Detailing an automobile is not only to make it look good, it also has a functional aspect to it. When you wax a vehicle, it forms a protective barrier against light scratches and water damage by repelling the water and insulating the paint. However, one of the most important but too often overlooked aspects of detailing an automobile is washing the windows. Yet, when it comes to windows, few car owners are cleaning them properly or frequently enough.
Even the best detail shops can sometimes miss this final step.
FYI: If you plan to detail your car, clean glass last. Otherwise you will yourself repeating the work at end of the job. So remember… WINDOWS LAST!
Step #1: Inspect Your Windows
Although most drivers never think about, you may have damage to your windows. In other cases, there are nicks or cracks that are very small. Note any damage to your windows and decide how you are going to deal with it before you start any auto detailiing. Specifically for the windshield, consider fixing or replacing it if it has a crack or chip to avoid any future issues.
Although they sell kits in stores for you to apply a resin to fix chips and cracks in your windows yourself, you should hire a professional because only pros have the premium resins. When you consider that a crack can easily expand with any thud or even road vibrations into a spider-web pattern, it makes sense to invest in permanent preventative maintenance, before becoming something that can no longer be repaired, and must be replaced instead. Consider bringing it to Haus of Cars, and we’ll help make it right again.
Step #2: Remove Paint Overspray, Adhesive Residue, and Stubborn Gunk and Grime
Razor Blade / Steel-wool
If you have paint overspray or clear-coat on your windows from a bad repair job, left over adhesive residue from old window stickers and decals, or just stuck on grime, use a flat-blade razor or even very fine steel wool to remove it from the surface of the windows. Be sure to use a lubricating agent to prevent any damage to glass make the job much easier, and ONLY apply the needed pressure to get the job done. Most general glass cleaners will work just fine without harm.
Use claybar to finish cleaning the leftover impurities remaining on glass.
Step #3: Wiping down windows
Make sure to ALWAYS use only the cleanest towels. Many times clean towels and water and can do the trick. When it isn’t enough, there are many wipes and spray-on window cleaners for cars. These professional formulas are engineered to work best on auto glass with a streak free finish. When you purchase a brand like Invisible Glass and spray it on, you truly can obtain results that make you wonder whether the window is opened or closed. Don't bother trying to formulate your own cleaners or using regular soap that will leave a residue or odor behind. Again, you’re better off with water in this case. Otherwise, professional automotive window cleaner is inexpensive and easy to apply.
Step #4: Apply the Window Cleaner (Interior/Exterior)
Apply the window cleaner in sections without allowing it to dry. Let it set for a few minutes to soften and loosen any grime that has built up. It is better to clean the windows when they are cool and out of direct sunlight. The heat will cause the cleaner to dry too quickly and will force you to reapply it several times to get a thorough cleaning.
In order to clean car windows without streaks, you should use vertical strokes to wipe off the cleaner on the outsides and horizontal strokes to clean the inside, or vice-versa. This will allow you to determine, by the direction of the streaks, which side is streaked. This auto detailing secret is for cleaning car windows best method but can also be used when cleaning your home windows.
*Although everyone has their own techniques, we prefer to apply glass clean and even water to the towel vs the glass directly when detailing. As windows are the final step, overspray of cleaner can cause more work in post cleanup, especially to the interior.
*Make sure to lift up and wipe under the wiper blades, and of course the wiper blades themselves. Many people miss this step and it will just result in dirty windows again after that fist drop of rain.
Step #5: Apply a Sealant (Optional)
If you want a prophylactic layer between your windows and the environment, why not apply a sealant? Most sealants are silicone polymers that can be applied to vinyl, windows, metal, and even the paint finish. A sealant will help the water bead up when it rains to improve visibility. More than anything, a good hydrophobic sealant will keep your windows cleaner longer.
Hopefully this doesn’t overcomplicate something thought to be very simple. But when it comes to auto detailing the final important step of cleaning the windows is enough to make a break a good detail. It is the drivers visual connection to road. Regardless of the countless spent polishing the paint or interior, windows done improperly with left over streaks or grime can, can spoil what otherwise would be a good detail.