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Car detailing FAQs: How often should you detail your car?

Published on Aug 2, 2023 by Cassie Gould

Using the car regularly will likely cause you stains. Sometimes an easy exterior wipeout can't help you restore your car's look.

Tell us your car's details every single time and what it contains? 

Read this article for further information.

Grains and debris will attack your car. Unless you are careful, they can destroy your automobile's exterior or, worse, reduce the performance and life expectancy. 

What does car detailing include?

Detailing cars is split into two main parts: interior car detailing and exterior automotive detailing.

Exterior detailing involves a deep clean and reconditioning of a car's exterior surfaces. This includes thoroughly washing, claying, polishing, and waxing the body of the vehicle to remove embedded contaminants and restore shine. 

Detailing the exterior also includes cleaning the engine bay, door jams, trunk, wheels, tires, wheel wells, and other external components. 

Services like paint decontamination, compounding, high-gloss paint protection, sealant and ceramic coatings can be applied for added protection and longevity of exterior surfaces.

Interior detailing focuses on deep cleaning and restoring the appearance of a vehicle's cabin. All surfaces are thoroughly vacuumed and shampooed including seats, carpets, floor mats, door panels and trunk. 

Special attention is given to vents, cup holders, crevices and the gaps around switches and buttons. 

Stains are extracted and upholstery is conditioned. 

Plastic and vinyl surfaces are cleaned and given UV protection. 

The headliner is cleaned and windows are thoroughly scrubbed inside and out. 

Odors from smoke or spills are removed. 

The goal is to leave the entire interior looking renewed and odor-free.

A full professional car detailing service meticulously cleans and enhances both the whole detailing your car's interior and exterior. It goes well beyond a typical car wash to make sure every surface is scratched, swirled, stain and contaminant-free. This leaves the vehicle looking immaculate inside and out.

Exterior Detailing

Exterior detail helps to clean and shiny and look like new. It typically includes washing the vehicle (hand-washing will make for the simplest task), claying and polishing (using a rotary buffing machine). It not only protects your vehicle's finish against scratches, stains, dirt fading, etc. All detailing service providers are also clean, condition and shine wheels.

Interior Car Detailing

Interior Detail includes vacuuming the entire interior of the vehicle and cleaning all interior surfaces often using a compressor. Brush and cleaners were also used for scuffing and polishing doors, and vinyl, upholstery, and leather were also cleaned and conditioned. Often protective coating is applied on every surface to give the material sheen and to prevent it from being dried, cracked or faded under UV light. Carpeting can be cleaned and vacuumed as well. Besides these other services above, certain retailers may include engine cleaning in their detailed services which helps ease maintenance as leaks will be easily detectable when clean engines come in.

Decontamination and Protection Detail

These are new steps in exterior details. Certainly this process does not stop with washing or adding a layer of protection. Instead there are several cleaning processes and applications which include sealing or ceramic to make the finish more durable. What is the importance of exterior protective measures? Optional: An optional decontamination process and protection package ensures that the car is thoroughly inspected and maintained so it can improve its appearance for longer. Performing these sorts of details typically takes three to four hours.

Why Detail Your Car


A fresh detail leaves your car looking shiny and new. It removes embedded dirt and stains for a clean, polished exterior and interior. Detailing goes beyond a typical wash to meticulously clean every nook and cranny. The result is a vehicle that looks well maintained and cared for.

Reduce Wear and Tear 

Letting dirt, grime, dust, and contaminants build up can actually accelerate wear and tear on your vehicle. Getting regular detailing helps maintain and protect your car's paint and inside from unnecessary damage. A clean vehicle also helps reduce mold, mildew, and bacterial growth.

Higher Resale Value

Keeping your car detailed on a regular basis pays off when it comes time to sell your vehicle. A car that has been meticulously maintained with routine detailing will retain more value and command a higher resale price. Buyers are willing to pay more for a car that looks and feels well cared for.

How often should your vehicle be detailed?

What is the frequency of car detailing? The frequency of getting your car details varies depending on the type of car detailed prior amount of wear you put on your automobile and how often you wash and wax your car, but most experts suggest it should be performed twice annually and often should you detail once in three months.

Does an Automatic Car Wash Count?

Most auto wash machines will do a very good job at least for the regular biweekly cleaning. 

However, microscratches may occur at the machine as the brushes and material can be abrasive if not used properly. While a drive-through automatic wash is convenient, it does not provide the same level of care as a professional hands-on detailing. An automated system simply can't get into all the tight spaces and intricately clean every part of the vehicle inside and out. 

For a true detailing that cleans deeply, an experienced professional using the right techniques and tools is ideal. They can meticulously clean areas like door jams, vents, chrome trim, wheels, and all interior surfaces without risk of damage that improper automated washing can cause. 

While the convenience factor of an automated car wash is understandable for regular upkeep, it does not supply the precision, thoroughness, and gentle care of a professional detailer. To keep your car looking showroom new and protect the value, invest in a professional hands-on detail at least twice a year. The extra care shows in professional detail and the final results.

What the Experts Recommend

When it comes to car detailing, expert opinions vary on exactly how often it should be done. Most agree that the average driver should get a thorough detail at least two times a year. For those who drive often in inclement weather or extreme conditions, detailing 3-4 times per year is better. The general rule of thumb is to get your car detailed whenever it looks like it needs it - usually when you notice an accumulation of dirt, grime, salt, pollen etc. Additionally, it's wise to detail your car before major weather changes, like the transition from winter to spring. Detailing experts say paying close attention to your car's condition and detailing it whenever it appears dull, dirty or weathered is the best way to keep it looking its best. Getting on a regular detailing schedule, such as every 6 months, is recommended as it's easy to let your car's appearance slip. Consistent professional detailing provides protection and keeps your car looking sharp.

How long does it take to detail a car?

It takes about 1 to 2 hours to paint interior and exterior paint. Interior details to restore the interior into new condition can take 2 hours. Approximately 3-4 hours are required for the entire decontamination of the interior. Detail paint correction usually requires up to 6 hours depending on the paint condition. See my article on Detailing car parts for details and how long it would take.

Is detailing worth the money?

Keeping your car clean will increase its selling price, although it could decrease with mileage and mechanical condition of vehicle. Detail work most cars can also be beneficial psychologically as it helps boost the car owners pride in ownership.

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