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The Average Cost To Detail a Car or Truck (Partial vs. Full)

The average cost of a partial wash with waxing for a sedan is about $35 – $100, while an SUV will set you back $50 to $200. If you do a complete cleaning, the price can jump to $400 or more – especially if you have stubborn-stained carpets and upholstery.

Here is a quick rundown of what you can expect to pay for different types of car detailing services:

What Are the Different Types of Detailing, and How Much Do They Cost?

Car wash worker vacuuming seats

Car detailing is the cleaning and reconditioning of automobiles inside and outside, including repair to minor bodywork damage. There are two types of car detailing–partial and full. Both types will give your car a much-needed deep clean, but a full detail is more comprehensive than a partial detail.

A partial car detail usually includes a wash, wax, interior vacuum, and window cleaning. This type of detailing is perfect for those who want to keep their car looking presentable but don’t necessarily need a complete deep cleaning. Sparkling Image, a popular car wash establishment, charges $35 for this service.

The problem with these franchise car washes is that they have to deal with huge volumes of customers and usually don’t have the time to give your car the attention it needs. And that is where mobile car detailers come in – they can offer you a much more thorough service at a reasonable price.

A mobile detailer won’t just use a soapy sponge to give your car a once-over. Instead, they will blast away dirt and grime from your paintwork with a pressure washer. This process is followed by a hand wash using a gentle shampoo, and then a wax or sealant is applied to protect the paint. My favorite mobile detailer charges $50 for sedans and $60 for SUVs when doing a partial detailing.

A full car detail is a much more thorough cleaning that will leave your vehicle looking and feeling like new. In addition to all of the services included in a partial detail, a full detail also includes:

  • Shampooing of the carpets and upholstery
  • Cleaning of all the nooks and crannies
  • A complete waxing

This level of detail is perfect for those who want perfection or those who are running a car lot business. And the average cost for a full car detail is $150 – $400 for both big establishments and mobile detailers.

If you’re looking for the best value for your money, I recommend a mobile detailer who can offer you a thorough service at a fraction of the cost. Just make sure the detailers have good reviews and use high-quality products.

Why You Want To Get Your Car Detailed

There are many reasons why you might want to get your car detailed. Maybe you spilled coffee on the seats, or your dog made a mess in the back. Or perhaps you want to give your vehicle a fresh start for the new year. Whatever the reason, detailing your car can make it look and feel new again.

Even if your car is old, a good detailing can make it look newer and more attractive to potential buyers. It will be easier to sell, and you’ll also be able to enjoy the ride more when your car is clean. Just find a reputable detailer who uses high-quality products and doesn’t cut corners.

There might be times when you go all out on a trail or an off-road adventure. Your car will likely be covered in dirt, mud, and grime when you come back. And this is where a full detailing can make a difference. 

How Often Should You Get Your Car Detailed?

How often you need detailing depends on how often you use your car and how well you take care of it. If you use it every day, you might want to get it detailed once a month. If you only use it on weekends, you can probably get away with detailing once every few months.

It’s also good to get your car detailed before big trips or long journeys. This way, you can ensure that your vehicle is clean and comfortable for the journey ahead. Use a detailer who pays attention to the little things like shampooing the carpets and cleaning the cup holders. The best among them will also throw in an air freshener.

And if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, it’s a good idea to get your car detailed more often. The elements can take their toll on your vehicle, causing it to age faster. A good detailer will be able to protect your car.

Ultimately, how often you get your car detailed is up to you. The idea is to pay attention to your vehicle, and it will tell you when it needs a good cleaning.

How To Choose the Right Detailing Service for Your Needs

A man giving thumbs up while cleaning a car

The first step to finding the best detailer is knowing your needs. Do you need a basic wash and wax? Or do you need something more thorough? If you’re unsure, it’s always best to ask for a quote. This way, you can ensure that you’re getting the right service for your needs.

Once you know what you need, the next step is to find a reputable detailer- this is where online reviews come in handy. Be sure to read the reviews carefully and pay attention to both the good and the bad. The last thing you want is to end up with a detailer who doesn’t do a good job.

You should also make sure that the detailer uses high-quality products. If you have a luxury car, this is especially important. You don’t want to use products that will damage your vehicle or make it look worse.

Also, be sure to ask about the price. Detailers charge different rates, so finding one that fits your budget is essential. Just be sure not to sacrifice quality for the price.

Factors That Will Affect the Cost of Detailing Your Car

Several factors affect the cost of detailing a car, including the car’s size, the type of service, the location, and the severity of the dirt and grime. That’s why the cost to detail a vehicle can range from as little as $35 to as much as $500.

The size of your car will affect the cost because it takes more time to clean a bigger car. The type of service will also affect the price. So, if you need full detailing, it will be more expensive than a basic wash and wax.

The location will also play a role in the cost. If you live in an area with a higher cost of living, the detailer will charge more. And if you live in a rural area, the detailer might have to travel farther to get to you, which will also affect the cost.

Also, if you have stubborn stains or if your car is filthy, it will take the detailer longer to clean it. Longer cleaning times will also increase the final cost.

