In Part 1 of a recent blog post, 2016 Camry DIY detailing article, we covered some of the basics of DIY car detailing, including how to properly clean your car’s interior, windows, and wheels. We also covered how to wash your car properly.
This month, we finish our two-part series by going over more advanced professional detailing tips, such as deep cleaning the paint, the correct way to give your tires a long-lasting shine, the difference between polishing and waxing your car, and proper use of a random orbital polisher.
As we mentioned last month, we consulted car detailing guru Ian Civgin for some of his best car detailing advice which we share with you now. However, as we said before, remember to check the cleaning and car care information in your Camry’s owner’s manual for any additional “do’s and don’ts” before you begin. Always follow the directions on each detailing product before use.
1. Deep Cleaning The Exterior Paint
Paint clay bars have been around for a long time. They are used to remove contaminants from the vehicle’s surface after it has been washed. However, using paint clay bars should be approached with caution. Flatten a piece of paint clay into a small round patty and apply a generous amount spray wax to a small section of the car’s exterior. The spray wax acts as a lubricant and is essential to avoid damaging the paint. Move the paint clay in straight strokes until the surface feels smooth, clean with a microfiber cloth and move on to the next section. If the clay falls to the ground, dispose of it and use a fresh piece. 2. Polish It First
Polishing your car’s exterior always comes before waxing it. To get a professional polish, you’ll use a random orbital polisher. (If you don’t feel comfortable with using a mechanical polisher, consult a professional detailer for this step.)
If you’re ready to give it a go, first mask off rubber molding or trim pieces. Place an applicator pad on the polisher and put some polish on it. Remember that this polish contains a mild abrasive because the goal is to remove swirls, scratches, and other surface imperfections. Therefore, it’s important that you proceed patiently, working in small sections so you don’t ruin your paint.
Start with the polisher on low speed to spread the polish around and then move up to a higher speed (usually between 3 & 5), working the polish with a smooth back and forth motion in a “crosshatch” pattern until the product is evenly applied. Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth and move on to the next section. If you’ve used a one-step polish that also includes a synthetic wax, you can skip the next step. 3. “Wax On. Wax Off”
Remember Mr. Miyagi from the movie “The Karate Kid?” He taught his young apprentice the drill of “wax on, wax off” to sharpen the youngster’s reflexes. But the art of waxing a car is a bit more complicated than that.
Car waxes come in two varieties, synthetic and natural carnauba wax. Particles in synthetic wax bond to the paint’s surface, sealing it. Natural carnauba wax is used a lot on show cars but doesn’t last as long as synthetic waxes. You apply the wax either manually or by using the random orbital polisher on low setting. Put the wax on an applicator pad and use straight-line strokes and light pressure, working on small areas at a time until the wax is evenly distributed. Remove the wax with a microfiber cloth before it dries. If it does, use a bit of spray wax on the cloth to remove it. Please note that synthetic waxes generally need from between an hour to up to 24 hours to cure for maximum effectiveness. Follow the directions on the product for specific curing times. Use a clean pad and check for any areas you may have missed. 4. Give Your Tires A Shine
The final step in your DIY detailing is to “dress” your tires giving them a bright sheen. Detailers prefer to use a tire shine gel because it lasts much longer than the typical spray-on kind. However, use only a very small amount at a time to avoid the gel getting on to your car’s paint when you drive. Apply the gel or tire spray on a clean applicator pad and rub it into the tire’s sidewall, avoiding the actual tire tread itself.
Congratulations! You’ve accomplished a professional-quality detailing of your new Camry. It may have taken a lot of work and some elbow grease but the end result is a car that looks like it just came from our Germain Toyota of Columbus showroom.
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