5 Common Auto Detailing Errors and How to Avoid Them

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The average price of new cars in the US. is nearing $50,000. That’s enough reason to prolong your existing ride’s life.

Auto detailing, in turn, is an excellent way to restore your car to a like-new condition. Pros can do it for you, usually for under $100 for a sedan or a few hundred for an SUV or truck.

Alternatively, you can detail your ride yourself to cut costs. To be successful, though, you must avoid common auto detailing errors.

We’ll tell you what those mistakes are and how to avoid them below, so keep reading.

1. Thinking Detailing and Washing Are the Same

A standard car wash removes debris, such as bugs, bird poop, dirt, grease, salt, and tar, on a vehicle’s exteriors. Depending on how filthy the car is, the process can take about 15 minutes.

By contrast, the auto detailing process involves interior and exterior deep-cleaning. It includes washing, vacuuming, and shampooing carpets and upholstery. Waxing, polishing, and applying a sealant on the exterior are also part of the process.

Since detailing is more comprehensive, it can take a few hours to complete. Thus, mind your schedule if you want to add an auto detailing routine to your maintenance plans.

2. Detailing Your Ride Under the Sun

Avoid detailing your car under the sun, as the sun’s heat can dry out cleaning products before you can wipe them off. If that happens, you’ll face harder-to-eliminate water spots on your ride’s exteriors.

Another reason is safety, as prolonged exposure to the sun’s heat can cause illnesses. In the summer of 2020 alone, 1 in 4 U.S. adults developed heat-related symptoms, including nausea and cramps.

Your best bet is to detail your car inside your garage or a shaded enclosure. That helps you reap the benefits of auto detailing without compromising your health.

3. Not Starting With Tires and Wheels

Tires and wheels always touch the ground, making them some of your ride’s grimiest areas. They also have many crevices promoting the formation of stubborn layers of debris.

So, clean your tires and wheels first before anything else. Otherwise, dirt can splash back on the areas you’ve already washed.

4. Using Household Cleaners

The molecular structure of laundry and dish detergents lets them break down grease. That’s why they can easily remove oil splatters and food residue on clothes and dishes.

Because of that degreasing ability, you should never use laundry or dish soap to wash your car. They can break down your car’s wax coat and degrade rubber.

Instead, use auto detailing supplies, such as car shampoos, made explicitly for vehicles. These have pH-balanced formulas that work on filth, grease, and grime but won’t harm your paint.

5. Relying on Regular Towels and Rags

Don’t use regular towels and rags when cleaning, polishing, and drying your car. They can leave watermarks and a trail of lint on your car’s surfaces.

Instead, invest in the proper gear for auto detailing, including microfiber towels. They’re soft and very absorbent, helping keep surfaces streak-free. Buffing pads for cars, often made of foam or wool, also ensure smooth, even polishing of surfaces.

Avoid Common Auto Detailing Errors

As you can see, auto detailing errors can harm more than just your ride; they can also put your safety at risk. So if you want to perform DIY detailing, ensure you do it in your garage or a shaded area. Don’t forget to start with the wheels and tires, and use specific detailing tools and supplies.

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