How to detail your car exterior before selling it

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Let’s just face it, the exterior is the first and most important thing you or someone will notice when it comes to a car. To keep things shiny and new all the times an extensive car detailing is required. But let’s assume you didn’t get time to give the four wheels of your life the care it deserved. If you want to sell your car just relax and follow these great steps to give it a brand spanking new outlook and squeeze some extra cash out of it. 

Step 1: Gather your friends

It’s very important to have all the necessary supplies needed to treat your car. The supplies you might have lying around your house for long are the best friends you have right now. Just to make it easy for you to grab everything I have listed products you will need for the detailing process.

  • Bucket of clean water
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Wash Mitt
  • Car Cleaning detergent (Car wash soap)
  • Wheel Cleaner
  • Wheel Brush
  • Clay Bar
  • Applicator Pads
  • Car Wax
  • Car Polish

And that’s about it. Everything listed above can be bought from the nearest auto-care store. 

Step 2: Better begin with Wheels & Tyres

sell your car

Tyres are the only part of the car in contact with the road 100% of the times. So, it comes as no surprise that they pick up the worst kind of dirt, grime and other hard to remove containments the most. Even though there is no harm in washing your car first and then moving onto the wheels but experts believe that treating your wheels and tyres can help you avoid spread crud to other parts of your ride.

Know your settings

Grab the nozzle hose and adjust the pressure. If the wheels are in the adequate condition you can get away with mild pressure but depending on the mess on your wheels you might need to wash them with high-pressure settings. After that spray your wheel cleaner solution onto the wheels to scrub the grime much more easily. Do note that wheels have a protective coating applied by the factory so be extra careful to protect it and never use an acid-based solution. Little things go a long way. Now just go wheel after wheel and once all wheels are done just sit down for a few minutes and grab your favourite soda. Once the solution has sat in all nice and well then comes the wheel brush in action. Now simply clean the wheels thoroughly and gently. In the end, rinse the wheels and repeat the process for each wheel. 

Step 3: Time for a bath

wash regularly

To my eyes, this is the most vital and dedicate part when it comes to the detailing process of any car. Washing a car regularly or even once a week gives it enough presence on the road. Who likes ride covered in the dirt anyway? A good wash eradicates any contaminants gathered by the exterior and will make the next wash/detailing less painful as well. Contaminants if left untreated have a bad effect on the car’s exterior since the dirt, grime, nasty bugs and bad atmosphere can damage the paint and leave micro-scratches overtime. So aside from the detailing purposes make sure you are paying enough attention to the exterior and wash it at least once a week for prolonged effects.

Wash it good

Before you start make sure the car surface is cool enough and not cooking under direct sunlight to avoid any micro damages. The trick is to start early in the morning with minimal sunlight.

  1. Rinse your car properly from all corners to eradicate non-sticky dirt, mud and bird droppings. Also, have a bucket full of car soap solution with water and another one will clean simple water.
  2. Now soak your washcloth into the soapy bucket and start applying it on the exterior of your car but in small areas. Once done clean the mitt by dipping it into the clear water bucket and repeat this step until every corner is covered well enough.
  3. Assuming the step 2 went well it’s now time for you to rinse off the soap on your car and its recommended to start from the roof as it makes things easier and water flows down from all sides.
  4. Once the car is free of the cleaner soap and fully wet, it’s time to remove the excess water. This job is done no better than a good microfiber cloth. Microfiber is not only very gentle to the paint job but also very absorbent. So once again start rubbing from the roof and come all the way to the bottom.

Beware of malpractices

Car paint is very expensive to fix and careless mistakes can make you pay a hefty price for that. So, it’s a good practice to use fibre cloth for the paint when it comes to cleaning and buying separate brushes for your wheels & tyres as well the engine. This way you can save yourself from causing more scratches to your cars as sometimes the dirt from the tyres can get stuck between the brush and then rubbing the same brush against the plastic bits of the engine bay can cause irreparable harm.

wash regularly

Step 4: The Final Show-Down

Just so you know the final step is where most of the magic happens and gives your car that showroom like shine before you sell your car in Dubai. Just follow the following methods properly

Start Claying

how to detail your car exterior

Wondering what’s detailing clay? Well, Auto Detailing Clay Bar is an engineered resin compound used to remove contaminants from the surface of your car’s paint, glass, fibreglass and metal. It is mainly helpful to eliminate the atmospheric containments the vehicle might have picked up while on go.

