It is best to clean your engine and underbody before washing the outside of your vehicle so any dirt from the engine will be washed away when you clean the painted surfaces. It is always a good idea to remove any jewelry, belt buckles, or sharp objects from your pockets prior to cleaning - it will help to prevent damage when you lean against the vehicle to clean the hard to reach areas, such as the roof and hood. Also, when cleaning the engine, put wet towels over the front fenders to protect the paint when using an all purpose cleaner or engine cleaner. Some engine cleaners and degreasers can be a hard on the paint, causing streaking on the fender, bumpers or other painted trim. In today’s vehicles there is often a computer module in the upper left or right corner of the engine compartment. Be careful not to spray water directly into connections on equipment such as the engine control modules, fuse box, anti-lock break module, cruise control and numerous other components. Just wipe them down with a damp cloth to clean off any dirt or dust.
Prior to cleaning your engine area, make sure that the engine is cool. Using an engine cleaner, such as Diamond All Purpose Cleaner Degreaser, heavy duty cleaner degreaser formulated to remove road grime deposits. Please note dilution recommendations for consistent results.
Before you start cleaning, be sure to always test wheels on the back or in an inconspicuous spot for chemical compatibility before cleaning the entire wheel to ensure that the cleaner is well-suited for use on your wheels. Many wheel cleaners can damage non-OEM or bare aluminum polished wheels but are perfectly safe on OEM wheels.
Use a wheel and rim brush and a wheel cleaner such as All Purpose Ci-Tri-Jell. Make sure you read the directions on your wheel cleaner - different cleaners have different dilutions so be sure to read label precautions as well as directions. Most wheel cleaners contain acids which can be harmful if not used as recommended. Cit-ri-Jell is a non acid based jell cleaner that removes dirt, dust and grease from your wheel’s surface. If it’s been a while since your wheels were properly cleaned, you can use a diluted solution of Diamond Professional Pro Clean APC reduced between 4:1 and 2:1. for the initial cleaning. (Before you start cleaning, be sure to test wheels on the back or in an inconspicuous spot for chemical compatibility.) After the initial cleaning, increase the dilution for maintenance cleaning It is best to clean one wheel at a time. Using a chemical resistant detail sprayer, apply evenly, making sure to reach recessed areas where brake dust and dirt build-up is heavy. Use the soft wheel and rim brush to break up heavily soiled areas. Rinse with water and continue on to the next wheel. Note: Do NOT use Wheel Cleaner on glass.
Now let’s move on to your tires. Tires are made of rubber, which is actually gray in its natural form. Manufacturers add an ingredient called carbon black to prevent the tire from breaking down from the effects of UV rays which cause the rubber to oxidize. A polymer wax is also added to the tire to inhibit the effects of ozone, which causes the rubber to crack and age. A polymer wax also works in conjunction with the tire and is designed to release to the surface when it rotates and heats up.
Choose a high quality dressing with silicone, such as Diamond Professional Dress All. It helps restore tires and maintains their natural appearance. Beware of low-quality, low-grade silicone dressings as they may enhance the appearance, but may contain petroleum solvents that will dissolve the polymer wax, damaging your tires.
After thoroughly washing and rinsing your tires, apply Diamond Professional Dress All with a sponge or a towel, as that allows you to wipe the product on the tire and give a medium sheen appearance. Dressing can also be applied with a spray bottle. When sprayed, Diamond Professional Dress All will leave a higher gloss finish on the tire, however you may notice the mist travels and may get on adjacent painted surfaces.
Once on the tires, the protectant will get up in the hard to reach areas and turn the tires black. This process also offers some protection from dirt and road grime for about two weeks. If possible, apply tire dressing prior to wiping down the vehicle after washing. This will help to eliminate any dressing spots that may be splattered up on the vehicle after you have fully detailed the vehicle. When you are done coating the tire, gently wipe off the excess dressing, so as not to attract dust and dirt.