The Value of Automobile Detailing

Avoid the Car Wash

The first step toward comprehending detailing is to recognize that a car detail is not the same as a car wash.

At a standard “come and go” exterior car wash, you drive up to the point where they utilize that giant spinning hairy-looking thing—which is quite abrasive and is scratching and marring your car beyond belief—and you pay for it to do so. That large brush is slapping the paint on your automobile as if it just yelled something to its mother.

Following that, if you pay an additional fee, the employees earning $12 an hour (it’s an honest job, but you get what you pay for) will reuse the same wash mitt and brush that was used on the car before yours without performing thorough decontamination. Now that the large spinning hairy thing has repeatedly smacked your car with sandpaper, the car wash staff are essentially sandpapering your vehicle with their infected mitts, unclean buckets, and brushes.

Now is the time for some extra-greasy tire shine to sling up the side of your “just washed” car. After exiting the car wash, your wheel barrels still have the same filth as in 2016. All of this for the unbelievable bargain of $50. However, as a special of the day, they sprayed on a one-month paint sealer for an additional $15 that will not adhere to your still extremely contaminated ride due to improper paint pretreatment. Your $65 can be put to better use.

The cherry on top is that you still have to pay and strain your back vacuuming your own car because you only paid to have your outside thrashed… sorry, washed.

To be fair, I recognize that I cannot fully disparage vehicle washes, as some do provide professional, high-quality services. Not only are their services exceptional, but their talented workers are equally so. I am referring only to your standard “come and go” car wash.

Car Washes That Aren’t Contactable? You Are Better Off Doing It Yourself

You now realize why you should use utmost caution when using a car wash. I will suggest (but not encourage) that a client use a car wash only if it is “contactless.” Contactless car washes are not as inconvenient as traditional come-and-go washes. They remove dirt with a variety of high-pressure pressure washers. Following that, foamy soap is used as a dirt-carrying surfactant and then rinsed away using high-pressure pressure washers. While these are safer than regular car washes, they do pose some risks. If your paint has any chips, a jet of high-pressure water may break off a nice chunk of paint when it hits the chip correctly.

Apart from the dangers inherent in this form of car wash, the cleaning provided is insufficient. Bugs remain on the surface, sap continues to eat away at the clear coat finish, the rims and interior remain dirty, and you pay the price. These washes cost more than a standard “huge spinning hairy brush” car wash, and while you get a little more for your money, you still don’t get what you want.

If you truly don’t want to spend the money on detailing the automobile, you could always wash it yourself! If you wash your automobile properly, you won’t have to worry about ruining the paint. If you understand the fundamentals of car washing, you will do a better job than any quick-service car wash. The issue for the majority of individuals is that they lack the time, are growing older, or simply do not want to do it.

Car Wash vs. Car Detailer: What’s the Difference?

The primary and most visible distinction between a car wash and a “professional” automobile detailer is that detailers do not skimp on procedures in order to get faster, less-than-professional results. Occasionally, we may assign ourselves additional work in order to attain a greater level of quality. We expand on the car wash method in order to cater to those who value their automobiles.

Our primary objective as detailers is to elevate our clients’ vehicles to a specific level of visually appealing quality, and once that level of visual excellence is attained, you pay us to maintain that level of visual excellence. A quick-service car wash’s goal is to get you in and out quickly, regardless of the outcome; meanwhile, detailers’ goal is to protect your investment in the vehicle being detailed and in us. Beyond a vehicle wash, detailers have the knowledge and tools necessary to care for your automobile’s exterior and interior. Typically, we are called to repair an issue created by a car wash or car neglect. A significant distinction between a car wash and a detailer is that detailers prepare and wash your vehicle in such a way that a paint correction or protective coating such as wax or ceramic can be applied to the painted surface. Preparation accounts for 90% of the game and is what separates winners from losers.

