It is becoming more and more common for car owners to detail their own cars. Since the advent of rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber, a detailed car is no longer just a luxury but a feature that can affect the amount of money you make every day. A great car detailing kit can elevate your ride from grocery getter to money maker in no time.
Why Use A Car Detailing Kit?
You don’t have to make money off of your vehicle to want to keep it showroom clean, but for those that do, the best way to ensure a spotlessly clean interior and exterior is with an auto detailing kit.
Any professional car detailer will tell you that prep work is the key to achieving a finish on par with cars on stage at the Mecum Auction or in the impressive collections of Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld.
Pairing one of the 10 Best Car Buffers with a car detailing kit can elevate your car’s finish to its true potential and ensure that you have a professional auto detailing kit on par with the pros.
Before you run out to your nearest auto parts store, you should first know what is included in a professional car detailing kit.
Car Detailing Guide
The best car detailing kits will be one that includes a cleaning product for every part of the vehicle, and not only ensures a spotless finish but also protects from scratches and repels water.
Finish Care and Protection – A professional car detail will generally employ a 3-step process on your car’s finish, which means the best car detailing kit will:
- Clean the exterior surface panels of dirt, dust and automotive grime.
- Correct scratches and remove unsightly swirls and blemishes for the paint and clear-coat.
- Protect from further scratches and repel water.
Tires, Wheels & Rims – No professional car detail is complete without addressing the cars tires, wheels, and rims. The best car detailing kits will include a tire cleaner that provides the wet black look and a wheel & rim cleaner that removes grime and polishes to a mirror finish.
Headlights, Taillights & Glass – Automotive glass takes a real beating and can leave a car looking grimy and weathered if not addressed.
The auto detailing kit you choose should include a product that cleans automotive glass, repels water and doesn’t streak.
Interior Detailing Kit – Detailing the exterior of your car while neglecting the interior is like only cooking a meal halfway.
Professional car detailing kits include a set of brushes and cleaning products designed for the more delicate, smaller and harder to reach areas of a car’s interior.
They will also include a car upholstery cleaner to remove stains from your seats and carpets. In fact, they may include one of the 10 Car Upholstery Cleaners found here.
Engine & Chassis- Lastly, an auto detailing kit on par with the professionals will include a product that cleans the engine compartment and the chassis of the vehicle which are prone to accumulating stubborn dirt and road grime.
How To Detail Your Car With A Car Detailing Kit
Most professional auto-detailers will start with the exterior of the vehicle and move to the interior. Wherever you decide to start is up to you. However, it is important to remember that auto-detailing works best when you move from large to small.
Start with cleaning the largest components and surface panels first, moving to the smaller surfaces and finally to the smallest nooks and crannies.
It won’t do you any good to spend time washing the windows only to have to spray the car down with water to clean the surface panels.
Exterior – The first step in any car detailing process is giving the car a thorough cleaning with an automotive detergent. If you do not have any automotive detergent, dish soap will do; however, most car detailing kits will include car soap or detergent.
Use a sponge to wash all exterior panels, windows, lights, tires, and rims, then gently wash away the detergent. Repeat until all of the dirt, dust, mud, and grime have been removed from the exterior of your car.
The next step is to dry your car with a microfiber towel. Do not let any water dry on your car’s finish.
The next step in the process is to utilize the individual cleaners that are designed to clean different aspects of your car’s exterior. Use the glass cleaner included in your car detailing kit to clean all of your automotive glass, being sure to leave some for the interior. If your car detailing kit doesn’t include a glass cleaner, check out our recommendations for the 10 Best Car Glass Cleaners.
Follow the same process with the tires and rims, being sure to apply your specially-designed cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t forget that if your tires don’t shine like they are wet, even when they are dry, they are not as clean as they can be.
The next step is to break out your car buffer if you have one. If not, a microfiber rag and some elbow grease can be used to apply the car polish, wax, or rubbing compound of your choice to the exterior surface panels.
Apply a small amount of your chosen polishing compound to the car buffer pad or microfiber towel then carefully apply the car buffer to the panel.
Apply gentle, even pressure being sure always to keep the car buffer pad parallel to the panel that you are polishing.
Be careful not to hover over one spot for too long, or you may burn the finish and remember to apply your wax before the polish.
Interior – Detailing the interior of your car can be intimidating the first time. There is a lot of leather and upholstery that can easily be stained or ruined by harsh chemical cleaners.
Detailing your interior doesn’t have to be scary. Just as with the exterior, when detailing the interior, it’s important to start large and progressively move to smaller components.
The first step is to apply your car detailing kit’s car upholstery cleaner to your seats and carpets. Be sure to first test the cleaner on a hidden area of your car’s upholstery to ensure it won’t damage it.
If your car detailing kit does not include a car upholstery cleaner, we recommend any one of these 10 Best Car Upholstery Cleaners.
The last step to detail your car’s interior is to utilize the small detailing brushes included in your car detailing kit to brush and shine the small nooks and crannies of the dashboard, center console, door frames and anywhere else dirt can accumulate.
The job isn’t done until the interior can be displayed at an auto auction.
10 Best Car Detailing Kits
Car owners of every level of enthusiasm and skill can benefit from a car detailing kit and a thorough detailing of their car. There are loads of individual automotive cleaning products, all of which complete a specific task in the overall cleaning process.
The best auto detailing kits include a product for every automotive cleaning task and component. They are also affordable, comprehensive and, when used correctly, leave your car indistinguishable from the same model on display on the showroom floor.