Who doesn’t love that new car smell? Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a new car, but having your car feel and look like new is both easy and affordable. Professional auto detailing is a terrific way to add a little luster back into a not-so-new car!
Depending on what company you choose (it’s definitely best to find one locally), auto detailing packages can range from simple to extreme: everything from the exterior to the interior to the engine and other components under the hood! The biggest decision that you have to make is how much you want to spend and what is really essential to “pamper” your particular vehicle.
But what exactly is involved in auto detailing? Below, we’ve described some of the items that may be addressed in each of the areas mentioned above (exterior, interior and engine).
Exterior detailing involves the cleaning, polishing, and protecting of the car’s paint, chrome trim, windows, wheels, and tires as well as all other visible components on the vehicle. It seems that each detailer uses different products and techniques that are tailored to the exterior. Products include: detergents, degreasers, acids, detail clay, waxes, polishes, and a variety of applicators, brushes and special cloths.
- Cleaning removes all foreign surface particles from exterior surfaces through the use of chemicals, water, and heat while washing and claying. A clay bar helps to clean contamination/dirt from the surface of the clear-coat that cannot be removed through washing and removes such items as bugs, tar, sap, paint, and overspray, to name a few!
- Polishing, also known as paint correction, refers to using an electric or pneumatic machine polisher to remove microns of the clear-coat from a vehicle in order to eliminate fine scratches, swirl marks, oxidation, and other imperfections from a paint surface produced from improper washing and drying techniques and other possible causes.
- Protecting involves the application of a protective waxes or sealants (in liquid or paste form) to provide a barrier that prevents foreign matter, contaminants, and pollution from adhering to the surface of the vehicle, including minerals in water, bugs, splatter, tar, dirt, and more.
Interior detailing involves cleaning the passenger compartment as well as the trunk of the car. All of the dash area, panels, windows, seats, and carpeted areas are cleaned extensively. Vacuuming is standard, and steam cleaning, liquid cleaners, and brushes may be used to remove stains on upholstery. Some nonporous surfaces may also be polished.
For an additional charge, some detailers remove seats and other interior components to provide the most thorough upholstery and interior cleaning possible.
Some detailers may offer engine detailing which involves steam, high pressure water, degreasers, and all-purpose cleaners being used to clean under the hood of the car.
It should be noted that general detailing does not include major body work, painting, mechanical or upholstery repair; however, it may include sanding of body panels to eliminate and/or lessen the visibility of scratches.
Finding the right auto detailing service for your vehicle may seem a little daunting, especially if you’ve never had it done before. Luckily, one of the best resources for finding auto detailing at a good price is through daily deal services such as Groupon or LivingSocial. Both avenues typically offer auto detailing in their “services” blasts and, in our experience, have been offering great deals on a pretty consistent basis. These online deals allow you to get a feel for what the service provider offers, while saving a little bit of cash in the process.
It is definitely recommended that you research the business you decide to use, as its online reputation can tell you a lot about the level and quality of service they provide.
Have you ever had your vehicle detailed? Was it a positive experience? Have any good recommendations for first timers? Let us know down in the comments section below! Your feedback is very valuable to us and our readers!
*image courtesy of JMR_Photography on Flickr