Car Detailing – Meaning, Steps, How to Choose and FAQs


Car detailing
is the process of cleaning a car in such a way that it appears in new
condition. It is an elaborate job where there is a focus on both the exterior
and interior. Such a service cleans your car completely using advanced tools
and techniques. It also includes cosmetic touch-ups but body repairs and paints
are not part of it.

Car detailing is a huge business worldwide. As per reports, the car detailing market size in the US was valued at USD 14.21 billion in 2020. This market is expected to grow (CAGR) at 4.8% from 2021 to 2028.

Car detailing

Car Detailing
– Meaning and definition

The meaning of
car detailing is the cleaning and restoring of the car in a way that it looks
like as it is new. The definition of detailing as per is
cleaning the exterior and interior of a vehicle and sometimes also doing small
repair to enhance its appearance.

Car Detailing
vs Car Wash

There is a
huge difference between car detailing and car wash. While a car wash can be
completed in a short time, car detailing is a comprehensive process and take a
long time to complete. A car wash is done superficially to remove the dirt on
the surface while auto detailing does complete cleaning to protect the shine.

Types of

Auto detailing
can be broadly divided into two parts- interior and exterior. Here we elaborate
on these topics.

Interior Car
Detailing or Auto Detailing

In the car
interior detailing the interior of the car is cleaned using sophisticated
cleaning methods. The process uses different procedures that include vacuum
cleaning, steam cleaning, and several manual cleaning methods. In the interior
cleaning process, all the interior parts are cleaned to perfection to give your
car a nearly new look. The interior auto detailing is highly recommended as it
offers a safe environment for the passengers. A car owner must have the basic
knowledge of step in Interior detailing.

  • Vacuuming is
    done so that dirt and dust from the internal parts can be removed.
  • Brushing and
    cleaning are applied to clean upholstery and mats. The leather parts of
    interior need cleaning and polishing so that its shine can be maintained.
  • Special care
    is given to glass cleaning as it should offer an uninterrupted view to the
  • After thorough
    cleaning vacuuming is done one more time and after that perfuming is done.

Exterior Car
Detailing or Auto Detailing

detailing is the extensive detailing of the external side of the vehicle. The
entire emphasis is on restoring the exterior of the car in such a way that it
looks at its best. While driving, the vehicle come in touch with dust, salt,
gravel, mud, stone and several other things. These things make a dirty
appearance on the outer surfaces. A car detailer uses several car washing
products, tools and technologies to improve its appearance. Body, wheels, tyres
and window are covered under exterior detailing. Sometimes minor scratches are
also dealt under it. If you want to know the major steps in exterior auto
detailing, then these are as follows.

  • The exterior
    auto detailing starts with washing of the car. Here good quality shampoos are
    used and these are allowed to foam for sometimes so that dirt and grease get
    soft. Later it is washed.
  • The next step
    is claying where the painted surface gets clayed with a car bar. It cleans the
    dirt that was not removed through the washing.
  • After
    cleaning, car waxing is done where a wax coat is applied using a machine.
    Sometimes it is also done manually.
  • The next step
    is to paint sealing. The process help store the shine of the car.
  • In the end,
    headlights and taillights are cleaned. After the polishing, a plastic coating
    is applied to them.

    Car detailing

Services Included in Car Detailing

An ideal car
detailing service cover every part of your car. You can expect cleaning of all
the exterior and interior parts.

  • Cleaning of
    exterior parts
  • Removal of
    dirt, grease and dust
  • Pressure
    washing of exterior
  • Hand car wash
  • Hand drying of
    the interior
  • Machine polish
    of the surface
  • Detailing of
    wheel and tyre
  • Cleaning of
    interior of doors
  • Cleaning under
    the seats
  • Dashboard
  • Cleaning of
    leather seats
  • Cleaning of
  • Cleaning of

What is Mobile
Car Detailing or Auto Detailing

The term
mobile car detailing is self-explanatory. In such kind of service complete
detailing is delivered at your doorstep. The service offers all the benefits of
a regular detailing. The only difference is that you don’t have to take your
vehicle to the facility and you get the services done at home. These types of
services are getting increasingly popular among the masses as it saves their
lots of time. But at the same time, these are a bit expensive.

Benefits of
Car Detailing

There are a
good number of benefits of car detailing and the service is completely worth
it. Let us come directly to the point and know the top advantages.

Removes Dirt
and Dust

Even after the
full-service car wash, some contaminants remain stuck on the car body. These
contaminants need removal. If left untreated, can cling on the surface and
damage the paint. A car detailing service removes the contaminants and maintain
the smoothness of the paint.

Scratches and Swirls

Scratches and
swirls steal the shine from the impressive paint of your vehicle. The problem
arises with the inexperienced use of buffers and washing. This problem can be
better dealt with proper detailing. Ask your car detailer about the problem and
he will take the remedial measures.

Protection for
Your Paint

Just cleaning
your car is not enough, you need to protect the paint of your car. Most of the
time people use wax which lasts for a few months. Sometime sealant which has a
relatively bigger lifetime is also used. However, the best solution is to use a
ceramic polymer coating.

