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Car Wash Vs Automotive Detail

Car Wash vs Automotive Detail

While these two activities may seem very similar, there are differences worth talking about.

Many vehicle owners are unaware of the differences between a car wash, and an automotive detail. We often hear people say things like, “why bother spending the money on a detail when I can just go to the gas station car wash for $20?”. In this article, we’d like to clarify a few things to help folks decide when a wash will suffice, and when they are in need of a detail.

Car Wash

Car washes come in many forms. In general, they take around 20 minutes, and are aimed at getting the bulk of dirt and debris off of the outside of your car. A hand wash is best, where you use wash mitts or microfibre towels and automotive soap to gently clean the exterior. To learn the steps to a proper hand wash, check out this article we posted a while back.

Automatic car washes are generally seen as doing more harm than good. The best ones use too much pressure and risk scratching your paint and creating swirl marks, whereas the worst ones use harsh chemicals that are very bad for your vehicle. We like to go by the saying, “if you don’t have time to wash your car by hand, you don’t have time to wash your car”.

Auto Detailing

Whereas car washes are a superficial clean, whereas details are intensive and restorative. A full detail consists of two main components: exterior detailing and interior detailing.

Exterior Detailing

The first step to an exterior detail is a car wash. Technicians will use soap and warm water to lift off all the dirt and grime from the surface of your vehicle. After the body is clean, detailers will use special brushes and cleaning products to clean the wheels, brake callipers, lug nuts, etc. Brake dust is hard to get rid of, so this step usually takes a lot of time and elbow grease.

Technicians pay special attention to other external areas like windows and rubber strips to make sure that everything is completely spotless.

Once the whole car is clean and dry, the detailers can begin the clay bar treatment. Clay barring removes debris that has become embedded into the paint. Read more about clay barring right here.

Paint is polished to remove swirl marks, oxidation, and light scratches. Once everything is polished, the technicians will apply a high-quality carnauba wax to seal in the work and help protect the paint. Once the exterior of your car has been detailed, it will shine like never before.

We go into more specifics about our exterior detailing right here.

Interior Detailing

Meticulously cleaning the inside of a car has a greater effect on owner experience than most people imagine. Every interior surface gets treatment: carpets, upholstery, leather, wood, glass, plastic, and vinyl. The goal here is thorough clean and reconditioning to bring the interior of the vehicle to as close to new condition as possible.

More info can be found about how we go about internal detailing right here.

So What’s Best?

You might have guessed it by now, but there is room for both car washing and detailing. While a full detail is obviously more thorough, car washes are the best way to keep your vehicle healthy and happy between details. At Island Detail, we are happy to help with all your detailing and cleaning needs. Check out this link for the specs on our complete detail package. If you think a quick wash is all you need, but you are lacking in time or supplies, we can help you there too. We offer quick cleans and hand washes to get you back on the road as soon as possible with a sparkling ride.

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