I understand all about ‘loving’ and ‘adoring’ your car, truck or bike and wanting to do lots of ‘caring’ things that keep your special loved one looking fabulous.

So, I also understand your basic and primal desire to personally get out there on the weekend to do these kind things. I mean, what better demonstration of love is there?

And to help you, of course, you also invested in the best [as advertised] DIY car detailing products to help you.

  • The polish that guarantees a deep wet look that you can simply dive into
  • The pen that miraculously fixes those oh so annoying shopping cart scratches
  • The polisher that whilst being ‘world beating’ was incredibly cheap

Primed as you are, I say again What could possibly go wrong?

Washing the vehicle:

Did you know that most of the swirls and micro scratches that you have on your vehicle are created by you when you wash it? Honestly, sad but true. The marks can be created because

  • you haven’t pre-rinsed to remove the dirt and grime
  • you haven’t used clean water when shampooing the vehicle
  • you have used cloths that contain dirt and grit

Or dare I say it, all of the above.

Time to Polish:

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you are polishing the paint because most of the time (exception being paint correction) you are only working on the Clear Coat.

Quick lesson – your body work comprises metal or plastic topped with a primer or undercoat which is then painted and topped with a clear coat. Wax can then be applied to the clear coat to make it shine even more than it did originally.

If you don’t understand this composition, you can quite easily burn off the clear coat and damage the paint below.

And of course, that incredibly priced polisher that you picked up for a steal – well, it might not have the necessary minimum 1800rpm to remove marks and rather than remove it will add more marks.

Car Chemicals:

The only segment that offers a selection anything as comprehensive as car detailing products is ‘living healthy’ [hard to comprehend but true] because there are a multitude of brands offering seemingly wonderous solutions to your problems. And to some problems you didn’t even know that you had.

Tip 1: Cheap becomes expensive. Don’t base your purchases on price.

Tip 2: Adopt a good brand and buy complementary products from them, not mix and match.

Tip 3: Follow the instructions for optimum usage and results.

Tip 4: Whatever the brand, whatever the chemical, do not let the chemical dry on your paintwork or wheels or windows.

Cloths versus Rags:

When it comes to looking after your loved on – there is no place for rags! Donate them to your local recycling bin. ‘Microfibre’ is king in the car detailing world. But not all microfibre is equal. Look for these tell-tale signs:

  • Are the edges sewn?
  • What’s the thread count (more = good)
  • Are they just too cheap? (Cheap becomes expensive)

One of the great things about microfibre cloths is that they come in a great range of colours. This allows you to colour code them by task. Group them by windows, hard surfaces, wheels, polishing etc.

Wash cloths after every use and store in a clean dust free environment.

Blades and Sharps:

Vehicle painters on TV can often be seen using a razor blade to trim and cut outlines for exotic designs such as flames licking down the side of the body. Which subliminally convinces us that we can do the same.

With a steady hand, cool nerve and a sharp blade you may decide to lightly remove that vinyl sticker or the transfer that has faded and peeled. DON’T DO IT!

This is a job for a professional who knows their limitations and a lot more techniques than you do.

And finally we come to ‘sharps’ and what are they?

  • Don’t wear a belt when reaching over a vehicle to wash or polish
  • Don’t wear a watch when reaching over a vehicle to wash or polish
  • Remove all jewellery

One or all of the above can really spoil your day, in an instant.

In Summary:

If you knew all of the above then you are probably a car detailer already.

If you learned something today, consider accepting your limitations and calling in a professional. Of course, I recommend Jim’s Car Detailing.

Finally, please remember: ‘Cheap becomes expensive’ and never more so than when we are talking about ‘adoring’ your car, truck or bike