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What is Car Detailing?

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Car detailing is the meticulous process of cleaning and restoring a vehicle to its original condition. It goes beyond a regular car wash, which typically involves an automated system. Professional auto detailing, on the other hand, is a manual process that includes both exterior and interior cleaning services to achieve a like-new appearance.

what is auto detailing

What Car Detailing Services are Included in Professional Car Detailing?

To restore your vehicle to its original condition, car detailing involves several steps:

  • Vacuuming the seats, carpets, and entire interior

  • Cleaning and polishing the dashboard, vents, instruments, and trim

  • Cleaning all cloth, leather, and floor mats

  • Cleaning the inside and outside of all windows

  • Washing, drying, and waxing the exterior

  • Cleaning and polishing all tires and rims

Exterior Car Cleaning

The car detailing process involves various exterior services:

  • Hand wash and dry: The detailer uses specialized products to spray and wipe down the car, including rims, door handles, and glass.

  • Paint claying: A clay bar removes contaminants, overspray, or residue after washing, resulting in a cleaner and smoother surface that enhances the effectiveness of polish and wax.

  • Polishing: An abrasive compound is buffed onto the car's paint to eliminate small scratches and swirls, improving its appearance.

  • Sealing or waxing: A sealant or wax is applied to give the car a glossy shine and provide a protective layer for the paint.

  • Additional exterior services may include trim repainting, engine detailing, headlight polishing, engine pressure cleaning, bumper repair, glass chip repair, and paint touch-up.

what is included in a full car detail

To ensure a thorough cleaning of your vehicle's interior, car detailing typically includes several steps:

  • Vacuuming: The detailer uses a vacuum to clean seats, carpets, mats, headliner, rear cargo area, and trunk, removing any debris.

  • Scrubbing and brushing: Stains on floor carpets and mats are treated with a scrubbing and brushing process to remove them.

  • Steam cleaning: For tough stains on carpets and seats, steam cleaning is used, offering a more effective solution.

  • Glass cleaning: The windshield and windows are cleaned to ensure clear visibility while driving.

  • Leather cleaning: The detailer uses leather cleaner and soap to clean any leather parts in the vehicle, ensuring they look new.

  • Deodorizing: The car interior is finished off by spraying a deodorant to leave it smelling fresh and clean.

what is car detailing interior

Additional Car Detailing Services

In addition to the services mentioned earlier, professional car detailing businesses may offer the following:

  • Paint correction: This process involves addressing flaws on the surface of a car's paint, such as dullness or oxidation. Detailers typically use a rotary machine polisher for optimum results.

  • Ceramic coating: Ceramic coating is a liquid polymer applied to a vehicle's exterior to provide a protective layer for the paint. It is often used as a high-quality alternative to traditional wax.

  • PPF: PPF stands for paint protection film. It is a thin polyurethane film that offers extensive protection for car paint, safeguarding against rock chips, minor scratches, UV light, mineral deposits, acid rain, and more. PPF provides a more comprehensive level of protection compared to ceramic coating.

Why is Car Detailing Important?

While running a car through a car wash removes dirt, it falls short of maintaining the pristine condition that a thorough detailing provides. Unlike a car wash, detailing goes beyond cleanliness; it safeguards a car's paint and interior, minimizing vulnerability to natural elements and wear. Detailing is crucial for extending the lifespan of a vehicle and preserving its resale value. By investing in regular professional detailing, you can enhance their enjoyment of their cars and save money in the long run.


Is detailing the same as cleaning?

While a basic car wash is sufficient for removing daily dirt and debris from your vehicle, detailing takes it a step further, helping to preserve the quality, appearance, and resale value of your car.

What does car detailing include?

What does a car detailer do?

Is car detailing good for a car?

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