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An Auto Pro’s Guide to Successfully Detailing a Car

Published on June 4, 2015 by in Blog, CATI

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Professional car detailing makes tired interiors lively again, and brings back that fresh-from-the-dealership shine to paint, windows, and wheels. The right detailing can make any car look good, and a professional detailer knows exactly how to make that happen. They know which waxes, polishes, cleaners and clays work best – and how to use them to get that gorgeous finished look.

The secret to great detailing is in the know-how—here are just a few of the tricks professionals use to get their client’s cars looking as good as new.

Auto Detailers Make the Most of Microfiber

Since it first appeared on the market, detailers have all enthusiastically made the jump onto the microfiber bandwagon – and with good reason. Made up of strands smaller than the finest silks, this essential cleaning tool is more absorbent, and much less likely to cause scratches.

Professionals with automotive detailing training will tell you that colour coding microfiber towels is the way to go. Make sure to keep separate colours for the exterior, interior, and windows. That way you can avoid smudging windows with exterior wax, or burning interior leather with window cleaner.

Try the Two Bucket Method When Detailing

At automotive detailing school, detailers learn the two bucket method: one bucket for soap suds and the other for rinse water. When detailing a car, it’s good practice to dip your mitt into the clean bucket before dunking it into the suds. That way, any residue from the car will come off in the rinse bucket and you won’t find yourself wiping it back on and ruining your handiwork.

Detailers Use Different Strokes for Different Sides

At-home car enthusiasts can take as much time as they want to detail their cars, but professionals are always on a deadline. Multiple customers means that time-saving methods are a must, and one of the ways detailers save on time is by using different strokes when washing windows.

Using vertical strokes for the exterior and horizontal strokes for the interior – or vice versa – means that detailers know exactly which side a streak is on. This means they can take care of it quickly rather than switch back and forth from side to side trying to find the elusive, stubborn streak.

Auto Detailers Know Paintbrushes Grab Dirt in Hard-to-Reach Areas

Paintbrushes and toothbrushes are terrific tools for getting at dirt stuck in those hard-to-reach places. The long bristles of a paintbrush are perfect for getting into deep crevices, while toothbrushes are great for smaller seams. Just make sure that you use the toothbrush for the seam only, since bristles can scratch fine interiors.

Plastic Bags Accentuate Bumps

You want to make sure that you’re applying wax to a dirt and contaminant-free surface. Automotive training centres teach students just how important it is to make sure that paint is completely clean and dry before waxing. One way to be extra sure is to run your hand over the surface of the paint. A plastic bag will help magnify any left-over residue, so consider putting one over your hand to catch bumps quicker.

What other detailing tricks do you use to get your car shining like new?

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