What Should a Full Car Detailing Service Include?

January 27, 2012

At a car detailing service professionals using special tools will clean your vehicle of dirt and road grime, both inside and out and in detail. In addition to having a very clean car, the process of car detailing will also help to keep the vehicle in excellent condition and therefore retain more resale value. The challenge when shopping for a detailing service is finding one that will cover all of the required aspects of detailing.

Paint Care
The paint on your car is a very delicate thing, and most reputable detailing services with deal with it in a three step process that cleans, corrects and protects the paint surface. The cleaning step consists of properly washing and drying the car to remove any dirt and grime. Next comes clay bar application, which removes contaminants in the clear coat such as industrial fallout, metal particles, dirt and tar. Once this has been done, if needed, the paint will be polished to remove any swirl marks and fine scratches before being sealed via waxing to protect the paint and help it to shine.

Chassis and Wheels
The undercarriage and chassis of your car should be cleaned along with the rest of the exterior. This not only includes directly under the car, but also inside the wheel wells and around the major suspension components such as anti roll bars and control arms. The plastic splash guards and inner fender liners should be dressed with a plastic protectant, and wheels and tires should be washed thoroughly before being dressed in a protectant that improves their luster and protects from corrosion and cracking.

Headlights, Taillights and Exterior Trim
Many detailing services will apply a polishing compound to headlights and taillights showing signs of oxidation, but properly sealing them after wards with a plastic sealant is an important step. Chrome trim should be cleaned, and any vinyl or plastic trim should be dressed with a protectant to help them resist cracking and fading. In addition to plastics and rubbers, many detailing services also clean the chrome or polished exhaust tips as part of their service.

Interior Detailing
Interior detailing should at minimum include a cleaning of all carpeting and seating surfaces. This is done either by shampooing or by using a steam cleaner. In addition, all plastics and vinyl should be properly cleaned and dressed, and any leather should be conditioned and cleaned. This is not limited to the passenger area, and many thorough services will also include the trunk area in the detailing package.

Engine Bay
While many detailing services may not include this in their standard packages, it is a very important aspect of automotive detailing. The engine bay should be lightly misted with water, and then cleaned with a suitable degreaser before being rinsed clean. Once properly dried, all silicone, plastic and rubber components should be properly dressed to protect them from cracking.

Costs Associated with a Car Detailing Service
A standard car detailing service should range in cost between $50 and $150 depending upon your location, the type of vehicle you drive and the quality of services being offered by the company or individual. Larger vehicles such as SUV's and vans typically cost more, as does an upgraded package consisting of even more attention to detail. You can expect to pay additional fees for the highest quality shampoos and cleaning products, the use of special equipment, superior waxing, steam cleaning or shampoo of interior carpets and cleaning of leather upholstery. You may want to take advantage of additional services including engine cleaning, dent removal or wheel detailing.

How to Choose a Car Detailing Service

When you wish to employ a car detailing service you can take the word of former customers, you can look them up in your local phone book and take your chances or you can review them online and see if your choice is BBB certified. Everyone will have different needs when employing a car detailing service. You'll want to know if they have different packages, and whether they have adequate facilities. Here are some things you'll want to explore when choosing a car detailing service.

Features Wanted
Depending on the features that you require in your car detailing, you should shop around for those detailers that can provide you with what you want. If you're looking for a simple car wash and vacuum, you might consider concentrating your efforts on a company that has more modest offerings. With a company that provides expansive services, you will find that their rates may not be as reasonable.

Many times car detailing services will have a specials day. Some will choose a slow day in their week and either give a discount for specific people, like lady's day, or they may give a Wednesday special. If this kind of benefit is in your schedule, you can sometimes save up to 20 percent. Car detailing companies that use a lot of bells and whistles, like impressive facilities or cleaner looking employees and grounds, may also be more expensive. On the other hand, those places that take better care of their employees and facilities may be more reasonable than you would think, because they have plenty of business.

Look online and check out reviews of detailing companies in your area. People will put their opinion online regardless of whether their comments are positive or negative, because of the anonymity of the Internet. With the world wide web readily available, it's easy to get the recommendations you need in order to learn which choice will work best for your requirements.

Many businesses become affiliated with companies that certify the responsibility and reliability of businesses. Organizations like the Better Business Bureau are reliable sources of information on car detailing companies. Ones that are reputable will join these organizations in order to advertise through their services, and validate their product and services.

General Considerations
Regardless of what your requirements are, you can find the perfect car detailing service. If you intend to use the same business for repeat service, you can even find that they will give you a frequent-flyer type of discount. Some car detailing services reward loyal customers with discounts, coupons, and specials like periodic oil changes or fluid checks. Service is important, and perks that your chosen car detailing shop provides may be the very thing that will steer you toward your perfect business. Be sure to ask the manager if they have any benefits for return customers. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Related Questions and Answers

Are There Any Auto Detailing Chemicals that I Should Stay Away from?

There are a lot of detailing chemicals out there today and most of them take very good care of your car. The reason for this is that they are made specifically for your car so they will not harm it. However, detailing chemicals to avoid are ammonia-based glass cleaners since they could leave marks on your windows and windscreen. Avoid laundry detergents also since they are too harsh for your car's finish. A lot of detailers also still use kerosene to remove asphalt and other stubborn substances so you should avoid them as well. These are some of the detailing chemicals that you should stay away from when caring for your car.

What are the Best Products to use for Engine Compartment Detailing?

There are a lot of products that you can use for engine compartment detailing. One type of product is an engine degreaser. This is one of the best products that you can use to clean your engine. It is the first step when detailing the engine since it removes stubborn dirt and grime. You can also use rubber and vinyl protectors to coat and protect the rubber hoses in your engine. If you have chrome in your engine, you should also use chrome polishes to bring back their shine. These are some of the best and most recommended products for engine compartment detailing.

Can a No Water Car Wash Get My Car Just as Clean?

Yes, a no water car wash can also get your car just as clean when compared to a car wash that uses water. This type of car wash uses special products and cleaners that are sprayed onto the surface of your car. These products are specifically designed to remove dirt, dust and other stubborn substances that have dwelled on your paint job. However, in executing this type of car wash, it is important that you know perfectly well how to go about it. You just don't spray and wipe. There are specific steps and procedures in order to effectively clean the car and avoid damaging the paint. A no water car wash is an effective and easy way to clean your car but the right method should be followed.

Will Automated Car Wash Systems Damage My Car?

It actually depends on which one of the automated car wash systems that you go to. There are some automated car washes that can damage your paint job because too little water is used or the brushes that clean your car have too much dirt stuck to them. It is actually recommended to use those pressurized car washes that just use water and soap with no contact at all, meaning nothing lands on your car's surface except soap and water. Actually, if you think about it, there will always be the risk of damage whether you clean your car manually or go through an automated car wash because it all depends on the manner of how your car is cleaned.

Does the Type of Soap Really Matter When Detailing Your Car?

Detailing your car starts with the correct cleaning agents to use in removing the stubborn dirt and grime. Therefore, it is safe to say that the type of soap that you use does matter. It should be effective enough to thoroughly clean the dirt but mild enough not to damage your paint job. For example, using powdered detergent is definitely not recommended because, although it can remove the dirt, it will leave white streaks on your paint when washed off and the granules in the soap will scratch the surface of your car for sure. When detailing your car, try to find the best soap or shampoo on the market which will be perfect for your application.

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