Auto Detailing Basics

It’s All in the Details: Auto Detailing

Washing your vehicle helps make it look a little cleaner. But, what if you want to get it sparkling like new? Auto detailing may be just the thing to get your vehicle looking like the day you bought it. In this article, we’ll take a look at what auto detailing is, what’s typically included in auto detailing services, and how to choose the best auto detailing service in your area.

Tools of the Trade: Auto Detailing Basics

Most of us have probably heard of auto detailing. But, we may not know exactly what’s involved in the process. And, sometimes, auto detailing can get confused with other things like car washes and auto customization. So let’s break it down and take a look at auto detailing basics.

Auto detailing is a multi-step process. It includes cleaning of both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. We’ll explore what’s included in auto detailing here in this article. But first, let’s talk about why you might want to get your vehicle detailed.

To Detail or Not to Detail: Why Should You Get Your Car Detailed?

Looking to do auto detailing on your own? The covers the basics of How to Detail Your Car along with more tips and everyday advice for detailing.

What’s Included in Auto Detailing Services?

Because auto detailing is a multi-step process, let’s take a look at what’s included typically in both exterior and interior detailing.


  • Wash & Dry: The paint of your car is delicate, and it can be hard to maintain it without getting chips, rust, or scratches. A good wash and dry can help make your vehicle shine.
  • Clay: After your vehicle is washed, detailers will use a clay application to help remove dirt, tar, and other particles that may cause damage to the paint.
  • Polish: Once your vehicle has been fully washed and clay has been applied, your detailing will include a final polish. This helps smooth out any fine scratches on the paint.
  • Seal: For the final touches, your vehicle will get a seal to help give your vehicle a glossy shine.
  • Wax: As an added layer of protection, your auto detailing may include a coat of wax too.

In addition to your general wash and dry of your vehicle, exterior detailing can also include work on your wheels, taillights, headlights, and exterior trim.


  • Vacuum: Dirt and debris can easily build up in your vehicle. A good vacuum will help begin the detailing process inside. Vacuuming in auto detailing includes a thorough vacuum too, so this means all areas of your vehicle will get vacuumed.
  • Shampoo or Steam Clean: Once your vehicle has been fully vacuumed, it will be washed thoroughly. Any stains on carpet or upholstery will be scrubbed to help remove them too.
  • Wiping: A final wiping of windows, door panels, and other surfaces will help give the interior of your car that extra shine.
  • Deodorizing: As the final touch, an auto detailer will often use a deodorizer to add a fresh scent to your newly detailed interior.

In addition, auto detailing may also include things like cleaning the engine and refreshing areas under the hood of your vehicle. But, this is typically an add-on feature and not a standard auto detailing feature.

Find the Best Auto Detailing Place in Your Area

How do you find the best auto detailing place in your area? It’s a pretty common service that can be included in dealership service centers, independent vehicle repair shops, and standalone auto detailing facilities. Here are some ways that you can find the best auto detailing service in your area.

  • Reviews: Word of mouth from friends and family is a good start. Do they like the service offered by the auto detailer? Plus, checking out online reviews from sites like Yelp can also help get an idea of whether or the auto detailing service has a good reputation, provides quality service, and is reasonably priced.
  • Price: Auto Detailing pricing can vary based on the types of services included in the detailing package. Generally, you’ll find prices for auto detailing ranging from $50-$150. Plus, if your vehicle needs extra or more involved cleaning from lack of cleaning and dirty interior, the price may also increase too. That’s another good reason to make sure your vehicle gets some extra TLC on a regular or semi-regular basis.
  • Affiliations: Though there are a few certifications for auto detailing through associations like International Detailing Association, your best bet is to look for auto detailing that has good standing with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Detailing Packages & Features: While price is an important factor, having an auto detailing service that offers a variety of options and packages can be pretty important too. This is especially true if your vehicle needs a thorough detailing or if your vehicle has specific detailing needs.

Shiny and New

Auto detailing can be a great way to maintain the quality of your vehicle, while giving it a fresh, new look. Not only will your vehicle look good, but it will also help maintain your vehicle’s health and keep your vehicle running longer in good condition.

Detailing your vehicle yourself can be a long and labor intensive task. Considering an auto detailing service for your vehicle can help reduce the stress and time it takes to get your vehicle looking like new. These tips and basic information on auto detailing will get you started on the road to getting your vehicle looking like new.