Life Gets Extended

A car
detailing service also has a great role to play in extending the life of your
car’s interior. From seat to the dashboard and other parts of interior an auto
detailing service has several things to do. As interior also constitutes
leather upholstery, these things need to be better-taken care of.

Preserve Car

There are
vehicle owners who want to change their car every few years. And they need to
sell their old car to make room for the new. To get a better price, their car
needs to be preserved. A car detailing service helps preserve the look of your
car that prospective buyers will like.

Comforts and Safety

A good service
adds freshness to the inside environment of your car and sets the mood for a
perfect drive. Cleaned windows, mirrors and windshield offer improved
visibility that makes driving a pleasure. With cleaned headlight, you can even
drive during the night with confidence.

Car detailing

Also Read- Auto Body Shop: Collision Repair, Paint, Detailing and FAQ

How to Choose
the Right Car Detailing

If detailing
has so many benefits then you might be looking for ways to select the right
auto detailing. Here we give valuable tips on it.


A large number
of friends, relative and colleagues may have availed these services. So, they
know better which car detailer is good and which one is not up to the mark. You
should take their recommendations seriously as it comes from experience.


Cost is an
important consideration while choosing a car detailing service. The cost of
service depends on the quality services and products used. You should make sure
that it offers good value for money. If a shop offers extremely cheap service
then you should rethink because you can’t compromise on the quality of service
for a few bucks.

Proper Set-Up

A good auto
detailing service should have its professional set up. There are several
detailers who work from their garage. Don’t trust them as the professional
approach is missing. A professional detailer has a set of equipment that is
essential for a good detailing.


While looking
for a detailer you will come across detailers who will claim extremely fast
service, sometimes even within an hour. These claims shouldn’t be believed.
Detailing, if done properly, can take a few hours. And you shouldn’t go for a
service that takes a hurried approach.


You should ask
your prospective service provider whether they have any certification. An auto
detailing service is fast expanding and now certifications are being issued
that establish you as a trained detailer. So, you should ask the company if
they are carrying any such certification.

Year of

There are
several auto detailing providers that come to this field with the intention of
making quick money and shut shop when their aspirations are not met. In this
pursuit, they don’t properly invest in facilities and tools and technology that
negatively impact the services. So, you must check how long they are in

Car detailing


Insurance is
another factor that you should take into consideration why choosing a car
cleaning service. Make sure that the shop is properly covered with insurance.
Even the most experienced auto detailing services accept that accident does
happen despite taking all the safety measures. If the shop is insured the
losses for them and you can be easily covered.

Also Read

Short Term Car Insurance –Meaning, Benefits and How to Buy

Professional Tools

Car cleaning
services must be in the possession latest tools as sophisticated tools are
available for various works. There are times when service providers don’t
invest in tools and technology. And the result is shoddy work on your vehicle.
So, you must check whether the service provider has the right tools to detail
your vehicle.

Complete Range
of Services

You should
prefer a car detailer that offers a complete range of services. A service
involves several steps and it needs to wash, polished and waxed. So, you should
prefer a service that has all the facilities in one place.

Experience on
High-End Vehicles

If you are the
owner of a high-end car you shouldn’t risk your vehicle by giving it to an
ordinary car detailer. Make sure that the service provider has worked for
high-end cars. An experienced car detailing service will help you keep your car
appear like new.

Look and Feel

The look and
feel of the car cleaning service matter a lot. A professionally managed company
can be understood with its look and feel. They have a professional set up and
employees in uniform. Such things have nothing to do with the work but it shows
professionalism at work.


We are living
in a world where a review of several products and services are available online
where people tell about their experience with a particular shop. If people
praise their services then it is a good choice. If negative reports are more
than positive then the detail shop is not worth considering.

See the Proof
of Service

Some car
detailing service keeps the testimonials of their services. They have pics and
videos about their services. They show the cars before and after conditions.
Such testimonials instill trust in customers.

Also Read – How to Choose the Right Collision Repair

Car detailing

Auto Detailing
or Car Detailing FAQ

Is it worth
detailing a car?

Yes. Detailing
a car keeps it in good condition. It maintains its shine and restores it resale

How long
should it take to detail a car?

The process
takes 2 – hours.

How often
should I detail my car?

You should
detail your car 2 to 3 times in a year that means every 4 to 6 months.

How long does
it take to clay bar a car?

30 minutes

How long does
it take to hand polish a car?

3 hours

How long does
it take to hand car wash?

1 hour

How long does
it take to wax a car?

15 minutes

Is it better
to hand wash your car?


Do we need to make an appointment to get my car washed?

It depends on the kind of car wash facility and the time of the day you want to visit them. Some car wash facilities are busier than others. Some car spas remain busy at a particular time of the day. On the other hand, some car spas don’t have a wait time and your car gets washed in a short time. In our opinion, it is always wise to make an appointment to save time and cut through the crowd.

Also Read 

Car Repair Near Me – How to Find a Good Auto Repair Shop

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