The following are some reasons why you should detail your car. Every day, your car takes a beating. Even if you park your car in a garage or cover it after each usage, dirt, dust, and spider webs accumulate on it. It obtains chips off the road, chips from boulders blowing from the freight vehicle front of you. It sustains micro-abrasions from the car covers or from your misuse of a product. With additional passengers, such as children and dogs, your method of transportation can quickly devolve into a hot mess on wheels if not properly maintained. With messes occurring inside and dirt coating the exterior of your car on a daily basis, it is impossible to maintain a car clean unless you clean it often or hire someone to clean your problem. These untreated and neglected messes develop into built-up, caked-on disasters that you’re unable to clean yourself because they’re either too nasty to look at or too embedded in the carpet to even attempt.

The primary reason you should have your automobile cleaned by a professional is that you can trust them to clean your car properly using the proper chemicals, tools, and knowledge. Professional detailers go above and above to ensure that their task is easy the second time around.

To my mind, a good professional detail will include services such as clay bar decontamination for services involving paint sealants, cleaning the wheel wells, opening and cleaning the gas tank door, APC spray down of the entire vehicle prior to the preliminary rinse, vent cleaning, and the use of brushes to clean in between the cracks and crevices of the interior. These are only a few of the services that a standard full detail should include.

Therefore, why would you want to hire a detailer? If you’ve never had your car detailed, if you have paint flaws, if your paint is unprotected, if you exclusively use car washes, if you want a professional to work on your car, if you have children, dogs, spills, or stains, and most importantly, if you want to get what you pay for.

How Frequently Should I Receive a Detail?

As a general guideline, automobile owners should detail the exterior and interior of their vehicle every three months. This rule of thumb, I believe, originated because traditional carnauba waxes typically last approximately three months with good wash care. While newer paint coatings (wax-based, liquid-based, ceramic-based, quartz-based, and graphene-based) may have varying lifespans, it is a myth that long-lasting coatings indicate you can spend three months, six months, or even a lifetime without washing or maintaining them. You should maintain the protectant that is protecting the paint of your vehicle or any other protected surface more frequently than once every three months. At the very least, your vehicle should be washed once a month. While some automobile aficionados prefer washes biweekly, weekly, or after each use, the ordinary car owner can get by with a wash once a month.

A Proper Cleaning Procedure

Although these maintenance washes need fewer steps than a traditional detail, they must be performed properly. To begin, we ALWAYS begin washing an exterior by cleaning the wheel wells, tires, and wheels. Due to the fact that cleaning the wheels and tires can sling dirt onto the paint, it makes sense to remove this sling during the exterior wash. Our outside cleaning procedure is similar to the contactless method. We clean the car to remove loose surface filth and then apply a thick layer of lubricating soap using a foam cannon to further extract debris from the surface. We remove the soap with high-pressure water. The detailer will then use clean, high-quality wash mitts and brushes that are either brand new or have been disinfected before to use. We employ a three-bucket wash system: one for wheels and tires only, one for washing with lubricating soap, and one for rinsing the impurities off the brush or mitt that just came into contact with the car. Following the wash, some individuals like to use drying aids to assist in lubricating the surface during the drying process. This drying aid is used to protect the drying towel from micro-abrasions and marring. If your automobile is ceramic coated, the best way to dry it is using a leaf blower (for do-it-yourselfers at home) or a dedicated auto blower. due to the fact that it is contactless. The less interaction with your car, the better.

If you or your detailer uses these procedures, a thorough detail every 3-6 months is sufficient, depending on your vehicle’s use and type of paint protection. After your car has been properly detailed, the most critical stage is maintenance. Maintenance enables you to postpone a whole detail for an extended amount of time. It’s financially advantageous in the long run and ensures that your vehicle is clean on a continuous basis.

What Should the Cost of Detailing Be?

If I have dissuaded you from going to the car wash, you may be wondering how much all of this will cost. It is entirely dependent on the state of your car and the work required.

Assume for the sake of this example that the vehicle has been owned for two years and has never been detailed. It is a family vehicle for the owners, who have two children and a pet. Inside the car, there is sand, pet hair, chicken nuggets, fries, and filth, caked grime on the steering wheel, dried coffee stains in the cup holder, random debris, and stains on the seats from interior spills. The outside is infested with insects. On your window, someone has written wash me. The wheels are completely covered in brake dust. Your paint is covered with hard tiny spots, and the gas tank compartment is so filthy that the once-white letters on the gas cap are now unreadable. This is typically the state of a car that I have never detailed.

