Some people don’t give much thought to the way their vehicle looks, while others drive around every day with a vehicle that looks like it just came off the lot. If you want to be in that second group of drivers, then you need to invest in car detailing.
Whether you invest in the items to do it yourself and be willing to be in the time and effort it takes to do it, or you invest in auto detailing services, this is the perfect way to protect both the interior and exterior of your vehicle, maintaining its shine and keeping it free from dust, dirt, fingerprints, smudges, and imperfections.
How Long Does It Take To Detail A Car?
A typical full car detailing job takes 3 to 5 hours, although this can vary greatly depending on what particular services are included and how difficult the problem areas being addressed with your car are to solve.
Of course, car detailing is an extensive process. So, before you commit, you may be curious how long it takes to detail your car? Before that question can be answered, you must first understand what car detailing is.
What Is Car Detailing?
Many people confuse the term car detailing with the simple task of washing a car. However, the two are very different from one another. Auto detailing is the process of cleaning and restoring a vehicle to its original state. Car detailing is a process done by hand that focuses on both the interior and exterior of the vehicle, whereas car washing can be done by hand or via an automatic car wash and focuses only on the exterior of the vehicle.
What Does a Full Detail Include?
First off, it is important to understand that a full detailing service will vary from one auto detailer to the next. So, while one service may offer this AND that, another service may only offer this OR that.
However, for the most part, a full auto detail is going to cover all of the non-mechanical components of your automobile. So, we are looking at the wheels and tires, chrome trim, exterior paint, interior surfaces, carpets, and seats.
Everything will be cleaned and polished. The interior will be vacuumed and shampooed. Upholstery will be cleaned and conditioned. Tough, stubborn stains will be removed. A sealant will be applied to your tires and paint so they are left with a glossy finish.
Basically, it is a head-to-toe “restoration” of your car, leaving it free of dust, dirt, and grime. You will be left with a vehicle that looks like it just came off the showroom floor!
How Long Does It Take to Detail a Car?
The time it takes to detail your car will vary from one vehicle to the next. For one, it will depend on the size of the car. For instance, it will take less time to detail a Honda Civic than it will a Cadillac Escalade. Therefore, the larger the vehicle, the more time it takes to detail it.
At the same time, if your car is extremely dirty, it goes without saying it will take more time to detail it. However, if you have maintained your car well since its last detailing, it won’t take nearly as long for the detailing process.
Overall, you can expect the car detailing process to take somewhere between three to eight hours, although it is possible for a full car detail to take several days. It all depends on the age, size, and condition of the vehicle.
How Long Does It Take to Detail a Car Interior and Exterior?
As previously mentioned, the length of time it takes to detail a car’s interior and exterior will greatly depend on the age, size, and condition of the vehicle.
Interior Car Detailing
When a basic wash is done on a vehicle, the interior of the car doesn’t get a lot of attention. That’s where interior detailing comes in, as it focuses on all the nooks and crannies like the cup holders that are ignored in everyday cleaning.
Everything in the vehicle is removed from the cabin of the car so a thorough cleaning can be performed. Special, and different, products are used to clean the different materials, such as leather, plastics, vinyl, windows, etc.
If the vehicle is brand-new, it won’t take more than a five- to 10-minute vacuum and up to an hour of basic cleaning to have the car ready. However, if the vehicle has been neglected for some time, a full interior car detail is going to take anywhere from five to eight hours (or more) to restore it. Of course, the length of time it takes to perform an interior detail will depend on the condition of the vehicle and the overall quality of results wanted.
Exterior Car Detailing
Exterior auto detailing makes sure that every inch of the outside of the vehicle is thoroughly cleaned, including the gas cap, door jambs, and grille. If the vehicle has scratches or otherwise damaged paint, paint correction techniques may be used to further restore the appearance of the vehicle.
Similar to interior detailing, there are various factors that will determine the length of time it takes for the process to be completed. If the vehicle has been well maintained since the last detail, it won’t take as long. If paint correction is needed, this will likely add a couple of hours or more onto the time, depending on the extent of the damage.
Overall, exterior car detailing can take anywhere from two to five hours or more, depending on the quality of results looking to be achieved and the condition of the vehicle at the start of the detailing process.
How Long Does It Take to Vacuum a Car?
Vacuuming a vehicle generally does not take very long. In fact, it can take about 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the size and condition of your vehicle. This is probably the quickest and easiest part of the auto detailing process. The part that takes the longest is cleaning up the interior of the cabin so that you can vacuum.
It only takes a few days for your vehicle to literally look lived in, but you can make your vehicle look new again with a good vacuuming. Believe it or not, a good vacuuming has the ability to transform your car in a way you never thought possible.
A quick vacuum here and there will improve both the appearance and comfort of the interior of your vehicle. Clean carpet will wear more evenly, last longer, and smell better!
How Long Does It Take to Shampoo Car Carpet?
When it comes to shampooing car carpet, your first task is going to be cleaning out your vehicle entirely and vacuuming. You can’t shampoo the carpet if you have trash and other odds and ends on the floor.
When you start to spray the carpet shampoo, you’ll want to pay close attention to problematic areas (odors and stubborn stains). Let that soak in while you clean the floor mats. Then, you can start to scrub and shampoo your car carpet. Soak up the moisture and allow it to air dry.
All in all, you are looking at roughly two to four hours to complete the shampooing of your vehicle’s carpet. It is important that you are able to complete this in one sitting, as leaving the vehicle mid-shampoo could result in unclean and moldy carpets.
How Long Does It Take a Car to Dry After Being Detailed?
Drying a vehicle after the detailing process is probably the most important part of it all. Many people tend to neglect this step, but it can have a huge impact on the final product. It should take anywhere from about 10 to 30 minutes.
From safety to appearance, drying a vehicle correctly after being detailed is important. Believe it or not, it is possible to damage the paintwork by allowing your vehicle to airdry, not to mention subpar results. There is likely to be shampoo residue, water spots, streaking, and other imperfections of the finish, all of which impact the visual appearance of the freshly washed and detailed car.
Therefore, drying your vehicle properly and completely following a detailing session is imperative. This should be good with a quality microfiber towel. These are designed to soak up the water on the surface of your car safely and efficiently without scratching the paint or leaving behind swirl marks.
Don’t forget to apply a quick detailing spray/drying aid to aid in the reduction of streaking and water spotting while also adding a layer of gloss to the paint. Finally, a sealant, wax, or ceramic coating should be applied for an added layer of protection.
Is Detailing Your Car Worth It?
While car detailing may be a time-intensive process, whether you do it yourself or have a professional detailer do it for you, it is a process to invest in if you care anything about the long-term value and health of your automobile.
Detailed vehicles are more attractive to prospective buyers in the event you decide to sell, bringing in a higher resale value. Further, when your vehicle looks good, it makes you feel good!
Conclusion: How Long Does It Take to Detail a Car?
Hopefully, you have found the aforementioned information helpful. As you can see above, there is no clear-cut answer as to how long it takes to detail a vehicle. There are too many factors that play a role, including the age, condition, extent of damage, extent of dirtiness, and quality of results wanted.
However, you should expect to set aside an entire day for interior and exterior detailing of a vehicle. The first time you detail your vehicle may take longer, so be prepared for that. Remember, your goal is to restore the appearance of your car, and this takes time and effort. You can’t expect this to be done in an hour or two.