Car enthusiasts love their cars more than anything else, and having their cars cleansed is not just enough for the most of the time, they rather seek for top-notch professional cleaning giving their ride a PERFECT look! You can probably relate, right?
However, if you’re just a beginner like I was once, Car detailing wouldn’t be an easy task for you initially but don’t worry, you’re not alone. This article is exactly for your kind, and we’re here to teach you all about it. So, let’s get going!
- What is Car Detailing?
- Car Wash Vs. Car Detailing
- Is Car Detailing Beneficial?
- Steps of Car Detailing
- How Much Does Car Detailing Cost?
- Choosing a Car Detailing Service
- Can Car Detailing Be Done At Home? How?
- Which Portions Cant Be Done At Home As A Beginner?
- 14. Auto Detailing Mistakes You Must Avoid
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Car Detailing?
As complex as the term might seem, the meaning is really straightforward and refers to reconditioning and taking care of the condition of your automobile from inside out.
Car Detailing includes both the vehicle’s exterior and interior cleaning. There are various specialized car detailing supplies that help achieve the purpose like protecting the vehicle’s paint and other parts from exposure to UV rays or other contaminants.
In short, getting your auto detailed is enhancing its body from inside out by lessening the scratches and other roughness from the body of your vehicle and giving it a renewed look.
Car Wash Vs. Car Detailing
A lot of times, it becomes really hard for newbies to differentiate between Auto detailing and Car wash and quite many times people fail to see the significant difference between the two which leaves them wondering why should they spend a larger amount of money in car detailing.
- Unlike car wash, the engine of your vehicle will be thoroughly inspected and checked for any parts covered with greased which will be removed if found. The painted parts are waxed and dried, followed by application of a conditioner.
- Car detailing involves the vacuum of the interior as well. The detailer will be applied to all the interior parts. The plastic parts will also be taken care of which are usually damaged by the UV rays. Window glasses are cleaned as well.
- The exterior of the vehicle will be washed with soap, and a soft towel is applied for wiping. Furthermore, unlike the case in the car wash, the contaminants are also removed by using a clay bar. And not only this, but the polish is also applied after this, and the tires are also properly cleaned, giving your vehicle a look like it’s just arrived from the showroom.
- During all the processes described above, the major factor which differentiates it from the car wash is that washing is pretty simple and you can do even by your own self. However, in-car detailing, there are various specific tools and detergents as well.
Is Car Detailing Beneficial?
You still might be worrying if getting your vehicle detailed is worth all the extra money you’re spending when you could get your car washed cheaply and in a lesser amount of time. So, let’s take a look at the benefit of getting your automotive detailed.
I. Value for Money
Going to a good car detailer means that every scratch, rust, scrape, etc. are taken care of. Even the unwanted odors that might bother you will also vanish, and you will be shocked by the appearance of your vehicle after it’s done.
II. Better Fuel Economy
As we have already established it above, car detailing also involved taking care of the engine, which in turn helps you achieve a better fuel economy. Moreover, scrubbing off dirt and other contaminants reduces the air resistance again contributing in better average.
III. Improved Safety
Car detailing will also negate any possible hazards that you might face while driving. You will have a near-to brand new exterior without any spots or obstacles in your vision and a cleaner interior, letting you breathe cleaner air with a comfy environment.
Steps of Car Detailing
Auto detailing is a quite comprehensive process that required many steps in the correct order. Further going into the article, we will see all the steps explained in detail, but usually, the core sections involve interior detailing and exterior detailing.
Both the steps are independent of one another and have different sub-processes involved. After being done with both, you will have your reconditioned vehicle giving you the vibe’s like you had when you first bought it.
The process is not very simple but doesn’t be all overwhelmed; we’ll guide you throughout the process and elaborate each step to your satisfaction.
