Do you continue to search out better ways to detail the exterior of your truck? We are part of an industry that excels in cleanliness by way of hashtags like #SorryBoutYourNeck, #NeverRideDirty and so many others. Being able to go through what Mother Nature throws at us and to still look presentable in the public eye is a constant challenge. But your truck is a rolling business card that represents what you stand for and the pride you take in the truck you drive, so you must do your best to keep it clean.
The following is a step-by-step explanation of sound advice for the cleaning maintenance of your truck from Joe Cuba of Remarkably Clean, Inc. out of Huntington, NY. Joe brings the industry over 30 years of hands-on experience helping to make trucks look good every day. Some of you are a one-man cleaning crew and some of you have helpers to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Regardless of your situation, this formula will help you maintain the luster and shine of your truck, which also adds years to the life of the exterior. From start to finish, rest assured, there is a product out there to meet your needs. If you are washing your truck by yourself, wash the truck in sections to help the flow, alleviate water spots and avoid any products drying sooner than they should.
In the preliminary stages of the cleaning of your truck, it is important to pretreat any areas which may prove to be more time consuming if left untouched. For example, if you have rain spots, you want to make sure to find a quality hard water stain remover, which is usually a spray-on product, that continues to work while you are washing your rig. Another pretreatment is finding an all-purpose degreaser that is safe on aluminum, like Savage AP by Renegade Products, to remove diesel, oil and other residues.
As you begin the wash process, consider using products to make the job easier, not more difficult, including a quality bug remover. Applying a bug remover prior to the soaking and washing stage will allow the product to soak in and bugs to wash off with ease. Prewashing your truck is an essential step in the entire process.
At this point, washing your truck with a quality cleaning product is a good choice because once you are finished washing, you want to be able to rinse the truck off and not have to re-wash it again. A good item to have is a backpack/leaf blower to help with the drying process, along with microfiber towels, of course. Immediate drying is key to avoiding water spots – whether you have access to a backpack blower or simply use microfiber towels.
At this point, you have a very clean truck, ready for the compounding, glazing and waxing stages. The initial use of clay bar with clay lubricant will prepare the surfaces for the final stages, but please have a clear understanding of how to use the clay bar to prevent scuffing your paint. It requires light to medium pressure and maintaining the lubrication, so it doesn’t start to dry before you are finished. Detailing clay is sticky and cannot be used dry, which is why a lubricant is needed. Please see usage instructions or video how-to guides on the products you purchase for a clear understanding.
Compounding is a paint correction method used to level uneven painted surfaces and remove imperfections while preventing swirl marks. The best practice is using a dual orbital polisher with microfiber or foam pads. This step is more for preventative maintenance, as the initial compounding is less temporary than waxing. Once you use a compound, it completely removes all the contaminants, minor scratches and paint imperfections to not cause further damage to the paint coatings.
After the compounding step is completed, utilize a glazing product to enhance the luster of the paint and give the color some depth. Glazing is an important step prior to waxing to fill in any remaining paint imperfections, enhance the shine in your paint and improve the clarity.
The final step in the cleaning maintenance of your truck, as most are familiar with, is the waxing stage. Wax is a sealant to give paint ultraviolet (UV) protection from the rays of the sun, harsh dirt and other chemicals found in the elements of the weather. Regular waxing aids in the prevention of fading, paint discoloration and other common effects of sun damage.
If you like the rich black of your tires, use a water-based tire dressing to enhance the look of your tires. A water-based tire dressing doesn’t leave behind the unwanted greasy residue, nor will it allow dirt to cling to your tires, like silicone-based products.
With the cleaning maintenance steps complete on the painted surfaces of your truck, you’re ready to start polishing the shiny pieces. Make sure you are mindful of the products you use with reference to stainless steel and aluminum parts on your truck to prevent any unnecessary damage. On the market today are several different products for hand polish usage on harder metals, not including aluminum parts, such as exhaust pipes, visors, bumpers, etc. For aluminum hand polish, you have plenty of available options for use on wheels, tanks, steps, etc. which will enhance the luster and shine of your aluminum.
The process of using a clay bar, compounding and glazing is normally done twice per year if a truck is washed and waxed on a regular basis. Detailing companies can put together a schedule for their clients to take the mystery out of the process with their quality care of your truck. We encourage you to get on some sort of a schedule, if possible.
Within the trucking industry, there are plenty of brands and products to choose from. Find the products which work best for you and don’t be afraid to research which products work the best through online searches and word of mouth advice from friends within the trucking industry. When you start your own cleaning chronicles, make sure you not only have the products to get the job done, but the right products to take care of your truck.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was brought to you by Renegade Products, manufacturers of detailing and metal polishing products for the trucking industry and beyond. For available products and uses, visit them at www.renegadeproductsusa.com or see them at the Mid-America Trucking Show, March 26-28, in Louisville, KY in booth #65208 in the West Wing.