Detailing Tips from the Experts

When it comes to detailing our vehicles, many of us think we’re pretty good at it. We all have our favorite kinds of waxes and products to do the job right, however, some professional detailers prefer to use products that make the job easier.

pickup truck detailing

We spoke with Adam Pitale of Adam’s Polishes to get some tips. Pitale has been detailing cars and trucks for many years and has developed techniques and products that make the job of detailing your vehicle, much easier.

What you may or may not know about making your truck shine.

  1. Some say to always detail your vehicle in the shade.  This eliminates heating and baking the wax onto your finish.

    However Pitale says that Detailing in the shade is only necessary on days when it is extremely hot if using Adams Polishes. Washing in the shade makes life easier, as the water won’t dry and spot. “Our polishes and protectants are formulated to be easy to apply and remove, even while using them in direct sun,” says Pitale “The removal process is made even easier when using a microfiber polishing towels.”

  2. Always use a premium car wash soap to wash your car. Never use dish-washing detergent as it will strip the wax right off of your vehicles finish.
  3. detail clay is a mustTo remove deposits on the paint surface, it is important to clay your truck at least once a month if parked outside.
    Using a clay bar clay bar is a critical step in the detailing process. Even brand new cars need to be “clayed.” New vehicles are exposed to the elements during shipment , leaving the surface contaminated with fallout. “Fallout is basically metallic particles from brakes, catalytic converter fillament, or factories,” says Pitale. “When the metal particles become wet, they rust into the clear coat. On white vehicles, fallout is visible and looks like little black and orange specks.”Besides fallout, clay also removes water spots, tree sap, bug splatter, paint overspray, and surface oxidation. Pitale recommends claying every three to six months, or when the vehicle feels rough after washing. “Gently slide the back of your hand over the surface and see if you feel ANY bumps or roughness, if so it is time to clay again,” says Pitale.
  4. scratch outIf your vehicle has serious surface scratches, severe oxidation, or extreme contamination build-up, use “Scratch Out” after the clay process.
    “Scratch Out” is less abrasive than toothpaste and will not harm the paint or clear coat. “This special compound rounds off the edges of scratches or other surface problems making them invisible or significantly less visible'” says Pitale.
  5. Always use a high-quality polish and glaze and use a brisk side-to-side motion, when removing it. Pitale recommends using a micro-fiber towel, as they tend to scratch less than terry cloth and old diapers. “It is also important to use a very light mist of detail spray on one side of the towel befor removing the polish will aid in the romoval process.
    Pitale recommends polishing the windshield as well as the paint. This takes off any grit and grime and prevents more from attaching.
  6. There are lots of deposits and road grime that collect on your windshield. It’s a good idea to wipe it down with a polish to keep it clean and free from dirt.
    “We recommend using Brilliance, which is a glaze and will not streak,” says Pitale. “It can be used on the inside and outside of the window.”Glass cleaners most often contain ammonia, which removes protection from glass, paint, and surrounding plastic or rubber. By polishing the glass with Brilliance, you will enjoy a ultra-clear, protected finish that keeps ice and water from sticking to the glass.

    Rubber protectants should be water based, as oil based products attract more dirt.

  7. Side moldings and black plastic trim should also be treated while polishing. Use a water-based treatment rather than a oil based one, as oils tend to penetrate the rubber and when it dries, it cracks and peels.
    detail spray and shinePitale recommends using his VRT. “It is water based and also has a UV blocker that will help to minimize oxidation. It wipes easily off the paint and glass and contains no alcohol,” he says.
  8. Wheel polishes come in many variations. Pitale recommends making sure that your wheels are cool before applying any kind of polish. Heat will prematurely bake the polish onto your wheels, leaving a mark.
  9. When using tire dressing, spray the applicator, not the tire. This avoids getting dressing on the paint and newly polished wheels.
    Pitale also recomends using detail spray to remove and buff the wax onto your finish. This makes the job easier.
  10. To keep your finish looking great between waxing, use a spray and wipe, quick detailing product. Pitale says that his Detail Spray and a clean microfiber towel will give the best results and eliminate the need to wax as frequently.

