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.