Exterior Car Detailing
If you’re the one who likes to boast their vehicle, the exterior is what matters the most, anyone having a slightest peek at your vehicle will be noticing the exterior. Whereas car wash is significantly easier and you might already know the procedure involved, for exterior car detailing, you will need to go through a relatively harder and longer task, but worry not, let’s start off and tell you all about it in steps.
I. Bucket List
First off, make sure you have the car detailing products that you will need throughout the process, so you don’t have to run around buying things in the middle of work. However, make sure to buy good quality gear to make sure you’re not putting the amount of applied hard work at risk. So, you will need:
- Car sander
- A couple of buckets
- Soaps and mitt
- Clay bar
- Car buffer
- Polish and Wax
- Towels and Pads
- Wheel brush and Wheel Cleaner
Starting off with washing the exterior of the car, make sure it’s not been driven recently, and the body of the car is cooled down.
Pre-wash is the step which usually people ignore and end up damaging the body of their vehicle. The main purpose is to remove any major grim or dirt that can damage the body if sponge or mitt is directly applied to them.
Foam guns can also be used at this point, but they are not necessary. A pressure washer will also do the job just fine.
This is probably the dirtiest part of all vehicles, which is why cleaning them first is often preferred. Being really close to the roads, tires pick up the most dirt during the drive and often get clogged up with dirt or mud.
Moreover, winters make the situation worse, and tires could actually result in corrosion.
- Start dealing with one wheel at a time and apply the wheel cleaner.
- Wait for a few seconds and then start scrubbing the tires in a circular motion. You can also use a wheel brush if there is too much grim but be sure it has soft bristles, so it doesn’t result in scratches on the wheels. Using a wheel sponge for tighter areas and a scrub brush for inside of the wheels is recommended.
- Once you are done scrubbing off, use a powerful stream of water to wash off the wheels and be done with it.
IV. Body Wash
- Make sure you don’t think about using any of your household cleaners.
- Use a car shampoo and put it inside a bucket with 2/3 of it already filled with cool water.
- Take another bucket and fill it up with water alone for rinsing purpose. This method of using two buckets simultaneously results in much better wash from the case of otherwise. So, don’t think of it unnecessary and stick with it.
- Take a wash mitt and soak it inside the shampoo bucket.
- Divide your vehicle into sections and start applying the mitt on each section turn by turn.
- Rinse the mutt whenever it catches enough gunk from the surface of the auto.
Don’t be too hard on the surface and apply the mitt at least in two goes. The first go being relatively lighter to take off the loose dirt and the second go being the decisive one. Applying too much pressure on the first pass could be damaging to the paint of your car.
The water bucket you’re using to rinse off the mitt will get cloudy over time; hence, you need to change the water after it gets to a specific point of cloudiness.
Keep the car’s body wet throughout the process. Whenever you soap a section and are moving on to the other, rinse it off, or you will be left with soap stains drying on the body.
This process is again sometimes ignored by people who don’t realize that its the main thing which removes major contaminants which gather up on the exterior of your vehicle.
However, claying is only necessary only once or twice per year. The process is described in detail below.
- Make sure you have the supplies you need.
- The vehicle is parked away from sunlight.
- Spray a lubricant on the body of your car.
- Start applying the clay. It will start taking off all the contaminants that are embedded in the paint of your car.
- Keep claying the whole exterior, including the windows until you don’t feel any more resistance from the surface.
Polishing is another important factor when it comes to exterior detailing. It helps getting rid of scratches, stains, or oxidation. It also helps in keeping the paint from going dull.
Polishing the car manually is not such an easy task as compared to the earlier tasks we’ve seen, which is why people prefer auto-buffering. Still, let’s see if you want to put in some effort how shall you do it.
- Take a pad and apply polish on it.
- Start applying it on the body in small portions.
- Make sure you apply enough pressure on it to remove the scratches.
- As you keep rubbing the pad applying the polish.
- The polish will eventually start drying up. This is an indication where you should stop, allow two to three minutes to dry.
