As the vast majority of car owners aren’t your typical car enthusiasts that know everything about their vehicle inside and out, it’s no wonder why many aren’t familiar with the differences between car detailing and car washing. For many, car detailing is car washing and they make sure to keep their car washed.
However, whether you’re a car enthusiast or not, understanding exactly how car detailing differentiates from car washing is extremely important. Every car owner should have their car fully detailed every so often, as the benefits that come from complete car detailing will keep your car lasting longer and looking fresh.
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What is Car Detailing?
Car detailing involves performing a deep & thorough cleaning from top-to-bottom throughout the car. Car detailing typically involves specialized tools and products used to recondition both the exterior and interior of the car.
Car detailing restores your car’s paint and eliminates the scratches that keep it looking older than it should. Since detailing includes both an exterior cleanse as well as an interior cleanse, it can potentially leave your car looking like the day you drove it off the dealership parking lot.
The Average Complete Car Detailing Cost
Since car detailing is much more involved and cleans so much more than car washes, you should expect that the complete car detail price will be significantly higher. Most seeking a complete detail car wash typically spend anywhere from $150 ~ $300, with the actual price they pay depending on the following factors:
- The size of the vehicle
- The overall condition of the vehicle
- The vehicle’s materials (cleaning products vary)
- The shop itself
The average complete car detailing cost is approximately $233, while those with larger/luxury vehicles find themselves paying up to $500 for a complete car detail. Mister Car Wash is just one example of a car detailing provider that is commonly used throughout the United States. The Mister Car Wash detail cost is around the same as the average $233 price, as their complete car detailing services start at $175.99.
Note: There is also the option to pick up a complete car detailing kit and perform the detailing yourself.
Complete Car Detailing Guide
Car detailing is invasive, but in a good way and before you ask Google for “complete car detailing near me”, you should understand the best practices for your vehicle and how long you’ll be without your vehicle.
Complete Exterior Car Detailing
Most car detailers will begin with the exterior of your vehicle as they begin the process. The car will be given an “exfoliation” essentially in order to remove as much dirt and grime as possible. The exhaustive soap wash typically develops a foam that softens and lifts dirt and mud off of the vehicle’s surface.
Next, special cleaning tools and products are used on the vehicle’s wheels, brake calipers, lug nuts, etc., that – you guessed it – remove dirt and debris from the dirtiest part of your car!
After the wheels have been cleaned, the paintwork is washed and microfiber cloths along with washing mitts are used to dry the car without creating new scratches. An automotive clay bar is then rubbed onto the paintwork to remove any dirt on the surface that was bonded.
If your car suffers from oxidation, scratches or swirl marks, your complete car detailing will then entail polishing the paint to remove it. This can be extremely time consuming and is part and parcel of a complete car detailing.
The final step is to wax the paint. The type of wax used may vary, but wax found in the Turtle Wax Ride & Shine Complete Car Detailing Kit is one that many pick up at an inexpensive price. Once the waxing is complete, the windows and other miscellaneous external components are then polished and perfected.
Complete Interior Car Detailing
The typical interior car detail begins with thoroughly vacuuming and shampooing all of the upholstery inside of the car to remove dirt, debris, and stains. Car’s that feature plastic and vinyl components are cleaned using the appropriate cleaning products, as are leather interiors. Leather interiors require to be conditioned and then scrubbed to remove any dirt that’s deeply ingrained.
The engine bay is then cleaned, as any complete car detailing calls for it, unlike less thorough detailing services offered by car detailing providers. The process of cleaning the car’s engine bay begins by spraying it with water, followed by wiping it down with a degreaser and rinsing it completely.
Once the engine bay has completely dried, the plastic and rubber components within the engine bay are properly dressed to protect them from cracking. This practice helps protect the car and its components from the issues that come along with normal wear on rubber and silicone.
What to Consider Before Having Your Car Detailed
While a complete detail is something that every car owner should go for, there are other types of car detailing available for significantly cheaper! DriveSmart explores car detailing further in depth in the following resources: