Car detailing Service- everything you need to know

two doors black Porsche getting a detailing service

What is Car Detailing?

Car detailing encompasses thorough cleaning of the vehicle and also includes restoration of the automotive. It’s broken into two main categories: Exterior car detailing and interior car detailing. 

You may be wondering why you would need your car to get detailed when you know how much it costs to detail a car versus the cost of getting it washed. Other frequently asked questions are: 

  • How long does it take to detail a car?
  • What does a full car detail cost?
  • What does car detailing include?

 All these questions will be covered in this article and then some but first,

Why You Should Get Your Car Detailed

a black car getting hand wash with soap

  • For thorough cleaning and restoration of the body

A deeper understanding of what is done to the body during exterior detailing will help you appreciate the process:

Your car exterior has a couple of layers which includes a sealant on the first top layer, a clear coat on the layer after that and then there are other layers below it, including paint. The clear coat reflects light which protects the paint and makes the car look shiny.

When you have scratches or the paint has chipped, the scratches get filled with dirt and refract light which makes the car look dirtier than it is.

The dirt settles in the scratches and it’s difficult to reach even with washing which is why you need to detail your car instead of just washing it. This dirt gets embedded in the paint, causing damage to the clear coat. 

A good car detailer will first get rid of the dirt before polishing or paint correction. Clay is used to remove the dirt. It works like how waxing your leg does. Wax is applied to your legs or any other part of your body. When it’s pulled of, it removes the hair from the root. The same with the clay. The clay not only removes the dirt on the surface but also the dirt stuck in the scratches and chipped areas.

To correct the chipping and scratching, part of the clear coat is cut to try and achieve a level surface with shallower chips and cracks. Unfortunately this also removes the UV inhibitors that are part of the clear coat and protect your exterior. This is remedied by applying a glaze which fills in the cracks. After this, a sealant is applied.

Finally, apply wax for shine, reflection and an even surface. 

  • It is cost effective

The same way taking good care of your health saves you dollars in the future is what detailing does for your car. If you put off detailing until you absolutely have to, your car will probably need so much fixed and restored which will leave a big hole in your pocket which you could have saved yourself from.

For example, getting your car detailed will ensure that the dust from your brakes doesn’t deteriorate your tires. But if you keep off detailing your car, you might have to buy a whole new set of tires.

  • Prevention

When you detail your car, you prevent deterioration from occurring. Areas of the car like leather seats can be expensive to replace and worn out leather just makes the car look older and poorly maintained. 

When your leather seats are cleaned, they get vacuumed, even in the stitching. The grease and oil from passengers which makes the chairs shinier than they should be is also cleaned off. Part of the detailing process includes applying leather conditioner which keeps the leather soft and prevents cracking.

That is just one example of how automotive detailing is a preventative measure. Car detailing makes sure that all parts of the car are kept in good condition and prevents wear and tear or at least slows it down. 

A good car detailing service provider will also be able to warn you about potential issues that your car may have and recommend how to get it fixed and where. 

  • Prevents a Health Hazard

With time, your car will accumulate dust, dirt, food waste, and if you have a dog, they probably shed a lot of fur in the car. This environment attracts germs and mold can grow in your car. The car may also end up with a musty smell and the dust can affect people with asthma or dust allergies especially if it’s trapped in the AC and it is used frequently. 

  • Showroom ready

If you know that you will eventually want to sell your car or won’t keep it for long, then detailing gets the car showroom ready. You’ll see cars that were made in 2007 in better condition than cars that were made in 2015 because of frequent detailing and good maintenance. 

  • It is Good for Business

When a car looks show room ready; all new looking and smelling lovely inside, it’s good for business. Why be the rental company or Uber guy that has a car that smells like feet and has dark patches on the ceiling of your car? 

Clients want a car that is clean both on the outside and inside. It also says something about the driver. A person that takes good care of their car gives you that reassurance that you’re in good hands.

  • Resale Value

Of course the car that looks show room ready and has been maintained well will get a higher price. Remember, whoever is buying your car doesn’t want to have to put a lot of repair work into it. 

A car that’s been detailed well has been restored, so the paint is in good condition as is the rest of the car. These are the details that will convince a person to buy your car because they know it won’t incur expenses for them as soon as they buy it and it will serve them well for a long time.

What does Interior Car Detailing Include?

This encompasses cleaning the seats, in between the seats, floor mats, the door panels, any plastic housing, control panels for the seat, sun visor, head rest, the seat belt receiver, the car trunk and more.  You and your detailer decide how thorough you want the detailing to be.

Besides vacuuming, it includes shampooing, degreasing and waxing. 

How long does it take to Detail your Car?

This is a trick question. It’s like being sick and asking how long your visit to the doctor’s will be. It depends on how sick you are and what treatment you’ll need done. In the same vein, the amount of time that will be spent detailing your car depends on what you’re having done. A simple exterior detailing where the tires and outer body are washed and wiped should take less than an hour.

If the detailing is extensive and there is claying, sealing and polishing, your car will be there for a while. 

When you combine exterior detailing with interior detailing, then your car could be there for a day or more. Ask the people servicing your car, how long it’s going to take in regards to the services that you’ve paid for and call before you go to pick it so that you don’t have to sit for hours in case they’re not yet done at the assigned time. 

If an establishment has a lot of customers then this will also affect how soon they will get to your car. The size of the establishment is another factor to consider. A bigger establishment means there are more employees and machines so the job may get done faster.

How often should you Detail your Car?

It’s recommended that you detail your car at least twice a year but if you can afford to, do it more often. If you’re doing it a couple of times a year, then it doesn’t always have to be extensive but at least twice a year it should be.

How much should I pay and is it worth it?

The size of the car affects the cost of detailing a car. For an average sized saloon car, it costs anywhere between $50 to $200. For a larger car like an SUV or a van, the rate starts at $75. 

How extensive you want the detailing to be and the state that you live in also affect the cost to detail a car. If you’re worried about your budget, there are different packages for you to choose from, some which may be more suited to your budget,

As to whether car detailing is worth it, well, it should be a service that’s made mandatory just like having car insurance. There are so many benefits for both you and the car and in the long run, you save money, you enjoy your car and can sell the car at a way higher price than someone with the same car who doesn’t get theirs detailed.



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About Me

Hi there, I’m Rod. Honestly, I don’t do much cleaning around the house (and until recently – my car)…

But I’ve always been strict and disciplined in keeping with my workspace clean and organized; my office, my desk, my bookshelfs, etc. A lot of that discipline comes from studying Lean methodologies in the past.

One thing I’ve struggled with has been keeping my car clean! So lately I started buying a few items and putting in some work!

I became interested with “best practices” for detailing a car, and that’s what you’ll find on this website. Hope this information helps you!

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