Once you’ve learned a little bit about what sort of work falls under the umbrella term of “car detailing,” you may find yourself wondering exactly what the difference is between detailing and a basic car wash. The financial difference is pretty easy to grasp; detailing is virtually always a more expensive proposition. But detailing is also a much more thorough process that delivers significantly more impressive results.
To put it simply, auto detailing is a cleaning process that also includes restoration and finish work to produce the highest possible level of polish and cleanliness – detailing always aims for show-quality results. Detailing can be constrained to a car’s interior or exterior or performed on both at the same time. In exterior detailing, the car’s finish (typically paint) is cleaned and brought up to its best possible condition. Similar attention to detail and cleaning effort are lavished on the other parts of the vehicle’s exterior, including wheels, tires, windows, and chrome trim. Professional car detailing calls for a range of different techniques and products, all of which should be chosen based on the current condition of the vehicle and the desired results. A small sampling of the type of products used for exterior detailing includes detergents, acid-free degreasers (for dirt and soil removal), detail clay (to extract embedded contaminants), shines, polishes, waxes, and more. These may be applied with brushes, sponges, towels, and other tools.
We start each detailing job with a thorough exterior wash intended to remove as much dirt as possible. We use foaming soap which softens dirt and mud and makes it easier to remove from the surface of the vehicle. Our car detailers then give the wheels a little TLC, using specialized cleaning products and brushes to get every speck of dirt and grime off the wheels, brake calipers, and lug nuts. We find that the wheels are almost always the dirtiest parts of the exterior.
Our next step is to wash and dry every inch of paintwork on the vehicle, starting at the top and working our way down. Washing mitts and microfiber towels are used here. We then use automotive clay bars to extract ground-in dirt from the car’s paint and/or clear coat. At this point, we make a judgment call regarding the quality of your car’s finish. If necessary, we polish at this stage to get rid of minor scratches, swirl marks, and oxidation. Polishing will be completed either mechanically or by hand, depending on the extent of the work required. Depending on the condition of the vehicle’s paintwork, this can become the most time-intensive part of the detailing process!
After we’ve brought the vehicle’s finish up to its best possible condition, we provide a new protective layer by applying a premium carnauba-based wax. This protection also makes your vehicle glossier in an attractive way! At this stage, we will also clean and polish the windows and the smaller exterior components, like trim and rubber gaskets.