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Car Detailing: What Is It? What Does It Cover?

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First Thing First: What Exactly Is Car Detailing?

Car detailing is not the same as car washing at all. Unlike car washing, detailed car washing can make a vehicle look spotless as an automated system is not used when cleaning the inside and outside of the vehicle. Instead, it involves meticulous step-by-step handwashing by very experienced detailers. Since it involves a thorough cleaning by hand, you can even say that detailing goes beyond the normal car wash.

Car detailing can restore your vehicle’ to its former glory and protect your investment by reconditioning both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Most detailing companies’ services extend beyond automobiles and offer detailed car washing for motorcycles, SUVs, RVs, buses, trucks, buses, boats, and even airplanes.

Understanding the two components in car detailing:

1. Exterior Detailing

This process involves vacuuming, restoring as well as improving the exterior parts of the vehicle, including:

  1. Tires
  2. Windows
  3. Wheels
  4. Side-view mirrors

The products used will usually include (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Polishes
  • Wax
  • Detergents
  • Degreasers

2. Interior Detailing

The beauty of a car is not restricted to its exterior only. Far from it. The interior cabin of the car plays an important role in its overall look. Interior detailing is essentially cleaning the inner parts of a vehicle and requires more effort and time than exterior detailing.

Interior detailing can clean any type of fiber, such as:

  1. Leather
  2. Plastics
  3. Vinyl
  4. carbon fiber plastics
  5. natural fibers

Techniques employed include:

  1. steam-cleaning
  2. vacuuming

What to Expect from Auto Detailing?

Auto detailing can be done on a previously owned vehicle, on a vehicle you are planning on selling or on your regular car.  It can restore the car’s original beauty and make it look great again.

i. Duration

Auto detailing is a long and arduous process that requires methodical and meticulous cleaning. Depending on the condition of the vehicle, a thorough and high-quality detailing job should take anything from four to six hours to be completed.

You can either leave your vehicle at the detailer’s and pick it up after the detailing has been completed or wait there itself until the work is completed.

ii. Pricing

Reputable detail companies offer detailing work bundled into “packages.” They will have several package levels and each package has a set cost. For example, interior vacuuming, window cleaning, exterior wash, and surface polishing are considered to be basic detail options. This package should cost less compared to others. There might be an exception if your vehicle is exceedingly dirty or if there are lots of pet hair on the seats or upholstery. The company might charge an additional fee in these cases.

If you are worried about the pricing and your vehicle is extra dirty, it would be prudent to do some vacuuming yourself before dropping it off to the detailer. Additionally, local car washes might be the best option if you are cost-conscious. Dedicated detail companies would have more options and a more professional team, but it will come at a higher price.

iii. Results

While in most cases car detailers can restore the vehicle to near-mint condition, you can’t expect every detailing job to yield the same results. Even if the level of service provided is exemplary, the age or condition of the vehicle will affect the end result.  

What you can expect is for:

  • every detail of your vehicle to be cleaned, even the cracks and crevices
  • the paint to be touched up
  • the tires to be cleaned and shined
  • the vehicle to be spotless on the inside
  • the outside of the vehicle to be free of water spots

Benefits of Professional Car Detail

There are several benefits to getting a detailing done by a professional. Below are the 3 top advantages of professional car detailing:

1. Improved resale value

Everybody loves that “new car” look and smell. In addition to being well-maintained, if both the exterior and interior look as good as new, the vehicle will demand a higher selling price and will sell faster.

2. Fewer penalties to pay if the car was leased

Spills and stains happen, and you can end up being penalized for them when returning the vehicle. To avoid ponying up cash for lease-return penalties, ensure you keep up maintenance on the vehicle. This includes detailing the exterior and interior on a regular basis.

3. More Convenient

While a complete auto detail isn’t cheap, it will save you time as you can just drop off your vehicle at the dealer’s and pick it up once they have completed the cleaning and restoring. It is also convenient as it saves you from the hassle of washing, waxing, and vacuuming.

To Conclude, Here’s a Bit of Advice:

  1. Remember to check reviews to find out what other customers say about a company before considering going to them.
  2. Ask the dealer if they carry insurance that covers damage that may be caused by their employees.
  3. Remove any valuables from your vehicle before leaving it in the company’s care.
  4. Check the company’s policy on lost items. A reputable dealer should have one.

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