What is Auto/Car Detailing?

We constantly receive calls from people asking us, “Do you guys do car washes?” Car washes are necessary and good for your car, but when you think in terms of detailing, car washes are often just the beginning.

Auto detailing is the use of professional methods and products to rejuvenate the exterior and/or interior of a vehicle.

Auto detailing is an art. Like many things, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A person could look at a Picasso painting and not give it a second glance. However, a painting connoisseur could see the true value in the work of art. Auto detailing is no different. The intensive process and skill required to make a vehicle look, smell, and feel brand new can be overlooked by some, but appreciated by many.

Auto detailing a vehicle is going beyond a simple car wash. For the exterior, it is washing the car but depending on the package, also using a clay bar on the vehicle. (A clay bar is like an acne cleanser to your skin, it eliminates dirt from the pores of the paint that a car wash does not, it’s totally safe for your paint) A highly-prized specialty of auto detailing is utilizing high-speed machine polishers to eliminatescratches and swirls that are in the paint’s finish, that car washes cannot remove and even inflict every now and then. Wet sanding the vehicle is another choice for vehicles that need more attention. Applying high-quality waxes and sealants is often always applied by professional detailers. Permanent coatings have also become increasingly popular over the last few years.

An auto detail compared to a car wash alone is like comparing a general practitioner to a specialized surgeon. By no means is anything wrong with a general practitioner, but when you would like more attention and expertise in a particular area, it is best to see a specialist.

Much of the same holds true for the vehicle’s interior. Many “car washes” just spray some shiny protectant on the dashboard and vacuum the carpets. An auto detail consists of using special attachments and tools to get into the often-overlooked crevices and cracks. This is done using steam cleaners, specialized vacuums, and many more. The motive is often not to simply clean the interior, but to rejuvenate it to feel like new.

A detail is not for everyone. Some people are simply fine running their vehicles through a car wash that can damage their paint, while choosing to have someone clean their interior in a matter of 3-4 minutes.

Others value their vehicles in a way that they understand how you treat your vehicle will determine how it treats you. They want to give their vehicle the time and care to have it personally catered to and have it treated the attention that often takes hours to perform.

I hope you are able to grasp what an auto detail is to better understand what to expect and determine if a certain level of service is right for your vehicle.

While I often contrasted auto detailing with car washes to make a point, some auto detailers simply do car washes alone, while others simply include it in more intensive services. Either way, you should evaluate your needs and determine what particular level of service your car deserves.

What have been your experiences with auto details and car washes?