While there is a certain appeal to a big, powerful pickup truck covered in mud after a hard day’s work, every now and then giving it a good detailing can be satisfying as well. Some people may think that they have to go to a professional and shell out big bucks to get their truck detailed, but the truth is at home auto detailing is very possible.
Like anything else, when detailing your truck there are right and wrong ways to go about it. When going through the effort of hand detailing your truck, you should make sure that using the right tools, techniques, and products to get the job done.
It All Starts With a Wash
The first and most important step for detailing your truck is to take the time to carefully wash it. If you don’t have a pressure washer or strong sprayer attachment, you’ll want to use the reliable two bucket method. One bucket is filled with clean water and a dilution of automotive soap and the other is filled with clean water and fit with a dirt trap. You also want to be sure your microfiber towels and scrubmits are clean before you use so as to prevent scratches.
A Modern Alternative
If the thought of lugging out buckets of water is unappealing, consider giving your truck a waterless wash. Waterless wash solutions spray onto a panel of your truck and then emulsifies with the dirt and grime. After setting for about thirty seconds, it can be gently wiped away with a microfiber cloth that takes all of the dirt away with it. No rinsing required.
Consider the Finish
One of the major reasons people detail their trucks is because they want to see it looking shiny and brand new. After scrubbing your truck and wiping it dry, you’ll probably want to apply some sort of product to protect and enhance the finish. There are numerous options to choose from, including automotive wax, a paint sealant, or a ceramic after coating.
Waxes are usually derived from natural sources and are used to polish and buff your car quickly and easily. Sealants on the other hand are fully synthetic compounds and applied when you intend to be using the vehicle more because the shine will last longer. Ceramic coatings are useful because they make your truck naturally repel water and resist new dirt and grime.
Another major aspect of car detailing is getting the interior clean and polished. When vacuuming your truck, pull the floor mats out to be washed or shampooed and vacuum everything carefully. Be sure to get underneath the seats, around the edges of the center console, and the rear seats if there are any.
When cleaning any glass surfaces, trying using a foaming glass cleaner and wiping in long straight passes. You want to avoid streaking wherever possible and be cautious about leaving swirl marks. You can clean your interior and exterior mirrors with the same cleaner and then gently polish them with a soft cloth.
When in Doubt, be Gentle
One of the pitfalls of automotive detailing is the urge to go too quickly or to cut corners. It’s important to take the right steps when detailing your truck because doing a sloppy job often means you will have to do it a second time. Do you ‘need’ to use automotive shampoo when washing your car? Maybe not, but if you use an acidic soap meant for washing dishes, it’s very likely that you will do unnecessary damage to the paint.
This same idea applies to whatever part of your truck you are detailing. The most important thing is that you take your time, think through what you’re doing, and make your truck look as good as it possibly can.