- Finally, use a towel to wipe off the surface.
Now that we are done with removing all the contaminants and pollutants that we embedded into the paint of the body. Now the next step is to make it wear a protective layer, which is achieved by waxing it.
The damage that usually gets done to your vehicle will be reduced by a dramatic amount after getting it waxed. Moreover, the wax is a natural water repellent and will further help in getting your car washed. Let’s see how you can do it.
- Get a small pad like in the previous step and put wax upon it.
- Start scrubbing the pad onto the exterior of the car.
- Apply the pad in a back and forth manner and gradually start changing the position of the application of the wax.
- When you have fully applied the wax, give it enough time to be dried off.
- Then use a towel to remove if any residues are left.
Getting the Exterior Shiny
If you’re also one of the enthusiasts who aren’t satisfied by detailing their cars only and are interested in the extra shine as well, you might be confused as there are quite many recommendations about doing the task.
So, let’s look at the best tips to follow while car detailing to keep your car shiny all the time.
As mentioned earlier, polishing is extremely important, especially If one is interested in making the exterior shine more than usual. Polishing improves the appearance of paint and helps u achieving an eye-catching look however make sure you get a good quality polish.
The role of tires in the overall appearance of the car is often underrated. They make up a huge part in giving a glossy finish to your car. So make sure you get all the dirt off the tires and apply tire shine separately to get the best results.
Lastly, don’t use an average soap while washing your car. Rather use a car shampoo with a good reputation or from a known vendor. Car shampoo has a great impact upon the paint of your car a bad quality shampoo might damage the body paint keeping your car from looking shiny!
Why is Ceramic Coating Beneficial For The Exterior?
If you’re really into keeping your car in a top-notch condition, you might have some knowledge about ceramic coatings and the advantages it provides in the long term.
Ceramic coating basically has a job similar to the waxing. Both provide a protective layer to preserve the exterior from unwanted materials; however, the ceramic coating does a much better job at it and lasts quite longer than the wax due to its tailor-made nature for this purpose.
The paint of your vehicle is bound to wear off with the passage of time, but on average, it lasts for around three years, assuming that you have a decent quality of paint applied. But, if you have also applied the ceramic coating, the paint is bound to last for at least five to six years depending upon the quality of coating applied.
Ceramic coating is also well known for its ability to make the outlook of your vehicle gain a whole lot of shiny look. And due to its ability to last for a fairly long time, your vehicle is bound to have a glossy look for several years!
However, the results are highly dependent upon the quality of coating applied and the way it’s applied. So make sure you choose the top-notch ceramic coating to make the most out of it.
Driving your vehicle all around the town, it’s quite easy to catch dirt and pollution deteriorating the look and overall exterior of your car’s body.
Hence, ceramic coating really comes in as being effective. Not only does this provide a high level of immunity to the paint damage, but it also provides protection against water-shedding due to its property of being hydrophobic.
Moreover, it also deals with all the chemicals, including the UV rays effectively, again protecting the paint layer of your exterior.
Best Way To Protect Paint? Wax, Ceramic Coating, Or Paint Sealant?
Different specialists recommend different things to protect the best of your car’s paint, but it’s important for you to recognize the difference between each and choose the best amongst them to your satisfaction.
Wax is the easier among these ingredients to apply on the car due to their physical form, being a paste most often or sometimes a liquid. They effectively protect the paint but don’t last much longer so you may have to have them applied twice or more each year.
b) Ceramic Coating
This is the most effective way to protect the paint layer, and if you are really interested in getting durable long-term results enhancing the look of your vehicle as well, this is probably your best go.
But this is not as easy to apply as the other two, so you might need to consult a mechanic.
c) Paint Sealant
They are placed somewhere in the middle of car wax and ceramic coatings. Made out of polymers, they last significantly longer than a mere wax protecting the paint but do not compare to the tenure of a ceramic coating, nor the looks it provides!
