The professionals who run car detailing shops pay careful attention to safety. They know how unsafe it is for your car’s looks and health to have it detailed by an incompetent person. The last thing you want is to damage your car or risk your own health. Here are few tips to keep in mind:
- Always thoroughly inspect the entire car before running a vacuum through it. Money, small electronics, keys, jewelry, etc. will otherwise permanently disappear down the gaping maw of a super sucker.
- Did you test that carpet shampoo before applying it all over? Failing to test could be a big mistake resulting in a discolored, stained mess. Always test a new product on a small unnoticeable sample first.
- Some protectants do more harm than good. While you want to keep your leather, vinyl and plastic parts supple and clean, but a bad protectant can actually dry out these materials and cause them to crack or discolor.
- Don’t spray cleaner directly onto windshields and clear plastic. They can cause fading, blurring and cloudiness. Use simple soap and water instead. And don’t spray anything into the air vents – you will be breathing it in for days to come. A citrus-based freshener is OK.
- Paint is vulnerable, so it must be protected from scratches and rust. Wash only with soap especially made for cars, not dishwashing liquid that can damage the clear coat.
- After washing, use a pre-wax lubricated clay bar to pick up small metal particles off of painted surfaces. Otherwise, these invisible particles will eventually rub away the paint and leave bare spots that rust.
- The car should then be polished and waxed. The mildly abrasive polish should be applied with a dual action orbital buffer. This will make the car shine, but should only be used every three months so that it doesn’t wear down the paint. Instead, wax the car to protect the polished surfaces. Use pure carnauba wax to avoid buildup.
- If you are going to pressure spray the engine bay, make sure you first cover the spark plugs, wires, air filter, battery and all other electrical parts. Never spray with the engine running, and don’t spray too long in one place.
Play it safe when detailing your own car. Work in the shade so you don’t get overheated. Keep the doors wide open so that any fumes can dissipate. Never touch a running engine. Finally, never strap your dog to the roof of your car for any reason.