Welcome, fellow black car enthusiasts! Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most thrilling and challenging things a car lover can do: detailing a black car.
Yes, you heard that right. We’re diving deep into the world of black cars, and trust us, it’s not for the faint of heart. But fear not! With a little elbow grease, patience, and some good tunes, you too can make your black beauty shine like a diamond. So buckle up and get ready to learn some tips and tricks that will make your car the envy of the neighborhood. Let’s get started!
Quick Overview on Black Car Detailing
Wash: Remove as much dirt as possible to make detailing easier and more effective. The two-bucket method will help keep new scratches to a minimum.
Dry: water spots look bad on black cars. So it’s always a good idea to dry your car after washing and rinsing.
Decontaminate: Washing doesn’t remove everything. Tar and iron deposits can be removed with tar removers and iron removers. And clay will remove everything else.
Polish: Remove swirls and scratches by polishing. This is the most interesting step. You can use a polishing machine for best results. But you can also get great results by hand using the right products.
Protect: Your car looks good now add a last layer of protection. Wax and sealant are the most popular and some modern ones are amazing.
Wheels: a car with dirty wheels doesn’t look detailed. Chemicals exist that do a fantastic job of removing minded brake dust. As well as removing brown stains from tires.
Plastic and rubber trim: Plastic and rubber fade over time. Getting these black again can transform the appearance of your car.
Maintenance: don’t ruin your hard work by washing it off the protection and inflicting more swirls and scratches. A safe maintenance wash will help make it last.
What products do I need to detail a black car?
Washing: A wax-free car shampoo and microfibre wash mitts are the most important. A pressure washer with foam cannon is my favorite way to wash without causing further scratches.
Drying: A large microfibre drying towel is the easiest way to remove water and prevent water spots.
Iron Remover: A simple spray that dissolves iron particles so they can be rinsed off. Can be used on wheels too.
Tar Remover: Just like an iron remover but dissolves tar spots and other contamination
Clay Bar and lubricant: Removes whatever contamination is left and makes your paint feel super smooth but can add scratches if care isn’t taken. A lubricant helps reduce scratches. A soft or mild clay bar is best for black paint. You can also use clay mitts or clay sponges.
Polish: Polish and compound is used to remove swirls and scratches. An all-in-one product that contains compound, polish, and wax can be very effective and save a lot of time.
A dual-action machine polisher helps get the job done faster.
Protect: A good wax or sealant is the easiest to apply and may last up to a year. They make washing easier as they repel water and dirt. They also add shine. Ceramic coating is harder to apply but lasts longer.
Maintain: A pressure washer with foam cannon is my favorite way to do a maintenance wash without causing scratches. It also protects wax. Multiple clean microfibre wash mitts make the job super quick. Spray wax is a quick way to boost shine and protection after every wash.
Step 1: Washing
The first step in detailing is to get as much dirt and grime as possible off of your paint. Dust and dirt will cause scratches if you grind them into your paint when polishing or waxing.
I’m a big fan of using a pressure wash and foam cannon. Foam the car and wash off the foam with a pressure washer and you will get rid of almost all dirt that could cause scratches when you do your contact wash. You’ll still need to do a hand wash because the pressure washer doesn’t get rid of everything. I prefer to use a shampoo that doesn’t have any wax in it.
Some people use dish soap for this kind of wash which is not always recommended. But in this case, it’s fine to use dish soap because you will be applying a new coat of protection in the end.
Detailing is all about the details to make sure you clean the lower parts of the car properly including the wheel wells as they can look particularly bad.
The brown stains on tires can be removed using an app-purpose cleaner. Brake dust can be removed from alloy wheels with a wheel cleaner spray.
Step 2: Drying
Drying is a very important step when detailing a black car. Water spots add to the problems black cars face so dry your car after every wash. Don’t use a quick detailer or spray wax at this point as it will make polishing harder.
Step 3: Iron Remover
Iron remover dissolves iron deposits on your car. These tiny particles can rust on the pant and damage them. They can also cause problems when you polish and wax your car.
An Iron remover is very easy to use but it’s important to only apply it to cool surfaces. Just spray it on and let it dwell for a few minutes. You can then wash it off and dry your car again if needed.
Step 4: Tar Remover.
Tar is black and hard to see on black cars. You can usually see it by using a reflection or flashlight. You could also feel lumps of tar with your fingers. It’s usually found on the areas behind the front wheels. Tar remover dissolves it so you can wash it off.
Step 5: Clay bar.
If your paint still feels rough to the touch a clay bar or another clay product is your friend. It can also be effective at removing tar if you haven’t used a tar remover.
You don’t need to use a clay bar on every inch of your paint although some people do. The clay should feel soft and flexible. In cold weather, it can get too hard. Use plenty of lubrication to avoid scratches. Use gentle back-and-forth motions and not too much pressure. You know it’s working when the paint begins to feel smooth.
Step 6: Paint Correction
Paint correction or polishing is the most effective part of detailing black car paint. This is the part that will return the car to its original mirror-like shine. The act of polishing is abrasive and removes a microscopic layer of paint.
You can do it in multiple steps which involves using compounds and polishes with different levels of cut. Starting with the heaviest cut and then refining the finish with a fine polish. You can also use different types of polishing pads with varying cut levels.
But a better way for most people is to use a one-step polish that doesn’t both cut and finish. You can also try an all-in-one product that includes wax or filler.
It’s possible to get good results by hand but a dual-action polishing machine is more effective and much quicker. Polish needs to be buffed off with good quality microfibre towels. Polishing oils can prevent wax or ceramic coating from bonding properly. So a paint cleanser or isopropyl alcohol cleaner will help remove the oils.
For more details read my post on how to polish a black car.
Step 7: Protect
If you polished your car with an all-in-one product then you’ve already added a layer of protection because they contain wax or sealant.
But if you used a pure abrasive polish or compound it’s vital that you now add a layer of protection.
Wax is the most popular type of protection and some of them last on your paint for up to a year. It’s worth taking the time to apply a long-lasting paste wax or ceramic coating to get the best results.
Spray waxes are very quick and easy to apply but they don’t last that long in my experience. I usually use a spray wax after each wash as another layer of protection.
Ceramic coatings are a little more tricky to apply. (Although they are getting easier) And it’s usually best to apply them in a garage. Every product is different, so follow the steps of whatever ceramic coating you have.
Step 8: Wheels
I mentioned wheel washing in step one. Getting staging off your wheels is probably the most difficult part.
Once your wheels are clean you can use wax or ceramic coating to protect them. A tire shine is a very cheap way of making a car look detailed. In fact, it’s one of the first things people notice so make sure you cover it.
Step 9: Plastic and rubber trim
Some cars have large plastic areas that can look faded over time. A plastic trim restorer will make a huge difference to the look of a car.
For very faded plastic or rubber trim you can use a dye. These can be expensive but last a long time. A quicker and easier way is to use a silicone spray product of which there are many on the market. They are easy to apply and multiple coats can be used. You can also top up the appearance each time you wash your car.
They are usually applied by spraying on the surface and running in with a sponge. Then buff off after a few minutes. It’s a super easy way to make a car look ten times better.
Step 10: Maintenance
Now that your car looks amazing you need to keep it that way. Unfortunately, most carwashes use dirty brushes or harsh chemicals that will remove wax and scratch paint.
The best way is to wash your car at home using the two-bucket method if you can, A pressure washer is also a super useful tool. It gets dirt and mud off your car without scratching it. This is key to keeping a black car looking freshly detailed.