Interior Car Detailing
As of now, we have been quite thoroughly done with the process of exterior call detailing and by following all the steps as mentioned, you should result in an impressive and shiny exterior body of your car. So, let’s jump to the second major section now, the interior detailing.
As opposed to a common misconception, interior car detailing is actually as important as exterior car detailing, and a good car detailing can only be achieved if both the sections are treated as being equally important.
Interior car detailing has many sub-steps involved ranging from vacuuming to garbage cleaning. Each step will be explained in detail as we move on; let ‘s jump in!
I. Cleaning of Surfaces
This step involved the hard interior surfaces which need to be cleaned with extra care. These surfaces include doors, dashboard, storage area, etc. Let’s see how to get it done.
- Get a quality surface cleaner from a known vendor.
- Put the cleaner on a clean cloth.
- Start rubbing the cloth on the surface; you can also use a conditioner for this job; however, it’s not necessary and is totally upon you.
- For reaching narrower areas, you can use a brush. Make sure the bristles are soft enough to keep the surface from any damage.
For cleaning the hard surfaces that are used most often and catch filth most, it’s recommended to use a steam cleaner as it will not only take the dirt and grime off those surfaces, but it will also disinfect them keeping you from any infections that could probably be caused by them.
II. Carpet Cleaning
Carpets make up a huge part of the looks of your car’s interior. Without having them cleaned up in detail, you can’t possibly boast a good car detailing. They catch dirt and germs easily as a lot of people usually come and go, bringing the dirt along their shoe-wear.
So, cleaning the carpets regularly is as important for your well-being as it is for looks. You can use a steam washer to clean the carpets. The process is very simple.
- Take them out.
- Wash them pretty much the same way as you clean the carpets at home.
- Allow them to dry.
- Install them back once completely dried off.
III. Window Cleaning
Ignoring the cleanliness of the windows for a long period of time can allow them to deteriorate permanently, so make sure you adopt the habit of cleaning them regularly.
- Get a spray cleaner.
- Spray it on a clean cloth or a rag.
- Carefully rub each part of windows from the inside to make sure you catch all the traces of dirt, grime, and other contaminants.
- Stop once you’re satisfied and notice all the dirt disappear.
- You can use a newspaper and repeat the process again to get extra shine.
An important thing to keep in mind here is that avoid cleaning of windows under direct sunlight at any cost; otherwise, you can result in having streaks on your windows which you certainly don’t want.
Read Also: Best Paint Sealant for Cars Review
Cleaning the upholstery is one of the most important steps and is simpler than what many people believe it to be.
You have to have a good upholstery cleaner. You can either get a dedicated upholstery cleaner or get a multipurpose cleaner which can be utilized in other steps as well.
Getting a good to upholster cleaner is half job done, so make sure you get a good quality one. The process is pretty straightforward, and just like what you did in window cleaning.
The material of your upholstery is important! Leather upholstery has a different cleaner than a leather one. A cloth upholstery needs to be cleaned by spraying the cleaner onto it. For vinyl seats, an all-purpose cleaner would suffice.
Please make sure to avoid using silicone cleaner if you don’t want marks left on your clothes.
This step can be referred to as probably the most important part of this section. It takes out all the dirt from the interior. Once you have a vacuum, start vacuuming all the parts of your auto’s interior one after the other including the seats, carpets, dashboards, etc.
You may use a compressed air can or the extensions that come with the vacuums for reaching out the hard-to-reach places in the interior.
One thing to note here that vacuuming is done twice to get better results, the first round goes prior to doing anything else in interior detailing, before doing the hard surfaces and the carpets, to take out only the major dirt that has accumulated in the interior.
Don’t forget to clean miscellaneous places like vents and arm-rests. After this, the other steps are done where each and every part is cleaned in more detail.
After you are done cleaning everything individually, you have to go through the process of vacuuming once more to ensure the removal of dirt because after cleaning different parts separately, dirt may have been blown out to various places in your auto.
