Not Sure Where to Start?

First - Start With The Wheels!

You can normally tell a pro detailer by two things at first glance:  1. they have two or more buckets, and 2.  they start with the wheels first. So that's where we are going to start - the wheels.

Why? Because while most of us growing up were taught to clean the wheels last as the water gets dirty, you risk rinsing brake dust onto the clean paint around the wheels if you do them last, you are better to wash the wheels first, then get clean water and wash the rest of the car. Or have a dedicated wheel bucket the sign of a true pro.

Video: How to clean the dirtiest wheels:

The main reason a lot of people find cleaning wheels slow and difficult is that they don’t have a range of brushes, they try and clean the whole wheel with the same brush or mitt, and just can’t get in all the different areas.

You really need a range of brushes to clean all of the wheel quickly and properly, as no one brush will get everywhere properly, and mucking around trying without the right range just wastes time and gets poor results.

A soft flat brush for the flat surfaces or the wheel is quick, but you can't reach in the wheel barrel properly, or around the wheel nuts. You can use this on the tyres but a stiffer brush will scrub them better, but a stiffer brush could scratch the mag wheels so you only want to use that on the rubber.

A long brush that can fit in those tight gaps between the wheel spokes and in and around callipers is perfect for cleaning between the spokes and the barrel of the wheel, but you can’t clean much else with it.

A detailer brush is perfect for around wheel nuts and those little hard to get corners that most people seem to miss (or they do with their finger), but you only use it for that as it would take way too long to do a whole wheel with a small brush like that.

Having the right gear makes it easy. I have all these in a dedicated wheel bucket with a dirt trap in the bottom. I grab the brush I need form the bucket, then drop it back and grab the next brush, it makes it so quick and easy and I do a much better job. I see people all the time spending ages trying to get hard to reach bits on their wheels, all they need is a few more brushes and it would be easy! Brushes last ages so grab a kit with a range and you're all set.

I use normally use sticky wheel gel or diablo which we sell as a concentrate, so you need to dilute it in a spray bottle.

I also have Decon on standby, it’s not a cleaner but will break the chemical bond of iron from brake dust so that you can remove it, I only tend to use this when I need to, but its real handy and helps get brake dust that you otherwise can’t remove off.  This is really important as if you leave brake dust on it can etch in and pit the mag wheels. 

The best thing I've done on my wheels is get them mint and then put jetseal on the mags including in the barrel, it makes it so much easier to clean! Well worth it.

 

If you are in a hurry just cleaning the wheels alone will make your car look a lot better.

Sale
Sticky Gel Citrus Wheel Cleaner
from $16.00 Regular price $34.99 Save 54%
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Wheel Kit 1 - The Basics
from $111.99 Regular price $112.96 Save 1%
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Wheel Kit 2 - Adding Tyre Shine
from $127.99 Regular price $152.94 Save 16%
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Wheel Kit 3 - Adding Decon For Brake Dust
from $178.99 Regular price $187.93 Save 5%

Next: Wash The car with 2 Buckets and Dirt Traps

If you remember one thing from this page remember to use 2 buckets and dirt traps. Most of the scratches on your car are probably from you washing it! These vidoes explain this really well...

Stop Scratching Your Car:

How To Properly Wash Your Car:

Sale
Waterless Wash Kits
from $57.99 Regular price $68.97 Save 16%
Snow Foam Kit for Water Blasters - Choose Your Fitting
from $197.99
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Citrus Wash & Gloss and Mitt
Sale price $48.99 Regular price $49.98 Save 2%
Cleanslate Wax Stripping soap and Mitt
$53.99

Decision time - stop now or push on

For a regular wash and dry that's all you really need to do, but if you want to give your car a full detail and really make it looks amazing there's so much more we can do, and its all really easy and so satisfying. You don't need to do these all the time, if you do the next bit right your car will not just look better but will also be easier to clean as well!

What is clay and how to clay (its easy!)

Claying

Next I would recommend claying, its so easy and super satisfyingly. Paint is pourous like your skin, and gets clogged with contaminants, this makes it rough, dull and harder to clean, it also makes it hard for products to bond to the paint. Claying is like exfoliating your paint. I'd clay the paint, the windows and headlights.

There are two things you must use lube for in life and one of them is claying. Always use plenty of clay lube.

Tear of 1/3 of a bar and mold it out, you can work really fast, I normally use a medium clay, on a new car I'd use a light clay (even new cars will need a clay as they will have contaminants from the production line, transport to the port, shipping, the dealership, driving home etc)

Clay Kit
from $83.99
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Complete Clay System
Sale price $69.99 Regular price $99.99 Save 30%
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Clay Lube 473ml
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Clay Bar Light (Blue) 100 Gram
$39.99
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New Og Clay Bar Original - Yellow, 100Gram Bar
Sale price $24.50 Regular price $35.00 Save 30%

As you clay look at the paint and decide which path you want to go down.

