Everything you need to know about car detailing
One of the biggest investments many people make is their vehicle; it carries a hefty price tag, even if it’s used. When you think about it, you pay to put gas in your car, to change the oil, to replace the tires, and to maintain your vehicle no matter what repairs or replacements might be needed. Despite spending thousands of dollars on a car, truck, SUV, or van, plus untold amounts of money on gas and maintenance, many people cringe at the thought of paying to have their vehicle detailed.4 There are many steps to detailing and reasons why you might decide to add auto detailing to your car’s maintenance schedule.
Car detailing is not a car wash.
When your car has accumulated some dirt, pollen, or bird droppings, it’s satisfying to head to the local automatic car wash in town. For around 10 to 15 dollars and 10 or so minutes, you go from having a dusty mess to a shiny, clean ride. Routine car washes are a great way to keep your vehicle looking clean, however, they can only wipe off easy to remove dirt from the surface. They miss the harder to lift contaminants that are lodged in the clear coat layer on top of the painted surface, as well as any crevices, contours, or anywhere the automated rollers can’t reach.1
What does detailing for cars include?
The goal of car detailing is not to merely clean the vehicle, but to restore it as close as possible to its original condition.1 There are two parts to detailing: the exterior and the interior.
For the exterior, your detailer will wash your car by hand to remove as much debris and dirt as possible. This includes the wheels, which can often be the dirtiest part of the car. Next, the detailer will use a clay bar to remove the dirt and contaminants that have become embedded in the clear coat. The most time-consuming step is polishing the paintwork to remove any scratches and swirl marks. Finally, a wax coat is buffed on to protect the paint as well as add the shine that makes your car look like you just drove it off the lot.1
Vacuuming your car is the first step for the interior car detailing. The detailer will then shampoo the carpets, floor, and cloth upholstery to remove dirt and any stains you might have. If you have leather seats, they will be conditioned and scrubbed using leather-safe cleaners. Finally, the inside of your windows and windshield are cleaned and polished to make them easy to see through while driving.1
Some detailing companies offer engine bay cleaning as part of a premium service package or an add-on to a detailing service. Having the engine bay cleaned is great for when you’re selling your car and also keeps it looking and performing its best.1 Your detailer will spray the engine bay with water, followed by a degreaser. After a thorough rinse, all of the silicone and rubber components are dressed to prevent them from cracking, which helps alleviate some of the daily wear as well.1
How much does detailing cost?
While prices vary depending on the company, level of service, location, taxes, and more, you can expect to pay anywhere from 50 to 125 dollars for a standard vehicle or 75 to 150 dollars for an SUV or van.1 Some companies offer loyalty programs or special pricing for slower days of the week so finding an auto detailer you want to return to can help you save some money in the long run.5
How often should you have your car detailed?
It is suggested that in addition to occasional car washes, you should get your car detailed twice per year to maintain and protect the paint and interior.4
Why you should get your car detailed.
There are many reasons people take their cars to be detailed. One reason is to keep up the resale value continuously throughout the life of the vehicle.3 If you make detailing your car a part of the maintenance schedule, you won’t have built up issues with dirt, stains, and grime in the future when you’re ready to sell your vehicle. The paint will have been protected throughout your time with your car, so getting it sparkling for the next owner will be a snap.1 Also, maintaining a clean interior can go a long way to help keep allergens at bay for allergy sufferers.2 There can be safety concerns as well – filmy windows can make it hard to see out of your windshield, plus spilled coffee, soda, etc. and excess dust and dirt can gunk up switches and buttons, making them difficult to operate during your drive.2 Plus, you can’t beat the feeling of driving a nice, clean car. For people who use their vehicle for work travel or long commutes, spending hours in a clean car just plain feels better than a vehicle with food wrappers, stains, and smells.2
Maintaining your investment in your vehicle is a great way to ensure it stays in good condition. While you likely wouldn’t miss an oil change, many people don’t consider detailing for cars to be an important means of protecting their investment. Auto detailing, however, offers several key benefits including better resale value, protection to the paint from the elements, as well as a healthier, more functional vehicle for your daily commute. You can find maintenance and detail shops that accept there Synchrony Car Care credit cardTM online here or with the Synchrony Car Care mobile app.
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