Three Wheel Vehicle Detailing Guide
A Slingshot is like nothing else on the road—so it stands to reason that the process of detailing your three wheel motorcycle will vary from more conventional vehicles in a few distinct ways. Slingshot’s unique body styling requires special attention in hard-to-reach areas, and particular care needs to be paid to the exposed wheels and interior. The open cockpit means interior surfaces are regularly exposed to dust, moisture, and direct sunlight, so working preventive care into your detailing process is also key.
Detailing your Slingshot on a regular basis is essential. Beyond looking its very best, keeping your three wheel vehicle clean will help it perform better, retain resale value, and provide you with the chance to notice potential mechanical issues before they become serious problems. Depending on how much TLC your ride requires, you can expect the job to take anywhere from a few hours to a full day.
Slingshot Detailing Supplies
Before you begin detailing your vehicle, find a shaded, level area with access to a garden hose and protection from the wind, then organize your supplies:
- Water bucket
- Microfiber towel
- Detailing brushes
- Wash mite
- Bug and tar remover
- Wax and polish
- Wheel and tire cleaner
- Mild degreaser
- Leather cleaner and protectant
- Windshield cleaner
- Mild all-purpose cleaner
- Detailing steamer
Exterior Detailing For Your Slingshot
After getting your supplies ready, pre-wash your Slingshot’s exterior to remove any road grime and large debris, then gently wash with soapy water and your wash mitt. Hose off all the soap and dry your Slingshot or three wheel motorcycle immediately to prevent water spots.
Never spray water directly into your vehicle's air intake, exhaust outlets, radiator, wheel bearings, rider compartment, or onto any electrical components.
With prep work complete, it’s time to start detailing the exterior of your Slingshot.
1. Clean off bugs and tar
Apply bug and tar remover, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean with a microfiber towel.
2. Clean your windshield
Remove dirt, water spots, and scratches with a cleaner that’s safe for your windshield material.
3. Wheel detailing
Slingshot wheels are unique, intricate, and at times, challenging to clean. If you’ve got some real do-it yourself spirit, you can remove your wheels entirely to allow for hose use and easier access to their tight spaces. That said, it’s entirely possible to detail your wheels with them still mounted—it’s just going to take a bit more elbow grease. Here’s how:
Using a clean, wet microfiber cloth or wash mitt, thoroughly wipe down your wheels to remove dust, dirt, and brake dust.
Next, apply a wheel-specific cleaner or mild degreaser. Scrub with a brush or wash mitt, paying special attention to nooks and crannies.
Remove cleaner with a fresh, damp wash mitt, then dry immediately with a clean microfiber towel. To finish, apply a wheel sealant that’s safe for your surfaces.
4. Wax and seal
Apply wax to non-matte painted surfaces and a sealant to non-painted surfaces—keeping your hard work safe from environmental damage. See Top Tips section below for matte finish care.
5. Protect your Slingshot or three wheel motorcycle
from the elements
Whether you store your three wheel vehicle in the driveway or the garage, a cover keeps it clean and dry between adventures.
Interior Detailing For Your Slingshot
Before you start detailing the interior of your three wheel vehicle, you’ll want to give it a once-over and remove any trash, large debris, and personal items that might get in your way. Remove the floor mats, if equipped, then thoroughly vacuum the interior to remove sand, dirt, and other small debris.
Now that you’ve prepped the interior, it’s time to start detailing your Slingshot.
Work in the sequence preferred by professional detailers: high to low, center to outside. Although it’s more time consuming, you’ll want to focus on one side of the vehicle at a time to avoid tracking in debris.
1. Clean dash and controls
Carefully wipe dash with a gentle all-purpose cleaner and microfiber towel, dry immediately, then apply a UV protectant.
2. Detail seats
Spray seats with a water-based, all-in-one vinyl/leather cleaner, scrub gently with a brush, and steam clean to loosen debris. Wipe clean and dry with a microfiber towel, then apply a protectant.
3. Clean dirty floor mats
Vacuum mats thoroughly, spray down with a hose or pressure washer, then allow them to dry completely before replacing.
4. Clean all levers, pedals, handles, center console, and other interior touchpoints
Using a pH-neutral, all-purpose cleaner, and a fresh microfiber cloth, wipe down remaining interior surfaces, paying special attention to crevices, corners, and other tight spaces.
Top Tips For Detailing Your Three Wheel Vehicle
Detailing a Slingshot is a unique experience that requires patience, precision, and a keen eye for small details. As you’re getting prepared, keep these general tips in mind to help you be more efficient, avoid damaging your vehicle, and achieve the best possible results:
- To save time, effort, and a load of laundry or two, use compressed air to remove excess water from your vehicle’s exterior surface prior to hand-drying.
- Don’t use a regular towel to dry your Slingshot—they can leave swirl marks. Instead, use a clean, dry microfiber towel or wash mitt with the tag removed.
- If you haven’t detailed your Slingshot in a while, you may need to repeat some steps to achieve the best possible results. Avoid shortcuts that could lead to damaged finishes.
- If you’re using a pressure washer, be sure to keep it on the lowest possible setting. Using too much pressure can damage your paint, finish, and other components.
- Never use abrasive cleaners—they can damage clear coat, paint, and other vehicle surfaces.
- Always use detailing products and an applicator that s safe for your Slingshot. When in doubt, consult your owner’s manual.
- To care for suede paint (matte clear coat) finishes, use warm water, a mild dish-washing detergent, and a soft sponge to gently rub the surface, then rinse with clean, warm water. For stubborn stains, such as grease or oil, use a citrus-based cleaner. Avoid using a polishing/buffing wax or any sponge with an abrasive surface, as they will buff out the matte finish—leaving a glossy surface. Additionally, never clean matte finishes with a pressure washer to avoid further embedding contaminants or damaging labels and decals.
Use the two-bucket system to help prevent scratches while washing. You’ll need one bucket with your wash solution, and one bucket with clean water for rinsing. Load up your applicator with wash solution, work on a small section of the vehicle, then take a pass through your rinse bucket to remove any debris. Reload on wash solution, apply, rinse, and repeat.
Spotless Shine Every Time
Detailing your Slingshot is an essential task that helps to elevate its appearance, retain its resale value, and keep it on the road longer. Remember to always use the proper cleaning products, equipment, and techniques for your ride. With a little time, effort, and elbow grease, you can keep your three wheel vehicle looking showroom-ready for years to come.
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