How to Detail Your Car: Auto Detailing Checklist
If you want it done right, detailing a car is a big job. A freshly-detailed car absolutely makes the jaws drop, whether they’re riding in the passenger seat or admiring it from a distance.
At O’Neill’s Auto Body, we are one of the premier auto detailing shops in the area. As part of our deluxe work, we detail and protect both the inside and outside of your vehicle.
Now for the first time, we’re sharing our step-by-step car detailing checklist. Whether you want to learn how to detail your car or you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth from your detailer, check out the O’Neill’s official car detailing checklist.
Auto Detailing Checklist
Whether it’s your daily driver or your dream car, you take a sense of pride from it looking brand-new, inside and out. One of the big things that sets O’Neill’s detailing apart from the average detailing shop is that we provide complete interior and exterior detailing.
As a result, we have two different car detailing checklists:
Car Detailing Checklist: Exterior
- Pressure Washing — We start the exterior detailing process by pressure washing the door jambs, under the hood, and the rest of the exterior.
- Remove Road Contaminants — Road tar and paint get caught on the lower part of your car. We remove these road contaminants as the next step of detailing.
- Soap and Clay Bar— The next step of our auto detailing checklist is to wash the car with soap and to rub it down with a clay bar. The clay bar removes foreign particles like acid rain etching, paint dust, and metal shards. Not only does this make the exterior look cleaner, long-term, it protects the car from the metal shards turning to rust spots.
- Buff out Scratches and Fingernail Marks — Scratches from keys and fingernail marks are some of the most common damage you’ll find on cars. We use a special orbital buffer to remove these imperfections from the paint.
- Use a Swirl Mark Remover — Next, we remove the swirl marks that are left from step #4. If you see streaks after getting your car detailed, that’s a sign they tried to buff it but didn’t do it right.
- Apply Polish to the Car — We polish out any trace of buffing, leaving your car’s exterior looking clean and flawless.
- Hand Wax the Car — Next, we hand wax the car using a Carnauba-based wax to protect the paint from light scratching. For maximum paint protection, check out ceramic coating.
- Tire Shine – The final step in our outside car detailing checklist, we shine the tires and wheels of your car to make them look better than new.
- Clean the Plastic Interior — Over time, dirt, dust, and debris can build up on the plastic interior of your car. We deep clean the plastic using a terry towel and special vinyl cleaner
- Vacuum Carpets and Cloth Seats — Simple but essential, we vacuum up dust and debris from the cloth or carpet using a powerful shop vac. If you’re learning how to detail your own car, you might have trouble with this step as an automotive shop vac will be stronger than ANY home vacuum.
Car Detailing Checklist: Interior
- Clean Carpets — Like shampooing the carpets in your house, we use a special carpet cleaner that fires a cleaning solution and pulls out dirt with an extraction chamber.
- Use a Foam Cleaner on Tough Spots – For serious stains and grease marks, we apply a foam directly to remove them completely.
- Shine the Vinyl (Optional) — An optional step in our interior auto detailing checklist, we can shine the interior with a silicone-based material. While it does add a distinct luster to the interior, some people don’t like the temporary slippery feeling of silicone.
- Clean the Windows — Using a glass cleaner and triple zero steel wool, we can cut through the dirt and grime that accumulate on both sides of the windshield.
Why You Save with Pro Detailing Work
There are a lot of great reasons to want to learn how to detail your own car. Saving money isn’t one of them, though. Unlike most other things, opting for DIY car detailing doesn’t actually save you any money.
In order to do the same quality detailing job, you’d need to invest in a series of specialty chemicals and tools.
In addition to all of the cleansers, waxes, and polishes, you need multiple buffer pads, a pressure washer, a carpet cleaner, and a shop vacuum. All of those supplies are fairly expensive; if you’re only going to be detailing your own car, the investment in the materials just doesn’t make sense. That’s why even car fanatics who insist on doing everything themselves still trust O’Neill’s with their car detailing.
Learn more about the prices on our detailing packages. Plus, contact us to schedule your professional detailing or other body work today.
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