exterior car detailing bugatti

How Long Does it Take to Detail a Car?

Car detailing may seem like a superfluous thing. Most drivers may consider a car wash enough to keep vehicles clean and, in doing so, preserve its quality for years. Although a car washing service does work to get the dirt out and maintain the shine, car detailing offers more.

What is the Process of Detailing a Car?

Auto detailing can be an extensive process, involving the interior and exterior and using multiple products.

A car detail can be better than a usual car wash because the former aims to restore the vehicle to its original state, i.e., when you drove it out of the showroom. If you love that new car smell, car detailing is the way to get it back. And when you resell your car, it’ll likely fetch a better price since it looks like it just came from a car lot.

A car detailing process begins with a wash and then a vacuum. Then the deeper clean follows, which means interior car detail. Why does a professional detailer start on inside of a car? Dirt from the outside will get in with the opening and closing of the door. Once the interior is deep cleaned, the work for the exterior detailing begins.

Every full detail covers the non-mechanical parts of your vehicle. This “head-to-toe,” inside-out restoration vacuums, shampoos, cleans and polishes:

  • Interior surfaces
  • Wheels and tires
  • Carpets (or floor mats)
  • Chrome trims
  • Car seats

The detailing process will depend on the state of your vehicle; if it has scratches or damage, it may require paint correction. And this means time estimates for car detailing will vary.

What is the Average Time to Detail a Car?

exterior detailing of car power wash
Photo by Clement M on Unsplash

The car detailing services you’ll want will tell you whether you’ll spend more than two hours waiting. The average time to detail a car quickly is two hours; if you’re doing the detailing on your own, it may take only 30 minutes to get your vehicle shining.

But this is assuming you’ve got a sedan and not a truck or an SUV. And whether you own a contemporary car or something of a vintage muscle car, like a 1970s Dodge Charger. Special cars require more careful handling and attention to detail, which means more time and maybe even special auto cleaning products.

How long does a full car detail take?

A full detailing job on a vehicle that has seen some wear and tear may take a day. Employees at a detailing service may spend five hours on interior detailing and another five hours on exterior detailing. If your SUV, truck or car hasn’t been vacuumed, cleaned and buffed in a long while, expect your vehicle to spend a longer time at the detail service.

A car interior that has a strong odor will require more time being vacuumed and shampooed. The drying time for this detailing process will also affect the time required to finish the job.

The Frequency of Car Detailing: How Often?

back of a dusty muddy car
Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

A general rule to getting car detailing is every four to six months. But whether you get your car detailed thrice a year depends on how you look after your vehicle.

  • Do you get a car wash regularly?
  • Do you do basic cleaning after every road trip?
  • Do you frequently go on rough roads or long trips?
  • Do you keep your vehicle tidy at all times?
  • Is your car old?

If you’re diligent about maintaining your car or truck, detailing job twice a year should keep it spotless. The bottom line is the dirtier the car, the more frequently you’ll want to get it detailed.

Auto detailing isn’t cheap. Cleaning the car’s interior and exterior calls for many hours as well as many products and special services: car wax, ceramic coating, paint correction, interior shampoo, leather restorer (if you have leather seats) and others.

The cost for this car maintenance service runs from a low of $50 to a high $300, with the average falling at over $160.

So you may take the cost of detailing as part of your decision to get it serviced twice or thrice a year.

Why Exterior and Interior Detailing May be Worth It

Detailing may sound like a “luxury,” but the extensive cleaning it provides can be necessary for some vehicles. This auto service isn’t just about getting your car spotless, it’s also about keeping some value. Yes, a car loses its original value the moment you drive it out of the dealership. But how well you maintain it while you’re using it determines the resale value you get if you decide to put it on the market.

A clean, shiny and tidy car is also a pleasure to drive. It’s safe for the kids if you have kids. And it saves you from pricey repair services because a well-kept car rarely breaks down.

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