There are some instances when you’ll need to see a professional to have your car detailed, such as when it makes everyone laugh every time you drive by. But, in some cases, you can probably do some of the jobs yourself at home so that you can keep people from poking fun at your “unpimped” ride.
Good car detailing helps your car look its best and helps prolong its life at the same time. So what exactly is car detailing? What can you do yourself and what’s better left to the pros? Here’s a handy guide to everything you need to pimp your ride.
It’s a Wrap
One of the instances that requires seeing a professional is if you want a car wrap. This item is a large decal that is applied to the outer body of your car and covers a large surface area. Sometimes car wraps are used to advertise for companies, but other times they add graphics, such as flames, to the outside of your vehicle.
The reason you want to leave this one to a professional is because it can be difficult to place the wrap precisely without bubbles or tears in the material. Unless you have some experience with the technique, applying a car wrap to your ride is probably something you should not attempt at home.
Only if You’re Van Gogh
Likewise, if you want to touch up the paint on your car and make it look totally pimped out, you should have a professional take care of the job for you. This aspect of car detailing involves very careful paint matching and you don’t want to mess that up or you’ll be left with a patchy paint job that definitely isn’t pimp.
A professional detailer will also clean the paint properly so you aren’t left with rusty spots of peeling paint when you’re trying to catch the eye of the good looking person in the car next to you at a red light.
All that Glistens is Not Gold
If you really want to pimp your ride, it’s important to have the engine block detailed too. This involves misting the engine and the surrounding parts of it. Then, a degreaser is applied to the area and it’s wiped down and left gleaming and practically brand new.
Not all detailing services include this so be sure to ask when you take your ride in for the pimp of a lifetime.
Now that you’ve had the pros give your car a good once over, there are some things you can do at home, which will save you some cash and a trip to the car wash or detail shop (talking to you, broke college students.) Take some pride in your ride (or at least get people to quit making fun of it) by learning to detail certain parts of it yourself.
Time to Shop
You’ll need to start by stocking up on the right products to get the job done. You can find these items at car parts shops and certain department stores. Look for right cloths to apply the products with so that you can give your car the tender loving care it deserves without worry about damage.
Make sure you toss products into your cart that are appropriate for the various parts of your car. That means you’ll need something for the headlights and taillights so they shine day and night.
You’ll need a separate product for plastic accents, your tires, the undercarriage and the windows. It might seem like an investment, but you’ll never be sorry that you loaded up on the products to pimp your ride at home.
Read the directions on each product very carefully before you get started so that you’re sure you are doing right by your vehicle so it shows you the love you’re showing to it.
Proper care of the outside of your car will help prevent cracking, peeling and fading of the plastic and metal components that make up the body of your car. Regular maintenance is important so make yourself a schedule that you can stick to.
If you find that life gets busy and keeps you from paying attention to your car, make sure you are taking it in so the pros can give it the babying that you don’t have time for.
Now that you’ve pimped the outside of your car, it’s time to do something with the inside. After all, you don’t want anyone to see the inside of a pimped ride if it doesn’t match the outside. Start by vacuuming the floors and seats. Then, shampoo them to remove stains and smells.
Use the appropriate materials to properly cleanse and condition leather, plastic and accessories inside your car. Make sure you pay attention to both the front seats and the back seats. You’ll also want to do the trunk or cargo area of your vehicle. Get rid of all the trash and debris inside so that your interior is clean and fresh.
No matter what constitutes a pimped ride for you, detailing is way to get started. If you’ve never done it before, it’s probably a good idea to see someone who has so that you can get the job done right and you can observe so that you can give it a go yourself next time.
The Devil is in the Detail
If you’re ready to stop seeing people snicker and point at your car, it’s time to detail it from top to bottom. Once the pros have finished laughing at your ride, they’ll help you come up with a plan that will get it looking exactly the way you want it.
This won’t be a fast procedure so back off and let them do their work. It will be worth it when the finished product is revealed so resist the urge to check in often. Once the pimp my ride experts are through with your vehicle, you’ll only get second looks as you drive it down the road. No more laughing!
It’s pretty obvious that you should pimp your ride today. In fact, get started right now.
The In’s and Out’s of Car Detailing
Some people have referred to car detailing as a good car cleaning service but it is in fact far more than that, it is a process by which, if done right, can make your car look as if it has just been driven out of the dealership.
Auto detailing is therefore a good cleaning plus, restoration where necessary in order to give it a show room finish. Proper auto detailing refreshes the look of both the interior and exterior of the vehicle and so this process can be broken down to two phases, the interior and the exterior.
