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DIY Detailing: Exterior Edition

Posted in DIY by Frank | March 5th, 2012 | Leave a Reply |

Regularly washing and waxing your vehicle is a good habit to have, but if you want your car to look like it just rolled off the lot, you’ll have to kick your cleaning up a notch. No, turning your hose up to full power won’t do the trick, either.

The more you focus on detail, the better results you’ll get, but if you don’t want to take your car in to get it professionally cleaned, there are ways you can make your car shimmer in your very own driveway. Here are a few tips for your DIY detailing.


You probably brushed over rims with a sponge and called it a day, but cleaning this area thoroughly is necessary for making your car look brand new. After you’ve hosed down the rims, use a brush or spray to apply wheel cleaner. Try to get all of those hard-to-reach places, and once you’re finished, dry the rims with a cloth.


If your headlights are dirty or foggy, your car won’t just look a little off — it might be dangerous to drive because the light won’t be as powerful at night. It’s important to keep your headlights clean, and to do so, you generally have to do more than wash it off with a sponge. Popular Mechanics offers a step-by-step guide that only takes about half an hour.

Rust Spot Removal

Doityourself.com recommends you use a 150 grit wheel and a handheld grinder to smooth out the surface and remove the rust.To remove the rust, carefully use a metal grinding wheel. Don’t overdo it or move too quickly or you’ll end up with a bad situation. For the rest of the rust, use sandpaper and hand buff it. Afterward, apply three coats of primer, waiting 10 minutes in between each coat. Apply the color similarly, but wait 2 hours between each coat. Wait overnight and then wax and wash the spot so as to ensure it blends with the rest of the paint.


Even if you need to clean the toughest grit from your car, it will pay off when you aren’t forking up extra money for a professional cleaning service. Tires, headlights, and rust removal are just the tip of the iceberg. You might consider giving detailing tools as gifts for car enthusiasts, mentions 21st.com. With a bit of a research, who knows what kind of projects you can take on to make your car look better.

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