Want to get your car looking “perfect” again like when you first rode it out from the dealership? Auto dealing can accomplish amazing things! And it may not cost as much as you think.
Every tiny aspect of your vehicle’s interior and exterior, from bumper to bumper and tire to top, can be given a virtual “makeover” by professional auto detailers equipped with the best tools and the know-how to use them.
But before you begin, be sure you know exactly what is included in the detailing package. Here are the major elements of a full auto detailing job that are either standard or optional at many car shops:
1. Proper Paint Care
Detailing is much more than a glorified carwash, but it does include washing your car. Detailers, however, are much more conscientious about taking good care of your paint as they remove all the dirt and grime and give it that perfect shine.
Typically, there is a 3-part process of:
- Washing/drying the car to get it clean.
- Using a clay bar to rid the paint job of stubborn particles.
- And paint-polishing and waxing to eliminate swirls and protect the new finish.
You should not be staring at watersports or smudges when your car comes back from detailing. Many times, touch-up painting may be included in the package as well – if it is needed. The result should be “paint, you can be proud of!”
2. Wheel & Undercarriage Cleaning
Nothing picks up more dirt, dust, and road debris than your four tires – unless it is the undercarriage and chassis, constantly exposed to dust-ups as you cruise along gravel roads. Even on asphalt, tires, and undercarriage feel the brunt of it all over time.
The inside of the wheel wells, areas surrounding suspension parts, the fender linings, and every nook and cranny will be cleaned, along with the more obvious exterior features like tires, rims, mirrors, and windows. Wheels/tires will be sealed once cleaned to retain the shine and to deter rusting.
3. Lights of All Kinds Thoroughly Cleaned
One of the most visible elements of your vehicle’s “physique” is most obviously its lighting system. This will all be meticulously cleaned during your auto detailing job. Often, headlights and tail lights gather oxidation spots that can be wiped clean with a special polish and sealed up with a plastic sealer.
If you have LEDs and/ornamental high-intensity LED lights on your car, they will take special care to clean properly without damage. Auto detailers will be experienced in making high-end LED lights glow they are very best – be they interior or exterior, multi-color or single color, or anything else.
Top of the line LEDs like those sold on Boogeylights.com can be located in the footwell, under the rear seat of the interior, under the undercarriage, in the engine, or on the fender. Make sure you have them cleaned by a professional auto detailing group that knows how to handle this kind of upgrade with the care it deserves.
4. Polishing Up the Trim
If your beloved vehicle is plated with chrome, vinyl, or plastic trim, each type will require a different applicant to prevent cracking and fading, remove all stains and imperfections, and protect it against future damage.
Both interior and exterior trim are included in the detailing work, and how well the trim is polished up has a huge effect on how your car will look when it’s all finished. So be sure to read some online reviews and understand which car care experts have the strongest reputation for making trim look its best.
5. Full Interior Detailing
Aside from the interior trim, the entirety of the interior will be gone over from floor to roof. A detailer’s eye will pick out problems and imperfections that most of us never notice. Nonetheless, the overall effect of all those tiny corrections will be very noticeable to everyone sitting inside your vehicle.
All trash, dirt, and debris will be removed from the interior. Upholstery will be gently (but firmly!) cleaned, along with the carpeting. Floor mats must be removed for detail-cleaning before being replaced. The dash and interior windshield and window panes will not be missed, nor the door handles and rearview mirror. Leather must be conditioned before cleaning and requires special care.
Some auto-detailers include cleaning the trunk as part of the interior, but others let you add it for an extra fee.
6. Engine Bay Spic & Span!
Normally, you only look inside your engine when you check the oil and fluids or when your vehicle has a problem, but you still want it to look neat and clean following auto detailing. Engine bay cleaning is not always included in a standard package, so you don’t have to pay for it if you don’t care how your engine looks! But it’s nice to know it can be included if you wish.
In auto detailing, engines may be coated with a water-mist and then scrubbed with a degreasing agent. Then they are rinsed and dried. Anything in the bay that might crack, like plastic or rubber parts, can be protected with an appropriate anti-cracking agent.
7. Great Customer Service!
Part of the mystique of full-scale auto detailing is not just what it does to the aesthetics of your car but how you are treated in the process. Some providers will virtually wait on you hand and foot, taking time to ascertain exactly what you want, including in your detailing package and making sure you understand what to expect.
They may even pick up and drop off your car if transportation is a problem or if you don’t want to wait at the shop while the job is being done. Getting treated right is not automatic, so be careful to research the options first, see who BBB certified, who has a great local reputation, and offer the best services at the most reasonable price.