Car Detailing is a term that is used frequently nowadays by many people and is mentioned on several product labels and promotional adverts for car valeting companies. Consequently it is of little surprise that it is a term that is much misused and often misunderstood.
There are probably two reasons for this. Firstly in the UK at least, detailing is a natural progression from car valeting. Now by car valeting, I mean what most of us think of as traditional car cleaning. For example a wash, wheel clean and a hoover out. For those of you who want to go to the next stage or move on from the Valet to get better results, Detailing delivers exactly that, a fantastic clean inside and out so it is used correctly in this instance. The second reason is because car cleaning has been around forever and detailing as a term is relatively new and different so it increasingly used to sell more product / services by companies / suppliers that can see an opportunity for differential in a flooded market place and so use the term along with such phrases as professional clean to position offerings as different and more desirable.
With this in mind, Car Detailing is relatively easy to define. It is a process to clean, polish, enhance and protect all sections of a car from inside to out with an exhaustive attention to detail that will give a very high quality result. And I mean exhaustive, removing all traces of dust from around dashboard switches or removing every piece of brake dust from around wheel nuts, polishing every inch of paint until it is literally shines like a mirror! Then seal and protect everything that has just been cleaned. Detailing can be broken down into sections, usually including but not limited to the following:
- Interior – headlining, carpets, seats, dashboard and trims
- Exterior – glass, paintwork, trim, exhaust tips, brake callipers
- Wheels – Rims, including wheel nuts, tyres and arches
- Engine – Block, head, radiator, battery and inner wings
It is common for these sections to be offered individually or bundled up as a package for a variety of reasons but commonly these meet the requirements of the car (for example recently had a full detail so needs a less intense clean) or client time constraints (the car may not be available for a whole week).
A Car Detailer will use many specialist tools, chemicals and techniques. A detail will take as long as a detail takes! It is usually anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on the clients requirements, the number of areas included and the level to which the detail is performed. The level will be influenced by the work required and the product used. For example a car may have very good paintwork and require little time spent polishing or correcting but it will cost more to subsequently protect that car with wax that costs £800 rather than wax that costs £60!
Once a full detail has been completed the car should be exceptionally clean and look like it is brand new throughout. In many cases the car will be better than when it was delivered as new due to transport contamination and specialist paint protection. From here on regular less intense detailing will keep the vehicle looking like it has just had a full detail, retaining value and pride in ownership.
One final thing to remember is that detailing also has an important place in the care of older cars where the impact of such a service is even greater than on a relatively new car. This is because older cars are generally in poorer condition to start with so there is more advantage to be gained during a full detail and the results are even easier to see. People often get a car cleaned in some way when they come to sell it!
To see many other car care detailing hints and tips just go to our video library.