Car detailing is sometimes compared to a more expensive car wash or a ‘posh wash’, but how accurate is this? This bite-sized article highlights some of the basic differences between the two in order to clear up any misconceptions you may have.

Whilst it’s true that there are basic similarities between the two such as the obvious fact that the car gets washed in both scenarios, the differences are more to do with the methods and products used, together with the level of attention (or detail) that each vehicle gets when it’s washed compared to when it has detailing work done.

Perhaps the simplest way to put it is that car detailing is a far more thorough and time-consuming version of a car wash – in other words, think of it as a car wash on steroids!

Key differences

  1. Detailing can deal with the reconditioning of your paintwork, including minor restorations such as scratches, scuffs and blemishes
  2. It’s carried out by experienced professionals who spend hours, not minutes on your vehicle
  3. Equal attention is given to the interior and exterior of the car
  4. Detailing can restore many vehicles to their original showroom condition (or even better)
  5. Detailing provides longer-lasting protection
  6. Car detailers tend to use more expensive, high-quality products
  7. It can also often restore the colour of the paintwork
  8. Car washes can actually damage your paintwork with swirl marks and micro scratches
  9. Detailing is more expensive but, as they say, you get what you pay for

Of course, there are other differences but the above list gives a fairly good overview of some of the more basic points. It’s also worth highlighting the fact that, whilst cheaper, a car wash (even if done by hand) can actually damage your paintwork rather than help it. This is especially true if you use an automated car wash at your local garage. The large brushes used tend to ‘whip’ the vehicle’s exterior and therefore prolonged, regular use will inevtably leave tiny scratches on the car’s surface.

This can also be the case with your local handwashing centre as they’ll often use the same cloths over and over again. The cloths pick up small particles which again, can leave tiny scratches or long-lasting swirl marks all over the paintwork as you can see in the picture below. Again, this ‘before and after’ paint correction example speaks for itself and really shows the difference between choosing a detailing package over a car wash.

A few examples

If you ask one of the technicians at your local car wash what a hydrophobic ceramic coating is, you’ll probably get a blank stare. If you click on the link and have a read, you’ll see the superior techniques and products used and can read about how your car can quite literally clean itself. And, it’s not just the exterior that gets all the attention. Take a look at this video example of how we often clean the car’s mats when hoovering just isn’t up to the job. Perhaps most notably, a professional detailing package highlights the importance of protecting your paintwork and how crucial it is to maintain it, especially if it’s a new car. If you’d like to know more, simply click here for a more in-depth explanation.

To summarise

A car wash is fine if you’re on a tight budget or have an older, cheaper car and you’re not too bothered about how it looks. However, if you take pride in your vehicle’s appearance and want to prolong and protect it both inside and out, choosing one of our detailing packages is by far the best option.