For some Canadians, cleaning the car is a chore. For others, though, it’s a passion they describe as auto detailing.
Regardless of what you call it, there is no doubt of the value of a good cleaning, according to Korey Kennedy of the Canadian Automobile Association. “At this time of year, a thorough exterior wash will get rid of the salt, grit and grime that contributes to premature corrosion,” he says. “Regular cleaning and maintenance helps cars last longer and increases their resale value.”
A thorough cleaning begins with the removal of all floor mats and other materials from the interior of the car. Floor mats can be vacuumed and washed outside or in a laundry tub.
The next step is a careful vacuuming of the entire interior. Professionals such as Tom Chiasson of Auto Detail Depot in Halifax use an assortment of attachments for those hard-to-reach areas, such as between the seats and into the steering column and gear shift.
In most cars, the dashboard and door panels are made from some combination of leather, vinyl, plastic and rubber. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can degrade all of these materials, making them fade and weaken. Using the wrong type of cleaning solution can cause further damage. There are many cleaning products on the market that also provide UV protection.
There are three main steps: clean, polish and protect. After you wash the car, run your hand over the finish. If it feels bumpy and uneven, it’s usually due to small particles of dust and dried tar and sap. Properly applied, a clay bar will remove these particles.
Then it’s time to polish and protect. Polishing removes a tiny layer of the clearcoat (or wax) from the finish and will eliminate fine scratches and swirls. Protecting involves the application of wax (or clear coat) to prevent particles from sticking to the surface. A good wax will last for several months.