Help make my car like new...
May 18, 2006 5:52 PM   Subscribe

I am going to be detailing the interior of my 2002 Ford Mustang this weekend. I'm looking for the best techniques/products for the job. My goal is for it to end up looking like a professional detail job (or at least as close as I can get it to be). What has worked for you? I have no leather seats so I don't have to worry about that. But what about the cloth seats...carpets...dashboard...steering wheel...sticky soda drips? What do you suggest?
posted by ieatwords to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Vinylex is good stuff for vinyl. I can't prove their claims, but there's a contingent that believes Armor-All prematurely ages plastic.

Don't forget, no ammonia, anywhere.

Don't clean your headliner unless it's dirty, as they can only take so many cleanings over their lives. Use a vacuum, though.

Simple Green is a good all-purpose cleaner. Smells good. Follow the dilution directions.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:07 PM on May 18, 2006

Aerospace 303 is generally regarded as an excellent protectant that won't age vinyl/plastic/leather in the sun, nor crack, nor be shiny and slippery. You can get it at boat supply stores among other places.
posted by kcm at 6:29 PM on May 18, 2006

Some tricks I leared when I used to detail cars:

Clean the car with Fantastic, or some other type of cleaner before you gloss it up with Armor-all

If your car is especially dirty, remove as much of the dash, console, arm rests, door panels, etc., as possible. Wash all that crud off with soap and water.

Remove the seats and scrub your carpets with a brush, and use the shop vac to get out the excess water.

You can also scrub stains on the seat with a brush, but don't do the whole seat unless it's really dirty.
posted by Jesco at 6:51 PM on May 18, 2006

When I had my car detailed the pro had a variety of different brushes to do the job- different sizes, types of bristles, etc. He also used a couple different size vacuum cleaners & attachments to get in the corners and edges. I'm sure it made a big difference in the qulaity of the finished product. It turned out great- and my car was really filthy with dog hair everywhere.
posted by pgoes at 9:22 PM on May 18, 2006

Up until a few years ago, Armor-All was considered the devil among car buffs. Then they changed their formulation to get rid of the silicone (which enthusiasts claimed could cause adverse long-term reactions when mixed with plastic+sunlight) and now it's a pretty decent bang for the buck. Just remember to properly dillute it with a 50/50 mix of water, and be sure to have something clean to wipe the surfaces after applying it (the joke is that even your towels needed towels after using AA). One easy trick is to get a towel pretty damp, then spray AA on it, and use it to wipe down the surfaces. Also, use the stuff in the grey bottles if you want a more 'matte' look instead of the more traditional, blind-everyone-in-a-10-mile-radius shine.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:40 AM on May 19, 2006

I use that Aerospace 303 protectant stuff and can't say enough good things about it. It's good for the seals around doors, too, pretty much anything rubber/vinyl/plastic.

Detailing brushes can be handy for dusting hard to reach places, and are useful inside and out (like removing way that gets in cracks).
posted by kableh at 7:52 AM on May 19, 2006

A bucket of simple green/water with a scrub brush for the carpets & fabric upholstery, then a wet 'n dry vac - the dirt gets attached to the water/simple green solution and the vac pulls it out - you will be amazed at the crap that you get out of the carpets.
posted by gregariousrecluse at 9:16 AM on May 19, 2006

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