Pre-Spring Detailing Checklist

Black and White Range Rover

It’s almost February, and you know what that means… it’s almost March. Yes, us car geeks cannot wait until spring – it’s that magical time of year when the toys come out of the garage and take to the streets. Whether it’s hotrods, matte cars or simply that pride and joy that has never seen rain, we’re excited to see them on the road. You’ve already heard of plenty of ways to prepare your car for the road, but here we’ve put together a quick checklist so you don’t forget. For any and every car owner, be sure to complete this easy to follow checklist before the rubber hits the pavement this spring!

  • Wash, Decontaminate, and Protect Your Paint: Before March, give your car the car wash you’ve always wanted to give it. Spend a good 40 minutes getting every nook and cranny cleaned. Open the gas cap, get around the exhaust pipes, and don’t forget about what’s under the hood! Next you’ll want to decontaminate your paint with either a paint cleanser or by claying (Does my paint need claying?). This will remove any unwanted contaminants that have been accumulated and embedded in your paint over the winter. After you’ve deep cleaned your paint, always protect it. It’s as simple as a wax, but by opting for a paint sealant instead will really put you at an advantage (especially once it starts raining in April).
  • Interior Rejuvenation: The dryness of winter can really suck the life out of porous surfaces inside your car and it doesn’t look pretty. Bringing your car’s interior up to speed is really dependent on what kind of condition you left it in when you stored the car (if you don’t store your vehicle for winter, this mostly depends on how well you take care of your interior). The first step is always to clean, remove dust and gunk that may have accumulated, and neutralize the surface to bring the pH back to 7 (free of chemical residuals). Next you’ll want to condition. Whether you’ve got leather in your car or vinyl, both need conditioning. If it’s been a while you might want to make a few passes on the dash, seats, steering wheel, paneling, and any other exposed surfaces on your car’s interior. Once you’re complete, allow some time for absorption and check if you could use another application.
  • Exterior Conditioning: This one’s mainly for tires and trim, but once you see it you’ll know what I’m talking about. Winter causes rubber and plastic to become dry and brittle, but fear not. Solving the problem is quite simple really… just condition the tires and seal the plastic with a nourishing plastic sealant and you’ll be good to go.
  • Glass & Wheels: You may be thinking the two have nothing to do with each other, but they do. In fact, when it comes to weather, these are the two heaviest hit spots on your car (other than your paint of course). Both need cleaning and both need protection. Using a quality glass sealant will improve visibility and shield your view from rain, protect against bird droppings, and keep sap from causing a mess come spring. A wheel sealant works just the same, but more for driving purposes. Brake dust gets hot, sticky, and can eat away at your wheels if you don’t take action – a simple wheel protectant will eliminate your need to worry and keep your wheels clean for months.

Detailing is no secret. It’s not about what you can do, secret products, and hidden techniques that only the professionals know about. It’s about our cars, and if you put as much time into caring for your car as American’s watch TV a day – you’ll see some results. And I don’t mean a shinier finish and a better driving experience (although extremely common when regularly detailing your car), I’m talking about resale value and length of ownership. After all, the reason we detail our cars is to keep them clean… and what’s the point of cleaning them if you don’t want to stay clean as long as you own the car? So while this information may not be news to you, I hope being proactive will help you and your car get a leg up this spring. So bust out the Vette, dust off that F430, and get to work! Your cars wont clean themselves!