What is Car Detailing?

Car detailing differences, prices and costs explained

Published on Tuesday, 16 February 2021 at 00:00
What is Car Detailing?
Josh Sandford 16th February 2021

Don’t worry you are not alone in wondering “what is car detailing?”.
In particular what the difference is between a car wash and a car detail.
In this article we will take you through all you need to know about car detailing such as:
  • What is the difference between a car wash a car detailing?
  • What are the different types of car detailing?
  • How much can car detailing cost?
  • When should you get your car detailed?
Professional car detailing is the art and the craft of cleaning and restoring a vehicle to like-new condition. Car detailing services are much more precise and labour-intensive than getting a car wash. A car wash is normally an automated system that a car passes through to clean the exterior. Professional auto detailing is always done by hand, and includes exterior and interior car detailing services.

What is the difference between a car wash a car detailing?

Firstly let's explore what's involved in a standard car wash?
Let’s start with a quick refresher on the car wash. The car wash is a quick exterior and interior clean of your vehicle that can range from 30mins to an hour and cost around $25-$50 depending on your vehicle types and what’s included in the wash.
The most basic wash will just offer:
  1. High-pressure rinse to remove built-up grime & debris
  2. All-over exterior wash using quality vehicle cleaning agents
  3. Basic wheel wash
  4. Clean the exterior windows & side mirrors*
  5. Apply tyre shine
A more premium wash will include some internal cleaning including:
  1. Vacuum interior including all mats, footwells, seats & boot
  2. Clean interior glass* to remove smears and streaks
  3. Wipe down door & boot jambs
As well as some additional external washing services such as:
  1. More detailed wheel wash process that removes grime & brake dust leaving sparkling clean rims
*It is worth noting car washes and car detailers can only clean glass not repair it. If you need glass chip or crack repairs you can find side mirror repair options here.

Now let's explore what is involved in Car Detailing?
Professional car detailing is a much more involved and professional cleaning and restoration of a vehicle to like-new condition. Car detailing services take a lot more time and effort, and use a lot more professional vehicle restoration and protection products. Professional auto detailing must be done by hand and involves both exterior and interior car detailing services.

What are the different types of car detailing?

Before we go into detail about the different types of car detailing services, it’s worth noting that all detailing services include the premium car wash (interior and exterior) as standard so all of the options below as solely related to professional car detailing services only.
What are the types of services for Interior Car Cleaning?
Like with car washing car detailing services often offer a basic service and a more premium services.
The basic interior car detailing includes:
  1. Cleaning & conditioning of dashboard & internal trims
Whilst the premium car detailing includes:
  1. Leather seat cleaning & conditioning treatment
  2. Carpet extraction & cloth seat clean (inc. trim)

What are the types of services for Exterior Car Cleaning?
As with the interior car detailing exterior car detailing services also often offer a basic service and a more premium service. With exterior car detailing though there is additional products and services that can be added.
The basic exterior car detailing includes:
  1. Application of an all over duco protective wax polish to clean and enhance paintwork
Whilst the premium car detailing includes:
  1. Thorough clay bar treatment to remove surface contaminants such as tar & bugs
  2. Scratch* & swirl mark reduction treatment to revitalise colour & shine
  3. Conditioning of external trims
Lastly you can get additional protection for your cars paintwork which includes:
  1. A special paint protection treatment to your vehicles exterior paintwork using a duco protective wax polish
* Car detailing can only ‘reduce’ the visible severity of scratches. If you need actual scratch repair you can find out more here.

How much can car detailing cost?

Car detailing is a very involved, time intensive and cleaning product heavy process. Whilst a normal car wash can cost around $25-$50 depending on your vehicle types and professional car detailing can be anywhere from $100-$350 depending on how many of the services/options you get that we mentioned above. Based on this expense car detailing is generally not done as ‘regularly’ as a standard car wash. Whilst washing your car is important to help preserve the longevity of your vehicle car detailing services a more tactical purpose that is utilised more sparingly.

When should you get your car detailed?

Now that you know ‘what is car detailing?’ you are probably wondering ‘when and why would I get my car detailed’?. There are a number of reasons for getting your car detailed.
  • You love your car: If you have the cash and love your car, particularly if it’s a very nice car, then it’s worth keeping looking as good as it possibly can.
  • If your car is garaged: If your car is garaged then your car is less likely to get dirty quickly in the elements outside. This means the expensive but brilliant effects of your car detailing will last a lot longer and you’ll get more value out of them
  • If you are looking to sell your car: There is a huge market for used car sales. Despite people looking to buy a used car deep down they still want that car to look and smell like it’s new. Car detailing is the best way to get a car looking and smelling as new as possible. You can also easily fix up all those small dents , scratches and paint chips easily with DingGo too.
  • If you need to photograph your car: If you need to photograph your car, for sale, for a holiday or just because you love it then car detailing will be the best way to make it look brand new and give you that beautiful liquid metal look all car photographers shoot for.
  • If you are trying to impress someone: If you have ever had the pleasure of test driving or first driving new car, you can’t help but be impressed. It smells great, looks like it’s fresh out of the warehouse and makes the drive even more exciting. A car detail will help give your car that new car look and smell so you can easily impress any special passengers you are driving around.
  • If you haven’t cleaned your car in a long time: If you haven’t cleaned your car in a long time and it’s spent a lot of time out in the elements then your cars paintwork maybe at risk. Caustic elements like bird poo are naturally acidic and when exposed to the sun can bake into your paint work even faster. You can find out more about this here.. A long time between washes will likely need you need to reinforce your cars paintwork and getting a car detailing is a great way to do that. As well removing all containments a car detailing can also include a special paint protection treatment using a duco protective wax polish.

Hopefully we have helped answer the question of “what is car detailing?” and also given you some useful insights into the different types of car detail, how much car detailing can cost and when and why it’s worth getting your car detailed.

Interested in car detailing and not sure where is best to go? You can use DingGo to provide you quotes from local car detailing specialists near you. You can compare the best quotes and then choose the best option for you based on price, proximity, ratings and more. Find out more here.

Hopefully you found this article helpful. If you want to get your car repaired the easy way then just ask us for a quote. It's free and it only takes 3 minutes and 3 photos of the damage

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