Detailing 101: Where do you begin?So you’ve caught the bug! In this blog post, detailing enthusiast and host of the Trigger Happy Autos YouTube Channel, Sean Murphy, gives you his top tips on how to get every aspect of your car gleaming.
Where to begin? With the Wheels
First up it’s important to tackle the dirtiest parts of the vehicle first, which is always the wheels, tyres and wheel arches.
In this blog I will cover the products and accessories needed to get the best out of the wheel cleaning process, including the methods which I find work best.
Here’s what you will need:
- Good size wash bucket (15-20L) and Gloss Guard
- Soft wheel face brush
- Pressure washer
- Set of barrel brushes for behind the spokes
- Small detailing brush for intricate areas
- An empty trigger bottle with a good quality trigger
- Selection of microfibre cloths
- Tyre dressing applicator
- Nitrile gloves
Of course we will also need a selection of chemicals for the job. The Gloss Fuel Ultimate Bundle is absolutely perfect to get the wheels, bodywork and interior tackled with professional results.
To get started it’s best to understand the different types of soiling you may be dealing with. Mud, general road grime and iron contamination may all be present.
Mud and road grime can often be removed easily with just a pressure washer and some Citrus Fuelled Pre-Wash. Then there's iron fallout contamination, which is produced when tiny, red-hot particles of metal fly from the brakes and embed themselves into the wheel. This iron contamination will require a different approach to remove, but we will get to that later in the process.
Before we do anything we need to prepare our equipment. I recommend that you always wear nitrile gloves when working with any chemicals. Fill your bucket with water, warm water is best, to around three quarters of the way up (15 litres) and add in 30ml of the Gloss Fuel Gloss Enhancing Shampoo. Pop your wheel brushes into the bucket and away you go!
Wheels Stage 1 - Pre-Wash
First, flush out the inner wheel arches with your pressure washer to remove as much loose mud and grime as possible. Then rinse down the tyres and wheels thoroughly.
Mix your Gloss Fuel Citrus Fuelled Pre-Wash at the strongest recommended dilution - 10:1. This is 10 parts water and 1 part product. So add 500ml or water and 50ml of the citrus pre-wash into your trigger bottle.
Liberally apply the pre-wash product to the inner arches, the tyre sidewall and the face of the wheel. Allow the product to dwell for a few minutes then rinse the product away from all surfaces.
There you go, wheel pre wash done! The reason I recommend pre-washing your the wheels, tyres and arches is to remove as much contamination as possible before you touch the surfaces with any wash media to avoid unnecessary damage.
Next up, go back up into the inner wheel arch with your citrus pre-wash, apply and leave it to dwell for a few moments. Then take your soft wheel face brush and agitate right up in there to give every little bit a really good scrub. Then simply rinse away the pre-wash and dirt. You can repeat the process until you are happy with the results.
Don't forget to rinse your brush off with your pressure washer once you complete this stage.
Wheels Stage 2 - Contact Wash
Now it’s time to take your bottle of Gloss Fuel Citrus Wheel & Tyre Cleaner, give it a good shake and apply a nice uniform covering of the product onto the outer tyre sidewall, the wheel face and the inside of the barrel of the wheel.
Once again, leave this to sit for a minute or two and then apply a few sprays onto your wheel face brush from the bucket before using the brush. Agitate the chemical on the tyre and wheel face, again ensuring you get into all the nooks and crannies. Make sure to rinse with your pressure washer and dip your brushes back into your bucket for fresh shampoo solution regularly.
Then take your barrel brush from your bucket and get it in between the spokes to clean the inside of the alloy wheel barrel. Take care and take your time to make sure you get all the way to the back of the inner wheel barrel.
Lastly take your small detail brush and get into and around the wheel nuts giving them a good scrub. Then rinse everything away. Again if you feel you have missed any areas then simply just repeat until you are happy with the outcome.
Wheels Stage 3 - Chemical Decontamination
Once you are happy it’s looking clean then I’m sorry to say but you may well be surprised by the next step. It’s time to tackle the embedded contamination which is often so tiny it cannot be easily seen by eye.
Simply spray the Gloss Fuel Iron Fallout Remover over the face and the inside of the wheel and watch these purple spots light up! Once it’s sat for 2-3 minutes, either agitate with your brushes or simply rinse methodically, ensuring to wash all of the product clean away.
The purple bleeding action of the fallout remover is a chemical reaction of the product freeing the tiny iron particles from the clear coat.
So there she is, all clean. But you’re not quite done yet.
Wheels Stage 4 - Last Stage Protection
Let’s add a little protection to the wheel face and a tyre serum to the tyre sidewall. This will give that factory fresh finish to the wheels and tyres that we all crave.
So, first up the Gloss Fuel Quick Detailer Spray. This stuff will give a lovely gloss-pop to your wheels and will help to keep some of that grime away for longer.
It’s so easy to use, simply shake the bottle, then spray 2 or 3 sprays onto a microfibre cloth (folded into four sections) and wipe over the face of the wheel. Flip your cloth to the dry side and buff away any residue. This will help to dry the wheels and also apply the quick detailer at the same time.
Next, use a second microfibre to dry off the tyre sidewall. I find it best to bunch up the towel and dab the tyre repeatedly until the sidewall appears dry. Then give your bottle of Gloss Fuel Conditioning Tyre Serum a good shake and apply a nice neat line into the middle of your tyre applicator. Slowly work the product around the tyre and work the product into the sidewall. Be careful not to get any on the tread.
Allow the product to dry and if you are happy with the finish you are done! If you prefer a bit more gloss, simply apply a second coat around 20 minutes later when the first application of Conditioning Tyre Serum has soaked into the rubber.
Then stand back and admire your work!
Oh, did I mention you need to do all 4 wheels?