Should You Detail a Brand New Car?

Last Updated 18th January 2020

Collecting a brand new car is an exciting moment, but it’s a common misconception that cars leave a dealership fully prepared for a lifetime on the road. In this article, we’ll cover everything from why you should detail a brand new car, the benefits of doing so, and the steps you can take to cut costs and guarantee perfection by doing it yourself.

Should You Detail a Brand New Car?

At this point, you might be thinking “It’s a brand new car, it shouldn’t need detailing”.

However, if you’re serious about caring for your car, then a post-collection detail is essential. Whilst the car may look spotless upon collection, after a few weeks you will no doubt begin to see swirl marks, marring or holograms in the paintwork.

Whilst this might not be what you’d expect from a new car, manufacturers simply don’t have the time or manpower to spend time detailing every car they send out to customers. Profit margins are often fine so as long as the car looks presentable to the customer on collection day, that’s enough for most dealerships.

Furthermore, there’s an entire process that occurs before the collection day. Once the car has left the factory it will be transported on ships, trains or lorries. New cars may spend weeks sat in ports or holding yards before making their way to the dealership. All of these factors increase the amount of contamination your car will collect before it’s even arrived at the dealership.

Car detailing is an industry in itself, hence why dealerships leave it up to the customer to decide on how they wish to take care of their car.

Benefits of Detailing a Brand New Car

Now we’ve identified why you should detail a brand new car we’ll look at the benefits of detailing a new car yourself.

We’ve split this into 3 core areas:

1. Ensuring the Paint Condition

Swirl marks are the main offender on new paint and are often caused by poor washing technique. Dealerships simply don’t have the time or the need to meticulously detail every car that leaves the showroom. Swirls marks usually become apparent when the car is put into direct sunlight or once any waxes applied by the dealerships a wash off.

Tip: For maximum control over the treatment your car receives, it’s worth requesting the dealership not to wash your car before your collection. Whilst a lot of people find this concept quite strange, most dealerships are very understanding. At the end of the day, you’ve purchased the car so you’re well within your rights to make this request.

Based on your car’s journey before collection, it’s important to detail your car to ensure the paint condition is the best it can be. Full decontamination will ensure the paint, wheels and glass are fully cleansed prior to polishing and adding protection.

2. Adding Essential Protection

The protection phase of a new car detail is as important as the cleaning phase. Upon leaving the dealership, a new car will have very little in the way of protection. Dealerships may apply a quick layer of wax but it simply doesn’t offer enough durability to protect the car.

An unprotected car will be more prone to contamination from environmental factors. This leaves the clearcoat more exposed to contamination like dust, road grime, iron fallout and UV rays.

By sealant the paintwork with a wax or sealant (or both), you are adding a sacrificial layer on top of the clear coat – thus protecting the finish. This “start as you mean to go on” approach will make subsequent maintenance washes much easier as contamination will struggle to bond with a wax or sealant.

3. Maximising Gloss

If you’re reading this article then it’s because you care about your car, and you want it to look as good as possible.

By detailing a new car yourself, it will no doubt look better than when it left the showroom. You’ll be able to remove swirls marks and imperfections in the paint where a dealership won’t, and you’ll be able to guarantee a high-quality finish, far more superior to what a dealership could achieve.

At the very least it gives you a chance to spend time with your new car and to fully appreciate its looks and design.

How to Detail a Brand New Car?

When it comes to detailing a brand new car we recommend following our guide to car detailing which covers all the steps to detailing a car like a pro. However, as this is a new car detail there are a few important points to consider:

Assess the Car First

As this is a brand new car, it won’t require as much work as an older car. Don’t create unnecessary work for yourself by spending time on processes that aren’t necessary. Assess the level of dirt and contamination before cleaning the car, and assess the paintwork before starting any polishing.

Choice of Shampoo

When detailing a new car, the choice of shampoo is crucial. A slick and foamy shampoo will ensure the paint is well lubricated doing the contact wash. This will help to prevent fresh swirls from being added to the swirl-free paint.

Avoid using shampoos that contain wax inhibitors or gloss enhancers. These additives will only mask imperfections, making it difficult to properly inspect the paint before a polish.

Iron Fallout & Tar Removal Are Key

Based on the journey of a new car, the contamination is likely to be iron fallout making iron fallout removal a crucial step in a new car detail. On a regular car, the build-up is likely to be on the lower panels of the car. However, on a new car, you may find a higher concentration on the roof and bonnet from where the car has been sat in a port or yard – so don’t miss these areas.

Whilst there shouldn’t be a huge amount of tar on the car, tar removers are great for removing any adhesives from the protection film used on new cars.

You Probably Shouldn’t Clay Bar

The clay bar is an effective method of removing stubborn contamination that survived the chemical decontamination stage. However, the mechanical process of clay barring comes at the cost of marring the paint. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to clay bar a car without inflicting some form of marring on the paint. We’d wouldn’t advise clay barring a new car. The risk of damaging the new paint just isn’t worth it as there probably isn’t much contamination left on the car at this point.