Spring Cleaning: Exterior Detailing (Part 2)

Black Ferrari Side View

Now that your interior is nice and clean and protected, there are a few things to consider when getting ready to prep the paint.

There’s no doubt that the harshness of winter takes a toll on your paint. Luckily (hopefully), you were prepared before winter and had a durable, long lasting sealant for protection. But now that we are headed into spring, we can leave the snow and salt behind, bask in the glory of the sun, and regain the joy of joyriding. The steps for spring detailing include: inspect, prep, protect, and shine.


We’ve said it before in other posts that much of our experience dealing with people comes from a detailing shop we own. We do hand washing a detailing for a high end clientele. That being said, the beginning of spring is the WORST! I say this for one reason only; people’s cars are dirty, salted, and just overall disgusting. Because their paint is practically covered, they can’t really see the paint. So when we are done with a detail, some people think that we put a ding or scratch in their car when in fact it’s been there for however long and it has gone unnoticed because of they haven’t properly inspected the car.

I tell you this story because winter can be when a lot of surprises happen. Knowing what to expect can help alleviate the surprise and concern. Go ahead and wash the car, use a nice body wash with lots of suds to help lift the dirt.  The suds are vital because otherwise you’re scrubbing the finish with dirt particles causing micro-scratches. Once you’re done washing the car, inspect.

Next, just walk around the car slowly and check out every panel. Look for major imperfections and tough contaminants that weren’t removed in the wash.

Imperfections, like scratches, can be dealt with on a case by case situation. As you know, you don’t want to polish your car too often. This will deplete the amount of clear coat on the car, thus limiting it’s ability to protect the paint.

Any kind of tough stains or road debris on the car that stuck around after the wash need to be removed before continuing though. By using a tough degreaser or deep cleanser you’ll be able to remove the contaminants easier. Note: after using such harsh chemicals, be sure to neutralize the paint with a pH neutralizer.

Choosing the Right Coatings

Compared to winter, spring feels like  it can do no wrong. However, there are some elements that we need to be aware of and protect against. The dynamic combo for the season’s coating is going to be durable and deep.

A few of the obvious elements of spring are the rain and UV rays from the sun. Depending on where you live, you can get rain every couple weeks, or once every couple of days. If the latter relates to you, then it can be a hassle to get your car washed as often as it needs to be in order to prevent water spotting. Beyond the normal effects of the sun and it’s UV rays to cause fading and abuse on any coating, the sun can cause severe water spotting in the finish. If your coating isn’t durable enough then the these two elements can leave you with some trouble.

Two other elements to be aware of is the wind combined with pollen and other environmental contaminants. In certain parts of the country, you can leave you car in a parking lot while you go to the movies and come out and see your car covered in yellow flower pollen. It’s pretty disgusting but this can also reek havoc on your paint finish if it’s not properly protected.

So these elements explain why durability is important, but a deep shine is what people really want to notice in the spring. Now that the sun is coming out more and the days and nights are getting a bit warmer, it’s time to bring that garaged car out for a little joy riding. Yes it still needs to be protected, but getting that deep rich color for Saturday date night or a stroll down Main Street is why spring is so exciting.

The best way to achieve the durable protection and deep shine is of course layer your coatings and waxes. If at the start of the season you apply your durable protection and a layer of carnauba wax, you’ll be set to go. However, because the carnauba doesn’t last very long, if after every other car wash (every month of so) you reapply your carnauba, you’ll keep that durable protection and deep shine lasting all season!


When gearing up for a new season it’s important to know what elements to expect. This will help when deciding which products to choose. For spring we need to be concerned about the rain, wind, UV rays, and pollen. This is why a durable protection is necessary. However, by understanding people’s mindset for the season we see why getting a deep shine is also necessary. Now that winter is over, joy riding resumes and that means that these cars need to shine bright. Choosing a product that will provide that deep rich show car shine, like a carnauba, will give overwhelming results in the spring sunshine.

Look forward to another blog post next week as we finish up this series on Spring Cleaning. The topic for next week is going to be the rest of the car that needs attention that you may be neglecting.