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The Ultimate Step-By-Step Auto Detailing Guide

Auto Detailing Guide

We’ve been talking a lot about auto detailing recently. Mostly because there is a lot to talk about and anyone who is passionate about autos knows that there is nothing sharper than a well detailed ride. So far we have discussed clay barring and washing using the two bucket method. In this final article we are going to take a deep dive into the ‘touchless’ method of detailing and what sort of kit you need to carry it off.

Before we get our hands dirty – let’s just say that this method of washing is really aimed at the die-hard home detailer. It requires a serious amount of equipment to do properly and is not for the faint of heart (or pocket). If you are looking for a shtick on a wallet friendly way to detail your auto, check out our luxury detailing guide. Ready to kick it up a notch? Read on.

Auto Detailing: The Why

The touchless method is exactly as its name states. Basically you wash your auto without actually touching it. Ever. Why no touchy-feely? The short answer is to protect the clear coat. If you wash using a cloth, no matter how soft, grime will get onto it. When this is then moved along the car’s body it works like sandpaper leaving tiny scratches and swirls in the clear coat. This is not very apparent on a white car, but if you have a black or metallic colored auto, the result can look awful. Even a good wax treatment will never completely eliminate the marks. This a very good motivation for detailing without a cloth.

The Kit

There are a few things you’re going to want to add to your arsenal if you want to detail your car right.

  • Pressure Washer

    The touchless method needs a really good pressure washer. Preferably not a gasoline powered one, since these struggle to regulate their pressure. Ideally, you’d get a model that has an external metal pump (we’ve found the plastic pumps crack and leak in no time). We’d recommend the Sun Joe SPX9007-PRO or take a look at some of the more expensive of the Karcher models for a cheaper alternative.

  • Foam Cannon

    It has been proven that the cavitation of bubbles in foam is a very effective and gentle way to remove dirt. That is why you need a foam cannon attachment for your hose pipe or better yet, the pressure washer. Most reliable foam cannons are fine, but if you’ve opted for a high end, high pressure washer, be sure to get a cannon that can handle take the slack.

  • Air Dryer

    Once you’ve washed the auto, you need some way to dry it. Air drying is all well and good if you can deal with streaks in the paintwork. Purpose built air dryers work well, but you may have already used your budget on a washer. A leaf blower will do almost as good of a job.

The Method

So, you’ve got all the kit? Great! Finally, time to get your hands dirty!

  1. Start off by pressure washing the car with clean water to soak into the grime.
  2. Fire at will to coat the auto in a generous layer of foam.
  3. Let it set a while to work its magic.
  4. Rinse off.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for stubborn grime.
  6. Air dry.

The beauty of the touchless method lies in the relative speed that you can detail at as opposed to manually washing and drying the auto. This leaves much more time to focus on other areas, like the trim, waxing and interior. As your favorite auto mechanic likes to say – the devil is in the details.Want more helpful auto care tips? Check out Foreign Affairs Motorwerks’ Speed Talk blog! There we answer your most burning questions and discuss the latest in luxury cars and performance tuning!

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