Define the term "polished steel."
Whether you're looking to sell, impress, or bring back the mirror-like finish that you can't stop admiring, modern car care products are making it easier and easier to achieve near-professional results at home. The only problem is, there are aisles just lined with these products, so choosing the right one can be difficult—especially since there are some pro tips you still need to follow. So if you're not a car person, per se, but want your car to drop jaws, then listen up! We want to relay some basic tips when it comes to achieving and maintaining a better-than-new finish on your pride and joy.
Tip 1: Say goodbye to automatic car washes.
They're fine for a fleet of pick-up trucks coming back from the field, but that's exactly the problem. Over time, dirt gets embedded in the bristles and surfaces that come in contact with your car, creating small scratches in your car's finish (especially on dark-colored cars).
Tip 2: Never use dish soap or detergent to clean your car.
Dish soap can actually strip away wax and, in some cases, damage the paint. Instead, use a soap that was intended for use on the exterior of your car.
Tip 3: Always use a clean microfiber towel or chamois to dry your vehicle.
If it's dirty, you could scratch your finish, which means it's good to have a back-up in case you accidentally drop the first one on the ground.
Tip 4: If you see contaminants on the finish (i.e., some tree sap), remove it before you wax.
Get a clay bar kit at the auto parts store and use it to remove the contaminant. Also, never scrub your finish when it's dry. Be sure to use some "quick detailer" product to lubricate the surface as you remove the contaminant. (Of course, if you read the instructions, you would know that!).
Tip 5: Protect your hard work and bring out that shine by using a quality wax.
You usually can't go wrong with Meguiars. Be sure to read the label and follow it exactly as it reads.
Tip 6: If you're using Armor All on your tires or trim, spray the product onto a towel or applicator away from the vehicle and apply.
You don't want to deal with overspray on your windows, finish, or wheels.
Now it's time to sit back and admire your work. A good wash and wax, even on a Camry, is sure to turn heads! Any other tips that we missed on our list? Sound off in the comments below.