How to Detail Your Truck
July 9, 2021
Sometimes just running through the car wash at the gas station just doesn’t give you that new-truck shine you’re looking for before you head out to a show. Plus, you’re truck’s gotta be at the top of its game for big events like that, so it deserves a professional-looking detail before you head out. Truck detailing really goes into more depth than a quick wash. The process includes applying products designed to make give your truck a shine while also protecting it from any damage. That can be really spendy and time-consuming, especially if you’re pinched for time. We’re going to take you through a step-by-step process on how to properly detail your truck at home.
How Do I Detail the Interior of My Truck?
Just because we’re covering an in-depth how-to for detailing your truck doesn’t mean the basic stuff isn’t important. You should start with the interior during this process in case dirt and grime stick to the outside of your truck when you’re vacuuming and taking out the floor mats. Dust gets stirred up during this process, so doing it first will make it easier to identify other dirty components later on in the process. Don’t forget to get under the seats, if you’re able to, take them out for easier access to the whole interior.
After vacuuming, consider renting a carpet-cleaning machine from your local hardware store or another rental center. If you have upholstery seats, this is a must-do because there’s probably a ton of dirt hiding in your seats and floors that you don’t even realize. Plus, it’s going to be really satisfying watching the before and after status when you run this machine through your truck.
If you’ve got leather interior, consider getting a leather-cleaning kit for your truck to remove any sort of ink or dyes that may transfer to the seats. Honestly, just throw that bad boy in the glove compartment for future incidents that may happen so you can take care of it right away instead of letting it sit and turn into a stain.
The new truck smell can’t last forever. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with any odors that are sticking inside your truck. Whether it’s to neutralize the smell of smoke or that greasy, french fry smell, getting some product designed to rid the smell of smoke and a strong air freshener will tie the experience of getting into your truck for the first time when you’re done together.
An annoying (and often overseen) detail about cleaning the interior of your truck is getting all the gross little pieces of food and dirt out of your cupholders. Turns out, it can actually be one of the easiest things to do with this popular new trend: cleaning gel for cars. You might have seen this online, but it’s basically just a big blob of gooey gel that you press inside your cupholders, vents, steering wheel, and any other compartments in your truck. Its stickiness grabs dust and particles in hard-to-reach places, making cleaning actually kinda fun.
Once you get the interior looking right, it’s a good idea to use a UV protectant spray. Sunlight constantly beaming into your truck can cause cracks, discoloration, and fading on your truck’s interior over long periods of time.
How Do I Detail the Exterior of My Truck?
Now for the exterior. Before applying any type of soap to your truck, rinse it first. Soapy water on dry paint will grind dust into your paint finish. Who wants that? Also, when choosing soap for your first bucket for washing, don’t use dish soap. It’s such a common tactic people have picked up, but it’s not good for your truck’s paint. It sucks out important oils in the finish and can shorten the life of your paint. Car wash soap exists, and it’s not expensive at all. It’s definitely worth the investment. Also, ditch the sponge. Your truck deserves the best, so grab some microfibers for application. They’re pretty cheap.
It’s common to overlook your wheels and tires, but those bad boys are what really stand out on your build. Show them some love. Rubber renew helps with rejuvenating and conditioning your tires, which will add tackiness back to them along with a fresh look. Also, look at wheel polish that will work best with the type of wheels you have. For example, there are products designed for painted wheels and then products designed for polished or chrome wheels.
If you really want to make sure you’re getting all the particles out of the paint pores, use a clay bar. Like the gooey gel ball mentioned earlier, this sticky clay bay will take out all that stuff embedded in the paint. This is recommended because it will prep your truck for the next step and ensure a smooth application.
Unless you have an absolutely perfect paint job, a swirl remover will help remove those annoying swirl marks and remove fine scratches. Your setup will get a nice glossy, shiny look after this step. Gotta turn some heads, right? This is a great way to polish your truck.
If you’re putting all this work into getting your truck looking this good, you might as well take some protective measures by adding a paint sealant. It’s a tightly bonded layer that’s created over the paint by nano-tech polymers. Any sort of particles, water, or UV rays will now have a tough time sticking, as this sealant will repel them. It will also maximize the length of the beautiful shine you just got on your truck too. Paint sealant can last you up to a year of protection.
Besides enhancing just the look of the paint, any prior coats of sealant or glaze will last longer as well if you use a carnauba wax to coat the surface of your truck. It’s another way to add some shine and protect from contaminants also. You should consider reapplying wax to your build every 3-5 months.
To end the process of all the hard work you’ve put in, use a quick detailer spray to seal the deal. Spray it on, let it sit for 15 seconds, and buff it dry. It will pull off any fingerprints, dust, or water droplets leftover from the process. It adds some extra shine and protection with a short, easy process that’s as simple as a quick spray and wipe.
There is no “right” way to detail your truck. However, hitting all these recommendations will leave you with a badass detailing experience that will also maximize the length of how good it will look. This longer process we just touched on are is for when you really want to get your build looking its best for a show or event. There are kits available for a quicker way to clean up your truck if you’re pinched for time. Hiring a professional detailer can be really expensive. Not to say the initial cost of buying products to do it at home aren’t, but they will last you a while and will save you money, in the long run, doing it yourself.
Let us know in the comments below if you have heard of any detailing tips that you swear by, we’re curious to know.