What is Car Detailing?

If you’re new to DIYing, learning how to detail your car is a great place to start. Let’s go over all the details of car detailing, including what it is, what the benefits are, and what items you need to do an amazing job at home.

Picture of Car Detailing

What Is Detailing?

Car detailing is the process of thoroughly cleaning every part of a vehicle to restore it to the best possible condition. The goal is to make the vehicle feel brand new. The benefits mainly cosmetic, but auto detailing can also help your car last longer and avoid repairs by removing contaminants that wear down its parts.

On top of washing your car every two weeks, keep it shining by detailing it once every four to six months. Even if you don’t care about your car being spotless, it’s wise to detail it a minimum of twice a year to properly maintain it.

Protecting Your Car

Aside from making it look nice, detailing your car is a good way to protect it from certain types of damage and make it more enjoyable to drive. Some benefits of car detailing include:

  • Protecting paint from damage
  • Preventing plastics from fading sooner than they would without detailing
  • Eliminating odours
  • Removing stains

Keeping debris from building up on your car’s windshield, windows, and mirrors will also increase your safety because you’ll have an unobstructed view of the road.

Essentially, detailing is a way to protect and prolong your investment in your car. By keeping it in good condition, you can also maximize the value of your car should you ever decide to sell it.

Detailing Services

The main way to get your car detailed is to take it to an auto shop. Mobile detailing services are also available. With these, you can request a detailing team to come to your location for car cleaning. This is a good option for people willing to spend a bit more money to save time travelling to an auto shop.

Pricing for auto detailing will vary depending on the size of your vehicle and the specific services you want. A standard detail will likely involve vacuuming, stain removal, a full exterior wash, tire cleaning, and trim cleaning. On average, this’ll cost between $100-$250 and take roughly two hours to complete. Mobile detailers may have additional fees depending on how far they have to travel to get to you.

A more thorough session that fully revitalizes every part of your car (i.e., paint correction, wax, ceramic coating, etc.) could take several hours or even a couple days and cost upwards of $500. You can ask an auto shop to give you a quote for the services you want before bringing your car in.

Alternatively, if you want to save a little cash, you can detail your car yourself.

DIY Detailing

To do an amazing job on a DIY detail, all you need are the right tools and a bit of elbow grease. Your detailing kit should include:


Car wash liquid

31.99 $

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Milwaukee Tool Vacuum Cleaner

179.99 $

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Some products are multi-purpose, such as this Ultra Shine Total Vehicle Detailer.

When detailing, start on the outside from the roof of your vehicle, work your way down, then move to the interior. After giving your car a deep clean, remember to lock in all your good work with protectant and wax. To protect the interior, invest in floor mats and seat covers.

Follow this guide for full steps on detailing your car from your own garage.

Do be mindful of local by-laws about car washing and disposing of chemicals through your sewage system. You may need to detail your car at a local car wash.

Vehicle Detailer liquid

7.49 $

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Cleaner & Polish Wax

12.99 $

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More Detailing Tasks

A common detailing task that requires a bit of planning is touching up stone or rock chips. Stone chips are dents on your car’s surface caused by gravel and debris. As the name suggests, they chip your car’s paint and can expose the body to rust. You can fix them with paint, polish, wax, and a lot of patience.

Applying a ceramic coating or paint protection film (PPF) can help you avoid things like stone chips. A ceramic coating is a water-repellant layer that prevents mineral deposits and dirt from damaging the paint of your vehicle. It typically lasts four to five years. Keep in mind, these coatings are scratch resistant but not fully scratch proof. You still need to wash your car if you have a ceramic coating, but you won’t have to wax or seal it afterwards.

You can do these tasks yourself, but if you’re new to detailing, speak with a professional first at a NAPA AUTOPRO Service Centre for proper guidance.

Maintaining Your Vehicle

Detailing is an essential part of maintaining your vehicle. To keep it looking and performing its best, create a maintenance routine so every part of your car is looked after.

Check out our blog for more vehicle maintenance tips and guides. For questions or general advice on detailing your car, visit your local NAPA Auto Parts store to speak with an expert.




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