Ballpark Estimate: $200 to $400
When the weather has dulled your vehicle finish or your interior looks the worst for wear, investing in the cost of a good detailing can be the key to helping it look pristine again.
Car detailing is an easy way to give your car a makeover and make it look shining new. There are many levels of car detailing, from a quick inside and outside wash, to an in-depth overhaul. You’ll need to decide exactly what you want done and how much you are willing to spend on this endeavor. You’ll also need to decide on the type of setting you prefer, since you can drop into your local car wash for a quick detailing, or you can go to an auto body or paint shop for more professional results. There are also vendors who specialize specifically in auto detailing and other related services that may charge more, but should also give you a very thorough job in return for the cost.
While car detailing differs from place to place there are some basic things that are typically included, such as waxing, tire and wheel cleaning, and cleaning the dashboard, mirrors and fenders. In addition, you can expect the inside to be vacuumed and the carpeting, mats and seats to be cleaned.
There are also extra services that can be included in a deluxe package or that you can request to add on to a more basic service. This includes washing the engine, white walling the tires, polishing the outside with premium wax, and shampooing and steam cleaning cloth seats and rugs. Other upgrades to consider are leather upholstery cleaning, adding fabric protectant and fixing small dents.
How to Find
When shopping for a car detailing service, a good place to start is to ask your trusted auto body repair shop if they offer detailing for customers. If not, they may be able to recommend a local place that does good work. You can ask auto rental companies if they outsource their detailing and who they use. Most car dealers will offer car detailing through their service area, and some used car dealers also offer car detailing themselves, so it’s worth looking into either of these options. You can also do a search online or check places like Craigslist for businesses or individuals advertising their car detailing services in your area or look at Angies List for reviews from customers of any car detailing businesses you are considering.
Another approach is to contact auto detailing schools or training programs in your region to connect with some of their graduates. Some of the types of programs you find online include Detailing Success, Detail King, Superior Auto Institute, and Auto Detailing Network.
What to Look For
When selecting a car detailing company, the experts say that the experience the detailer brings to the job can make a big difference in what you get. Therefore, while someone just starting out can offer you a great deal in terms of cost, the final results may not live up to what you would get from a well-trained expert who has been in the business for years. Keep in mind that a low-cost car detailing will probably include the bigger cleaning tasks but a higher-priced detailing will also take care of all of those tiny details, such as door jams, grilles and bumpers that can make your car look like new again.
The condition of your paint will also need to be taken into consideration when selecting a car detailing shop. If your paint needs to be buffed and polished to get a like-new finish, you will especially want to be sure your car is in the hands of a real expert.
What It Costs
What you can expect to spend on car detailing depends on where you live, the type of car you have and how big it is and the level of detailing that you desire. If you have a standard car and just want a basic in and out wash and vacuum at a car wash, this costs about $50. But more in-depth detailing of an economy car will cost somewhere in the $100 range. A truck, SUV or mini-van will require more labor so the price could be a little more. If you desire hand waxing or a clay wax process, as well as more attention paid to the little things, the cost for such premiere car detailing at a car wash can cost about $200 or even more.
If you prefer to have your car detailed by a professional car dealer/service department, auto body shop or paint shop, you can expect to the price to be between $200 and $600, depending on the level of detailing you request and the type of car you have and its condition. If you have a luxury car or classic model, expect to pay on the top end of the range or even more.
Car detailing can cost $50 for an economy detailing package on up to a price of $600 for top-of-the-line detailing. Most people end up with a cost of between $200 and $400 for a good car detailing.
Car Detailing À La Carte
If you want to have some car detailing services either à la carte or added into a car detailing package to upgrade it, here are some examples of what you can expect it to cost:
- A good hand waxing costs $50 to $100.
- Washing tires and rims can cost from $50 to $75.
- Steam cleaning the carpeting and/or fabric interior of your car thoroughly and seeing to all of the fine detailing costs $75 to $150.
- Cleaning leather upholstery costs from $50 to $150.
- Scotch guarding your interior costs $150 to $200.
- Odor removal can cost $50 to $75.
- Removing a small dent or ding costs $50 to $200, depending on how big and/or deep it is.
- Steam cleaning your engine costs $250 to $300.
DIY Car Detailing
If your budget can’t support the cost for car detailing by a professional, you can also try a Do-It-Yourself version. Some of the supplies you will need include car wax, paint protectant, tire and wheel cleaner and chrome polish. You can purchase all of these for a price of about $50 to $75 and this should be enough to last you for several detailings. You may also want to rent a steam cleaner to do the interior thoroughly. This can cost between $20 and $30 to borrow for the day.