Three Common Car Care Mistakes

Detailing is a wide topic and there are endless options for products and techniques. Similarly, there are many ways detailers can make mistakes. Here are three common detailing mistakes and how to avoid them.

Using the Wrong Products

When it comes to detailing car products, the choices can seem endless. There are countless products for everything from coating the undersides of cars to shampooing interiors. But each product has a different, specific purpose.

It may seem obvious, but household products should not be used for detailing cars. Glass cleaners for the windows in your home often contain ammonia. Ammonia is very effective for cleaning household surfaces but can be very damaging to upholstery and other car interiors. Always check for ammonia-free products before cleaning a car’s windows.

Similarly, you may look at car shampoos and dish soap and think they’re the same. But this isn’t true. Dish soap contains chemicals that are great at removing food but can also strip away wax and protective finishes from cars.

The takeaway here? No matter what you’re cleaning, always use products designed specifically for cars. Onyx Coating has some of the best detailing car products on the market, including Onyx Coating graphene and ceramic coatings.

Detailing in the Wrong Lighting

Our next mistake isn’t as common, but still important: detailing in the proper lighting. The right light is essential for everything from paint application to waxing. When working on paint correction a spotlight or flashlight is a good way to see defects in the paint, as it can mimic the sun bouncing off the car. A flashlight is also a great tool to double-check your work after waxing to avoid leftover haze.

Possibly the most important time to have proper lighting is when applying ceramic coatings. In this case, spotlights won’t show areas that have excess coating leftover. If this coating stays on the car it turns into “high spots” which require recoating to fix. Make sure your space has bright, diffused lighting, perfect for checking for these spots.

Similarly, it’s important to avoid detailing in direct sunlight. A sunny day may feel nice, but it can create hot conditions around your vehicle and won’t let you make any progress. Too much sun will dry the surface of your car before you’re ready and leave water spots. Any work you’ve done just has to be done again.

If you can, detail indoors under proper lighting conditions. Have a bright spotlight or flashlight ready, as well as bright, diffused light for coating application.

Incorrectly Applying Detailing Car Products

Detailing takes patience and concentration. It is essential to the detailing process that products are applied properly and all instructions are read. 

When applying wax or coatings, you should only use the applicator that came with the product or the applicator recommended by the manufacturer. In our Ceramic Coating Kit, we include an application sponge and buffering towel for your convenience and have helpful application tips online.

If you skip the instructions you’ll probably make one of the most common detailing mistakes, not allowing a product to set. Most detailing car products require some time to react with the surface and give the best results. If you don’t wait and rub harder to try and get the product to work you risk scratches and color issues.

It might seem irritating, but be patient and read the instructions. It’s better to take a little extra time than risk damage to your car. The manufacturer knows best and will give you the best result.


In the end, detailing is important for the longevity of a vehicle. With the right tools, some patience, and these tips, you can avoid many mistakes.

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