How to Valet a Car to Perfection

Valeting your vehicle is more than about keeping it clean and pristine. Regular valeting unlocks a long list of benefits. It can prevent excess wear and tear, especially when it comes to the vehicle’s interior, with seats, dashboards and other internal components protected for the long haul as well as given the TLC they need to look and feel factory-fresh. 

Regular valeting has also been linked with increased road safety. Take your windscreen, windows and mirrors as examples, regular cleaning ensures visibility-blocking dust and dirt are removed so you can negotiate roads more safely. The air quality inside your vehicle receives a boost too, which actively relieves symptoms of health issues like allergies and asthma. 

Whilst the cost of valeting is seen by many as an unnecessary extra, what the process can save you in the long run pales in comparison. Cars that have been regularly valeted enjoy reduced maintenance costs, higher resale values and improved fuel economy to name but a few plus-points.

Even in the middle of lockdown, you can reap all these rewards at home with the right expert advice. Here at Collison Motoring Services, we regularly provide professional valets and car washes to ensure each and every one of our customers can enjoy the perks mentioned above. 

In this blog post, our valeting specialists reveal the top tips that will help you valet your car to perfection…

Time your valet just right

Whilst professional valeting services like ours have the facilities to perform valeting whatever the weather, you may not have this option at home. 

Timing your valet just right is therefore important, and will impact the end result. Washing and waxing your car when the weather is particularly hot or there’s lots of direct sunlight will cause any cleaning solutions you use to evaporate at a faster rate and even affect the chemical strength of the product. This will show itself as spots of grimy residue on your bodywork. 

A cool, dry day with cloud cover and minimal direct sunlight provides optimum conditions for at-home valeting. Making valeting a regular occurrence will also provide better results for the long term as well as help you enjoy an ultra-clean car all year round. We recommend valeting your vehicle at least every six months. 

Start with a thorough clear out

Spring may be on its way, but there’s no need to put off your seasonal car clear out for much longer. Every good valet begins inside with a thorough clear out and vacuum. Remove all rubbish and removable items (such as floor mats and children’s car seats) from your car, and vacuum starting with the vehicle’s seats. Stained seats and other upholstery should be treated at this stage with a specialist car cleaning product.

If you are using cleaning solutions on your vehicle’s seats, then it’s recommended that you leave them to dry thoroughly before using the car again.

Dislodge difficult to remove dirt and debris

If you begin vacuuming only to find that the dirt, debris and other fibres on your seats and carpeted areas are difficult to remove with the hoover alone, then why not use a little static electricity to make vacuuming a little easier? 

All you need is a latex glove! Simply put it on and rub your gloved hand over the seats and carpet. The static electricity generated will lift the ingrained fibres to make them easier to remove with the vacuum. 

Brushing the carpet with a stiff nylon brush will also dislodge any ingrained fibres to deliver even better results when hoovering the interior.

Tackle dusty dashboards in an instant

Dusty dashboards can be easily remedied for a spotless interior look, and you don’t need the help of heavy cleaners. 

A dry cloth and good quality cleaner will do the trick, whilst household items like old toothbrushes and cotton buds can be called upon to remove dirt, dust and grime from hard to reach places like air conditioning vents and dashboard knobs. Air the interior of the car to finish by opening all the doors.

Move to the outside of your vehicle

Valeting the interior of your car is only part of the process. The outside needs lots of care and attention too. 

Start with a prewash by rinsing your vehicle to remove as much dirt as you can. Use a pressure washer if you have one at home, but don’t stand too close as this may damage your paintwork. Prewashing will also remove any grit before you apply and rub in the cleaner or shampoo, which will prevent the formation of unsightly scratches. 

Next, apply a cleaner – citrus based products are great for removing stubborn grime – or foam shampoo. With the latter, you can use your pressure washer with a fitted snow foam lance to apply the solution. Avoid using household detergents as these can be particularly harsh and could even degrade your paintwork’s protective wax coating. Apply your cleaner or shampoo from top to bottom starting with the roof to ensure even coverage. 

Allow the cleaner or shampoo to soak in for a short time (or as per the manufacturer’s instructions) and use a soft, clean sponge to work the solution into a lather using circular motions. Rinse your sponge regularly using clean water to reduce the risk of blemishes and swirl marks (thin scratches on the paintwork). Finish by rinsing the car with clean water.

Don’t forget to dry your vehicle from top to bottom. Either let it air dry, or use a towel or microfibre cloth in long, figure 8 motions to get rid of excess water. Avoid using chamois leathers as these can mark the paintwork.

Treat your trim, polish and wax

The trim that frames your bodywork needs extra help to stay in tip top condition. Use a specialist bumper shine treatment to restore its colour, and remove ground-in dirt and grime. 

If your car has swirl marks, treat these with a good quality polish, not wax. You should find that their appearance improves dramatically as you work the polish into the scratch. Be sure not to get the polish on the trim as this can cause staining. 

Buff the paintwork of the entire vehicle – again being sure not to get the wax on the trims – with wax and, if you have one to hand, a power buffer. Applying a thin, even layer of wax will help you to achieve a professionally valeted look. Don’t use your power buffer to remove the wax however, instead grab a soft, dry cloth.

Get your window cleaning game on-point

Cleaning windows may not be rocket science, but there are techniques you can use to get a professional, streak-free look without much effort at all. Using an anti-glare glass cleaner is our first tip for reducing blemishes and streaks. After washing your windows, you also mustn’t forget to dry them. 

Dry glass surfaces in two directions – dry in one direction for the exterior and the another for the interior – to ensure your car windows look amazing from the inside and out. Be sure to clean the uppermost part of your windows too. Wind each window down by one to two inches to guarantee a thorough clean.

How can sunlight affect visibility in a car with grimy windows?

Over time, dust and grime can accumulate on your windscreen, causing a dazzling reflection in sunlight which can block your view of the road. It’s important to regularly clean or valet your car to prevent this issue – filling your screen wash bottle with a good quality screen wash will also help prevent build-up.

Always finish with the tyres

Dressing your tyres should always be your last job as during washing dirt and water can gather here. Use a clean cloth or sponge to clean the wheels, using a degreaser then a specialist wheel cleaner if your wheels are particularly dirty.

Call on the professionals

If you don’t fancy tackling valeting at home, remember we’re still open! We provide a number of valeting packages – including a mini valet, executive valet, full valet, wash and wax, and essential wash – and prices start from just £7! Contact us today to discuss your options and book your valet.