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How to Detail a Car: 6 Tips to Make it Look Fresh

How to Detail a Car: 6 Tips to Make it Look Fresh

If you’re planning to sell your car to a dealership, the trick is to make it look as close to resale condition as possible. That way, the appraiser knows it will take much less effort to recondition and resell, which should mean a higher value or higher chance of selling it.


There are no guarantees with prices as every car is different but at the very least, you improve your chances of a sale if you detail your car before you sell it.


Here’s how to detail your car before you sell it while spending very little money.


Two Buckets for the Win

The first thing you’ll need to detail your car before you sell it is two buckets. One for warm soapy water and one with clean cold water for rinsing. You can clean a car with a single bucket but this way avoids cross-contamination and having to spend ages cleaning out the soapy bucket.


Plus, when you use cloths to clean, keeping soapy and clean separate is essential!


Microfibre Cloth All The Way

Don’t use old t-shirts or pillowcases. Use clean microfibre cloths. They are cheap, soft, and won’t scratch your paintwork. Plus, you can buy them online for next to no money.


Use a separate cloth for wiping down with soapy water and a separate one for rinsing with clean water. Don’t mix the two as cloths can hold stones and other debris that can scratch your paintwork.


Don’t Use Dish Soap

Washing your car with the same stuff you wash your crockery isn’t going to work. It will dry streaky and isn’t designed to clean paintwork. Use a specific car wash solution for the best result.


There is a competent range of green options should you want to use them.


Start With the Wheels

Aside from being the dirtiest area of the car and requiring more effort, the wheels should be washed first. Use warm soapy water to clean them and then rinse them off before you do the rest of the car.


The reason is that rinsing the wheels will cause spray that will land on the bodywork. You don’t want that when you have carefully cleaned your car!


Plus, any splashes of soapy water from the car to the wheels will have much less of an effect.


Start at the Top

Start on the roof and work your way down the car and around it. Water will naturally rinse down, which will help dislodge grime on the rest of the car.


The lower part of the car will likely be much dirtier than the upper part, so you’re not dirtying your cloth and then smearing that dirt over cleaner areas. Let gravity be your friend.


Rinse Then Wax

Rinse using clean cold water and be as thorough as you can. If you have a pressure washer, use that. Rinse off as much soap as possible and wipe your car dry using a clean microfibre cloth.


Once dry, add a layer of wax to your paintwork to preserve the shine. Use a liquid wax or soft wax to minimize the effort required while still giving your car the shine you’re looking for!


Do the above and you should have a showroom-ready car with very little outlay. Almost ready to sell to a dealership. All you now have to do is clean the interior which we’ll cover another time!


For any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us here!

Categories: sell your car