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All the Dirt on Exterior Detailing

Updated: Mar 13

Last week we talked about how we spend most of our time on the inside of our cars and how a clean interior can create a peaceful and serene environment for us to spend our time in (Is your Interior Inferior). Today we will talk about what everyone else notices first, the outside of your vehicle.


The outside of your car is comprised of glass, plastic, rubber, metal, and painted surfaces and they all require their own type of attention. Glass is usually one of the toughest areas for most people. If it isn't properly done you will get streaks all over the place or a film that doesn't give you a clear view. My go to method on glass is to wet the surface down with glass cleaner take one rag around the perimeter of the glass and then go in a back and forth motion on the rest of the glass panel and then with a second rag remove any left over residue. I have used this method for years and has yielded me the best results.


Rubber and plastic surfaces are usually the most durable surfaces and are the easiest to clean. A simple all purpose cleaner and a medium hard bristle brush is usually all you need to be able to clean these surfaces then just wipe them down with a microfiber cloth and it will bring them back to a factory look. If you like these surfaces to shine you can go over them with a dressing to give them a little bit of gloss.


Faded plastic areas are caused by impurities in the plastic that are baked out from being out in the environment. Different vehicle manufactures use different qualities meaning the higher-end cars uses plastics with less impurities in them allowing them to withstand the elements better then some of they economy manufactures that use a lower quality plastic. If your plastic is faded there are some products out there that help to remove the impurities giving your car a natural finish. However most just mask the impurities for a short period of time. So make sure you are doing your research to make sure you are buying the correct product to suit your needs.


Painted and some metal surfaces like chrome, polished aluminum, or polished stainless can be a little difficult to clean as well. If you are not careful you can leave marring and swirl marks on painted, polished, and chromed areas. Typically this occurs because there is some sort of abrasive involved or there isn't enough lubricate on the surface encapsulating the dirt and pulling it off as you drag your rag or wash mitt across. To help minimize marring caused by washing these surfaces make sure you are using a grit guard in the bottom of your bucket to help keep the dirt trapped at the bottom. Another option is to do a rinseless wash, typically with this type of wash you will use one rag per panel and once finished this rag will never touch your cleaning solvent or another panel on the car again. While none of these solutions completely eliminates marring and swirl marks in your paint and smoother metal surfaces they can help to minimize the amount that will show up on these areas.


Marring on the paint and smoother metal surfaces can be removed with the help of different types of compounds and polishes, they have abrasives in them that help to level out the surface giving you a clear flat mirror like surface that is better then new in most cases. These exterior surfaces can then be coated with some sort of wax, sealant, or ceramic coating so that you are then marring the coating instead of the vehicles factory clear coat. For more info on this check out our blog post on Ceramic Coatings.


So If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself or don't have time but want a nice clean car feel free to book one of our services (here) and have us do it for you!


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