5 Reasons to Detail a Car

February 16, 2012

There are several reasons to detail a car beyond increasing resale value. Learn how car detailing improves your vehicle's looks, safety and reliability.

Car Detailing

There are many reasons to detail a car, but not all of them are purely cosmetic. Proper detailing improves and maintains the health of your car in much the same way as changing the oil and spark plugs. While detailing takes a bit of effort, the benefits to reliability, safety and beauty are all worthwhile.

Paint Health
Proper cleaning, polishing and waxing greatly extend the life of a car's paint. Your paint protects the metal underneath. If allowed to degrade, rust and corrosion can wreak havoc on your car with potentially devastating results. Trying a reasonably priced detailing package specifically dealing with paint is a good place to start.

Road Salt
In areas that experience seasonal snow fall, road salt can be one of the best reasons to regularly detail your car. Deposits of salt and mud can build up in wheel wells and under the chassis. Given enough time, these deposits can eat right through your paint, causing damage to the chassis that isn't easily repairable.

Improved Lighting Ability
Part of proper detailing is making sure your headlights and taillights are clean and free of damage. Even mild deposits of dirt and grime on your lights can cause large reductions of available light, which can be potentially dangerous at night or in harsh weather.

Interior Condition
By regularly cleaning your interior, you get rid of bad odors, protect surfaces from fading and help prevent cracking and discoloration of the dash panels. Not only does this greatly improve resale price, it also adds a great deal of comfort for the driver.

Wheels and Tires
Oils, solvents, brake dust and other chemicals frequently encountered during normal driving can have a negative effect on your wheels and tires. By properly detailing them, you not only keep them looking good, but you also reduce the risks of cracking in the sidewalls or failure of the wheels due to corrosion.

Proper detailing not only helps to keep your car looking great, it helps to keep it running great both inside and out. This not only improves value and safety, but also personal comfort and pride in your car.

Does Detailing a Car Improve Its Resale Value?

Detailing a car is a cost-effective activity that can quickly improve the resale value of a used vehicle. While customers who purchase their cars from dealerships expect the vehicle to be detailed before their purchase, used cars are rarely detailed before they are sold by private party sellers. By having a used vehicle detailed before showing it to prospective buyers, a private party seller may be able to sell their vehicle for up to $1,000 more than if it was not detailed. A used car can be detailed for around $100, so it is a small investment that you can easily recoup.

If you are considering detailing your vehicle on your own before offering it for sale, there are some important areas to focus on as you detail. Be sure to clean the engine compartment, as this is a common dirty area on used vehicles. It is also important to place at least a coat of liquid wax on the exterior of the vehicle to help restore a like-new luster. Be sure to clean the carpets and seats, and give the interior adequate time to dry before showing the vehicle to prospective buyers. Making use of these tips will help you increase the resale value of your used vehicle.

How to Detail a Car Engine

Engine detailing is commonly ignored or forgotten. Aside from greatly improving the appearance and luster of your engine bay, proper engine detailing can help increase the lifespan of many of the rubber, plastic and silicone components equipped on your engine, as well as make diagnosis of potential problems faster and easier.

Before you can begin detailing your engine bay, obtain a few commonly available cleaning supplies. You need a source of low pressure water, like a common garden hose, a degreasing agent, several brushes of varying sizes ,such as old tooth brushes, a vinyl or rubber protectant, several sheets of plastic such as kitchen garbage bags, and several clean rags or micro fiber towels.

Wetting and Degreasing
Before you open your hood, turn on your hose and wet down the fenders and front bumper. This will help dilute any degreaser over spray and prevent it from damaging your paint's finish. Once you have done this, your plastic and cover the alternator and battery, as they are particularly sensitive to moisture and should not be allowed to get wet. Begin cleaning by wetting the engine and underside of hood with the hose. Do not directly spray the engine with the hose but rather mist it with indirect spray. Once wet, spray the engine and underside of hood generously with degreaser and allow it to sit for a few moments to penetrate any grease and grime. Next, take your brushes and begin scrubbing the engine. Take special care to avoid electrical connectors and any covered areas in the engine. Avoid scrubbing too hard on painted areas, as the finish may be damaged.

Rinsing and Protecting
Once you have finished scrubbing the engine bay, rinse off the engine and exterior with the hose, using a low pressure spray. Take care not to directly spray water directly into any covered areas or electrical connections. Once rinsed clean, either air dry the engine bay if weather allows, or start the engine and idle with the hood closed for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn off the engine and open the hood. Take your towels and dry any water that still remains in the engine bay, including any water that remains on the underside of the hood. Once completely dry, spray the entire engine bay with your engine dressing or vinyl and rubber protectant and restart the engine, allowing it to idle for about 10 minutes with the hood closed. After 10 minutes, turn off the engine and wipe off any excess dressing with a clean towel. Now you're done.

Engine detailing should be done about once or twice a year, depending on environment, with occasional touch ups to allow your engine to remain as clean and healthy as possible. Regular detailing is quite easy and will let your engine truly shine regardless of age.