Car washes are the simple removal of dirt and grime from your car’s surfaces. Car detailing, however, is a more thorough cleaning that aims at reconditioning the interior and exterior of cars using specialized tools and products. This can even go as far as including some light cosmetic touch-ups, but never as far as including paintwork or body repairs.
Exterior detailing begins with removing all the dirt and grime from the surface of the vehicle, using soap to foam the dirt and mud off the surface. The next parts that get attention are the wheels (which includes all the mechanics surrounding it, such as the brake calipers, lug nuts, and more), this is brushed clean using special brushes and wheel cleaning products.
Once all the grime is gone, the car is washed once again, this time using soft microfiber mitts and clothes. The paintwork is then clayed using an automotive clay bar to remove tightly bonded dirt. Light scratches, oxidation, and swirl marks can then be polished away with a polishing machine or by hand.
At the end, the paint is waxed to provide the shine that you remember when first buying the vehicle, and to add an extra protective layer. The remaining windows and rubber parts are then polished and methodically cleaned.
Seats, dashboard, sun visors, and everything else are thoroughly cleaned when it is time to complete the interior. The upholstery, for example, is vacuumed to remove all the dirt that has settled, and if there are any stains and dirt these are shampooed and removed. For the cars leather work, the surfaces are conditioned and scrubbed to remove dirt, the same routine is usually applied to plastics and vinyl as well.
All the interior glass and mirrors are also polished to ensure that no streaks show up on cold nights when the mist decides to blur your vision.
An important step that most people don’t do is clean the engine, but having a clean engine has a ton of benefits. For example, if you need to diagnose an engine problem having a clean engine bay will help you spot the issue easier and faster. An added benefit is that having a clean engine bay can help raise your selling price because anyone who is going to buy your car is definitely going to look under the hood.