Everybody loves the look of a freshly detailed car, truck, or SUV. Some vehicle owners are more than happy spending their weekends washing and detailing their daily drivers or collectible garage queens. But the truth is – the time, patience, and experience using specialty equipment required for detailing a car is not for everybody. This often leads to typing the phrase “the best car detailer near me” on your favorite search engine.

Washing and detailing your vehicle is important – not only for aesthetic enhancements, but also to keep it free from corrosion, oxidation, and ultimately – damage. Thus, it’s important to find a local auto detailing service that not only you can trust but offers superior car care services at an affordable price.

If you’re looking to replace the former auto detailing company or just moved and looking for somebody close to care for the interior and exterior of your vehicle, this article will help. In the information below, we’ll outline a few reasons why it’s important to detail your car every few months. Plus, we’ll give you three easy questions that you should ask any potential detailer, so you can choose one that fits your needs, budget, and car care goals best.

How Often Should You Get Car Detailed?

Talk to any mechanic or car dealership, and you’ll find multiple required maintenance recommendations. 5,000 miles for changing oil – check. Rotate those tires every oil change – check. But for whatever reason, there really isn’t a proven recommendation for car washing and detailing. Most autobody professionals and car manufacturers tend to leave exterior car washing and interior detailing to the owner.

Now, let’s be clear. Detailing is not a quick trip to the mobile car wash near the grocery store that offers an unlimited wash service. It involves working with a professional that will use a specific waterless car wash, hand wash, or special techniques and products to fully remove debris, and apply protective products like a hand wax, or special cleaners to the car’s paint.

A professional detailer will offer a detailing package that fits your individual needs, including using carpet shampoo to clean the floorboards on car interior, and ensure you drive home with a fully clean car. Some of them will offer car cleaning services that range from individual to monthly or annual inspections.

However, there are a few important guidelines to consider with regards to washing and detailing your daily driver.

Wash the vehicle every two weeks: This one really depends on where you live, how often you drive, and the weather conditions outside. If you live in an area that is very dusty, near an ocean or salt water, or in a region with a lot of bugs or bird droppings, it’s recommended to wash the vehicle weekly. The type of car wash will be determined based on your paint protection product used. Using a ceramic coating will result in easier car wash tasks, while a car wax may result in a more complex and time-consuming car wash.

An orange car with a foam cannon car wash

Professional detailers often wash their clients vehicle under outdoor shades or tents, or inside their facility. This is important as a car should not be washed in direct sunlight.

Clean the inside of your vehicle weekly: It’s always best to clean as you go with interior garbage and loose items. There are a few reasons for this. First, trash or debris that is rolling around on your seats, floorboards, or other areas can be a safety hazard – especially if it’s on the driver’s seat floorboard. Bottles and debris can get stuck under the brake, clutch, or throttle.

Vacuum and Wipe Down Interior Surfaces: This is another one that is determined based on your individual activity or situation. It basically is a good idea to vacuum your floorboards (front and back) and seats, wipe down interior pieces, the dashboard, and other surfaces every few weeks. This will help to reduce build-up of debris, which can lead to staining.

What is Involved in a Complete Car Detailing Job?

This is another one that depends on your car, the detailer, and other factors. However, in general, the average full car detailing project will involve a complete wash, cleaning, and applying protectant on exterior and interior sections or components of the vehicle.

Specifically, most full-service detail jobs include the following:

Complete decontamination car wash: This will involve washing the exterior of the car with automotive-specific car shampoo made for stripping existing wax, paint sealants, or light protective coatings. Some people think the detailer will use dawn dish soap, but that’s a myth. Professional detailers will NOT use products made for household goods on your valuable vehicle. If you have ceramic coatings or paint protection film, this step is replaced with a general maintenance car wash.

Washing wheels and tires: The next section to wash is the wheel wells, wheels and tires. In fact, most detailers will start with them before completing the car wash. This is designed to remove all brake dust and debris from the wheels and tires, so that they can be protected with a tire dressing. Wheels are typically protected or polished in the final step of detailing – depending on the existing protectant and the wheel material.

