Auto Detailing: Extend the Life of Your Car

Auto Detailing: Extend the Life of Your Car and Keep It Looking Brand New!

By The Grid Guard
Posted on Jun 21, 2022

Auto Detailing: Why It's Worth The Investment

Auto detailing is a popular car care service that may seem expensive at first glance. But many automobile owners make the choice to regularly detail their cars because they feel the benefits are worth the money and time. So what is auto detailing and why should you consider investing in it?

Detailing is the process of deep cleaning your car's interior and exterior, then applying protectants. It's a great way to keep your car looking new, no matter how often you drive it! But more importantly, detailing protects your car from the corrosive effects of bad weather and road conditions. Interior detailing may also have positive health benefits by removing allergens and other contaminants from the circulating air you and your passengers breathe while driving.

Salts and grime can cause your tires to deteriorate more quickly than normal, so it's important to keep your tires clean and free of debris as well. Car engines also benefit from regular detailing: the same dirt and grime that corrodes the tires and paint job can also do a number on your car’s engine, making it run less efficiently and susceptible to more serious long-term damage.

Let’s go a little more in-depth about the different areas of your car that regular detailing enhances and protects.

Protecting Your Car's Exterior – the Importance of a Clean Start

A good detailing job will first remove any excess wax that has been applied but hasn’t been fully rubbed in. After identifying the areas that need attention (usually, the hood, roof, and trunk are the most affected), a soft-bristled brush can be used to remove excess wax build-up. Next, all the dirt, grime, and grease should be removed from the surface of the car using a variety of cleaners and degreasers, (depending on the type of surface being treated) in preparation for waxing and polishing.

Dirt and grime can have a significant impact on a car's paint. Dirt and grit cause scratches and etching on the surface of the paint, which can then lead to rusting. It is important to regularly clean your car to protect the paint job from the corrosive effects of the harmful elements that it is subjected to in normal driving. Detailing takes it a step further: by sealing the paint after cleaning, wax or polish is rubbed in to fill in the microscopic scratches and swirls that are ever-present on painted surfaces. This creates a layer of protection that helps prevent rust from forming at the edges of the tiny nicks in your car's paint job. Remember, rust is corrosive: once it gets started eating into the metal of your car car's body it is difficult and expensive to remove. Regular detailing will help ensure your car stays rust-free.

A good wax or polish will also make the paint job look smoother and glossier, and help protect the paint from UV damage and oxidation. The shine that a coat of wax or polish gives to your car’s paint is undeniably good-looking, and the long-term protection from the elements is invaluable!

Protecting the Interior: Vacuuming, Cleaning, and Sealing

Your car's interior is one of the most important areas to detail, as it's where you and your passengers spend the majority of their time. The build up of dust, pollen, pet hair, and food crumbs that happens during normal use of a car can lead to a mess you wouldn't dream of tolerating in your home. Regular interior detailing ensures that you and your passengers are driving in a clean, healthy environment.

A good vacuuming is the first step in cleaning the interior of your car. While one of the best ways to prevent food crumbs from becoming a problem is to clean them up as soon as they're spilled, it isn't always possible to do so. Remember, food crumbs can attract unwanted insects and even rodents (if you're not careful, these creatures can make their way into the car and create major problems in your engine's car wiring if they decide to stay and nest, necessitating costly repairs). So the regular deep cleaning of an interior detailing is important as it gets rid of food crumbs that may have built up under the seats and in the creases in the upholstery. When vacuuming, be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, especially around the seats, console, and door panels. 

Next, use a brush to remove any built-up dirt or dust, then wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth. Then, using a cleaner specifically designed for automotive interiors, wipe down all surfaces a second time. Pay special attention to areas that tend to get dirty, like the dashboard and steering wheel.

Finishing with the application of a sealant (for example Scotchgard) is a great way to keep your car's interior looking new. Automobile interiors are subjected to more dirt than you might think,  brought in by yourself and your passengers (think children, muddy boots, wet dogs).

An added benefit to using sealants is that not only do they protect the interior from spills, dirt, and UV damage, they also help to prevent stains from setting in the fabric and ruining the look of the upholstery permanently. If you happen to spill something on your car's seats, sealants can help to keep the spill suspended on the surface of the fabric, giving you time to wipe it off before it penetrates the fabric’s structure. Sealants will help to keep the seats looking brand new.

Wheels and Tires: Cleaning, Protecting, and Adding Shine

Wheels and tires are often overlooked when it comes to auto detailing, but they are just as important as the rest of your car. By cleaning, protecting, and adding shine to your wheels and tires, you can keep them performing at their best.

The first step is to clean your wheels and tires with a degreaser or all-purpose cleaner. This will remove any built-up dirt, dust, or grease. The tiny pieces of brake pad that fly off the rotor when you apply the brakes can quickly cover your tires in a fine layer of black dust. Brake dust contains corrosive chemicals that can wear away the rubber compounds in your tires. Over time, this can lead to decreased fuel efficiency and shorter tire life. The best way to protect your tires from brake dust and other corrosive substances is to keep them clean.

It's also important to protect your tires from future damage. A good wheel sealant will help keep brake dust and other contaminants from sticking to the surfaces, making cleaning much easier in the future. And adding some shine at the end of the detailing will help make your tires look their best.

Cleaning and Protecting the Engine

Another important aspects of car care is keeping the engine clean. Not only does a dirty engine run less efficiently, it can also lead to costly repairs. The good news is that cleaning and protecting the engine is not difficult and can be done as part of your regular car detailing routine.

The first step is to remove any dirt or debris from the engine bay. This can be done with a brush or vacuum cleaner. Next, use a degreaser to clean any grease or oil from the engine components. Be sure to wear gloves and eye protection when using a degreaser, as it can be harmful if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes.

After the degreasing process is complete, apply a protectant to all of the cleaned surfaces. This will help keep them looking new and protected from corrosion and other damage.

How Often Should You Detail Your Car?

Many people ask how often they should detail their car. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the type of detailing and how often the car is driven. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to detail your car twice a year. However, if you drive your car in a particularly dusty or dirty environment, you may want to detail it more often. If you only drive your car on weekends or for short distances, you may be able to get away with detailing it once a year. 

Crunched for Time? Leave the Detailing to the Experts!

If you don't have time to detail your car yourself, or are worried about exposure to the sealants and degreases we’ve mentioned aboce, consider taking it to a professional car detailing service (or hiring a mobile detailing service to come to your workplace or home). They will have the tools and expertise to get your car protected and looking like new again, as well as the proper safety protocols necessary when working with some of the chemical sealers and protectants involved.

Regular auto detailing is a great way protect your car from the elements and keep it looking like new for years. It's also a great way to protect your investment by keeping your car in top condition. And while regular detailing may seem “expensive” at first glance, we hope we’ve convinced you that it could actually end up being expensive in the long run to ignore the very real benefits of auto detailing.  If you're looking for a way to keep your car looking great, and to keep its resale value high, regular auto detailing is the answer!

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