In this case, you should budget between $200 and $400 for an exterior and interior detail without paint correction, depending on the size of the car and the detailer. Certain mobile firms may charge an additional fee for the convenience of having a professional on-site regardless of the location, equipped with all essential instruments to finish the work.

Traditionally, this service includes a paint sealant of the detailer’s choice. According to my study and experience, detailers will use a spray sealer that lasts up to three months to basic complete detailing. Because the majority of customers will choose a package that is neither the cheapest nor the most costly, the next step up pricing tier is roughly $300-$500. It will offer enhanced paint protection that extends protection up to six months to a year with regular maintenance, as well as some additional interior amenities such as steam cleaning or more thorough upholstery extraction or protection.

You will always be able to find someone who will perform the task more inexpensively. Bear in mind that you get what you pay for. That is not to say that you should choose the most costly person or organization; rather, you should choose the one who can provide you with intelligent responses to your inquiries.

Conduct an online search for the best detailers in your area, as well as for newer local firms. Several of these new detail businesses are run by excellent detailers. They simply lack the reviews necessary to establish their legitimacy YET.

Of course, you can use the big-name establishments that charge a premium due to their experience and labor. However, give a new small business a chance by contacting them to learn about the items they use, their procedures, and their history. With COVID shutdowns occurring once more, now is an excellent moment to give these tiny businesses a try, since they are in desperate need of customers.

In a Nutshell

  • Is it necessary to detail your car? Yes.
  • Should you do your own car detailing? YES, if you know how.
  • How frequently should I detail my car? Every 3-6 months, depending on the type of paint sealant used, a comprehensive detail should be performed.
  • Is it necessary for me to wash my car in between detailing? Yes, twice. The best defense for your automobile is a clean automobile.
  • How much should a standard full-service detail cost? Prices for a quality detail range between $200 to $500, depending on the extent of the problem and the detailer’s skill. You will always find it cheaper elsewhere, but keep in mind that “you get what you pay for.”
  • Many, if not all, detailers offer a maintenance plan to ensure that the work they have completed is maintained. If you paid for a complete detail service, the likelihood is that you value your car and want to maintain it clean with a maintenance option.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Vehicle Cover?

Many folks do not have the luxury of a garage or car port, therefore their automobile is left outside all year round. UV radiation from the blazing summer sun faded the paintwork, vinyl trim, and rubber parts on exposed car exteriors. Rainwater seeps into the outside and can corrode any portions that aren’t adequately covered.

Rainwater can also leave unattractive water staining on the paintwork, which can be difficult to remove if left in full sunlight. Unprotected cars are susceptible to impurities and debris that can abrasively affect and degrade the finish over time in strong winds, while extreme cold conditions can expose your car’s exterior to frozen snow and even hail stones.

Then there are the many other potential hazards and threats that have nothing to do with the weather yet are still beyond of your control.. Damage can be caused to your car’s exterior by bird droppings, tree sap, and industrial fallout if they come into touch with it. The exterior of your automobile can also be contaminated by other individuals, such as construction workers cutting concrete and mixing cement nearby, or a negligent neighbor painting their house or fence, which could accidently cover your car in thick cement or brick dust. In the long run, all of these factors contribute to the rapid ageing of your car’s paintwork and other exterior components.

Even if you keep your vehicle in a garage or carport, it is still vulnerable to various threats including paint fallout & over spray, falling items, and powerful liquid spills, even if it is protected from the elements. There may be delicate, thin paintwork on classic cars, as well as sensitive external parts, that if left exposed might soon become damaged or contaminated and require expensive or time-consuming repairs and replacements.

Vehicle contamination, corrosion, and damage are most likely to occur when a vehicle is left outside for an extended period of time. In this case, a car cover would be impracticable to put on and remove every day, as these items have less time to sink in and take hold if the vehicle is often driven and washed. For example, if you’re going on vacation, or if your car is being fixed or restored, a car cover should be used to keep it safe while it’s parked for long periods of time.

Your automobile’s lifespan and resale value can both be enhanced by using a high-quality car cover. To sell your automobile, you may want to demonstrate to potential purchasers that it has been protected from the elements by keeping it in a garage or under a carport. It’s also a good idea to protect any recreational vehicles, such as motorbikes, jet skis, or ATV’s, that are only used seldom.

