Your vehicle is a significant investment as well as a valued possession. With that being said, you want to ensure it continues looking just as great as it did when you purchased it off the lot.
Even if you use your vehicle for your daily commute, keeping your car looking new and clean is still possible. Getting your vehicle detailed regularly is an excellent way to maintain its overall appearance and preserve its value.
Because you probably have many questions regarding car detailing, we have put together this guide to answer some of the most common car detailing questions, including how often you should get your vehicle detailed.
How Often Should You Get Your Car Detailed?
Experts recommend having your vehicle detailed every 4 to 6 months and no less than once or twice a year.
Ultimately, the decision is yours and will be based on your personality, what you use your vehicle for, and the type of vehicle you are driving.
How Often Should You Detail Your Car
The frequency at which you should have your car detailed will vary by the amount of wear and tear your vehicle sustains, as well as many other factors. There is no cut-and-dry answer.
However, experts recommend having your vehicle detailed every four to six months and no less than once or twice a year. Ultimately, the decision is yours and will be based on your personality, what you use your vehicle for, and the type of vehicle you are driving.
Of course, keep in mind that your vehicle will be in better condition the more frequently it is professionally detailed. At the same time, the more effort you put into keeping the interior and exterior of your vehicle clean, including washing, waxing, and general cleaning, the less often you will need to invest in a full detail.
If you decide to trade your vehicle in at a dealership or sell it to another individual, a professional car detail is always a good idea. This type of investment can go a long way in presenting your vehicle, potentially increasing the amount of the offer you receive.
What To Do Before Getting Your Car Detailed
The point of having your vehicle professionally detailed is to avoid having to clean it yourself. While you don’t have to go all out, you should pick up your mess to an extent. It is simply common courtesy and will make the job easier on the auto detailer.
For example, you should remove any large and loose pieces of trash that the vacuum won’t pick up. So, those Dr. Pepper bottles and McDonald’s bags need to be thrown away ahead of time.
Don’t forget to remove any money, valuables, and personal items. Not only will this allow you to rest with the peace of mind that these items won’t be stolen, but this will make the detailer’s job easier and prevents any confusion regarding what’s to be kept and what’s to be thrown away.
In addition, take note of any interior or exterior issues that you want to discuss with the detailer, such as scratches, rock chips, paint swirls, carpet stains, leather tears, etc.
What Does a Full Detail Include?
Every car detailing service will have its packages and features, which means they will offer their type of detail and no two services are the same. However, a full detail will always consist of both interior and exterior cleaning. When a full detail is complete, there shouldn’t be a speck of dirt, dust, or debris on any part of the vehicle, inside or out.
A full detail is divided into two sections: interior and exterior.
Interior Car Detailing
With interior auto detailing, the focus is on deep cleaning the complete cabin of the vehicle. Interior detailing requires extensive attention, sometimes more than the exterior. This difficulty is because the vehicle’s interior often has multiple materials, such as plastics, carbon, leather, and more.
Detailing the interior of a vehicle can be a very involved job, requiring attention to detail and numerous unique cleaning tools, techniques, and products for every material.
Vacuuming of the interior is performed in areas like the seats, trunk, and rear cargo area, which helps remove any dust, dirt, and lose stains. Brushing is performed to deep clean the floor mats and other similar surfaces.
Some other common services performed with the interior car detailing process include polishing, glass cleaning, and perfuming. Shampooing or steam cleaning is performed when there are hard-to-remove stains that vacuuming could not remove. Leather trimming is performed on leather car parts using a white vinegar mixture or special soap.
Exterior Car Detailing
With exterior auto detailing, the focus is on cleaning and restoring the outside of the vehicle. High-quality products and exceptional techniques are used in an attempt to restore your vehicle to its original condition. These products and procedures are tailored to the state and type of vehicle surface.
The goal of exterior detailing—and interior detailing—is to have your car looking new again.
First and foremost, your vehicle will be washed and dried by hand using specialized products. More often than not, microfiber towels are used for the hand-drying process because they don’t leave lint behind, won’t scratch your paint, and prevent streaks on the glass.
To remove residue that may be left behind on your vehicle after they wash your car, they will use a clay bar on your vehicle. The clay bar application removes any contaminants within the clear coat, like dirt, tar, metal particles, and industrial fallout. This step also helps to ensure that the wax takes to the car well.
Waxing consists of applying a wax or sealant, which will add a protective layer on top of the vehicle’s paint and give it a shiny appearance.
The polishing of your headlights, taillights, and any exterior trim is also performed to make sure they are clear and smooth, allowing your lights to shine bright. Your detailer should apply a sealant afterward to help prevent future oxidation.
A pressure washer is also used on a low-pressure setting to thoroughly wash the vehicle’s engine, which removes any built-up dust, dirt, and debris that may affect its ability to cool down properly, improving its performance.
Some other common services performed with the exterior detailing process include trim repair, tire detailing, and more.
Is Car Detailing Worth It?
Put simply, yes! There are many reasons why detailing your car is essential. Auto detailing is not only cost-effective and practical, but it offers an emotional benefit as well.
When you buy a brand-new car off the car lot, it comes with a clear coat directly on top of the paint. However, over time, that clear coat will wear off.
The good news is that professional and regular details will help maintain that new-car look for a little longer. In addition, as you are having your vehicle detailed, the detailer will inspect the car for any signs of salt damage, dirt, dings, scratches, and more.
A thorough auto detail will remove contaminants that can potentially damage the paint, chrome, vinyl, leather, and upholstery. Although the value of your vehicle indeed depreciates each day, a professional detail can help slow the depreciation rate.
Increased Resale Value
Experienced detailers are familiar with the market, and what potential auto buyers are looking for in used vehicles. Therefore, they know how to ensure you get the highest possible resale value if you decide to sell your car.
Improved Engine Performance
When your vehicle is detailed, the entire automobile gets cleaned thoroughly. You can include the engine. Your detailer will clean your engine of any dirt, dust, and debris. As a result, it will run cooler and smoother, increasing its overall performance.
Can Car Detailing Remove Scratches?
When your vehicle is polished during the detail, light scratches are often removed with decent ease. However, if you have deep scratches on your car, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with a paint and body shop to perform the work separately.
Can Car Detailing Remove Stains?
As a general rule, the full auto detailing process will successfully remove any stains built upon the upholstery and in the fabric since your last detailing session.
Can Car Detailing Remove Mold?
When your vehicle is taken in for a full detail, you can expect any presence of mold to be removed from your car’s interior.
While you can remove mold on your own, the removal must do it safely. Therefore, you should wear the proper safety gear, including gloves, a mask, and eye goggles, to prevent unnecessary illness from coming into contact with the mold.
More often than not, it is simply easier to allow a professional auto detailer to tackle the mold problem since they have the proper equipment to remove it safely and efficiently.
How Long Does a Full Detail Take?
The process of auto detailing is extensive, and because of this, it can take anywhere from three to six hours to complete. The time it takes for a full detail to be completed will vary from one car detailing service to the next, as well as the condition of your vehicle when you take it in for the service.
If you want to enjoy all of the benefits of a clean, spotless car, getting your vehicle detailed regularly is a must.
When performed at least twice a year, professional car detailing can help remove any stubborn stains and grime that a regular car wash cannot. In turn, this helps to protect your vehicle’s paint and preserve the car’s value.