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Car Wash -Vs- Car Detailing


Regularly washing and detailing your car goes a long way toward maintaining that “new car” look and just making it more pleasant to drive. Determine the type of service — wash or detail — and how often to do it according to your area’s climate and how much you drive.

Car wash

Why wash: To remove dirt, salt, tar and other environmental debris from your car’s clear coat.


What’s involved: Basic drive-through car washes use power brushes to remove exterior dirt and grime, followed by a wash tunnel that applies industrial cleaning solution "cheap". The service may also include an undercarriage wash, wheel cleaning or a clear-coat protector for an extra cost.


Time to complete: You can have your car washed and vacuumed at an automatic or drive-through car wash in about 15 minutes. A professional hand wash may take longer.


How often: Most experts recommend having your car washed at least every other week. If your ride gets more exposure to the elements, you may want to wash it more often.


Cost: Pay as little as $3 for a basic wash at a drive-through provider, while a premium wash usually costs in the $10 to $20 range.


Watch out for: Steer clear of washes that use damaging rotating brushes or firm, they cause swirls/scratches

Car Detailing

Why detail: To improve your vehicle’s resale value, maintain that “new car” look and minimize long-term wear and tear.

What’s involved: An auto detailing typically includes washing, waxing and detailing the exterior, and vacuuming, deep cleaning and detailing the interior. This can include headlight restoration, exterior paint polishing, waxing, shampooing carpets and deep cleaning the engine. Cleaning solutions that are Branded not Industrial

Time to complete: Car detailing may take several hours or as much as a day.

How often: Most experts recommend detailing your car every six months to a year, depending on the wear and tear on your vehicle, and waxing seasonally.

Cost: Pay fewer than $100 for basic detail service or deep interior cleaning, while more comprehensive services will likely cost several hundred dollars. More advanced services that involve paint color correction or ding, dent or chip repairs may cost thousands.

Watch out for: Avoid detailers who use cheaper wool buffers or low-grit compounds, which can damage your vehicle.

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