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What Should I Learn First About Detailing?


If you’re reading this, then chances are good that you’ve always been one of those people who has always kept their cars looking nice. During that time however, something happened that inspired you to take detailing to a whole new level. Perhaps you saw some amazing before and after photos from full paint correction performed by a professional detailer, or maybe you just purchased a brand new car and wish to keep it looking its best.

Now that you’re doing all of this research however, you may be a little overwhelmed by all of the different products, techniques, and information that is out there about detailing. There are so many different kinds of polishes, machines, buffing pads, clay bars, and quick detailers…where do you start?

For those of you just getting started in your quest to have the nicest looking car in the neighborhood, you probably don’t need to concern yourself too much (yet) with items such as wet sanding, the latest compounding techniques, or headlight repair. While those are all very important aspects of detailing, they are advanced topics that you typically work your way up to. Just think of it this way…the race car driver learned how to drive first before hitting the track! As with the race car driver, the Professional Detailer who polishes paint to incredible perfection and clarity first had to learn the basics.

So what part of detailing should you concentrate on mastering first? What is the foundation of detailing that everything else is supported by? Proper Washing And Drying! Most of the swirls and defects in paint are caused by improper washing and drying techniques (and materials). 15 hours of polishing and perfecting paint can be ruined by one improper wash session, so you can see why I say that everything in the detailing world revolves around Proper Washing And Drying.

Arm yourself with the tools, techniques, and knowledge of Proper Washing And Drying to keep your car’s finish looking its best. Once you have a fool-proof system established, then you’ll be ready to graduate to more advanced aspects of detailing. Fair warning though my friends because once you’ve made it through this first level, you may find yourself becoming obsessed as you seek the Holy Grail of gloss and paint perfection!

If you have any additional comments or questions, please submit your reply in the comment box below.

Todd Cooperider Esoteric Auto Detail
Todd Cooperider
Esoteric Auto Detail
Columbus, Ohio

3 comments on What Should I Learn First About Detailing?

  1. Roy Huckaby says:

    I enjoy your instructions on washing and polishing But I have not seen any infor on how to keep the Top of my 350 Z Roadster in top shape. Any help with that. Thanks Roy

    • Roy,

      Thanks for the comments and I’m glad you found the articles to be helpful. Also thanks for the topic recommendation…we’ll get working on a raggtop article for you!

  2. Greg Nichols says:


    I’m working a short concise article on taking car of your Convert Top. I hope to get it published in the next week.


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