Houston Car Detailing Services: What It Involves?

One common misconception that people have about auto detailing is that it involves little more than simply washing the car. As it turns out, however, auto detailing provides a lot of extra services that are not available with a standard car wash. These services are designed to leave both the interior and exterior of the vehicle as clean and beautiful as possible. While most car washes rely on automated tools, detailing is done by hand by highly-trained experts.

Services like these typically involve both interior and exterior detailing.

  • Interior detailing. This type of detailing focuses on the interior of the vehicle. All of the surfaces are thoroughly cleaned, including any fabric, leather, vinyl, carbon fiber plastic, or other types of plastic. A variety of cleaning methods are usually involved in the process, including vacuuming and steam cleaning.
  • Exterior detailing. This type of detailing centers on the outside of the vehicle, including the body of the car, the windows, the tires, and the wheels. The vehicle’s exterior is cleaned and restored through the use of special detergents, degreasers, waxes, and polishes.

The sections below take a closer look at the steps involved in both of these processes.

Interior Car Detailing Services

The interior of a vehicle is where the driver and passengers spend most of their time. Cleaning this part of the car requires special attention, which is why it usually takes longer than detailing the exterior of the vehicle. If the inside of a car is dirty, it can not only cause unpleasant odors but can also interfere with the operation of the vehicle.

For instance, dirty switches may not function the way that they should. Any allergens in the ventilation system can be spread through the air inside the vehicle through the air vents. Dirty windows can keep the driver from seeing the road as clearly as they should, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Through professional detailing, however, all of these problems can be remedied.

Every auto detailer works a little bit differently. For the most part, however, when you take your vehicle in to have it detailed, the interior detailing process will include the following steps:

  • Vacuuming. The detailing process begins by vacuuming out the entire interior of the vehicle, including the trunk or cargo area, seats, and headliners. The floor mats are removed from the vehicle so that they can be thoroughly cleaned. Any small parts of the vehicle where the vacuum can’t reach are usually cleaned with the help of an air compressor.
  • Steam Cleaning & Brushing. The vehicle’s carpeting and mats are carefully scrubbed to get rid of any dirt, stains, or other problem areas. Thoroughly steam cleaning these surfaces helps restore them, leaving them looking like new. After this process is finished, the mats and carpeting are allowed to thoroughly dry to prevent any problems with mildew.
  • Cleaning the Glass. The windows and glass surfaces of the vehicle are cleaned using special streak-free glass cleaners. Removing any dirt or haze from the windows helps ensure that the driver can clearly see the road.
  • Leather Cleaning. Any leather surfaces in the vehicle are carefully cleaned using saddle soap or other special cleaners that are specifically designed for use on leather. Any leftover soap is removed from the surfaces using a damp rag. For dry leather, special conditioners can be used to restore the surfaces and to make them easier to clean.
  • Final Vacuuming. After the vehicle has been thoroughly cleaned, it is vacuumed one last time. This helps catch any dirt that was missed the first time around. The windows are also wiped down again to get rid of any fingerprints or other dirt resulting from the cleaning process.
  • Deodorizing. The last step in the process is to add an air freshener or to deodorize the interior space to leave the car smelling great.

Exterior Car Detailing Services

Auto detailing involves more than simply washing the outside of the car. The goal of a professional auto detailer is to leave the vehicle looking like new by getting rid of scratches, sealing the paint, and helping the surfaces shine.

Some of the most common steps used in the exterior detailing process include:

  • Hand washing and drying the vehicle. While most car washes rely on automated tools, professional auto detailers wash vehicles by hand. After spraying down the vehicle with a high-powered spray, they then scrub away any dirt or grime on the exterior. This includes the body, the rims, the door jambs, and the windows.
  • Claying. A special type of clay bar is used to eliminate any residue on the outside of the vehicle that remains after the initial washing.
  • Polishing the vehicle. Exposure to the elements can leave the paint on a vehicle looking dull and worn. Polishing helps restore the original shine, leaving the car looking like new again.
  • Sealing the paint. The auto detailer applies a special sealant to the body of the vehicle, helping it look shinier. They sometimes use car wax for this purpose.

Additional services are sometimes provided, as well. For instance, the detailer might repaint the trim, detail the engine, polish the headlights, repair the bumper, touch up the paint, or repair chips in the windshield.

As part of the detailing process, any damage to the exterior of the vehicle is carefully noted. This includes areas where the paint has cracked, flaked, or peeled. Problems with rust, oxidation, or acid-related damage are also noted. Detailing your vehicle regularly is the best way to keep it in good shape as it ages. Properly maintaining it will help it retain its value.

How Much Does Auto Detailing Cost?

Every auto detailing company sets their own prices, which means that they can vary quite a bit based on the location and the company’s reputation. Other factors that affect the cost include the size of the vehicle and the level of cleaning required. The price of auto detailing goes up the more services the company provides.

Most companies offer packages in many different price ranges. For instance, a standard package might include cleaning the windows, tires, and trim, vacuuming the vehicle, and washing and waxing the exterior. The price for a package like this may range anywhere from about $50-$75 for a standard passenger vehicle. That price is higher for vans or SUVs, usually falling in the $75-$150 range.

More involved detailing packages that include extra services are usually available, as well. These packages cost more, usually starting at around $175.

If you decide to detail your car on your own, these tips will help you keep the cost down as much as possible:

  • Purchase low-cost products. If you are detailing your own vehicle, spend some time researching the available products so that you can find the best deals. Look for highly-rated detailing products that are affordably priced.
  • Stretch your materials as far as possible. Try to make your detailing products last by using them carefully. For instance, any rags can usually be reused multiple times before they need to be thrown away. This can help keep the cost down for future detailing work. Always read the instructions on the products that you purchase carefully to make sure you are using them correctly.
  • Don’t wait too long before detailing your vehicle. Get on a regular detailing schedule. Cars that are cleaned more frequently generally are less expensive to detail since they don’t require quite as many products.

If you are looking for the best cleaning of your vehicle, you should look at the detailing. Of course, you should look for a company that offers trained detailers and will outline all of the processes included in their detailing like SOAP Hand Car Wash. Visit our blog for more related articles!