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If you don’t have a spare couple of hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket for a professional detailing job, the best way to give your vehicle a thorough cleaning is with your own two hands. It may take a few hours from start to finish, but you’ll love the result.
First off, you’ll need good quality automotive cleaning supplies – check out these GM Goodwrench cleaners and polishesor visit your GM dealer. Don’t substitute household cleaners, which can have unexpected consequences, such as drying out vinyl or plastic surfaces in your interior.
Work from the inside out
It’s a good idea to start with the interior, so you don’t get your interior dust and dirt on your newly polished exterior.
1.Remove everything from the inside of the vehicle. Get rid of all trash, pull out the floor mats and soak them in carpet cleaning solution, and take all your possessions out. Don't forget the side pockets on the door, ashtrays, and underneath the seats.
2.With everything out, vacuum all the surfaces and crevices, moving from top to bottom, including under the seats. Try moving them all the way back, then all the way forward, to help you get at the dirt.
3.After your floor-mats have soaked, scrub them with a stiff brush and rinse, letting them dry in the sun.
4.Seats and carpets are next. Most carpeting, upholstery, seat belts and harnesses can all be cleaned using an interior shampoo and a soft scrub brush. If you haven’t had a good detailing job since last winter, use a stiff wire brush to break up any salt deposits on your carpet before you vacuum; if they’re stubborn, add a little water to them before scrubbing again. To clean vinyl seats, try a warm, damp rag first. Leather seats should be cleaned and conditioned regularly with a special leather cleaner and dressing. And be careful when using spot cleaner; always test a small patch on a less visible area of rug or upholstery.
5.To clean the interior glass, remember to use an automotive glass cleaner – try a small amount on a damp clean rag. Then dry the windows with something that won’t leave lint or streaks – newspapers, old clean pillowcases, or a chamois.
6.Now clean the dashboard and steering column with a damp cloth or clean rag. Carefully use a toothbrush to reach into small tight spaces like the grilles of air vents, around switches and between panels. Remember, the cloth should be damp, not dripping with water. When clean and dry, the dash, steering column and similar surfaces should all be treated with silicone-free UV-blocking interior protectant.
7.Similarly to the dash, take a clean rag moistened with your car-washing solution and thoroughly clean all the interior surfaces of the door panels. Don’t forget to dig into crevices where dirt accumulates, and use a toothbrush to get into tight areas.
Cleaning your exterior from the top down
Before starting to wash your vehicle’s exterior, make sure it’s been out of the sun for a while. An exterior that’s been heated up by direct sunlight is more likely to leave behind unslightly water spots as it dries; also, some chemicals can be affected by heat and may impact your vehicle’s paint finish.
1.Open up the rubber body drain holes, which are located underneath each fender, quarter panel, and door, so dirty water can drain out.
2.To clean your vehicle’s exterior, work from top to bottom. Wet your vehicle’s roof well, apply your washing solution with a soft rag or carwash mitt, then rinse thoroughly. Then move to the hood and trunk, then the top portion of the side panels.
3.To clean the bottom half of your vehicle, make sure you use a new rag or mitt, so that any dirt or small stones caught in your old cloth don’t scratch your paint. Wash the panels gently and check often for any abrasive dirt or stones in the new cloth.
4.Use a pressure nozzle to clean out as much dirt as possible from your wheel wells, then use a rag to wash your wheels with car-wash solution. Use a small brush or toothbrush to get into any small nooks that are hard to reach. After rinsing, use a tire dressing to give your tires a soft shine.
5.Dry your vehicle with a chamois, as leaving it to air dry will leave spots.
6.Once it’s dry, inspect for chips and scratches in the paint finish, and treat them. Talk to your dealer or an automotive paint specialist in your area about getting the right cleaner and paint. If you are doing touch-ups, then skip waxing your car for several days until the paint dries thoroughly.
7.Using non-abrasive wax or polish, working on one body panel at a time. As the wax or polish dries, wipe off any excess with a second clean cloth; then buff the area with a third cotton cloth; then move on to the next panel. If one of the cloths becomes dirty, replace it with a new one. And remember, don’t wax or polish any freshly painted surfaces.
Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and appreciate the results. You got to spend the day outside – and doesn’t your vehicle look fantastic?
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