Detailing of the interior of a car means paying attention to the mats and carpets, buttons and other dashboard features, vents, seats, windows and mirrors.
• Mats – Remove all the mats from the car including not only the ones in the front but also the ones in the back and trunk as well as any on the parcel shelf. Wash and dry all the mats and then apply a non-slip dressing to them.
• Carpets – Whilst the mats are removed thoroughly vacuum all the carpets and upholstery. Having vacuumed the carpets and upholstery, apply a foam cleanser which having been left for a few minutes to dry, should be rubbed with a damp cloth before being blotted dry. This process should be repeated if stains still remain. With the owner’s permission, burns or holes can be repaired by carefully cutting them out and replacing with a patch of carpet removed from somewhere out of sight such as from under the seat.
• Dashboard – The buttons, switches and other crevices on the dashboard and on the doors should be cleaned using compressed air which should remove all the accumulated dust. Interior surfaces should then be cleaned with a mild detergent before applying a dressing such as Armor All for a good finish.
• Vents – Air vent grills should be cleaned with a detailing brush preferably made of a super absorbent material such as microfiber cloth so all the dirt and dust can be picked up effectively. The vents should then be lightly misted with a spray on dressing to give them that new look.
• Seats – If the seats are cloth, a wet-vacuum can be used but remember to vacuum again afterwards as fresh dirt will have been released in the process. If the seats are vinyl or leather, you can use a vinyl cleaner but when finished, it is time to condition the leather in order to make it look new.
• Windows and Mirrors – use a good glass cleaner on all the windows and mirrors but use either a microfiber or lent free cloth when cleaning to avoid fibrous residue being left in the car.
This part of the process requires cleaning the wheel wells, wheel rims, tires, engine compartment, windows and the car body.
• Wheel Wells – It is usual to have to remove caked on mud with a detergent and spray washer before applying a vinyl dressing.
• Wheel Rims – Clean the wheel rims using a wheel brush and wheel degreaser. For ground in dirt, it is best to leave the cleaning product on the rims for a minute or two before removing. You should not use acid based cleaners on polished alloy or clear-coated wheels.
• Tires – Even if the tires have black walls, clean them with a white wall cleaner and then apply a suitable tire dressing. For a matte finish, wipe the dressing on and off with a cotton cloth but for a gloss finish, allow the dressing to soak into the tire.
• Engine Compartment – Before spraying on a degreaser and cleaning with a pressure washer, you must ensure all electrical components are wrapped in plastic. Use a vinyl protectant on non-metallic surfaces, once again wiping it off for a matte finish or letting it soak in for a gloss finish.
• Windows – Extra care has to be taken when cleaning tinted windows. Although windows with a built in tint are more durable, you should not use an acid or vinegar based cleaner on windows that have been after-market tinted.
• Car Body – For the best results, before washing, the car should have been placed in a shaded area so that the body is cool to the touch. A soap specifically prescribed for car washing should be used and not a dish detergent as dish detergent will accelerate the oxidation process. The car should be washed in sections, starting at the top and working down, not allowing the soap to dry. A deep pile, microfiber terrycloth towel will trap dirt and not grind it into the car surface. Using two pails of water will assist in doing a good job by allowing you to first dip the dirty cloth in water before once again dipping it in the sudsy water, keeping the suds clean.
• Finish – To finish the job you can add a polish, wax or both. The polish is for a glossy look whilst the wax is a protectant. If using both you should apply and remove the polish before applying the wax.
Today, in order to save on costs, many people are opting to have their cars wrapped in a vinyl wrap rather than having it repainted and although being cheaper, a car wrap can afford the car a fresh showroom look. Although it is better to let a professional wrap your car, the modern vinyl wraps are easy to put on and so allow owners to wrap their own cars and here is how:
1. Remove all moldings and mirrors. Although it may take 5 minutes to remove a mirror, it will take 30 to work around one.
2. Prep the paintwork. Dents, scratches and rust will show just as much with vinyl as it would with a coat of paint.
3. Plan the process by cutting the vinyl to fit each panel and then hold them in place using either tape or magnets.
4. Remove the backing to expose the adhesive and smooth out with your hand or a squeegee.
5. Stretch the vinyl to fit, allowing it to shrink back in place.
6. Cut the edges off with a utility knife and also any seams if necessary.
Vinyl wraps are designed to last for up to 10 years but if you need to remove one, you will have to either use citrus based chemicals or heat.