Primping Pitfalls: Detailing Don’ts!

Last updated on February 26th, 2024

Are you looking to keep your car in pristine condition? Before you grab a sponge and bucket, beware of these primping pitfalls, detailing don’ts, that could do more harm than good! In this post, I will explore common detailing don’ts that every car owner should avoid, from using the wrong cleaning products to skipping crucial steps in the detailing process.

To ensure your vehicle looks its best for years, read on and learn how to avoid these common mistakes. Don’t wait – let’s dive in and discover the top detailing don’ts together!

Top Vehicle Detailing Don’ts to Avoid.

While investigating this topic, I found that most of the mistakes happen to the exterior of a vehicle. I will provide several of the most commonly questioned car detailing blunders. Below is a list of errors to avoid compared to what should be done.

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Common Detailing Mistakes: Why & How You Should Avoid Them.

Common MistakesResolution & Remediation
1. Don’t use chemicals explicitly not designed for detailing your vehicle. The dishwashing liquid (Dawn) is designed to clean grease & dirt from dishes. It strips the waxes and sealants from your car’s painted surfaces and wheels.Do not use dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, pet, or personal shampoos. Instead, use Chemical Guys HydroSuds High-Gloss Hyper Foaming SiO2 Ceramic Car Wash Soap on ceramic or non-ceramic-coated vehicles.
2. Reading precautions, directions, and warnings while using products manufactured for detailing a vehicle properly.I am guilty of this at times. I often get a new product I want to test and neglect to take all the proper safeguards. Read directions first!
3. Another critical mistake is not using personal protective equipment (PPE), including eye, ear, and skin protection.Conversely, I am guilty of this too. I always wear eye & ear protection, but I forget to wear Nitrile rubber gloves.
4. Overall, using more or less of the detailing chemicals that are called for or overapplying the products. Manufacturers have tested the product in all circumstances, and they know how the product should perform.Most believe more will do a better job. It speaks to point #2. To repeat, Read the directions. If you measure the formulas as recommended, you will waste less product and save more money.
5. Likewise, another cost that adds up when detailing is allowing your chemicals to freeze. If you must store them in the winter, place them in a dry temperature-regulated environment.If the chemicals freeze, it will significantly diminish the effective active ingredients. The chemicals will no longer perform the way they should. You will probably have to throw away the products.
Primping Pitfalls: Detailing Don’ts! – List Continued –

Spotless Success: Avoid These Detailing Mistakes Too!

As can be seen, the lists are not all-inclusive of every mistake, nor do they incorporate all resolutions or remediations. Before starting my business, I likely made every one of the mistakes when detailing my vehicles.

Even so, I have learned much from my mistakes. These are some of the lessons I learned that make my job much more manageable.

Primping Pitfalls: Detailing Don'ts!
  • Do not wash your car using circular motions with your mitt, sponges, or towels. This will put a stop to swirl marks and scratches.
  • I have advised against using automatic car washes in a previous article: Say Goodbye to Automatic Car Wash Damage with These Tips!
  • Unfortunately, most people don’t use dedicated microfiber towels when cleaning their vehicles. Use specific-colored towels for particular cleaning tasks. Another critical point about colored microfiber towels is that they must be washed separately based on the job or the chemicals used.
  • You never want to use exterior scratch-free car dusters or microfiber towels to wipe your car when the vehicle is dry or dusty. Always use some form of a chemical agent, and never rub the paint without some lubricant (spray wax or quick detailer) between the microfiber and the surface. Otherwise, you will scratch the surface of your vehicle.
  • The next item is and will always be one that irritates me, leaving bird droppings and bug guts drying on my paint. These two items act like acid and will etch your paint if left unattended.

Mastering the Details: Mistakes to Dodge!

Common MistakesResolution & Remediation
6. Don’t perform detailing in direct sunlight because the chemicals will dry on the surface and cause streaking, smudging, spotting, and hazing. Many detailing product labels will tell you not to work in direct sunlight.Most cleaning products are not designed for direct sunlight because they do not adequately bond to the surfaces. Seek a temperature-controlled environment; if one is not available, work in the shade.
7. Not washing your tires & wheels first. Probably, one of the more essential parts to detail first as they are always the dirtiest part of the job and always in contact with the road.I discuss this thoroughly in Revamp your Tires & Wheels: A Guide to Lasting Shine!
Here are various Chemical Guys products to help you keep the tires & wheels clean.
8. You should start washing your car from top to bottom.The main reason for starting on the top and working down is that the bottom of the car typically catches the bulk of the dirt, debris, and road grime. This will make it less likely to scratch your vehicle.
9. Using a chamois to dry your car was old-school detailing. Now microfiber towels are the preferred method.Chamois will smudge and scratch the surface of your vehicle. Microfiber comes in all different levels of thickness, fiber type, and grams per square meter. GSM measures the density of the microfiber.
10. Allowing your car to air dry after washing causes water spotting.Once the water spots start to appear on the surfaces of your vehicle, they are difficult to remove. They will etch the clear coat if they sit atop the car too long.
Primping Pitfalls: Detailing Don’ts! – List Continued –

Avoid Even These More Minor Detailing Don’ts.

Use masking tape to avoid wax mistakes, or stay about a half inch away from the plastic trim.

Wax is a great way to protect your car’s paint and give it a shine, but it’s essential to apply it correctly. If you get wax on the black plastic trim of your vehicle, it can be difficult to remove and looks unsightly.

To avoid this, apply wax to a small area at a time and buff it off immediately. If you get wax on the trim, use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol on a damp cloth to remove it.

Scrubbing and degreasing the tires before applying a tire dressing would be best.

Tires can get dirty quickly, especially if you drive on dirt roads or dusty areas. If you don’t clean your tires before applying dressing, grease, dirt, and grime will prevent the tire dressings from bonding to the surface.

Use a tire cleaner and a stiff scrub brush to clean your tires. Rinse the tires off with water, dry them, and apply tire dressing. You will splatter your clean car if you don’t follow the steps to degrease and use a dressing.

Use ammonia-free glass cleaners on your windows.

Ammonia can damage the paint and tinted windows of your car. Therefore, use an ammonia-free glass cleaner. Many different brands of ammonia-free glass cleaners are available.

Clean up your detailing tools and microfiber towels after completing your detailing job.

Are you finished detailing your car? Cleaning your tools and microfiber towels is an important step. Dirt and grime will build up in time, so use soap and water to rinse the tools.

To clean your microfiber, rinse, separate, and wash your microfiber towels in the washing machine with the Chemical Guys hospital-grade concentrated microfiber washing detergent.

To conclude,

People wiser than me have taught me that making mistakes is the most significant part of learning (believe me, I have learned a lot about automobile detailing).

“Primping Pitfalls: Detailing Don’ts!” highlights the top detailing mistakes that could harm your car’s appearance, from swirl marks to unsightly wax stains. I provided comprehensive lists of detailing don’ts, such as using the wrong cleaning products, skipping crucial steps, and leaving bird droppings or bug guts on the paint.

Following the proper steps and avoiding these common mistakes ensures your vehicle stays spotless for years. Don’t let your ride lose its shine – read more, comment, share, and provide feedback on my material when learning how to avoid detailing pitfalls!

Whether you’re a car enthusiast or want to keep your vehicle looking fine, implementing these best practices will make your detailing job more manageable. Remember to use the right tools, products, and techniques, and never cut corners regarding your ride.

So, what are you waiting for? Rev up your ride and give it the detailing it deserves!

Primping Pitfalls: Detailing Don’ts!

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