Clay bar treatment: The next step of a full detail service for cars is a clay bar treatment. This is where the detailer will use a clay mitt or bar to remove microscopic imperfections found on the clear coat of paint and other porous surfaces. It ensures a clean and smooth canvass for the detailer to apply a traditional car wax, paint sealant, or SiO2 enhancer for protection against UV exposure, road grime, and other contaminants.

Protection: The final step in the exterior detailing process is applying protectants on vehicle surfaces. The type of protectant will vary based on your requests, the type of materials, and budget. A professional detailer near you will work with you to determine which paint protection or surface protectants are best.

A professional detailer cleaning the inside of a car

Interior detailing is always customized for each customer’s vehicle. Some have suede or leather interior materials, which require specialty cleaners and treatments.

Interior car detailing is a bit more complex – and will depend mainly on your vehicle’s interior materials. For the most part, interior detailing will involve vacuuming, cleaning all plastic components, center console, doors, interior glass, and seating.

When you search online for a car detailing shop near me on Google and find one, make sure you ask them about their recommended services based on your vehicle type. We’ll dive into those questions below.

3 Questions to Ask a Car Detailer

Looking for the right automotive detailer is a process that involves a little bit of due diligence. It’s similar with selecting a plumber, HVAC contractor, mechanics, or other service-based business. Sure, cost is important, but you want to ensure to pick one you trust, will do the job right (the first time) and you can build a relationship with for the future.

If you search online and find a few local detailers near you, it’s a good idea to select the top 4 or 5 and set up an actual phone or onsite interview. This discovery phone call or personal inspection of their facility is highly recommended – to ensure you choose the car detailing expert that fits your needs perfectly.

Question #1 – Do You Offer Mobile Car Detailing Services Near Me?

A growing trend among many professional detailing shops is offering mobile car wash services. Most of the time, this will include basic car washing and interior maintenance – like vacuuming or cleaning. There are some mobile detailing companies, and on the service, that is attractive to a lot of busy car owners.

But it’s always best to work with a professional detailer with a physical location – as there are some detailing projects that require controlled environments and can’t be completed outdoors. If they can come to you for routine maintenance hand car wash and interior cleaning, that’s a huge benefit.

Question #2 – What Does Your Full Car Detailing Service Include?

The next question to ask any potential detailer is about their full detailing services. Many of the best car detailers near you will offer detailing packages, that can be customized for your specific car, needs, and budgets. However, without asking them directly about this option, you might be surprised by some offerings you don’t really need – or having to pay extra for some services.

The key to hiring any contractor is to begin the relationship with honesty and transparency. So, don’t be afraid to be blunt – ask them exactly what you’re looking for, and determine if they are a good fit. Never compromise the with treatment and care of your valuable ride.

Question #3 – Does the Detailer Offer Paint Protection and Interior Protection Products?

When you start breaking down the costs of car detailing, you’ll quickly discover that the leading costs is the time needed to apply car wax, sealants, and other temporary protectants to the vehicle’s paint. Add the cost of removing those products via paint correction, and your detailing bills can quickly add up.

If you’re thinking about making it easier to clean your vehicle, enhance the gloss or matte finish on your vehicle, and have a paint protection solution that can be backed by a warranty for years, consider a professional nano-ceramic coating. Most professional detailing shops are certified installers of professional-grade ceramic coatings, like Ceramic Pro 9H.

Ceramic Pro products are specifically formulated for specific materials or substrates. There is a 9H coating for car paint, glass, plastic trims, wheels, textiles, and leather. These coatings provide a sacrificial layer of protection that helps to block UV rays, reduces swirl marks or light scratches, and makes the surface repel water, dust, dirt, and other debris.

The proactive decision to apply Ceramic Pro coatings to your exterior and interior not only keeps the vehicle cleaner but protects the surfaces from damage. This will increase the value of your vehicle, keep it in great condition, and save money on future detailing services.

With a professional ceramic coating, detailing will involve basic car washes, and an annual inspection. Cleaning your interior is easier, and again – more affordable with each year you own the vehicle.

If you’ve been thinking about working with a car detailer near your home or office, and would like to speak with one that offers a slew of professional protection products, from ceramic coatings to paint protection film – click the button below.

Aiden Forde

Author Aiden Forde

Aiden Forde serves as the Pai Mei of Ceramic Pro Americas content management team.

More posts by Aiden Forde