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Auto Detailing Tips - It's All In The Details

25 Tips on Making Your Car Show Ready

By Jim Rizzo, Photography by Jim Rizzo

Those who know me are well aware that I'm not really one of those spit-and-polish fanatics. Sure, I like my vehicles to look good, but I've never been known to spend countless hours with a toothbrush between my teeth detailing every nook and cranny of my cars . . . I'm more the coin-op car wash kinda guy, and I've got a strong feeling it was for just this reason that I drew this story assignment. I think the powers that be wanted me to see, and pass along to the like-minded reader, that with the right products, the correct tools, and a few tips, vehicle detailing can actually be a rewarding way to spend a day. So, with this in mind I began to investigate the world of detailing. Who knows, polishing may well be as gratifying as wrenching, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

* Another trick when washing the engine compartment is to cover the fender tops with towels to protect them from any harsh degreasers you may use.

* The first step in any wash job is to spray the vehicle with a medium to light spray of water. This serves to rinse the large dirt and grime particles off of the finish before you hit it with a sponge or wash mitt and grind those contaminants into the paint finish.

* As is true with waxing, washing should be performed in the shade if all possible, as well. A hot surface causes both wash and rinse water to evaporate much too quickly, causing spotting and streaking.

* Always use the supplied lubricant with a clay bar product. When used as directed there is no polishing effect on the surface while the bar is grabbing the contaminants. As the bar becomes soiled, just pull, stretch and fold it to expose a fresh surface, and never reuse a clay bar that's been dropped on the ground.

* Always store your polishing towels, wax applicators, chamois, etc. in plastic bags to ensure they stay clean and uncontaminated.

* Always use a dedicated sponge or wash mitt for use on your tires, and never use them on your cars finish.

* Mildew bacteria can be killed and cleaned by using a medium/soft brush and a 4 to 1 mixture of water and ammonia; then rinse with cool water.

By Jim Rizzo
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