Car detailing and car valeting are often confused as being pretty much the same thing but that’s far from the truth. Although both services are designed to clean and maintain a vehicle’s appearance, they differ in terms of the level of service (i.e. level of “detail”) provided and the extent of the work that’s carried out.

A valet

In a nutshell, car valeting is a pretty basic service that, although better than a basic wash, is focused on cleaning both the outside and the inside of the vehicle. This typically involves a wash and wax outside and a vacuum and a clean inside. The windows and mirrors will usually get a clean as well. If you pay extra, you can also opt for getting your tyres dressed and your engine bay cleaned. You may even get a complimentary smelly Christmas tree to dangle from the rear mirror!


On the other hand, car detailing is exactly what the name suggests i.e. it’s a fully comprehensive service that involves a much deeper level of cleaning and detailed restoration. You’ll get everything you would in a valet, but at a much higher level together with a ton of additions on top. This can include, ceramic coating, paint correction, scratch removal, and deep polishing. You can also expect steam cleaning, clay bar treatment, and the application of bespoke coatings for long-lasting protection.


A really decent valet can take several hours but car detailing is far more time-consuming due to its labour-intensive meticulousness. It can’t be done in just a few hours either; we’ll often keep a car in for several days if the client has booked our most comprehensive detailing package. Detailing can’t be carried out by anyone either, a good detailer needs experience, expertise, and, of course, specialized equipment to carry it out.


Simply put, the difference between car detailing and valeting amounts to the level of service and attention to detail that a company provides. Although car valeting is better than a car wash, it’s still a basic service that focuses on cleaning and maintaining the appearance of a vehicle inside and out whereas detailing is far more comprehensive and can also restore and enhance the car’s appearance whilst providing far superior long-term protection..