Wipe Me Down Mobile Detailing 

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Detailing Your Vehicle's Exterior

Posted by Wipe Me Down on January 12, 2011 at 5:03 PM


I was born and raised right here in Richmond, VA so I know very well how much us Central Virginian's love a sparkling finish on our rides.  But this can only be accomplished after paint problems are corrected.  Of course, we at Wipe Me Down Mobile Detailing would love to handle this task for you, but for all you diy'ers out there, here's a small guide to assist you in getting your ride to look its best.


Its important to clean your vehicle out of direct sunlight for best results.


Clean the tires and wheel wells using an all purpose cleaner, a good stream of high pressure water, and tire brush if needed. After you've finished washing your car, apply a vinyl dressing to take away the well's dullness.


(The top clearcoat is only about 1.5 to 2 mils thick from the factory, and when it gets scratched or abraded it refracts light and the color coat underneath doesn't shine through clearly. It's like looking through a scratched or foggy lens.)


Use a carwash soap, not a household detergent, and work in sections, from the top down. The lower panels tend to accumulate more abrasive dirt. To do a final rinse, remove the spray head from the hose and flood the finish. The water will tend to run off in sheets, minimizing spotting. Dry with a microfiber towel.


Now is the perfect time to evaluate your finish.  If you notice contaminants in your paint, your next step should be to clay your paint. Stains can be attacked with a good clearcoat-safe cleaner.  Minor scratches and swirls can be polished off with clearer waxes or mild polish.  The worse the problem, the more aggressive the cleaner needed. Start off with the least abrasive product and gradually move to coarser cleaners as required.


Polish first if necessary, then follow with waxing. Be sure to include doorjambs, and the areas beneath door hinges and behind bumpers. Minor blemishes may be neutralized by wrapping a cotton cloth around your index finger and burnishing the polish into the finish.


Polish not only gives the finish its gloss, but it feeds the paint with oils to prevent it from drying out. Polymers in the polish fill in minute scratches in the clearcoat layer, restoring its clarity. If you machine-buff the polish/wax to a high luster, go with an orbital rather than a rotary model, which would be more likely to burn the paint. Treat the plastic chrome on today's cars as if it were a painted surface and protect it with a light coat of wax.


Scratches that go through the clearcoat into the pigment must be repaired professionally.


Avoid getting wax or polish on rubber and flat black plastic areas (clean them with a nongloss product), door handles and emblems. If you do get a wax stain on rubber trim, spray it with a mist-and-wipe product and wipe it down with a terry cloth towel.


If you get a polish/wax residue around emblems or in crevices, break out the cotton swabs and toothbrushes. It's important that you first wet the area with a mist-and-wipe product such as Meguiar's Quick Detailer. Never brush on a dry surface.


Apply tire dressing; to get a gloss finish let the product soak in, or for a matte look wipe it on and off with a cotton cloth. Be sure the tires are dry before driving off, or you'll spatter your nice shiny finish. Wipe any dirt or excess tires shine from rims.


Lastly, clean glass or plastic gauge lenses with a glass or plastic cleaner, not wax.


Now step back and look at a job well done.

Categories: Car Care