How To: Detail your vehicle

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by LightDuty, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. LightDuty

    LightDuty Full Access Member

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    There are many different techniques to detailing a vehicle. These are just the steps I use myself. I do work as a fulltime Detailer at the local Ford dealership so I'm pretty sure I know what I'm doing for the most part.

    How to detail your vehicle:

    Step 1. Open all doors and remove all the floormats and any other foreign objects. (Cds, clothes, tow straps, tools, etc.)

    Step 2. Grab an air hose and blow out all the cracks, doorhandles, cupholders, air vents, center console, cracks in the seats, and floors. Just blow as much of it as you can out of the doors.

    Step 3. Vacuum out the whole vehicle. Floors, seats, cupholders, center console, etc.

    Step 4. Scrub 1 section of the floor at a time. I usually start with the driver's side floor first. After you scrub the floor, vacuum it up as good as you can get it. Then move on to the back seat and scrub the driver side half. Vacuum again. Then repeat on the passenger's side. Also vacuum trunk out if it has one.

    Step 5. Scrub the seats 1 seat at a time. Vacuum after scrubbing each seat. If you have leather, make sure you blew all the sand out of the cracks. Then wipe down the seats real good with a cleaner and rag. Apply leather conditioner and wipe it clean.

    Step 6. Wipe the whole interior down with a rag and cleaner. Get all the door panels, and trim, the dash, center console, cupholders, and seat buckles.

    Step 7. Spray down all the doorjams with a cleaner and rinse them out. If the doorjams are real dirty, spray the cleaner and then scrub with a small brush or rag. Rinse them clean.

    Step 8. Clean the engine bay. On 2003-newer vehicles I spray the bay down with a degreaser, then start the engine and spray it down. Then I grab the air hose and blow it dry.

    Step 9. Clean the wheels, tires, and wheel wells. Then wash the entire vehicle.

    Step 10. After rinsing, use a clay bar on the vehicle to remove all the gunk off the sides.

    Step 11. Wash the vehicle again and then dry with a chamois.

    Step 12. Blow out the headlights, doorjams, mirrors, and other cracks with the airhose to remove the dripping water.

    Step 13. While you let the vehicle completely dry, it's a good time to clean out your floormats. I blow them out with the airhose, vacuum them, spray them down with the hose, soak them with cleaner, scrub, rinse, and vacuum. Then hang for them to air dry. If you have touch up paint you can walk around the vehicle and look for chips or deep scratches that could be touched up.

    Step 14. Once you're done with those, you can start to wax your vehicle. I use a product called Nu-Finish and I highly recommend it. I usually wax 1 side at a time. I apply the wax by hand and then wipe it clean with a microfiber towel. (If there are any scratches that need to be removed then I buff those areas before I wax.)

    Step 15. Next I take the time to chrome polish the wheels, bumpers, or any trim that is chrome.

    Step 16. If the hitch is rusty, I do a quick sand job on it and spray paint it black. If the frame is rusty and you can see it from the bottom of the vehicle and the wheel wells then I'll do a quick sanding job and paint that black also.

    Step 17. Apply tire shine and allow to dry. While it's drying you can clean the inside of the windows. I crack the windows down to clean the very tops, then roll them up, and clean the whole window. After that I wipe the tire shine with a rag so it doesn't sling up on the vehicle.

    Step 18. Put the floormats back into the vehicle and go over the whole vehicle inside and out to see if anything that you may have missed catches your eye. Make sure you removed all the wax off the vehicle. If any plastic trim is faded you can apply a product for that. Back to black is just an example. You can buy that at Wal-Mart or Auto stores.

    Once again, this is just the way I do it. You can change the order or anything else.

    If I missed anything or if you have any questions feel free to post or PM me. Thanks for your time.
     
  2. BIRDMAN

    BIRDMAN Administrator Staff Member

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    I would also like to add that I have used every tire shine product out there and the Meguiars Hot Shine coating lasts the longest and does not sling off(if**). It goes on as a liquid and turns to a thick gel within 20 minutes.

    ** For offset tires with aggressive tread patterns I will spray the stuff on, brush it in to the tire with a long bristled tire brush and then after 5 minutes mist the tires with water to get off any potential sling off and let dry.
     
  3. rrogers

    rrogers Supporting Member

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  4. Sl33p3r

    Sl33p3r Banned

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    Does the engine degreaser get mud off and what brand do you use?
     
  5. LightDuty

    LightDuty Full Access Member

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    Sleeper, I wouldn't recommend spraying down your engine bay since you have an older truck. The water can get into your coils and what not. At work we use this Heavy Duty Interior cleaner on just about anything. Its what we use to clean engine bays. We use it to clean carpet, seats, and to wipe down the dash and everything else. Works on leather also. Basically its a general cleaner that can be used for anything. Here's the link to the company we get it from:

    http://www.prowax.com/cleaners/C-49_Heavy_Duty_Interior_Cleaner.html
     
  6. Sl33p3r

    Sl33p3r Banned

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    Alright thanks and good write up
     
  7. c418

    c418 Full Access Member

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    i second the nu-finish recommendation
     

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