Most reputable auto detailers follow a five-step process to properly car for the cars and trucks they are entrusted to care for. These steps consist of the following:
Washing This is a very important step of course, to remove the loose contaminates that exist on your paint finish.
Cleaning Prepare the finish of the automobile by the removal of oxidation, stains, and any other blemishes.
Polishing To create a high luster reflection
Protecting This step creates a barrier or shield on top of the finish for protection of the automobile’s finish from the elements.
Maintenance This is the final step, to keep the finish looking like it was just detailed constantly.
Now, dependent upon how old your vehicle is and its condition you may not have to take every one of these steps every time you detail your car. Certainly, you will keep your automobile looking great for a long time by regularly maintaining the finish in particular.
One caveat I must advise you of is this, always test a hidden spot before you begin applying a product to be sure that it doesn’t harm the finish of your vehicle. You must be particularly be careful when working with solvents, polyurethane enamel solvents can dissolve almost anything, so be careful!
Another thing that I must advise is that you always use proper safety equipment to prevent injury, especially when using equipment such as buffers.
Let’s take a moment to go over the basic supplies you will need to detail your car and keep it well maintained.
First off, don’t use just one bucket when washing your car. The reason for this is that you want to be rinsing the mitt or cloth you are using in a separate bucket of water so that you are not transferring dirty water which may contain substances that may damage your finish.
Secondly, most professional detailers use a wash mitt instead of a sponge. These are available in wool or terry cloth. The advantage of using a mitt is that it carries much more of the cleaning product you are using and also carries away much more dirt thus reducing the damage to the vehicle. Sponges have their uses, but are best used on chrome, wheels, etc.
The next tool is the chamois, a tool that most car enthusiasts are very familiar with. There are two different types, natural and man-made. The benefit of using a chamois is to soak up water, leave the finish streak free, and not leave behind lint the way other things like towels may do.
When using towels, you want at least two different groups. One will be for use with silicone based products which must never be used with anything else. Silicone can damage your finish and also leaves a smeared surface if it gets on your windshield.
It is best to use a variety of brushes to accomplish your detailing needs, especially when working on tires and wheels. You will want some smaller brushes to get into the smaller crevices in some wheels.
These are the main items needed to care for your own car, truck, or SUV.