How To: Wash And Detail Your Car Or Truck In 4 Steps

Wash And Detail Your Car Or Truck In 4 Steps

If you ever wondered how to keep your car looking great and protect the paint for years to come, read on.

4-step car wash includes washing, clay baring, polishing and waxing your car.

Items needed to perform 4-step wash

This is a list of essential things you will need:

  1. Car soap
  2. Micro fiber sponge
  3. Clay bar
  4. Polishing compound
  5. Good car wax
  6. Micro fiber detail cloths (lots of them)

Optional things you'll need

While these items are not necessary for the 4-step wash, using them will ensure that your car looks top-notch.

  1. Wheel cleaner
  2. Tire cleaner/shine
  3. Glass cleaner

Step 1 Wash and dry your car thoroughly

The very first thing to do is to make sure your car is as clean as it can possibly be. You want to get rid of all the dirt, dust and other particles from the surface of the car.


  • If your car is not washed cleanly, next steps may damage your car's paint, leave paint swirls and scratches. A regular car wash will do, but doing it yourself will ensure that no shortcuts have been taken.

Once the car has been washed, dry it using a soft towel. Do this in a shaded area to minimize natural drying, as it may leave water stains.

The video below provides a very good introduction to car washing if you've never done it yourself:

Step 2 Claybar your car

How to Wash And Detail Your Car Or Truck In 4 StepsClaybaring your car removes all small particles and contaminants from the outer layer of your paint (or rather the clear coat). If you haven't done this within last couple of months your paint WILL have contaminants in it. An easy way to check is to simply rub the surface of your car gently. You will hear and feel it right under your hand. This step assures that the contaminants are removed and prepares your car for polishing and waxing.


  • While some people may skip this step, large particles in your paint may cause scratches
  • NEVER re-use a dropped clay bar. It WILL scratch your paint. I cannot stress this enough.
  • Once you claybar your car, DO NOT leave it sitting as is. Removing tiny particles leaves tiny little "pores" in paint/clear coat. While it may not be a big deal to some people, don't take any risks. Make sure to wax it after claybaring.

The following video does a very good job explaining and showing how to claybar your car:

Step 3 Polish the car

This step can be considered optional. Polishing helps remove tiny scratches, foreign paint and minor imperfections in the paint that were not removed with a clay bar. If you have done this recently, proceed to Step 4.


While polishing a car helps restore its shine, it does so by removing a tiny layer of clear coat. Do it too often and you will end up with no clear coat which will result in dull paint and perhaps open way for rust.

This is a collection of videos that should help you polish you car. You can polish a car by hand or using the right tools. Either way you do it, be very careful. You don't want to remove too much of the clear coat/paint.

(1) Hand polishing, (2) Machine polish (WARNING: LOUD)

Step 4 Wax your car

By now you should have a clean car, free of paint contaminants and tiny scratches. You are now ready for the 4th and final step of the 4-step car wash.

This step includes waxing your car. Paint wax is what gives your car that shiny showroom look. It also helps protect your car's paint and clear coat for a few months by adding an extra level on top.

Once again, for a nice visual guide on how to do that, watch the following video.

And just like that, in 4 steps, you have brought your car's looks back to new. If you ever find yourself bored on a nice Sunday afternoon, go ahead, do this 4-step car wash and bring back that brand new look of your car.

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