- Screenshot via YouTube/Movieclips
- Detailing is the process of deep-cleaning a vehicle.
- It’s more expensive than a regular car wash, at around $100, but it’s typically done by pros
- Once a year should do the trick.
It sounds so, you know, involved. Can’t you just wash your car in the driveway as have countless generations before, or simply run it through a car wash once a month?
Sure, that would all be fine. You should wash your car about every month and wax it a few times per year, to keep the exterior finish in good shape.
But the daily grind still takes its toll – more so if you have pets, children, or use your vehicle for gardening/home-improvement duty or lead an active, outdoorsy lifestyle. You don’t even want to know what three kids did to my Honda Odyssey minivan on a regular basis.
My argument is that it’s worth it, once a year, to spend $100 to have your car detailed, and maybe more if you want a heavy-duty detail.
That just means in addition to a thorough exterior wash-and-wax, a professional detailer or full-service car wash will get down and dirty with the interior, extracting as much filth as possible. You’ll be shocked at how new your old car looks. And in some cases, a mobile detailer will come to you, so you don’t have to leave home!
I’ve chosen the $100 figure because that’s a decent ballpark for proper detailing. You can spend extra for ever-more surgical obsessiveness, involving compressed air, Q-Tips, X-Acto knives, whatever it takes. The price just goes up.
But you also don’t have to spend that much for less thorough quasi-detailing. This option will consume far less time. I recently paid about $30 to have my Toyota Prius washed, waxed, and more heavily cleaned inside than usual. The entire process ate up about half an hour on a weekend. I ended up with a quite tidy hybrid.
Ultimately, there are three main reasons to undertake this yearly or bi-annual ritual (if you opt for the cheaper treatment, which could also be a quarterly thing).
1. Your vehicle isn’t gross and is, therefore, a more pleasant place to spend time.
You don’t have to be a neat-freak to be depressed if your car slips over the edge into a Superfund site. Months of spilled coffee, scattered Doritos, and the simple churn of stuff will do it.
2. It maintains the resale value.
A sharp interior helps you get top-dollar for a trade-in or private sale, no doubt about it. And in an era when everybody shops based on internet photos, the cleaner the better.
3. You support your friendly neighborhood car wash.
I can get a basic wash in my neighborhood for less than $10. And I do. But every so often, it’s a good idea to accept the upsells so that your local business can make more money and, you know, stay in business.