How to detail your car 101 . . . Part 1.

Want to wash your car right? Get the right tools.

So step 1: Go shopping.

Most of these materials you might already have on hand or maybe not.

Just assuming you are starting from scratch, here’s a shopping list of what you will need to wash and detail your car properly.

Get the following items:

Car Washing Supplies

Here are some of the implements and chemicals we use here at Motorphilia

1. A high quality 50-ft hose that will not bind easily – about 25.00
2. A high quality spray nozzle – about 10 to 15 dollars – cheap one’s will just waste your water and will end up wasting money.
3. A large 2 gallon container of “Purple Power” degreaser. . . this will be your best friend in cleaning – about 15 to 18 dollars
4. A commercial grade spray bottles for the degreaser and a funnel – about 8 bucks.
5. a 5 or 10 gallon bucket (not pictured) — about 5 to 10 dollars
6. a soft bristled brush for washing your car – about 12 to 20 dollars
7. a large soft adsorbing towel – terry cloth is ok – about 5 to 7 dollars
8. a large microfiber polishing towel – about 10 dollars
9. a 12-pack of smaller microfiber towels – about 10 dollars
10. a good car washing mix – about 8 dollars
11. a wheel brush – about 5 dollars
12. 2 cans of aerosol tire-shine – brand doesn’t matter – cheap is fine – about 8 bucks
13. 1 polish applicator pad – for the tire shine – about 4 bucks
14. 1 bottle of Turtle “Dry and Wax” spray wax. – about 7 bucks
15. 2 bottles of aerosol glass gleaner – about 6 bucks
16. A shop vac or a wet/dry canister vacuum cleaner – about 80.00
17. Lexol leather conditioner – if you have leather – about 12.00
18. A can of matching touch-up paint – about $15.00
19. A tire pressure gauge – 3 bucks.

This all adds up to be about a $250.00 bill and that’s a bit more than one car wash . . . but this will save you tons of time and money over the course of the ownership of your car.

By having the right tools and the right chemicals on hand, you will find that detailing a car is very easy work.

Does spending all this money upfront make any sense?

In short, Yes.

If you clean your car on a weekly or semi-weekly basis, you’ll find that getting your car to the “like-new” appearance is about a 15 minute to a 30 minute commitment and you also have a chance to look over your car’s condition and make sure everything is ok.

Most shops will charge about 65.00 to 95.00 for the level of detail you are about to perform and the materials that you have on this list, should last you for several details . . . about 5 to 10 depending on the size of your car and how frugal you are with your chemicals.

Chemicals will last for about 6 to 10 details and these are the only things that you will need to replace over time . . . if you are detailing your car every other week, you can safely expect to spend about 80.00 to 100.00 in replacement chemicals . . . the implements such as your towels, hose, sprayer, and vacuum should last for many years.

The bottom line, by having these materials and learning how to use them right and assuming you detail you car on a bi-weekly basis (which in this article, you will find is quick and simple). You will save over $1500.00 a year in keep your car in beautiful shape.

Hey, little things add up, don’t they?

Also, be keeping your car clean, you can improve your fuel economy by 7% . . . no joke . . . a smoother car surface makes less drag than a rough one and it’s easier for your car to glide through the air.

What does this mean to you?

Well, the average SUV driver gets 18 mpg over the course of a year and the average SUV owner drives 15000 miles a year and the average cost for gas this year is $2.72.

The average cost per year to drive a SUV in gas alone then is $2,666.67 . . . if this person could increase their fuel economy by just 7%, they save almost $150.00 per year.

When you are washing you car, this is also a great time to check your tire pressure . . . and just by making sure your tires are properly inflated, you can increase fuel economy by another 3% – upping those savings in gas alone to almost $200.00 a year.

So now let’s detail that car:

First: NEVER WASH A CAR WITH THE SUN DIRECTLY OVERHEAD . . . unless you love water spots.

Second: ALWAYS check your brushes and towels for any objects that might scratch your car’s paint.

Third: Use CLEAN TOWLES. . . it’s called cleaning a car, not spreading crap all over your car with water and soap.
Ok . . .

Step 1:

DEGREASER and Spray Bottle – spray it over the bugs and all over your car’s wheels . . . DO NOT BREATH THE FUMES . . . they are BAD FOR YOU!!!

Step 2:

SOFT BRUSH and BUCKET (w/ Car Wash)

Fill up your bucket with water, then mix in soap . . . the other way around is just going to make foam . . . mix it in with your brush and proceed to scrub all over.

Be sure to get those bugs and the wheels that you just sprayed with the DEGREASER (leaving it on can eat your paint and corrode your wheels).

Step 3:

HOSE of your car with the SPRAY NOZZLE.

Get all of the soap off . . .

Step 4:

Drying – PART 1

SPRAY the Turtle “Dry and Wax” all over your car while it’s still wet.

DRY your car quickly with a LARGE ABSORBING TOWEL or SHAMMY.

Get most of the water this way . . . it’s OK TO LEAVE STREAKS.

UNTIL – Drying part 2

Use your LARGE MICROFIBER POLISHING TOWEL to go over your car’s finish . . . now it’s time to get rid of the streaks.

Step 5:

Wheels . . . take a small microfiber cloth and finish wiping them off.

Tires . . . Spray the TIRE SHIE on to your APPLICATOR PAD (saturate it) . . . and wipe down your tires and any other exposed and unfinished rubber surfaces on your car.

Step 6:

Open your trunk, hood, and all doors . . . and wipe out any water you might see.

NOW YOU ARE DONE WASHING and WAXING your Car !

NOW ON TO THE INTERIOR . . . we’ll cover this in my next article.

Happy cleaning!!!

2 Comments

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aaron Manley Smith, Aaron Manley Smith. Aaron Manley Smith said: I just wrote this article on how to save almost $1700 a year in just washing and detailing your own car. I hope it… http://fb.me/yvtNOKy2 [...]

  2. Kyleesdad says:

    What ever happened to part 2? My interior hasn’t been cleaned in months!!!

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