How you rub your truck the right way

Don’t you hate washing your truck, running your fingers across the hood, and still feeling little gritty bumpy bits?

You wax it, it helps, but it’s just not as smooth as it was when it was new. You can blame all those tiny sharp deposits, embedded along the surface of your paint, on airborne pollutants, dust and grime.

Luckily, there is something that can remove all that crud to give you a glass like paint finish once again. It is a bar of clay.

detailing clayA paint clay bar will work wonders over your truck’s surfaces. The roof, hood and the tops of fenders benefit the most because thatís where most of the dust and dirt settles.

All you have to do is knead the bar well, then mash it into a little patty. Wet the section your working with some quick detailer, and start rubbing away. Make sure you’re always working in the shade with a cool surface. A hot hood will melt the clay bar into a muddy mess.

As far as direction is concerned, the proís suggest a brisk back and forth motion going left-right and up and down. After youíve clayed down your ride, finish the job up with a good wash and wax to seal to the deal. It’s easy to do, and the results are definitely worth the elbow grease.

Does dusting off your truck really help its shine?

microfiber towels

If you’ve ever visited a truck show, you see many people dust off their vehicles. Although many of these vehicles are prized possessions, many wonder if dusting your daily driver can yield the same results. According to many professional detailers, the answer is yes. Dusting your vehicle not only removes grit and grime that can eventually stick onto your paint, it also keeps it cleaner to prevent more dust from accumulating onto it. Most detailers agree however, that when the vehicle gets too dirty, dusting can scratch your paint if not done properly.

Most recommend using a high quality car duster to begin with. A high quality duster has oils in the cloth that help grab dirt and dust and hold it in place. As you would imagine after some time it can get pretty dirty so it will have to be replaced once you see it is black with grime.

A good detail spray will also keep your truck looking good between washings. It is also recommended to wipe down your vehicle, after you dust it, with a detail spray. A good detail spray will also pickup dirt and grime and when used with a good microfiber towel, will prevent scratching and help keep your truck shinny between washes and waxes.

In the long run, dusting off your vehicle is good for the paint when done carefully. Obviously, if your truck is too dirty, wash and wax it first. Then dust it off every other day to keep it clean. You’ll be surprised how much longer your truck will stay looking good.

Protecting Your Vinyl

Protect your vinyl tonneau and rubber parts with UV protectant.

interior vinyl uv cleaningAs your truck sits in the sun, harmful ultra-violet rays are often the cause of discoloration and deterioration. If you own a vinyl top Tonneau cover, you’ve already seen what the effects of the sun can do. There are ways, however, to protect your vinyl truck products with a variety of protectants. Spray on protectants shield vinyl, rubber, plastic and leather from the harmful rays of the sun. However, some protectants with alcohol and other polymers can actually damage some materials so it is important to check with your Tonneau manufacturer to see which protectants they recommend.

Most UV protectantscan be used on a multitude of surfaces and actually condition vinyl and rubber to keep it moist and last a long time.

Protect Your Rug

Haven’t put much thought into what goes under your feet? Well, you should.

Floor mats not only serve a purpose, (keepin’ grit and crud off your interior floor) they also make a great custom accessory. If you have a show truck, or maybe just custom interior, floor mats that match the embroidery design on your seatbacks can look really sweet.

dirty floor matsHeck, some custom floor mats look so good, you go through a guilt trip every time you put your feet on them. Some guys have the opposite problem.

Off roaders have a nasty habit of getting more mud in the truck than on the outside. Fabric floor mats can turn into a soggy muddy mess. That’s when rubber floor mats become an off roaders best friend. Get mud on them? Hose them off. Spilled your Super Mega Gulp over the last boulder climb? Just hose ‘em.

So whether your rig is fully custom or fully crusty, some new floor mats can add some well-deserved flare to your feet.

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