the size of the car, type of detailing, and vehicle condition.
A basic exterior auto detailing procedure involving washing, drying, and waxing can take around 1 to 2 hours.
However, a comprehensive interior and exterior detailing can take 2 to 6 hours. It is essential to make prior consultations with your detailer for proper planning.
Auto Detailing Best Practices
Whether you’re detailing your car yourself or having it done professionally, here are five best practices for best results;
Consistency is Key
It takes consistent and routine maintenance to keep your car in excellent condition. Regularly wash your car to prevent dirt and contaminants from accumulating. Frequent cleaning will also make the detailing process easier when you decide to do a more thorough job.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Harsh chemicals and household cleaners can damage your vehicle’s paint, trim, and interior surfaces. Use gentle cleaning products designed for automotive use when cleaning your car. Use microfiber towels, soft brushes, and applicators to minimize the risk of scratches.
Protect Your Vehicle from Elements
Use sunshades to protect the interior of your car from UV damage. Prolonged exposure to UV can cause fading, cracking, and deterioration of the dashboard, seats, and other surfaces. Use fabric protectants to safeguard your seats from stains and wear.
Additionally, park your car in an enclosed garage or a shade for additional protection from the elements.
Work with Professionals
Even though you can perform basic cleaning and maintenance yourself, professional detailing should be part of your car care routine.
Professional detailers have the expertise and equipment to address deep cleaning, paint correction, and specialized treatments. Schedule professional detailing at least a few times yearly, depending on your vehicle’s use and local conditions.
Auto detailing is a reliable way of restoring your car’s appearance to a showroom-like state. It is important to take time and find the best professionals to handle the process. After all, your can is your investment, and to get the most out of it, you have to give it the best care.