In addition to protecting your vehicle from the elements, car and vehicle covers can also serve as a wonderful deterrent to theft and vandalism because it raises the likelihood of the culprit being caught, as it’s one more thing they have to get around before having access to it. There is an initial cost to a good automobile cover, but it is likely to be less expensive than a repair bill from a body shop or an increase in your insurance premiums if you have to file an insurance claim because your vehicle was easily stolen.

As a last consideration, modern car covers are composed of paint-friendly, high-tech, and durable materials that fit well and last for the life of the vehicle. Take only a few minutes to put and take off, and can usually be done by one person on their own, so you don’t have to rely on others for assistance.

Wheel & Tire Cleaning

Because the wheels and tires are the only components of your car that make contact with the road, they tend to accumulate dirt and pollutants fast. Wheel arches are the inner area that surrounds the wheels and tires, and as such, any dirt or impurities taken up from the road surface will be promptly deposited on them.

Along with dirt from the road, each time your car stops, the wheels are coated in a thin layer of dust from the brake pads. This accumulates over time and, if not cleaned properly, can practically ‘bake’ onto the wheel’s surface due to the heat created during braking. If wheels are not cleaned regularly, grime and brake dust accumulate and become extremely difficult to remove. Depending on the design of your vehicle’s wheels, impurities may begin working beneath the surface and corrode the wheel, resulting in an unattractive and neglected appearance.

Tires, like wheels, gather up and carry the same dirt and pollutants, but are frequently disregarded. However, it is critical to clean and condition your tires properly, as this helps prevent the tire walls from fading, cracking, and degrading due to the sun and road surface water. While the tread on your tires may be enough, if the tire walls fracture in certain areas, the tire may be judged unsafe, as it is the only component connecting you and your vehicle to the road.

Additionally, the wheel arches are frequently disregarded throughout the car washing process. Again, it is critical to keep your wheel arches as clean and free of impurities as possible. Corrosion and rust are most likely to occur around the wheel arches, therefore it’s worth paying attention to them when cleaning your car.

There are several critical working elements behind the wheel and within the arch, and these will perform better and last longer if they are kept clear of dangerous pollutants.

You should clean your wheels, tires, and arches at the same time you clean the rest of your car. As with the rest of your car’s components, if these have been completely and correctly cleaned initially, it should not take much work to restore them to a satisfactory and contaminant-free standard.

To begin, a strong yet non-acidic designated wheel cleanser may be required to remove stubborn filth and baked-on brake dust. If your wheels are not too highly stained, you can clean them with a diluted all-purpose cleaner and/or a standard auto shampoo solution. A variety of bristles brushes, both soft and hard, are necessary for successfully cleaning and reaching problematic places of your wheels, tires, and arches.

To clean the arches and tire walls, a diluted all-purpose cleanser can also be used in conjunction with a standard shampoo solution. After cleaning, an all-in-one polish product can be used to safely and effectively repair and enhance your wheels.

Additionally, you may like to use a dedicated wheel sealant following the polishing process to completely protect the wheels and make them much easier to clean the next time. For polished lips, dished wheels, or even entirely chrome wheels, a metal or chrome polish may be necessary. A range of microfiber cloths and applicator pads will be required for applying and removing the polish/sealant products, and a detailing spray can be used to assist in removing any odd product residue.

Leather Cleaning

If your vehicle has a leather interior, it is critical to keep it clean and hydrated/conditioned to prolong its life and structure. Due to the fact that leather is primarily an animal rawhide, if it is not properly cared for and maintained, it can become encrusted with dirt, discolored, and worn extremely rapidly. If you own a car with a dirty, worn-out leather upholstery, this indicates that the remainder of the vehicle has not been properly cared for and maintained.

It is critical to hydrate/condition your leather once it has been cleaned to prevent it from drying out. If leather is allowed to dry out, it will begin to wear considerably more quickly and may crack, especially when exposed to direct sunshine, as in a convertible. Keeping your leather hydrated and conditioned also helps to preserve the leather’s natural aroma, which fades over time but may be extended with routine cleaning and upkeep.

