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4 Essential Details You Need to Know About Car Detailing

Keeping your car as clean as the day you drove it off the lot can seem like an impossible task. You actually miss that new car smell. You can attempt to clean your car yourself, but your efforts rarely match that of professional car detailers. Say the experts, car detailing involves a heck of a lot more than a simple exterior wash and waxing, plus a vacuuming of the interior.   

A thorough auto detailing actually begins with the vacuuming of the interior and the washing of the exterior. Then the real detailing starts with special services like steam cleaning the door jambs, floor mat pressure-washing, removal of carpet and upholstery spotting, tar removal, road grime removal, and even elimination of exterior oxidation which makes the vehicle’s paint job look dull and unattractive. 

Let’s face it, you’re not going to get that kind of detailing service at the corner car wash. If you’re in the market for a nearby detailing service, go no further than your smartphone. Type the words “auto detailing near me” into the Google search engine and watch what appears. From there it’s simply a matter of choosing which service works best for you in terms of customer rating, proximity, and cost. You might want to call the service first to get a better idea of their operation before making the trip to their business location. Or perhaps, the detailing business might even come to you!

With that in mind, here are some essential details about car detailing that you should be aware of.  

Should You Get Your Car Detailed?

If you keep your vehicle just-off-the-lot clean, its resale value will surely increase. Naturally, mileage, overall mechanical health, history of accidents, plus many other factors can decrease resale cost. 

But auto detailing is a great way to at least make your vehicle look like it’s worth a lot of money. There’s also a psychological element to car detailing. It makes you feel good inside to know you own a thoroughly clean ride.  

How Much Should You Expect to Pay for Auto Detailing? 

Most detailing shops are said to offer a variety of cleaning packages to suit your budget. These services can range from the basic to the deluxe. Prices will rise according to which package you choose and also by how much work needs to be performed.    

A basic detailing package will typically include an exterior wash, cleaning of the exterior paint by utilizing a clay bar, polishing the exterior by hand, removal of minor surface scratches, and finally applying a wax and/or paint sealant to make your aging vehicle shine like new again. Also, the package should include cleaning and waxing of wheels and applying a sheen to the tires.   

A more complex interior detailing will usually involve the vacuuming plus shampooing of the seat upholstery and the carpeting, thorough cleaning of the leather upholstery, pressure washing floor mats, and cleaning of the vinyl and/or plastic interior dash and trim. Finally, all glass surfaces will be cleaned. 

It won’t be uncommon to hear “sales pitches” for extras such as touching up paint chipping, repainting scratched bumper covers, cleaning of the brake calipers, headlamp restoration, and even a complete engine cleaning. Be advised that all these extras add up big time, so it’s best to prepare a budget ahead of time and don’t budge from it.  

Can You Detail Your Car by Yourself? 

The obvious answer to this question is a resounding yes. In fact, lots of vehicle owners steadfastly refuse to allow another person, even a professional, to touch their car. If you’re this kind of car owner, chances are you own the necessary equipment and at least some of the over-the-counter cleaning/restoration products that will assist you in a thorough detailing. You also won’t mind taking the time out of your day to do it. 

But it’s important to keep in mind that professional detailers will have access to professional-grade cleaners, polishing compounds, dressing, waxes, power washers, buffers, brushes, air hoses, and other expensive equipment that will more than likely do a better overall job. If you’re considering purchasing some of these expensive equipment and cleaning products, your bank account might be better served by going with a professional auto detailer. 

You can run your car through the car wash once per week, but investing in a professional detailing package will keep it looking like new long after it’s been driven off the sales lot, thereby increasing its value. If you do plan on selling your vehicle soon, make sure you purchase one final car detailing. You will get your money back in spades.  


  1. Mary Ambrosino says

    I have never had my car detailed but I might now.