Just go through the process of vacuuming once again taking care of every inch and corner, and you’re good to go.
VI. Protecting the Interior
This comes as the last step and is completely optional. The aim here is to protect the interior of your auto by the harmful UV rays coming from the Sun.
Applying a UV protectant is very much recommended nowadays by pretty much every car detailer. You can get your hands on the Aerospace 303 Protectant as it has a pretty good reputation.
The process is quite easy, and the protectant can be just wiped on and buffed off, respectively. It leaves on a classy matte look and protects the plastics, leather, and vinyl for quite a long period of time.
VII. We’re done!
With the completion of this step, we are all done with the interior detailing covering all the details and portions of the interior of your auto. However, completing each step as mentioned is essential to get the best result.
How Much Does Car Detailing Cost?
To be rational, this very question doesn’t have a single answer. The cost of getting your auto detailed is highly dependent upon certain factors. Let’s see.
a) Vehicle Size
The size of your vehicle is usually the main factoring to determine how heavy will the car detailing be on your pocket. A larger vehicle like a loader or a truck will cost around 40 bucks more than a regular SUV.
There are many packages that you can choose from when getting your car detailed. Different packages have different services having different prices.
Add-ons are separate from the services. For example, an add-on could be using a higher quality product for usage in the detailing process, like using a more expensive wax. So, the more add-ons you have, the higher you will have to pay.
Choosing a Car Detailing Service
Once you have finally made up your mind about getting your auto detailed, the major problem you’re likely to face is choosing the best car detailing service for you.
The quality and experience of the detailer are what the job is highly dependent upon. But, don’t worry, as we have helped you through everything before, we won’t leave you stranded here as well.
There should always be a certain criterion when choosing the right service, here are some tips on the basis of which you can choose the right car detailing service. Search around locally or look up a car detailing near me for the suggestion of car detailers.
Mobile car detailing negates your need of taking your vehicle to their garage. This is actually quite used if you’re someone who’s running errands all day and barely have free time.
b) Services Offered
Look around for car detailers online and locally until you find just the detailer that meets your requirements so you can be satisfied by the car detailing to the fullest.
Nowadays, reading reviews is always a good idea before choosing any services over the internet or even locally, they will give you a rough idea of the work quality offered.
d) Price Plans
At the end of the day, price is what really impacts the most on our decision. If you’re not on a budget, you could definitely try out the luxury car detailing services or look for the options which suit your budget otherwise.
Can Car Detailing Be Done At Home? How?
If you’re someone who’s really short on budget or want to do the detailing himself if he’s too sensitive about his car or is just curious, then the good news is: Car detailing can be easily done at home as well without compromising on the quality of the work done.
However, there are a few things that you need to consider when detailing your auto at home.
Car detailing is a process which requires loads of hard work and time, especially if you’re a beginner, it will take far more time than a professional car detailer. So, make sure you’re committed enough to detail your car at home and don’t expect the process to be super fast and spare plenty of time.
The process includes a whole lot of equipment which can be pretty difficult to collect if you go out buying them individually, so make sure that you get a full car detailing kit before starting the work and get the quality products to ensure quality work.
Don’t set out to sail all on yourself, rather take help from a guide written by a professional car detailer and follow each step very carefully and closely putting in the best of your effort. Doing so will make you achieve the same quality work that you’d expect from car detailing services.
Which Portions Cant Be Done At Home As A Beginner?
As we discussed above, how we can easily achieve the tedious task of detailing your car at home, there are certainly some disadvantages of doing the work at home.
There are some portions of car detailing that, unfortunately, cannot be done at home due to their attributes of being complex and unnoticeable.
The vents are very hard to clean merely using a cloth, often impossible to be honest. This dirt slowly accumulates in the vents, eventually presenting itself as a grave problem. But, this is relatively easier and totally achievable for professional car detailers to tackle this problem.
