There're only so many hours in the day and when it comes to detailing your truck for show and go it seems there are never enough. The key to one person being able to knock out detailing their truck to show standards in a day's time is a working knowledge of which products perform the best. By work the best we mean cleaners, waxes, and polishes that live up to the promises made on the bottle. Beyond the usual hype about shine and durability the following claims are usually about how easy the product is to use. This brings us back to the time factor. If a detailing product creates a recurring problem during its application it can make the job take too long, and rob valuable time away from other areas. For example, if an interior product designed to enhance gloss and leave a UV film behind causes a greasy overspray, the number of times needed to clean it off can become infinite. A good example is what can happen to a windshield while trying to treat a dashboard. Of course knowing the proper order in which to apply detailing products makes a considerable difference, but ultimately the products' inherent characteristics determine how good the end results will be. As with most learning curves, people will discover which detailing products they relate to using the best and how well they like the results. What we have provided here is a fast track to discovering which methods and products we believe work the best along with a few alternative choices some folks might discover pan out better for them.
1. WashingIt all starts with the water. In a perfect world water would come right out of the tap as pure and clean as if it had been de-ionized by nature. There are places such as Calgary, Alberta that have tap water this pure and clean, but for most of the people in the northern hemisphere the water supply is contaminated with harsh minerals that leave what is known as hard water spots (deposits). To compound the problems created by hard water all a person needs to do is use the wrong soap. The most common bad practice is to use a dishwashing detergent for car wash. Right off the bat, the last thing you want touching the exterior surfaces of your truck is a detergent-based product. It might work good getting the grease and grime out of your Levis, but when detergent hits the painted surface it strips the wax right down to the paint's pores, and in some cases can cause a haze on clearcoat finishes. The worst visible damage occurs to polished aluminum (billet or cast) in the form of a dulling streaky grayish-white haze. To deal with these issues, premium car wash soaps are ph balanced which means they are acidically neutral, and are formulated to minimize water spotting. In addition to chemical damage, further damage to your truck's exterior can occur by exposure to abrasives such as dirt and dust abrading the surface. The longer a vehicle goes without being washed more grit and grime is allowed to collect and dig into the surface. This destruction can be observed by inspecting all of the tiny and, not so tiny spider web scratches appearing in the paint. A well-intended uneducated person can make the damage even worse by proceeding to wash the truck the wrong way. Instead of plopping a wet sponge or car wash mitt onto a dry surface the first step is to hose the entire truck down and soak it with water. This process will float a lot of the surface dirt off, and begin to dissolve various water-soluble substances that have bonded to the paint and chrome. Next, a bucket full of water sudsy with premium car wash soap is used to scrub every square inch of the truck. The soapy water should not be allowed to dry or it will cause further damage to the finish, so it must be hosed off thoroughly with fresh water.