January marks a brand new year for detailing (and hopefully a great one for you)! The holidays are over and it’s back to the grind, but now is not the time to forget about the appearance of your ride. We all have New Year’s resolutions, and I’m suggesting proper car care be added to your list. A good looking car can brighten your year, and these 8 tips will help you on the road to a spotless 2013.
1. Become a protection pro
I harp on it all the time, but for (very) good reason: regularly protecting the various surfaces in and around your car is the absolute best way to keep your car looking great. The most common form of protection is obviously waxing your car, but it doesn’t stop there. Make it a point to extend the protection to the remaining exterior surfaces of your ride and to the interior as well.
2. Pay attention to your paintwork
Be conscious about the condition of your paintwork. If you have swirls or holograms, take care of them. If your paint feels rough or bumpy, look into claying your car. When at all possible, protect early. And, arguably most importantly, stay regular with hand washing your car—make it a priority to avoid the automatic wash this year.
3. Don’t neglect your wheels
In the world of car care, wheels are often overlooked… even though their care is quite important to the overall appearance of a car. Aside from the fact that brake dust looks absolutely hideous, it’s one of the most dangerous substances that your car comes into contact with. When left to its own devices brake dust can eat away, etch, and cause pitting on the surface of your wheels—for those of you who don’t know, this isn’t exactly reversible damage. Combine that with filthy roads, dirt, mud, and moisture—well—you get my point. Care for your wheels.
4. Lessen your dependence on carnauba
On the topic of protecting automotive paintwork, the most widely used products are carnauba-based waxes. While, yes, carnauba waxes provide a great shine and luster, they are not the best option for durable protection. Polymer-based sealants, often referred to as “paint sealants,” are much longer lasting and withstand greater levels of environmental abrasion from things like wind, moisture, and dust. Bottom line: switching to a paint sealant can greatly improve the appearance of your finish in 2013.
5. Quality above all
This one’s simple. This year, when shopping for car care products, opt for quality over anything. “Big brand” chemical companies are merely focused on increasing margins per bottle sold. Those who spend more time investing in quality ingredients and tangible results are (by far) the best products to choose from and will undoubtedly help you reach your goals for a spotless year.
6. Balance your pH (always)
When cleaning your car there is no avoiding chemical residue… which can prematurely deteriorate protection products that are on the surface and prevent them from being properly reapplied. Certain car wash soaps and interior cleaners are gentle enough to be pH balanced (that’s a rating of 7 on a scale of 0 to 14), but the majority of cleaning products need acidic or basic qualities to remove things like dirt, grime, grease, and the like. It’s simple science, but the point is that a neutral surface is a happy surface—and as cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.
7. Schedule more, scrub less
Time management is one of the most overused New Year’s resolutions to date, but as far as detailing goes, it can really help you keep your car looking great. Set aside time for a bi-weekly wash, a seasonal wax application, and a dedicated detailing sessions to keep your car spotless. You’ll thank me.
8. Keep an eye on Behind the Detail
As you probably know, our list of detailing articles is growing every week. What you probably don’t know is that we’re working on a serious facelift that will make your experience friendlier and much more rewarding. This is all for you, the detailing enthusiast, so you have easier access to the tips, how tos, and no-nonsense articles on proper car care. Stay tuned, ask us questions, and make sure you’re sharing!
2012 was a spectacular year, and I’m sure your car feels the same… but in 2013 you have a chance to vastly improve the cosmetic appearance of your car, truck, or motorcycle. Take this opportunity to start the year off on the right foot and make a plan of attack when it comes to detailing. Come December it’s easy to say “I didn’t have time,” but it’s January and now is the time to create time. Make it a goal to have your car look better next year than it does right now—even if it’s brand new. All cars need love, and I hope yours gets it in 2013.