Detail Guide - Introduction

Wash your car, wax your truck, polish the chrome and buff the paint. Settle down to clean the wheels while Protectant works its magic on the tires. Stand back and examine the work you've done, looking for the little things you may have missed. The time spent cleaning your ride is an investment in its health and beauty—you trade on your elbow grease and painstaking efforts so folks can admire your ride as much as you do.

The people at Mothers® PolishesWaxesCleaners feel the same way. Mothers® has been in the car care business for several decades—and helping you keep your vehicle looking its best is what we do.

Packaged here are some of the practical tips and tricks our chemists, body-men, mechanics and all-around car guys have put together for you to use as you need. We've also created a week-by-week schedule and listed a comprehensive set of car-care tools and materials for your handy reference. To get all the details on detailing we suggest going through this guide from cover to cover. Perhaps you'll find a new trick, or discover that a technique you've used in the past wasn't such a good idea after all. If you're one of those espresso-fueled people with no time to spare then use this manual as a quick go-to reference for important info. For instance, when you need to clean your leather upholstery, check for fresh ideas in the section that details interior and leather care.

Keep in mind there's a big difference between detailing your car and giving it a quick wash job. Mothers® encourages you to be thorough in your approach and execution of any car care project—doing a half-job means you're only half-done, and your vehicle's still half-dirty. Find the right cleaner or polish for each project, and use the correct tools.


Approach

Plan ahead for your detailing efforts to get an accurate idea of what can be accomplished. First, evaluate the condition of your vehicle: tires, wheels, paint, trim and interior (headliner, carpet, upholstery, and gauges). From there, you can determine what you'll need for materials, tools and time expended.

You'll also need to pick a good location to do your detailing—preferably in open shade. In addition to the obvious need for water, and power (for a buffer, vacuum, etc.), you'll want to make sure you have room to work and no distractions or interference (chrome cleaner does wonders for your bumpers, but you don't want to get it on the rose bushes).

After assessing your vehicle's needs you may feel a bit overwhelmed if there's a lot of work to do. To make things easier break down the job into smaller tasks to be done in a set order. Generally speaking it's better to work from the inside out and from the top down (with one exception—take care of the wheels and tires first; see the Cleaning & Detailing Planner and step-by-step list below). You should also do any scratch repair or spot removal before polishing and waxing.

How often you're able to wash and/or detail your ride is another important factor to consider. Whether you've got free time or not will often determine if detailing can be a weekly or monthly affair. Following the recommended Cleaning & Detailing planner, you may have to parlay the weekly event into a monthly one when time doesn't allow more frequent attention.


Cleaning Detail Planner
Wash Weekly
Intensive Detailing: Jambs, under-hood, emblems, etc. Monthly
Paint: Pre-wax cleaner/polish Bi-annual
Paint: Sealer/glaze Every 8-12 weeks
Paint: Wax Every 8-12 weeks
Trim Weekly
Apply correct preservative, protectant, clean cracks Monthly
Wheels Bi-weekly
Bead to hub, polish wheel & lugs Every 2-3 months
Tires Monthly
Full dress, scrub bead to tread Monthly
Glass: Clean Weekly
Polish, clean along seals Monthly
Interior: Vacuum Weekly
Clean stains, vacuum trunk, etc. Monthly
Leather: Condition Monthly
Thoroughly clean leather surface and recondition Every 2-3 months
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