Use the clay bar along with a clay lubricant in order to protect the surface. Without the lubricant is hard for the clay to smoothly glide on the exterior. If you plan to polish the car afterwards it a good idea to utilize a medium grade clay. Otherwise, a fine quality clay will do the job just fine. Finally, grab your clay bar and cut it into 4 equal pieces and make sure not to drop anyone on the ground. It will become completely useless and needs to be thrown away. So backup is recommended as well.

Here are some tips on how you should do it:

  1. Park the car under a shade and work on small portions (2×2 foot) of the car. This way lubricant won’t dry out.
  2. Spray the lubricant across the surface, with light pressure you need to glide the clay back and forth.
  3. Don’t use too much pressure because this can cause damage to the finish. Be gentle.
  4. After a few attempts, you will feel the surface starts to smooth out as the contaminants will be picked up by the clay bar. This is your indication to move to the next section.
  5. If a surface still feels uneven after a few attempts, reapply the lube and the clay should start rubbing freely.
  6. Make sure to utilize the fresh side on the clay on each section. You can flip the clay for that purpose. If both sides are used then feel free to fold the clay multiple times and then re-flatten to be extra sure.
  7. Inspect the clay for big pieces of debris and remove them right away before you start again on another section of the car.
  8. You can also use clay for wheels and windows to pick up containments.
  9. If the clay becomes very grimy and heavily infected with debris then it’s the best time to discard it and use a new piece. 

Do note this process requires your precious time, typically 2 hours if you are patient enough. Once you’re done with claying give your ride a good wash. This ensures debris is removed and left-over clay lubricant washes away as well.

Perfect time for a polish


Personally, I think polishing a car with bare hands is not an easy job. While professionals may use a power car polisher to buff the surface more easily, I’d still recommend you not doing it without a handsome experience. 

If your car also happens to have deep swirl marks, scratches, paint oxidation or general a dull paint then washing claying or even waxing will not fix this. Again something to keep in mind as well. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Assuming you clayed the car, you again need to work in small areas for this task. 2×2 foot to be precise and of course under a shade.
  2. Use the applicator pad which came with the polish to apply small amounts of polish on the exterior.
  3. Spread the polish to the exterior in a circular or back and forth motion using a firm amount of pressure.
  4. After a few minutes, the polish eventually dries and gives hazy texture to the surface. At this point, you need a clean microfiber cloth to buff out the excessive polish.
  5. Lastly, if you still feel scratches on the surface, repeat the process on that section or move to the next section.

Magical touch of wax


Car wax or also known as automotive wax is a natural or synthetic product which helps provide a thin layer of protection to the exterior. Most waxes available to buy today consist of a blend of carnauba wax with some beeswax, natural oils and petroleum distillates. 

Two general types of wax:

  • Synthetic Car Wax
  • Natural Carnauba Wax

To start the waxing process, it’s important you begin with removing wax. This means using a good quality wax removal, which is responsible to provide a smooth play area to maximize the magic of wax. Follow these steps for a perfect wax application:

  1. As usual, have your car under a shade since wax is known to dry up super quick if heated and gets super difficult to remove it afterwards.
  2. The key to a good application is to go team nice and slow. Apply thing layers of wax gently and wait for it to dry.
  3. Once dry it’s time to buff the wax off. Just like claying and polish you might need to repeat step 2 & 3 multiple times for a majestic shine on your car.
  4. Make sure you take manufacturers recommendations into account and have multiple clean microfiber cloths to remove the wax and excellent results.

Please note that waxing is not only a time taking process but it also needs to be stripped down old wax each time you want to apply a new coat. On top of that, it’s a costly option so be pocketful when you plan to wax your sweet ride. Lastly, don’t fall for spray waxes which are nothing but just a gimmick. Not only they come off quickly but there isn’t any notable benefit attached to it.

Congratulations you have successfully detailed your car exterior and I bet it looks so nice that you fall in love again. Now you can easily sell your car in Dubai and get some extra bucks out of your ride. Small details go a long way.

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