Moreover, there are some very minor issues that cannot be caught by our regular eyes, and only regular detailers are able to notice them. For example, windows of the Car acquiring grime which can form a permanent line if not paid attention to.
So, it’s obviously such insignificant things which give away the quality of doing car detailing at home. However, it often depends upon people as some don’t comprehend these as deal-breakers, but for some, its enough reason to get the idea of doing detailing at home out of their minds.
14. Auto Detailing Mistakes You Must Avoid
Everyone is a perfectionist in his own mind, and people often improvise the steps mentioned in guides such as this one, thinking that it would not be that big of a problem.
As far as car detailing is concerned, there are sure some things that you can do your own way based upon your preferences, but there are some rules that you have to follow and failing to do so strictly would probably result in unsatisfactory results.
Let’s see what mistakes people most often do but shouldn’t!
I. Using One Bucket Instead Of Two
If you recall, we mentioned using two different buckets for rinsing and cleaning of the auto body during the exterior detailing. What usually happens is people sometimes ignore it and use a single bucket instead, screwing up the process completely. Make sure you ALWAYS use two separate buckets and not just a single one.
II. Washing Under Sun
As we have already mentioned several times in the guide before, washing your auto under direct sunlight is probably the most disastrous thing you can do. So, always wash it in the shade or indoors.
III. Using The Right Soaps
Using the soap that’s specifically meant for washing the cars is highly recommended. Don’t just a random soap available at home and mess up the surface of your vehicle.
IV. Cloth for Cleaning
Always use a mitt and good quality micro-fiber towels for cleaning the car. Don’t think about using a regular sponge or chamois as they could be hazardous.
V. Doing The Tires In The End
This is somewhat related to using common sense. If you have the slightest knowledge about auto-wash, its highly likely that you already know this. Doing the tires and wheels in the very end is bound to get some dirt again on the exterior of your auto, wasting your efforts spent on cleaning it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Being a newbie to car detailing, you’re bound to come up with some questions that you will be really confused about. These -straightforward questions might be hard to seek sometimes often annoying you to a point where you’re on the verge of changing your mind of doing the auto detailing.
We have made a list of such questions that are often faced by beginners, so you won’t have to go around asking detailers about them wasting both of your time. Let’s have a look!
- What is car detailing?
- Is auto wash better?
- How long would it take to detail my car?
- How much is car detailing beneficial?
- How often should I get my vehicle detailed?
- Does detailing remove bad odors from the car?
- Is steam better than soap & water?
- How long would car detail last
- Should I remove the belongings before auto detailing?
- What is a clear coat?
It is the process of reconditioning the car both from exterior and interior in detail, removing all the impurities, scratches, swirls and grimes.
No. It doesn’t have a comparison to car detailing and can damage the paint of your car.
For an average experienced detailer, 5 to 6 hours a day for full detailing and around four if you want either from exterior or interior detailing.
It is very beneficial. Increases the value of your vehicle, protects the paint, and adds extra shine, enhancing the overall look.
Highly dependent on the usage of your vehicle. If you are an average rough driver, once a year is recommended.
Yes. It totally removes any bad odors residing in your vehicle during interior detailing.
Yes, by far. It de-greases, disinfects, and sanitizes without needing a chemical.
Dependent on how you treat your vehicle. If you get a proper wash, it should last for a long time otherwise usual washes damage the paint.
Yes, it is recommended. Most detailers waste any material present inside the vehicle.
It refers to multi-level paint. First, a base coat is applied after which a top layer is applied for flourishing and brilliance.
In the end, it all breaks down to how much you’re affectionate to your vehicle and level of maintenance you want.
Car detailing is a perfect way to take care of your auto to the fullest keeping in view all kinds of aspects that will let you keep your vehicle in a brand new condition and let you enjoy it for maximum years.
Whatever the kind of person you are, choosing to pay to get it done or doing it yourself, this guide is all you’ll need, and you’re good to go with the process.