How frequently your leather should be cleaned is determined by its age and overall condition. Ideally, it should be fully cleaned and condition prior to use to ensure the greatest possible condition, and then simply maintained on a regular basis to retain that clean condition. Once your leather has been thoroughly cleaned, which should be done approximately every 6-12 months, it can be vacuumed and maintained weekly or monthly, depending on the vehicle’s usage and the owner’s preferences.

Prior to cleaning your leather, it should be carefully cleaned to remove any loose dirt and particles; using a soft brush attachment or a crevice tool in conjunction with a soft detailing brush will enable you to get into all areas and avoid inflicting any harm. To clean the leather’s surface, a specific leather cleaning product should be used and applied with a microfiber applicator pad.

A firm bristles detailing brush or nail bush can be used to help remove debris from the grain of the leather, although caution should be exercised not to overwork the region, as this may result in excessive wear/damage. After that, a dedicated hydrating/conditioning solution should be used to maintain the suppleness of your leather, again applied using a microfiber applicator pad.

After applying and working in the ingredients or allowing them to absorb, the leather should be polished with a clean, dry microfiber towel. After vacuuming, leather should be maintained with a moist microfiber towel and, if necessary, a light specified cleaning agent.

Polishing & Waxing/Sealing

The techniques of polishing and waxing are sometimes mistaken and conflated, whereas in fact they are two distinct practices. Polishing seeks to enhance the paintwork by using abrasives to level off the surface and remove any imperfections, by filling/masking defects, or by combining all of these procedures, depending on the type of product employed.

Waxing is the procedure of protecting your vehicle’s paintwork following polishing with a natural carnauba product that is often available in solid paste form. A wax contains no abrasives or fillers and hence does not enhance the paintwork on its own. When applied to a properly prepared and polished surface, however, a wax can help to give the completed paintwork depth and moisture.

Frequently confused with, or referred to as, wax, a sealant is just a man-made synthetic ‘wax’ that is typically packaged as a liquid but can also be obtained in paste form. Once again, a sealer is utilized to protect the paintwork of your vehicle following polishing. A sealant, due to its synthetic composition, is more durable than a natural wax, although it can be used in conjunction with one to achieve both durability and a high-quality finish.

An ‘all in one’ product polishes and protects your car’s paintwork at the same time. Typically, an all-in-one treatment will include light abrasives to aid in the removal or reduction of paintwork flaws, fillers to cover any deeper problems that the light abrasives cannot remove, and a synthetic sealant to maintain the finish. All-in-one products are extremely successful in consistently maintaining a car’s paintwork and are an excellent choice for already-in-good-condition paintwork.

The frequency with which you should clean your car is determined by the state of the paintwork and the type of product used. For instance, if you have a car with high-quality paint and use an all-in-one product, you can polish it every four to eight weeks.

If your car’s paintwork is in poor condition and requires polishing with a heavy abrasive, it is recommended to do so no more than twice a year to avoid harming the finish by removing too much material from the surface. If you believe your automobile need further polishing shortly after being severely polished, you should use an all-in-one product to properly restore the finish without risking damage to the paintwork.

Due to the fact that a wax/sealant contains no abrasives, there is no limit to the number of times your automobile can be waxed/sealed as long as the procedure is completed properly. It should be applied after the vehicle is polished and then reapply after washing the vehicle if the protection level begins to deteriorate.

The frequency with which you should clean your car is determined by the state of the paintwork and the type of product used. For instance, if you have a car with high-quality paint and use an all-in-one product, you can polish it every four to eight weeks.

If your car’s paintwork is in poor condition and requires polishing with a heavy abrasive, it is recommended to do so no more than twice a year to avoid harming the finish by removing too much material from the surface. If you believe your automobile need further polishing shortly after being severely polished, you should use an all-in-one product to properly restore the finish without risking damage to the paintwork.

Due to the fact that a wax/sealant contains no abrasives, there is no limit to the number of times your automobile can be waxed/sealed as long as the procedure is completed properly. It should be applied after the vehicle is polished and then reapply after washing the vehicle if the protection level begins to deteriorate.

If you would like to get your car professionally detailed, we offer buff and polish services which you can look into on our website!