Tips for Maintaining the Cleanliness of Your Car or Truck Between Details

Even if you get your car detailed regularly, that will not stop your kids from spilling juices and your dog shedding on the back seat. So here are some tips for keeping your car clean in between details:

  • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen. The longer a spill sits, the harder it will be to clean. I recommend having a box of wipes in the car.
  • Vacuum regularly. Vacuuming will prevent dirt and dust from building up. I like to do this once a week.
  • Don’t let trash build up. Throw away any garbage as soon as you can. Otherwise, it will start to smell and attract bugs.
  • Protect your upholstery. If you have leather seats, use a leather conditioner to prevent cracking. And if you have fabric seats, be sure to vacuum them regularly and spot-clean any stains as soon as they happen.
  • Wash your windows regularly. Washing windows often will keep them from getting too dirty. I like to do this every other week.
  • Invest in good-quality car mats. Having durable car mats will help keep your car clean and protect the upholstery.
  • Park in a garage or covered parking when possible. Parking inside will help protect your car from the elements and keep it cleaner.
  • Wax your car regularly. Frequent waxing will help protect the paint and make it easier to clean. I like to do this once a month.

If you use all these tips together, your car will always look clean in between details. Protecting your vehicle is a clever way to save money on detailing, as the car won’t be as dirty when you take it in.

Where Can You Get Your Car Detailed?

You can get your car detailed in a drive-in car wash or those mobile detailers who come to your home or office. Mobile detailers often do a better job because they usually hunt for positive reviews and referrals.

They will also have all the necessary equipment with them. This equipment is essential if you need a more intensive cleaning, such as an engine detail or a clay bar treatment.

Mobile detailers will also be able to come to you, which is convenient if you don’t have the time to take your car to a car wash.

However, I’m not saying that big establishments with physical locations are not good. You might even save a few bucks if you decide to wash at one of those big detailers. But in my honest opinion, you’re better off going with a mobile detailer.

Can Car Detailing Remove Scratches?

A man buffing a black car

Car detailing can remove some scratches. It is possible to hide imperfections with car detailing, but it depends on the type of damage. If the scratch is on the surface, a good polishing will usually do the trick. If it’s deep, you might need to have the area repainted.

However, this is something that you would need to take up with a professional as they would need to assess the damage first. And not many professionals will refer you to a mobile detailing company. They will most likely refer you to a body shop.

Still, I have seen my detailer remove some pretty severe scratches with just a simple polishing. It is possible, but it depends on the detailer’s skills and the severity of the scratch.

Related How Much Does a Pearl Paint Job Cost? | Expect to Pay This.

Can Detailing Fix Paint Chips?

Detailing will not fix paint chips. That’s because chips are usually holes in the paint that go down to the metal. The best way to fix them is to use touch-up paint that matches your car’s color.

If the chips are small and not too deep, you can try using a detailing product like ChipEx. This product will fill in the chips and make them less noticeable.

For bigger chips, you might want to consider getting the area painted. Painting is essential if the damage is in a visible spot, like on the hood or bumper.

Poor washing techniques can also cause paint chips. So you might want to use a soft cloth or sponge and always wash in one direction. Also, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives, which can damage the paint.

Can Car Detailing Remove Mold?

Car detailing can remove mold. It is one of the things that detailers are good at. They have the experience and the knowledge of the best products to use to get rid of mold.

However, you might want to find the root cause of the mold first. If your car leaks, you will need to fix that before getting your car detailed. Otherwise, the mold will just come back.

For example, check if the seals are still good if you have a sunroof. If they are not, water can leak in and cause mold to grow. You can usually tell if the seals are bad if you see mold or mildew around the sunroof.

Can Car Detailing Remove Odors?

Car detailing can remove odors. Making it one of the main reasons people get their cars detailed in the first place. Most people who have this problem usually smoke in the car or like to ride with their pets.

Detailers will usually use many products to remove odors, including an odor eliminator, a cleaner, and a sealant. They will also use a high-powered vacuuming system to remove any lingering odors.

If that does not work, they might try to mask the odor with a fragrance. Fragrances are not the best solution, but those big detailers do this to keep their queue moving.

Can Detailing Remove Rust?

Detailing can remove rust. But, it is not always possible to remove it altogether. Surface rust is the easiest to remove, but that is as far as their service goes. The detailer will not repaint the section, causing it to rust again.

The best way to prevent rust is to wash your car regularly and wax it. Doing so will create a barrier that will protect the paint from the elements.

If you do get rust, you will need to have it repaired as soon as possible. Rusting in a car means you need repainting in the affected area.

Final Thoughts

Car detailing is a great way to keep your car looking its best. It can also help protect your car from the elements and reduce wear and tear. However, it is essential to remember that detailing will not fix everything.

If you have significant damage, like a dent or a scratch, you must take your car to a professional. But, if you need to give your vehicle a good cleaning, then detailing is the way to go.

For more, check out Can I Use Shampoo to Wash My Car? | Read Before Lathering.

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