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HomeFeatured ArticlesGoMechanic InformativeThe Car Detailing Guide by GoMechanic | How to Properly Detail a...

The Car Detailing Guide by GoMechanic | How to Properly Detail a Car

Whenever you hear someone say ‘car detailing’ what is the first thing that comes into your mind? Well, if you’re still thinking or have any questions in your head on hearing the term ‘detailing’ with the word car, we’re here to put all those doubts to rest. Let’s look into what car detailing exactly is. What does the car detailing process exactly involve and how is it different from car washing?

The GoMechanic's Guide to Car Detailing
Ceramic Coating on the Ford Endeavour

What is Car Detailing?

If put simply, car detailing refers to cleaning and protecting your car from top to bottom using various tools and different techniques which are usually not used in the traditional car cleaning or car washing methods.

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Car detailing involves a few cosmetic touch-ups here and there to repair your car’s paintwork. The aim of detailing is to make sure that your car looks as good as new when you take it out of the detailing workshop by removing the scratch and swirl marks on the car. The detailing process although does not involve paintwork and body repairs on the car.

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How is Car Detailing different from Car Washing?

Car detailing and car washing are two different things but with the same motive which is to precisely and intricately clean your car.

The GoMechanic's Guide to Car Detailing
Skoda Rapid Car Washing

Now, a car washing session might include washing the exteriors of your vehicle with jet sprays and washing it using shampoos and sponges. Whereas, a car detailing session is much more thorough. The process stays true to its name as the process is quite detailed and involves a lot of precision and effort than a normal car wash.

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What Does Car Detailing Include?

A thorough car detailing process consists of a well-done cleaning of the car whether it’s the car interior cleaning or the exteriors.

Exterior Car Detailing

  1. Car Washing
    The exterior car detailing process begins with an intensive washing using ph-neutral car shampoo. The car shampoo is allowed to foam enough so that the accumulated mud gets soft enough to be rinsed off.
  2. Surface Claying
    After the washing, the paintwork is then clayed using the clay bar. The clay bar removes any of the dirt that didn’t get off with normal detergents.
  3. Rubbing & Polishing
    After cleaning the car in every manner the process of car polishing is performed. The original polish on the paint surface is removed and a new protective wax coat is applied either manually or using machines.
  4. Paint Sealing
    Paint sealing is done to protect the car using purpose-made car sealant or car wax. This is done to restore the brand new showroom shine of the car that it might’ve lost over the years.
  5. Headlights & Taillights and misc.
    The headlights, as well as the taillights, are cleaned for better illumination. Make sure that after polishing the lights they are sealed well using a plastic sealant.
The GoMechanic's Guide to Car Detailing
Rubbing Polishing on the Ford Endeavour

After the exteriors are all catered to, the interiors are looked into.

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Interior Car Detailing

The interior detailing is a much longer and detailed process. The interior detailing process is much more extensive and involves cleaning, vacuuming, dashboard polishing etc. The interior detailing process is much more time consuming due to the importance that is given to every detail.

  1. Interior Vacuuming
    The entire car is cleaned using a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust particles from the tightest of areas. The AC vents are cleaned as well.
  2. Brushing & Cleaning
    Thorough cleaning and scrubbing are done for the car’s upholstery, the mats etc. The leather covers are cleaned using a leather cleaner and polished for a better look and so that it is protected from any stains and damage.
  3. Glass Cleaning
    The glasses are cleaned using a glass cleaner in order to ensure that the glass is squeaky clean and does not hinder the driver’s view and makes the car look shiny and clean.
  4. Perfuming
    Perfuming is done after vacuuming the car once again.

Engine Bay Cleaning

The engine bay is the heart of the car. While getting your car detailed to make sure you get the engine bay of the car cleaned. This is the part that many car detailers miss while detailing a car.

The engine bay cleaning process involves cleaning of the engine with a pressure washer (set on mist mode) which removes the top layer of dust, dirt and grit from the engine. The engine is then rinsed cleaned and wiped. After wiping the engine, the detailing process makes sure that the engine is properly dressed with a coating to prevent rubber and silicone parts of the engine from cracking.

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How often should you Detail your Car?

There isn’t a fixed or recommended time period for when you should get your car detailed but more often you get it done, the newer your car looks.

The GoMechanic's Guide to Car Detailing
Skoda Rapid Interior Detailing

A clean car looks new and regular detailing increases the age and value of your car. You can go for detailing twice a year or at the bare minimum, once in the year to make it look shiny and clean.

There are several benefits to it which are discussed below.

Does Car Detailing remove scratches?

Detailing can certainly repair and remove the scratches from the nooks and corners.

The car scratches usually have certain levels. There is the primary level which involves the uppermost coating of paint. The layer below that is the primer level to protect your car’s paints.

Car Detailing Guide
Skoda Rapid Wheel Cleaning

Now, if the scratch is only as deep as the primary colour or the uppermost layer, the detailer can mend it with some good buffing. Whereas, if the scratch is penetrating the upper level of paint and reaches the primer level or below you might have to get the whole panel painted and get it repaired before it starts rusting.

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Is Car Detailing Important?

Car detailing helps in giving all the parts detailed importance. Detailing has its own benefits which many people are not aware of.

Car Detailing Guide
Skoda Rapid Interior Detailing
  1. Extends Vehicle’s Life
    Yes, a little bit of detailing keeps away the paling. Detailing helps in ensuring that the vehicle looks as good as new inside out.
  2. Saves Money
    Look at detailing as an investment rather than an expense. Regular and timely detailing helps the engine run smoothly, leads to lesser maintenance costs and not so regular breakdowns.
  3. Offers Protection
    Yes, protection. The wax coating or sealant used in the detailing process is used to protect your car from UV rays and oxidisation (rusting).
  4. A Better & Smoother Engine
    With regular detailing your engine gets clean of dirt, leaks and unwanted or unnoticed damages that might affect the engine in the long run.
  5. Better Resale Value
    The detailing of the car makes sure that the depreciation rate of your car gets slowed down a bit. With a regular detailing schedule and routine, you can make sure that your vehicle looks new and attractive when you want to sell it off.

How Long does it take to Detail a Car?

The car detailing process is a detailed and long procedure. An entire detailing process can take somewhere between 3-4 hours to an entire day depending upon the condition of the vehicle and the demands of the consumer.

Car Detailing Guide
Ford Endeavour Detailed

The detailing process on an average takes 2 to 3 hours till the time the car is dried up completely and is ready for use.

Although, the time can increase depending upon the factors such as if you have a large car like an SUV or you either have a car which requires a lot of attention as it’s quite dirty.

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What Does it Cost to Detail a Car?

Car Detailing Guide
The GoMechanic’s Guide to Car Detailing

Since the detailing process requires a lot of work, a large amount of equipment, and takes a great amount of time it is obvious that it might be costing at the higher end of the price list.

For getting a midsize sedan to be detailed completely it can cost around ₹ 5,500 (Delhi) and can go up depending upon the work to be done on your car. For a luxury car or an SUV, the prices are only expected to go higher due to more amount of work required in the same.

To avail the best car detailing service in your city. Book a car detailing service from GoMechanic and save upto 40%. Book here.

Akshat Ajeya
Akshat Ajeya
Lead, Content & Creatives at GoMechanic | Automobile Scale Model Collector | DIY guy | Consumer of many foods | CVT is not that bad



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