Car detailing is a delicate activity that maintains the vehicle’s overall best condition, particularly cosmetic, rather than purely mechanical, as opposed to service-based. In other words, car detailing is not primarily concerned with the condition of the car engine or the working order, but more on ensuring the car’s appearance. This is done by removing all visible and unseen contaminants from both the interior and exterior of the vehicle, and then polishing the vehicle to a gloss-like luster. The ultimate goal is for the car to sparkle like new, be it at the local car show, or at your own expense. Professional car detailers use a variety of methods and products to achieve these goals, so be sure to ask them about their methods of car detailing in general.
Most professional car detailing services employ a method called hot water washing, which involves spraying a hot water cleaning solution onto the vehicle after it has been thoroughly clean and dry. The hot water cleaning solution penetrates deeply into the surface, removing all contaminates, dirt and debris that are not seen with the naked eye, while preventing them from seeping back into the car through the floorboards, amongst other surfaces. By allowing the water to penetrate deeply, any grit or stains are easily removed.
Another important aspect of car detailing service is the process of buffing; this refers to the abrasive cleaning action that is done against the vehicle using a very fine and powerful rotary brush, which is also used to remove any filth or debris that is too large to pass through the cleaning solution. Buffing also ensures that the entire car is left with a buffed finish, so that the wheels, the paintwork, and the windows are all restored to their original gleam. Any imperfections are then repaired using detailing clay.
Many detailing professionals prefer a mixture of washing and buffing, so that they can thoroughly clean the car and then bring it back to life by rubbing it down with detailing clay before polishing it. A car wash is also another option for detailers to undertake; although you will need to purchase your own detailing equipment, many do-it-yourself car wash kits can be found online and at local car shops. These work best when detailing larger vehicles. When undertaking a full car wash, you should aim to leave the vehicle clean and free of contamination, but with the buffing process as a main feature. This ensures that the detail work will shine through.
A common misconception that many people have is that car detailing only entails washing and waxing. Whilst these are certainly essential elements, car washing and waxing should only be secondary. Car detailing should in fact encompass a wide variety of tasks that deal with the total look of the car, ensuring that it is pristine before the driver steps out of the car. This also applies to any paintwork that is carried out on the car; polishes and touch ups can be added, but detailing should always be the main priority. Polishing after a detailing job has been completed will ensure that the detailing products are completely free of dust and will help to prolong the life of the vehicle.
Detailing can be undertaken by both professional detailers and DIY enthusiasts. For a professional, detailing can prove to be extremely time consuming, but the end results will definitely be worth the effort. With a detailed car, it can be difficult to tell whether it has been thoroughly cleaned. A simple visual inspection from an outside perspective can often reveal a perfectly clean car. In addition, the end result of a professionally detailed vehicle will be noticeable compared to a car with little interior or exterior detail.