How to Detail Your Own CarJul 6th, 2017
For those who always DIY.
When you bring your vehicle into Northwest Lexus for a detailing, you know it’s going to get proper attention from trained technicians who clean, polish and protect its surfaces from top to bottom, inside and out.
But the truth is that you and your own two hands (yes, you there, with the hands!) can do a fine job of detailing your Lexus when outfitted with the right knowledge and products. And while it would be our absolute pleasure to service your vehicle in our detailing center, of course, we know our community members get the most out of their Lexus when they’re empowered with the same knowledge and expertise as our trained professionals.
With this in mind, we have put together this guide designed to help you give that like-new shine to your Lexus without it leaving your driveway. Here’s how to detail your own car like a pro.
Get the (right) gear
Putting together a detailing kit of exactly the right products for your vehicle can be tricky and time consuming so Lexus has done it for you. The Lexus Reflections starter kit is a collection of products to make your vehicle shine as bright as the day it was made, and they’ve all been Lexus approved so you know they’re just right for your ride. The kit includes a microfiber pad, wash-mitt, an ultra-soft chamois and five 8-oz bottles of multi-glass cleaner, auto-glass cleaner, vehicle shampoo, leather conditioner and tire dressing, as well as instructions on how to use each of the products. The Lexus Reflections kits are available at Northwest Lexus for $18 plus tax.
Tackle the inside first
Beginning your efforts in the car’s interior ensures you’re not sullying a clean exterior with any dust or debris from inside.
- Start by emptying out everything inside–all the change in the center console, all the floor mats, anything that isn’t attached.
- Next, use a vacuum to clean all the surfaces including the seat, carpets, under the seat by moving them forward and backwards to access as much area as possible, and also inside the trunk. When cleaning the dash or any surface that may scratch, make sure to use the appropriate soft vacuum attachment.
- Use canned air or Q-tips to remove any stuck materials from hard-to-reach areas such as vents and grills.
- Wipe the doors, dash, console, center console, making sure to use the appropriate cleaner for each surface, or just a damp chamois or cloth. Do not use tire or vinyl shine products on the dash as it can cause glare that may affect your vision, and may leave a film on the interior of the front windshield.
- When cleaning the windows, ensure you use an appropriate window cleaner and two cloths; one to spread the cleaner around and remove the dirt, and the second to dry it.
Then move to the wheels
Once you move outside, start with the wheels. Cleaning wheels can be kind of like flossing teeth; painful and tedious, especially if they’ve been neglected for a long time.
- For the least struggle, make sure you use a designated wheel cleaner solution and allow it a few moments to do work on the surface.
- Use a stiff brush or pressure hose to dislodge any gunk.
- Make sure the tires shine bright by applying some tire dressing after they’re clean, rinsed and dry.
Wash the exterior
You’ve got this one–just like the movies. Make it shine!
- Park in the shade, especially if you’re going to wax.
- Rinse the vehicle thoroughly to ensure you remove as much dirt as possible before washing. Use a bucket of warm soapy water and a clean wash mitt to wipe the car’s exterior from top to bottom.
- Make sure to wash the bottom last as there is more dirt lower on the vehicle which you don’t want to drag around and scratch the paint. If there is heavy dirt on the vehicle, rinse your wash mitt frequently during use.
- Have a separate bucket of clean water to wash particles out of the rags and/or mitt as you clean.
- Try to wash, rinse and dry section by section to avoid soapy water drying on the surface.
- Dry with microfiber towel or chamois.
- If you’re going to wax, this is when to do it.
- With a separate cloth and either warm water with a mild dilution of soap or a multi-purpose cleaner, wipe inside the door jambs, doors frames, trunk channels and inside the fuel door area.
And get inside the engine bay
We’re not going to start taking things apart here, but we do want to be thorough, so be sure to pop the hood and clean in the engine bay.
- Depending on how much build-up there is on the hardware, some engine degreaser may be in order. Apply and allow to work.
- Wash with a hose, making sure not to saturate areas with electrical components as it could cause electrical problems.
- Use a cloth to wipe the engine covers and inside the hood channels.
- Apply approved vinyl/plastic dressing to the engine covers if preferred.
Check your work
Once you’re done cleaning but before you put your supplies away, take a walk around the car to inspect your work and do any last-minute spot cleaning.
- You can also take the opportunity to cut down on interior clutter by limiting and re-organizing the items you put back in.
Take a victory lap
With your Lexus glistening in the sun like it just got out of the spa, take it on a quick tour to show off your hard work. You’ve earned it.