Even though trucks are often more expensive than their car counterparts, trucks tend to go far longer without getting a good cleaning even though they have to endure more dirty conditions than any car could dream of. Trucks deserve a good cleaning as much as any other car and even though they’re bigger and dirtier, the methods for getting them clean are pretty much the same as with cars. Check out the seven tips below for getting your truck clean the professional way and make that truck shine.
Use an Air Compressor
When cleaning your truck, the air compressor
is possibly your biggest friend. Instead of trying to reach into tight areas like next to seats and the corners where your floor mat lies, use the blower attachment on an air compressor to blast dirt and junk out of those areas. Keep the floormat in while doing this and try to aim everything onto it. This way it’s easy to pull the mat out and vacuum it.
Blow Out Air Ducts
Speaking of that air compressor, something that’s often overlooked when cleaning your truck is the air vents. They collect dust and dirt and can make the truck smell musty when you turn the air on.
Take out your cabin air filter and blow some compressed air through your vents. Install a new air filter when you’re done and no more musty smells from your vents.
There are a lot of tire cleaners out there, but whatever one you choose make sure it’s a non-acid-based cleaner. Tire cleaners are great for getting rid of brake dust residue and road grime, but acid-based ones can eat away at bare alloy wheels, oxidizing and pitting them. Make sure to clean your tires first so any overspray you get on your truck’s paint job can be cleaned off as quickly as possible. Degreaser is fine for wheels, but make sure it gets cleaned off totally from the wheels as well as your paint.
Hand Washing is Best
It’s tempting to take your truck through an automatic car wash to get it clean, but it’s better for your truck and your wallet if you resist and wash it yourself. Not only can you prevent damage by washing it yourself, but that hands-on approach helps you to see any damage or issues that might be present, especially ones that are small and would otherwise be overlooked. Make sure to use real car wash soap and steer clear of dish soap, as detergents like these will clean your truck, but they’ll strip off wax protection, too.
After you’re done washing your car, the little bit of water that’s left on the paint holds tiny particles of dirt as well as minerals. When the water dries, these will stay behind, making your freshly cleaned truck look dirty all over again. Use a water blade to quickly remove most of the water from your truck. A water blade is like a big squeegee for your ride and is the easiest way to remove as much water as possible. After that, follow up with a microfiber towel to get the places the blade didn’t fit.
Speaking of wax, you need to make sure you have a good coat of wax on your truck year-round. Even though your truck has a clear coat to protect the paint, you need a nice, even coat of wax to keep the clear coat looking like new. Wax is a sacrificial coating that is meant to take the abuse that can permanently hurt your truck. This will wear off over the course of 2-3 months, so plan on waxing about that often. Wax will save you from stains and small scratches, taking the brunt of these attacks on itself.
It doesn’t matter if you use liquid or paste wax, as they both work equally well. Make sure to use two coats of wax when you apply it though, as the second coat will catch anything you missed on the first go-round. Additional coats won’t do anything, as they will just be wiped off, since wax doesn’t stick to wax.
Windows and Mirrors
Glass should be the last thing you clean on your truck so all the residue from the rest of the cleaning can be taken off. Make sure the cleaner you use doesn’t have ammonia in it, as ammonia can ruin vinyl and plastics used in the instrument panel. Just like with drying your truck, use a microfiber towel to clean your windows. Clean both the inside and outside of each window and repeat as necessary. Finish up by using the glass cleaner on all your mirrors and you’ll be seeing clearly soon enough.
When to See a Professional
Even though you can do all this yourself, make sure to see a professional if you have a scratch that’s down to the metal. This needs to be taken care of to avoid rust and further damage. Also, if your paint is fading at all, sometimes a professional detailer can apply specialty waxes and polishes to bring it back. Basically if you’re not sure, ask a pro.