Why you need to remove the seats when detailing a dirty car…
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Cleaning the floorboard and seats of a car is great, but unless you get under the seats it’s not completely cleaned. See the photo below? The seats are clean but you can still see filth under it from the side view. This is unacceptable in the auto detailing world.
This is exactly why you need to have a basic mechanic tool set handy when detailing cars. If you can’t remove the seat you’ll never get it thoroughly cleaned.
When dealing with a newer car or one that isn’t dirty, you can get away without removing the seats. However if your customer has an extremely dirty car you will need to take the seats off. As you can see in the photo above, even though the seats and most of the floor is clean – you still notice how dirty it is under the seat.
Most customers will want their cars to smell fresh after you detail them. Leaving filth on the floors will most definitely mean you’re leaving a funky smell inside the car. When someone spills a drink in their car, it often runs down the side of the seats where it never gets cleaned properly. Prevent having an upset customer, take care of the entire floor!
After all, its the details that count in this line of work. Removing seats is often part of the job, so never forget to have your tools handy! Customers will always notice the things you miss, so make it a point to NOT miss any detail.
A Few Tips for Cleaning Under the Seats
Removing the seats from a vehicle is actually very simple. There’s usually just 4 bolts/nuts holding them down. Some seats are heavier than others, so it’s wise to give youself plenty of space and not work in a cramped garage if you know you’re about to take the seats out.
Since you’re detailing a filthy vehicle with stains and other filth on the carpets, you will want to use a drill brush to speed up the process. This will make the extracting process so much easier! Use a strong all-purpose cleaner and go to town with a drill brush before extracting to remove stains. Pay close attention to the areas that are visible, but clean the entire floor for a thorough detail.
Recommended Drill Brush Kit: HIWARE 4pc Drill Brush Car Cleaning Kit
Before you put the seats back in, check the bottom of the seat itself. You never know what kind of junk is stuck on the bottom surfaces of a car seat. Perform a quick clean by wiping the bottom surfaces of the seat. Sometimes there are bits of plastic, wrappers, paper or other debris stuck to the bottoms.
You should use a professional level carpet extractor like the Bissell Spot Clean Pro. If you have a wet/dry vacuum then you can get away without using a carpet extractor. Simply extract with the vacuum after attacking the carpet with your drill brush.
Recommended Carpet Extractor: Bissell Spot Clean Professional
Another important tip is to be very careful with the electronic plugs on heated seats. Know how the clips work so you can release them properly. If you need a special tool, get it (they’re usually cheap and you can get them at your local auto parts store). Most of the time you can do it with your fingers or a small screwdriver, though. The most important thing is not to force these plugs — the last thing you want is a $300 detail job turning into a $500 electronic repair job that you have to pay for!
So that’s it — you should always plan to remove the seats when detailing a dirty car. The only reason you wouldn’t remove the seats is if the car was new or had been recently detailed with the seats out. You and your customer will be very happy you took the extra step.
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