5 Common Car Detailing Mistakes to Avoid
February 18, 2019
Car detailing mistakes are often committed by newbie do-it-yourself enthusiasts. They think that they can replicate the techniques they see in auto detailing videos. Of course, it is okay to do car detailing on your own. However, we strongly advise you to be aware of the proper methods and most suitable materials. Be aware, also, that when it comes to auto detailing supplies, expensive doesn’t necessarily mean effective. We’ve used quality cleaning products that gave the same results as their costly counterparts.
And car detailing is a task not to be done haphazardly. Yes, you’ll have to scrub and rub some surfaces, but other areas need to be handled with utmost care. So, how can you prevent car detailing mistakes to keep your ride beautiful? Read on.
List of Top 5 Car Detailing Mistakes
1. Incorrect Car Wash Practices
Some detailers like to clean cars in open spaces, because the extra light allows them to see what needs to be cleaned and fixed. But washing your car under direct sunlight, especially on hot summer days, is a big no-no. So big, that we placed it at #1 of our top car detailing mistakes list! Extra heat from sunlight can quickly dry up soap and water, leading to difficult-to-remove water spots.
It’s common for people to wash things from top to bottom. This may work when cleaning houses but a car is a different matter. Going top to bottom is a good cleaning practice that even moms approve, but for cars remember to clean the wheels first. The wheels are the dirtiest part of the car and a lot of detailers make the mistake of cleaning the wheels last since they’re at the bottom. When you do this, there is a good chance that the dirt and grime from the wheels will splatter all over the recently cleaned car body.
2. Wrong Cleaning Agents
If you see some sticky tar or substance on your car, you might be tempted to run into the house to get some dish washing soap for a quick fix. The good news? This will work since the dish washing soap’s formula removes even the toughest dirt and grease. We even make and use a DIY engine cleaner using dish washing soap because of its effectiveness in cleaning sticky grease. Unfortunately, the dish washing soap is too good at cleaning and can strip out a car’s protective wax and sealant. This will leave those washed portions of the car exposed to UV rays, water, and other environmental elements.
Speaking of cleaning too effectively, a detailer should also be aware when to use a clay bar. Clay bars are great for taking out sticky dirt particles that get stuck on the car paint. But overuse is one of the car detailing mistakes you need to avoid. Clay bars are abrasive in nature and using them too often might lead to paint micro scratches. We recommend using a clay bar 3 to 4 times a year.
Using shampoo on carpet mats is also a bad idea as shampoo is hard to remove completely and will cause mildew. Also, the drying process takes a lot of time. Exposing the mats to direct sunlight might weaken the material. Invest in a foamy carpet cleaner as these are easy to wipe off and dry.
3. Incorrect Wax Applications
Only use the recommended wax applicator or use the applicator that came with the product. Most wax manufacturers include a small sponge or foam applicator which ensures even wax application. Don’t use old rags! These might contain dirt and other impurities which can scratch the car during application.
If using a liquid wax, don’t pour it directly on your car. This will lead to uneven streaks or discoloration. Pour the recommended portion on an applicator pad. Then, use this to apply and polish.
Only apply wax on a thoroughly clean surface. Doing the opposite can be considered one of the worst car detailing mistakes you can make. Even if you are using a cleaner wax, always wash your car first before waxing to remove dirt particles that can scratch the car’s top coat.
4. Not Following Product Instructions
Overeager detailers would apply cleaning agents without reading the instructions, which can be conveniently seen at the back or side of the package. One of the most common car detailing mistakes is not allowing the product to “dwell”, meaning you are not giving it time to work its magic. Most detailing chemicals, like leather or carpet cleaners, require some time to react for maximum results.
Immediately polishing off right after application would yield poor results. A sitting time of 2 to 3 minutes should be enough for most products. Some people might resort to giving more pressure expecting the product to work faster with intense rubbing. This will only lead to scratches and possible discoloration. It’s better to let chemicals settle, then wipe with just the sufficient force necessary.
Some wax products need a few minutes to settle and “haze” before you wipe off and buff. Each wax is different, so we recommend that you read the instructions before applying.
5. Not Using Microfiber Towels
Let’s be perfectly clear. You should only be using microfiber towels when cleaning your car. Nothing else will do. Microfiber towels are soft, unlike rags that may have rough patches that can scratch your car. These towels are more absorbent than ordinary towels and clear out water residues effectively. Lastly, microfiber towels have more nap (that puffy or fuzzy surface) to help “catch” and absorb dirt and other impurities. Towels that are too smooth don’t have enough nap to absorb dirt and will only make it stick to the towel’s surface.
How about chamois? Chamois is more absorbent than microfiber towels so it’s also great for drying surfaces. But due to its smooth surface with a very minimal nap, it is not as effective for lifting out dirt. The increase in absorption is not enough reason to use chamois instead of microfiber towels.
Note: When cleaning your microfiber towel, don’t use a fabric softener. The microfiber does not need the extra softness and the softener can leave chemicals that can damage existing car wax.
If it seems too difficult for you or you don’t have the time, you can have your car professionally detailed. You can bring your car to a professional detailer like DetailXPerts. We have the skills and expertise to properly detail your car. Schedule an appointment with us today.
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