DIY Car Detailing – Part 2

The Perfect Car Wash

Arguably the most important part of the DIY car detailing equation, prepping your car by giving it a good car wash is vital. Here are the five rules you should follow to get a perfect car wash every time.

5 Rules for The Perfect Car Wash

  1. Don’t wash in direct sunlight – Most car wash soaps, and detailing products don’t respond well to heat, or under UV light. Excess heat also speeds up the drying process for soap and water, which will increase water streaks. Workingindoor or in the shade is your best bet.
  2. Avoid cross-contamination – DIY car detailing can leave a lot of room for error,and cross-contamination is one of the easiest errors to make. To avoid mixing chemicals or washing your car with gunk and grime you’ve already pulled of and potentially damaging your car’s coat, use different items (towels, brushes, buckets, water, etc.) for each car care product you use.
  3. Wash from the top down – Working from the top down means that you’re not moving dirty water onto parts of your car that’s already been cleaned. This, however, excludes your wheels and tires.
  4. Make sure you’re working with a wet car – your car should always have water on it while you’re cleaning it. Clean towels are also a must.
  5. Use the right supplies – the big yellow sponges you may have used in the pastare basically sandpaper compared to microfiber cloths and wash mitts. DIY car detailing experts know that the investment is worth the value they see in their car’s repaired finish.

Now that we have the rules laid down, let’s go through the DIY car detailing car wash process step by step.

  1. Setup – Set out everything you will need, and make sure it’s near the vehicle. Use a two-bucket system, each with their own wash mitt or towel. After making sure you’re parked out of the sun, remove belts, jewelry, watches, and rings. The wash should be done all at once, and the chemicals in the car care products might interact with metal you’re wearing.
  2. Prewash – give your car a prewash with the hose or a light pressure washing.
  3. Wash wheels and tires first – Washing your wheels and tires is recommended because they are often the dirtiest part of your car.
  4. Wash the car – using the two-bucket system, prepare one with the car wash soap you’ve purchased, and fill the other bucket 2/3 full of water. Making sure, again, that you are washing from the top of the car to the bottom.
  5. Drying – quick, proactive drying helps ensure that your car paint won’t have watermarks left from air-drying. Use microfiber towels instead of a chamois cloth.

In the next part of the DIY Car Detailing series, we will cover protecting your car’s finish.

Whether you’re looking to spruce up your vehicle’s paint job or need to make it look like itself again after a collision, Big Sky Collision is there. Big Sky Collision Center is your Bozeman car, motorcycle, boat and RV paint shop!