There’s nothing better than professional auto detailing to make a road-weary car look new again. Sometimes, though, you might find you need to take on some DIY detailing tasks in between trips to your local detailer. So when the Flagstaff, Arizona, weather leaves your vehicle looking a bit worse for wear, you know it’s time to roll up your sleeves and give it the proper cleaning and auto detail it needs. 

If you’ve never detailed your car before, you’ll need to gather up the right auto detailing supplies before you get started, including: 

  • Two or more buckets
  • Cotton swabs
  • Detail brushes in various sizes
  • Shop-vac
  • Wash mitt
  • Chamois or Microfiber cloths and towels
  • Canned compressed air
  • Scrub brushes

You’ll also need cleaning solutions designed for use in automobiles. If you’re not sure where to find these products, a quick search for “auto detailing supplies near me” should give you an idea of where you can find the products you need locally. 

Clean Your Vehicle’s Interior First

Once you’ve gathered all your auto detailing supplies, you’re ready to get to work on your vehicle’s interior. This will give your vehicle’s interior time to dry once you move on to the exterior. 

  1. Start by vacuuming the entire interior, using the crevice tool to reach under seats and inside the floor wells.  
  2. Next, use a carpet and upholstery shampoo and scrub brush to remove any stains from the seats (if they’re fabric) and carpeting. Be sure to follow the label instructions to avoid oversaturating the interior, and use towels to dry each section as you go. If you have leather upholstery, clean your seats with a leather cleaner and conditioner instead. 
  3. After you’ve shampooed the soft surfaces, you can move on and clean the interior of your windows using a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth, making sure not to leave behind any streaks. 
  4. Next, use a vinyl cleaner and microfiber cloth to clean the dashboard, door panels, steering wheel, console, and other hard surfaces. Once these are visibly clean, you’ll bring in the detailed brushes and cotton swabs to clean the vents, crevices, and other small places where dust and crumbs can gather. 
  5. Once the interior is clean, you can use a strategically placed fan (or two) to help speed up drying, or roll the windows down and let the warm Flagstaff, AZ summer sun finish the job naturally.  

Should You Use Chamois or Microfiber towels?

Both chamois and microfiber towels are more efficient than terry or other fabrics at soaking up water, and they are less likely to scratch your paint or leave behind streaks. However, the towels’ quality and your technique are just as important as the material you choose. Cheap microfiber towels can leave behind fuzz, for example, while chamois can scratch your vehicle if misused. 

Though both microfiber and chamois have their benefits, the safest solution for most DIY detailers is high-quality microfiber. You can find microfiber towels of varying sizes for your car’s interior and exterior at any of Flagstaff, AZ’s auto supply stores. If you use proper technique and care for your towels in between uses, you’ll get the same benefits from using microfiber as you would from chamois. In addition, though you may need several large microfiber towels to dry your vehicle after washing it, they are less expensive and don’t carry the scratching risk of chamois.  

Why You Should Avoid Automatic Car Washes

When summer weather sets in Flagstaff, Arizona, there is no shortage of ways to fill up your waking hours, so it’s understandable washing your car doesn’t top your list for fun weekend activities. And, while automatic car washes may seem like the convenient solution, that convenience can carry a cost. The one-size-fits-all approach to automatic car washes can introduce scratches and swirls to your car’s paint and can remove or damage protective coatings such as sealants and waxes. And, while a quick drive through the car wash doesn’t take up much time, it also doesn’t deliver the safe and meticulous cleaning you get from auto detailing. 

Cleaning Your Vehicle’s Engine Bay

Cleaning your car’s engine bay is easy to overlook, but it’s an essential part of your vehicle’s regular upkeep and maintenance that will help prevent damage that could hurt its resale value. 

Before you tackle the job, make sure your car is out of the sun, and the engine is cool to the touch. If you’ve never cleaned your engine bay and there’s significant build-up, this may be a job best left to the professionals the first time – local water restrictions and runoff restrictions can make it challenging to perform a deep cleaning on your own.  

If you are cleaning the engine bay between professional detailing visits, there are disposable engine degreaser wipes and other products designed to clean your engine bay without water. Many of these are no-rinse solutions, making it easy to complete interim cleanings in your driveway or garage. Be sure to follow all directions on the product packaging for safe use and disposal. 

How To Clean Your Vehicle’s Wheel Well

Most drivers in Flagstaff, AZ, know after a winter of driving over snow cinders and other ice melting products, their tires need a little TLC. However, it’s important not to overlook your vehicle’s wheel wells. Cleaning your wheel wells isn’t tricky, and it will make a big difference in your car’s appearance when you’re all done. 

Spray your tires and wheel wells down with a hose to remove any large pieces of debris before cleaning. Then, using a dedicated bucket and brush, you can tackle the stuck-on substances. You may need to use an all-purpose exterior cleaner, a body solvent, or a degreaser, depending on the level of build-up accumulated. If your vehicle has plastic wheel wells, you can dress them with a vinyl spray after rinsing and drying them to add an extra level of protection. 

Waxing Your Vehicle

After thoroughly washing and drying your car (clean from the top down, so you’re not spreading dirty water over cleaned areas), you can add a layer of wax for protection. Before waxing, be sure there is no residue or imperfections on your vehicle’s surface. 

Whether you choose a spray wax or traditional carnauba wax, be sure to follow the label instructions closely. When you wax your car, you will work in sections, applying wax to a single area, allowing it to dry for the necessary time, and then wiping it off with a buffing cloth or microfiber towel. Move slowly and use circular motions to ensure you don’t miss any spots when applying or removing the wax. When you finish a section, step back and check it from multiple angles to ensure there’s no hazing or streaking left behind before moving on to the next area.

Contact Inspector’s – Your Auto Detailing Professional in Flagstaff, Arizona

At Inspector’s Auto Appearance in Flagstaff, Arizona, we are proud to provide the highest quality auto detailing services at prices that don’t break the bank. We offer a variety of detailing packages as well as ceramic coating and paint protection film services to help your vehicle look as good as it did the day it came off the lot. 

We offer various interior and exterior auto detailing packages to suit the needs and budgets of our customers throughout Flagstaff, Arizona. We offer full-day, half-day, and mobile detailing packages, as well as steam cleaning and polishing services. In addition to our detailing packages, we offer a wide selection of add-ons, including headline restoration, undercarriage cleaning, machine buffing, and more, so you can ensure your car gets the attention it needs. 

Our auto ceramic coating services provide an invisible shield between your car’s exterior and the elements. This can protect against exterior damage, such as nicks and scratches, and offers a safeguard against damage from UV rays, tree gum, bird droppings, and more. Ceramic paint coatings are longer-lasting than waxes and offer a level of water-repelling that can’t be found in many other paint protection products. When applied properly by our professionals, ceramic paint coating will last for several years.

We offer auto paint film services using Llumar Paint Protection Film, which provides outstanding protection while virtually invisible. The paint protection film is generally applied to a vehicle’s bumpers, hood, fenders, door edges, and backs of mirrors. We use high-tech computer plotting to cut the film perfectly so size, and offer several packages to fit various needs and price points. 

Conclusion

DIY car detailing takes a lot of time, but it can be rewarding to sit back and admire your work at the end of the day. But, of course, there’s no substitute for professional auto detailing. Whether you don’t have the time to do it yourself or simply prefer to leave it to the pros, auto detailing is an investment you won’t regret making. 

Whether you’re looking for auto interior detailing, exterior detailing, or the works, Inspector’s Auto Appearance can help. Call us at 928-774-1126 or contact us today to learn more about our detailing packages and services and find the one that’s right for you.

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