Are you happy with the paint, or are there scratches or areas you want to improve. now is the time to address these before we put anything on to protect the paint. And we have options. There is not "best" way, it comes down to your paint and what you want to do, I'll talk you through how I tend to approach this.

How To approach paint defects

Easy Shine Kit - White, Silver, light Coloured Cars - Quick & Easy Glaze Jetseal & Wax Shine
$351.99
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Easy Shine Kit - Quick & Easy Jetseal & Wax Shine
Sale price $209.99 Regular price $223.96 Save 6%
Sale
Easy Shine Kit - Quick & Easy Wax Shine
Sale price $79.99 Regular price $94.97 Save 16%

To Polish Or Not To Polish?

Many people say they want a polish when really what they mean is they want to put something on the paint to make it look better. If you want a quick easy way to make your paint look better by hand I'd suggest one of the first 3 of the following kits depending on the colour of your car.

I call this the "3 beer" system as you basically put on the glaze, wait 20 mins (beer 1), buff off by hand, apply Jetseal, wait 20 mins (beer 2), buff off, apply butter wet wax (beer 3), buff off, done. If you aren't sure what to do these are the kits to go for, supe easy, super safe, all by hand, and great results. Unlike a ceramic if you get it wrong you can wash a few times with clean slate (our wax stripping soap) and start again. Beers are optional.

The result from these kits especially the 3 bottle ones is amazing, they fill in the minor imperfections and scratches like makeup, add great protection, and layers of amazing shine. Its not a permanent fix, the light scratches are still there, but it will look way way better and it's so easy.

Sale
Waterspot Kit
from $68.99 Regular price $81.97 Save 16%
Sale
Polishing Kit - 1 step for light scratches/defects
from $711.99 Regular price $847.93 Save 16%
NEW: Rockcar Polisher Machine - 12mm throw Dual Action - 5" Backing Plate (for 5.5" pads)
$419.99
Polishing kit - Adaptable polishing Kit/(1,2,and 3 step)
$1,346.99
Polishing Kit - 2 Step - deeper scratches/defects
from $1,090.99

Removing Scratches and Machine Polishing Paint Easily

If your paint is scratched and you want to fix it not just hide it, you need to machine polish off the top layer of scratched clearcoat/paint. This is a lot easier than most people think but you do need the right gear.

Here's a video that runs you through a full 2 step polish, for most cases you will only need a 1 step which is the same process just with different pads.

Clean and clay before polishing, if there are waxes glazes etc on the paint you want to remove these first with wax stripping soap cleanslate or a really strong mix of citrus wash and gloss soap.

Once you have polished lock it in with either and easy shine kit from earlier, or a Ceramic Kit.

2 Step Polish - On Really Bad Paint

A Note On Pads

As you polish your pads are removing clearcoat/paint which gets into the pad, the pads backing plate and polishing machine get hot, and the pads get clogged.

By the time you have done 1/4 to 1/3 of a car you should stop and swap pads. If you keep going to try and do the whole car with the same pad you will get poor results as the pads are no longer cutting like they should, and they will be too hot.

Thats why these kits only give you a choice of 3 or 4 pads. The also include pad conditioner, pad cleaner and a pad cleaning brush. Most kits don't include these or have so many pads but you really need them.

You should clean your pads the same day and leave them to dry at least overnight either face down or standing up so the water drains and doesn't sit on top of the valcro. Its easy to clean them and important to do it the same day or the polish can dry inside the pad foam itself creating hard spots that reduce the life of the pad and can damage your paint.

These kits give all you what you need.

What About Ceramics

Ceramics are pretty cool, and you'll see a lot from us about them.

Ceramics need to go directly onto cleaned, clayed and ideally machine polished clearcoat/paint to properly bond to the surface.

You can put glazes, sealants, waxes on top of ceramics, but putting ceramics on top of glazes sealant waxes will mean they can't bond to the paint so won't last.

There are trade-offs in ceramics of longevity vs ease and speed of use:

Carbon Force will last up to 5+ years but you need to make sure you apply it properly and its very important to prepare the surface properly.

Hydroslick lasts up to a year and applies super easy like a wax,

Hydrospeed is super quick and easy spray and wipe, and will last a few months but is super easy to apply.

Here are some kits I'd recommend to ceramic your car.

Sold Out
Easy Ceramic Kit
Sale price $211.99 Regular price $252.94 Save 16%
Sold Out
New Car Kit - Easy Ceramic Coating
Sale price $436.99 Regular price $437.86 Save 0%

Where to Start?